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I love taking mechanics that most folks don't bother with and making them work. Which was why I recently put together my Tips For Building a Whip-Wielding Swashbuckler. Just wanted to share that, as it's been on my mind for a while, but I just put the article together the other day.

Given the similarities to 5E, I'm making an assumption here that even if you receive training from multiple sources, it doesn't raise your proficiency a grade unless it specifically says so.

Example, half orcs have the option of being trained in Intimidation. Zon Kuthon grants his clerics the same skill. As such, I'm assuming that you can't take both options to become an Expert in Intimidation?

It's been a while since I've done a conversion for one of my Badasses of History, so I figured it was time to add another onto the roster. And I figured why not one of the Red Army's best, one of history's deadliest female snipers, Lyudmila Pavlichenko. Especially since her weapon of choice was already statted out.

It's been several months since I last did a character conversion (just not getting the love they did when I started the project), but I thought it was time for at least one more. Which is why I put out something a little unusual this time around... Tyler Durden, the mastermind behind Fight Club and Project Mayhem.

DeathlessOne wrote:
If your alignment is Lawful Good (guessing no since Barbarian) and you have access to use variant multiclass options, the VMC Paladin allows Lay on Hands @ 7th Level.

Not possible for this concept (more of a Jason Voorhees setup here, for Strange Aeons). Not adding any new classes, just looking for options withing class features (Rage Powers, archetypes, etc.), magic items (vampiric weapons, etc.), or feats that I can eke out a few extra recuperated hit points.

So, I'm aware that I could invest in UMD, and/or play a caster class. But I'm looking at a barbarian/fighter, heavy on the barbarian. And I don't trust anyone else in the group to bring someone who heals. So I want to have the options to keep my own train rolling.

What would you recommend I do? I was initially thinking on the Fast Healer feat, but nice as it is, it doesn't work with rage powers like the Renewed Vigor tree (which was also going to be my go-to for this), troll styptic, or other abilities that let you gain fast healing without spells. So it seems sort of useless in-the-moment without a cleric/oracle/etc. patching me together while I go to work.

Any other recommendations? Have I missed any feats, rage powers, or anything else that might be helpful?

Grandlounge wrote:

I don't believe there is.

You may need to look into other sources of static bonuses. Alchemist (int), Slayer (study), Inquisitor(judgement/study/bane?/divine favor), Investigator (range study), Martial flexibility class (dedicated adversary).

Not really an option for this concept. It's a Bolt Ace, was considering a two-level dip into Underground Chemist to quick draw alchemical items. If it can't be done, it can't be done, and I'll go back to my heavy crossbow. Just struck me as too much fun not to investigate.

Question for the group.

So, I can see in the reading that Deadly Aim is not applicable to touch attacks. However, I also know that exceptions to this rule have been made for firearms. My question is was a similar exception made for alchemical items? I ask because I'm contemplating the launching crossbow, but the only way I can see it being really useful is if you can apply feats like Deadly Aim in order to get some real oomph out of it.

If there HAS been an exception made, a book where it was printed, or a link to the FAQ would be really helpful.

Talonhawke wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
Neal Litherland wrote:

Never actually stopped to think there would be another interpretation, as popping an ability that makes you all but stunned seems a waste of time, to me.

Dimension Door is an INCREDIBLY USEFUL spell. "Taxi clerics" are power multipliers with the right group. The caster losing attacks of opportunity is a VERY small price to pay for getting the heavy hitters instantly into melee range.

In fact, off hand I can't think of a single example where the character who cast dimension door would even care :-).

Although I hadn't thought of it before, I now think that losing attacks of opportunity is a quite reasonable interpretation of the rules

That's kinda where I was I never really thought about it since I had never really seen it come up.

The problem is when you're NOT a caster, but have access to this ability (shadowdancers, monks, etc.). Especially if your job is not bampfing around the field as support, but being a melee monkey wrench.

EDIT: Additionally, the phrasing of Dimensional Agility suggests tat you only lose the rest of your turn, as the benefit is that you can take whatever actions you have remaining on your turn after using Dimension Door. The implication I read from that is it's only your abilities on your turn, and not your immediates and AOOs that you lose when you poof.

Talonhawke wrote:
I guess it depends if AoO's count as an action for Dimension Door preventing any action till your next turn.

My reading of that was that your turn ended once you used the ability, but that it wouldn't stop you from taking immediate actions, AOOs, etc. once you've poofed. But if you had a move, a swift, etc. you wanted to take on that turn, then you needed to take it before dimension door, or you'd lose the opportunity.

Never actually stopped to think there would be another interpretation, as popping an ability that makes you all but stunned seems a waste of time, to me.

So, I've currently having fun with a shadowdancer, and a thought occurred to me. I checked the rules, and it seems like it works, but I wanted to make sure I didn't miss an errata somewhere.

Say that my shadowdancer acts first in initiative. He is in an area of dim light, and thus could use his Shadowjump as a standard action. There is a sorceress also in an area of dim light, about 40 feet away. I ready an action that, if she begins to cast a spell, I'm going to use my power to jump right behind her.

The sorceress begins to cast, thus triggering my readied action. My action happens first, and I shadowjump directly behind her. According to the Core rules, my initiative is now directly before hers is. My action happened first, and now I am right behind her as she continues. Does her casting now provoke an attack of opportunity, since I slid into place before she began her casting according to the order of operations?

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I've been working on my 5 Tips series for PF's base classes for a while now. I finally made my way through the Core book, and I'm easing into the Advanced Player's Guide. One of the most requested classes I hit for this expansion was the summoner. While I've only played a handful myself, I've seen a lot of other players make what I think are the same mistakes with them tonally, and story-wise. As such, I thought I'd share my take on how to get more juice out of the class in terms of story and roleplay.

5 Tips For Playing Better Summoners

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Cavall wrote:
If the group only sees you as competent because of your numbers, they may the ones having badwrongfun

A point that I think is worth making is that, while roleplaying is the first two words of the title, game is the final word. You can't have expressly one or the other, because they're intertwined.

If you don't have the numbers, you don't succeed. It doesn't matter how unique your character is, or how cool a story moment it would be for them to finally be the one that shines, if the numbers aren't on your side, then you fail (this is assuming no DM-ex-machina that just gives you a win regardless of what the rules say happens).

It doesn't matter where your numbers come from (retraining, multi-classing, metric ass-load of magic items, enchantments from the rest of the party, corruption, etc., etc.) you still need to have them on your side if you want to do the thing. And while it's entirely possible to layer on the buffs to make an everyman into Iron Man, that takes a lot of resources, and a lot of help from everyone else at the table to make it work (as well as a lot of gold, spell components, etc.). If those resources aren't available, or no one is willing to carry you (after all, why buff the crippled fighter to the level of the party barbarian when you could, instead, buff the barbarian into an engine of destruction?), then what are you going to do in order to succeed?

On the one hand, yes, character matters. Unique characters, and fun concepts, should be embraced. But if your PC literally needs to roll a 19 or higher to do anything (or the villains have to roll a 2 to negate any effects you try to create), then you're not helping with the game aspect. Which is why, before you put a character into play, you need to ask what their schtick is, and how it's going to help the party. You also need to understand their weaknesses, and have something in place to overcome them so you're still a viable member of the team.

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Mathmuse wrote:

I posted my example of a character who was a different class than she thought in Neal Litherland's Improved Initiative blog, but let me post the opposite example here: the character who effectively uses strong abilities built into the character that other people think are useless. My wife built a melee sorcerer.

Touch attacks are some of the most damaging sorcerer/wizard spells. The magus class makes good use of the ones on his list, but he has armor and a weapon and 3/4 BAB, too. My wife's character Wealday Addams was a halfling sorceress with Abberant bloodline who donned a chain shirt and attacked with touch spells. She had occasional spell failure, but she hit often and hit hard. She was more powerful than a magus because she had higher-level spells. Her feats were used up on Arcane Armor Training and Arcane Armor Mastery to eliminate the spell failure rather than on feats to increase the DCs of her spells, because touch spells seldom allow saves.

Wealday Addams was a melee character with low Strength, but an optimized melee sorcerer does not need Strength. This build has always been viable, and she was the strongest and most effective character in the party. My wilderness-survival gnome barbarian who specialized in Raging Swim, Raging Climb, and Night Vision was also unexpectedly productive, because the campaign left the party stuck in a jungle and our enemies often attacked at night.

Melee sorcerers are awesome! Perhaps my proudest moment was when a friend of mine sighed, shook his head, and said, "Of COURSE the sorcerer has a 16 Strength and is carrying a greatsword... he's YOUR sorcerer!" Still, had a higher Charisma, and proved quite hard to touch for the first few levels.

I agree those are scenarios where such a thing would work. What confuses me, though, is when someone ISN'T trying to do it for comic relief. So you have the strongest barbarian in the mountain tribes, the most powerful wizard in his class, and one of the holiest sisters of the order of divine might... and Dave, the sorcerer with three cantrips, and two first level spells with a save DC of 9.

Matching the tone, as you said, is definitely important. If everyone's doing it, I can understand the experiment. But if one player is trying to be silly when everyone else came to kick ass and chew bubble gum, then it makes me wonder why they would push that slightly unusual commoner.

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Over the past few months, I've seen a slew of players asking how to make what is essentially an anti-class. The weak, sickly barbarian, the uncharismatic sorcerer, the fighter with no physical stats, and the one from the title, a stupid wizard. In short, the players wanted to take the attributes that a class's abilities sort of depend on, and purposefully put their lowest scores in them.

I get the reasoning behind it. If you have a character who has to struggle to overcome something, then they can feel like they have more of an arc. But if you are essentially less useful than your average commoner, why would someone bring you out into a dangerous situation? Which was why I made the case in No One Wins When You Build A Stupid Wizard that the way to have your cake and eat it too was to play a character who is actually another class. The weak "barbarian" is actually a slayer or a rogue who uses precision and tactics to overcome stronger opponents, the smart "fighter" is actually a magus or a wizard who is a soldier, using arcane power to compensate for physical frailty. Etc., etc.

What surprised me, though, was the vehement reaction from a lot of people to this opinion. If a player wants to play a wizard with an INT of 11, they said, then they should be allowed to do that for story reasons. Which left me scratching my head. After all, if you don't bring anything to the party, then why would they want you on their team?

Looking for thoughts and opinions from others. To be clear, I'm not talking about players who put their second-best stats into a class's necessities, or who use feats and class features to substitute abilities for their features. I'm talking about situations where a player is purposefully sabotaging their own character's effectiveness, and why anyone would impose that kind of a burden on the rest of their table.

We hammered together another episode of Dungeon Hacks this month, and we thought we'd get a bit meta. The Dungeon Keeper addresses cheating at your table, and the things you can do to prevent it.

Dungeon Hacks: 5 Ways To Prevent Cheating At Your Table

Did we miss any methods that worked well for you? Or have you used any of these at your table, and found they worked really well?

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One of the most requested characters on the Overwatch roster, I thought I'd take a swing at Reinhardt this month. Difficult, but I think I did the best with what I had available.

Reinhardt Wilhelm, The Crusader

Name Violation wrote:

You say he's super strong, but then say use slashing grace.

You want to fluff a bunch of stuff, but then use opposite mechanics.


Not entirely sure how you see that.

Dhampir gives you a dex boost, which is useful. Swashbuckler gives you a damage boost for your class, and lets you use dex to hit. You add dex to damage with Slashing Grace, but you make sure you keep Strength high enough for feats like Power Attack. Then you combine strength and speed to deal a large damage output with what looks like an oversized weapon for that kind of precision.

Not sure how seeing someone who is essentially fencing with a bastard sword wouldn't leave you thinking that person is stronger than average. Just because you don't get a racial boost to Strength doesn't mean you didn't develop abnormally, and end up stronger, faster, etc. than you should have been if people thought you were a boring old human.

Thanks to a friend of mine running a dark fantasy game with vampires all over the place, I've really begun to appreciate just how niche we make this variety of undead. Which is why I wanted to start trying to broaden that niche.

Vampirism can be added to nearly any living creature... so why make everything all Vlad Dracula, and Vampire Hunter D? Those are cool archetypes, don't get me wrong, but you can do a lot of other stuff, too.

Enter The Draugr's Bastard. The basic concept is an Ulfen dhampir swashbuckler, but by the time the rest of the table figures out that's what's going on under the skin, they should have had plenty of time to appreciate the alterations to the character's mythos, and the local legend around him. After all, dhampir aren't that common, and they're pretty damn scary. Especially when you live in a place that isn't Ustalav!

Not entirely sure what your complaint is, here, Freehold DM. It may have gone over my head.

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So, since Mercy seemed to go over fairly well, I figured I'd try my hand at another member of Overwatch's roster. While a little complicated, here's my conversion guide for Gabriel Reyes, alias Reaper. Let me know what you think!

Zhayne wrote:
IMHO, the best class for Mercy is Dreamscarred Press's Vitalist.

I won't disagree with that, but I try to avoid third-party as much as possible, since the most common rule at any table I've personally been to is to ban anything not Paizo.

I've been a DM for a while, a player for a lot longer, and one thing that always boggles my mind is when someone gets a lieutenant bad guy killed by a lucky shot (or good strategy) and then bends over backwards to take the victory away from their players. If they got him, then they got him, don't pull a bait-and-switch so he can get away.

After all, this game HAS resurrection in it. The following video is for DMs who aren't sure how to cope with the sudden downsizing of their villain roster, or for folks who want a few pointers on interesting strategies.

3 Tips For Replacing Murdered Middle-Management Minions

I did that with the last sorcerer I played, Chess Pwn. I do believe the quote from my friend was, "Of course the sorcerer has a 16 Strength and a greatsword... he's YOUR sorcerer." I was annoyed at the Frostborn 1st-level power to make a frost weapon, but not being able to use it effectively. So with a bit of finegling, I had a lot of low-level fun.

Chess Pwn wrote:
Super strong draconic sorcerers.

As in the idea that draconic sorcerers are all secretly the hulk? And is that the stereotype you run into, or the way you subvert it?

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One of my favorite things to do is to gather the most common stereotypes about classes, and then invert them in a way that is wholly within the rules, but wholly outside of what people consider traditional for that class. It's why I got together with the folks from Dungeon Keeper Radio, and in the latest episode of Mythconceptions I took aim at the stereotypes and assumptions people make about what sorcerers have to be, and how they have to be played.

If you're interested in the interview with Alessa Greenbough, Assistant Dean of Transmutation at the Royal Academy of Arcane Arts, then by all means take a listen to Mythconceptions 3: Scholars and Sorcerers.

However, I'm curious, what are the misconceptions about sorcerers that annoy you the most? How do you subvert expectations? What is an often-overlooked way to play the class that no one at your table saw coming?

This is accurate, Haywire, but I figured that since Overwatch doesn't use any spells in the traditional sense that I was going to try and avoid pretty much any spellcasting in terms of somatic, material, and verbal components. Is why I chose a paladin archetype that does all their stuff at-will, rather than through prayer and prep.

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I've had a lot of requests for Overwatch characters, and while I don't play myself, I do enjoy the world lore. So after reviewing some of the more prominent heroes, I figured I'd take a shot at converting some of the fan favorites. The mechanics, of course, won't be accurate, but the spirit of the abilities the characters have is my goal here.

Mercy Character Conversion

I support this plan wholeheartedly! If this mad little tailor acquires a name and sales pitch, I'd definitely love to hear about it.

A long time ago I was playing a Pathfinder Society character who was part of a clan fam of Ulfen mercenaries. In a module where you have to infiltrate an opera house, and slay a bunch of undead, the DM was kind enough to let Olaf (the family plow horse with a Strength of 18 who stood at about 6'10") find something that actually fit him when searching back stage. A masterwork mastadon costume.

While I eventually stopped going to Society games (my local one wasn't as much fun as I liked, and then the venue closed down), I often wondered what happened to Olaf. I fancied that, with time, experience, and a bit of magic, he became a shrewd trader at the hands of his Taldan masters.

That's the story behind Crazy Olaf's Adventurer's Emporium. A tribute to a silly idea that I tend to dot my games with, giving players a chance to interact with someone who may seem a lot more mad than he is in order to turn a profit no one expects.

So Come on Down to Crazy Olaf's Adventurer's Emporium!

Fair points. I shall consider them if I end up working on a similar character, and want to differentiate them.

Glad you're enjoying! I shall endeavor to keep up the flow. At least one a month is my current plan, and I might be taking on something that's a little out of the usual for me starting next month.

Since it's the Halloween season, I figured I'd delve into horror adventures and put together another entry in my "Slashers, Psychos, and Serial Killers" conversion section. With one caveat, though... this one is NOT meant for players. Let this one out of DM hands at your own peril.

Pinhead, The Prince of Agony

DthKnell wrote:

Nice build! I've been waiting for some time for another conversion of yours. And what a great choice of character too!

Unfortunately, the build feels somewhat bland compared to the original character. In fact, you left out one of the best feature of the character - his amazing unarmed combat skills! John Wick is a professionnel gunman, no doubt about that, but he definitely outclass most people in the movies in hand to hand combat. IMO, this should have been reflected better in your build.

Then again, I know it's hard to convert a character into Pathfinder. Take it as constructive criticism :)

I'd actually argue that what we see John do is pretty much all player description when it comes to his unarmed combat.

It doesn't matter how you describe your fighting rolls, because they can look however you want. So as long as you can take a swing without provoking attacks of opportunity, you're pretty much good to go. Any extra damage would come from his sneak attack, allowing the one class feature to be used with fists, bullets, blades, or pencils.

So, I recently got together with my fellow gaming friends at Dungeon Keeper Radio, and we put together our Halloween episode 5 Tips For Running Better Horror Games. I figured I'd share the tips we had, but also ask if there were any strategies folks here have used that worked well for them as dungeon masters. Any good stories, or bad ones, that could help us make our seasonal creep just a little better?

Kaouse, my "5 Tips" series is specifically geared toward backstory building, and getting out of the rut of playing the same characters over and over again, thematically.

When it comes to mechanics, you really can't cover everything a single class can do in one guide. You pretty much need a separate one for every kind of fighter, wizard, sorcerer, etc., there is. And a lot of concepts are going to be multiclass, making everything more complicated.

With that said, if you have a specific kind of fighter you want to play (polearm user, full-plate tank, two weapon warrior, Vital Strike specialist, arrow sniper, crossbow master, etc.), I'd be happy to share any resources I know of geared toward that particular niche.

Got a PC similar to that in my group now. Ranger who specialized in arrow fishing, who tends to beat enemies about the head and shoulders with his bow. Player's first real game since 3.5, and I'm glad to see he's having fun with it.

Here to help, Daniel_Clark! Glad to know you enjoyed this one.

So, I've been doing a "5 Tips" series of articles for the base classes, and this week I finally got around to fighters. If you think fighters should be more than suits of armor that occasionally roll initiative, or you know a player whom you wish to convince of that, these tips might just just what you've been seeking.

For those who go through the list, were there any that I missed? Do you have any good stories about flavorful fighters at your table who didn't sacrifice their role in the name of RP?

5 Tips For Playing Better Fighters

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So, I've been busy getting back to my conversions. This one was something special, so I saved it for my 50th character guide.

Allow me to present... John Wick!

I wrote up a Harley Quinn character conversion a while back. Figured it might be some help in this situation.

Wanted to say thanks to those who left new comments! I've been out for the day, but I think a lot of these have real potential. I particularly want to do something with archetype familiars. Maybe a Mauler who has to be enchanted in order to be smart enough to dictate his issues, so the letter comes in fits and starts as he keeps going feral. Figment is a fun one, too.

Hmmm... I know there are accursed rules for animal companions. Can those rules also apply to familiars?

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Ooooh.... good one Gisher. That's definitely going onto the list. I hadn't thought of that.

Until he becomes the feral penny dragon of Internet fame?

Melkiador wrote:

Not a joke to lead off with, but the familiar who is all but forgotten, as it rides along perpetually in its satchel.

Low level familiar dealing with no one ever understanding him. Can't talk to master or others if it's kind yet? So lonely.

I'd forgotten about that one! Adding into the next episode if/when we get it penned.

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So, I was messing around with the folks at Dungeon Keeper Radio recently, and we put together a silly little episode called Familiar Problems. The basic gist is that it's an agony aunt style show, where familiars write-in with their problems. The ones we hit on were how casters will often send their familiars into danger to keep themselves safe, how familiars used for buffing and healing might not feel their jobs are all that important, and how a caster who starts turning toward corruption can drag their familiar into wickedness with them.

Basic stuff.

I was curious, though, what sorts of familiar problems the community has experienced apart from these three scenarios? Have you had familiars who were capricious, and unhelpful? Did they constantly fail will saves, or always wind up injured, or captured? What's a common scenario out there?

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Cyrad wrote:

No. You generally cannot convert Pathfinder classes to Starfinder because Starfinder classes are designed very differently.

Races and monsters, on the other hand, are very easy to convert.

Pretty much this.

The selling point for me was that there would be no conversion necessary. You would, essentially, just have new classes and races to choose from, with a lot of stuff from the technology guide suddenly being a lot more prominent. Use some of the modern firearms rules, where they're common enough to be considered simple weapons, and bam, you're off and running.

However, just from what I've seen, Starfinder is essentially a metric bolt. PF is a standard wrench. Sure you can MAKE it work with some effort and ingenuity, but I don't buy a brand new game just to crack and reverse engineer it back at home. I want it complete, functional, and doing what I want straight from the get-go. That's why I pay money for it.

Starfinder doesn't seem to be doing what I want. It's perfectly good on its own merits, but what I wanted were space-faring summoners, demon possessed barbarians fighting with laser axes, interstellar evokers, and swashbucklers with vibro-blades. This game is not really giving me what I wanted, there, and converting PF to SF is not something I'd recommend anymore than converting 3.5 to PF. It's a door best left not opened, from what I'm looking at.

Kagerage wrote:
monsters have a small window to change with more rules coming in AA. classes have some post covered on them but most of it is hard work done by the gm IF they allow for now is to search for someone else work and then change as you see fit.

I was afraid of that.

Looks like this isn't a game I'll be investing too much time or effort in. Ah well, thanks for letting me know not to look for a unicorn that isn't there.

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