Holy Guide

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I've made homebrew suggestions, before, on how to pull off a truly oversized weapon build before, but obviously those would not be official to any degree.

In the official rules, though, wielding anything that is actually bigger than you're supposed to wield is a near-no, and was only relatively recently changed from "you can't do it at all", to "you can go with something that is effectively one step bigger than it should be."

If you're in a home game, and want a set of guidelines that should make it possible to wield oversize weapons without going too far out of balance, I've linked to my earlier thread

There'd still be a practical limit, and definitely wouldn't work for organized play. However, in a home setting this might work well enough as a houserule if you're set on the trope of huge-weapon wielding characters.

Sorry. Was approaching it from the primary standpoint of the loss of alignment as a factor in bypassing DR, not so much from the standpoint of having a non-magical material that bypasses spell resistance.

There is already something that does this in game, for a minimum price of around 32,000GP.

Nullifying wrote:
This special ability can only be placed on melee weapons. A nullifying weapon suppresses a creature's spell resistance for a short amount of time. Anytime the weapon strikes a creature with spell resistance and the creature takes damage from the weapon, the target's spell resistance is reduced by 1 for 1 minute. On a confirmed critical hit, its spell resistance is instead reduced by an amount equal to the weapon's critical multiplier. Multiple hits from a nullifying weapon stack.

With the nullifying magic property it would probably take several rounds of attacks (at least) to build up the deficit in SR to -5, given that anything that has a large enough SR to be a problem will probably have a corresponding AC that is also a problem. - (Whoever has the Nullifying weapon will have to be able to hit 5 times within 9 rounds, in order that the 10th round will have the -5 deficit)

Azure Bronze wrote:

Azure bronze can be used to make any item normally made from metal.

Weapons made of azure bronze disrupts magical defences. A creature damaged by an azure bronze weapon have a 10% risk of loosing 5 points of spell resistance until the end of its next turn. This effect does not stack, nor can it reduce spell resistance below 5.

HP/inch 30; Hardness 10; Weight as steel

Now, from the way I'm reading your suggested implementation of "Azure Bronze", I would tend to interpret this as more or less equivalent to the nullifying magic weapon property. - It's better in the respect that a single strike has the benefit of causing a -5 deficit to SR, where the magical property would take several round to build up. - It's worse in that (theoretically), a higher level character create a deficit to SR equivalent to 10 rounds of his iterative attacks striking the target- if he were extremely lucky. - Given that the chance of 'activation' of the special property is 10%, lasts for one round, and the deficit is pegged at -5... I would tend to interpret this as being equivalent on the whole.

Blymurkla wrote:
Is this reasonable at all? How should I price weapons made of azure bronze? I'm guessing it should at least cost as much as adamantine, i.e. +3000 gp.

I'm not great with statistical analysis, however, so you may want someone else to do the number crunching in comparison. - I would cost your special material as a percentage relative to the Nullifying enchantment. - If your idea is only half as good as nullifying magic property, for example, than your "Azure Bronze" should cost about half as much as this magical property.

As far as relevance. A means to defeat SR of an opponent is always nice, so your suggested material might actually have a worthwhile niche to fill.

If you were looking at a material that would provide SR to a character, than I would call the effort pointless. (I've never seen a point to having SR as a character, as in my experience nothing ever gets stopped by player character SR, except for other player character spells. - By the time someone can afford an SR granting item, everything else is already more than powerful enough to bypass that level of SR easily.)

If alignment is gone, why bother trying to create a separate fix for items that ignore DR at all? There are already (theoretically) balanced items and magic enhancements in place for this.

If nothing else, change the Bane property from a +1 enhancement to a +2 enhancement and allow bane weapons to ignore the DR that used to be based on alignment for the chosen creature type. (Same price as if a weapon were both Bane and Holy/Unholy)

If you'd rather not go this far, than use the same crafting rules as for reliquary items, and make the weapon "attuned" vs a given creature type, as a sort of "bane light". Same way that aligned weapons turned out to be a sort of "holy light" weapon.

No need, necessarily, to overthink the loss of alignment restrictions.

wraithstrike wrote:
Another thing about this discussion is that some of you seem to be using the most literal reading of the code, and others are using an intent based reading. It might help if everyone clarifies how they are reading it.

It has to be read from a perspective that balances intent of the action against the both potential and actual consequences.

Surrendering to a hostage taker might save an innocent in the short term, but leads to the death of the paladin and the hostage both in the long term.

Setting of an apocalyptic event may save a whole lot of innocents (If they're dead they can't be corrupted by evil, right?) while vanquishing evil at the same time, obviously falls short of the paladin code somehow.

Selling off your equipment to feed the poor might be awesome, but now you don't have the equipment anymore to slay evil.

Trying to work in absolute causes absolute choices to need to be made in an either/or fashion. In most cases it is a qualified both. I need to slay evil and protect the innocent, but not too much of either.

I have two major questions:

1st: Are other kinds of alchemical items allowed in the game? ( tindertwigs, tanglefoot bags, thunderstones, alchemist's fire, alchemist's ice, etc?)

2nd: Is this a thematic ruling? Is the DM attempting to argue that in this game world that certain kinds of explosives have not yet been discovered?


I could see a ruling against pellet grenade type devices in the game, if gunpowder has not yet been discovered (yet) in this game world, or the particular region where you character finds himself.

As long as people have had fire, people have used fire to try and kill other people. - If your DM is making the call that explosives and incendiaries cannot be made at all in your game world, than the DM is making the absolutely wrong call.

Now, there are some common sense issue with playing with dangerous substances aboard ship..., especially if you were planning on these having any kind of relatively quick fuse on them... but that is a different matter entirely.

(EDIT) In fact, the ship that your character is riding around in is pretty much one giant tar bomb in of itself. - Your standard ship of the age is constructed from a bunch of planks butted end to end with all of the chinks stuffed with rope soaked in tar.

I might also ask the DM a 3rd question: Was this a genuine rule, or was this to prevent me from doing something stupid that would have killed off the rest of the party?

Sometimes DM's can get heavy handed when they realize that a course of action someone insists on taking will result in the near-certain demise of the entire adventuring group, especially with a group of lower level characters or less experienced players.

It always boils down to which aspect of code is superior to another. - It would be impossible for any paladin to live very long if it were not possible for one to make a judgement as to which code takes precedence at a given time.

Yes, there is an awful lot of self-sacrifice when it comes to the Paladin code but it is not meant to be a suicide pact.

A paladin tasked with dealing with someone who has been possessed by an evil force under the spell of evil force could easily be encouraged to make use of poison in order to ensure the safety of the spiritual hostage while making attempts to excorcise the beast within. - That same paladin could also decide to slay the host. - Both are technically correct, but the obvious choice in order to uphold the majority of the code would be to use poison to save the hostage, and then go after the spirt.

A paladin tasked with hunting a creature that cannot be effectively killed without making use of a specific type of poison is also unlikely to have much of a dilemma when it comes to the code. I doubt the paladin's chosen deity encourages the paladin to submit himself to certain death. - If this is the case, then paladins should never fight vampires with silver weapons, amongst other myriad examples.

A paladin that eats meat (especially true 'gentleman', i.e. one with a gentle disposition), could easily justify the use of sleeping/paralisys poisons when taking game in order to avoid unnecessary pain for the animal.

Alignments are not absolutes. Alignments are only poles on the moral compass. In the case of a paladin, the 'fluctuation' between poles is on a much narrower margin, but it is still there. - As soon as you start trying to force absolutes, you end up with absolutely ignorant situations that violate the spirt of the paladin's code even more than the perceived rules break would.

(EDIT)It is this assumed absolutism that generally makes the paladin to be the character that everyone else in the gaming group wants dead. Further, by mere association with an adventuring party, this paladin should authomatically fall.

Obvious contradictions:

If poison use is absolutely wrong, why is associating with someone who is using poisons on my behalf OK?

If sneak attacks and indirect assaults are absolutely wrong, why is it OK for me to affiliate with a mercenary fighter who prefers ambush and flanking tactics?

If I must destroy all evil in my path, than it must be OK for me to destroy those who are possessed, misguided, or have 'forgiveable' motives as well.

If I must do everything in my power to save innocents, how come I do not immediately surrender to enemies taking hostages?

If the only possible route of travel between leaving your hand and lodging itself in your target's backside was for it to travel through a network of termite tunnels in a nearby building... then maybe.

Otherwise, can't see that as a valid call. Also, no real basis for that anywhere in the spellcasting rules.

Boots of the Well-Trodden Path

At first, these boots appear to be (and function as) Getaway Boots. This lasts until the first time the boats are relied upon in a critical situation. Then the boots continue to function as getaway boots, exept the boots are never able to teleport the user any further than the exact linear distance between current location and destination, as if the wearer was actually walking the distance.

In other words: Telporting from an underground cavern near Podunk Thorpe to your favorite weapon's merchant in the capital city? Well, that's about 1,500 miles as the crow flies. Too bad you have to walk. Instead of that quick and easy jaunt through the astral plane, you and your carried gear gets stuck in the middle of the swamp as soon as the it starts factoring in all of those penalties for the broken and difficult terrain you're attempting to avoid.

Seems to me as an item that would just barely be useful enough to keep, and probably provide ample encounter fodder as the party has to figure out exactly where they are on the probable route between their current location and the actual destination.

(EDIT) You can thank this thread for the horrible idea

I could see this being an issue if the DM was confusing encounter distances / maximum perception ranges for various terrain types. I could understand a DM making the rule that a dense grove of trees gives cover against a ray attack, or something along those lines.

That, or being [bounced around on horseback or on a wagon through difficult terrain could force a concentration check or two.

However, there is basically no situation that I could think of where the actual surface of the terrain would have an impact on the range of the spell.

There is also the Paladin of Abadar that I believe was from the Faiths of Balance supplement I believe that is Lawful Neutral as opposed to Lawful Good, but doesn't exactly make out with very much in the transition either.

James Risner wrote:
You still can't say anything to counter it, as you don't have any rules text saying armor (even masterwork armor) conveys masterwork property to weapons that are part of the armor

Agreed. That one comes along for the ride with the an absolute strict interpretation that the gauntlets don't even have necessarily have to be of the same material, be designed for a specific race, be functional enough to actually wear, be of anything resembling the appropriate size, etc.

I would still argue in favor of a market where people expect armor pieces to actually be made of the material in question, however... if you operate from a strict interpretation that causes the market to always error on the side of shysters as armorers... I have no absolute argument against this.

However, there are plenty of citations where shields become weapons and vice versa. - As the central argument against rests on a quote that groups both of these things into the same category, then both of these things are of the same category. If it works for a shield, it would work for an armor too.

That being said, if by virtue you have a pair of gauntlets that [I]are, in fact[/b] made out of mithral or adamantine (maybe your armorer has more integrity thena modern-day stereotypical used car salesman) then the quotes from CRB and UE do force them to absolutely be masterwork on both counts, because they are a component of the armor you are wearing (and therefore armor) and because they are also (per book) a weapon.

At this point, everywhere we turn there is a hole that creates more room for doubt, but doesn't absolutely put the matter to bed.

It might actually be easier to take a look at the necklace of fireballs instead and use that as your inspiration for your custom item.

As far as I can tell, the necklace of fireballs is actually priced slightly under the spell level * caster level * 50gp for single use item threshold (per use)

Unless there is something that I'm not aware of that would entirely prohibit this as an idea, I don't see why you couldn't put your spell charges on a various charms and rip bits of it off as needed.

(EDIT) Though, obviously, this takes us out of the "wand" category and into wondrous items.

@Hugo - You cite: "Even though some types of armor and shields". The terminal flaw, here, is the reference you are using to argue against the group.

You are arguing from a class that includes both armor and shields, therefore an example of one or the other is all that is required to refute your position. It your own argument that is terminally flawed, unless you can cite a specific example somewhere that delineates which (specifically) types of 'some types' of armor cannot also be enhanced as a masterwork weapon.

Yes. In this case, the word 'armor' in the cited quote is entirely superfluous.

Hugo Rune, citing the CRB & UE wrote:
Even though some types of armor and shields can be used as weapons, you can’t create a masterwork version of such an item that confers an enhancement bonus on attack rolls.

Basically, you're acknowledging that a gauntlet is an example of an armor that is also a weapon, then citing a rule that cites armor and shields of being within the same class. Therefore a shield example would work equally well.


Example: A doctor states that neither measles nor mumps exist as diseases with a specific region. As soon as someone proves that one of those diseases exists in that region, the doctor is proven wrong in his statement. - Works equally well here.

If you're looking for the same type of glitch overall, take a look at darkwood. Works basically the same way.

Personally, I've never been a fan of the stock rules for crafting as were copied over from 3.5.

The whole idea of crafting a "masterwork component" in addition to/separate from the actual crafting process for the base item strikes me as rather silly. - However, that topic would be a whole other thread (and I believe has already been cited a few times)

Hugo Rune wrote:
@OS_Dirk - your two examples, were both of shields. The rulebook text I cited was for armour and shields and I asked for armour examples, not shield examples.

As your primary citation against allowing a gauntlet to be masterwork as a weapon while simultaneously being masterwork as armory, mentions both armor and shields, all that is necessary to refute that position is to cite one or the other.

There are plenty of examples cited where a masterwork shield becomes, in its own right, a masterwork or magical weapon. - Therefore, armor goes along for the ride. They are grouped within the same category.


If you want an extreme armor example, there is always the rule on dropping heavy objects onto people from above. Though, somehow, I think that is one where would all unanimously agree that there is no way in the Hells that a masterwork bonus should be applied to attack rolls from that. :)

Hugo Rune (Citing from the Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment) wrote:
Even though some types of armor and shields can be used as weapons, you can’t create a masterwork version of such an item that confers an enhancement bonus on attack rolls.

Thank you, by the way, for finding something that supports the opposite side of the argument from within the rules text. I can finally see where James Risner might derive his position from. - And, more importantly, now that I am armed with this knowledge can make a decent effort at refuting that stance. :)

Hugo Rune wrote:
Please could someone who supports the gauntlets can be masterwork weapons argument point out which types of armour, other than gauntlets on medium and heavy armour, can be used as weapons.

Shield bash attack, of course, would be the most obvious choice but would appear to be prohibited per cited stricture.

The next one, that would be a workable example would still be with a shield but with the "throwing" special enhancement from Adventurer's Armorer. - It causes the shield to be considered as full-fledged throwing weapon, Captain America style.

Various Excerpts, Spoilered to Conserve Space:
Pathfinder Core Rulebook wrote:
Shield Bash Attacks: You can bash an opponent with a light shield, using it as an off-hand weapon... Used this way, a light shield is a martial bludgeoning weapon.
Pathfinder Core Rulebook wrote:
An enhancement bonus on a shield does not improve the effectiveness of a shield bash made with it, but the shield can be made into a magic weapon in its own right.
Pathfinder Core Rulebook wrote:
All magic armors and shields are automatically considered to be of masterwork quality.
Pathfinder Core Rulebook wrote:
To create a magic weapon, a character needs a heat source and some iron, wood, or leatherworking tools. She also needs a supply of materials, the most obvious being the weapon or the pieces of the weapon to be assembled. Only a masterwork weapon can become a magic weapon,...
Pathfinder Core Rulebook wrote:
Weapons or armors fashioned from mithral are always masterwork items as well.
Pathfinder Core Rulebook wrote:

Adamantine is so costly that weapons and

armor made from it are always of masterwork quality

Allright, here is where I am going to switch from staunch defender of my position to devil's advocate.

In argument against my own interpretation::

An extremely strict re-read or the Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment, there is not an absolute guarantee that included set of gauntlets will, in any way, actually match the suit of armor that you are purchasing.

Further, as gauntlets are in the 'weapon' category within the Core Rulebook, and are not listed in the 'armor' category, there is no conflict in status between weapon and armor. The presence of gauntlets is merely a gimmick.

In other words: Your local armorer is well within his rights to choose to supply the druid with steel gauntlets to accessorize her suit of dragon scale. - He is equally well within his rights to provide the lordly person who can afford a 16,500 GP price tag to accessorize the suit of adamantine full plate with a set of non-masterwork gauntlets made out of rat hide. (EDIT: In which case, the only way to guarantee functional gauntlets is to spend the extra cost, bringing the price tag to 19,952 GP)

Where that argument breaks down::

1) Piecemeal armor rules are not part of core (unless your table has adopted piecemeal armor rules from Ultimate Combat) and therefore non-matching armor sets cannot work as armor. (EDIT: A strict interpretation, and likely needlessly so, but mentioned in response to the expected strict interpretation above)

2) There are ample examples (cited above) where the core states that a masterwork armor or shield can be made into a weapon "in its own right". Unfortunately, it is absolutely impossible to create a magic weapon without the weapon being masterwork. If the shield or armor cannot be considered to be a masterwork weapon, then it can never be crafted to be a magical weapon in the first place.

3) As it stands to reason that adamantine armor includes adamantine gauntlets (otherwise it would anger the lord who is misspending his tax revenues) and that dragon scale armor comes with dragon scale gauntlets (otherwise there would be a whole lot of druids needing to atone), gauntlets would fall into a 'grey area' as both armor and weapon at the same time, and therefore certain special materials would automatically be masterwork as both.

(EDIT, 4) The stricture against having a shield or armor being both enhanced as masterwork for an armor and being masterwork as an weapon states that "some" types of armor and weapons cannot be both, but fails to state both explicitly. There are more than enough examples in other sections that indicate a shield can be a weapon in its own right, or is considered to be a bludgeoning weapon for the purpose of an attack.


In the 'expanded' argument, I rely on a 'preponderance of the evidence' so to speak, as the majority of excerpts (after taking, quite honestly, a fine-tooth comb approach) lean in the direction of it being possible to make such things "in their own right", while the major argument against imples an unspecified list of "some types" where this may not be true.

So..., unfortunately, the jury is (probably) going to have be deadlocked on this one unless and until a specific FAQ is made on this one. (Not that this is, necessarily, important enough for a full-fledged FAQ)

Thanks again to Hugo Rune for providing me the fodder that I needed to see the other side of the argument and make an attempt at refuting it properly.

Also, thanks to James Risner for giving me a logical argument to puzzle through. I appreciate a worthy adversary on the other side of the debate table.

In a perverse sort of way, this actually kind of makes sense. Traditionally, sewing needles were made out of silver. It should stand to (a sort) or reason that mithril, which for all intents and purposes may as well be silver, turns out to be the next most efficient material to make what amounts to a sewing needle anyway. :)

James Risner wrote:
Your quote from the rulebook caries weight. The issue is we have different interpretations of the meaning.

In this case, established 'case law', AKA core is rather specific. - Where is there truly room for interpretation? And assuming that there is room for interpretation: What, exactly, is your basis for this interpretation?

I've explained (admittedly, probably over-explained) my interpretation of the available text, and fail to see how it can lead to any other conclusion.

How, specifically, is your conclusion derived? If there is no basis other than "I disagree", the conclusion is unsubstantiated and I cannot see how it carries weight.

James Risner wrote:
Your RAW, not my RAW. Plus you don't have a rule saying that a masterwork armor conveys the masterwork property to the Gauntlets when used as a weapon instead of as armor.

Agreed. However, there is a rule that explicitly states that adamantine armor and adamantine (and mithril, and blood crystal, and other specified materials) weapons are automatically of masterwork quality by virtue of their construction.

James Risner wrote:
The burden is on you, to show a rules quote that elevates something beyond the default.

I have met this burden. (Pathfinder Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment) Where is the corresponding citation of rules on the differing interpretation. - As far as I can tell, you have not yet met your own criteria.

I can't resist this one.

What about a dancing and defending +5 armor spike? That way you would only have to waste one standard action every four rounds or so.

I'm posting this one if only because how this character turned was the stereotypical 'straight man' when it came to comic relief, and not because he was all that odd of a concept to begin with.

A Lawful Neutral, Dwarven Cleric of Kols (Formerly of Torag) that is a dishonored outcast from his clan.

In short, he dishonored himself because a conflict of competing obligations, and in order to (eventually) be able to successfully complete all of his obligations he had to (temporarily) break a few oaths, and go adventuring.

His 'schtick' was that everything that he did had to be able to fit in with his code of honor, and with the law of the land. Personal honor trumped law.

To put the capstone on this. He was adventuring with a Vanara rogue/Ninja. A vampire drow rogue ninja. A pirate/fighter and a war criminal/follower of a warped combination of "God of War" and "God of Life and Death". - If he spent a day killing, he had to spend another day procrating in balance.

Somehow he never found himself at odds with that party, and always had plenty of reasons to perceive the actions (of a few of them) as honorable in his eyes. - It would take far to long to go into details, but suffice it to say this character turned out to be one of the more hilarious to play, despite being dour and serious.

James Risner wrote:
OS_Dirk, the only problem you have is that you think you are the one who gets to dictate the meaning of a rule and what the RAW interpretation should be. You are not.

In analogy, I can't get out of a speeding ticket by telling the officer "Sorry, but my interpretation is that the speed limit signs are in miles per hour and not kilometers per hour."

I'm not trying to set myself up as the absolute authority, and I do realize that not every interpretation that I make will be the absolute correct one.

However, I do expect that a direct quote from an authoritative source (IE: The Pathfinder Core Rulebook) carries more weight than an arbitrary statement to the effect that "I operate under a completely different set of rules/interpretation" without further elaboration or sourcing.

I genuinely want to understand your rationale here. As far as I can tell, your interpretation would lead to a pricing situation somewhere along these lines:

1,500 GP - Full Plate (Gauntlets Included)
15,000 GP - Upgrade from Steel to Adamantine (Heavy Armor)
150 GP - Masterwork Component (Armor)
2 GP - Additional Gauntlets
3,000 GP - Upgrade from Steel to Adamantine (Weapon)
300 GP - Masterwork Component (Weapon)
19,952 GP - Adamantine Full Plate & Additional Adamantine Gauntlets

I'm having trouble, here, finding where the rationale is for this when the words in the Core Rulebook are rather specific. It's a straightforward logical progression:

A set of gauntlets are included as part of a suit of full plate. A set price upgrades the material in the armor from steel to adamantine. Prices for adamantine weapons and armor automatically include masterwork at no extra cost. Therefore the set price of adamantine already includes the price of masterwork.

In which case, the total price for adamantine full plate, with gauntlets (that are also masterwork) shouldn't be in excess of 16,500 GP.

I completely agree if wasn't explicitly stated (as with steel, bone, bronze, etc) that the price of masterworking would have to be paid separately for both armor and weapon.

James Risner wrote:
Your RAW, not my RAW. Plus you don't have a rule saying that a masterwork armor conveys the masterwork property to the Gauntlets when used as a weapon instead of as armor.

Seriously, how is the Core Rulebook not RAW for pathfinder?

Pathfinder: Core Rulebook wrote:
Armor made from adamantine grants its wearer damage reduction of 1/— if it’s light armor, 2/— if it’s medium armor, and 3/— if it’s heavy armor. Adamantine is so costly that weapons and armor made from it are always of masterwork quality; the masterwork cost is included in the prices given below.
Pathfinder: Core Rulebook wrote:
Weapons or armors fashioned from mithral are always masterwork items as well; the masterwork cost is included in the prices given below.

There is absolutely no wiggle room for interpretation here. It doesn't matter how the weapon or armor came to exisit. If it's made out of mithril or adamantine it is masterwork. Period.


Of course, leather, steel, bronze, bone, wood, etc... don't have this assumption built in. I can see how a bunch of non-masterwork components came add up to a masterwork whole. (Obviously, the buckles and the straps for a masterwork breastplate don't necessarily need to be masterwork. The scabbard for the sword doesn't necessarily have to be masterwork either, etc.) - Obviously, for these materials the gauntlets would need a separate masterwork price for them as a weapon in addition to their status as an armor.

A masterwork shield (no spikes) does not get a masterwork bonus applied to it when making a shield bash because it was not masterworked as a weapon. - Unless it was made out of adamantine, mithril or other material that is considered masterwork in of itself, then it would ned a separate price.

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I've thought about this one for awhile, and have always thought that this would be one of those useful cursed objects.

The Mercenary Eyepatch

This is a black leather eyepatch with embroidered with a crimson skull and crossbones. A character wearing the eyepatch gains the benefit of continuous Deathwatch, and Discern Value as well as low-light vision and dark-vision through the covered eye, as if the eyepatch were not obstructing vision. However, for every minute that the eyepatch is worn it extracts 10 minutes of blindness (in that eye) from the character when it is taken off and cannot make use of the item again until the blindness dissipates.

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Hugo Rune wrote:
I would say that if the weapon can be wielded then it can be used for its dancing property. When it is dancing it does not carry the inappropriate size penalties; just as it does not gain or lose strength modifiers.

I definitely agree based on a "RAW" interpretation, but see this as problematic from a few standpoints.

Where is the STR score derived from? If it doesn't have a strength score, what's the point of dancing? A +1 dancing dagger that can't ever deal more than one point of damage, for 4 rounds, doesn't exactly strike me as having much of a useful purpose.

Also, what about the size penalty for the weapon itself as a creature? Theoretically, the weapon would have a size bonus/size penalty, in of itself, because it is fighting as its own creature. That's why I was referring to the Animate Objects spell for an example.

Hugo Rune wrote:
Reverse engineering some rationale: The weapon needs to learn the fighting style of the wielder to dance - that provides an explanation of why it inherits the BAB from the wielder.

I agree with this sentiment, for the most part, though the rationale has a few limitations. What about non-proficiency penalties? If the character isn't proficient, inheriting the fighting style should (arguably) cause the weapon to inherit the -4 non-proficiency penalty as well.

The 'Use Magic Device' question an also come up, as what stops an extremely clever caster from choosing to create a weapon that requires the activator to be a cloud giant. Does the weapon now assume the BAB of a cloud giant?


Unfortuantely, this is one of those situations where there is ample room for rules laywering on both sides, because none of the rules that could apply are very modular.

If there is a choice, I would stick to the lazy (houserule) way of doing it, and simply assume the weapon is always as if being wielded by the character in question, given that trying to plot the numbers between Bestiary, Ultimate Combat, and the Core Rulebook can be a bit tedius.

It's good to know that wielding a weapon one-step larger has finally been allowed, per Paizo, but that still douses a lot of the 'first-read' awesomeness of the titan mauler class.

I still believe that the houserule has merit for those that want to go for a more 'anime' style of weapon wielding, and push for weapons more than one size category bigger. - It makes it possible while making it prohibitive enough to prevent a character from going too far over the deep end.

It'd definitely add more flavor to the titan mauler prestige, and maybe the odd barbarian here and there who is willing to soak up punishment from ranged-touch attacks in order to deliver a devastating blow with an oversized weapon.

- Just my opinion, anyway, and thanks for the update.

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I'm rather curious to see what the official ruling on this one would be.

Dancing Weapon wrote:
It fights for 4 rounds using the base attack bonus of the one who loosed it and then drops.[/b]

If this is more or less the whole of it, then there should be absolutely no need to worry about the size penalty of the weapon, whatsoever, because the dancing quality only takes on the base attack bonus of the activator, and nothing else... All other things would be completely irrelevant.

(Which begs a whole new question: Could one, conceivably, emulate a better base attack when activating? Would emulating a creature that has a better base attack do the trick? - I realize I digress)

OK, back to topic.

How do we determine the AC, size bonus/size penalty of the weapon (as a creature), its strength and dex score, etc.

We should easily be able to calculate the hitpoints of the weapon (needed for sundering), but what about the rest? AC, size bonus/size penalty (as a creature), STR, DEX, etc?

Unless the weapon already has other stats from being sentient, I refer to the bestiary entry on animated objects spell. An animated object the size of a chair has a STR of 14 and is a medium creature. One the size of a wagon has a STR of 30 and is a huge creature.

Therefore, a dancing battering ram deals 3d6+10 damage, and has a +8 bonus to attack in addition to the activator's base attack bonus. (+10 from Str, -2 from size)

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In the "special materials" section of both Pathfinder Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment, a weapon or armor that is crafted from a certain special materials (mithril, adamantine, blood crystal, etc) is automatically masterwork.

So, if you're dealing with a complete suit of adamantine armor, the gauntlets are automatically masterwork, per RAW. There is no separate 300gp price from masterworking. The special material cost takes care of it.

Now, as far as a common steel gauntlet is concerned from a masterwork suit of armor. Unfortunately, on that one, I would have to agree with the others. It'd require +300gp to focus attention on the gauntlets to make them masterwork in terms of weapon efficiency.

I'm taking a leap here, that you read "oversized weapon", and thought that actually meant "overSIZEed weapon",

Unfortunately, the RAW for Titan Fighter / Titan Mauler is meant only to assist with the wielding of appropriately sized weapons (relative to your character's size), but were meant originally meant for larger creatures.

In example: a throwing knife that was originally sized for a hill giant (large) would make a passable dagger for a Halfling (small), provided the Halfling in question could figure a way cope with the balance and the grip being designed for much larger hands.

That is all that class feature does. Absolutely nothing else. Per RAW. (As written, I can't see this class feature serving a realistic purpose, outside of: 1- It keeps the rest of the party from stealing your stuff, because none of it is useable to anyone else because of the oversized grips and off-balance construction. or 2- it keeps you from having to go to town to get gear modified, if for some reason absolutely no one in your party has any inkling on how to re-size the grips on a pre-existing weapon.)

A lot of the reason RAW deliberately cops out on letting a character play around with wielding truly oversized weapons, is that it would be challenging to find a way to balance this under existing rules.

Imagine a level 1 half-orc barbarian wielding a an overzied greatsword. Would it be fun for the other players when the result to every encounter is "Orc Smash!", and every CR appropriate baddie is eliminated automatically with even a minimum damage roll?


That said: If you do entertain thoughts of a character wielding something on the order of Cloud's bastard sword from FF7, or Sanouske's horse killing sword from Ruroni Kenshin, then I offer a link to a houserule I had suggested on the topic awhile back.

I think it provides a decent framework to limit the abuse, while still making it possible for a character to wield such weapons within balance.

Homebrew "Fix" for Titan Prestige/Titan Fighter

(EDIT: Obviously, this wouldn't work for organized/PFS play. - Just put it out there as an alterative for those who might benefit from the idea in a non-organized game.)

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CampinCarl9127 wrote:
Imagine if the cost of a spell was "Copper worth 5000gp".

Somehow, I think this might actually be more thematically appropriate than running off to find diamond(s).

So..., the idiot fighter bites the dust again (probably because of the party rogue) and now the survivors need to scrounge up 500,000 copper pieces to pay the Charon for the return trip across the river Styx.

Could you imagine how long it would take the surrounding economies to recover from the near complete lack of ready cash?

It would take years for that economy to recover, and at least several months and the local underlords having to call in favors to the dukes and earls to try and make up the budgetary shortfalls out of tax revenues.

All of the land is going to feel bear the brunt of the ritual sacrifice necessary to bring back that fighter, all because of it requiring 500,000 copper.

Not only that, but could you imagine how much the reputation of the former adventurers of renown would be changed? Sure they routed that hobgoblin war band, and clipped the wings of that young adult red dragon, but now they've prevented an extended family of serfs from buying a plot of land and buying themselves out of slavery. - Think the populace will look at them the same way again? Think that this party is going to be paid by any of the local lords for troubleshooting ever again after a stunt like this? (EDIT: How long do you think it will be before this party squares up the balance scales with the those in authority?)

I'm also forgetting just how much copper 500,000 coins is, exactly. That calculates to something like 10,300 pounds worth, and would require at least 7 type IV bags of holding just to cart it around to the site where they plan to cast the spell. Somehow I doubt the party has more than one, meaning they'll have to go acquire 6 more somehow just to bring the spell components to the same spot.

Or..., maybe realizing that horrible costs associated with all of this they decide to break into the hoard of a copper dragon, hoping they can keep him busy long enough resurrect their friend because they all get melted from an acidic breath weapon.


OK, OK, I know I'm being a little facetious by this point, but I still think it's an interesting thought.

Anyway, in all seriousness, value has always been and will always be a sliding scale.

The whole point of the list prices in the book is to provide a frame of reference for relative value within Golarion. You could be adventuring on the elemental plane of earth, and now that "5,000gp" diamond in relative value could be dinner stolen from the king of the Xorn. (EDIT: I envision that diamond to be the size of a Volkswagen and cut brilliantly enough to outshine even the most arrogant paladin of the sun god.)

Whether or not diamond needs to be singular or whole doesn't even matter in that light. The only real measure is how difficult is the spell supposed to be in order to pull of in your setting. - If your party can afford to equip themselves with a bunch of +1 and +2 equipment, then they ought to be able to get access to a resurrection spell equally easily. - If it took six years of game time for the party to acquire a single +1 weapon, which turns out to be an artifact in this magic starved world, then resurrection ought to take 500,000 copper along with all of the difficulties that entails.

In reading through Merisiel's backstory from NPC Codex, I realized that there it wouldn't take much of a twist to shift her from a chaotic neutral path and into a chaotic evil one. I tried to keep Merisiel as close as possible to the original backstory, allowing all of her misadventures to add up to an eventual psychotic break that shapes her overall outlook and tactics in the mirror universe.

I did take some liberties with equipment, namely I assumed that Merisiel would be save coin by making things herself whenever possible to do so. If this is assumed, the build is easily within budget and with a decent margin to spare.

If list prices are must be used for everything, the build is somewhat, but not horrendously, over budget. However, there are two reasons that I do not see this to be a major issue: 1) The expected tactics and choices of feats outlined within the build make it unlikely that enough equipment would survive a fight in order for the spoils of war to be over budget. 2) If nothing else, changing all of the 'dozen daggers' that Merisiel is known to carry from masterwork to non-masterwork quality would easily cause the budget shortfall to disappear.

Mirror Universe Merisiel:

Mirror Universe Iconic Rogue (Merisiel) CR 4

XP 1200
Elf Rogue 4 (Poisoner, Bandit)
CE Medium Humanoid (Elf)
Init +6; Senses low-light vision; Perception +9
----- Defense -----
AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+3 armor, +4 dex)
hp 31 (4d8+8)
Fort +2, Ref +7, Will +1; +2 vs enchantments
Immune sleep
----- Offense -----
Speed 30 ft.
Melee masterwork kukri (fragile) +7 (1d4+2/18-20) plus 1 additional damage on first successful hit with weapon plus 1d4 bleed damage if weapon is broken after successful hit; masterwork blood crystal rapier +7 (1d6+2/18-20) plus 1 additional damage if target is bleeding
Ranged masterwork stone dagger (fragile) +7 (1d4+2/19-20) plus 1d4 bleed damage if weapon is broken after successful hit; masterwork obsidian dagger (fragile) +7 (1d4+2/19-20) plus 1d4 bleed damage if weapon is broken after successful hit); masterwork bone dagger (fragile) +7 (1d4+2/19-20) plus 1d4 bleed damage if weapon is broken after successful hit)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks Sneak Attack (2d6 damage plus 2 bleed damage)
----- Tactics -----
Before Combat Once something of a show-off, bitter experience has taught Merisiel the value of cold-blooded preparation in support of her ambush tactics. Her weapons, other than her blood crystal rapier, are always stored within poisoning sheathes dosed with woundweal. Her bronze kukri are kept constantly sharp. She keeps her studded leather armor well oiled with alchemical grease, especially when on the hunt.

She drinks a potion of blend as she begins to stalk her prey in order to give herself plenty of time to follow and study her target. She will drink a potion of anticipate peril as she begins to close to striking distance, increasing the chance of catching her opponents flat footed against her follow-up attacks. If she plans to use ranged attacks, she will also consume a potion of illusion of calm.
During Combat Merisiel makes sneak attacks on her foes to maximize the damage she can do with her daggers, kukris, and rapier.

She prefers to use a vicious combination of woundweal poison and primitive, fragile, weapons in order to inflict vicious bleeding wounds on her targets. She always chooses to break a fragile weapon on a sucessful hit.

She does not draw her blood crystal rapier until she has until she landed enough strikes to be confident that her foe will continue to bleed unless, of course, she has already thrown or broken all of her other weapons.
Morale Merisiel seeks to prove her own relative superiority against others above all else. However, her definition of 'superior' is flexible and she will always interpret her own actions in the best possible light.

She does not fight to the death unless cornered.
----- Statistics -----
Str 14, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 12
Base Atk +2; CMB +4 (+9 to escape grapple due to alchemical grease)CMD 18 (23 vs grapple due to alchemical grease)
Feats Skill Focus: Stealth; Weapon Finesse; Breadth of Experience; Splintering Weapon
Skills Acrobatics +11, Bluff +8, Climb +7, Craft: Alchemy +9 (+10 with tools); Craft: Armorsmith +6, Craft: Leatherworking +6, Craft: Weaponsmith +8 (+10 with tools), Disable Device +8, Escape Artist +11, Heal +4, Intimidate +8, Knowledge + 4, Perception +9, Profession +2; Sense Motive +7; Sleight of Hand +10, Stealth +14 (+19 including bonus from cloak, +23 with including bonus from cloak and Blend) Racial Modifiers +2 Perception
Traits Accelerated Drinker, Erratic Malefactor, Drawback: Paranoid
Racial Traits Keen Senses, Elven Immunities, Forlorn
Languages Common, Elven
SQ poison use, rogue talents (bleeding attack +2, finesse rogue), ambush, master poisoner +2
Combat Gear vial of woundweal poison (2), caltrops (3), marbles (3)
Other Gear pot of alchemical grease, blood crystal rapier, masterwork bronze kukri (2), masterwork bone dagger (2), masterwork obsidian dagger (2), masterwork stone dagger (6), vial of woundweal poison (12), poisoning sheath (12), silk rope (50ft), masterwork studded leather armor, cloak of elvenkind, potion of Anticipate Peril, potion of Blend, potion of Illusion of Calm, potion of True Strike, potion of Cure Light Wounds (6), masterwork bandolier (2), portable alchemy lab, masterwork artisan's tool, masterwork lock picks, whetstone, masterwork backpack

Merisiel's Mirror Universe Backstory:

Note: This is only very slightly edited from the version in NPC Codex.

The elves have a name for elven children unfortunate enough to be born and raised in human society—the Forlorn. Merisiel is one of these, born in the Varisian city of Magnimar to elven parents who were either unable or unwilling to raise a child on their own. Merisiel never learned the truth of it, for her parents left her in the care of the city's temple to Calistria. The priests raised Merisiel as a ward of the temple, but she had little patience for teachers and prayer. Eventually, she left the temple and spent many years on the streets of Magnimar, earning a living as a freelance thief. When her growing reputation as a thief became inconvenient, she decided to leave her home city to seek out new settlements to explore and enjoy.

Merisiel became a master at stowing away on ships, talking her way out of trouble, and finding her way in new societies. She's called dozens of cities home, leaving one for another when her companions outgrew her or she outlived them. Life has been hard for Merisiel, made more so by the fact that she's always found it difficult to master skills that come easily to her companions. Faced often with situations where a quick tongue or stealth won't suffice to keep her out of trouble, Merisiel has taken to carrying dozen knives. When things go wrong with her carefully laid plans (as they almost always seem to do), the knives come out and what needs to be done gets done. To date, Merisiel hasn't met a problem that can't, in one way or another, be solved with a blade.

Each of the cities she's spent time in carries special memories for Merisiel. In cosmopolitan Kintargo, she fell in love for the first five times, but only the last none of those relationships survive to this day. In bustling Corentyn, she spent five years in prison for a crime she wasn't able to pin on someone more deserving, a sentence exceeded by her stay in Almas (still her record—ten years in jail). In Cassomir she helped rob a corrupt jeweler, in Oppara a decadent and cruel magistrate, and in Sothis a narrow-minded priest of Abadar. Yet in each of these cases her companions betrayed her and left her penniless. She spent many years in Katapesh and Absalom, but the size of these cities eventually grew to be too much even for her. Recently, she's come home to Magnimar Cheliax with a new purpose in life. Finally matured to the point where she's willing (and perhaps able) to learn from her mistakes, she hopes to make something more of her life than merely infuse her bad decisions laced with periodic bouts of viscious excitement and torturous fun.

Merisiel's life experiences have taught her to enjoy things to their fullest take advantage of others as they the opportunities occur—it's impossible to tell when the good times might end. She's open and expressive ruthless and vicious, always on the move and working on her latest batch of plots to make easy money prove her relative superiority. In the end, it comes down to being faster and more ruthless than everyone else—either on her feet or with her beloved razor-sharp blades. She wouldn't have it any other way.

Sources Used:
Pathfinder Adventure Path: Hell’s Vengeance Player’s Guide, Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide, Pathfinder Player Companion: Pathfinder Society Primer, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Class Guide, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Player’s Guide, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Campaign, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Equipment, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Adventurer's Armory, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Combat, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: NPC Codex

Assuming you fulfilled the ONE entry requirement that would leave the door open for you initially being non-evil aligned.. Can you honestly say that non evil alignment would even be a remote possibility after you have acquired this 'Completion Benefit'? I would say certainly not

Yes, actually. I'm not saying that being Evil (with a capital 'E')doesn't make this feat much, much, easier to qualify for. - I maintain, simply, that it is both plausible and possible for a character of a non-evil alignment to qualify and complete.

I take it as a given that semantic discussions on the word "cause" are completely irrelevant, because trying to push this to extremes only serves to make it completely impossible to qualify for the feat, or makes it so everyone qualifies for the feat. (I went into more detail on this earlier)


1) If you're a Holy Paladim of Pharasma eradicating as many undead as you can come across, without exception, you're automatically Lawful Good. It maters not one whit whether or not the undead that you're destroying serve a benefical purpose in society, nor does it matter whether or not they become undead willingly or not. They all must die.

A local church happens to find out that you're a travelling Paladin, so they hire you and your follows to seek out a known undead and kill it. - It's out of your way, but... in order to gain renown and glory with your sect and that having a few extra gold crowns to your pocket wouldnt' hurt when it comes to travelling expenses, you take on the job.

You find out that a wizard wanted to see his wife again, so he raises her as a ghoul, eating only animal flesh. She dislikes her form, but loves her husband, and chooses to continue to exist to offer whatever peace to his tortured soul that she can. (Trite, sure, but this is an RPG). Aforementioned holy Paladin kills her on sight.

Now there is no one left to check the wizard from going on a murder spree of his own in bloodlust. The villages that bear the brunt of this seek their revenge against the paladin, because the grief stricken wizard would never have gone on his rampage if not for his wife's second death. (Again kind of trite, but plausible in an RPG setting)

Or, a slightly more M. Night Shyamalan approach - The surrounding village is some sort of blited place where grieving family members have taken to placing their dead in order that they're guaranteed to come back as some form of undead, with the aggrieved family members reaminin there to monitor, and keep them from becoming harmful.

Could not one see a Paladin of Pharasma absolutely destroying such a heinous affront against the nature of things? This is a lawful good act, and completely in keeping with the Paladin code... technically. Or wait..., is it evil? You just murdered a bunch of innocents who hadn't actually harmed anyone. Hmm... - Could it just be possible for a Lawful Good character to kill a bunch of non-combatants too, and find people who want to see justifiable revenge as much?

2) You're an adventurer hired by a group of townsfolk to eradicate the local goblin menace in order to prevent them from raiding and being a general nuisance. So far, none of the villagers have actually ever been harmed in the raids, except financially, but it is significant to them because this particular tribe is larger than normal.

You go ahead and kill off the goblins, accept your payment, and shove off. You return to the village a month latter for friendly R&R, and you find the village devoid of all life. - Little did you know, the goblins had been busily eating of a very poisonous and fast growing fungus, preventing it from spreading into the countryside. Your actions directly caused the death and dissolution of the village.

Sooner or later relatives of the former villagers (from neighboring villages) find out how your action caused the death of loved ones, and they hire another adventurer to find you and bring you to justice.

Alternate scenario: A group of hobgoblins that have been relying on the local goblin tribe for tithes decide they don't like you killling off the breeding stock of their lesser cousins and send one of their best fighters after you.

3)You're a knight (or mercenary if that makes you feel better) besieging the castle of an enemy king. The dastardly coward decides to relocate entire families to the walls in order to discourage the use of trebuchet, catapults, and ballistae. - You're a knight (realistically) only because this is what you had to be in order to be prosperous, and actually own land in your kingdom (feudal system at work), and lay siege to the castle at the expense of the innocents at the walls.

You're found to have been the major reason for the success of the battle, and the besieged king seeks you out for it. (Or family members of the deceased if that makes you feel better, because how could an "Evil" person what to punish others for the violation of his laws?)


(EDIT) It's really, really, easy to come up with plausible reasons for this feat to apply to all sorts of situations if you think on it. The very, very, funny thing about trying to take a position of moral superiority here is that the more you try to be absolute, the more credence you lend to the argument I propose simply because of alignment as it is applied in Pathfinder.

Is killing noncombatants always evil? Nope. It's OK as long as the noncombatants are Orc or Goblin.

What about the Lawful Good Paladin killing a bunch of noncombatant villagers because they were complicit in a mass "animate dead" ceremony to bring back loved ones? That's absolutely good, because after all a Paladin must be lawful good in order to be a paladin.

Are laws always written by good people? Could not an evil society also have its own laws? Ravenloft? Anyone?


Seriously, whether or not the predominat majority of characters would be evil in order to take this feat is not at issue. - What is at issue is the fact that characters of any alignment could manage to take, and complete this feat- even if the road is a little bit more interesting than the stock answer of: "He's got to be evil, and just love killing people"

(EDIT) - If it helps, I can think of a probably one of the best examples from popular culture:

Sam & Dean Winchester - How many innocents do you think that these chuckleheads managed to kill? (both on purpose and not) Which of them hasn't made the requisite kill tally in spades by alternating selfish-bouts of getting the other brother resurrected at great cost to the rest of the world? Who here wants to make the argument that they are outright evil? (Discounting the odd bout of slumming it with the demons, depending on the season) Think someone, somewhere want's revenge? (Oops. Forgot. That plot-point was overdone by the time the 11th season rolled around)

Point is: Evil people don't have a monopoly on evil acts.

Combine that with... I can't remember the exact name of the feat off hand, but it's related to spell mastery. Requires 15 ranks of spellcraft, spell mastery, and 2 previous metamagic feats.

Gain the ability to ignore the cost of metamagic for one specific spell.

Fighter/Rogue (Even fighter, Odd Rogue) for 15 levels, 2 Levels Cleric, 2 Levels Wizard. 1 Level Theurge. 1 Level Arcane archer.

Prepare a single level 1 slot for unlimited uses of True Strike as normal, prepare all the rest of the spell slots with Quickened True strike.

Or, almost as cool but makes it harder to shoehorn it in would be whatever spell that creates a phantom arrow that targets /all/ enemies the same as the one that killed /one/ enemy. - Unlimited uses of that as a follow up to a hail of arrows of slaying would be rather broken.

Either way, massive carnage follows.

I think there was a spell to send an avatar of yourself, as like a plant in the shape of you, in your place. I forget how it was done by my GM did that with us once.

Skin Send

You cause your own skin to peel off your body and animate as a magical creature you control. You may project your consciousness to your animated skin or return it to your actual body as a standard action.

It's a level 2 spell, so fairly cheap, if grotesque and painful. - If your BBEG has trusted advisors (or is willing to lock himself in a vault that only he can open from the inside), he can let himself get into whatever horrible situation the PC's want to put him in, die easily, and completely screw with them when they realize the lengths he will go simply to screw with them...

Add an Aegis of recovery for extra safety, in case there's say an earthquake that causes some damage to your helpless body before you can get your skin back to you. (Basicaly I'd consider this spell knowing I'm probably not going to get my skin back, but also knowing it would completely mindscrew the PC's to deal with defeating (deflating?) nothing more than an empty bag of skin.)

(EDIT) I've played my share of rather psychotic evil characters, and could easily see doing this to a group of adventuring heroes to mess with them.

Inviting the PC's to a dinner party is another good one, as was previously mentioned. My take on this, below, excerpted from an earlier post of mine.


That evening, the party receives an embossed, formal, invitation from the lord of the keep (wizard) to a formal dinner/masquerade party.

Unknown to the party, the wizard already had enough time to question the locals about (generally) what the party had to offer, and took steps.

While the party was sitting down to the meal, and the lady-vampire (disguised, of course) was using a wand of wall of force blocking the party from pushing out their chairs too far, in the guise of directing servants from cane-point. ( No one saw through the sleight of hand check to conceal the use of the wand.)

The lord had a spell prepared that made shrapnel out of any convenient objects, and would reflect off of walls, and also had both the metamagic feat that allowed spells to do push-back effects and the feat that allowed a spell to be shaped. -

It basically turned all of the cutlery and silverware into a giant meat-grinder of death, all for the application of a 1st level spell made a 4th level spell from two metamagic feats, and six uses of wall of force.

This creative application of two basic spells freed up the majority of the wizard's repertoire to target specific PC's with specific kinds of spells. He even had a scroll of harm with which to save his lady-love in case she got too close to becoming a vapor.

If you wanted to adapt this, it wouldn't be hard to replicate this with a wand of "wall of force" and good slight of hand for your rogue, using it as a stick to direct servants and a good scroll of telekinesis or maybe animate objects. Turn all the cutlery into animated missiles that the PC's can't escape because the walls of force have them hemmed in.

You'd keep them from pulling out their chairs to fight you, before they even start to think about fighting you.

(EDIT) Heck, combine both ideas and /really/ mess the PC's minds. Your BBEG wouldn't have to be a very high level to pull it off, and you could allow your BBEG's skin to be shredded by his own attack, allowing him to work in the shadows until the PC's discover that he is actually still alive. - Just make sure to use smaller walls, or make sure the servers know in advance which side to approach from to avoid having the PC's discover the walls too early into the meal.

Many of the people arguing that an executioner could take this feat agree that it probably isn't the intent - but believe that reading what the text actually says without the associations created by the title results in interesting story opportunities. (If this were called "Practiced Killer" I think there would be less resistance to the idea that an executioner could qualify.) Personally, I think that since the ultimate intent of the story feat is to create story, it is reasonable to consider all possible stories that a feat could create rather than just the ones that the designers were thinking of at the time they wrote it.

To anyone who doubts this, would yell at a player because they decided to take the feat "Hammer the Gap", who only ever wielded axes?

Who would yell at a player for taking "Clustered Shots", for a backstory that doesn't involve being a drunken Irishman (or insert equally horrible racial stereotype here. I am willing to offend everyone equally, in this case :P)

There are hundreds of feats in Pathfinder and the precursor of 3.5, and the rules text has always been the controlling language, and not the name of the feat. - Who here hasn't looked at the name of the feat, or the flavor text and thought to themselves "Awesome!" only to find it was neutered in the actual rules language?


I want to underline this again, because "cause" is the ambiguous word in the feat.

Cause in this context can mean either:
- A reason for doing something.
- A movement or higher ideal someone believes in.

I can see taking that tack, but even with taking that tack it, applying this standard works out to be the same. Either the feat is open to everyone who can meat one of the criteria or it restricts everyone from qualifying for the feat, because no one could ever possibly qualify.

Reductio ad absurdum:

1) If you want to completely exclude "fighting for a cause" in the 1st definition, it is silly. It is completely impossible to divorce action from a reason for taking the action.

Question: "Why didn't he kill Bobby instead of Sue"

Answer: "Well, you see, Sue lives three miles away and Bobby happened to be within convenient choking distance."

Question: "Why did he kill gate guard?"

Answer: "He was in the way."

See? Silly, and impossible to divorce the action from all contributing factors that constitute 'a reason for action'.

2) If you want to completely exclude "fighting for a cause" in the 2nd definition, this is equally silly. The Orc known as 'War Pig' fights for money. However, 'War Pig' is hired on behalf of a patron that fights for <insert righteous cause here>. Since 'War Pig' is fighting for this patron, he is therefore also fighting on behalf of this same righteous cause. Thusly: 'War Pig' cannot have the benefit of this feat, because he is fighting for a cause.

Quod erat demonstrandum

Now, I've read over this feat, and is there ANY WAY this isn't deep into evil territory? You're going around killing helpless people, you can't really justify that as even arguably neutral, can you?

@nennafir & @PossibleCabbage (and others, like myself, who were focusing on the wording when framing their arguments) - I couldn't resist taking another stab at the argument from the logical point of view. However, I am now going tot rack back to the original intent of the thread.

The OP basically wanted to make sure that a character taking this feat wouldn't immediately derail his campaign by introducing a chaotic evil scourge.

I think we've managed to prove that it is quite possible for there to be an interpretation that works with every possible alignment - regardless of whether or not we (as individuals) have to say in terms of morality.

In a lot of respects, alignment doesn't quite capture the whole of a situation.

Just pointing out that there is a fair amount of wiggle-room with the feat.

A character could as easily qualify for the story feat from a background as a loyal retainer, an executioner, a mercenary auxiliary in a war, or as assassin.

Of course, an assassin character is required to be evil alignment (in most cases), though an argument could be made in favor of neutral alignment in some cases. (Those who are with a cultural norm in the "I am the weapon" philosophy)

It isn't about avoiding consequences of choices, here. I am not arguing that the killing of innocents is a *good* thing by any means, but I am not about to go so far out on the limb to state that it is *always* evil.

Take a modern analogue.

Someone joins the military because they can't afford post high-school education. This person becomes a jet-jock, and remains one, primarily because they love to fly (personal gain) and not necessarily out of patriotism. - Is the act of dropping a bomb on a military target that happens to have civilians nearby inherently evil?

A less modern analogue.

A mercenary fights in wars for profit. A mercenary is hired to be part of the auxiliaries in a legitimate war, for a legitimate king who doesn't have /quite/ enough solders to take part. - The mercenary is obviously doing this for the pay, but is taking part of a 'just war' inherently evil?

A mercenary could be (though of course, isn't necessarily going to always be) following the same rules of warfare as the king's own troops. Medieval warfare, and warfare in general, is not a pretty thing. Non-combatants will die.

Another one. Anyone remember the drummer boy? What about other non-combat camp followers to an army? They are not, by definition, combatants but are /definitely/ a part of the war effort. - Who usually took an arrow or a bullet first? The drummer boy. Why? It worsened morale, and helped cause confusion in the ranks because there were no longer drum beats to signal or keep cadence. - Is taking a legitimate military target an inherently evil act, even if one is in the military specifically for personal gain?

Are any of things "good" things? Obviously not. However, the inherent evil of the act (such as it is) leaves room for a grey interpretation. An evil act does not necessarily cause a character, or human being, to become an unrelenting black hole of evil as many of the posters so far are attempting to argue.


Lawful Evil and Neutral Evil characters can still find themselves (generally) on the side of good, despite the alignment. Lawful Neutral, and Neutral characters have plenty of room for a background of evil acts so long as their overall outlook hasn't skewed too far. Even the average Paladin who is too prideful for his own good could qualify for this feat. He may technically be lawful good, but his actions may speak volumes in the other direction. (Oath of vengeance anyone?)

I would be worried about DM'ing for a group of Chaotic Evil characters, because it is extremely difficult to deal with a group that wants to spread suffering and chaos for the fun of it.

However, I have absolutely no problem with a group of Lawful Evil characters or Neutral Evil characters. Is the morale compass always pointing north? No. - However, even these do not have to the charactured out into an "all evil, all of the time" outlook.

(EDIT) In fact, one of the more hilarious aspects of playing an all-evil party was the time when our characters decided to oust a count from his lands because he was too evil for our tastes. (He double crossed us on a contract), and we proceeded to run the lands on our own, and in proper fashion. - None of us did it for the right reasons, but we were all, somehow, managing to do right by our people- despite our evil inclinations. (Of course, this lead to us making use of local goblin tribes and inexpensive labor that no one cares about dying by the thousands, making peace with the nearby orc and orgre tribes because we simply didn't care if they were attacking /other/ people, as long as they weren't attacking ours, etc.) - We weren't forbidden from being good leaders simply because we were evil.


Now, this said, if the player can't come up with a background sufficient to justify the feat... fine, than I agree the feat shouldn't be allowed. - However, I disagree with lumping the feat into a requires evil alignment category right off the bat, because Alignment is not a trap, it's a general outlook that encompasses more than one possibility.

Why has no one stopped to consider the very nature of the feudal system when looking at this feat?

What Knight didn't fight for his own glory as much as for the glory of his liege-lord or king?

King A is at war with King B. Army A is sieging the castle of King B. In the first hours of the siege, the Knight in charge is going to order that all of the farm fields in the surrounding hamlets and the crofter's cottages be razed to prevent further resupply of King B's garrison.

How many "intelligent non-combatants" do you think die in this process? This is nothing more than war as usual to the average feudal mindset.

How many more do you think die as the siege engines are directed at the city gates and walls, and some overly and land within the protected settlements?

How many more die when starvation and disease set in?

When you send a detachment of soldiers to block up the water supplies, how many "intelligent non-combatants" do you think die then?

I ask you, does fighting loyally for your liege-lord or king qualify as evil?

None of the situations above are anything more than acceptable methods of war to the age of war that this concerns. There is no need for special targeting of civilians to even qualify for the story feat, necessarily.

All that is needed is someone who cares for his own personal glory and lineage (or income) as much as he cares for the honor and glory of his liege or king.

(EDIT) Now, I do agree that to the modern reader, all these tactics are avoided insomuch as possible. Howevever, no successful war can be waged without understanding that civilian casualties are to some degree unavoidable.

You could be a group of Holy Knights out to cleanse Castle Vampire of its undead blight, and end up killing enough non-combatants simply because of the potential for the vampires keeping feed-stock within the castle walls. What stereotypical Paladin /isn't/ prideful? Could this not also qualify?

--- In the end, I agree with many of the others that stated that morally grey is the way to best interpret this.

I can see reasonable limits to racial templates, but can't see a practical reason to limit racial heritage feats.

If one truly wants to use up all of their feat slots so that way they can be punished by every bane weapon in existence... so be it.

I know this has been said before, but to add my voice to the many. If I were to make a ruling on this as a DM call, I would personally allow my players take multiples if they want. - Risks outweigh the rewards by quite a large measure.

A couple of things to bring up, but not a really large post this time around either.

On the hit location front: It might be worthwhile to look up an old system called FUDGE. It had a pretty decent way of handling wounds that had overall impact on performance.

It's probably not exactly what you're looking for, but it might an overall look at the mechanics might give you a couple of ideas.

It isn't unlike the vitality/wounds variants of hitpoint for d20/Pathfinder, but carried it a bit further without being too overly complex.


As far as attacker vs defender, I think the "Army of Two" video game may have an insight, as far as the concept of 'Aggro' is concerned.

If it were d20, you could do away with the opposed rolls but throw circumstances bonuses or negatives out as Red Force and Blue Force engage each other. - Each person only has so much attention to go around, and the less attention someone has the less effective they are going to be at defending against attacks.

In that way, it isn't so much Hide and Seek (or Perception vs Stealth) as it would become Focus vs Distraction. - Not quite the 'Aggro' system that that particular video game has, but something that mike the be able to make use of the stealth mechanic that your game proposes, and bring it forward into situations where there is not stealth, but there definatley is a lot of "noise" vs "silence". You can make the question of who hits who, in part, a matter of who is able to focus on the task at hand better.

You were kind of already there in the last post in terms of opposed tactics checks, but figured I would put this out as a possible consideration.

It might make more sense as opposed to the typical "armor class" system, and help give a static (though varying) bar to the typical attack, always assuming that someone is trying to make use of what's available as cover and concealment when fighting.


Still not a very fleshed out thought, but... figured I would put it out there as an idea.

In the end it all boils down to how much thought the player is willing to put towards the character and towards the character actions later.

In my group, I'm playing about the least combat effective character that I possibly could. His role is to talk the party into and out of trouble. Sometimes he fights. A year or two ago (game time) he had a life and death struggle with a beach crab, and the crab very nearly came close to winning. (By the way, that was at level 6)

The rest of the table plays characters who don't think about what they're getting into and my little coward is often the one attempting to apply the brakes so we actually do some preparation before a battle. - It doesn't always work, but often enough.

You can have the most optimized character builds on the block, but if you're not willing to do basic common sense things like gear up with holy weapons before taking a fight to a group of demons, it doesn't matter all that much.

In the end I tend to think of it is failure to optimize the situation, rather than failure to optimize the character.

It tends to work out about the same for my group, too. We often end up starting at level 2 or 3, and more often than not the campaign is done by the time we hit level 15/16.

We had one epic level (sort of) campaign, but that was cobbled from the remains of a lot of previously fun campaigns that had ended too early.

An item that I had introduced for a player who had followed Gorum with a side of corrupted Pharasma. (His whole thing was whenever he had caused death, he had to eventually spend time engaging in the act of causing life)

The (cursed) amulet of fertility.

1) If both parties are fertitle, the amulet % change of conception increases to the point of being near-certain but has a companion % of making the wearer permanently infertile.

2) If a wearer is infertile, increases % change of conception but risks death of the wearer. If participant is infertile, causes extra risk to make the wearer infertile.

3) If conception is normally not possible (at all), such as both infertile, incompatbile creature type, etc - it becomes possible but automatically kills the wearer if conception is achieved. (If the wearer is female, it kills the wearer shortly after birth)

The idea behind it was that a cleric of Pharasma was the victim of a violent assault some time in the past, and decided that the amulet would be a balancing force against such acts, as repeated use would guarantee new life coming in to the word, and likely cause compensatory death of the frequent user of the amulet.

<quote>Edit 2: and i would actually like to go as in depth as possible with this. i understand i am asking alot with that. but we have alot of casters in our group. this is stuff that could apply to almost everyone in my group. so the more in depth we can get into city building with magic the happier i and im sure my group will be. and of course anyone else who is interested in this as well.</quote>

True enough, CraziFuzzy, I put down a pretty large post. - Just put out the sequence of events as I saw it, to give food for thought.

If the Ultimate Campaign build rules are enough, awesome, it can save a lot of worrying about the logistics.

In my experience, though, nearly any player that ends up with good chunk of land starts off as a lowly adventurer "purchasing" that plot of land at the end of a sword.

In some cases the logistics end up determining what kind of Kingdom you're going to be able to have.

As an example, in one of more recent campaigns I was in, our group of evil adventurers was hired a local count to clear an old abandoned monestary of monsters. We did the job and got double crossed. (We were all rather evil, but tended to have enough of a code to keep our contracts.)

We ended up taking over his lands, getting official recognition from the king, and starting making that little burg the most prosperous county in the kingdom, one evil brick at a time.

The 'kingdom' only had two seaports, on either coast of the continent, and much of the middle was undefended and overrun by monsters with pockets of civilization here and there. It was /ripe/ for a bunch of power hungry evil bastards to take over and slowly mold to their own image. - We made use of every advantage that our lands, its neighbors, and its materials had to offer.

My personal favorite part of this, was the fact that my character personally corrupted the local goblins into a variant form of Pharasma worship. - All over our county, instead of raiding, goblins could be found doing /all/ of the most dangerous construction work, secure in the knowledge that when they died (and boy, the casualty rates in goblin engineering are astronomical) would live forever immortalized in the work that they were doing.

It kept the goblins busy, kept the population down as they would die by the thousands trying to erect bridges, mine materials, quarry stone, build roads, etc. All we had to do in reconompense was make sure each little monument of engineering had a plaque on it somewhere saying "Stinkpits died putting up this pylon." - It was beautiful.

Anyway, I digress a bit. The point is that sometime the logistics are part of the fun and part of the challenge.

Will go in for a bit more detail, then.

1) You're going to have to narrow down the location as much as possible. Has your party already 'liberated' a suitable location from a less than willing opposition force? Are there other civilization centers nearby? What material resources are nearby? What kind of terrain is out there between your soon to be settlement and the nearest population centers? Are there roads?

It doesn't have to be insanely specific, but a good overall idea as to who/what/where will make the next step a lot easier.

2) You've established that you want the good mountaintop fortress, and maybe having the city within the mountain, nearby caverns, or maybe in the valley/plains surrounding the area.

Next step, here, is trying to determine the sort of culture that you want to foster.

If you want to have a very hardy and battle efficient people, it's hard to beat Sparta.

It was illegal for anyone of the upper classes to engage in trade. Everyone of sufficient rank had an army of slaves to generate income. The only people allowed to trade were an underclass of seedy merchants, and even then only with coins that had been deliberately quenched in pickle brine in order to prevent the metal from ever actually having any real value except as a trade token within Sparta.

This pretty much guaranteed that the Spartan culture remained isolated from other cultures, except for those Spartans that were sent off to war and forced to come to grips with foreign methods.

3) Once you've established the sort of culture you want to foster, you've also established the kind of industries that you want to back. - If you want a war like people, obviously you want to have industries and trades to support the method of war you intend to wage.

In your case, you're going to /definately/ need an army of farmors to keep the mountaintop forest in food. You're going to need a good supplies of millers, bakers, brewers to make the staples. You're also going to need several competent alchemists to make sure you can store a bunch of supplies against the onset of siege as an example.

Don't neglect road building and bridge building. You can't have a decent sized populace without defense, and you can't have an effective and economical defense without being able to get the relatively small number of garrison troops from place to place.

5) Now, back to the original purpose of the post.

a) If your character is in good terms with the Dwarves. USE THE DWARVES. You will probably benefit more from throwing the Dwarves a cushy kickback than you would by snubbing them and hiring some random spellcaster to get the work done in an instant.

There are few things worth to the Dwarven Psyche than failing to give a task the appropriate respect, by taking the time to do it right. Digging a giant latrine? Use a spell. Creating a cavern destined to become the chambers for your church or great hall? Use the right aritisan.

b) Taking aside the above, don't be afraid to use spellcasting where spellcasting is due, just be aware that the costs can mount up... fast.

Building a moat? A "move earth" well is a decent option. As a 6th level spell, it'll cost somewhere around 3,300 for a scroll or 990 gp for a spellcaster (assuming one will do it for minimum book price), but can move 5,565,000 cubic feet of dirt around in four hours time. (compare that against how much dirt a ditch digger can move around in 4 hours with a shovel, and "move earth" becomes rather economical)

Opening up the mountainside? You're going to be a bit dispointed when you start looking at "transmute rock to mud". A standard scroll will run something like 2,250 gp or 675 gp direct from the caster. However, that will only net you 9,000 cubic feet (18 10x10x10 cubes) of rock that still has to be flushed out of the cave or hauled out. It'd be enough for roughing out your lordly chambers, but pricy to build the entire fortress this way. - Dwarves would probably be cheaper.


There are definitely ways to accomplish this, but you're going to need to take a holistic approach as much as possible. Sometimes having allies take care of it needs you better rewards in the long run.

You tend to get people to like you more when you owe them favors, more so than when they owe you favors. (So long as you're not a complete welch or deadbeat that is) If you work with others when you /can/ instead of when you /must/, you might build connections that your community wouldn't otherwise have.

Outside of that, the Paizo Ultimate Camptain book or the even the old old D&D 3.5 Stronghold Builder's Guide (the only reason I refer to it at all is that it sticks to the topic of building strongholds, where Ultimate Campain covers a few more topics) - I would read Stronghold Builder's guide for ideas, but use Ultimate Campain for the mechanics (personally, as I access own Stronghold from before converting to Pathfinder, and have access to Ultimate Campaign in my group)

The quick answer to your question is, "Yes".

It's a fantasy oriented system, be it D&D or Pathfinder. - You're supposed to be able to things like this, but it all comes down to your character's ability, wealth, power, and influence.

I would simply look up, google, Pathfinder SRD (this is a Pathfinder/Paizo site, afterall) or d20 SRD.

The section you're looking for, as far as price, is "good and services". Towards the end, you'll find prices for spellcasting.

Keep in mind (and in either source, the text will warn you), spellcasters generally do not like to leave home to do this sort of work. A spell that you can get (eventually) cast in town for a reasonable price may cost you more to hire a wizard to cast on site, if they're willing to do it at all.

As far as binding an earth elemental, you're going to need spellcasters with Protection from (good/evil/chaos/law) type spells, some form of planar binding or gate spell, and an appropriate bribe to give the elemental.

Elmentals and outsiders don't work for free. You need to be able to make a contract with them. (Spell rules text in either SRD will pretty well cover this.)

(EDIT) Removed some extra text, was going to go in depth but figured that being able to look up the SRD's would make the job easier in the long run.

Are you looking at quasi-permanent increases here, or are you looking at methods of stacking on circumstantial bonuses on a relatively small time scale?

<quote> As an example that I could foresee happening, they have a strength at +6 and a charisma at +2 and have pissed off someone in the prison who has challenged them to a fight in 2 days time.</quote>

STR - If goal here is to bulk up short time scales (like two days), then the kind of physical activity needed to build up muscle strength will probably decrease the character's chances to survive the fight to come, rather than increase them.

Bottom line: How are you going to fight effectively when your muscles are already fatigued and worn out from the intense workouts you've been doing? - What's left for the fighting?

It's hard to see how to pull this one in two days time unless you plan on having a character rely on the prison black market, and drug up before the fight.

DEX - This one might be slightly easier to pull off on a short time scale, in that stretches/calisthenics are much lower impact than trying to 'bulk up' - Hard to see this as much more than a circumstance bonus to opposed checks, though, for so short a time frame.

CON - Sort of with strength on this one. Black market drugs/get sweet with the prison nurse. (On short time scale). In the long time scale, everyone who survives the prison food is probably having the same advantage.

INT - Six..., no five P's. (Proper Planning Prevents ... Poor Performance). - I could see how boning up on a subject would give you a circumstance bonus to checks related to the subject. - Hard to see this as a permanent thing without continued study.

WIS - Thinking something on the lines of relaxation techniques/medication techniques, etc. Stressed out people don't notice things anywhere near as well as people who aren't completely stressed out. - If the character can somehow displace themselves (for a short time) from the reality of prison, there's a good chance that this would translate to better awareness, even on a short time scale.

CHA - Bribery? Donate all of your cigarettes to neutral to mildly helpful parties to increase their attitude? - Hard to see how to permanent increase this one, as it tends to be regarded as 'force of personality'. - There's a very good chance that having a too large of an ego to bother caring for others landed the character in prison in the first place. (Given that in most systems, charisma is more of force of personality measurement than an appearance/manners one)


On the longer time scale, though, I am with Ciaran on having the player figuring out how they intend to deal with this. - However, I probably wouldn't allow the bonus to be considered permanent unless the character spent a reasonable amount of time to maintain the edge.

IE, you do hard work-outs for six months straight to get an edge in strength. That character had better be able to keep up the work-out routine (in a reduced fashion) in order to maintain the edge. If the character gets thrown into solitary confinement shortly after, there is a good chance that a lot of that bulk would go in time, depending on how long he has to go before being allowed access to the exercise equipment again.

Ditto for Intelligence requiring continued study, Wisdom requiring continued focus/meditation/relaxationsion training, Con requiring continued eating of crappy prison food, etc.

1) I disagree on the defender being powerless, but do concede that the defender has a built in (initial) disadvantage. - Your defender doesn't have to dodge the bullet, your defender only has to dodge the attacker's point of aim. - You would be surprised to look up security camera footage from various shootings that have occurred in enclosed spaces.

Sometimes a hail of bullets can be exchanged back and forth while neither party manages to hurt the other, or bystanders. (Of course, the exact opposite does happen often enough, sadly.)

I see it more as a stealth vs perception issue followed by an initiative vs technique issue.

If your defender isn't aware, the attacker takes the shot, given. If your defender is aware, I think that the attacker's ability to aim should be tested against the attacker's ability to dodge, at least to some limited degree.

2) Kind of like the hit location being a factor, but have tended to want to avoid tracking this except for critical hits/threats or deliberate called shots.

A possible compromise to this, that seemed to work well when I had done it, is to declare point of aim prior to a combat roll, such as "I'm going for the head", and have one number on the hit location die be the target the attacker was going for with the others being typically random, if the shot warranted tracking.

3) I like this quite a bit. I have tended to have my NPC's take 10 on certain checks as a simplification for judging outcomes, and to keep particularly powerful NPC's from neutering the PC's completely.


In order to parse this out, I propose a tactical example.

You have a family of defenders in a rural, two story farm house. You have a squad of attackers approaching from the cover/concealment of a forest. In between the house and the forest is a clear-cut yard, just large enough to prevent it from being covered in a quick dash.

In reality, there is a good chance that /neither/ side notices the other, at least not for a while.

How do you address something like this? Does it immediately become a battle of attrition as soon as someone makes the first mistake?

If someone on the attacking side gets bored and exposes themselves a defender can shoot, risking return fire from the remaining attackers. If the defender gets careless and silhouttes themselves in a window, the attackers risk return fire from the defenders when they give their position away.

Now it becomes about who can take advantage of the cover better. Who can expose themselves the least while getting the best shot. Who can react better, despite the attacker having the initial advantage?

Without introducing antipersonnel mines to the defenders and tear gas/flash bangs to the attackers, and assuming both have decent supplies of food and water, neither side has a perfectly clear advantage on the other in a tactical sense.

Here the attack/defense relationship becomes a little clearer. Without some kind of opposed check, this situation will (likely) result in an automatic stalemate.


In other words, who makes the first critical mistake?

I have a couple thoughts in mind on how to work on the mechanic, or maybe look at the how to resolve stalemate, but... It's late at the moent and not thinking of much in terms of elgant solutions. - Will get back to you on that later.

I would either (a) split the difference and send the most critical personnel out of the dungeon to relative safety while gearing up for a siege & rigging to destroy in case the PC's advance too far -OR- (b) I would do a variation on the classic 'empty fort' strategy. Suggestion 'A' is fairly straightforward, so I'll concentrate on suggestion 'B'.

In example - I had a group of PC's advance on a town that had a legacy of grossly mutated and misshapen creatures. The PC's find out that a very evil wizard has been experimenting with making chimera's for years.

Wizard is human, but is smitten by a female vampire. Consequently he's on a night cycle to stay up at night with his lady-love, and the PC's arrive at the surrounding town during the day.

One of the party, a spell-caster, decided that he would announce his presence by throwing a maximized fireball at the keep's stone wall. - Meanwhile the rest of the party was preparing to rest for the evening in town, with an order of local clerics. (God of machinery, they were kind of indifferent to the whole undead/chimera thing as long as they didn't lose too many followers themselves)

Anyway, there is a nice whole blown in the side of the keep, but no one bothers to step inside. - That evening, the party receives an embossed, formal, invitation from the lord of the keep (wizard) to a formal dinner/masquerade party.

Unknown to the party, the wizard already had enough time to question the locals about (generally) what the party had to offer, and took steps.

While the party was sitting down to the meal, and the lady-vampire (disguised, of course) was using a wand of wall of force blocking the party from pushing out their chairs too far, in the guise of directing servants from cane-point. ( No one saw through the sleight of hand check to conceal the use of the wand.)

The lord had a spell prepared that made shrapnel out of any convenient objects, and would reflect off of walls, and also had both the metamagic feat that allowed spells to do push-back effects and the feat that allowed a spell to be shaped. -

It basically turned all of the cutlery and silverware into a giant meat-grinder of death, all for the application of a 1st level spell made a 4th level spell from two metamagic feats, and six uses of wall of force.

This creative application of two basic spells freed up the majority of the wizard's repertoire to target specific PC's with specific kinds of spells. He even had a scroll of harm with which to save his lady-love in case she got too close to becoming a vapor.

In the end, the PC's prevailed, but at cost. - One was turned into a cat, but managed to keep his memories and personality. He had to live with the townsfolk for awhile another party figured out his predicament. (That particular player wasn't around much and the other PC's carried on without him) One died and was raised as a skeleton. One died and was brought back as a golem (the wizard had been working on one in his keep for some time, but was waiting on soul to put into it.), and one died but had previously spent a majority of the party loot on a contingency (coincidently the same jackass who fire-balled the keep in the first place).

(EDIT) I forgot to mention that this encounter was /meant/ to happen during the day, while the party encounters an unprepared and slumbering vampire, and a recently woken high-level wizard who would rise about 2 to 3 hours before his lady-love did. - It went from a CR7 encounter (a party of level 6+) to a CR-12+ encounter by virtue of the alert. - So I took liberties, and presumed that the evil NPC's would enjoy toying with the PC's as much as possible before killing them. - It brought the CR closer in line, and gave the PC's a chance to win (at cost) despite their error, because of the greater error on the part of the evil occupants: hubris.

So..., getting to the point. I would make the PC's /very/ cautious by sending them an engraved invitation. They could find the very evidence they seek standing in plain sight in a large room. - Of course no one will touch it, because it /has/ to be a trap. It doesn't have to be, paranoia will get the best of them regardless of whether or not it is or not.

Bottom-line. If you're going to smack them, smack them with the /least dangerous/ things that you can think of in the /most dangerous/ kind of circumstances. - Let Paranoia rule, and let the evil NPC's figure out the most fiendishly clever ways of offing the party with the least resources possible.

If the party blows through the first line, there's still plenty more to come from. - If the party takes a drubbing, they'll have to grudgingly learn from the experience. - Despite the outcome, most of the players I had DM's for liked the module, even if half of them were grossly altered by the time it was done.

I'm not so sure how complex or accurate you want this system to be in the end.

As far as for what you're trying to accomplish, I've already seen a system that tries to take all sorts of ammunition & attack types into account.

After having read through the rule book (It was designed to be plugged into about twelve different RPG systems), I came to the conclusion that it was far too complex to use.

In about any tabletop RPG, combat is the absolute longest portion of play. - It's difficult to justify anything that makes combat even more complex.


That said, if you're wanting to gauge the approximate defensive value of a given material - the best I can think of is attempting to use specific density.

If you can find out how many pounds of force it takes to break/penetrate a given material, you can compute from muzzle velocity and bullet weight an approximate force applied to the target.

Of course, that would calculate for you how much material would be broken by putting the muzzle of the given firearm up against the material in question.

In reality, the velocity of the bullet will decrease /drastically/ as it travels further along its path due to friction from air resistance.

Unfortunately, ballistic curves are rather difficult to calculate without a decent calculus background (which I don't have), but it can be approximated using "drag coefficient". You do the math, and scale back the answer by a set percentage.

If it /doesn't/ need to be particularly accurate, I would take advantage YouTube and the large volume of people with the free time to shoot random things in their back yards. (If you want a /slightly/ more scientific approach, one of the better ones is the "box o' truth") - You would then see what a bullet penetrates and want it won't.


All in all though, the more I tried to make house rules to complicate d20 systems, I've noticed that the creators have spent a lot of time trying to boil down real word physics to something that can be approximated with relative accuracy and a decent amount of speed. - I wouldn't re-invent the wheel if I could avoid it. - Sometimes making minor tweaks or correcting minor oversights to a given rule are /much/ more rewarding than trying to come up with a new system on the fly.

As an example:

I tend to lean heavily towards d20/Pathfinder type systems.

1) I would simply have the attacker and the defender /both/ make opposed rolls. - You could stack on all of the armor you want, but if you roll a natural 1 on your defense roll or the attacker rolls a natural 20 on his attack roll, you're taking a hit. - Text-book accuracy suffers, but realism benefits. Any armor that allows for movement will have a chink in it somewhere.

2) I'd also simplify soft armor vs hard armor. Use hardness to deflect some of the incoming damage, and have the soft armor convert it from 'lethal' damage to 'non-lethal' damage. (Instead of suffering from a punctured lung you suffer from a cracked rib instead.)

You can then have the 'stacking' of armor be a function of how much damage it can deflect/absorb vs how much force it can take from a given weapon before it breaks. - It's /much/ easier to think in those terms on the fly than it is to run through a complex equation.

(EDIT) I would also look at making sure that no body armor /perfectly/ deflects all damage types. - In the middle ages, chainmail was great versus slashing weapons but tended to convert a sword strike into a bone-jarring bruise. - Full-plate armor was good all around, except that being struck with large hammers tended to transfer most of the force to the wearer- even if the armor didn't take a dent

If the armor nearly negates one form of damage, it should convert a significant portion of that damage to something else. - Nothing should be perfect.

3) I would lastly, take a hard look at cover/concealment rules. - If realism is the goal, most of the focus should be on minimizing opportunities to be shot at while maximizing opportunities to shoot at the other guy. - Armor stacking should be a secondary concern.


I hope that the my take on the topic gives you some ideas to help successfully create your new system.

I hope you don't take my minimal effort in 'dissuading' you from this path as an insult. - I've simply tried a fair amount of mucking about with realism vs text-book calculation in roleplaying games, and tend to always circle back to square one.

Your mileage may vary.

Good luck.

I was rather annoyed to find out that per book, the Titan Mauler class was never meant to wield large weapons, merely normal sized weapons that have grips meant for larger hands.

While I understand that there are physical limits to what a given person/character is able to wield effectively, it strikes me as cop-out to completely ignore the possibility of wielding weapons that are /truly/ oversized for a character.

1) A modification to the general rules on weapons

In order for a character to effectively wield a weapon, at all, the weapon cannot be heavier than the character's light load capacity for a two-handed weapon, or 1/2 light load capacity for a one-handed weapon.

(In order for a weapon to effective, the character has to be strong enough to swing it around, or aim it, again, and again. If the weapon is too heavy, it simply can't be used.)

If a character /really/ wants to try and use a heavier weapon, I would suggest that a weapon in the medium, or half medium, range be able to used once in a single attack as a full attack action, regardless of the number of iterative attacks the character has. (I'm envisioning a child trying to hold off a bandit with his father's sword while his father is away)

In the event of a weapon in the heavy, or half heavy, range- the attack should be limited to a full round action that provokes an attack of opportunity.

2) A modification to the existing rules on oversized (over-gripped) weapons.

There should be no additional penalties (outside of the standard book penalties) to wielding a weapon that is one size category larger than the character. (If a Halfling wants to wield a human's great sword, that's fine. He takes his penalties like anyone else.)

(Note, this is not much different than having an 'Impact' weapon, or having access to the spell 'Lead Blades')

3) An additional rule to address weapons that are two or more sizes larger.

If a character tries to wield a weapon that is two (or more) size categories too large, than he or she will be forced to adopt the combat square of the next largest sized creature, along with all of the associated benefits and drawbacks in addition to the normal penalties per book.

If a dwarf (medium) tries to wield a giant's (huge) great-axe (assuming he has the strength for it), he would become a large creature in terms of combat spacing, reach, AC, CMB, and CMD.

At first blush, this seems minimal, but when you think of a standard dungeon environment or you think about party spacing, you realize how difficult this truly is.

The Dwarf now needs to take up a 10x10 square in order to fight. Any and all allies that occupy his square(s) now interfere with his ability to fight effectively. (Without having the swarm fighting feat, he would flat footed until he moves away, or convinces the ally to move.) He gains reach, but loses the ability to swing at targets adjacent to him. He gains attack damage, but takes an AC penalty because of his effective size increase. Further, if the enemy has a spell-caster or alchemist, he is now /extremely/ vulnerable to touch attacks, as they now only have hit one of his squares, instead of his own touch AC.

In my mind, I think it to be an elegant solution to the issue, and one that allows the thematic over-size weapon wielder without making it overly advantageous.

- Please, let me know what you think on this.