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UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Interesting party concept -- I'll have to give this some more thought.

Some food for your thoughts, then:

The Phantom Blade can follow a Magus through a Dimensional Assault or an invisible scouting atrempt, and fight besides him.
He can cast See Invisibility, Feedom of Movement or Death Ward on the
Magus depending of what foe could appear, preventing the Magus to face problematic abilities.
He can also surround both of them with Etheric Shards, turning their surrounding into a death field for anyone getting close
Both can share a Life Pact together if they wish, and the Phantom Blade will be often closer the party healer to throw an emergency Heal on him.
The Phantom Blade brings variety of magical damage by spellstriking eith positive and negative damage spells, when the Magus does elemental damage
And all this, while they can actually perform flanking or abuse some teamwork feats...

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Well, that's good food for thoughts :)
I'm going to ponder about all this, thanks for those informations.

I'm however going to keep my stance on Cure Wound spells and Vital Strike, due to my own experience on in-game battles with the Phantom Blade:

  • Cure Wound spells: even with a full cleric behind me, I never regretted to pick any Cure Wound spells, during the whole campaign.

    Cure Wounds spells are truly versatile;
    They prevent your healer to over-use his energy channels: often you are the only one wounded, and it's not truly a good idea that the healer come that close of you to cast his own Cure Wound spells, and at that time, you're happy to be able to close your scratchs yourself
    They also contribute to the out-of-combat healing, you can share the burden, so you always start fights in top condition.
    And then, there is the fact that if you have all the Cure Wounds spells, you are quite well prepare from the very basis to deal with undeads, since you ALWAYS have the option to spellstrike them with a good amount of positive energy

  • Vital Strike: There is two reasons why you will not use this even if you cast a spell like Chill Touch

    First one is: Chill Touch is a spell that has only value if you hit several times per round with it. Otherwise, better cast another spell.
    Second one is: Even if you don't want to cast a touch spell which would cancel the charges of Chill Touch, the Phantom Blade spell list is so full of goodies that you could find a relevant spell to cast from it every round of a twenty-round-long fight

    I, in fact, did a fight that lasted something like 18 rounds, and during which I only used touch spells twice.
    Still, I casted a spell every round of this fight.

    So... no, I would never have used Vital Strike once during the full campaign even if the DM gave me the full feat chain for free.

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    I made changes to reflect all the points I'm agreeing on, here is a new link with a better presentation: New Google Doc

  • Spell Resistance: rating lowered since it prevent people to heal you
  • Withdraw Affliction: added a NB explaining why you don't get an extra attack with it
  • Offensive Feat: added Weapon Focus and Improved Unarmed Strikes
  • Message: rating up
  • Expeditious retreat: rating up and included in the Phantom Dragon build
  • Scizore removed from weapon recommandations
  • Handy Haversack replace the Bag of Holding in the encumbrance section

    UnArcaneElection wrote:
    ^Reading this now, and temporarily ignoring the grammar/word usage issues:

    Well, I'll be glad if some people could at least point out the recurring ones, because english is a foreign language to me, and I'd like to improve

    Burst of Insight: If you use this for your Will Saves, it seems that this would be VERY good despite the penalty -- 1 round of being Dazed is a lot less bad than who knows how many rounds of being Charmed, Confused, Cursed, Dominated, Feebleminded, or Possessed.

    You're absolutly right, but this spell is truly inferior to Burst of Adrenaline as it works for only 1 type of save, give a much severe condition and apply to your best save and not your worst one.... so I couldn't give it the same rating than Burst of Adrenaline.

    Cure-series spells: I would start downgrading these at the higher levels, because your casting of these falls progressively further behind a 9/9 caster. The obvious exceptions are the related spells Breath of Life and Heal -- you want to have these though you get them late relative to 9/9 casters.

    The rating is not made compared to level 9 spellcasters, but to what the Spiritualist spell list offer, and Cure spells are among the best spell you can pick at every spell level, believe it by my experience with this archetype.

    You'll never never never regret to have pick a Cure Wound spell as part of your spell known.

    Feeblemind: This will ruin almost any target's day, unless they are immune. It's just that arcane spellcasters take a penalty on the Save, whereas others don't.

    I don't truly see why, care to explain?

    Let's admit you have a barbarian in front of you... you cast Feeblemind on him and he fails his save. What does the fact his intelligence is reduced to 1 changes anything to his ability to split you in half with a 2H weapon?

    Withdraw Affliction: It's not clear that you can Spellstrike with the withdrawn affliction (as opposed to having to make a normal Touch Attack), although the text "as if holding the charge for a touch spell" leads me to lean in favor of it. Expect table variation.

    This FAQ explain that if a spell allows several touch attacks, Spellstrike allows you to deliver them all through your weapon.

    Withdraw Affliction allows 2 touch attacks: one harmless against yourself, and one harmful against an opponent. You can do both via Spellstrike, but since the first was made against yourself, you just don't gain an extra attack agaisnt your opponent when you cast this spell.

    Races: Some of these (including Human with Military Tradition) get additional weapon proficiencies that are actually useful.

    Well I couldn't find one light or one-handed exotic weapon proficiency given by those traits that was better in at least one way to my eye than a simple scimitar, that's why I didn't make any note of it.

    But if you have an example in mind, I'll gladly add them.

    Feats: I just realized that since you use your Phantom Blade Spiritualist level as your effective Base Attack Bonus for qualifying for these feats, you can actually benefit from the full Vital Strike feat chain, although you will be a bit late in getting each part of it.

    You can't use Vital Strike with Spell Combat.

    avr wrote:
    I'm pretty sure that fencing grace & starry grace suffer from the same incompatibility with spell combat as slashing grace. Dervish dance is the one and only Paizo-produced dex to damage option for a phantom blade. Deadly agility out of Path of War is a simple 3rd party fix.

    I'll trust Kurald on this one, as I didn't find any ruling preventing fencing grace to work with spell combat. Fencing Grace is in his magus guide too.

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    Slim Jim wrote:
    Ryze Kuja wrote:
    Your Killer DM will have a rough time with a Soulthief Vitalist as your frontliner.
    No he won't. He'll just up the ante.

    Oh please, stop with this "killer DM" thing. There is nothing like that.

    Our DM just use the encounters at the fullest of what each one allow, and we discover he's truly talented at that... he however never modified any encounter to make it harder than the recommandation wrote in the adventure path, nor set any disavantageous homerule for us.

    He's truly playing the campaign by the book.

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    Currently trying to see if there is enough matter to do a separate Phantom Blade Spiritualist guide...

    While Phantom Blade has truly a lot in common with the Bladebound magus, but I feel that compare it to a Magus on the field of being a striker is a loss battle from the start.
    If just for the loss of Shicking Grasp and Blade Rush and metamagics, the Phantom Blade actualy lose the damage battle by a large margin.

    However, the more I toy with this archetype during my current campaign, the more I feel it does a truly marvelous off-tank/battlefield controller.

    First, it's a lot more resilient than a Magus:
    - better saves (wisdom-based and special spells to help with saves)
    - better hp sustain (false life and cure wounds spells)
    - better counter-measure against magic (immunity to silence and feature spells like Spell Resistance)
    - can wear an agile breastplate on top of a dex build with no penality

    Second, the spiritualist spell list is stuffed with battlefield controls and debuffs absent from the magus list:
    - 5 spells forcing opponents to fight each other
    - 2 very strong debuffs for bosses (an Enervation-like spell with extra prejudice, and a strong curse you can deliver through spellstrike)
    - 2 battlefield removals
    - severals way to use the corpses of slain ennemies against their former allies

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    DRD1812 wrote:

    I know it's an old cliche, but this mess just happened to me. Like the title says, I'm a true neutral occultist with a necromancy focus. My buddy just joined at level 6, and he's rolling a paladin. I was excited to take animate dead next level. Now I'm not so sure.

    What's the best way to make the two play nice in the same party? Is there a mechanical solution to the problem? Alternatively, how can I circumnavigate his ire?

    Relevant comic.

    Your DM shouldn't allow this.

    By lore, a paladin won't join a party with weird/corrupted tendencies.

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    As someone who played a lot of magic users since the 1st, I felt sorcerers exist because at least a decent part of the game designers felt, like me, that trying to guess which spells could be useful in the next 24h was a mechanic annoying as hell.

    "Oh sorry party, could we stop traveling for today? It seems we enter a land with potential elemental being living there... so I want to change half my prepared spells.
    Also, can you all go to drink a coffee, while I browse all the spell list I have to figure which ones I'll prepare?
    Promise, it should take me less than 15mn... well, perhaps half-an-hour if I start to overthink it... I'll do my best to make it short, but just in case, you should take some comics with you..."

    I never played a non-spontaneous spellcaster since the sorcerer class appeared... and never looked back either.

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    Ok, let me give you my humble opinion about sorcerers.


    Pathfinder is a game that originates from D&D, which is mostly based, when it comes to roleplaying "why-and-hows" to the lore of the Forgotten Realms.

    In that campaign setting, the arcane magic itself is something that is normaly impossible to use for mundane mortal races.
    Dragons and Gods can use it naturaly, but say, an human, lacks the ability to manipulating the raw magical energy to actualy craft a spell from it.

    Then, comes Mystril/Mystra, goddess of Magic: She thinks that magic is something so great and marvelous that ANY sentient being willing to invest some effort into it should be allowed to use magic... so, what she did?
    She created the Weave, a mystical ultra-collosal ethereal construct stored in her own divine plane, that serve as a giant system that any sentient being can use to canalise the natural magic energy.

    That is Forgotten Realms basic lore about arcane magic, so far.

    Now, about what it implies:

    Wizards are people, normaly unbale to use the raw magic energy, and who learned to use the Weave insted.
    They study/studied it, and they wrote all their knowledge about the it into their "spellbook".
    Every morning, they use that knowledge to manipulate the Weave and make the mystical construct of the godess of magic draw, prepare and store a given amount of magic energy, in a way that is convenient for a "mundane" spellcaster to use it.
    By the very nature of the Weave, and the will of Mystril/Mystra, only the one that did the manipulation can retrieve and use the stored energy after this.

    On their side, Sorcerers have inherited from a supernatural creature some or all of its ability to naturaly draw and shape the natural magical energy directly, without the Weave.
    They do not exactly know how. That's like if you asked them "how do you breath?". They just do it instinctivly, and can shape the energy in a way its convenient for a given number of spells.
    Their body continuously draw from the natural energy, so much than most of them discover their nature when the unused energy starts to overflow from them, causing havoc: more than one sorcerer lost his family because they triggered a fire in their sleep, and ravaged the family house.
    Neverless, they can shape the energy store within their bodies anytime they want in a given set of forms proper to cast some given spells.

    HOWEVER, no matter where the energy is stored and when it is shaped... Shaped energy is still not a "spell": That's like putting the right kind of gaz into your car... you still need to drive that car it if you want to go somewhere with it.
    And "Driving" in that case is "casting". You pick the store energy, then you guide it through an incantation and gestures and extra if needed, and it result a spell effect from it.

    Sorcerer DO, in fact, learn spells incantations and gestures, they just do not have to learn to use the Weave.
    They mostly learn the spellcasting by trial and error, because they FEEL they have the power within them, that it needs to be used, and just lack the proper way to express it at first.
    Always in FR's lore, sorcerers start to realize their power when the unused energy their bodies naturaly draw start to overflows, causing havoc by triggering random magical events around him... so learning to use it is almost a matter of survival.
    They will often isolate themselves in a seculated place to perform tests until they find the RIGHT incantation and gesture to use the energy shapes they instinctivly can create.

    The incantation and gestures are the same for wizards and sorcerers simply because the mix of energy shape, the incantation and gesture is actualy what DEFINE the spell.
    Obtaining the energy charge differently do not change anything to how a spell must be cast after that: if you use a different incantation, then it result in a different spell, at best, an in a failure, most often of the times (not the right energy shape for that incantation).

    Some weak sorcerers actualy recieve some support of Mystra through the Weave without knowing it, but they still do instinctively 90% of the process, so they don't have to study the weave itself.
    You can't differenciate a pure sorcerer than a weak one unless you destroy the Weave (something that happened once in the FR lore, resulting in the shutdown of almost all arcane magic for player races... but it was rebuilt after)


    Still reading? Seriously?

    Ok, so now, you'll tell me: "but Pathfinder is not D&D !"
    Right, Mystra and the Weave do not exist in any campaign setting of Pathfinder... but the Sorcerer class is still copied from the D20 system which is an extract from D&D which is justified by the Forgotten Ream lore

    That make the Sorcerer class a class that have a mechanic for which the lore was not truly imported into Pathfinder. Mystra and the Weave are simply copyrighted by Wizards of the Coast.

    In Pathfinder, there is no official explanation of Wizard/Sorcerers magic mechanic... but we can extrapolate one similar:

    - Wizards do not know how to "shape" the energy instinctively. They study all their life to find formulae to shape it artificialy through a long "preparation" proceess, and store the shaped charges in their bodies (instead of the weave)
    - Sorcerers still "shape" the energy at will. They store the enery charges in a "formless" way until they need it
    Casting a spell from the shaped energy is still the same -> Problem solved :)

    That unofficial explanation restore the justication of all the arcane magic mojo in a similar way of the true origin of the sorcerer class, without using the copyrighted words of "Mystra" or "Weave"
    You can now return to a normal roleplaying without asking brainshaking questions again :p

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    The phantom is just not a regular incorporeal creature on this regard.
    Allow me to quote a part of the class description:

    Incorporeal: When the spiritualist chooses to manifest the phantom in incorporeal form, the phantom appears within 30 feet of the spiritualist as a ghostly apparition. It gains the incorporeal subtype, including a deflection bonus to AC equal to its Charisma modif ier. Since it isn’t an undead creature, it takes no damage from holy water or positive energy. Unlike other incorporeal creatures, an incorporeal phantom can’t attack corporeal creatures, except to deliver touch-attack spells using the deliver touch spell ability. An incorporeal manifested phantom can make slam attacks against other incorporeal creatures as if it were in ectoplasmic form.

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    Volkard Abendroth wrote:

    If your phantom is sticking his head into rooms, each occupant of the room will get a perception check to notice.

    You may well be walking into rooms whose occupants are fully buffed and waiting for you, or have rooms whose occupants choose to exit the room and initiate combat before you can buff.

    True, but what better option you have for scouting a room? Send a party member open the door?

    This will trigger a perception check too, except that your party member is a LOT more vulnerable than the phantom, if spotted.

    The true strength of the phantom as a scout is: he's almost INDESTRUCTIBLE.
    - incorporeal, so immune to most harm methods
    - can fly through the walls, so very difficult to chase
    - can be recalled with a swift action, so the ennemy only has ONE round to kill it
    - and anyway, "killing" it just prevent you to use it for 24h, no more

    It's a FAILPROOF scout, which is a freaking huge advantage compared to almost any other option you can have to spot ambushes.

    - there is a rogue phantom in the classes choice
    - he will learn to fly, and will be able to look at the room from above
    - you will also learn the Invisibility spell


    To sum it up, the base spiritualist is:
    - one of the best, in not the best, scout in the game
    - the master of the second most powerful pet in the game (eidolon being first)
    - an acceptable backup healer (not wonderful, but far from useless)

    That's a very very very good package once put together, a bit too much, even: the spiritualist is a one-man army that perform as a rogue, healer and striker at the same time.

    I even find it annoying to be around, because it just steal to much spotlight to the other members.
    That's why, when I did a spiritualist recently, I choosed to be make it a Phantom Blade rather of a standard spiritualist.

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    Lausth wrote:

    What are they good for?What do you do with them?I already read the guides and know the class features(arctpyes too) and feats.İt is a fine class but ı just dont know about what to specialise in.What did you do with your own or did you ever see an awesome build for the class?

    EDİT:I am asking this for the base class.

    Spiritualist are the best scouts. Period.

    You litteraly have a creature that goes through the walls to look what is waiting farther, and cannot be killed while doing so.
    The spiritualist see through its eyes, benefit of its 60ft darkvision, can see invisible... and if it's not enough, can cripple a target as a pre-emptive strike by delivering a touch spell attack while being incorporeal (and thus, invulnerable to the attacks of 90% of the bestiary)

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    TheMonkeyFish wrote:
    Thanks for showing me that this advice thread is filled with nothing but power gamers that don't know what fun or character diversity is. ^-^

    Well I admit I got lost in my own wonderings.

    But that's not a reason to be rude...

    So, as a sign of goodwillness, let me answer your questions:

    My question is, for a Qinggon Elemental Monk, what would you recommend? Level 12 Dragon Breath seems interesting (2 Ki Points = 12d6 Damage for Fire/Acid/Cold in a 30-foot cone or Fire/Acid/Electric in a 60-foot line, really fitting for the elemental fist archetype). Low level, I'd probably be replacing Slow Fall for Scorch Ray or Ki Throw for offensive Ki spending.

    I don't know what class powers you keep with this archetype, so I won't be able to tell you what to replace, but here are a list of elemental-themed powers, and a few advice about them:

    lvl 4:
    - Barksin (Earth): not too far stretched to said related to the theme and one of the best low-level powers
    - Feather Step (Air): there is better to take a bit later which does the same, and much more
    - Hydraulic Push (Water): a bit too much situational if you ask me. You could never find a good opportunity to use it in a whole campaign
    - Ki Arrow (Air): Could seems far stretched, but you can pretend you use wind to push the arrow, not a bad one, but you need to carry arrows
    - Scorching Ray (Fire): Very good ranged attack, one of the best pick for you

    lvl 6:
    - Cloak of winds (Air): one of those powers so situational that you could never find an use for it during a whole campaign
    - Gaseous form (Air): situational... but helps in a LOTS of situations: prevent a fall (strictly better than Feather Step), get above an obstacle, pass a locked door of fence. Limits are your imagination. I personnaly love this one.
    Hydraulic torrent (Water): same concern than hydraulic push

    Lvl 8:
    - Dragon’s breath (all elements): if you should only get one with your goals, get this one
    - Silk to steel (Earth): while it fits the theme, it requiers you to build entierly differently to be usable, so skip it

    Lvl 10:
    - Wind Stance (Air): well, for flavor it could be good, but it's truly weak

    Lvl 12:
    - Diamond body (Earth): Only interesting if the Elemental Monk make you lose this ability
    - Elemental Fist (all elements): lolz, you already have it

    Lvl 14:
    - Cloud Step (Air): While it nice, Gaseous Form helps in 90% of the same situation, and is cheaper
    - Cold ice strike (Water): One of the best, if not the best, of ranged elemental attacks you can have, past level 12, it makes more damage than dragon breath and is easier to pull out without harming your allies... but it's single element only
    - Sonic thrust (Air): far better than the hydraulic ones, even if still a bit too situational for me

    Lvl 16:
    Lightning Stance (Air): cool name, bad effect. Seriously, you only use two moves in a round when something is wrong

    I was looking at the Monk Vows, and possibly wanted to incorporate them somehow. Any ideas on what would be interesting for the Monk Vows when using a Qinggon Elemental Monk?

    None are "interesting" for the "elemental" theme roleplaying-wise.

    There is just no relation between any of them and this archetypes, so...

    If you take one, that will be only for powergaming.

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    That just a little teasing title, so let me explain you truly what this thread is about: building a scythe user that can follow the "Reaper" theme by also fightning in black robes, mounting a horse and using "ghost-like" powers.

    Class: Monk (Sohei, Quinggong) VMC Fighter
    Race: Human
    Main attributes: Str & Wis
    1- Weapon Focus (Scythe)
    H1- Power Attack
    M1- Dodge
    M2- Mounted Combat
    3- Bravery
    5- Furious Focus
    Q5- Replace High Jump with True Strike
    M6- Ride-by Attack
    7- Armor Training 1
    Q7- Replace Wholeness of Body with Gaseous Form
    9- Divine Fightning Technique: Way of Hunger
    M10- Improved Critical
    11- Weapon Training 1: Heavy Blades
    13- Dimensional Agility
    Q13- Replace Diamond Soul with Abundant Step
    M14- Spirited Charge
    15- Armor Training 2
    17- Dimensional Assault
    M18- Indomitable Mount
    19- Weapon Training 2
    Q19- Replace Empty Body with Timeless Body


    On a roleplay side, this build never age due to Timeless Body, can perform sure hits with True Strike, fight on a horse and can turn itself into a mist form with Gaseous Form.

    This build allows for the following special attacks:
    - While on a horse, it can perform a Spring Attack-like move with Ride-by Attack, doing double damage with the scythe due to Spirited Assault
    - It can charge by using a teleport move, which kinda fits the theme
    - It can also use Flurry of Blows with the Scythe from level 11, when the VMC fighter allows to pick the right weapon group for this

    The AC is kinda low because the build will only get AC from Dodge, Dexterity and Wisdom. This is better than nothing, and with some magic items, you can get something decent from it.

    The main survival factor comes instead of the use of the Divine Fightning Technique which allows to drain hp from the damage done with the scythe:
    - At the start of combat, ideally you should use it with Spirited Charge to get double hp
    - Later in combat, if you need to renew it, the best is to perform a Coup de Grace on a disabled/dying target to get an automatic x4 damage (and thus x4 hp) from the automatic critical
    Naturaly, using the Ki Weapon ability while doing so is also recommanded

    The Devoted Guardian ability from the Sohei archetypes gives a great initiative, allowing to score an automatic 20+10 at level 20, and allow to always act during surprise rounds, which is also great for a Reaper

    On a side note, the build has to be Loyal Evil because it would be hard to justify another alignement with this Divine Technique.
    On the plus side, who said the Reaper couldn't be Loyal Evil?

    The build could take some vows for flavor, like Silence or Celibacy, it suits the theme.


    Any thought, suggestion, possible improvements?
    Please tell me.

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    I do not think it's worth it.

    First, you will make your spell and BAB progression lag one level behind a full magus, which means:
    Each three levels, a full magus will cast a spell level superior to you, which will be A LOT more powerful than a mere +2
    Each four levels, a full magus will have one more attack per round, which is ALSO more powerfulk than a mere +2
    => This means that at levels 1,4,7,8,10,12,13,16,19 and 20 you'll be obviously weaker than a full magus... that's 10 levels out of 20, half of the time

    Then, second, even on the remaining levels, you're going to have less spell slots than a full magus, on a class that tends to be spell slot starved due to trying to cast a spell each round without having a full spellcaster pool... which is an advantage that is going to grow at each level, in exchange of a -static- +2 bonus... well +1 to hit/+2 to damage in fact, because of your -1 BAB

    And, finaly, the worst of worst: if -ANY- of your teamate starts to provide morale bonuses, your +2 is going to be overwriten by it, and all those losses would have been just for... nothing.

    Probably nobody ever tried it, for those same reasons.

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    I'm seeking some efficient build ideas for a melee character relying entierly on dexterity for the next campaign I'm going to play in.

    I have a few limitations coming from my DM and from my own tastes which are:
    - must start at 20 dexterity and only pick dexterity increases at level 4,8,12 and 16
    - must not use prepared spells (spontenous casting is fine)
    - no third-party content
    - no standard multiclassing (but VMC is allowed)
    - basic medium-sized races only

    Is there some interesting things that match those criteria?

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    ID-TheDemonOfElru wrote:

    In Sigil as others have pointed out, this player specifically chose Sigil because Orcus couldn’t react directly to what he did. He planned the desecration at the Temple there where ALL the evil deities are enshrined in the Temple District (which is coincidentally across the plaza from a similar temple dedicated to Good dieties, both are kept in check by the diety like Lady of Pain).

    The reason for his choice was that he felt Orcus couldn’t act directly and that he knew he would be cut off for it, but he wanted all the other Evil dieties enshrined there to witness what he did, especially those who are enemies to Orcus (such as Demogorgon whose long standing feud with Orcus over the title “Prince Of Demons” is legendary) who he had already made inroads to petition to be taken onboard.

    The way the Temple is designed there are shrines to every evil god almost imaginable there, and an act such as this was done to make it public due to the unique opportunity to have Orcus’ enemies witness the event.

    He knew he was going to be chased by the...

    There is something important that some players forget once they have read too much rulebooks: This is the very first rule of all roleplaying games, aka "The DM's autority is above any other rule of the game at his table"

    So, if YOU decide that Orcus is a CR 200 with a +50 mace, then he is. PERIOD.

    A player that doesn't respect the autority of his DM on the rules is the worst kind of player you can have at your table.
    Rules of roleplaying games are all but perfect, and the DM is the guy in charge to adjust them on the flow to keep the game on the rails... so if a player starts to refuse the DM's decisions, he's simply preventing the game to runs right.

    In your case, if you felt the player had to be stopped before he brings the game into unknown and unmanageable fields like "I'll enter in a contest for deity and ignore the scenario", you have all rights and power to make any god a totaly invicible entity.

    Hell, if you think it's the best for your table, you can even homerule at anytime the when a mortal fights a god, he only throws critical failures on the dices. You're the DM.

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    That's perhaps a biais from my part, but I don't see many exemples given here as being "acceptable frontliners".

    For me, the main point of frontliners is not just to DPR at close range. Doing DPR at close range just make you a melee character, nothing more.

    A frontliner is much more than a melee character: he also serve as a cleaner and meatshield for the party:
    - as a cleaner, he kills the weakest monsters or last members of an encounter without needing to spend any of the "time per day" resources of the party, which allows it to be more endurant on the long term
    - as a meatshield, he can run to close range from the very round 1, and block the enemy path without taking a lot of damage, which brings security to the casters

    Thus, if you need to buff yourself to do reach the same amount of damage/defense than an unbuffed fighter or barbarian has, then you are going to be a poor cleaner, and lose a lot of value as a meatshield during ambushes (where you're caught without your buffs on you)... and thus, for me, a poor frontliner (but perhaps a good melee character)

    The good thing with the Battle Host, suggested by Lausth, is than even before he cast his buffs, he already has a decent offense (masterwork plate) and offense (medium BAB, yes, but with a permanently enhanced strength score)
    So it looks like he can be a good frontliner... on the paper.

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    Dasrak wrote:
    The Psychic is one of those classes that just gets lost in the crowd

    Sorry, but for me, the Psychic is the most different of all the full arcane spellcasters.

    Wizard, sorcerer and arcanist have the same spell list, while the psychic has its own.
    Wizard, sorcerer and arcanist share the same set of spell components and casting limitations, while the psychic has his own set of components and casting limitations.
    Wizard, sorcerer and arcanist share the same battle strategies, while the psychic possess battle strategies that are his own.
    Wizard, sorcerer and arcanist use the skills the same way, while the psychic possess special skill usage that are is own.

    But more importantly: 95% of the arcanists, sorcerers and wizards gives look the same feeling on the role playing side, while the psychic is a completly different animal roleplay-wise: He's the guy-who-look-into-your-head, the guy-who-serve-himself-a-pint-of-ale-without-moving-his-hands, the guy-who-kills-people-just-thinking-about-it, and much more.
    Not everything in Pathfinder is related to power. Roleplay is important too.

    The only thing the psychic is identical to the older spellcasting class is the spell slot management method: it uses the one of the sorcerer.
    I actualy wish that the sorcerer, wizard and arcanist were -that- different between them.

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    My god, I just readed what was writen when I was bed-ridden, and I can't believe Baval actually again claim I did not explain things to him, when it's about ten times I explained those point I that thread...

    Ok, let me try again, step by step:
    - RAW says that animal companions falls into the non-Sentient companion category
    - RAW says that creatures with 3 intelligence and understanding a langage are sentient companions

    Thus, by RAW, an animal companion with 3 or more intelligence and able to understand a langage (like an improved parrot with 6 intelligence and linguistics and a Master who spent 6 years making it learn the common) would be both sentient and non-sentient, which is illogical.

    To solve this inconsistancy, it need to be decided what takes priority: the intelligence/laguage criteria, or the species criteria.
    Alas RAW does not give the answer on this, that's why it's confusing. The guy who wrote that part of the rules probably accidentaly overlooked the fact an animal can gain intelligence if it's an animal companion.
    Baval claims the intelligence criteria takes precedence... with no proof at all.

    Paizo officials answered to the players about this and told that it falls in a grey area which is called "intelligent animals": those animals would be able to speak a language given a set of additional conditions (training, able to formulate the words with the anatomy they have) but will still not be will to obey to their best of their capacity to any demand of their owner neverless, as they will still requires Handle Animal checks.

    Baval claims it is a "damage control" faq, again without proof at all: that faq was never labeled as such by its author.
    Anyway, this claim is irrelevant as a damage control rules would be still a valid rules neverless, and also be a valid answer to the problem at hand.

    Lady-J claims on her side that FAQ does not make sense since the animal is now intelligent enough to perfectly understand it's master, and I explained in return to her that it does make sense because to understand an order and to be willing to obey it are completly separate matters.
    I gave several exemples showing why, even if your animal companion understand what you wish, it would not give a damn about it unless you show him who's the master.

    The offical explanation, who became later part of RAW, is very clear on the topic, and the only thing left is a few people that don't want to accept the rules as they have been now clarified and give headache to other people instead of asking their DM a homerule for it.

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    I feel it could be helpful to remember you all something about the initial question... see the bolded part:

    Atalius wrote:
    What is the best control spell in the game to magical lineage, not restricted to any class.

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    Now some people mention it, a Psychic with Rebirth Discipline could perhaps do the trick even better than a sorcerer:

    - Carry a fake spellbook
    - Take Eldritch Heritage [Arcana] to earn a familiar (until then just buy a trained small animal to carry into your handbag from an animal retailer)
    - Fake you need to gesture to actualy cast a spell
    - Use the discipline's Mnemonic Esoterica to actually prepare ONE spell from the wizard spell list each day, so people really think you are preparing it from your fake spellbook
    - Use the discipline's knowledge bonus to actualy make your all-knowing wizard RP

    I also can see why a psychic would try to behave like a simple wizard: people are uneasy to stay near someone that could actualy mess with their mind, steal their memories, and such... so as long the psychic hide his nature, everyone else just don't get on their guard.

    Plus, its kind of a nasty trick when someone try to slash or silence a seems-to-be-wizard just to suddently realize the "wizard" wears a mithral breastplate under his robe or never needed somatics components in the very first place!

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    Reduxist wrote:
    Ultimate Wilderness released the Exotic Heritage feat, which allows you to take the wildblooded versions of bloodlines through Eldritch Heritage. This means you can now take the sylvan version of the fey bloodline, which grants you an animal companion

    I have re-checked the rules: you probably cannot use Exotic Bloodline to have an animal companion.

    Exotic Bloodline extend Eldritch Heritage to the wild bloodlines, including Sylvan. BUT Eldritch Heritage doesn't give access to the Bloodline Arcanas.

    Now, let's read the Sylvan Bloodline on the SRD site:
    "Animal Companion (Ex): At 1st level, you gain an animal companion. Your effective druid level for this ability is equal to your sorcerer level – 3 (minimum 1st).

    This bloodline power [counts as your bloodline arcana] and also replaces laughing touch."

    As the companion animal counts as a bloodline arcana which is an exclusivity of the sorcerer class normaly unreachable by Eldritch Heritage, you probably won't find a DM agreeing that you gain an animal companion by using Exotic Bloodline on the Sylvan bloodline.

    That would be like obtaining a feature by paying only half (or less, since arcanas are often much more powerful than level 1 bloodline powers) of its cost.

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    Evilserran wrote:
    is there a known item that creates an orb of darknes around something to prevent the effects of like sunlight powerlessness? I have been unable to find one so far but there are soooo many magic items.

    There is the Darklight Lantern, but it cost a bit of alchemical component to keep it running.

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    SmiloDan wrote:
    I'm sorry, but I agree with your players. They should be the stars of the game they are playing. The NPCs aren't playing the game, your players are. If you want a complex world with many levels of movers and shakers, write a novel. The role of the GM is to present a game that is fun for the players. The GM should also have fun, obviously, so hopefully you and your players can come to a happy medium.

    I agree with this... with some reserve: The problem of this DM is that people complain they have encounter that are too strong for them, and take for granted that the game should be designed for each encounter match their current level (like a video game)

    While the sentence "The role of the GM is to present a game that is fun for the players" is the true key of the heart of table-top RPGs, I'll point out that sometimes the funniest way for a story to build is not to restrict every encounter to the CR matching the PC party: Having a grand goal, i.e. a nemesis far too strong for them to handle at start, but that they will struggle during many sessions to close gap with, is a valid way of doing things.

    My feeling here is the problem is more a problem of narration: When you put the "heroes" in front of someone far too strong for them, you have to make sure they grasp the fact quickly and have a way to exit.

    ... like a video game, in fact.
    Video games are not something that we should always look down: certainly, they are poor exemple for true RP, but they are not always poor exemples for narrative.
    Some professional people spend a lot of time to find a way to introduce overpowered super-vilains (OSV, for short) that would normaly utterly destroy the PC without screwing the fun of the player handling the character.

    When, in a video game, you land against an OSV, the situation have several well-known tricks to make the situation clear for the PC:

    1- The OSV aspect is revealed by either:
    - Not even allowing the PC to fight at all. It's a cutscene. The narrative goes on in one straight and direct go, where the OSV deadly ubberness is displayed as a show, and ending when the OSV is gone.
    - Being totaly indifferent to agression: all attack fails against him or barely scratch it, and he barely make an effort to retaliate, as the PCs are nothing but ants for him. You don't enter frenzy because some ants nibble your leg, you just brush them off.
    - Toying with the PC: the OSV just start as a normal encounter, then when it reach some point, goes "ok, fun is over, let me show you how pathetic you are in front of me" and blow the PC in one, spectacular, counter-attack revealing his true power

    2- the PC are given a way to survive the OSV by either:
    - the OSV leaving due to his own circumstances, or sheer disinterest for their fate, before he completly achieve the players
    - kill or almost kill the players, that will be saved by some third party which will bring them from back the (verge of) death
    - completly shift the paradigm: the OSV spare them because, in fact, he's on the good side, and tell them they have been tricked by their former "allies"... or some unknown force resurect them as undead/vampire/spirits/cyborgs/whatever is a state of after-life doom ans grief, triggering a sentiment of ultimate hatred over that OSV... or the OSV just kill the most lovable NPC around in front of their eyes, then let all the PC live to grieve on the fact ("Aeris!!! Noooooo!!!" or "OMG Dark Vador killed Obi Wan!")... or <insert your favorite plot twist here>

    3- the story will after that come to a point where it hints by itself for the next step to take to come with a plan that will allow to overcome that OSV someday

    What you shouldn't do as a DM is to let players enter an encounter they cannot win just handling it with the D20 system, then telling them they should have realized by themselves it was too strong, and run.

    PC are heroes. If they run, it's because it's planned by the scenario for them to run.
    Because, you know, if the players see clearly that it's planned for them to lose here, they feels reassured that the scenario also plan for some payback time later... so they will, at the very end, still be the main characters/heroes/saviors of the story, even if they started small and weak.

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    I've spend a lot of time studying grappling, and to my opinion, even if there is lots of fun options with other classes, nothing beats Master of Many Styles/Wildcat Monk at grappling except a Tetori.

    At level 20, the MoMS Wilcat nets a full BAB +8 on any CMB throw, prior to all forms of other enhancement, and have an easy access at all the best feats for grappling.
    It can cumulate together the kraken, grabbing and snapping turtle style, turning him into a machine throwing grapple checks as counter-attacks, able to grapple two people at a same time with no penality, and adding his wisdom to damage on every successful grapple check.

    Finally, with some additional feats, you can also do such as damaging someone with your fists trigger an additional grapple check, and that pinning someone down trigger an additional stunning fist.

    => Use a standard action to trip someone, which trigger your unarmed damage, which trigger a grapple check, which trigger your wisdom damage, then use a move action to pin him, which trigger your wisdom damage and an automated stunning fist attempt, which trigger a third grapple check, which trigger your wisdom to damage again, then use a swift action to damage it, adding your wisdom damage again... while your retain your dex bonus to AC and counter anyone wanting to attack you by grappling him with your other hand...

    Who need flurry?

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    The MJ : "Now, it seems obvious to you that you need to find the child who disappeared to know where the Artefact of Doom is hidden. What do you do?"
    The bard : "I'm going to talk to the other children using my wonderful social skills to convinced them to tell me what they know about where the disapeared one usualy go to play"
    The druid : "I'm going to use my track abikity to check the surroundings of the town see if I can find some tracks of children near the woods"
    The sorcerer : "I'm going to cast a divination spell to see if I can see what happened to him"

    And then, the fighter : "Err... can I sit in the tavern and drink until we need to travel in a dangerous place?"

    I have some difficulties since ages to convince myself to play martial characters because I always thought that they are martial classes are one-sided and only truly relevant to the adventure when you need to bash at things.
    While you can role play about actions outside combat, for me those classes lacks things they are good at except fighting...

    That's a little sad because I have tons of roleplay ideas for fighters, barbarians and monks, but never get myself to start to play them for real, because I'm afraid to get bored during non-combat situations.

    My question to the experts is this one: for each of the three classes aforementioned, what kind of build would you try to do make a non-multiclassing character of this class useful outside of combat situations?

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    I've been reading many things about Monk's builds, and especially how the Master of Many Style was changed at some point to prevent people to abuse it by only taking it as a level 1 dip.

    However, no matter how much I read about this new version of he archetype, there is something I never saw spoken about: The fact the it relies on the Wilcard Feats, that can be changed as a swift action every round (even twice in the round with the right feats), allowing this new MoMS to switch styles on the flow, according to the battle stituation.

    I can understand that building a single combo of styles and optimizing it probably gives great results if used right, but it makes the MoMS a one trick pony when it seems it can be now much more.

    So... let's discuss it.


    Assuming a non-multiclassed Master of Many Styles monk, that we would build with the goal to be able to switch styles to match his current immediate need every round (ranged DPS, close quarter DPs, off-tanking, ally assist...), what styles would you pick?

    Personnaly, I'm thinking about letting Snake Style always on (AC scaling with level is just so neat), and probably Ascetic Style on the majority of situations (this add another layer of flexibility by being able to switch qualities of the monk's attacks, like suddenly grabbing a Kyoketsu Shoge to gain a 20ft reach while keeping unarmed benefits)

    Then, starting at level 8, switching the last or two last styles according to the situation, wildcarding them to gain the syles chain benefits.

    I'd pick probably Crane style for tanking, Dragon/Marid for melee DPS, Ascetic/Dragon for ranged DPS, Archon for assiting allies... those are starting ideas.

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    What happen if you build a Master of Many Styles using Ascetic, Dragon and Marid Style fused together, and happen to throw one shuriken while activating Elemental fist?

    Is it truly doing (at level 20):
    2D8 base damage (Ascetic Strike)
    + double strength modifier (Dragon Ferocity)
    + 5d6 elemental damage (Elemental Fist + Dragon Ferocity)
    + wisdom modifier (Marid Style)

    At +5ft of range (Marid Style) and while entangling the target (Marid Spirit)?

    Sound so nice on paper that I feel I could have missed something...

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    I'm seeking an interesting way to use the Insightful Strike ability of my monk's sensei archetype, and can't find actually any.

    I would truly love to use it for RP reasons, but it seems to severely impair my usefulness in combat compared to using strength, especialy since the campaigns I'm playing do not give access tothe full catalog of magical items (so no item adding WIS to damage)

    Is there a way to actually make an efficient Sensei using Advice, Lingering performance and Insightful Strike?

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    I'm trying to pull together "sleep/dream" character for a mini campaign I'm currentl'y playing, and seek ideas for traits/feats I could add to the mix.

    I selected the Dusk Elf race for the Dreamspeaker alternate racial trait, and the bard class for the Sandman archetype.
    The character will probably never get above level 10 due to the campaign being rather short, so I'd prefer to limitate the use of multiclassing

    Anything is fine for me as long it make the character more useful to the party, and fits with the main theme

    Is there anyone who could throw some good ideas about this?