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Organized Play Member. 320 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Organized Play character.


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On the topic of Pym, I did at one point really want to make a party of noble knight type characters out of a cloud of diminutive fey.

QuidEst wrote:
Rashagar wrote:
Jason Wedel wrote:
I know it is a TERRIBLE idea, but I am also thinking of starting as a wizard for exactly one level, only so I can start with a few things I want (A familiar and a school power). I realize I can grab both from arcanist in time...
Take a look into variant multiclassing for wizard? It would give you both of those. Although yeah, not immediately either...
VMC doesn't stack with regular multiclassing by default. You can use one or the other.

Really? Weird. Glad no one I know plays with that rule haha!

Jason Wedel wrote:
I know it is a TERRIBLE idea, but I am also thinking of starting as a wizard for exactly one level, only so I can start with a few things I want (A familiar and a school power). I realize I can grab both from arcanist in time...

Take a look into variant multiclassing for wizard? It would give you both of those. Although yeah, not immediately either...

So, while I'm the type who loves multiclassing, I just thought I should mention that I do kind of echo some of the things said here by people, in that mixing two casting classes together rarely feels worth it in play, and that there are spellcasting classes that can give you the feeling of a mix of traditionally arcane and divine powers in one spellcasting class. The mentioned witches, bards, shamans and oracles all jump immediately to mind as good examples of these (I think some psychic classes are supposed to have very varied and interesting spell lists too). One other option I thought I'd mention, especially if you were interested in pursuing the servant of a deity aspect further was the Evangelist prestige class which can give you a really nice boost depending on which deity you choose to serve while not hurting your scaling base class abilities (it lets your class features eg. hexes/exploits continue to progress as well as your spellcasting.)

*Edit* I've also found that variant multiclassing can really help scratch that multiclassing itch while still not waving goodbye to all those scaling class features.

Yeah if you're going to VMC for anything do it for Magus.

To be honest I have a friend playing a pistol witch and they seem to get on great with just levels in witch and feats invested in shooting, BAB isn't as much of an issue when you're using firearms.

Have to say I do love the spheres of power rules. I should probably go check what if anything has changed since early days.

One of these days I'll get to use them properly.

Apologies if I forget any mechanics here, it was ages ago that I played the character.

Corrosive Bolt was my favourite effect word. Intensified/extended it becomes really quite powerful, and being able to boost the Selected target word at higher levels is just great. It's like putting a doom counter on everything in the room.

The physical Enhance word is actually really useful for temporary hit points, and handing out beast shape effects to front liners with Bestial Aspect is a lot of fun.

Wrack and Torture were my favourite words to add to other words. Just being able to make any blast a debuff is great.

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Mainly posting here in the hopes that some resolution will be mentioned in this thread if/when resolution occurs, since otherwise it will prey on my mind.

My opinion on the topic has already been mentioned by others at this stage. I hope some manner of acceptable resolution occurs and I can only offer sympathy/empathy to those involved.

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After a lot of thought, my favourite thing that other people hate is my characters making decisions that make the rest of the party put their heads in their hands and say "jesus f*ing christ"

My friends are the ones that hate it =P

Ashiel wrote:

In all fairness to Quintain, I see the point he's making. The rules exist as a sort of code of conduct for everyone involved. It explains what is and is not allowed in the game. Anyone can arbitrarily decide that they don't like someone else doing something that's legal in the rules. As a GM, there's no real difference between my banning retraining Leadership or banning Skill Focus on the grounds that I think it's unfair or not up to whatever my individual preferences for roleplay is (such as suggesting that you're not "focused" enough for Skill Focus if you keep retraining it, or some other contrived reasoning).

If the rules aren't tight enough, the player shouldn't be treated as being a jerk for playing by the rules. Treating someone like a villain for playing by the rules is probably one of the most asinine, and unfortunately most common, things that we gamers frequently do.

Now I'm not saying that the rules are perfect. They are far, far from perfect. They get further from perfect with each progressively lower quality book Paizo publishes (much to my chagrin). However, choosing to play by those rules means choosing to play by those rules. If a group wishes to change a rule, let it be discussed. Rule 0 has its place but that places is not about making arbitrary decisions so much as it opens up the option to change things at all.

Most importantly, a GM should be clear on why they are interested in changing a rule (or why their house rule exists if set previously), and be willing to explain why that is. Further, they should be willing to re-consider these things as new points or evidence are presented.

If I had a copper piece for every game that was made more unbalanced because of a GM trying to balance a game without understanding the ripple effects, I'd buy every person who visits the Paizo forums in a day a soda, every day, for a year.

I hope it didn't sound like I was treating Quintain as a villain by the way for having a preference. It definitely wasn't an intended tone of my post.

There's a couple of sonic damaging wordspells in the words of power stuff, combined with other effect words could make for some interesting spell options.
I like the thundercaller bard archetype.
When stuck, you're potentially left with flavouring force effects?

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Quintain wrote:

Here's my favorite thing that people hate (demonstrated by this very thread).

Using rules as written.

You're right I do hate that, whichever side of the GM screen I'm sitting on. I'd much rather hand wave a fair sounding compromise into existence and get back into the flow of a combat than tell a player the cool thing he wants to try wouldn't work "by raw" or pause the combat to spend ages consulting a book for grammar minutia, for example.

I also much rather being allowed to for example swap out a certain sorcerer bloodline spell for a different one that more fits with the character concept I'm trying to create (and isn't pure s*+*e).

To each their own though, I'm not saying one way is objectively better than another.

Maneuvermoose wrote:
I like being able to bump very old threads whose topics are just as relevant today as they were when the thread was created.

I honestly had to go back to the first post and check that that wasn't a snarky comment aimed in my direction haha! I'm sorry for doubting you, and I also like being able to bump old relevant threads.

BadBird wrote:
HyperMissingno wrote:
Rosc wrote:
Edit: I also like the fact that the Cleric is a deceptively feature-rich class thanks to the 9th level casting.
Too bad they're boring as hell to build and level without a dip. You only get to choose a small amount of feats and your domains, and aside from level 8 (and very rarely level 6/10) you get no new options on even levels. Combined with my preference for spontaneous casting and I'll just stick with the oracle class.
Really? I see this sentiment quite a bit, and I don't really get it. They've got diverse archetypes that do everything from customizing Domains to using Bardic Performance, Domains/Subdomains/Inquisitions that provide novel and powerful abilities and/or spells, assorted possible tricks with Channel Energy like Variant Channel and Channel Smite, and a patron deity that grants further customization options like unique spell rules, feats, traits and a bonus weapon proficiency. There are an awful lot of things to play with in there.

My problem with clerics is that they're very difficult for me to keep themed to a certain concept. When your spellcasting options are "you can prepare anything each day" it's almost impossible for me to differentiate my cleric's capabilities from any other generic cleric on certain days. Strangely enough I don't have this problem with druids though.

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Cole Deschain wrote:
while someone else runs us through some L5R.

You have no idea how jealous I am right now.

As for what I enjoy about GMing, it depends on my mood. Sometimes I love setting up or planning out a mechanically intricate combat encounter. I love getting to try out character concepts, I always have too many to ever get to play them as a player. Other times I just don't have the energy for that, and in those instances I love when winging something pays off, like when you decide at the last second to add a character quirk to an otherwise unremarkable npc that really makes the players remember the character for months later, or when you start tangling yourself up with story threads and feeling trapped by your own spur of the moment answers and then you see that one piece of info that ties everything together and makes it all make sense. I love the post-game discussions, and hearing what parts really grabbed the players' imaginations or they found really tense. I love seeing what solutions my players come up with and how they role play their characters, and thinking out what the logical ramifications of their actions might be.

Create Mr. Pitt wrote:

Clerics are awesome. Wands are all you need to heal. The only thing clerics are really needed for are condition removal. Reach clerics are insanely fun and the clerical spell list is incredibly diverse. I don't understand not wanting to play a cleric unless they are treated like a hp charger.

There is no need for a cleric at all, but not wanting to play a cleric is crazy. One of the most entertaining classes to play as long as you set expectations in your party.

I understand not wanting to play a cleric for reasons like "2 skill points per level" or "their spell casting is versatile but really hard to keep consistently thematic for a character from day to day", basically what I'm saying is play an oracle =P

I think if I was doing it for the players I'd want to do it for some of the enemies, but not all of them. For some of the important villains it would be nice to have them last that extra round or two in combat to tone down the rocket tag effect a bit but I imagine for wading through a gang of mooks it could just make a battle feel really drawn out and could get stale quickly if not paired with really careful encounter design.

Derklord wrote:
What do you mean with "roguish"? Because when I think of Rogue in Pathfinder, that's pretty much "spends a lot of recources to do some stuff casters could do way better, and sucks in combat".

I mean roguish as in the role/trope more than the class.

Like, out of combat; stealth, scouting/information gathering, infiltration, general shenanigans.
I've wild shaping into birds, rats, monkeys or other small critters (or going straight for Earth Elemental), the skill bonuses from favoured enemy and favoured terrain, spells like Eagle Eye, Jump/Spider Climb, Speak with X and possibly Bloodhound all helping with this. I feel like the Monkey domain really emphasises this part with the further skill bonuses and Ranged Legerdemain, plus I'd both have a tiny monkey and be able to turn into a tiny monkey so that takes care of the "shenanigans" aspect quite nicely.
In combat; mobility and debility (mostly via spells). Maybe a limited spattering of targeted assassination (instant enemy + challenge). I mean, there's always going to be something beneficial I can do in combat, I'm still a druid.

Oh that plains druid archetype is a very interesting find, thanks!

I haven't really played in a game before that allowed for crafting feats to be as useful as everyone seems to say they are for them. Could look into it though.

The valet familiar for teamwork feats though looks like it gives a lot of fun options and gels really well with the cavalier part of the character, I've never noticed the Callous Casting feat before so I might have to re-examine the druid spell list with that in mind now, that could be perfect.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Aside: escape route plus valet familiar, virtual immunity to movement-based attacks of opportunity?

Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:
supervillan wrote:

Variant channeling (sicken) plus Shatter Resolve (shaken) is where it's at for priests of the Pallid Princess. Been thinking about doing this build myself.

Prioritse CHA then WIS, choose feats that improve your channel plus get Quicken Spell. Definitely take Quick Channel too.

If you can afford a decent STR score consider Ferocity sub domain and work that scythe!

Not as good as Rulership AoE daze build.

Sickened and shakened are nice but they can be resisted more easily than Daze and still does not stop all actions the enemies can take like a daze does.

It's basically -4 verses Dazed. Clearly no action wins.

Unless hangover build it is a bad idea to take channel feats on a cleric in Pathfinder. It's a sub par ability that to be honest is just nice to have but can easily be done without.

I wouldn't go so far as to prioritise charisma over wisdom but in terms of -4 versus Dazed I suppose which is better depends on the control/etc. spells you're packing. There's theoretically more synergy between a -4 to saves and your cleric spell effects than having your cleric spells + a separate daze effect. Theoretically.

That aside, +1 to the evangelist idea, assuming you really want cleric.

the Lorax wrote:


The Inquisitor's early options in melee are limited, largely to wack the baddie with a stick, judgments could prop that up, as could swapping one point of Con for 1 point of Str (even swap in point build)

Devilkiller -
Druid, a caster battlefield control type, largely in the end, a wizard with a free spellbook. I'm OK with having to deal with Summonings, you really can't get away without SOME measure of that as a druid, and big hunks of meat dont hurt. You also dont have to feel bad about sending them in to die.

The players arn't bad, the only one known for making passable, consistent builds is the bloodrager

Thundercaller does look fun, Sound Striker looks a little more mechanically effective, but looking at the FAQ on Sound Striker, it seems to have been dialed back noticably.

Yeah, the awkwardness of the Sound Striker mechanics/FAQ issues is always what put me off the idea of trying it, otherwise a tap-dancing tiefling sound striker would align perfectly with my interests hehe.

Thundercaller still gives you scaling damage and a chance to stun, while keeping multitarget capabilities and has the benefit of less dice rolling involved (so less table time to use it).

Other random thoughts:

A non-optimised game might be a good excuse to have fun with words of power if you've played standard wizards a lot (although the fun with them mainly starts at level 5+ for a full caster), you could just dedicate a few feats to gaining a spattering of them alongside traditional casting, or try and see if your GM would allow you to use the favoured class "bonus spell known" of various full caster combinations to grant you effect words instead of normal spells.

One caster variant I've been wanting to try for a while is an Undine steamcaster with the crashing waves hex (shaman or spirit guide oracle). To add a bit of battlefield control to blasting options, but mostly just because it sounds fun and flavourful.

If you like the bards, the archetypes I've been wanting to try are thundercaller or voice of the wild. It's one of the characters that I'd actually love an animal familiar for, so if I was doing it I'd use one of the options that lets you get a familiar and make that a soft-focus of the character concept, if not of the mechanical build. (eldritch heritage arcane or VMC wizard off the top of my head) *eg. Ma-Ti from Captain Planet*

Ok, not sure how to do this exactly, worried I might be doing some kind of forum faux pas, but Hubaris had a great suggestion that I'm now kind of itching to try in this thread a couple of days ago;


Hubaris wrote:

Alternatively you can take the Nature Fang Druid (yes I know it trades Wild Shape but hear me out).

It gains Studied Target. "Wait, but I wanted to be a caster!" you're saying.

Studied Target wrote:

At 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels, the bonuses on weapon attack rolls, damage rolls, and skill checks and to slayer DCs against a studied target increase by 1

The Druid's Spellcasting is a class feature and should benefit from the Studied Target DC increase.

Focus on some good spells, use the Slayer Talents to offset some of your feats spent on Spell Focus, Augment Summoning, etc. You can move in for some nasty Frostbites with the improved accuracy, DCs and such, or even hang back with a Bow and cheat with the Ranger Combat Styles.

Get a decent Domain and you can replicate roles easily and snag spells like Flesh to Stone and Suffocation.

People were then also mentioning the fire domain on that thread... might be wow-ish?

The character concept started with simply wanting to give a Samsaran character a shapeshifting ability flavoured as a sort of extension of his connection to his past lives, and then expanded from there in directions I just found cool, but now I feel like this character doesn't really have a role he fits well beyond a rogue/scout-like spattering of everything (which, in fairness, druids make excellent jack of all trades characters), so I'm curious if, with just 2 feats available, anyone can help this character feel more defined.

Building him to level 12 because we never really play beyond that point, I know there's a campaign looming somewhere in the future but probably not for a while so until then this is essentially theory-crafting.

How he looks so far:
Samsaran Ranger 1 Druid 11, VMC Cavalier
Ranger 1: trapper (no reason not to)
Druid 11: either world walker or something else
Domain instead of animal companion, either monkey domain or vermin domain (if I can swing it).
VMC Cavalier: either order of the green or something else
Using the shapeshifting hunter feat to get scaling favoured enemy bonuses.
Taking mystic past lives to get ranger spells added to my spell list (definitely instant enemy and terrain bond, flavoured as unlocking ancient memories, others?)

Benefits of monkey domain: nice skill bonuses to roguish skills at higher levels, ranged legerdemain. Monkey.
Benefits of vermin domain: vomit swarm is my favourite anything! Tremorsense. +4 Initiative.

Stat array probably looking like
14 14 10 14 18 7, 20pt starting stats after racials, but not set in stone.
Benefits: str/dex enough that going big or going small are both valid choices. Plenty of skill points. Makes the most of mystic past lives.
Negatives: no con makes melee dangerous.

1: ?
5: shapeshifting hunter
9: ?
11: teamwork feat, possibly escape route?

I probably don't have the strength to get much use out of Power Attack, I can use the polymorphic pouch and ring of eloquence to get around not having room for Natural Spell to some extent, I don't really have the feats available to make ranged combat a specialty. So what feats can you think of to help solidify this character? I always find myself gravitating towards feats like war blessing when I get the chance, but there are probably better choices that help round out this character or give him direction rather than fun ones that just pile on even more class features to play with. Is that possible with just 2 feats?

Aside: I tend to avoid specialising in summoning, the odd spell here and there is fine but I'm definitely not taking Augment Summoning.

voideternal wrote:

There are generally two issues here in which posters are arguing.
One is power balance. The other is complexity.

I have no intent on arguing that by power balance, the Fighter is weaker than other classes.

My arguments have all been on complexity. For the Fighter, the complexity is concentrated in character creation. For other classes, the complexity exists in gameplay. Spells, resource management, activated abilities other than attacking, and action economy management are such examples of gameplay complexity.

Given no assumptions on the new player's learning rate, given no assumptions on the new player's willingness to learn, given no assumptions on how often sessions are held, given no assumptions on the starting level, I believe there exists some situation in which the simplicity of the Fighter is more beneficial to the overall gameplay experience than the losses due to power balance.

well I've been making neither of these arguments. I've been saying that succeeding at things outside of combat is not in a base fighter's skillset, and that the real difficulties in teaching players the game isn't in teaching how to roll a d20 and add something, it's in getting them to see the full extent of options available to them outside of combat, eg. diplomacy, stealth, information gathering, knowledge checks. Ranger/Slayer can allow players to successfully learn to explore these options for themselves. The fighter class, however, does not support these different forms of problem solving. It is only capable of teaching new players how combat works (and that they don't know enough to be able to pick feats for themselves). Ranger or Slayer is as capable of teaching players how combat works as the fighter is. But teach them other (more fun) things too, simultaneously.

Ashiel wrote:

However it's a lot better to show them a thing and let them do it and then learn a new thing later than just give them one thing to learn.

That's not being nice or easy on them, it's literally shorting them on the experience. And again, there's nothing worthwhile that the Fighter is going to be doing that the Ranger wouldn't.

And if you build the Ranger for them as you would need to build the Fighter for them, the Ranger is going to be better overall and more likely to survive long enough for the player to learn how to play (due to better saves, ability to craft their own gear, a versatile skill set, an expendable tag-team buddy or mount, etc).

That would be like keeping a child in kindergarten rather than progressing to the next tier of lessons because they're a newbie. The only way you stop being a newbie is to actually learn to play the game.

My favourite experience of teaching the game to someone was when the new level 4 ranger player took the spell Commune with Birds for that day and proceeded to act like a badass Disney princess. :-D

Boomerang Nebula wrote:
Fighters are simpler to play, but they are also boring. I think I would prefer blaster style sorcerer as my recommendation for a newbie if for some reason the ranger wasn't a good idea (like the party already had two rangers).

Yeah, I've been working under the assumption that this discussion is about a new player who wants to play a fighter-type role, but I'm only now realising that that hasn't actually been stated anywhere hehe.

Starbuck_II wrote:

What about the Barbarian?

It has skills like Ranger, fights like a Fighter, has decent buyable armor at low levels, Rage is measured in rounds so he can easy manage that, etc.

The most difficult part about barbarian for me was when it came to trying to explain how the hit point increase and subsequent decrease worked. And fatigue's effects afterwards. All the effects being measured as pluses or minuses to attributes rather than straight pluses or minuses to attack/damage rolls was just that slight added layer of complexity.

Lyra Amary wrote:

I agree completely with this assessment, especially on Rangers, who allow a new player to explore the game from multiple angles.

However, I would steer new players away from TWF, especially for the Ranger. Not only is it a suboptimal way to fight, but it also forces a certain feat path and makes players use different bonuses for different types of attacks, which can be overwhelming for a new player in an already numbers-heavy game.

I remember the first time we introduced one of my friends into the game, and she excitedly rolled up a Ranger, only to be discouraged because she kept forgetting what bonuses she needed to add and when. She had trouble with when she could make two attacks, when she could make one, when she needed to apply the TWF penalties, which weapon she declared as her main hand and her off-hand. I remember seeing her change from enthusiasm to discouragement and lack of engagement because she felt her turns were overly complicated when they had no reason to be.

Later on in the campaign she lost her two weapons and picked up a greatsword, and decided never to TWF again.

After we stopped playing that campaign she still refuses to go back to playing Rangers because of the needless penalties and complications of TWF.

Actually, this is a very good point that I had completely forgotten about. Thanks. :-)

HyperMissingno wrote:
Wait, people start the campaign before they know the basics of combat, skill checks, and magic? My GM ran me through a few scenarios with premade characters before I made my first character to make sure I knew how to play.

Differences in situation, differences in how people learn, the people involved and real-world timetabling constraints? Most of GMing is just winging it =)

For the people I've introduced to the game, at the time I introduced them, I'm doubtful if the method you're describing would have worked.

BackHandOfFate wrote:

I can understand what you're trying to get across. You're saying that having a code of conduct discourages a new player from exploring the results of certain trains of thought. I can see that. There are definitely a lot of directions you can take another character while the code will limit you in some ways. When a player asks me if they can do 'x' in regards to morally questionable decisions that could have consequences, I generally talk it out with them a little bit and maybe have them roll a knowledge check or two. I don't flat out say no. But I do remind them that no matter what alignment they are, they should be mindful of their actions.

I see the code as a sort of built in reminder that is helpful to new players. Keeps their character's behavior consistent and gives them incentive to find ways of solving problems that they might not have thought of before. Using diplomacy in order to avoid needless bloodshed, for example.

Yeah I can see where you're coming from with that too. Keeping character behaviour consistent is something that's definitely good to teach, but I'd put way further down the line in things I'd like a new player to learn. It sounds like we just have different experiences leading us to different conclusions. I'm glad I came across relatively coherently at least haha! It's not even just the code limiting their actions though, even wearing heavy armour is too much of a limitation on a new player's possibilities in my mind.

master_marshmallow wrote:
Do you really force them to commit to a full Adventure Path or full campaign?

well, I certainly wouldn't say "you must complete this many once off sessions with characters of increasing complexity before you can join the rest of us playing in the campaign with a character you actually like." :-P

Nor would I say "you're stuck for 6 months to a year with whatever you make right now, I said now! Hop to it!"

The most problems I've had with new people trying to learn the game isn't really in what to roll and when ("that dice, and add that number to it" solves this, usually with some iteration and assurance that they're fine and not annoying anyone by asking) and even if it was, any class could teach this, it's when they ask "what can I actually do?" that the problem comes up, because they're not used to thinking of their actions in a non-linear non-restricted-by-computer-programming fashion. And for the first few levels, that question is mostly answered in the form of skill checks, and 2+int, with possibly heavy armour penalties, means that outside of swinging a sword they're left with the answer "not much".

I'd be most inclined to suggest gravewalker witch, followed by summoner.
I think the witch has a more necromantic selection of other class abilities/spells than the summoner does, to go alongside the one undead companion. But the summoner would probably be able to focus better on the one undead minion than the witch could.

BackHandOfFate wrote:
Rashagar wrote:
I feel that preconception of paladin acts more to stifle creativity than guide role-playing, and the creative juices of new players are worth encouraging, not crushing. It's where most of the fun comes from, after all.
I do agree with you that the Ranger is probably the less complicated class in some regards. Although I don't feel the Paladin's code of conduct stifles creativity. I believe it actually challenges a player to find new ways to solve problems that they wouldn't otherwise think of. Solving a problem when actions do matter in a way that can affect your character directly and immediately is a little more engaging. The challenge comes from having to make a decision while trying to adhere to a set of ideals that you as a real life person might not share. That is encouraging roleplay. Not discouraging it.

Maybe should have clarified, stifle the creativity of new players specifically. If a new player asks the question "can I do this?" it's been my experience that for rangers the answer is more often "yes you can definitely try!" than it is for paladins.

Favoured Enemy is a nicer, more open mechanical method of teaching role-play in my experience. You as GM suggest a few types of creature that will be good for them to pick, and then let them know that it doesn't have to mean they HATE that species and want it exterminated, it could mean that they're particularly familiar with it's anatomy, or know it's behaviour patterns and it's social cues, or have had the most dealings with it in the past, OR a band of them slaughtered their family if they want. It gets them thinking about where their character has come from and how their past experiences have shaped them without letting them feel forced into a trope like the paladin suggestion can feel.

Plus, as I say, skills are fun, especially at 1st level. And no new player should have to deal with 2+int on a non-int based class. :-D

Personally I'd definitely pick suggesting Ranger for a new player over either of the others.

Fighter I agree that many feats right away is far too intimidating for a new player. Even some of my players of 3+ years hate picking feats for exactly those reasons you mentioned. For rangers, by the time they get to level 2 they've probably seen how some other feats work for other players or at least have an idea like "I want to do more damage" or "can I hit things with my shield?" so it's a nice time for a bonus feat. Ranger lets them play around with rogue-type roles, and have plenty of skill points to try out things like knowledge or sense motive, and later on serve as a slow introduction to spellcasting, but don't come with as many of the "you must play this way" hang-ups that paladins come with (the point being that they might be game-adjacent enough to have an idea how some people think paladins "should" be played and that's a constricting box to be shoved into as your introduction to the game). I feel that preconception of paladin acts more to stifle creativity than guide role-playing, and the creative juices of new players are worth encouraging, not crushing. It's where most of the fun comes from, after all.

Arnakalar wrote:
I think Shaman hexes might actually be a better point of reference

Heh I'll be honest, I've only ever looked at the shaman from the point of view of making a spirit guide oracle. I don't know why it failed to grab me when it came out, since I love witches, oracles and druids it should have been perfectly aligned with my interests.

Arnakalar wrote:

Breaking down the 'revelations' per domain is something I have considered, however my worry is that Mysteries have an extremely strong flavor and focus - an Oracle of "The Heavens" is a very flavorful and specific thing.

While Gods are likewise interesting and specific, domains aren't, and I think mashing up revelations will make the cleric feel messy.

I can imagine this happening alright.

I'd love to see clerics gaining the option to access features of a god's entire portfolio rather than just two domains.
But I admit that taking domain powers from 5 different domains could make a character feel all over the place, and the water domain's powers needing to simultaneously feel suitably Pharasma...n and Gozreh...ful could be awkward when trying to make them also gel nicely with the other 4 domains of each of those deities to make one functional/flavourful "mystery" per deity.
Maybe all domain spell access is enough to accomplish this.

And I'd love to see clerics able to swap out channel energy (and choice of spells to cast spontaneously) if they want for a different class feature that emphasises a different primary/secondary role. I thought having the primary/focused/whatever domain strengthen the choice of role could be a nice way to do it rather than via archetypes so that the versatility is built into the base class, and I used curses as an example because I thought it'd be good if they scaled in power with the levels of cleric, the way channel energy does, but introduced the possibility of small mechanical limitations over the current base class to help define that role even further. (since limitations are what define roles)
But I can also see how it could make clerics lose some of what makes them stand out from other classes. They have so little of that as it is.

Arnakalar wrote:

I'm thinking, what if each domain gives ~2-4 revelations (they might keep their domain powers, they might not) - clerics pick one or two domains at 1st/low level, and perhaps get an additional domain or two as they advance - perhaps a flexible/pledged domain, perhaps they just make fixed choices.

What if, for your primary domain you get the lesser & greater (and perhaps another high level power) automatically, as well as access to 3 revelations. At 4th(?) & ~12th you get another domain, and you get the 1st level powers of that/those domain(s), access to the domain revelations, and perhaps you can select the greater and supreme domain powers as revelations.

It sounds like this would accomplish most of what I'd want from an unchained cleric while resulting in a slightly neater end character than what I laid out.

Out of curiosity, do you consider all clerics having channel energy to be something that defines clerics and should continue to define unchained clerics? I mean, right now it defines clerics in that it's nearly the only class feature they have. But since this mental exercise is adding more class features to enable more variation between clerics, I'm curious if you see channel as something that should continue to define the unchained variant or not.

Shisumo wrote:
What is being described here sounds a lot like the occultist, with domains roughly equivalent to implements, implement schools and focus powers. Perhaps there's some inspiration to be drawn from there?

I tried reading the occultist after you mentioned this (haven't looked at any of the new classes outside kineticist) but I had to put it on the list of things to come back to when my brain was less tired hehe. It did look interesting.

I'm not really sure what effects your character description would encompass but if I were you and wanting to make a themed caster like that, I'd focus on what effects I'd want to be able to cause, like direct damage (acid? cold? force? negative energy?), blindness, paralysis, long lasting curses, entangling, exhaustion, fear, nauseated, or whatever, and then try to find ways to get those effects, re-flavouring spells to fit thematically where appropriate.

Like I consider enchantment to have some of the most twisted spells there are, but your idea of twisted might be completely different to mine.

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Atarlost wrote:

A druid wears leather. An oracle is a cripple or a deaf mute or has severe cataracts or has some other pitiable weakness. We do not send cripples into battle. The two drawbacks are nothing alike. Cripples and deaf mutes and people with severe cataracts should not be sent into harms way. Occasionally people who are already high level have remained active, but a level 1 party is not going to get the adventuring equivalent of Horatio Nelson. And Nelson wouldn't have been permitted to continue serving in anything but a command or administrative role.

It's not the mechanics that make oracles completely unsuitable for adventuring. It's the RP. The druid, like the bard or rogue, doesn't wear certain armor. The oracle is disabled and just like disabled people aren't welcome in the military unless they already have a proven track record doing something their disability doesn't prevent, disabled people are not welcome in adventuring parties where everyone is making decisions in character.

Only the cleric provides all condition removal spells without a cripplingly low spells known limit or an access delay. The druid and shaman supply some, but at least one is only on the cleric/oracle list. If no one plays a cleric someone has to play an oracle and someone else a druid or shaman. Since people who actually care about roleplaying can't have oracles in low level parties without some extreme railroading forcing everyone to adventure together, someone must play a cleric.

And the GM isn't forced to be a dick over codes of conduct, but if he isn't a dick the code of conduct isn't doing anything to balance the class. A non-dickish GM will ignore everything on the druid code except the armor restriction. And, lo and behold, druids are overpowered. They wouldn't be overpowered if the GM were a dick and made them fall on any stupid excuse, but then the GM would have to be a dick. The same thing happens with paladins, but since they're martials they merely suck less than they otherwise would have.

You're proposing balancing clerics like druids. Any GM who isn't willing to be a dick will find them just as overpowered. Any GM who is willing to be a dick to his players is forced to single out whoever runs the cleric (or druid or paladin) to be a dick to them because they have codes of conduct.

I just... disagree with everything you just said.


That's quite rare for me.

A less silly answer:

I try to keep combat interesting by varying up not just the challenges they face but the method of delivery as well.

Sometimes it's a relatively straight-forward encounter delivered in a description-heavy way that emphasises the narrative flow of the encounter.
Sometimes it's a grid-based tactical puzzle they need to figure out.
Usually I've found that my energy levels are the main factor in which sort of delivery method I use haha!

I've tried both extremes and found that my comfort zone and that of my players is to be able to switch between stretching our imaginative muscles or falling back on simply rolling, depending on our mood and how long we've been going.

Usually the grid is there mainly just to keep track of relative positions, because that sort of thing can be really hard to describe when there's a lot of characters involved.

Morally grey areas are great for making encounters interesting/memorable. I'm really proud of how how many times I've gotten my players asking "are we the bad guys". Eg. A fight with frost giants (the party were tasked with investigating the frost giant threat in the area, homes had been attacked, people taken as slaves) started by the party encountering the frost giant family's child out playing by himself with his pet frost drake Fluffy. He asked the party to play "pillaging the farmsteads" with him. The party convinced him to take them to his home by saying they'd play "slavers and captives" with him as the slaver, but the fight began because as they approached the place the frost giant mother just saw her child in the company of heavily armed adventurers.

I have a lot of fun with layering effects. It's really easy/effective to do it with spells, but environmental effects, lighting and terrain can be just as fun.

Random examples of encounters from my most recent game:
A spellcaster enemy whose flavour was a "star child", like a celestial chosen one but in the void sense rather than the heaven kind. Basically, I wanted her powers to be all fire-, light- and gravity-based. Ranged attacks weren't effective thanks to the strange gravitational shear forces surrounding her (fickle winds), and they were such that the ground around her started to rip up, rocks started to float and magma started to be siphoned to the surface (pseudo-reverse gravity, tar pool and hungry earth layered on top of each other). So players were hopping from floating rock to floating rock trying to get close enough to engage her in melee while avoiding blasts of hot air (telekinesis) and hoping they wouldn't fall into the lava and start being engulfed.

A pack of wolves that fought with actual wolf tactics, with one being the most threatening/distracting while the others used a combination of spring attack, flanking, and teamwork feats. when one of the party landed a killing blow against a wolf the rest of the pack backed off and started circling just out of reach of the campfire light, trying to decide whether to find a new avenue of attack (if one player showed weakness) or to find easier prey.

An intelligent undead be-tentacled monstrosity under a frozen lake that hunted in a kind of angler-fish method, so that on approaching, all the adventurers saw were two children (actually reanimated corpses) playing on the ice, before a sudden loud crack caused the ice underneath the "children" to break and them to fall in. The party mounted a rushed and daring rescue only to discover the trap, managed to escape the tentacles and then had a race across the ice to the lake's edge with the monster breaking the ice underneath them as they ran, trying to knock them back in.

If I'm focusing on battle mats, I tend not to draw on them because I just find it time-consuming, immersion breaking, and I hate the smell of markers. Instead, what I've taken to doing is using marla (modeling clay?) to make a selection of shapes, simple right angles for corners of rooms to give an idea of the dimensions, lumps, cubes or numbered disks to denote various objects in the rooms, that sort of thing. It makes a nice multipurpose on-the-fly map-sketching set and means that I can lay out a dungeon bit by bit as they discover it.

I cheat =P

You haven't mentioned anything about limited sourcebooks that I've noticed so just picking some favourites off the srd:

I really like the trickery domain (deception subdomain).

Mirror image adds a lot to defence for a particularly grueling fight, Confusion is great crowd control which your party seems to lack (though it's possible your bard has it), the Sudden Shift domain power could go a long way towards helping your rogue get flanking attacks in. Also Veil is just odd enough for me to love.

Grace and Spiritual Ally are both great spell options for also helping setting up flanks.
Applying blindness is another great defence, possibly with AoE spells like Dark-Light. (Does blindness help rogues sneak-attack? Can't remember)
Stone Shield and Martyr's Bargain are nice immediate-action personal defences.

Then there's the usual, Sanctuary, Hold Person, Alignment Protection, Liberating Command, Pilfering Hand to take their weapons, Silence, Debilitating Portent, and some of the newer things like Greater Stunning Barrier.
Communal Resist Energy with a reach spell metamagic rod is a lot more satisfying than it's single-target variant.
Ideally the Oracle should be taking care of dispel magic since it'd be spammable when needed for him, but if not then it's usually a good defence option.
I've found the odd scroll of wind wall to be surprisingly helpful for a multitude of scenarios (like unexpected swarms which your group might struggle against) but my GM is kind of permissive so it might not be true for every table.

Possibly projecting here but your group seems to lack good multi-target options. Aside from Dark-Light, Cloud of Seasickness and Confusion if going Trickery I can't think of a huge number of Cleric spells that help against groups before 5th level spells, when you suddenly get too many (Greater Command/Forbid, Flamestrike, Hymn of Mercy, Insect Plague to name some I like)

*Edit* sorry if all of this was already known and I'm just, heh, preaching to the converted.

Atarlost wrote:

RP should never be used to balance mechanics. It essentially forces the GM to be a dick to one player if the RP restriction is to have any balancing force.

Particularly since cleric is already the class someone is practically forced to play. A druid/shaman and oracle working together can pick up the slack, but oracle is already a terrible class for in character group dynamics. "Why is this guy in the group?" always needs an in character answer and almost all curses trigger normal instincts to keep invalids off of the front lines. An oracle entering at high level can offset that with competence, but in a game starting at 1st level there's almost no way that it's not better from both compassionate and self interested motives to send the cursed oracle to work in the temple and recruit someone who can consistently speak common, can hear, has two working legs, can see more than 30', doesn't appear to be falling apart, and isn't haunted by mischievous at best spirits, etc.

Maybe this is a table variance, or possibly a cultural difference, but I've very little idea what you're on about here. Do you consider a druid not being able to wear metal armour to be fine but oracle curses like only speaking a certain language in combat or having a slightly slower move speed to be terrible? Or are you also against the metal restriction on druids? I really don't follow. I also don't really agree with the "cleric being a class that someone is practically forced to play" part. I just don't have the same experiences as you. And I've never had a GM forced to be a dick either, it's always a choice they make haha!

UnArcaneElection wrote:

In most cases, you probably want one Code of Conduct per deity, although deities like Norgorber would be obvious exceptions, and some deities might have Specialty Priests having additional Codes of Conduct.

You're probably right but I just liked the idea of allowing a cleric to not just be devoted to Pharasma but to, say, the undead-hating aspect of Pharasma, or to the preservation of knowledge of particular interest to her, or life, or whatever her other two domains are, and for them to have a functional difference they obtain at level 1 in exchange for those devotions that help differentiate their characters. (Eg. life devotion gains channel positive energy, knowledge devotion gets bardic knowledge instead of channel energy)

To emphasise my motive in posting here, I'm more interested in suggesting ideas than in suggesting ideas that are perfectly balanced right out of the gate. I love the more modular-feeling classes of Pathfinder, and if leveling up a cleric let you choose a class feature you got that emphasised the focus of your devotion (one option of which was Channel), and then could choose domain powers from the entire portfolio of your deity, and on top of that could then choose what kind of spell of each level you could cast spontaneously (maybe determined by your choice of particular devotion), I would probably love the class a lot more.

I also like the idea that a knowledge-devoted cleric of Pharasma would have the same channel-alternative class feature as a knowledge-devoted cleric of, say, Norgorber (and would have a reason to get along well together, at least as far as their interests aligned) but would have a different pool of revelation-esque domain powers to draw from.

Vahanian 89 wrote:
A dwarf Brogue would be cool. Split barbarian and rogue go strength build and rage sneak attack stuff. I saw someone do this with a human and it was really funny to watch.

Might be kind of hard to role-play a shoe though. :-P

Arnakalar wrote:

On the central topic - a really interesting point that was brought up is the question of what ARE the roles clerics fill, or that we can imagine them filling. Hiiamtom suggested "scholastic (monk-like), evangelist (leader), purifier/corrupter (strength cleric), and beacon (channeling)"

Some random thoughts I'd add to that:

The Leader/Evangelist - A largely dedicated support character - blasphemously I think this one could draw a lot from the 4E Cleric, Warlord, and Bard - it should have features or a way to spend their actions investing in their allies doing cool stuff, coordinating, or maybe even handing out something like teamwork feats. Maybe as part of a channel you can spend your action(s) to grant allies bonus actions? This could be a really cool playstyle, and the goal would be to make the 'support cleric' a more active/dynamic participant.

The 'Doomsayer' - "Truly, Banjo giveth with one hand, and taketh away with the other" - Fire and Brimstone, or Loaves and Fishes - this guy is a real old testament type, and he holds your fortune in his hands. Maybe gets a sort of 'prayer' ability that can help allies or hinder foes but either way specializes in buff/debuff dynamics.

The Thaumaturge - The miracle worker is the *serious* spellcaster - while all of the above are full casters and thus that's their ultimate focus, the thaumaturge should take this a step further - perhaps she gets a spell recovery method, divine metamagic, spontaneous spell slots or can learn wizard spells, something like that.

The Crusader - this is your battle cleric - it differs from the warpriest in being a full/primary caster first, with some mid-weight combat abilities and armor, to be contrasted with the warpriests extensive weapon and armor profs/enhancements, swift action buffs and combat focused blessings.

(There also needs to be an awareness of 'secondary roles' - the 'scholar' really belongs here more, as "walking encyclopedia", while an important function, is not a 'Role' in PF. Ultimately I think secondary role is going to be better shaped by deity - community/charm/etc clerics imply Face, knowledge/magic implies encyclopedia, nature/animal implies survival, etc...)

Can anyone think of others? I've broken these up as subclasses or archetypes, but I don't know if that's the best way to do it. The structure of my unchained cleric currently has more like revelations that you would use to customize and shape your role.

So just bouncing ideas off this post, sticking close to revelations is probably the simplest route (since my favourite class is the oracle though I'm fairly biased).

As it is, mysteries give 10 revelations to pick from, if we standardise each deity to giving access to 5 domains and each domain giving 2 powers then all we'd need to do in theory is make sure that domain abilities are roughly equivalent in power to revelations.
Oracles get 6 revelations in the course of their career, plus a curse which is rarely an overall drawback.

The benefits/drawbacks of spontaneous vs prepared casting has been discussed to death but we can probably assume that they're equivalent from a power perspective.

So one possibility would be to have each deity grant 5 domains, and each domain to add to a pool of powers that could be selected from at specific levels, so if domains granted one "curse" option and two "revelation" options then in effect each deity would be the equivalent of an oracle mystery + curse. Clerics as they leveled up would pick one of the 5 possible "curses" their deity granted and six of the ten possible "revelations".

This would also mean that setting-specific deities would still be perfectly doable by picking 5 domains for them to govern.

My thought as writing this was that the "curse" options would be domain-specific deity codes of conduct, functioning a little like a cross between cavalier codes and the oracle's curse. Might be a bit difficult to come up with that many (one for each domain, five for each deity) but it would allow, say, two clerics of Pharasma to still have differences between each other as they pick between which of the 5 areas of their deity's portfolio to specialise in upholding.

One of the obvious downsides to me as I'm writing this is that it doesn't account for powers that are only selectable after a certain level, ie. "you must be at least 11th level to select this" etc. so an alternative could be to have each domain add 3 possible powers to your pool of selectable options, one available at 1st+, one at 6th+, and one at 12th+. So assuming a progression curve similar to oracles, clerics would end up with 2 (of a possible 5) 1st+ powers, 2 (of a possible 5) 6th+ powers and 2 (of a possible 5) 12th+ powers. This would mean that a deity would grant more options than a revelation, but on the other hand you'd end up with the same number of powers so it probably isn't that bad.

This then coupled with some kind of limitation on their current spell list (but expanded via domains granting say 2 spells each per spell level, for a total of 10), whether it be similar to the way wizards learn spells (the easier option, maybe adding 2 from the cleric spell list and one from the domain granted spell list every time they level up for free, but can "scribe" for the others) or a thorough pruning of their spell list (possibly preferable but has the downside of being difficult to expand upon via splatbooks etc).
*Edit* plus probably only simple weapons + light armour, a "revelation" could grant martial+medium prof.

Just some thoughts anyway, as incomprehensible as they may be.

So a cleric's progression would look like (with wizard-style spell selection for the sake of argument)
1st: pick a domain code from those granted by deity (which comes with a "curse" power, basic example could be channel energy)
1st: pick a domain power from the 1st+ lvl options granted by deity
2nd: pick a 1st level domain spell to be able to cast spontaneously ala current clerics cure/inflict light wounds
3rd: pick a domain power from the 1st+ lvl options granted by deity
4th: pick a spontaneous 2nd level spell
6th: pick a spontaneous 3rd level spell
7th: pick a domain power from 1st+ or 6th+ options.
8th: pick a spontaneous 4th level spell
9th: pick a domain power from 1st+ or 6th+ options.
10: pick a spontaneous 5th level spell
12: pick a spontaneous 6th level spell
13: pick a domain power from 1st+, 6th+ or 12th+ options.
14: pick a spontaneous 7th level spell
15: pick a domain power from 1st+, 6th+ or 12th+ options.
Capstone: don't care, nobody gets that high anyway.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
Rashagar wrote:

Or just setting up challenging encounters tailored to the level of system mastery and particular strengths and weaknesses of his players. You know, the way that they do.

If we're discussing tactical advice, we need an agreed-upon baseline for the discussion to be meaningful. The most useful one is probably the one that Paizo itself employs, especially since it's also the one that's used (by decree) in the PFS shared campaign. If your game master wants to house-rule clerics into nullity, or to bring back CoDzilla from 3.0, then obviously your tactics will have to adapt, but that's not the sort of thing we can meaningfully discuss on a bulletin board.


These discussions always tend to assume or outright state that with proper use of tactics no in-combat healing should ever be needed, and I disagree.

That's not how I read it. Let me quote from the opening post that started this whole discussion:

No one likes playing the medic of the party. It's not flashy or glamorous but every party needs one. At low to mid level a party won't survive without one and at higher levels a medic can raise dead characters.

This isn't a discussion of whether a party can reasonably expect to make it all the way through a six-volume Adventure Path without casting a single cure spell. This is a discussion about whether, fundamentally, someone at the table needs to play a character that they don't enjoy playing, because "a party won't survive without one."

Nothing that has been said on this thread has shifted my view one iota from my initial position that, no, a designated "medic" is not needed and a party can survive happily without one.

If you are playing with good tactics, the need for in-combat healing is greatly reduced. In-combat healing (and, in fact, any other reactive tactic) is fundamentally weaker, in general, than a proactive tactic that concentrates on winning the battle instead of prolonging it. Tark discussed this quite well in...

So if you've been in agreement with me this whole time then why have you been trying to nit-pick everything I say? :-P (This is in jest)

TarkXT wrote:
Rashagar wrote:

These discussions always tend to assume or outright state that with proper use of tactics no in-combat healing should ever be needed, and I disagree. Fundamentally. with the definition of "challenging" used in these situations, with the handy ignoring of the effects of luck in a d20 game, and with the idea that if someone brings a "dedicated healer" they should be made to feel un-needed, which is a corollary of this particular belief evident in the attitudes of certain advocates.

Luck isn't being ignored. Reliance on it is being reduced as much as possible. I'd rather win on a series of mediocre rolls than pray constantly for big ones.

In addition damage is not an indication of challenge. Resource expenditure is. That's a common mistake gm's make. They think that their encounters aren't challenging enough because the group doesn't take damge. Even though that group may have spend over 30% of their resource just to accomplish that.

I didn't (mean to, at least) suggest that damage was an indication of challenge. Not sure where that's being read into what I said... Gah I hate my brain not working at full speed.

*Edit* I don't disagree with what you're saying, I just literally can't see where I said anything it's responding to.

TOZ wrote:
born_of_fire wrote:
You only fight one mob at a time? Small wonder you never need in combat healing. Your DM is awfully kind to you.
And your GM is awfully cruel to you. PCs die when outnumbered. Regardless of healing. If you're always running into equally matched, equal opposition, then you've strayed from the baseline that says a party can handle a CR of equal level with a certain expenditure of resources. The epic battle against steep odds is supposed to be a special occurrence, not the standard.

Or just setting up challenging encounters tailored to the level of system mastery and particular strengths and weaknesses of his players. You know, the way that they do.

The Challenge Rating of an encounter is a very rough guideline of actual challenge.

And the effect of level-of-system-mastery being a barrier for entry into enjoying this game should always be minimised. (That sentence kind of got away from me, sorry). In short, I disagree that it's either cruel or kind, it's just what a good GM does.

These discussions always tend to assume or outright state that with proper use of tactics no in-combat healing should ever be needed, and I disagree. Fundamentally. with the definition of "challenging" used in these situations, with the handy ignoring of the effects of luck in a d20 game, and with the idea that if someone brings a "dedicated healer" they should be made to feel un-needed, which is a corollary of this particular belief evident in the attitudes of certain advocates.

(That last paragraph isn't directed at you btw, more just a general rant against anti-social attitudes I've come across hehe)

tl;dr, play what you want to play, don't s*%$ in other people's cake.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
Rashagar wrote:
Fergie wrote:
A character that can only heal, and isn't useful for other things is just a silly strawman.

I've been noticing that trend in some of the previous posts too.

I think it's a difference of interpretation of what the phrase "dedicated healer" meant. To my mind, resist energy, dispel magic, AC boosts or manipulating miss chances are all tools of a "dedicated healer" but I can also see how some people might assume a person who said that phrase meant "someone who only casts cure spells or removes afflictions"

Well, "someone who only casts cure spells or removes afflictions" is definitely my interpretation of the phrase. Especially when we're talking about a cleric/oracle being mandatory in that context. That's one step removed from the unarmed noncombatants who, according to the laws of war, you're not allowed to shoot at -- the primary difference being that you're allowed to shoot at them, but need not bother.

If you want to define "dedicated healer" as "someone who can cast healing or do other things that are actually useful," then literally any character with CLW (or infernal healing) on their spell list is, by definition, a "dedicated healer," which means the word "dedicated" is meaningless in this phrase. Look, I'm a paladin! I'm a dedicated healer who does all the damage! Look, I'm a druid! I'm a dedicated healer who turns into a T-rex and rips people's heads off! Look, I'm a witch! I'm a dedicated healer who debuffs enemies into helplessness and then kills them with a coup de grace! Look, I'm a wizard (Harry)! I'm a dedicated healer who destroys large groups of enemies with balls of fire!

.... because they can all pull out a cheap CLW wand from a wrist sheath and stabilize a fallen companion.

But, if played intelligently, few if any of them will spend many actions doing that, because there are usually better things they can do to end the fight more quickly and decisively. Tark covered...


I never said anything close to that being my definition of dedicated healer.

Frankly, your assumption of there only being those two options for definitions is a bit of a failure of imagination on your part.

My own failure of imagination was thinking that there was no way that anyone could find anything objectionable in what I said. Though I suppose thankfully you didn't find anything objectionable in what I actually said. Merely in your ludicrous over-exaggerated nonsense that followed on from it.

*Edit* Hehe, so we've discovered that not only are you a cleric of the "forge" but that the "forge"'s favoured weapon is straw men, because you're certainly very proficient in wielding them. =P

Fergie wrote:
A character that can only heal, and isn't useful for other things is just a silly strawman.

I've been noticing that trend in some of the previous posts too.

I think it's a difference of interpretation of what the phrase "dedicated healer" meant. To my mind, resist energy, dispel magic, AC boosts or manipulating miss chances are all tools of a "dedicated healer" but I can also see how some people might assume a person who said that phrase meant "someone who only casts cure spells or removes afflictions"

I'm of the opinion that no one should feel forced to play anything, GMs should always feel empowered to tweak their games to suit the party, and a party being particularly challenged by situations that others might breeze through is where the fun comes in!

If I was GMing and a new player, say an ex-wow-fan for the sake of argument, came to me wanting to be a "heal-bot" (by which I mean a character somehow inexplicably only capable of healing hit point damage) I'd say "that's cool!" before making sure they were aware of affliction removal, ability point damage, environmental effects, the benefits of pro-action over reaction, and the blending of roles/diversification of tool sets, and if they still wanted to be a "heal-bot" that'd still be cool, it'd be my job to make sure there were moments where they felt integral and moments where they were challenged. And to stamp firmly down on any other players saying anything like "your role's just not necessary in this game" or anything similar just because they read it on a forum somewhere.

Tangent Time: One of my favourite characters to play recently has been a guy whose only method of dealing any form of damage is with the spiritual weapon spell. And the reason he's one of my favourites is that he's found himself in situations that he's completely ill-suited for where the short-comings of his powers are made painfully apparent, and that's a really fun situation to be in! The phrase to sum up my part in that game was "I can't actually stop anyone! I can only make it very unlikely for them to succeed".

Clearly Orfamay Quest is a Cleric of the Forge.

Just a bit too much fanatical proselytising for my tastes. =P

@Davor, how dare you suggest that this is a role-playing game and not a system of mechanics to be optimised and exploited =P

*Edit* none of this post is serious or meant to offend, apologies if it does.

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The "boring cleric/boring wizard" mentioned by... someone... (I've just read through the entire thread at once so everyone is blending together) is kind of how I feel about all prepared casters in fairness.
You end up just picking either generically effective spells for the day or spells to counter a specific thing that day (eg. remove blindness), and it removes a lot of the interesting build-defining character choices that spontaneous casters make every time they level up.

I like the suggested ideas for making the choice of deity more relevant and the trimming the current spell list combined with expanding the domain granted spell lists, losing the domain slot restriction, and picking one domain choice to cast spontaneously instead of it automatically being cure/inflict (but it could still be cure/inflict with the right domains/portfolio). Also really interested in that idea of spells getting minor bonuses if they're added more than once.

I agree with the person who said d6 hit points isn't particularly appealing for a class that generally can't afford to hang back as much as the wizard can (unless you make all life-saving clutch situation spells ranged, which...), it can be reflected by a poorer con score if you really want the squishiness, since realistically a d6 hp is -1 hp/lvl compared to d8, and should also be combined with a poor fort save for true wizard-squish. =P

I'm now really interested in expanding domain spell lists and fiddling with deity portfolios... damn there goes my afternoon...

Renegadeshepherd wrote:
Rashagar wrote:

Clerics get 2+int skill points per level.

Oracles get 4+int.

Oracles win. =P

Not true, at least two archetypes have 4+INT.

Are those archetypes the ones that are being lauded as being superior to specific oracles in the previous comments? Or do they stack with them?

I ask because I don't know btw, unless they're an int-based class I just can't make myself play a 2+int class for anything more than a minor dip. It's far too constricting to my preferred play-style, which is kind of annoying because I actually like both channeling and domains.

And my post was tongue-in-cheek, just to clarify =) I'm fully aware that "winning" isn't a real thing here.

*Edit* But I suppose I could say "base oracle" and "base cleric" to reaffirm my "true"ness haha!

Clerics get 2+int skill points per level.
Oracles get 4+int.

Oracles win. =P

Abraham spalding wrote:

Sorcerer Unchained would be nice.

Definitely agree, though the necessary changes would be fairly minimal I think.

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Set wrote:

The scary things from level one are fleeing the scary things from level two. Diseased rats fleeing an ooze-infested flood, for instance, or giant spiders fleeing awakened spider-eaters, or deformed mutated goblins fleeing a troll alchemist who has been experimenting (and snacking) upon them, or whatever. The nasty of one level is thus tied to the nasty of the next level, thematically.

Now this I love. Makes the environment feel alive.

When running a horror-esque session I think the most important part is to be descriptive. Don't say "you encounter a troll", say "as your eyes adjust to the light you notice that the pile of soiled discarded rags on the opposite side of the room is moving. It rises up and resolves itself into the form of a hulking monstrous entity, it's eyes gleam a wicked red under the mass of knotted hair and as it raises an elongated clawed arm to strike at you a waft of foul smelling air assaults your senses". Just never name the things they encounter, and if they succeed at knowledge checks to learn more about them phrase it in such a way that you give them the necessary info without giving them the thing's name eg "you've heard tale of such creatures before, the lore seemed to indicate that the thing shied away from sources of open flame" The less game terms you can use the better.

With that in mind, some things I've enjoyed using in horror themed games include:
Tengu, I think done right they should be properly terrifying, as human-sized predators with razor sharp beaks and claws and utterly alien minds. (Think jurrasic park raptors but with even more intellect)
Children, as has been mentioned. And children's toys in places you wouldn't expect them. My players once opened a door to find a room seemingly empty but for a doll sitting upright in the dead centre of the room. They never went in to that room.
Blood in unexpected places. Eg. I had statues that bled when damaged. The masonry around them had begun to crumble and some of the statues had been damaged by falling brickwork. Despite the decades old damage the "wounds" on the statues still seeped fresh blood.
People get very squeamish when it comes to eyes or damage to eyes. And faces. Mirrors. One room held a statue holding a reflective hand mirror. Each time the players passed it the statue changed slightly and a different face was reflected in the mirror. Then one time they passed it the mirror was shattered on the floor. They were convinced that that meant that something had been released but next time they went to the statue they found the mirror whole again and a placcid expression on the statue's face.
A patch of wall that inexplicably oozed pus, which led to the catch phrase for that and many other sessions being "I lick the goo".

My players were great for theorising to each other during the session, which meant that I was in a great position to play against their fears and expectations, either challenging or corroborating their past assumptions. Don't be scared to abandon what you've already laid out in favour of the story they're making up themselves as they go along, use their imaginations against them, work on your poker face and never explain the origins of anything that you don't need to.

Hope it goes well =D

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