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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber. *** Pathfinder Society GM. Starfinder Society GM. 789 posts (1,347 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 12 Organized Play characters. 9 aliases.


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2/5

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I would still use the CP -- remember that a low-level six player party is likely to be playing high tier or lower tier w/ level bump to the scenario. In either case their increased number of checks are offset by higher DCs. Same for a high-level table w/ 5/6 players -- they'll have higher DCs from the level bump.


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For those of you trying the double class feat approach, how is it holding up as more options are released? Are people wanting triple feats to fit in more archetypes/etc or is double still feeling comfortable?


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My main uses of the pdfs:
1) Ease of access if I need to review something and don't have my books/scenarios with me (so not relevent during a gaming session, but if I had a free moment on a waiting in line and wanted to brush up on something)

2) Printing handouts & reference maps. I'm especially liking to print out simple 1-page summary maps of dungeon type areas to avoid having to flip back and forth between the maps and referenced encounters.

3) Full custom maps for scenarios that I think I'll run more than once. Ie if a scenario has a custom map and I'm running it ~3+ times at a con, plus locally I'll splurge on the full print out. Otherwise I'll just draw it out on a blank battlemap.

I also try to recreate a lot of the maps with 3d terrain, and having a one-page reference (like I listed under point 2) is very helpful without needing to either leave a device on the whole time, or put a lot of wear on the physical copy keeping it propped open.

2/5

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Prepping this now for this weekend, compared to 1-04's revised Challenge Point based scaling guidelines, this one returned to the 4/5/6 player verbiage that we saw in 1-01/02/03.

My understanding of how they wanted us to run 01/02/03 was:
calculate the CP of the table, use that to determine tier and 'virtual' # players and then use the player chart from the scenario w/ any other adjustments as indicated by the CP chart. Does that still apply, or is this part of a different experiment on how to best communicate tiering/scaling?


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I never felt like Hellknights were _masters_ of heavy armor in the past. They wore it for its shock/intimidation value. It makes them a symbol and sets them apart from the people they police. But it didn't feel to me that heavy armor was part of their 'fighting style'. So getting to expert feels about right. They wear it all the time, so they are familiar with it past 'trained', but its primarily a prop to them.


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I'm a bit confused by your analysis.

Quote:


Calcification is an affliction with no onset time or duration

By duration are you referring to max duration, or duration between saves to move between stages?

Quote:

Failing one saving throw to a peck makes you afflicted with calcification. It does not require multiple pecks to move you along the line of affliction

If it does not require multiple pecks, there must be a frequency/duration of saves against stage increase. This number is missing, I don't see a default value listed for afflictions. Additionally I feel the Calcification intent was that multiple pecks are the primary (and possibly only) way of progressing. (Which is at odds with treating it like an affliction, which i also agree with....)

Quote:


"Multiple pecks resulting in overlapping failed saves would have no additional affliction affects as the rules say "Multiple exposures to the same curse or disease currently affecting you have no effect."

That's true for curses or diseases, but not for multiple exposures to poison. Additionally all curses, diseases, and poisons have the appropriate trait. Calcification does seem similar to an affliction, but doesn't have a trait for one. I'd probably run it as one, but if choosing between curse, disease, or poison, I think I'd have to go with poison for which set of trait interactions it has.


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It was fairly common in the (non-PFS) PF1 groups I played with that most GM's basically did Paizo Hardcovers pre-approved (possibly minus gunslinger), Paizo softcovers required discussion ahead of time, and 3pp was normally just outright banned unless it specifically selected for the campaign by the GM. Which maps pretty closely to how I see common/uncommon/rare working here. So it doesn't feel all that different.


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Searched some more and couldn't find any slowed condition w/o an explicit duration or linked condition. So it does seem like the calcification rules are missing something.

The options that I like, all depend on what form of narrative you want regarding the calcification ability.

1) Do you view it something very close to a poison? If so, the Flesh to Stone's regular failure rules look right. The multiple exposure rules for poisons appear to match rules in Calcification.

2) Do you view it as a magic effect/spell? Ie each peck has the potential to make it worse, but it doesn't worsen on its own. Some fixed duration seems right. 1 min as proposed in the OP feels a bit long, 1 round feels too short. 3-5 rounds feels about right, but honestly that's close to 1min in effective combat duration, so leaving it at 1 min and not tracking it probably works. Could also treat it as 'bleeding' in this interpretation (slow lasts until fully healed).

3) Something of a hybrid between the two? Its a poison, but onset is worse than progression. Use the Flesh to Stone regular failure rules, but change the degrees of success to: decrease slowed by 2/decrease by 1/no change/increase by 1. Ie, the victim will typically recover unless repeatedly pecked. The downside here is that it might wear off faster than you want.


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It looks very similar to the Flesh to Stone spell, which has a duration of 1 round on success (not present in calcification) and a once per turn re-save, until the condition ends (via losing the slowed condition either by saving out of it, or failing into petrified)

I think I'd run it following the rules as written for the regular failure case of Flesh to Stone.


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(Can anyone help condense this topic/question to something that can be asked in the stream, I know its too rambling/verbose at present)

I know you've talked about how the GMG ha guidelines for building mini-games/challenges/point-system abstractions, does it also include guidelines for weaving those effectively into the intersection of lore, narrative, and rules?

'Stopping a ritual' seems like a semi-common plot device as a capstone of an module/chapter/etc. However, it looks like any interruption in the primary caster's attention to the ritual is enough to cause it to fail, without needing a mini-game. So when designing a mini-game is it a developer's job to ensure that the accrual of points is figuring out the way to gain access/interrupt the primary caster, rather than 'stopping the ritual' as the goal. Or do you need to create a 'not-a-ritual' elaborate ongoing casting thing to use instead, since the ritual rules are limiting for that style of story telling?


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Its the new Fumble deck for 2e that people are talking about:
https://paizo.com/products/btq01zpu?Pathfinder-Critical-Fumble-Deck


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If I were to use a fumble deck (unlikely) it would only be on the first to-hit roll of a turn.

2/5

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There's only the one replayable scenario(Absalom Initiation) and the one replayable quest(Sandstone Secret). The reporting system still lists most of the scenarios as replayable, but that's been confirmed as an error/mistake.


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Two orders start with a pool of two (leaf and storm).

Windcaller increases it. (level 8)
Impaling Briars (level 16)
Invoke Disaster (Level 18)

2/5

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logsig wrote:
NielsenE wrote:
Hirelings from the CRB are 5sp/day and have a +4 bonus to one skill. Sounds reasonable that the town has teamster hirelings w/ nature as their skill available.

It's double that amount if you want them to go adventuring with you.

Another alternative is to spend Fame to get a hireling (4 Fame gets you a hireling with skill of [2 + your level], applied to one skill and one lore.)

Oops, yup forgot the double price to go adventuring for the CRB one.

2/5

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Hirelings from the CRB are 5sp/day and have a +4 bonus to one skill. Sounds reasonable that the town has teamster hirelings w/ nature as their skill available.

2/5

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1)
Did the character in-game share the information about the ceremonial armor with the party? If so, I'd be perfectly happy having someone (not that character) spend their 30 minutes searching before giving up. So _someone_ still deals with the effect of the failed roll, but not necessarily the character who rolled it. I also like using the 'everyone who wants to roll/GM rolls for everyone who wants to and then synthesize a lump-sum information dump of correct & incorrect information' so that particular bits of the information don't 'belong' to any one character.

4)
Agreed. I use the paper form, so I can have the encounter description, and the appendix for the tier side by side, but that does start to consume more space than I like, with also needing notepad or initiative tracker, etc. There's also the minor issue of 'sections' not starting on facing pages -- ie if the appendices always starts on an odd number page, and same for artwork, you won't end up with artwork printed on the back side of an appendix. Which helps if your trying to pre-split the pages into scenario/appendix and don't have to keep remembering that the encounter you need is on the back of the art your currently displaying to the PCs.

5) Yes that would be nice too.


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And I'm not asking about economics. I grant that NPCs can craft using different rules to allow the PC-facing economy to work. I'm granting the cost can simply be the cost difference between the item you have and item + rune you want.

There are two ways that runes get added to an item:
1) _someone_ etches them. I'll grant that the NPC merchant auto-succeeds on this check. The process as listed takes 4 days.
2) _someone_ transfer an existing rune, I'll grant the NPC merchant auto-succeeds on this. The process takes 1 day.

What is the timeless way you're interpreting it?


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Nefreet wrote:
You. Are. Not. Transferring. Runes.

Then what are you doing?


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Option 1 is what I hope is settled on, but its not the only option supportable by the rules, which is the reason for my comments.

But even under option 1, how are you avoiding the 1 day time required to transfer the rune?


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That still doesn't address the time requirement (or the no-fortune effects on downtime rule implied by the ritual chapter, assurance is a fortune effect. But I don't see the roll/lack of roll a key point in the current difference of interpretations so this is less important).

2/5

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Just following the 'no fortune affects allowed on downtime' concept forward, that also means no Assurance use on downtime as Assurance is defined as a fortune affect.

While Hero Points are the 'lucky moment of fate' which didn't apply to long duration activities abstracted away to a single roll, it seems that Assurance is the opposite (steady/predictable progress, not even requiring a roll no luck involved).


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I think we can get the 'crafting check required' camp closer to the 'just pay the difference camp' on cost, and maybe somewhat on time. By invoking the acknowledgement from the devs that NPCs crafters use different rules than PCs. For people that caveat, I think the difference in cost in small-change enough to ignore, even without seeing (if we ever do in the GMG/later) the NPC crafting rules.

The NPC rule differences would also have to allow an NPC crafter to instantaneously create/transfer a rune to get rid of the 1 day crafting time. I think that's going to be a harder sell, while a reduction in time to a couple of hours rather than a day seems likely to be accepted.


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Nefreet wrote:
NielsenE wrote:
In the most generous interpretation, where the crafting check happens off screen, at no additional fee, it still takes at least one day, right?
It's not a Downtime activity, either, if that's what you're getting at.

No, that's not what I'm getting. It wouldn't cost the PC a day of downtime, but it would cost them a day of time in terms of any ticking clock. It would cost them a day w/o their item that's being upgraded.


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In the most generous interpretation, where the crafting check happens off screen, at no additional fee, it still takes at least one day, right?


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I believe this is another place of ambiguity.

"You can patch up yourself or an adjacent ally, even in combat. Attempt a Medicine check with the same DC as for Treat Wounds and provide the corresponding amount of healing. As with Treat Wounds, you can attempt checks against higher DCs if you have the minimum proficiency rank. The target is then temporarily immune to your Battle Medicine for 1 day."

There is no listed hand or tool requirement. You are not doing a Treat Wounds action in combat. You are doing a Medicine check (which has no hand/tool requirements) with the same DC as Treat Wounds, and the same success conditions.

The strictest ruling is what you listed.

The most permissive is no hand/tools required, just the adjacency requirement if used on an ally.

There have been long threads and I don't think its settled.


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It looks very strongly like they also intended milestone leveling, 1 level per part, but they didn't call that out like they do in the APs.

And at least for part 1, to actually hit level 2 when you start part 2 requires you to do _everything_ in spite of the fact that you'd generally miss 1-2 of the things. Which is why we hear stories of level 1's hitting back to back severe 2's.

Definitely feel like as they find their footing for APs/modules, they should probably over budget ~100-200exp worth of encounters per level of 'miss-able' stuff. And there should be realistic reasons why those missable ones disappear/auto resolve w/o awards if they party has passed diffferent checkpoint/milestones (to avoid people trying to full-clear to get a leg up on the next level, etc).

2/5

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Do you know when we'll start hearing about GM acceptance/assignments for PAX Unplugged?

(But really posting to see if the glyph appears! Up to 20 reported games, still waiting on some DragonCon games to be reported, think its 25 total once those are in)


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Since it sounds like you're the GM

Spoiler:

The citadel that the PCs start exploring in book 1 is an abandoned Order of the Nail structure, that still has buried remains and treasures of the order. The PCs are also extremely likely to meet an Order of the Nail arminger who's there searching for stuff about his parents who were high ranking members of the order at that time.

The adventure is written generally expecting the PCs to be somewhere between indifferent and friendly towards the hellnight NPC, though it does include combat stats if it comes to that. I feel he was included to make it _easy_ for a PC to decide to take the hellnight dedication for story reasons -- but for order of the Nail by default.

My mention of anathemas was nothing 'official' just a similar role play mechanic -- how would your player's PC feel about looting a historic hellnight structure? About cracking open their graves? Fighting undead hellknight that might ignore the PC, but attack the PCs allies.

If these types of role play conflicts work well with your group, then great. If these are the type of things that cause sessions to explode in player (rather than character anger), then it might be a problem.


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But the second hireling is more likely to crit fail than succeed on the aid check, making matters worse :)

(+4, aiming for 20, needs a 16 or better on the die to aid, 6 or lower to crit fail. 30% chance of crit fail, 20% chance of success, 5% chance of crit success)


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Combat encounters give exp based on the label -- Trivial/Moderate/Severe/etc.

https://2e.aonprd.com/Rules.aspx?ID=497

Or see page 489 of the CRB.


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There's no built-in major issues (at least as far as book three). There could be some RP hooks that could develop in tricky ways depending on what order of hellknight they're looking to join. Of the same cailbre of things as some cleric's anathema or champions code style role-play issues.


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OK, I think your reading is correct (otherwise they should have some total modifiers of 0, some of 4, and 1 of 8, since some skills share ability). Which does mean your talking worse than 50% chance for a hireling to do the rune transfer.


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tivadar27 wrote:


...
You could also pay someone to do it.... but the only hirelings you can hire are at best +4 in a skill, which isn't going to get the job done.
...

Snipped out most since I think there are two existing threads exploring this in detail.

However the CRB hirelings can get to +8 (they are _expert_ in their skill, with a plus +4 ability modifier, but zero level) which is fine for the low item-level rune transfers.


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If you're worried about society play, I'd suggest following along on the thread I started last week on this over in the PFS section of the forums:

Here

There was a forked copy here:
https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42sg5?1-weapon-1-striking-weapon#5

2/5

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Should this be moved out of the playtest forum?


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Here's the thread I started on this a few days ago over in the PFS forum area:

PFS2 Upgrading Weapons and Armor


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I currently think its a bit ambiguous.

The strictest reading for when you already have a weapon and want to add a rune to it.
a) Buy a runestone with the desired rune (3gp + cost of the rune), so 68gp in your case.
b) Have a crafter transfer the rune from the runestone to the weapon. It takes 1 day, and costs no extra resources. So if no one in the party can do it, you're looking at paying a hireling a days wage. (5sp/day for a +8 on a craft check)

At higher levels, the DCs to transfer get high enough that the hireling in the CRB can't do it, at which point you need the party to have a crafter, or have a friendly npc master crafter around, etc.

The most permissive ruling is simply pay the difference.


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In the case of PFS scenarios, each typically written for two tiers, and due to word count restrictions, they aren't adding the text that would justify the change in DCs. Yes, its a flaw, IMO, and encourages the lazy-gm/adventure author to always pick level appropriate, rather than world appropriate DCs.

The DC's I've seen in Fall of Plaguestone and Age of Ashes so far have seemed more reasonable, but still a little suspect as times.

2/5

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:

@NN959:

...

Each hour, each PC picks a section of the library to work on. I wrote the skills for each section on the map and had people put their mini on the part of the map that they were investigating. The skill check represents how well that PC does at investigating that part of the library. So if in the first hour Ezren attempts the Occultism check, the next hour Valeros can go to that section and see how well he can do it too. So at maximum the PCs can attempt 6 x 9 skill checks. In practice it's a bit fewer since on average 2 pregens are good at each skill, but that's still a lot of skill checks. It should probably take the PCs 2-4 hours to get everything. At my table last month, they had six pregens and it took them only 1 hour to get 8 successes due to a lot of crits. Each pregen attempting the skills they're best at is by far the best strategy.

Were I think our views diverged is that I think each PC can attempt each skill (but should only do so if they're good at it), while it seems you thought all of the PCs together could only attempt each skill once?

...

I think I ran it/interpreted it the same way as NN did, and not as you did. Once a check has been attempted at a spot, that spot is closed unless the check was a crit success. If multiple PCs are independently searching the same section (ie not aiding), I have been rank ordering their rolls from best to worst.

2/5

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Played it last week, GMing it next week. I love 'alternate combat' missions ie (where there is an objective in addition to/other than simply kill all the opponents). However, I did find (while playing, and my read through in preparation for gming feels the same), that its exceptionally easy to lose cargo points -- our GM didn't reveal cargo point mini-game, the connection to Treasure bundles, nor that you can lose 1-2 w/o jeopardizing success conditions -- the briefing makes it sound like losing any is grounds for a secondary failure. It definitely had the feeling of high tension, buy maybe a touch too binary.

The Grand Archive faction aspect seems different, than some other faction tagged missions. Under all SFS faction tagged missions that I'm experienced with (small set), and the previous Envoy's Alliance mission, it was bonus reputation with the tagged faction for all PCa (regardless of faction). While this one appears to be written for ONLY Grand Archive PCs receiving the bonus. Is this intentional?


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Ran most of the damage stuff, this includes striking runs for the Barbarian/Rogue and not for the druid.

Pretty sure there can be some minor errors, but the general look is (for first attack only), the barbarian has a slight lead on the rogue. And the druid is about one barbarian damage die behind for most of the time. Levels 14 and 18, things align just right that basically all three are the same.

Rogues will be slightly more accurate than the barbarian on second/third attacks, (due to agile), so that will let them close the gap on turns they can attack more than once. Druids won't benefit as much, as often the forms that have agile, will also have a lower first attack than used for the analysis, so they're further behind.

Note: regrading handwraps here, it does NOT look like any form of consistent interpretation of what adding a damage die to all the wild-shapes makes the damage difference any more neutral/balanced -- mainly because the difference between the martials and the druid does not increase at the levels where the martials upgrade their striking runes.

The druids one saving grace on the damage front is the ability to customize damage types (including energy types at some tiers) to the battle at hand. But if a martial has a shifting rune, that lets them cover the physical types, in a more action efficient version.


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Just ran the full math, excluding magic items (which makes a difference) for accuracy.

Rogue and Barbarian are equal to-hit at each level.

Wild Druid lags by -1 at level 1&2 (no wild shape, and thus no extra bonus, Lower ability mod, equal proficiency)
Wild Druid is +1 to hit at 3&4 (wild shape bonus, lower ability, equal prof)
Wild Druids are equal from 5-9 (wild shape bonus vs high prof, equal ability mod)
Wild Druid lags by -1 at 10. (Second boost, martials at 19)
Wild Druid leads by +1 at 11&12. (All at expert now)
Wild Druid lags at 13/14 (Martials at Master)
Wild druid equals at 15-19, (druid catches up with ability mod)
Wild druid lags by -1 at 20 (ability mod increase for martials)

I haven't been following the mighty handwrap discussion, but the above analysis would lead me to be predisposed to accepting wild shaped druids benefit from the to-hit aspect at least.

Figuring out the damage side will take a bit more time. But as Mellored, indicates (and as tivadar's thread suggests), this kind of spreadsheet only analysis misses a LOT of dynamics. The Barb with one feat investment (sudden charge) is likely to always be able to contribute in the first round (rage + sudden charge == got their self buffs, and mobility, likely getting one full strength attack off), Rogue no feats, has double move + attack or move, feint, attack as options, one of which is likely to be applicable (one at reduced damage though). Druid, spending almost all their class feats (to keep up with damage/ac) 2 actions to transform first round, no attack if needing to move. Can't combo a blasting spell with a shape change, so basically losing a round (could shoot a missile weapon, but that's going to be at poor accuracy, no +2, and using a tertiary stat at best)

2/5

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Yes at low-tier, the CP system has worked VERY well -- the guidance for N players or level-bump or both has been pretty much spot on. Its the low-tier->high tier jump, on larger tables with predominately low level characters that I'm concerned with.


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I've been playing a Storm+Wild order druid for my primary PFS character. I feel I've been too conservative in choosing when to wild-shape(or tempest surge) so I don't have as much experience as I'd like for answering your question, however when I have transformed I've been highly effective. Picking when I want to give up casting spells has been difficult, because I'm not building for out-of-combat spell utility.

The 16 strength is balanced by the +2 bonus to hit if using your own stats rather than the form stats, which means you're +1 over a pure martial, when your proficiencies are the same. (Martials advance faster than you, so you'll be bouncing between -1/+1, or 0/+2 at different points accounting for ability boosts, until the extreme high end when martials are hitting legendary)

Damage is a touch lower on average since you don't get to add your strength modifier, just the +1 with the basic unheightend animal form, but you typically have competitive damage dice and you have flexibility of damage types/reach as needed.

So typically in round 1, I'm casting blasting spells. Round 2 I'm picking if I need to shape change, or continue casting -- usually by round 2 we also know if we need a particular damage type or not so that delay hasn't been bad. Round 3 is when the wild-shape comes into its own when I use it. So it does feel a bit delayed/situational.


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Without doing lots of math and plots, what I think:

The barbarian and rogue are both using their main stat for attack and damage. They get proficiency at the same levels. So they should have very similar accuracy. The rogue can apply flatfooted w/o a flank, so there might be times they can be more accurate, but hopefully you have a pair flanking.

The druid will lag, their attack stat is not main stat, so it will be at least one behind. When wild-shaped (which don't really work until level 3), they get a plus 2, so at level 3 they'll beat the other two, before they get expert. from 3-> 11 they'll be -1/0 before depending on ability boosts. So when wild-shaped they stay competitive. When not wild-shaped, if they're using attack spells off WIS, they can be comparable accuracy to the martial.

Looking at expected damage:
The barbarian and rogue will have equal ability modifiers to damage. The barbarian likely have a higher damage die weapon. The barbarian also gets a flat +4 from rage(at low levels) on top of that. The rogue has a smaller damage die weapon, plus sneak attack, but sneak attack is on average less damage then the rage bonus. The rogue is rolling more dice though, especially as sneak attack increases. The rogue should be slightly more 'average' in damage due to the number of dice being rolled. (basically almost always double the number of dice the barbarian has, assuming both are keeping their striking runes up to date)

The wild-shaped druid mainly falls behind both due to the lowest flat plus (+1 for the first animal form, compared to +4s that the others have, but will typically have 2 competitive damage dice (between the rogue/barbarian). The higher level shapes often get a high flat plus, or better dice, but almost never both in a way that's competitive -- but it is more flexible on weapon types/reach requirements for any particular fight.

2/5

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Yup.

2/5

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scenario name:

1-04: Bandits of Immenwood

2/5

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

So here's the report from how a session went.

We started off with levels 2, 1, 1 and me. (Apparently two of the signed up level 2s, either forget their characters, or had selected no-society legal options and used pregens instead). So we're at 7 points not counting me, any of my 1,3,4 level characters work and keep us low tier.

A level 2 shows up, but whoops also forgot their character sheet, drops to a level 1 pregen. 9 points, all my options stay under the limit

A level 2 shows up, 12 points, my level 1 keeps us under, my 3 or 4 push us to high tier.I start planning to run the level 1. GM starts the scenario, but says if the seventh player shows up before we get past the briefing I can swap if it makes sense.

The 7th shows up mid briefing, with a level 2. We're now at 15 points, not counting me. Any of my character push us to high-tier, in spite of being the only high tier character. Tables decides, please bring the level 4, we're going to need it.

We play out the scenario, its a combat heavy one, and even with 7 people we had a lot of difficultly. We did have two mentor boons in play (Radiant and Verdant), the Radiant one in particular stopped the level 1s from being one-shot on numerous occasions. W/o that one I think we would have lost characters. We commonly had at least two characters with wounded conditions. We were basically out of spells and consumables before the boss fight. The bosses tactics seemed weak, but its possible that's what was written in to the scenario.

I felt that players were playing effectively with the resources they had, and if we hadn't used our consumables early we would have failed the mission as early as the second encounter. I was also the only PC who could handle one of the ongoing scenarios specific things, which was costing me an action a round. Which as the single high level character in the group, limited my ability to contribute.

On the whole however, it didn't feel like mustering took any longer than it would have with a similar PF1 table of player's trickling in. The adjustment felt on the extreme end however of threat -- but it did feel like monsters had less HP and more to-hit/damage than expected. Ie most combat's only lasted 1-2 rounds, but were still dropping PCs in one round, which feels more like PF1 who wins initiative wins, not who uses their actions effectively wins. Which felt different than the other scenarios I've played/GMd.

2/5

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
albadeon wrote:

I think this is why I'm so vehemently opposed to your interpretation in the context of PFS: Every character has access to a limited and well-regulated number of feats, skills, etc. They are meant to provide a balanced power level. You have to make choices and these choices have meaningful consequences, both in regard to what you can do and what you cannot do.

If I choose to play a high-INT alchemist with an expert ability in crafting but low DEX and no training in thievery and I need a lock picked, I have to cope with the fact that I cannot do it myself. I can either do without (leave the loot behind), or find a workaround (hack the chest open likely destroying something inside), or hire a henchman to take the thievery check for me. Those all come with a certain price. If I were to argue that not being able to open that lock is unfair to me and punishes me for playing the way I like playing and I should just be allowed to open the lock for free, after all, no party should be required to have someone trained in thievery - well, wouldn't that just be ridiculous?!

The crafting skill is absolutely no different in that regard. There are some tasks that require a proficiency in crafting, and that includes adding or changing your gears' runes. If you chose to go for a high-STR fighter with different skills and are not trained in crafting, that's fine, you get other advantages from those choices. But if you now wish to do something that requires proficiency in the crafting skill, you again have the same options: do without that improved weapon, find a work-around (buy it ready-made at the market, maybe?), or hire a henchman to take the craft-check for you. And again, those all come with a certain cost. Your example of giving it to the smith is essentially just hiring a henchman, except you for some reason expect to get this henchman to do it for free and with an automatic success to the required check.

Why should this kind of free-of-cost outsourcing be allowed for one skill but not the other? And keep in...

I wouldn't go this far, nor use it as an argument for my reading of the rules. It, to me, over-elevates crafting compared to the other skills. Most skills you hope to have 1, maybe 2 people in the party with it. This effectively says every character must have craft -- or rely on the generosity of party members spending their _down time_ to upgrade your weapons for you. The other cross-party skill uses occur during encounter/exploration mode and aren't consuming personal resources of the same nature.

I'm also a bit concerned about using the Boon Hiring for a downtime check -- I thought there was some guidance earlier (but sadly only in a forum thread, nothing I can find easily) that hiring's can't do downtime checks since downtime is not 'during the scenario'. Which only leaves the CRB hireling option, which won't scale to higher level runes.

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