- Illegal targets/conditions makes the spell automatically fail.
Because everyone prefer to be reminded a pleasant "you can't do that, try another thing" instead of "MUAHAHAH that was ilegal YOU FAILEEEED"
In play I usually resolve that via a knowledge check - if the PCs (I'm usually willing to let other players who have acted make the knowledge checks and assume they have communicated to the other players - unless the specifics of the encounter don't allow for that.
i.e. if the PCs are aware that plants can't be mind controlled then I allow them to not cast those spells - however if they aren't aware of that casting it and determining that the spell fails to effect the creature is part of the game I think - and usually how the players (in game) learn what works or that the strange creature is something other than they expected etc.
(i.e. a plant not a humanoid, or an undead etc)
re initiative - I think the flat-footed rule is pretty important - if you haven't yet acted in the initiative order that it reflects how well you have reacted to the looming combat (even if you were aware that combat was about to happen) - it makes some class features (uncanny dodge) valuable - and it gives everyone a special window of opportunity to act.
Rogues - get a chance for sneak attacks (potentially two if they act quickly and get a surprise round and then act before their target that didn't act in the surprise round can act in the first round)
Everyone - a chance to move around the battlefield without provoking AoO's (in most cases - though this is when an enemy with uncanny dodge etc comes into play), to try combat maneuvers without provoking (if they act first) or to cast even if adjacent without provoking etc.
(which at all levels can open up some key tactics that many players don't always use - i.e. combat maneuvers even if untrained with them - so disarm that enemy before they even get a chance to attack you with it - or grapple the caster etc)
I usually further impose that players can't make things like knowledge checks until it is their turn (and thus until they are no longer flatfooted) - makes surprise and the initiative order more important.
(and yes this then rewards PCs who focus on initiative with great options in combat situations much of the time)
Only if the attacker hits and deals damage (so a caster protected by mirror images, blur/blink/displacement, DR etc might still attempt such a foolhardy activity.
But more broadly I rarely see PCs using readied actions to disrupt spellcasting (In part because GMs rarely use it in reverse)
Related the rules around continuous damage and spell casting are not often encountered and often forgotten about (since there are only a few ways to generate continuous damage - acid arrow, setting someone on fire, or environmental damage like being in lava or near a wall of fire etc. With the rule using 1/2 damage to approximate the amount of damage taken while actively trying to cast a spell (I think thus if you cast a longer than a standard action spell while on fire or taking ongoing acid damage etc the check would use the full amount of that damage.
Using readied actions or ongoing damage against spellcasters is definitely advanced mode - but also something a GM can introduce as an enemy tactic to show to the PCs how they might use that tactic themselves in the future (early on smart goblins or kobolds or even bandits or city guards might use such tactics to harass the casters in the party
one rule I use at my tables (which I think is actually RAW) is that dead bodies on the battlefield create difficult terrain (I generally do this for anything that is larger than the PCs - though technically I believe any dead body sized medium or larger by RAW does create difficult terrain)
(of course this is only monsters that leave bodies behind - so no summoned or incorporeal etc)
In play this is generally fairly easy to adjudicate - either leaving miniatures on the playmat or using a flat token to indicate the squares that have bodies - it does slow down combat slightly and creates some tactical options - and it gives some further incentives for flight or abilities to bypass difficult terrain - and it doesn't strain credibility - a dead dragon or ogre should leave a big obstacle that has to be gotten around (or which can be used for cover)
1) anyone can do any combat maneuver with any weapon or unarmed strike. You don't need a "trip" weapon to make a trip attack (it just has some benefits) etc - and though if you don't have the improved feat it may trigger a potential attack of opportunity there are many cases when that won't have any effect (using a reach weapon against an opponent without reach, an opponent who is flat footed, an opponent who has already taken an AoO without Combat Reflexes etc)
This is not true. There are manuevers that use weapons (eg disarm, sunder, trip), and manuevers that don't (with exceptions, grapple, bull rush, overrun).
yes - but people often think you need a disarm or trip weapon to attempt those maneuvers with a weapon - and you do not. that was what I meant. The rules are also a bit fuzzy with some maneuvers (dirty trick specifically which it is implied can in some cases - though exactly which cases is less clear - can be performed with a weapon. Which matters because then weapon enhancements, feats etc all help those maneuvers.
This is more do to the general lack of underwater adventures. I've never adventured underwater where the underwater rules weren't used.
The current AP is heavily setup for underwater encounters and adventures - just glanced over it so far but it sure seems like if ever there was an adventure where underwater rules (and player options) might come into play it seems like the AP for that.
re alignment I haven't seen it come up all that often (though in my current campaign I suspect it is likely to come up - the party as a whole is specifically neutral mostly in outlook though they differ a bit in approach to neutrality) but in a past campaign I had a paladin who seemed clearly to be on a path to falling and not unlikely becoming an antipaladin - unfortunately that player moved for a job so couldn't continue with the campaign - but until he had it was very fun seeing how his character was clearly on a path to falling (and as a player he seemed fine with that as the likely outcome). This was Reign of Winter so already a paladin ending up serving and trying to rescue a notoriously evil power was set up for conflict already (sure it was all in the service of a greater good...) in any case I think that alignment while it has a lot of mechanical impacts should primarily refelct roleplaying - and changes to it should likewise (I would never use a rule that casting a spell or having it cast up on you even repeatedly was by itself grounds for an alignment change - with the exception of the specific spell atonement )
1) anyone can do any combat maneuver with any weapon or unarmed strike. You don't need a "trip" weapon to make a trip attack (it just has some benefits) etc - and though if you don't have the improved feat it may trigger a potential attack of opportunity there are many cases when that won't have any effect (using a reach weapon against an opponent without reach, an opponent who is flat footed, an opponent who has already taken an AoO without Combat Reflexes etc)
2) likewise there are many actions people can take in combat - aid another is one many people (and GMs) forget about - though used well it can be extremely useful either for defense or offense. But also attacking defensively or taking the total defense action
3) related to the later, acrobatics may impact the value of using those two actions - specifically "Special: If you have 3 or more ranks in Acrobatics, you gain a +3 dodge bonus to AC when fighting defensively instead of the usual +2, and a +6 dodge bonus to AC when taking the total defense action instead of the usual +4." (and notably that ALL Dodge bonuses STACK)
responding to some comments - I use XP all the time in my home games (mostly to calculate roughly where the party is - I use it as a guideline to keep the party in line with the expectations of the AP I'm running to minimize my future need to adjust encounters.
And likewise in PFS and in my home games wilderness and difficult terrain are frequently a big deal in combats (and are one of the things i advice GMs to be sure to include to help make combats and encounters more difficult and challenging w/o upping CR etc.
a related rule I see many many many people (even very experienced players and GMs - perhaps especially them) is that many magical items actually have a very short duration for their effects and need to be renewed even if able to be used unlimited times a day - i.e. a "ring of invisibility" actually has a short duration as it has the effect of casting invisibility at the CL of the ring which is actually quite low.
(I think many many people house rule magic items with a continual effect to work differently however - but quite a few items that generate an effect "as a spell" don't actually have any language in the item about having a longer than usual duration for those effects. Cap of Disguise is another item which this rule technically limits quite a bit.
(related to this is the visual signs of spell casting/activating a magical item) which is another rule often forgotten by many players and GMs.
My nomination is a rule that until earlier today I didn’t know was rules as written - on a 1 when saving against a spell you are supposed to apply the spell damage to one item chosen amongst four selected per a chart of the order of most likely to be hit by a spell (assuming it could in theory damage an item) and then the item needs to also save against the spell (saving throw being the same for all three types at 2 + 1/2CL rounded down unless intelligent in which case use the item’s own wisdom score for will saves)
I don’t think I’ve ever seen this rule invoked in PFS or home game play.
(And not unrelated I’ve rarely seen AoE spells cause damage to unattended objects in a room - ie loot or a horde or a key clue etc)
This takes some time to setup and may depend on players paying attention but over time introduce a few little details - but don’t dwell on them - a cat scampering among the tables in the player’s favorite tavern, some birds flying around their campsite etc. weave the little details into your descriptions but don’t linger on them or call them out too much (and don’t just start doing this you have to have been descriptive all the time). But then sessions and levels later reintroduce some familiar elements - in a way that will have your players questioning everyone and everything. Is that tavern cat just a cat or a familiar? Is that bird that seems the same as one you saw weeks ago just following you for the scraps and kills you leave in your wake or is it a Druid?
(For that matter an evil or just neutral but not happy with the party) high level Druid should make the players really twitchy - with the ability to become anyone (via thousand faces) and nearly anything (via wild shape) they have to assume that the Druid could be anyone they meet or anything.
In general I think also giving the PCs a non-evil adversary can for many players be very challenging. Their rivals actions may be justifiable and not evil (but also not good) and being murderhobos is unlikely to actually resolve the conflict (and mechanically while I don’t suggest this all the time but a party with paladins etc will find a neutral and non-evil adversary harder than similar CR but evil or even evil undead, dragons, outsiders of a higher CR would be.
Combine with illusions or transformation abilities and the PCs (and players) will curse you as they avoid being evil (assuming a herotic/good focused campaign) while also resolving the conflicts. If nothing else mechanically it likely buys your NPCs some time to setup their abilities and buff/prepare once conflict is inevitable.
Not that I would suggest adding class levels but I will note that a school familiar for an illusionist school wizard can maintain illusion spells with a duration of concentration for the master... (familiar adepts get school familiar for free without needing to take the feats...) requires a third opposition school but for a monster with class levels...
(Yes as a GM I might pull such a trick on my players...)
years ago I pulled off the following (I think it was 1st edition AD&D)
The party was in a typical dungeon when they went around a corner and realized that the walls went up but didn't hit the ceiling at the limits of their light spell (60') but instead seemed to just end with a great darkness stretching up above them an unknown distance. The continued and realized that while there were worked stone walls they were inside of an immense cavern under the mountain. Then they heard the sound of something big flying towards them. Then it landed on the wall - as if it was designed for this purposed and the dragon, over 60' above them leaned down and smiled"
- yeah, I got a player playing a paladin to turn and run - somehow the players didn't like fighting a dragon in his home cave with walls clearly designed to support a dragon, yet give him perfect breath weapon lanes down to the party (they didn't have any means of flight, vision past 60' or they thought enough magic to deal with the dragon if their heavy hitters couldn't touch him..."
the rest of the dungeon was a lot of fun playing with their expectations
so we managed to finish almost an hour early - even with playing about an hour/hour and a half of the first two parts Monday morning. All told it took about 21+ hours of solid game play and that's with me cutting out some repetitive encounters (or ones I knew were very easy for the party but time consuming from a play standpoint) and with a full 6 player party (with a mount, an animal companion and a small sized familiar that was active in combat). It also helped that an amazing friend of the local PFS chapter and convention printed out the full house maps as poster maps for me (and I printed out the interior maps and had map packs/flipmats I used for all other maps - so nearly no drawing of maps for the full adventure)
If we had had more time I would have loved to run all of the encounters in part 3 though I think I would still avoid running every dreamhaunt as a combat encounter (I think they are great as flavor and minor threat from a spell). It helped that I had a relatively powerful and somewhat balanced party (with multiple heavy hitting melee types, some tanklike characters, lots of utility casters and some powerful ranged casters/damage dealers.
Probably the hardest to prep adventure I have run (and I have run far higher level modules as well as PFS specials) - I think all told I put in nearly 20 hours in prep, possibly more. I used Hero Labs (made portfolios for almost every encounter) which helped considerably in tracking overlapping effects, spells and some items. Still needed to look up many of the items they picked up - and the final combat encounter took about 2 1/2 hours (and could have gone far longer if I ran the main guy better)
I don't have any specific answers -but curious about what are some folks favorite less common spells to buy and carry scrolls, potions or oils of? Not routine ones like lesser restoration or breath of life etc but ones that are more obscure yet surprisingly useful to buy and carry - especially interested in useful oils as I rarely think about buying those.
Please also note if this is something useful throughout a career, at low levels, mid levels or especially at high levels (where buying more costly potions, oils or even scrolls may be viable options)
Blindness / Deafness - not an uncommon spell but one that my Dragon Disciple (Bard/Paladin) loves because of a feature many people overlook about it - it is a DISMISSIBLE spell. For a Paladin that means it is a great spell to end a combat, yet give the BBEG or other enemy a way out if they redeem themselves. Plus it has a pretty good range (and my Dragon Disciple doesn't have much else to do at range). Oh and it is a verbal only spell - so great for a Dragon Disciple casting in heavy armor...
Liberating Command - only ok at low levels - but at high levels it is a fantastic use of a 1st level spell to help that party member that really, really hates being grappled (sure Freedom of Movement is better - but not always prepared or cast on the party member or NPC who gets themselves grappled...
Blessing of Fervor - not all that uncommon - but a rounds per level spell that often has as much utility out of combat as in combat - in the right party that many rounds of free extend spell on 1st and 2nd level spells can make a lot of ok buff spells last multiple combats and makes some good buff spells last literally days - great utility as well for helping a party out of odd edge cases/environmental challenges as well (the less used silent or still spells can be helpful for casters, the stand up without provoking can save a bunch of PC's - as can additional movement - but it has lots of utility for nearly every PC in any encounter - I do see it used a lot but sometimes people forget to use it out of combat or to use it at the end of a combat to buff...
Nap Stack - up to 4 days of natural healing in 8 hours of rest for the whole party is far better in many cases than lots of castings of lesser restoration or restoration if the whole party is suffering from ability damage (or diseases or poisons) but the real value is for recovering of spells and special abilities with 2 hours of rest - and the option to have 3 more "days" of natural healing on top of that). As a 3rd level spell it makes for a great scroll especially since characters can only benefit from it once a week - but when you need those special abilities or spells back it is a literal life saver. (note the scroll will cost 100gp more than a usual 3rd level scroll because of the material component requirement - but well worth the investment). Especially in a party prepared casters who can reshape their party role by preparing entirely different spells.
At low levels a "trick" I'm found of is preparing Mount (or having scrolls of it) not for the use as transportation (though occasionally that's helpful) - but as a controller spell in combat. Suddenly making a size LARGE creature appear in combat has a lot of utility to offer cover or even just a distraction - and the duration makes it far more useful at low levels than most summon spells. A horse is actually a decent combatant at low levels - but even at higher levels it can be useful attack soak for a round or two - not a trick that does as much at higher levels - but at low levels it can have a lot of utility due to the duration (also possible to cast before combat though the summoned creature won't have combat training or tricks)
The Angelic Aspect line of spells - if for nothing else by combining a bunch of buffs into a single spell (which makes it more useful for spontaneous casters who's spells known may be highly limited) - the higher levels stack a whole lot of buffs (flight, protection from evil, effective tongues, enhanced vision, resistances and immunities to a wide range of spells and effects etc. Sure there are individually better buffs for specific things Angelic Aspect does - but for action economy it is a very effective bundle of effects for a single spell slot and casting. (and pretty solid for Paladins though their paladin abilities likely are better than some aspects of the spell)
For divine casters - Defending Bone (DR 5/bludgeoning for up to 50 points) is very solid if underused divine buff spell at 2nd level with a long 1/hour per level duration. Sure not everyone wants a floating bone flying around them deflecting attacks - but if you don't mind that, DR 5/bludgeoning is quite solid and useful.
Not really because you have to have had ranks assigned to a skill to be able to use it all as a tactic. And more difficultly is on the fly determining how your total score always arrived at and which bonuses apply and which might only count towards getting edges (at my table no one had any edges as best we could tell but then only one pc had more than a handful of skills he or she could use towards any tactics at all)
My point is that the whole "recalculate a score on your sheet on the fly for a new purpose with rules that differ dramatically from all other skills" is unfair to players who have sheets that don't have how a score was arrived at documented (i.e. Most players not using a laptop at the table). Consider a player using a pregen which has to be a factor especially for a 1-5 scenario - this would require a level of detailed knowledge of classes, races, feats and traits and magic items that many people even very experienced players can't quickly do at the table.
Better I think would be a mechanic that uses actual on your character sheet scores. Many people don't have a character sheet that tracks specifically the ranks they put into a given skill - let alone how class abilities, racial features, traits items or even chronicle sheets might be impacting things (changing what skills are considered class skills for you for example)
Layer on top of this rule exceptions for every tactic
And then require that every tactic used in the duel be tracked along with who did what with them so you can apply the penalties correctly.
And then also layer on the very confusing audience attitude stuff for further penalties
And you have a skil challenge I don't know how to run even having done it at the table and now thought about it a lot.
Better I think would be far less rules and far more flexibility for role playing the scene or for simple rolls for tables without heavy role planters (like my table with three players that don't particularly love the RP part of the game when they are winging it)
Prepping this further to run tomorrow and a few observations:
(in spoilers in case players are reading)
note about first encounter:
In the first encounter I suspect many GMs may miss some of the more subtle elements to the bombadier.
1. the unstable accelerant he has will add 1d6 fire damage to his first three bombs he throw
2. his alchemical weapon ability means as a swift action he can add a harmful alchemical liquid or powder to one of his weapons (which I believe can include his bombs - most simplistically this might mean adding alchemical fire to one bomb - but it could also add tanglefoot bag or acid
3. his directed blast ability means he could detonate a bomb as a 20' cone spreading from him (targeting one creature but inflicting splash on everyone in the cone) - depending on where the PCs are located this might be a helpful tactic to keep in mind
In a home game or "hard mode" I would definitely have him have drunk his false life extract and his barkskin extracts before the battle - but in the interest of saving time I'll avoid this unless some PC tactic gives him rounds when he has nothing else he can do usefully
(I also believe that his bombchucker adds 10' to the range of his bombs but I doubt that will be a real factor in the combat)
oh and keep in mind that he can exclude 2 creatures from the effects of his bombs if his allies are getting potentially in the way of his bombs)
At the high tier keep in minds that the Galvos have 10' reach with their slams and combat reflexes. With power attack going they are going to hurt whomever they hit - not even factoring in likely AoO's
besides Ant Haul - consider the lowly Mount spell (or just buy a mundane mule or two and cast ant haul on the animals...
eventually handy haversacks are your friend (as are as you noted special materials)
look at the paizo book Black Markets - there is a spell in there Arcane Pocket which might be useful (you can only create one at a time but it creates a 1/hr per level pocket that functions as a bag of holding that can carry 10lbs/level. (up to 1 cubic feet per level as well if you have big items to store)
there is also the old standby of floating disk - 100lbs per level, 1hr/level , 1st level spell
(get an extend rod or get a cleric or other divine caster who can cast Blessing of Fervor which among other effects allows for a free extend for castings of spells 2nd level or below as one of it's per round options - so besides being an amazing spell it is great to cast early in the adventuring day and then after that initial combat cast long duration buffs like Ant Haul or Floating Disk etc. )
Shrink Item (level 3 spell) is another one - limited to non-magical items but as a GM I would probably say allow you to construct a chest, fill it with the party's money (and perhaps other non-magical items) and let you shrink it down to a piece of cloth. Duration is 1 day a level and size limit is 2 cubic feet per level - as a GM I'd probably be fairly flexible with the party about this spell (at higher levels you can cast permanency to make one item that will shrink and resize unlimited times for the original caster - I'd probably allow that "item" to be a chest and let the party use it - with the caveat that it can't store magical items... especially since by that level a party would also have access to spells like secret chest or possibly even create demiplane...
a cheap magical item that can be helpful is a traveler's any tool - 250GP an can be used to make any mundane tool (and count as a masterwork tool for Craft or Profession checks) - this can be used creatively to minimize the otherwise bulky mundane items adventurers might want to carry around (poles, shovels, crowbars - you can get really creative)
masterwork backpacks are another simple thing to do
also don't forget that if any party members are small sized their equipment is also lighter weight
for folks removing Attacks of Opportunity you do realize that it has a lot of side effects:
1) anyone can use any combat maneuver without a penalty (so all the improved combat maneuvers become less useful feats - just giving a +2 and qualifying someone to take the greater combat maneuvers feats
2) without AoO's anyone can move around the battlefield without penalty
3) without AoO's anyone can shoot ranged weapons even when in melee (meaning that the usually level 10+ feats to allow that are rendered basically pointless
4) without AoO's any caster can cast in melee without risk (making caster's even more powerful by removing one of the biggest limits on casters in combat - the threat of AoO's being provoked by casting - this makes the feats for combat casting somewhat pointless and makes the Magus class even more potent
5) there are some other rarer actions that provoke AoO's which would no longer be hard to pull off in combat
in short I don't think I would be eliminating AoO's in my own games (or making it take a feat to take them) as the risk of provoking an AoO is a core part of many balancing systems of Pathfinder combat (IMHO) - eliminating them also I think tilts too much in the favor of casters
I'm trying to prep this to run tomorrow and having some problems.
(partially because I haven't had time yet to fully digest Occult Adventures despite owning two copies of the book - this scenario has a LOT of new mechanics if you haven't been running a lot of Occult Adventures yet (and even if you have you have to look up a bunch of abilities that aren't all that common)
Specific notes & questions::
- Question: does Sharaheen's round 4 ability really grant each party member a shared seance boon from their CHOICE of spirit? (which is what the Marshal spirit's shared seance boon would grant) on top of the inspiring call she makes? (which is a lot of stuff to write down and present to the players to choose if the combat reaches the 4th round). Also some of her other abilities go away on round 5 when she drops
- I suspect many GM's miss that Jujanil is staggered and dazzled for every round where Sharaheen is in the room (and conscious). Likewise it may be easy to miss the bold stare effects of her stare (at high tier to attacks and damage) - and worth remembering that the Punishing Stare effect is a free action that can happen anytime the subject of her stare is hit with an attack that deals damage (i.e. in this encounter by her monks or a PC under murderous command) - only once per round but still worth tracking. )
- The Battle Monk stat block actually has an error in the HP calculation (should be 36HP not 32 - which should we use?
- since the possessed Yeti lists Dimensional Steps as one of his abilities - why would he ever not be able to physically reach the players? (even if they don't cross the crevasse)
I like the rule about energy resistances and DR stacking. I would want to clarify the different sources but I think it makes sense and isn't too overpowered. Makes racial resistances still meaningful even after other sources of resistance are available. Which feels right - an Ifrit should have better fire resistance than most others.
(If you don't want this to be a universal change the easy option would be for racial resistances to be changed to a bonus to any resistance of that type that you already have. Much like how some items grant an enhancement bonus to natural AC).
has anyone playing with the triple 20 kill (or double 20 or double 20 plus hit) rule considered making it an optional "knockout" blow - so it does not have to be a sudden death - may be a sudden knockout?
as a player and as a GM I think such a rule, likely with a note that waking the party up takes a lot more than just simple healing (i.e. it likely still removes you from the current combat) would be epic but possibly more fun (it does to a small degree take away from a handful of builds with specific "knockout" abilities - but those aren't all that common)
Teamwork feats are exceptionally powerful IF you coordinate with others or use them smartly via a class that can grant them to others (Cavalier, Tactician and a few others).
They are more powerful than most other feats BUT of course they have constraints (need to have another party with the same feat, need to usually also meet some other specific criteria - being adjacent, flanking etc) When they are used well they amplify the advantage that characters coordinating their actions already have (i.e. Outflank makes a pair that flank together even better - a rogue & an ally each with Outflank will mean a rogue who delivers sneak attacks far, far more reliably - especially since Outflank can help offset penalties from using two weapon fighting etc.
There are a couple of classes that grant all of their teamwork feats to their companion (animal companion or there are ways to do this for some familiars with some archetypes) Those classes in particular get to really benefit from teamwork feats.
In PFS play when I have seen teamwork feats used it has meant a table that usually worked well together - frequently this meant a couple who always played together (or at least always did with those specific characters). I've also seen a table of half-orcs leveraging amplified rage and some other orc specific classes/traits to have a really unique (and full of rage) experience.
I would never say teamwork feats are "garbage" - they just may not be right for a given character or group (if your group doesn't play well with each other or all have hyper optimized builds that require every feat your characters get then teamwork feats won't be very useful. But there are many classes / races that do have some flexibility in the feats they choose and taking a few teamwork feats may make a huge difference for such tables.
well per the rules any Wizard can cast Read Magic from memory - so a wizard who has lost all of his spell books and has no spells in his memory currently would still be able to scribe new ones if he can get a written version of a spell (scrolls or spell books) - so he would probably be able to learn some spells even with merchants and the local wizards guild acting against him.
Another possibility that just occurred to me - there is a high level spell that has specifically this effect - Transformation - it boosts your physical stats, your BAB and removes your spell casting ability (including your ability to trigger spell completion / activation items)
It is level 6 but perhaps a GM could rule that a Wish or some form of arcane feedback or curse left it permanently applied to you. (doesn't address the why you are Level 1 however so might need to hand wave that or include it in the effects - but that spell might be a good starting point for the exact effect the OP was asking for.
for MeanMutton - I think if I were running such an NPC I might have someone without spell casting ability but allow them to still use their Divination school abilities - basically mechanically this would mean almost certainly they would always act first in initiative orders (natural 20 +10 + regular initiative modifier for starters) with a few other special abilities depending on which sub school of Divination they were.
There are also some fun things you could do with a Level 20 wizard's familiar (whether a regular familiar or an improved familiar) and with arcane discoveries - some of which may have abilities that aren't related to casting spells (Knowledge is Power for example gives INT to CMB and STR checks)
I would almost certainly also give a Level 20 wizard a variety of permanency effects on their person, on their items/homes/demiplanes and likely have some contingencies running (and/or other long made plans - especially in the case of a Divination wizard whom you would presume might have had some forewarning about whatever was going to cause them to lose spell casting - so may have even set something in motion to restore their casting ability or otherwise get out from the curse.
In any case could be a really fun long running NPC
I still like the idea of a Samsaran - especially since one bit of their lore is that their children are human (and usually given away to be raised by humans) but when they die they are often reincarnated as Samsarans (but don't retain their class levels etc).
So mechanically you could have been a high level wizard - killed by a rival and then reincarnated as a Samsaran (which will be a bit of a shock as you likely didn't realize your mother was a Samsaran) and though you won't have full memories of your past life you will retain elements of it (including mechanically two skills of your choice as class skills - i.e. you could be a martial type with Spellcraft as s class skill if you wanted). While the Samsaran's racial modifiers are typically best for casters (+2 INT, +2 WIS, -2 CON) you can certainly build a viable martial character with them.
In fact if you were to be 50 years old in this case you would still be a "child" as the Samsarans don't get to adulthood until age 60. So that could fit with the flavor or you might want to be even older.
(an alternative your GM could rule is that something you did in your former life triggered a similar reincarnation but as a human or other race not as a Samsaran - i.e. you reincarnated but in the process lost all of your class levels and abilities.) There may not be a specific rule for this however the Samsaran example indicates a starting point to reskin it. )
one alternative would be to play a character that is of a race like the Samsaran that may have been a wizard in a past life (then the "how did he lose his spellcasting abilities" is easy - he was killed)
mechanically if you aren't starting at level one an option would be to factor in the retraining rules - i.e. have the character have retrained from wizard to another class - mechanically that loses spell casting abilities - and it implies that there is a way to give up spellcasting - perhaps the rival mage didn't use magic to force him but instead used some form of threat or blackmail - i.e. if you don't of your own free will give up your power then something bad will happen to someone or something you care about...
(works best probably if the characters are over level 1 but not into super high levels)
could also then be associated with a curse or something that activates if the character ever learns magic again (possibly only arcane magic?)
So what domains have people picked for their Emissary familiars? (at level 3 they get a once a day use of a level 1 domain ability (that is usable 3+WIS times a day)
A few ones that seem nice for a Paladin's familiar:
- Tactics (War domain subdomain) - Seize the Initiative - grant one ally within 30' the ability to roll twice for initiative.
- Luck domain - Bit of Luck - touch a willing creature as a standard action to let them roll two d20 anytime in the next round they need to roll a d20
- Law domain - touch of Law - standard action for one creature to treat basically all d20's as if she had rolled an 11 (likely pretty good for a Paladin in many cases)
I'm sure there are a bunch of other ones that are useful - though some of the usually great domains would only effect the familiar so have less utility - but any of the ones that are typically poor action economy may suddenly be very good indeed. Sure just once a day - but the right build can really make that work.
Overall I think a Chosen One has a lot of flavor (doesn't have to be a magical girl - though that is certainly an inspiration) - I've imagined making a character who doesn't really know his full potential - an initially may be rather far from the usual model of a paladin (might really work well with some mythic rules actually as well)
just a note - the hurtful / cornugun smash combo takes a swift action - Paladins tend to have good uses for their swift actions (self-healing, smiting, casting Litany spells etc) - adding an extra attack is definitely also a good use but something to keep in mind as you do have to watch your actions carefully (and don't forget that if you say used Hero's Defiance before your turn you don't have a swift action on that next turn)
I understand that there's been a lot of water under the bridge re: covert spellcasting, the idea that a caster could cast a spell and not have others notice, even if the spell had otherwise no obvious effect (charm person and detect thoughts being two contenders here).
a) what's your take?
b) I can't ask the next obvious question (about Ultimate Intrigue), so let me try this one: does the availability of covert spellcasting affect the 'general understanding' of law-and-order in a typical Golarion city?
That is, I'm pretty sure there isn't a law against casting spells in public in, say, Absalom, but presumably casting any spell in front of a shopkeeper would be grounds for calling the guard (in case the spell was charm person). Is my understanding wrong?
This came up in both Occult and Intrigue, and basically, Jason has a post from 2010 or so that indicates that spells and spell-likes always have a noticeable manifestation by default (it's why you can Spellcraft them, take AoOs, and more even though SLAs have no verbal or somatic components). That's best practice in my opinion; there's honestly no reason to make spellcasters even more powerful in non-combat stuff than they already are, right?
Since it showed up in the playtest, I can answer your unasked question and say that options for using skill checks to hide your spellcasting, including any noticeable manifestations, will be available in Intrigue. There's actually a spare few ways to do is already, like the bard Spellsong feat. The good thing about this approach is that it still allows martial characters to win the opposed check and notice the spell, whereas a ruling that allowed SLAs, silent stilled spells, and psychic spells to be undetectable hoses martials unfairly.
As to law in a fantasy world, I would definitely say that casting a spell in front of someone with no Spellcraft is going to freak them out as much as reaching into your pocket and...
that makes me think that a non-bard feat (perhaps metamagic) that let you "blend" a cantrip with another spell and cast them together might be a pretty nifty thing. Something that say let you cast Prestidigitation but also disguised another spell in that casting. Possibly it would have to have some further limitations to minimize abuse.
I'm unsure if it's been answered already, but I have a question about the kinetecist infusion "thundering infusion". On the ability, it simply reads "the target is deafened" and does not give a duration. Is this intended to mean that the deafened condition is permanent?
I think answered already, but permanent. I figure if we didn't want characters running around and permanently deafening people, blindness/deafness shouldn't let casters do it as a 2nd-level spell.
But worth remembering that one of the key points of Blindness/Deafness that many people miss is that it is a dismissible spell. This is why my paladin/dragon disciple/bard has it prepared - it is a ranged effect which often will lead to an enemy being defeated but if that enemy repents he can dismiss the effect. (also why you shouldn't kill enemy casters who used this against your party but try to capture them...)
Mark - a question for you but really for all developers/editors/designers - how do you find time for gaming? (especially for anyone who is also a parent of young children). I'm finding my available time for gaming has diminished considerably these days (my wife isn't an RPG player - she prefers games with clear winners and losers)
I know a bunch of people who game online - may try that again (but as a GM I really enjoy the in-person interactions and I have all these map packs, minis etc...)
as a GM (often of PFS) I wouldn't allow this - if you can't act in the Surprise round that indicates you aren't yet aware of the combat - I wouldn't let you do any actions as part of that combat at all - including "free" actions such as resolving a knowledge check and communicating the results to the other players. There are a few classes that get special rules here (Diviner Wizards - i.e. with the Divination Arcane School may have an ability to always act in a surprise round - i.e. they are magically aware of combat before it happens)
similarly if you are flat-footed that means you haven't yet reacted to the combat - here there are more classes that have exceptions to it (any class with uncanny dodge for example can't be caught flat-footed) or someone with Combat Reflexes. As a GM (and as a player) think it is reasonable to treat this case of flat-footed (not yet having reacted to combat) similarly to a surprise round - you aren't yet ready for the combat. This also has the effect of giving characters with uncanny dodge or combat reflexes another small bonus (ability to speak and react first) which seems both matching the flavor of those classes and a simple yet fair way to handle things for all involved.
From a practical matter it is easiest to resolve knowledge checks in combat on a given player's turn - for one events in the battle may change what checks a player can make and what they choose to do with that knowledge (i.e. allies might kill one enemy, an enemy may flee or some abilities/features of the monster may become clearly obvious to all as a result of actions taken). Aa well though the rules don't actually allow this (since a knowledge check represents that you know) most GM's let multiple people who succeed on a knowledge check against a given enemy each ask their own questions/ gain different knowledge about the enemy (how this is resolved is actually left to the GM - some I know tell Players what those players know while other GM's let players choose what questions they have about the enemies.
Most Free Actions actually can only be taken on your turn (speaking is an exception which is specifically called out as something you can do on any turn) But remember as well that you can only say a few sentences - I've seen many many tables where people have long form conversations while in the middle of battle, forgetting that the speaking part of a free action represents literally a second or so to shoot something to your allies - it isn't time enough to dictate detailed instructions.
Hey Mark - do you know if there are any plans to link existing archetypes with clear associations with Occult items to the new/expanded rules in the Occult Adventures (I've just started skimming the book so perhaps this is already there somewhere).
Specifically I'm thinking about the Menhir Savant Druid archetype which as a bunch of abilities which are directly related to Occult items ("sense spirit", Place magic which taps into nearby Ley Lines etc). I have a Menhir Savant Druid in PFS and I'm looking at how to potentially incorporate Occult Adventures items to that character (He's a half-elf zen archer monk / menhir savant druid so there are a lot of ways this could go - the whole "chakras" section if PFS legal seems a logical starting place. I may also look at either retraining one of his classes to an Occult Class or taking further levels in an occult class if one fits him well.
In a home game I would absolutely allow such archetypes of existing classes to access some rules elements from Occult Adventures but not sure what will be available for PFS play.
I think the Goblin 3D quests being free is a very good thing (if possible / space permits it they would be fantastic to run in the dealers room itself) but the longer quests (that take 1hr+ seem tailor made for taking 1 generic to run - or possibly sell a Paizo flag that allowed free play of all of the Quests + certain select scenarios (other companies offer such flags so I'm sure that Gencon allows this - I'm thinking something like a $20 "intro to PFS" flag or the like? Which allowed you to play the quests, some intro scenarios, got you time to make your own character on the Hero Labs machines and perhaps entrance to some special "intro" seminars? (may need to repost this to the GenCon feedback thread)
I"m hoping that either I get to 5 stars or True Dragons is made available to 4 stars eventually (I'm just a few games away from my 4th star) as I would dearly love to run it again for more groups - I think it is a scenario I could see running many times and never having the same experience. Might be a good candidate for a GM star replay also when/if i ever get the chance to play it more than once (I suspect playing it multiple times would be as fun as running it multiple times).
One thought that might help in the future - if you have a scenario such as True Dragons which is "special" but not an "interactive" could you run it over MULTIPLE slots? You would still have specials on every day - but you would then have GMs who might run the same scenario multiple times (I find as a GM that my 2nd or 3rd+ run of a given scenario is typically the best - why I rarely mind rerunning scenarios) .
This would also allow development to focus on just one or two specials instead of 4 - increasing the probability that all of the specials are available for GMs as early as possible.
It would also allow many GM's to RUN one slot and PLAY the other (and I would strongly suggest arranging for GM's to somehow get preferential signup for that special - so a GM who wants to both play and run would have that option). Especially for a special which will be the 5 star exclusive many people may not get another chance to play it (if they don't have a 5 star GM locally or timing/scheduling doesn't work out) and the GMs trusted to run a special should be the ones who can manage to play w/o metagaming. Especially with the True Dragons scenario I actually don't think having read the whole scenario would make a huge difference when playing with a group due to the nature of the high degree of role playing (there are a few minor exceptions such as whether or not your group recruits a certain NPC).
True Dragons in particular I think could easily have been running all convention long - and lots of players and GMs would have had a blast playing and running it.
cheat sheets for ALL preens should (I think) be part of the development of those scenarios. Even a very experienced player when given a pre gen will likely have abilities, items or spells that none of their characters use - having a cheat sheet which spells out even seemingly basic items reduces the need to look things up and is a godsend if you have either an entirely new player or someone unfamiliar with Pathfinder (say a former 3.5 player like the ones on my table who were convinced that Haste still took a year of your life).
As a GM if I have a lot of time to prep (hard with a full time job and a toddler) I try to look up every spell, feat, monster special ability etc with which i'm less than familiar - but the less of that i have to do the better (especially for pre gens which frankly I spend less time preparing when I'm running someone to minimize my metagaming. Even things like pre-calculating likely combos from monsters would be helpful (easy example - calculating Power Attack for every attack of a given monster adjusting ahead of time for which attacks are two-handed or STR x 1.5 attacks and which are secondary attacks at STR x0.5 and how they are each adjusted for Power attack...
Remember as well that any event noted as a "special" with pre-gens provided will appear more new player friendly than events that indicate characters are needed.
My table was plenty underhanded. My complaint was the first encounters took too long (7 enemies likely at the same time when many players may be panicked equals a many round encounter on a large map.
Then followed by a wave 1 with some enemies that don't go down immediately also makes for a long encounter.
Followed by two more combats (wave 3 may be quick but depends a lot on where the party and their traps are.
The module only says they have 2 mins or so between waves so they can do some resetting etc but also depends on where wave 1 left things.
If I were editing this scenario I would have gotten rid of the first two encounters - just gone straight to setup traps to defend the portal. I would probably then have one large wave vs the first two smaller waves. Perhaps with a likely retreat to regroup as a planned tactic (if it is feasible)
Then in the shadow plane I would suggest one or two actual fully defined encounters instead of a bunch of possible encounters most parties may never encounter.
This could then also allow more tables to get to the optional encounter which I think would make the final battle more dramatic.
well there is already the Transformative ability that can be added to a melee weapon (at a +10,000gp cost) as a GM I would consider a lower cost ability to change a weapon from one form to another on a permanent basis (so without the flexibility of a true transformative) weapon.
For moving enchantments I would limit it to moving abilities not straight +1 etc bonuses (otherwise you may break the cost curve if your players can take three cheap +1 suits of armor or weapons and get +3 weapons/armor quickly and easily.
More broadly I would probably work with my players - artifacts or intelligent items I might give the ability to adapt to their wearer's preferences in many cases (some others would have a story reason for being a specific weapon and that shape would be inherent in their story and abilities).
It is also worth reminding players from time to time that investing everything in one weapon or one suit of armor isn't always very smart - occasionally give them foes that sunder weapons, disarm weapons or otherwise interfere with the player's equipment and the value of having a good backup weapon or backup plan for protection becomes apparent very quickly. (my archer characters in PFS have learned this the hard way and keep multiple enchanted bows handy - there the "adaptive" quality is priceless to let weapons adjust to my archer's changing STR)
Special materials are a somewhat unique case - depends a bit on how common/uncommon they are in your campaign but generally I think it makes sense to make them somewhat rare and special (and thus also a challenge to get and enchant).
(and I would also always let players add to the enhancements of their current weapons and armor which seems to be rules as intended as it is allowed in PFS - adding enhancements or bonuses but if a weapon or armor is a "named" item it might not be able to be further enhanced)
Are there any plans to do anything with the elemental races (Suli, Ifrit and such) in relation to the new classes? Specifically the Kineticist? Seems to me they would be exceptionally perfect fits for class but right now their elemental affinity ability doesn't sync well with it.
related to this - is there any plans to extend favored class bonuses for more of the playable races to the many new classes from recent books (i.e. races from ultimate races and classes from advanced class guide, the new occult adventures etc)
It seems challenging but it would also be nice to fill out the classes and races that have alternative favored class bonuses a bit
the discussion about pricing magic items reminded me a question I've had - in the past I always assumed that a ring of invisibility just allowed you to be invisible at will (w/o regard to duration)
But more recently I heard discussions that both the Ring of Invisibility and the Ring of Blinking actually function as "standard action to gain the EFFECT of the spell" i.e. including duration for the caster level of those items.
The standard action to activate isn't a big surprise but the limited duration was.
How (if at all) should players and GM's track magic items which generate a spell effect (at-will but of limited duration) vs items which have an ongoing effect
(hat of disguise is another item I always assumed allowed for an ongoing effect but may only allow for the spell w/limitations on duration)
If Hell's Vengeance and Hell's Rebels take place in a similar timeframe (I haven't read much about them yet so not sure) just had the thought - would it be possible to run BOTH? Perhaps with the same group but with different characters - alternating one book from one then one book from the other? (and possibly having the two parties effect each other in some fashion?) May not be possible if the stories don't allow for it - but just had the thought that it might be a fun exercise with the right group (or alternatively with two groups that one GM runs...)
Has anyone considered a neutral party playing Hell's Vengeance? I could see a need to restore the balance being a compelling hook. Another route which might be fun if it is open is a party that starts off good and gets lured to the bad side as the module progresses? Assuming that that the low levels the interactions with hell would be relatively limited mighty be a fun approach. My reign of winter campaign nearly includes a paladin who was likely to fall and become an anti paladin as the full impact of working to rescue an evil near diety took its role (plus character decisions ). Unfortunately that player couldn't continue the campaign due to scheduling.
A possibly simpler alternative - get some backgrounds from your players (you may already have them) and use characters from your pc's backgrounds for future quests/NPCs.
Ie killing a random npc who seems shifty is one thing - killing an old teacher or your pc's sister's brother-in-law etc is another thing entirely. Get a glimpse into your player's backgrounds and run with them. As a bonus even evil characters don't like it when an ally kills their family or friends - so the PC's may have a motive to keep the murder hobos in check.
One caution don't make this too obvious or too ham handed - and try to over time involve everyone in the party. But initially even just one connection to one pc may keep the rest of the party in check for quite a while.
Has there been any thought of compiling the FAQ's + Extended FAQ related blog posts (and possibly "FAQs via Messageboard posts") into a single document which could then be updated regularly and made available as a free download?
This would be exceptionally helpful for PFS play as it could then referenced in the PFS Guide, Additional Resources and Core campaign as a free resource for answering many questions (for CORE might need a note that only clarifications related to the core book applies).
Even the most dedicated of message board / blog reader/poster may miss an occasional post and extended official explanations such as today's fantastic Light & Darkness post are really really useful for players and GM's alike.
(I think I now get how light & darkness & daylight are supposed to work but it will take some play examples to work out all of the factors... but since light & darkness are really important effects to get right I will certainly be referring back to today's post fairly often.)