I don't remember if I or anyone else mentioned this earlier but you should DM. Sometimes people just need to be shown the way. Run a campaign, and explain how things happen the way they do so players, and especially the GM get a "behind the screen" look. When you campaign is up he should be better for it.
I've run plenty in the past for this group. I've offered to run one now. But I've made it clear I'm not running Pathfinder and they players have determined my favored system (Savage Worlds) is "crap" and they make all sorts of excuses. From it being too "complicated" (despite playing Battletech RPG on the side), to outright sabotaging the game like a child throwing a temper tantrum "I want to play a bear." (Meaning, if we play, I won't even try.)
10+ years of friendship is a lot of inertia to overcome and I'm short on socialization venues at it is, but these guys are just... Ug.
This is really nothing to do with "how to survive the encounters and have an effective group." Not at all. I've made it clear that I will have 1,000 reincarnations of the same useless bard (not that bards have to be useless, but playing a sub-optimal character on purpose) because I don't CARE.
I'll try this skeleton champion undead lord anti-paladin. (Which I'll have to discuss some kind of limits on summon undead, as it has no duration and could lead to an infinite sized army, I may be aiming to twink but I'd rather have the limit set ahead of time instead of getting slapped mid-game for abusing it.) The goal here is with +7 to all saves, 114 HP (partly due to the extra HP rule, but also due to cha replacing con as undead), DR5/magic DR5/bludgeoning, a 2d6 self heal every round and 2d6 bonus damage with channel smite, free undead minions from killing and summoning, fear once per day (at -4 to save against thanks to the antipaladin aura), +6 natural armor, and decent strength. With this character I intend to speed combats up so we can get to the non-combat portions of the adventure path. And specifically continue to not care about combat by being so twinked I can play poorly and still stomp it. The GM is running the encounters by the book (more or less), so I doubt he's going to scale the encounters up just to make up for my character. He obviously hasn't scaled anything back to make up for our party's lack of ability.
As I've said before, the ranger dumped all of his cash into a +2 melee weapon and didn't go TWF and he has no strength or stat items at level 6. He went for the bow focus, but never uses the thing. My antipaladin took a masterwork composite longbow (+6 damage), and I may spend a combat plinking things from afar and doing more damage just to piss the ranger off. The sorcerer thinks he's the best thing since Elminster or some such. The other player in our group enjoys making characters more than playing them and regularly acts suicidal. Though to be fair some of the beatsticks have bursted his characters down in two rounds because he was not thoroughly optimized (I stress the thoroughly part, the characters seem decent). I stopped playing my original Rogue character because TWF + Sneak Attack does not work when the person to flank with is unconscious or dead all of the time. And my group is still telling me, "You should've had some strength on your rogue." Yeah, because they totally understand how gimping my to-hit for an extra +3 damage totally eclipses that 4d6 weapon + sneak attack.
I'm tired of combat-focused gaming and I'm close to telling my friends of 10+ years that I'm not gonna show up again. I made it clear I'm not enjoying it, but they're even more poorly socialized than I am and are thus rather indifferent to my plight, so I'll try a super-twink build as a last resort. The person GMing this is still inexperienced and has very little understanding of a balanced encounter (he's of the impression that if the numbers line up, it must be okay to run an encounter, but he'll often not account for terrain or other modifiers, or in our case suboptimal characters). I've explained this, but he doesn't quite understand it. In the case of my twink, it's a CR 3 with 4 class levels using the Monsters As PCs rules which means the CR is bumped down to 2 for a level 6 character. So the numbers "add up" and that's why he's allowing it.
The sorcerer wants to go route of lichdom. Since the process of this requires unspeakable acts of evil, he went ahead and went for the evil alignment, though chaotic neutral describes the character best.
The DM is on board with the combat-heavy style as well. He'll do some things like, say, allow a animal handling roll to avoid a random encounter of a small herd of elks (particularly because the ranger had an elk animal companion), but when conversing with the lizard folk the lizard king states, "No trade, we want war." Yet they didn't attack on sight. A bit of conversation later and we're now fighting all of them at once for an absurdly high EL.
Had another session yesterday. I went with plan bard. We ran into the lizard folk and our sorcerer, being the cocky king was like, "Hey, how's it going? We're looking to see if you're interested in trade." So EVERYONE came to the front gates. Then they found some excuse or another to attack (which was a surprise round despite the fact that no one was stealthed). On the plus side, it was just a bunch of javelins at my bard for all of 4 damage. We didn't break out a map immediately, so by the time the map was down, I already had a crocodile that would bite + grapple + deathroll (knock prone) over and over and over on top of my character. The damage wasn't a particular bother, just the fact that I could never cast spells like, oh, hypnotic pattern or grease on the big guy's weapon. After some time the sorcerer finally was able to kill the croc on top of me, only for Mr. Big Guy to make his reflex saving through on grease twice (despite being exhausted by the sorcerer on the second try). I would've had more chanced early on, but whatever.
3 people died in that game because fighting everyone at once instead of staggered as the book recommended made the EL much higher. That and our party was busy fighting the small fries which, aside from the grappling crocs, were really no threat so Mr. Big Guy had free reign to mow through us. Then the god spirit showed up and finished off the Cleric while the sorcerer fled.
Yes, the module is about the kingdom building, but the GM is uncreative and is like, "But you gotta clear these lands for settlement and there's these events which I can't run because you keep coming back to town half dead within a day, you're never gone for a week at a time." He takes special joy in running the module as is, and not changing it up or down like a good GM. Regardless of that, I've gotten tired of D&D combat for a couple of years now and it's the reason I stopped being a GM myself. I would try and introduce some story but all it boiled down to was a bunch of combat-oriented characters looking for an excuse to fight. Not necessarily the most effective combat mongers, but still. I'm also doing a game with a more story oriented group and I'm having much more fun with that group, but they only meet half as often and attendance is a big issue still as it's a new group.
Just to give an idea of how this group handles problems... We have a public dissenter. Mr. Sorcerer King just gives him a good old public execution via shocking grasp. Despite this being a lawful kingdom. So immediately any concept of intrigue and depth died with the plot point. Oh, and unrest jumped up. This happened while I wasn't there, because I was having so much fun I showed up hours late on purpose. I made it clear I wasn't having fun to the group and they're all like, "But we are."
Anyhow, I might've gotten my "trivializes encounters" character I wanted. The GM vetted an undead lord skeleton champion. Level adjustment of +3, except using the monsters as PCs rules from the SRD it's been bumped down to +2 so 4 levels of anti-paladin. It grants stupid amounts of stats and anything the character kills becomes a skeleton minion within 1d4 minutes. So my character will take over (lawful) executions for a time to get a few minions, and they should easily refresh themselves through combat. The smite will probably be wasted, but +7 to reflex and will saves (and +infinity to con) ought to make up for it. Plus DR5/bludgeoning and DR5/magic and soon DR/10 magic. 19 AC before armor, 27 with +1 full plate (dex limted), 32 with a +1 shield. Character only has +5 base attack, so no second attack unfortunately (if I dropped undead lord _or_ skeletal champion I could have it immediately, or there's creative accounting in being an undead lord with 5 racial HD for level adjustment of +4, but only when we hit the half-way mark to 7). The GM is being lenient with respecing, so if this concept does survive I can probably get +3 free racial HD at party level 10 by using the undead lord for 5 total racial HD. Really high AC, really high saves, lots of HP, free minions, including an aura to buff them, decent damage output. And CE as an excuse to be a jerk for some admittedly childish payback. A useless smite good, but I think the rest of the kit makes up for it.
The cleric formerly played several copies of the same fighter and the same barbarian, and they all got eaten. I was a bit surprised to find out my rogue had more hitpoints than some of the cleric's former characters. The DM is running the encounters by the book, which means if we brought our tactics up to par it would be a bit more manageable. It's not so much an arms race as a bar that's set that we don't quite meet. To be honest I really don't care. I'm tired of playing combat heavy games and I mostly just stick with this group because I don't get out too much as it is and I've known them forever.
I tried the wizard route, but web is conditional. It requires anchor points for the web, which means it works great in a dungeon and in woods, but on open plains it's worthless. Combine that with being super squishy and being attacked from above so there is no interposing to having someone guard me is rough. We just reached level 6, so only now can the sorcerer start using his necromancy to accumulate a small army of his own. I've suggested hiring some hands, but the GM made it pretty clear he doesn't want us going down that road (They'll want a share of the loot, we'll get a bad reputation for losing men, yadda yadda. I should just charm random drunks at the bar and skip having to pay them because they won't make it back into town alive.)
The skeleton anti-paladin won't come with a level adjustment, 'cause skeletons are pretty basic as far as undead goes. There's no life (or unlife) at 0 or negative hp, it's instant death. The GM might try and say I get less build points for stats, but I'll argue that it should be like taking a "10" in con, it's not like I could get more points by taking a very low con and then ignoring it. Wizards get MORE build points because they can ignore strength. I mostly wanted to do it for the 3d6 self-heal every round, combined with having stupid-high saves and tons of HP. I didn't count on not being able to smite my foes, but I figure it could come in handy if the GM ever decides to throw in a dash of spice of his own and try and have some good people come along to stop our shenanigans, but at this point I doubt I'll see any creativity on his part.
The main issue is that I'm not enjoying combat. Win or lose, I just don't care anymore. I wouldn't mind doing some of the other parts of the module, but roaming the countryside slaying monsters to make the lands safe for settlement is just another excuse for combat after combat after combat, which hasn't interested me for a long while.
I would like to see your barbarian build, Demoyn. I could hand it off to our current cleric and show him how a proper Barbarian is done. We're doing 25 point buy. Only books allowed is the core book plus Advanced Player's Guide. Oh, and a +2 weapon is right out because of the level 5 wealth limit and the GM is using the "no more than 50% on one item" rule.
The GM is being a stickler. Withdrawing money has earned the name "embezzling" and it seems to leave a sour taste in his mouth. Even though our kingdom is evil and the rules for doing it (in measured amounts) aren't too bad at all. Therefore, kingdom building isn't very much a profitable venture at the moment.
As for specific monsters, like here's the one that killed my Rogue. Spoilers follow.
So we were fighting the evil tree. It gets some super-high stealth roll and proceeds to ambush our party, doing half of the fighter's health with his 3 attacks on the surprise round. I think I ate it's attacks for one round, then the third round it downed the fighter. At that point I was a TWF rogue with no one to flank with. The sorcerer tried a few spells but the tree made every save. We ran away. We came back again and this time it outright ate my character in two rounds, again one of which was a surprise round, even with 14 con and +1 hp / level from favored class bonus _and_ a house rule where con is added to HP for free (does not apply to the monsters). These beatsticks just hit stupidly hard. This was also at level 5, so beatsticks with 3 attacks while the fighter only had 1 isn't quite fair.
Shambling mound random encounter also killed our barbarian in two rounds.
In the most recent encounter, I tried playing an elf wizard, figuring I could try and CC all of the giant beatsticks. I tried to cast invisibility sphere, lost concentration due to casting on horseback. Did what wizards typically do and that's run. The Wyrm used draconic heritage to keep pace with a running horse and breathe acid to down my horse. I took generalist and didn't have too many valid options at this point. I already had an obscuring mist on top of me for obscurity, but if I stayed still the acid would eat me. So I cast spiked pit on myself, combined with feather fall (since it's a swift action). Unfortunately GM ruled I still take spike damage and I rolled too high, which knocked me unconscious. Wyrm went to land on ground that wasn't there, and fell on top of me and killed me. Probably the best moment I've had this whole module, even though my character died in the process. Still, the wyrm was flying and decided to single me out (module specifically states it prefers elves). GM also wouldn't let me pre-emptively use false-life and mage armor, even though it lasts for half the day.
As for tactics, we have one player who isn't terribly strong at tactics and he's known for having his characters die regularly. His current character is a cleric, and his idea of starting a battle is casting spiritual weapon and then charging in to whack on it. We have a necromancy focused sorcerer that mostly relies on blindness/deafness, which rarely works. There's the ranger that currently has no animal companion (it died to a wolf), he took the ranged path but he spends most of his time in melee. Then there's me, with nothing at the moment as my wizard died in a rather hilarious fashion while trying to run away.
The GM may allow me to play a skeleton anti-palidan (one of the most vocal members of the party is evil and made it clear he wants to be a lich, so a regular paladin is out of the question, and an anti-palidan that can't heal himself is worthless). It would be fun, but not necessarily effective. Though there is something to be said about running around in +2 full plate with a +1 shield fighting defensively and healing myself every round. And certainly acquiring some natural armor and deflection soon after to counter all of the beatsticks. And being undead being able to stack charisma for hitpoints and paladin abilities.
If I can't just out-twink the encounters, I'll just play a bard with an "eat me" sign and browse the internet on my laptop while my friends get their war gaming kicks. Remember, I'm looking for something that TRIVIALIZES these encounters. If it still gives the monsters a fighting chance, I don't care, as I'll just go with plan Bard.
So my group is doing the Kingmaker module. We're currently on the second book. The GM is fairly new to things and he's running things very much by-the-book. He's also pretty smart and he could be using the monsters in much nastier ways.
Unfortunately the encounters are slaughtering us. We've got a group of 4 non-twinked characters and each encounter typically results in a character death. Monsters that hit on a 3, do half a character's health on a full round attack (before crits), and have perception checks in the DC 35 range to spot before they ambush, the works. I've noticed many of the counters revolve around the giant beatstick style (something I've done myself when being lazy as a GM), but more importantly they're effective beatsticks.
Most importantly is that I've gotten tired of the combat heavy games for a while now. I've made this clear with the GM and the kingmaker module seems like it might be interesting, but at the moment is still more combat than anything and I doubt this will change much.
So here's what I'm asking for. I'm looking for some kind of super-twink that can trivialize these encounters so I can cut through the crap. I tried playing a wizard but the only decent crowd control spell I could find was the create pit one. Web has conditions, doesn't work outdoors except in forests, anything with a fortitude save is out the window by default given the beat-stick style opponents. I'm thinking Druid might be better and relying on animal and plant spells. New character is starting at level 6, but with only gear for a level 5, because apparently the party didn't get any loot for most of the time at level 5. Other characters in the party include a battle cleric, a necromancy focused Sorcerer, and a ranger that hasn't a clue (took the ranged path, spends most of his time in melee).
Fighter's iterative attacks certainly are relevant. With a +5 weapon, greater weapon focus for +2, +4 from weapon training, plus a host of other benefits I'm probably forgetting (bard songs, a quickened prayer, etc) a fighter can easily make those lower attack bonuses matter. Even moreso if minions are involved.
I think this is part of the brokenness of monsters.
Monsters really ought to follow the BAB + BAB-5 + BAB-10 etc rules that players do for attacks. The basic idea is the first attack is supposed to hit. Subsequent attacks are less likely, and this is why you boost your AC. Not to stop that first attack from landing, but to stop the other ones from being guarantees as well. Plus, this keeps monsters on a more even footing with players.
A bit of a shameless plug, but I thought of an idea to combat the exclusiveness of the Wizard. In the homebrews forum I have started a thread which was inspired by this one, a high magic campaign setting in which the sorcerer class does not exist but each Pc and NPC cast spells like a sorcerer of their level, or Challenge rating, would.
I don't know about everyone, but at least PCs being able to do so. This already exists in a form, and it's called gestalt multiclassing.
Viletta Vadim wrote:
Cloud of Knives sounds pretty pitiful, yes, but it's very anti-clerical in theme. And at low levels where an orc or hobgoblin might be running around in 14 AC, I could see it as a domain spell, perhaps... If I recall, I compared it to spiritual weapon and it did better than spiritual weapon did in many cases. It's been a long time since I've read the PHB2, but I recall the spells being pretty out there.
Close wounds sounds expensive, but keep in mind, it's a quickened spell that stops bleed effects, cures caltrop damage, and comes with a host of other benefits. It's a way to bypass having to use a 5th level spell slot for the same benefit. Or even a 4th if one applies it to cure minor wounds. As for the other spells, I don't remember which one it was... Certainly not a healing spell (this player was playing as a battle cleric), but the point of the matter is the spell gave a class that already has a lot of versatility even more, a dangerous thing to game balance.
WotC has a habit in their other popular game of releasing other stuff that is better than what has come out before to push sales. And PHB2 seemed to be that sort of material. To be fair, fighters needed the boost because they ran out of feats to take at level 12. Not necessarily number of feats, but anything for high-level fighters or melee specifically. But spellcasters didn't need any kind of boost.
As for blasting spells... Consider that Flamestrike is level 5, has a 10 foot radius, does the same damage as fireball, though with a higher max. A wizard could do better with a level 3 spell. Or at level 5 have even better options. Sure, a cleric can nuke, but it's not very much their niche.
I had a fun character that used a shield and a spiked gauntlet. This was 3.5 rules, so he also had improved grapple. In our group, monks were thought of as the grappler. So I made a fighter-grappler. The idea was to mix up punching with shield bashing and, versus humanoid foes, grappling to negate any non-light weapons. Once in a grapple, he would disarm and then disengage the grapple and then beat the enemy with his own weapon. All this while still having decent AC.
Unlike Hercules, he did not deal only subdual damage.
It never occurred to me to use the shield two-handed, and it certainly seems counter-intuitive. I mean, I could see putting your whole body into a shield bash, but that would be more of a bull rush/overrun attack with the shield. As the other posters have said... Treating it as a light weapon (in other words, could not be wielded two-handed) seems fine.
The alternate way to use a shield is with improved shield bash and two weapon fighting. This way you get all of the attacks of two weapon fighting and retain the AC of a sword and board. Getting the dex to do that (as a fighter) is a bit difficult, however.
I like the 3.5 rules better. The grappling status has less conditions on it, and it's more advantageous for the grappler (except the weird pin scenario where someone gets grappled and then pins the grappler). So many more options, including making a full attack into the grapple (if you have a light weapon available).
Well... The way I resolved it is the squid took an action on it's turn to give the boat a violent lurch, which forced everyone to make a balance check. So rather than keeping the boat rocking back and forth... Now if the squid chose to rock the boat while the wizard was casting, sure I would require a concentration check.
My take on the matter is a ranged touch spell at melee range is, effectively, a touch attack. Does it really matter if the opponent is 30 feet away from your finger with scorching ray or 3 inches?
I've always wondered though... What if the opponent doesn't care about the touch attack? Could they take the AoO anyway and grant an automatic hit to the caster's touch attack? RAW, obviously not, but if their touch AC sucks they don't have much to lose. Or if the caster has been casting suboptimal spells (like slay living versus a beefy monster).
So in my game there was a giant squid rocking the ship the party was on. The wizard failed his balance check against the rocking ship and fell down. So, instead of standing up, he started casting summon monster while prone. I allowed it for the time being, but... Should that be possible without penalty?
My idea would to give casting prone an arcane failure rate of 20%, as the wizard could hit his elbow on the ground or make some other maneuver that would ruin the somatic component of the spell. The idea of a wizard lying down in a trench casting fireball would give the wizard some significant boosts versus ranged fire, but seems decidedly un-D&D-like.
Sorry, it's still not legal. From whirlwind attack:
When you use the Whirlwind Attack feat, you also forfeit any bonus or extra attacks granted by other feats, spells, or abilities.
This means no extra reach from lunge. Could also mean no extra reach from enlarge person depending on interpretation (though that's being silly about enforcing the rules). Likewise, greater trip would not apply.
This was the clause that stopped the bunch of whirlwind attack + Cleave + bag of rats trick. :)
Uh... That would give sorcerers such a huge advantage over wizards. And sorcerers can, if called upon, still use scrolls for utility spells.
I had a friend try and use Wizard's PHB2 spells as a cleric and that threw up some serious red flags. Like there's a spell that surrounds the cleric with daggers and throw one of them every turn. I think it's second level, but it's a nuke spell. For clerics.
Then he started casting a spell. He could cast it as long as he wanted and could stop casting as an immediate action, and then would get a different amount of benefits based on how long he took to cast it. Could be cast as a swift action (a quickened spell that took up a level 2 slot!) as well.
Yeah, I quickly banned PHB2 because that was nuts.
Wizards on the other hand... They generally have one spell per level that "wins" the combat. Sleep at level 1. Totally rocks low level encounters. Web at level 2, throw that down and now you're fighting 2 monsters instead of 4. Monsters have to make 2 CMD checks to get out, possibly more. One to get out of a failed save, one to move, and they only get to move half their movement and may have to make another CMD if they're still in the web. Level 3 they get slow, fly, halt undead (conditional), hold person (conditional), sleet storm.
Viletta Vadim wrote:
Being right is not the purpose of logical discourse. Swaying people is not the purpose of logical discourse. Finding and illuminating the truth is the ultimate goal. That's not about being right or wrong or persuading anyone. It's about the facts as they stand.
This sounds like something I might have said about 5-10 years ago. I've since learned that logic and facts never get anywhere.
Back to the original subject, AD&D relied on the concept of wizards advancing in levels more slowly than everyone else. Perhaps that's not such a bad idea after all? Or perhaps slow down spell progression?
Why do people hate on the rogue so much?
To the rogue's credit, they get UMD as a class skill and plenty of skill points that they never have to go without. The ability to, once in position, dish out sneak attack damage with multiple hits really outshines every class's damage ability except perhaps the paladin when the paladin gets his moment to shine. This requires a bit of party cooperation to get that rogue in place. Their damage dealing certainly doesn't warrant a tier 1 placement, but they're not at the bottom.
"Find Traps" only grants +1/2 to caster level bonus to find traps. It's not a huge boost, so it doesn't allow a caster to replace a rogue.
Allowing the rogue to grant, at most, +3d6 to an ally by spending an entire round (preparing and tossing) a weapon, isn't that big of a deal and it gives the rogue a bit more utility in combat than being bait while it's flanking and sneak attacking.
Though, now that I think about it, how does one flank something with tremorsense like oozes? I guess adding them to the list of crit-ables would be... Weird.
I see the +stat items as a special case though. The other items seem reasonably priced (well, relative to one another, this is to say nothing of their prices relative to normal goods). The player in question has a strong aversion to consumables and the party is slightly over-geared due to their lack of use of consumables. As for other items, aside from the cloak of resistance, no other item seems like a better deal than the +2 stat items, one for the fighter and one for the wizard.
+1 to DC is a lot when ultimately the wizard tosses out web and half of the enemies are pinned and unable to help the other half of the enemies. +2 to str isn't nearly as useful, but still beats the heck out of comparable boosts (like going from +1 to +2 weapon), despite being much more applicable.
Pricing it higher wouldn't be so much gimping the enchanter as making other items more appealing. For the time being, I'll stick with the incentive approach rather than the economic approach. But I'll have to spend more time planning out encounters than usual to make this work.
IMO the easiest way to restrict access to such items is to remember this simple mantra: "You can't find a buyer right now."
This is a pretty good suggestion. Giving the players the gold from selling gear after an adventure (if we can remember the bookkeeping on this) might be enough.
Now keep in mind, a level 4 player should only have 6000 gold, but that's at the start of the level. Into the level, they can still earn gold (and in some cases may take a loan from other players).
In previous games, I had the habit of not doling out enough treasure to match the very rapid pace of leveling I was putting the characters on. My sessions only last about 4 hours and keeping focused on a campaign can be difficult ( mostly due to frustration over power-hungry and combat-hungry players while I want something more RP-oriented yet lack the drive to develop a good story ), so I handed out lots of XP and, in this game, lots of loot to match (and at 6k gold per, I'm about on track, maybe slightly over).
While the +4 item may not seem overpowering... I want to encourage more diversification in actual loot. I've decided I'm going to throw out a lot more spell effects and do everything I can to make the wizard wish he made a cloak of resistance instead. So if the +stat items really are balanced, rather than approaching this problem from a financial perspective I might do it from an incentive perspective.
The Grandfather wrote:
One of the players is going the enchanter route and already at level 4 considering getting a +4 int item. I don't have a whole lot to go on to restrict the availability of these items short of changing the price or stepping in and flat out telling the wizard, "No, you cannot craft your headband +2." Changing the price would be the easiest method to balance these items.
Without the XP cost, crafting magic items is much more lucrative in Pathfinder and this player is making every bit of use out of his feats. That's why he's already looking at a +4 stat item, since it'll only cost 8000 gold. Sure, that's a lot, but it's about his only magic item, it is possbile for him to afford it.
James Jacobs wrote:
Because that would look the same from the outside if we contacted someone secretly and said, "Here's our version of the mind flayer we build in house for use in our home games, go ahead and post this on our boards for everyone else to use but don't reveal we did it."
Is what I don't understand, and this was hinted at in the post you replied to, is many players consider Pathfinder to be the "Real D&D", and I'm sure that's stomping on trademarks a heck of a lot more than mindflayers and beholders.
So I've been thinking... When it really boils down to it, the magic items that are the flat out no-duh choice (in other words, potentially unbalanced) are +stat items. For 4000 gold, a character can get a +1 to all rolls relevant to their character. +1 to attack and +1 to damage, +1 to save DCs and 1 (or more) extra spells, and/or +1 to a group of skills. Or +1 hp/level and +1 to fort saves. It's hard to beat that kind of power. A +1 sword only gives +1 to damage (compared to masterwork) for half the price, but doesn't get the 1.5x benefit when two-handing and may be rendered irrelevant if a different weapon is required (such as versus a skeleton). For + to spell DCs, there is no comparison.
So, should these items be more expensive? I'm thinking 50% more might be a good number that doesn't put it overboard. Or am I merely over-estimating their usefulness?
Why are you guys so up in arms over skill points? I don't get it.
A skill point in Pathfinder is worth like 1.5 to 2 skill points in 3.5. With the exception of Wizards and their knowledge skills, everyone got a boost to skill points!
Fighters got a pretty big boost to fighting. If you want to play a multi-talented fighter, then don't be afraid to splash a little into intelligence, or go ahead and take a level of something with more skill points. Ranger if you want sheer mass without compromising base attack, rogue if you want all of the neat skills and even more. A level 3 fighter level 1 rogue should have plenty of skill points for anything. Remember, rogue is NOT a thief, it could also just be an expert. Or still, fighters get plenty of feats, so taking a +2/+2 feat isn't a huge drain for a fighter. For many skills, including "hobbies" or pre-adventuring, +1 is plenty enough to represent that knowledge and should and it's all many NPCs get to work with. Anything more and you're bordering more on the realm of a skilled tradesman rather than an adventurer with a passing interest.
The ability for rogues to sneak attack undead, constructs, and other formerly sneak-attack immune critters bugs me on some level. And their inability to sneak attack elementals, oozes, etc confounds me.
So I thought of this modification:
Starting at level 3, and every 4 levels after (7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th) rogues train in how to apply their destructive attacks to creatures that cannot normally be sneak attacked. The rogue chooses one creature type (undead, plant, construct, ooze, elemental, incorporeal, etc) and the rogue now knows how to strike those foes to devastating effect. The rogue must prepare her weapon as a move action with a special kit (minor cost, like 50 gold) to sneak attack a creature type.
As an added benefit, the rogue may pass such a prepared weapon to an ally and that ally gains one third of the rogue's sneak attack dice as a bonus to their damage (minimum +1d6). This bonus does not stack with existing precision damage from class abilities such as Cavalier's challenge or another rogue's sneak attack.
This preparation lasts for 1min/level.
So what do you guys think? It gives them the versatility of being able to sneak attack 3.5 crit-immune monsters without totally stealing the flavor of those monsters (and let's be honest, undead don't have a lot going for them without a con score for the HP). I've thought about adding a special requirement to sneak attack incorporeal creatures, but that would add an extra exception to the rule that would complicate things further.
Dungeon Grrrl wrote:
I guess I have just never assumed class names need to have any relation to what characters call themselves in-game. Antipaladin is a game term, and a useful, descriptive one. In game, just one is more likely to be called Aurauk the B@st3rd than Aurauk the Antipaladin. And a group is likely to be the Black Paladins (a term from my games), or the Order of Anarchy, or the Reavers.
I agree. Antipaladin isn't a great title, but think about it: Rogue.
"I'm not a thief, I'm a treasure hunter!"
"Rogue? Nah, I'm an expert at everything."
"Swashbuckling is my name, stabbing is my game."
Oh, I missed this one. The effective -3 penalty taken by a CC skill is pretty big. It at least allows CC skills to be relevant. That wizard with 10 ranks would be pretty useless in that skill at level 20.
Consider the most powerful skill in the book, UMD. Rogue takes it and has +23 at level 20. A 3.5 fighter takes it and has +10. They try and activate a heal scroll at DC 31. The fighter can't activate it at all, while the rogue has a 65% chance. This is before charisma is factored in. This makes the feat only useful as a CC for someone that has the charisma to compensate.
Now, the +3 class skill bonus in PF is mostly a legacy from 3.5 rules. If some attention was paid to skills this bonus could be scaled upwards to better represent training. But as it stands I think it works quite well.
That level 8 fighter can then whack enemies, causing them to be flat footed. Which gives the rogue of the party an easy sneak attack target. Meanwhile the wizard pulls out Phantasmal Killer or some other spell and has a much greater chance of success. -2 to attacks and saves is a huge penalty, and part of a chain. The only part I was worried about is how different this is resolved compared to a spell (and that it is repeatable).
Unfortunately the 2 HD horse in a CR 12 fight is a bit of a limitation of the system and how it handles higher power encounters. The paladin mount makes sense in being magical creature.
I thought I saw something in the Pathfinder rules to upgrade a mount's HD by a fixed amount (+2 or +4) to better compensate for this.
Alternately, a fighter (or any player) could acquire a sturdy mount with the leadership feat.
Knight is much about fluff and flavor than game mechanics. That's what this class feels like, trying to substitute flavor and gameplay with more game mechanics.
A level 3 wizard can put 3 points into Linguistics, and learn 3 languages. That's what I was referring to.
As for Dazzling Display, I was lazy and did not look it up.
It's intimidate as a whole that's the issue, as Intimidate DC is 10 + target's HD + target's wis mod.
So to intimidate a stone giant it's DC 27 (10 base + 12 HD + 4 size + 1 wis). A level 8 fighter built for it will have +11 from skill, +2 from stat, +5 from an item (custom item creation rules is only 2,500 gold for such a thing) +3 from skill focus, for +21 versus that DC 27. I guess the player is building their character to do that, so that's their specialty and should be allowed to do it, but it seems too easy.
I don't understand where the Cavalier fits in. When I think of all of the core classes, very distinct ideas of what they can do springs to mind. They all have strong core concepts that make them good at particular things.
The cavalier on the other hand... Nothing comes to mind. I've read the rules and it just seems to be a hodge podge of bonuses from oaths, orders, and issuing challenges. They get bonuses to mounted combat as well, further confusing things. This is where the Cavalier really needs improvement. There's nothing really iconic about the class like the paladin's holy sword and smite evil or the rogue's sneak attack and mass of skills.
The oracle has a slightly similar problem, where the focii and curses seem to confuse matters. But they at least have the spontaneous divine caster part going for them.
Paladins went from 1-4 well-augmented attacks total in 3.5 to perhaps 10 well-augmented attacks per smite, possibly more. Before it felt kinda weak, now it feels too overpowered. And then when the big bad evil shows up, the paladin's smite gets even better. I think stripping the bonus to attack and changing the outsider/special damage to 1.5x might be better. Lots of ways to change this ability.
Linguistics covers a lot of ground. My thoughts is that it should, at the least, be every other other point for a language. Before in 3.5, a character hand to dedicate 2 skill points to nothing else but learning a language.
Rogues could survive with being cut to 6 points per level. Stealth, perception, disable device and acrobatics will cover most rogue-type things. Add in a social skill and UMD (arguably the most powerful skill in the game) and that covers tons of ground. And this is before intelligence is factored in, or human skill point, or favored class.
Sorry, Dazzling display is an intimidate check, so it ends up being (for a focused character) Level + 3 + cha mod + misc mods (weapon focus) against enemy's CMD. The synergy of the resulting -2 to saves would be a huge boon to the casters of the group.
Yep! Light shields let you get your hands free for the moment you need to cast those spells. Need to move your arm and wiggle your fingers, so your good.
I've never really thought too much about clerics casting spells. Just assumed they can go at it with weapon in hand and a large shield. So if a cleric needs to cast a spell with a focus (touch his holy symbol) does that mean he can only be using a light shield and doesn't get the AC bonus for the shield until his next turn because that arm is preoccupied?
So, after having kicked off a new pathfinder game, I have a few concerns. Maybe they're unfounded, but that's why I want to bring them up with the community, as maybe I can get a better understanding as to why things are the way they are.
Paladin. Between the ability to wield a nice sword and make it even nicer, which is pretty cool all in all, but also the smite-until-dead? And for 2x damage on outsiders and dragons? Paladins got a huge boost.
Linguistics. The level 3 wizard in the party is running out of languages to learn. Combined with his normal bonus languages for intelligence, being human for an extra language, plus 3 more for points in this skill... I'm thinking he might have to start taking pig latin. Or maybe he'll learn to speak Modron.
Skills. To a lesser extent, skills as a whole. Consolidating some of the skills was a good thing, but now the Rogue's 8+int skills or even other classes 6+int seems like a lot of power.
Dazzling Display. Maybe I'm just not seeing it right, but the fighter's ability to make a CMB check to scare stuff? I think the better way to handle this would be will save DC 10 + 1/2 character HD + cha mod (like most special attacks), fear effect so another fighter's bravery bonus would come into play.
Skills got a huge boost in PF. Where before you would need spot, listen, and search, now you only need perception. Likewise with balance and tumble, now being merely acrobatics. Concentration comes free. Even more, non-class skills are actually useful now.
That said, 2+int skills/level is hardly gimped. If a player chooses to have 8 intelligence, there is a cost in doing so. They may offset this with their favored class, or by being human, but that's up to them.
Also keep in mind that skills don't need to be maxed out. One can split their skills.
My interpretation on this matter is it's a non-stacking benefit. That is, the monk's improved unarmed damage feature is identical to this feat, and therefore renders the feat irrelevant.
Another way to interpret it, still on the same line of thinking, is that the monster feat has an unlisted prerequisite which PCs (except possibly monks) are not able to fulfill. But as monks get it as a bonus feat, it's not entirely worth mentioning.
GMW aside, the difference between different base enhancements is pretty big. +1 to damage sounds pretty lame, but the +1 to hit makes a huge difference, especially for those tertiary attacks at level 12.
D&D Online has a pretty interesting answer to the golf bag approach: Metalline/Transmuting. The benefit of this enchantment is it can bypass any material-based damage reduction, and it's only worth +1. So the golf bag of weapons gets reduced to +1 metalline weapon, +1 ghost touch weapon, +1 holy weapon, (maybe) +1 axiomatic weapon.
Without modding in a new enhancement, it should be important to give the players some intel on what they're going up against. Rather than spring this big nasty werewolf on the players on the spur of a whim, let them know that people have been showing up brutally slaughtered on nights of the full moon. The evil wizard they're after is known to have an iron golem defending his stronghold. Etc.