What are some builds / character concepts that either need multiclass dedication or benefit greatly from them?
Perpetual Stews are a real thing, I think the earliest reference I could find for them is 14th century Poland. The thing that keeps you safe, microbiologically speaking, is that under proper conditions these things ferment (like sauerkraut or kimchi) and the friendly bacteria that are fermenting outcompete any pathogens.
Normally the way this is done is that the pot contains what is essentially that is regularly skimmed, and then you dump in the stuff that you want in your stew (tubers, meat, whatever) to cook in the broth then ladle out the cooked things with some of the broth to have a stew.
Hypothetically, if you were to cool this down quickly enough you could safely freeze your broth and then reheat it later, but then your stew is less perpetual.
It seems to me that dumping preserved goods and dry grains to your tangy, salty broth would make a good winter meal.
Why wild shape druids? Battle forms have fixed stats so I can't imagine they care much either.
Because of this clause in the Wild Shape Order Spell:
When you choose to use your own attack modifier while polymorphed instead of the form's default attack modifier, you gain a +2 status bonus to your attack rolls.
So if you maximize Str, and invest in handwraps you end up with better accuracy than the default bonus in your battle form.
You still don't care about armor though. I don't think there's a druid that wants to hang around and hit people with weapons though, as much as I'd like to play one.
I tried googling to see if Smurfs are solidly in the public domain and I got NO definitive answers with regard to being able to use them for profit-driven enterprise but that STILL doesn't change my mind in that I think that PF2 is RIPE for a Smurf Ancestry as an inclusion in some book, or barring that they could do something fun for an April 1st blog post.
Peyo, the creator of Smurfs, died in 1992 so it will be a while before they're in the Public Domain.
The Raven Black wrote:
Nethys himself is TN, I believe.
Nethys is a fun example of what TN means, because that's the average of what everything Nethys does or cares about. He absolutely builds incredible things, but he also wracks incredible descrution that balances it out. He's capable of both immense kindness and terrifying cruelty and it balances out.
He's TN because that's what happens when you average the rest of the alignments.
It feels like it's more pressing from a metastory perspective to close the worldwound because that whole thing is attached to the Abyss and it's chaos evil nonsense. The demons were never going to stop causing trouble, so something didn't need to be done. The whole thing was predicated on "well, there's a fence" and we all know what happens to fences that keep dangerous things out in stories.
Tar-Baphon however is intelligent and thoughtful (albeit easy). His plot in Tyrant's Grasp was predicated on "TB getting out was a surprise, and outside of Lastwall nobody was really prepared to stop him". But he didn't succeed (though he got very close). But now people are aware that Tar-Baphon is free and active and we know what he wants, all manner of people in the Inner Sea are going to be planning to stop the Whispering Tyrant's armies when they show up at their doorstop. It's going to be a lot harder for him next time. So he waits, and plans, and looks for a way to win this time. He's a lich, so he could sit there and just plan while building his army for decades or centuries.
There's probably a lot that Tar Baphon needs to learn about the current world before he's comfortable trying again.
There are plot thread that enter SOGOTP territory if you don't do anything with them for too long (like Razmir continues to age naturally) but "Mythic Lich with his army of the undead sit there on a spooky island" doesn't seem to be one of them.
It's already fairly strong, since it's a free breastplate that has the comfort trait which is not normally a thing available at any price.
Diagetically I would just hold the line on "Titan Nagaji are strongly encouraged to pursue martial professions" if a player *really* wanted to tell a story about "a titan nagaji who nonetheless became a witch even though their parents were pushing for warpriest or barbarian or inventor or thaumaturge or fighter or ruffian rogue or ranger or gunslinger or whatever" I would strongly encourage the player to address the armor issue with archetyping.
It feels reasonable to limit the theoretical space for character options to work together while still making it possible for specific characters people have an idea for to work.
There's the basic problem with a non-Str/Dex primary class, if you're martially inclined and want to be Str>Dex, then you're going to need to finagle medium armor somehow ASAP even if it's through a general feat you're going to retrain.
Like an Investigator who starts with an 18 Int and a 16 Str can't afford more than 14 dex, so you're going to want medium armor proficiency ASAP (generally through versatile human but cataphract fleshwarp is now an alternative) because you're otherwise going to be down at least 1 AC. If you get your armor proficiency bump to expert at 13th level, you can just start with 12 Dex, boost it at 5th and 10th then be fine with light armor thereafter.
But "you get free medium armor and medium armor proficiency" is a little strong for a heritage since people do take heritages just for the latter.
If someone were to make a character who takes a "your body is medium armor" heritage without a way to get medium armor proficiency with your class (and without an archetype like sentinel that gives you scaling) and nobody caught how this is going to be a problem before the character was played, that's a case where you do let someone retrain something not normally retrainable (like a heritage).
The reason you can't retrain a heritage is basically "it doesn't make sense" not that there would never be a good reason to let it happen. It's better to have the game be fun than to hold the line against things that don't make sense.
Think a hypothetical Warlord could pull double duty as our atheist heavy armor class?
It depends on how much of the class budget is on the "support" features of the Warlord. Hypothetical "defense first" class ought to be able to rush into danger feeling safer there than anybody else and make it hard for dangerous things to get away from them more than "I give people buffs" which is I think what the Warlord is supposed to do?
I really don't see what high level swashbucklers have at all that makes you think they might be a tank.
Well, with Goading Feint and Dueling Dance you're on par with the medium or light armor Champion in terms of AC if the feint lands. The Swashbuckler also wants to get people to attack them in order to make ripostes. So there is a "hangs out in danger and is hard to hurt" version of the class.
But in terms of "we need a defensive class other than the Monk and Champion" I think I agree and I think you manage to thread the needle here by making the class focus specifically on heavy armor (monks get legendary unarmored defense and Champion get legendary in all armors.) Give us a class that absolutely wants to be in heavy armor all the time (like a "Vanguard" class) and you have space for the defense focused class that has less thematic baggage.
I honestly think "end the Whispering Tyrant for good" is not just one AP. He's a Lich, and in order to end a Lich you have to get your hands on their Soul cage. If you kill them without first destroying the Soul Cage, they just reform and are mad at you. We also know that Tar Baphon's soul cage is a mystery, nobody could destroy it before, and Urgathoa hid it somewhere to protect her favorite Lich.
So this is a story in and of itself:
That's already a Mythic story (you're going to greatly annoy a God in the process.)
After that, TB has to be very careful as until he finds his soul out there somewhere the next death will be the last one before Pharasma gets her hands on him. So he's going to go to ground and try to figure out where his soul went and how to safely recapture him. This process could take decades however, and it's not like the rest of his people aren't dangerous without him.
Yeah, I played through Tyrant's Grasp and the PCs didn't approach anywhere near the power level where I would buy that these are people who could permanently end a Mythic Lich, let alone the Mythic Lich who was Aroden's greatest enemy.
They were, in the tradition of survival horror, resourceful and gritty and punched above their weight due to that and some plot contrivances, but honestly the WotR party are people who should struggle to end Tar Baphon for good and those are people who hunted down and permakilled two demon lords for fun.
The point of Tyrant's Grasp was to set up the "looming unreasonable terror up north" since they were canonizing "there's no Worldwound anymore."
And part of why "Neutrality" probably doesn't mean "balance" is that the alignments are asymmetric in that Good is aspirational in a way that Evil is not. Like you can have a bad day and a few moral lapses that make you no-longer-good but there's no analogous situation for "you had a bad day so you accidentally did good and now you've not evil anymore."
Like there's absolutely a case that order and chaos need to coexist, but there's no compelling argument that evil needs to exist.
I feel like there should be a way for someone using dexterity to render an opponent prone. It just can't be a trip or an athletics check because PF2 absolutely does not do stat substitutions.
Though you could structure this like the Chirugeon research field, something like "As long as your proficiency rank in Acrobatics is trained or better, you can attempt an Acrobatics check instead of an Athletics check for the trip or disarm actions." That doesn't seem totally unreasonable to give someone.
It's still not as good as Athletics (because Athletics lets you Grapple, Shove, Climb, and Swim as well) but it does fulfill some of the fantasy for the Aikido/Elegant Judo approach for getting people on the ground.
I mean, that seems more like an argument that 'moderation' doesn't make sense as a champion tenet than the idea of a neutral champion of Nethys being inherently bad.
I think one of the problems that is why we haven't had neutral Champions yet is that the Champion is a strongly alignment tied class (i.e. "tenets of good", "tenets of evil") but it's honestly semiotically unclear what Neutral really means, since it often means "DGAF about this axis" and sometimes it means "balancing extremes".
You can't really have "tenets of neutrality" that are "do not care about good, evil, law, or chaos" but that's for sure how Nethys feels.
I confess, I prefer books about the people living on the surface. The Darklands seem like a better place for an AP than a sourcebook, just since adventures seem to dole out information "as you go along, and mostly what you need" rather than trying to encapsulate the entire thing and provide a semi-authoritative viewpoint on.
I absolutely miss the (anti)Paladin being an "Alignment Class" rather than a "God Class" because trying to map "alignment rules" across deities that are largely unconcerned with a lot of them does become incoherent when you try to stretch it.
You kind of avoid the Palatin/Tyrant of Abadar problem by just viewing the evil Champions as "not for PCs without thorough pre-clearance". But when we get Neutral champions you're going to have characters that are inconsistent with the lore themselves; like the TN champion of Nethys who is a strong proponent of moderation, good judgement, and lack of excess- completely unlike Nethys.
This feels like a legacy thing, and probably doesn't need to be in the rulebook at all. A thing not bleeding (because it is a ghost, or a stone golem) can just go in the "Immunities" section in the bestiary entry, since we already have stuff like " Immunities acid, bleed, death effects, disease, doomed, drained, fatigued, healing, magic (see below), mental, necromancy, nonlethal attacks, paralyzed, poison, sickened, unconscious."
Issues where it really needs to work one way or the other could just be rule 0'd.
Cordell Kintner wrote:
Bleed damage is physical damage. Even if the caltrops did enough to actually damage the thing (or they were made of silver or something), the 1 bleed damage would still be resisted due to their resistance.
Yeah, resistance physical 5 would resist up to 5 points of bleed damage, which would mean you can tapdance on caltrops but a 17th level Swashbuckler's bleeding finisher does 6d6 bleeding damage which is still going to leave you leaking vital fluids.
That some things do a *lot* of bleed damage is why GMs should be careful about giving blanked immunity to bleeding. Pathfinder 2e is generally pretty good about giving things resistances (that can be overcome by a sufficiency of whatever it is) rather than immunities. Immunity should be mostly for "this thing is literally made of fire, so you can't burn it" kinds of things.
The sidebar on "Bleed Damage" on Page 451 of the CRB that says "As such, [bleed damage] has no effect on nonliving creatures or living creatures that don't need blood to live." is mostly to cover situations where the people at the table agree that a thing bleeding doesn't make any sense. Generally most things have some sort of blood, sap, ichor, hydraulic fluid, etc. that they need to function that you can let out with the right kinds of attacks. So the GM should err on the side of "bleed damage works" unless its specifically outlined that it does not or the people in the game all agree it should not.
This is both because a player should not be able to choose a specific ancestry in order to gain immunity to bleed damage (e.g. "but skeletons and poppets don't bleed"), and also because if a player has abilities or items that cause bleed damage it's more satisfying when those things function.
"Antimagic Fields are likely to disproportionately ruin people's days" is basically why the spell is rare. So the GM can prevent a world where people are dropping them willy nilly. But having a permanent AMF in half of one city that is famed for this, that the PCs could get away from by "crossing a river" doesn't seem like a serious problem.
Like what is the specific adventuring problem that the PCs are trying to solve that requires them to be in a dead magic zone. If it's "get in somewhere and retrieve something" that's probably best accomplished without a lot of combat. If it's "find the dangerous thing and take it out" then it feels like "lure it to Skyside" could work. I wouldn't run "keep the bad folks from getting the thing" in a Dead Magic Zone, because in Alkenstar that's better accomplished with "lots of well armed people" not "4 truly exceptional individuals".
It might be fun to run a combat on one of the bridges though, so there's a boundary in the combat map you can cross beyond which magic stops working.
It feels like if the designers wanted it to cast Fly as their top priority they would have said that like they actually said "It usually chooses spell turning unless it already has that spell in effect."
But if you wanted to run the encounter where the skull is just sitting there for a while throwing danger at the party, you could do that by not having it move.
Since the demilich can choose what spell to attach to contingency, and the text says it's usually spell turning, it's simple enough to make it not have to cast fly and just use the listed speed. It's possible having fly in the list is just an oversight since a fight against a completely immobile demilich probably isn't particularly exciting.
I feel like we might want to be somewhat behaviorist about this- as in a thing is defined by what it does. Like there's no difference between "a fighter without a level 1 feat" and "a fighter whose level 1 feat is double slice that never picks up a second weapon." So it feels like we do this better as a character who avoids the limelight but still contributes.
So I feel like the way we build this character is less "can't possibly excel at anything" and more "avoids the spotlight but is still helpful and can make a difference. Like an infinite eye psychic who gets a "better at Aid Other" feat from their ancestry seems really good at this. You mostly Aid, cast Guidance, Spot Weakness, and do other things that help your buddies succeed but when you really need to you do eventually get the ability to cast Weird.
What we do kind of lack is the ability to do this kind of "support character" as a mundane person (so not a spellcaster or an alchemist.)
It really feels like "you can have lower stats if you really want" is the sort of thing that doesn't even need a rule since as a GM my only response is "Are you sure? Being less capable might be less fun and you're more likely to die."
There's also no rules for "not taking a feat" when you're able to do so, but I don't think the GM is going to require you to do so.
It's sort of a running joke in elfgames that humans are special in their ability to breed with anything (particularly back when a sorcerer's bloodline wasn't potentially just due to "longterm exposure to the right kind of energy"). So I think it's canon to make it that half-elves and half-orcs are always half-human, but mechanically it's very easy to make these versatile heritages if that's what you want for your game.
Particularly since the half-elf/orc heritages are just "you gain traits, and low-light vision, and you're able to take ancestry feats from either ancestry" it's not especially hard to make anything with better-than-human vision into a half-foo heritage, so the only thing keeping half-leshies out of your game is probably "I don't like the idea."
The Raven Black wrote:
Agents of edgewatch for a good detective story in a gotham-like gothic-punk Absalom.
It does seem that what AoE really needs to work well is "somewhat tight guardrails on the story" a thing that is easier to do in a video game where the only things that are possible are anticipated by the developers than the inherent infinite freedom in a TTRPG.
Like "all your stuff is mysteriously nonlethal" in the player's guide is a weird kludge, whereas in the game you could only bother to include things which are appropriate to use against civilians or simply grey out options that are not contextually appropriate (like how you can't even flag friendlies in Mass Effect) and given the language of video games this won't read as unusual. Particularly when you deliberately design reasonable level-appropriate tools for the characters to use in lieu of "I hit you with an axe" or "I cast disintegrate." Think something like "Sleeping Dogs" where you can only use a gun in certain situations.
Well, if you absolutely need to use magic for something you just go across the river. Alkenstar has specifically developed nonmagical solutions to handle things like "rampaging mutant giants" in case magic is unavailable to them. That the party doesn't means "adventuring in Alkenstar is difficult and dangerous" which is sort of the point.
The Impossible Lands are the "Gonzo Region" on the map, basically anything you could imagine that would make adventuring exciting and difficult is there somewhere. Alkenstar having a region where "Magic literally doesn't work" is specifically a metanarrative bulwark against being sandwiched between two of the most powerful wizards in history who happen to hate each other- that neither Nex nor Geb could easily annex Alkenstar is why it exists in its current form. If 20th level mythic Wizards don't want to go there, then it's reasonable the PCs shouldn't either.
The thing is that everything that goes into a Paizo book crowds out something that could have gone into the Paizo book, and every book crowds out a different book. So the thing about "book of the dead, but for dragons" is that book in the release schedule means we're not getting "book of the deads, but for fae" or "book of the dead but for aberrations" or "book of the dead, but for fiends and celestials". So people who see more potential in the other three books (I mean, we're getting a class in the "but for elementals" book) would prefer they do those before a hypothetical dragon book.
Like the problem I see with the "more dragons" book is I just don't see there being a lot of interesting creative space available there. If we didn't already have the dragon instinct barbarian, the dragon bloodline for sorcerers, dragon style monks, dragon eidolons, the dragon disciple archetype, and 99 dragons in the bestiary there might be something there but "dragon" seems like much more thoroughly explored creative space than everything else.
Ng is deeply mysterious- no one knows what he(?) looks like, wants, does, or cares about but he's always very purposeful and all of his peers defer to or deeply respect him. As such, it is very easy to put Ng or Ngians in the center of basically anything on the "coincidence to conspiracy" spectrum. Like it is his holy writ to "never let anybody else know who you actually are or what you're actually doing" so Ngians are absolutely the best conspirators since the thing that makes all real conspiracies implausible is "inevitably, somebody is going to talk."
We also know that some of the Eldest have reach and interests that go further than the first world (e.g. Shyka effectively being the "time police" by taking out/absorbing people who get too good at temporal magic). So there's really no limit on what Ng *could* want or actually be in charge of.
One thing I am curious about how the Firebrands book is going to address is that left or pro-liberation causes that have big tents often exhibit a bordering-on-absurd degree of internecine conflict.
Like the Firebrands who want to abolish property probably aren't on good terms with the Firebrands who are literal pirates.
I have to imagine that if you're holding the line on "a skeleton is not in possession of their own soul" you could still justify their lichdom by virtue of "their soul obviously hasn't been judged by Pharasma and thus has not become a petitioner, so it's still out there somewhere."
The process by which a Skeleton becomes a Lich would then be "go find your soul wherever it happens to be lurking, and put it in a box so you know where it is."
After all the item description for the Soul Cage item says:
If your soul cage is destroyed but you aren't, you can attempt to find your soul and trap it again, building a new soul cage. This is no trivial feat and often takes an entire adventure to accomplish.
So you could just do that for a Skeleton would-be Lich.
The problem with "balance" for the neutral causes is that the Champion is a "God class" and while you can make a LG Paladin work for any of deities that allow LG clerics, there's a lot of TN deities who are that alignment because they DGAF about morality, they're just interested in their thing. Like there is perhaps nobody is less concerned with balance than Nethys, who is neutral by virtue of integrating over his entire portfolio as Nethys is essentially "all the extremes at the same time."
I feel like all PCs have souls by virtue of "being uniquely equipped with free will by being piloted by an actual human." So all PCs can put their soul in a cage if they really want to.
The basic principle when something isn't proscribed by the rules is "if you want to do it, you should come up with a way to make it make sense."
Blood Lords is more of a Lawful AP than an Evil one, it just is set in a Lawful Evil place. So Lawful Neutral characters are kind of ideal. There's a certain flavor of Lawful Good, specifically "yes, I understand that Geb is a truly messed up place, but there are actual decent people who live here and we do better by them in trying to protect them and fix the place than we do by blowing it all up, since the 'thousand year old vampires' are going to do better than common folk if Geb collapses into anarchy" True Neutral is also totally fine.
CN, NG, and CG are bad choices for this AP but there's no problem with having the entire party share a single alignment. We don't have any evil characters in our Blood Lords party.
It feels like since the Firebrands are the basic "Chaotic" organization in the Inner Sea, ascribing anything in particular to them seems difficult. Like I'm sure there are all manner of "local friendly autocrat is the lesser evil" types and there are also "No Gods, No Masters" types. Lacking any sort of central organization or membership requirements, the Firebrands are a very big tent.