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Organized Play Member. 66 posts (73 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 3 Organized Play characters.


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I've talked about it before but my group runs DnD raw. We're all mature and older players (with families). We like our DnD to be gritty and realistic, we avoid sex descriptions and glaze over the acts. However, I've seen characters commit some horrible atrocities that were hand waved and laughed off after their characters committed them. It's a game, we happen to like ours this way.

Firelock - The problem is where do you draw the line? Maybe they take 2 years off between adventuring campaigns. In that time they construct literally hundreds of magic items. Even at a 1% markup the ammount they make is insane. All this "2 year off" time is usually just hand waved away with a simple dm description of what your life has been like.

I agree with Tempest, the magic shop idea is a happy medium. I also agree with players being able to earn within reason. However, lets look at it this way, the average PC makes more in 1 week then the majority of commoners will make in their lifetime. They don't need even more money by taking the commoners jobs as well.

Wands can certainly go up to 4th level.... There are some adventure paths that let you take advantage of reselling magic items, in particular kingmaker and wrath of the righteous (wrath specifically while using a certain mythic trait..)

I agree with claxon on all other points.

I agree with almost everything, except for the need of combat casting. You can cast the chill touch before you move into your enemies for all intensive purposes. If your worried about your enemies going first then address that with improved initiative. We want to go first anyways for the easier sneak attack requirement on round 1.

The only way I've found around the elemental touch is still the gillman, other than that I think we'd have to dip for maximum optimization.

Sam, Shadow Striker should be added to the build. We wouldn't want a 1st level spell (obscuring mist) to stop us from ever sneak attacking would we? I'd go so far as to say that every damn MELEE rogue should have shadow striker.

Eldritch Heritage has lots of options it could potentially give us. The aberrant bloodlines reach for touch spells is the most apparent, however, I'm sure there is probably a gem or two in there as well that I haven't noticed.

Couple things Bfobar, glad he inspired you as well! Its an amazing build and you came up with some excellent points!

1. Your feats don't work as written. Unfortunately Extra rogue talent can't be taken at level 1, as you don't have the "rogue talent" class feature yet. You need to take weapon finesse as your 1st level feat and leave the acid splash to 2nd level.

2. Spring attack is unfortunately a trap for this build. Spring attack is a full round action, this means we can't cast our spell, then move in, then attack. Which means round 1 of combat we either don't use chill touch, or we don't use spring attack. After round 1 of combat spring attack becomes even less useful as we will probably want to use our additional attacks (They're touch attacks! They always hit!) Normal rogues benefit much greater from spring attack because their iterative attacks tend to miss, so moving away afterwords is awesome. We can actually hit on ours, so we need to play to our multiple attack strengths.

3. Everything else looks awesome, your fort save is a tad on the low side and your hp as well, so I'd probably use those extra feats to shore up those weakness. Either that or think about the abberant bloodline I proposed. It's a good way for our bad touch rogues to get reach. Reach keeps us out of the fray, which means we don't need as much hp/ac, which frees up those feats/talents for other things :D

Just my 2 copper pieces, I really do enjoy your adaptation of the build and I hope my opinions have helped somewhat. Even if it's only to provoke thought! Would you mind taking a look at my build a couple pages back? I'm playing it in an upcoming game and could use some bad touch advice!

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Honestly what I think this thread proves is that the rogue doesnt need fixing. He is good at what he wants to be..if you focus on it. Hes not so much a jack of all trades master of none. Thats the inquisitor or the bard. Rather the rogue is a lump of putty. Mold it into whatever sculpture you desire, be it touch attacks, natural, traps, stealth, damage , non lethal, skill monkey. The rogue can make the rest suffer to be amazing at 1, however he can still do them all. This makes hm a jack of some trades, master of one.

You're correct bigdaddy, my mistake was not adding the roll of 1 to the 19. Thanks, I'll fix it in my post.

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@Scavion - The gillmen is exactly the same as the elf at 3rd level in terms of abilities so I'm not sure if thats what you meant. I'm going to assume you meant 4th, which is when major magic comes online.

At 4th the elf will have 4 uses of chill touch which last 4 rounds a day. He will have an average UMD of +7. The gillmen will have 2 uses of chill touch which last 4 rounds a day, as well he have an average UMD of +8.

At this point, the gillmen will have to continue to rely on weapons, using chill touch to supplement vs tougher opponents.

At 5th Level the elf has 4 uses of chill touch which last 5 rounds a day. He will have an average UMD of +8, the gillmen will have 2 uses of chill touch which last 5 rounds a day. This is where I offer the first deviation in the build. The gillmen rogue is particularly good at UMD, getting their trap sense bonus to it. This is where I recommend taking skill focus (UMD). I believe this is the most optimized point for it. This makes the Gillmens UMD 12, +17 if you can get an early item.

At 6th level the elf has 5 uses of chill touch which last 6 rounds a day. He will have an average UMD of +14 (+5 item). The gillmen will have 2 uses of chill touch which last 6 rounds a day, as well he will have an average UMD of +19.

At this point the gillmen cannot fail with a wand, I recommend using a Wand of Chill Touch CL 3 as a fairly good backup weapon. Using your chill touch for longer, tougher fights, and the wand for lower, easier fights.

At 9th Level the gillmen fails 3rd level scrolls only 10% of the time, the elf still has a 40% chance of failure. In addition to this the elf still has a 10% chance of failing at a wand check.

After 10th we know the gillman will be fine so I just wanted to show you a quick run down of how it would work. Basically what your doing by going the gillman route is trading early game use of chill touch for greater versatility, albeit at the cost of the amazing gold free efficiency that chill touch brings. Even if the elf took skill focus and followed the same route as the gillmen he would fall slightly behind due to the gillmen rogues trap sense bonus to UMD. All in all, both builds are definitely useable sub level 10 (I mean, you can still use weapons remember?) The elf becomes a better, more reliable chill toucher earlier, while the gillmen becomes a better wand/scroll user early. In the end game, both have similar play styles, while the gillman edges out the win vs spell resistant foes and versatility, while the elf edges out the win in 5+ fights per day instances.

Bad Touch, Chainsawsam homage Build:

Gillman Rogue(SCOUT, Eldritch Raider) 12
(20 Point Build)
STR 10
DEX 18 (+1 4th level, +1 12th level)
CON 14 (+2 Race, +1 8th Level)
INT 14
WIS 10 (-2 Race)
CHA 13 (+2 Race)

The stat spread is very unoptimized. This is intentional, take dump stats where you like and customize further based on your demands.

1. Weapon Finesse
2. Detect Magic Eldritch Raider Ability
3. [open feat] Iron Will
4. Major Magic [Chill Touch]
5. [open feat] Skill Focus (UMD)
6. Offensive Defense
7. [open feat] Skill Focus (Dungeoneering)
8. [open talent] Ninja Trick (Unarmed Strike)
9. [open feat] Eldritch Heritage (Aberrant)
10. Minor Eldritch Magic - Elemental Touch
10. Major Eldritch Magic - Vampiric Touch
11. [open feat] Improved Eldritch Heritage (Aberrant, getting reach)
12. [open talent] Dispelling Attack

1. +1 HP
2. +1 HP
3. +1 HP
4. +1 HP
5. +1/6 Talent
6. +1/6 Talent
7. +1/6 Talent
8. +1/6 Talent
9. +1/6 Talent
10. New Talent
11. +1/6 Talent (or +1 HP for PFS)
12. +1/6 Talent (or +1 HP for PFS)

Amulet of Mighty Fists +3 (Assumed for attack purposes)

Melee Touch Attack - +13/+8 7d6 + fort vs -1 str +Dispelling attack or 7d6 + fort vs stagger/sickened/fatigued, or ref vs catch on fire +Dispelling attack

Ranged Touch Attack (Acidic Ray) - +13/+8 7d6+5 +Dispelling attack

Unarmed Strike - +16/+11 1d4+3+Melee Touch Attack dmg/effects

With this recommended build you'd get efficiency with UMD as stated in the beginning of my post. In addition, I've added a number of little "options" I think could be benefical (I was actually hoping for some more input from the builds creator (thats you sam!) The Unarmed Strike ninja trick gives an interesting way to get that extra "OOMPH" out of our attacks against opponents who have a lower AC. Its important to get it this way rather than from weapons because if we have a touch on our hands we wouldn't want to not use it for extra damage in junction with our sneaks. This could potentially net us d4+str+5 enhancement(amulet of mighty fists). Quite a bit of bonus for 1 talent I think. In addition the aberrant bloodline fits amazingly (both fluff and optimization). This gives a way to make ranged touch attacks on demand, as well as a way to give our touch attacks reach. That means that we can stay even further away from the big bads trying to eat us. The only issue being we must use a handband of cha +2 to qualify for the improved version (not really a problem..just saying)

In addition to this something else I'd like to point out - the debuff aspect. Chill touch gives opponents -1 Str if they fail their fort save. If you chose to forgo cha on your rogue in favor of more int, you could definitely get a very respectable fort save dc. Elemental Touch is even better for debuffing, if they fail their fort save you can cause conditions such as staggered, sickened, fatigued, or if you want a ref save, then you can cause on fire. These conditions are not to be ignored, when your attacking for 7d6 (24.5 avg per touch) points of damage as well as a fort save or your staggered? That has HUGE potential, foes will fail eventually, especially since you can hit them multiple times per round.

Finally, we pushed back quicken spell like to level 13. This is so we can put it on elemental touch instead. Giving us the combination of standard action vampiric touch for 12d6 (does this give us 12d6 temp? or 6d6 temp and 6d6 damage)and swift action elemental touch for 7d6 at level 13. Elemental touch being the better spell we'd want quicken spell like here instead of chill touch.

Edit - Down the road you may want to look at maximize spell like ability Vampiric Touch. At 20th level this gives you 60 dmg+10d6 60 temp hitpoints 2/day. While not amazing, in a pinch this could definitely save your character. This is also if the sneak dice doesn't give temp hit points. If they do, then you'd get even more temp hit points from this. Although the sneak dice wouldn't be maximized.

chainsawsam wrote:

We're getting hung up on a couple things. Damage output and the Rogue class' abysmal ability to hit things.

Rightfully so, the Rogue's role in combat is a pretty hefty bone of contention and the Rogue's role outside of combat boils down to any number of a plethora of skills which will be whittled down depending on what the party needs.

So lets talk about the Rogue's role in combat.

1. Hit things.

2. Do damage.

Gee, that was easy, we've already covered that.

Of course limiting the definition of the Rogue's role in combat to just those two factors is silly. We have already honed in on Magic Item use a bit due to the class' easy access to the skill, but lets take a further step back.

Access to Acrobatics. Restricted to light armor. A few talents related to movement and Acrobatics.

It becomes clear to me, both from the class' design and my experience with the class (both as a player and a teammate), that another of the Rogue's chief roles is positioning. A flank qualifies for Sneak Attacks, a flank helps shore up the class' abysmal hit bonus, and a flank makes the rogue a contributing member of the team by allowing other teammates a bonus to hit.

The other classes commonly brought up in this discussion all have other methods of dealing with hit chance. Monks can Flurry or do maneuvers, Rangers have full BAB, Inquisitors have judgments, Bards have flutes or something, and Ninjas only just barely pretend to be team players.

The Rogue is the only class which requires a flank bonus and has no other method of pretending that it doesn't.

So rather than ignoring this and building a Rogue which stands all by his onesies and tries to bluff his way to sneak attacks somehow in a 1v1, lets reassess the Rogue's combat role:

1. Positioning/Flanking

2. Hit things

3. Do damage

While not forgetting the Rogue's other functions...

4. Spend as few Feats/Talents as possible in order to maximize whatever the hell else the party needs you to do.

Tall order. The Rogue is never. Ever. Under any circumstances going to hit a monster's AC as well as a full BAB class. Ever. These guys spend their whole lives training and fighting to hone their bodies into killing machines. The Rogue on the other hand has spent his whole life slacking off in bars, picking pockets, wenching, cheating in card games, and occasionally jumping someone with his friends.

The Fighter has devoted his whole life to his art. The Rogue has taken short cuts and milled about becoming a Jack of All Trades.

The Rogue is just plain never going to be a Fighter. So the Rogue shouldn't try to fight like one. The Rogue is never going to hit an AC well, so the Rogue should just not hit AC.

Stop trying to think like a Fighter, going through problems, and think like a Rogue, going around problems.

Yes, Elf. We'll get to why later. Scout is a given seeing as we want to focus on positioning. Scout gives us sneak attacks while positioning, so that is two birds with one stone. Keep the default Racial Traits.

STR 10
DEX 16 (+2 race, +3 levels)
CON 12
INT 12
WIS 14
CHA 10

Stat spread is easy enough. Could try to get more CON if you wanted, but I think it is smarter to help shore up the WILL save (another thing Elf helps with).

1. Weapon Finesse ("THATS CRAZY!?" Trust me).
2. Minor Magic [Prestidigitation or Mage Hand are probably best]
3. [open feat]
4. Major Magic [Chill Touch]
5. [open feat]
6. Offensive Defense
7. [open feat]
8. [open talent]
9. [open feat]
10. Skill Mastery - Acro, UMD, + whatever your group needs
11. Quicken Spell-Like Ability [Chill Touch]
12. [open talent]

Couple of important distinctions:

Most of the following feats apply specifically to monsters, although some player characters might qualify for them

Quicken Spell-Like Ability
Benefit: Choose one of the creature's spell-like abilities, subject to the restrictions described in this feat. The creature can use the chosen spell-like ability as a quickened spell-like ability three times per day (or less, if the ability is normally usable only once or twice per day).

Using a quickened spell-like ability is a swift action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The creature can perform another action—including the use of another spell-like ability (but not another swift action)—in the same round that it uses a quickened spell-like ability. The creature may use only one quickened spell-like ability per round.

The creature can only select a spell-like ability duplicating a spell with a level less than or equal to 1/2 its caster level (round down) – 4. For a summary, see Table: Quickened Spell-Like Abilities.

A spell-like ability that duplicates a spell with a casting time greater than 1 full round cannot be quickened.

Now the real reason why Elf was important.

1. HP
2. +1 minor magic
3. +1 minor magic
4. +1 major magic
5. +1 major magic
6. +1 minor magic
7. +1 major magic
8. +1 minor magic
9. +1 major magic
10. +1 minor magic
11. +1 major magic

The Rogue now has access to 7 castings of Chill Touch a day. This is a spell which will give the rogue 12 touch attacks for 1d6 damage, and most importantly, easy access to Sneak Attacks despite the Rogue's terrible to hit bonuses. Three of those castings can be done as a Swift Action which does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

Without spending a single feat, you overcome spell resistance just like a level 12 Elf Wizard.

Keep a wand of Elemental Touch on hand incase of emergencies. The damage isn't subject to a save and the spell allows no Spell Resistance, however it requires you to draw a wand and only lasts 3 rounds. A Flame Blade wand lasts 3 minutes so it is a bit more convenient than Elemental Touch, however it is limited to Fire Damage and subject to Spell Resistance. Carrying both wands will ensure things are as hassle free as possible.

You don't have to worry about Damage Reduction and just with what is listed are hitting at 12/8 against touch AC, already plenty on most occasions. Add in a few magic items or feats and you can increase things as much as you want. Two weapon fighting? Feinting? Skills? More acrobatics stuff? Whatever.

This is amazing. Infact, you've inspired me. However, I'm going to one up it just slightly. He's going to be a gillman eldritch raider archetype in order to gain elemental touch 2/day and either vampiric touch 2/day, force punch 2/day. Probably vampiric touch for a melee "juicer". By losing elf I lose the +2 spell penetration, which is mitigated by the fact that I now have elemental touch without the wand, meaning I don't have to refresh it every three rounds. I also lose the bonus uses of my chill touch but honestly at higher levels both elemental and chill will last an entire combat each, and if your in more than 4 combats a day, well, you can fall back on a wand at that point. This means I get a couple extra hit points per level (or an extra advanced talent! Yay gillmen.) In addition to this I get the vampiric touch to give me some extra temp hit points when needed, or I get force punch to beat myself out of a jam if needed (although this would take a bit more optimizing.)

Along with this build, gillmen get a boost to con and a penalty to wisdom, which means you're trading your low hp for a lower will save, either way toughness for your build or iron will for mine helps it out! 13 Int is also mandatory for the gillmen version so the stats will have to be adjusted slightly but with all the open feat/talent room I'm sure we can work out something. Let me know what you think sam?

Edit - I think it'd be important to also take dispelling attack, cause I mean, we have the pre reqs so why not? There is something very juicy about touch attack sneak attacks + dispell vs an enemy wizard that makes me very happy inside.

Only time I could really push for the sword is if you maximized it. Average fight lasts 5 rounds, a maximized sword would do 27 damage per round, for a total of about 135. However this eats a 9th level spell, and honestly, meteor swarm would be a heck of alot better.

Spiritual weapon is better early on, but that ain't hitting anything at higher levels so it's kind of a silly comparison. +15/+10 at 13th level (assuming +6 wisdom)

An adult blue dragon CR 13 has 28 AC base, 36 with mage armor and shield (their normal buffs).

This means that a cleric has a 5%/5% chance to hit. While a wizard of equal level would swing at a +22, giving them a 30% chance to hit.

I mean honestly, you can't compare the two spells, ones cast against low level enemies the other against high. Spiritual weapon fills its roll as a low level damage dealing spell. Mages sword fails at filling its roll, but spiritual weapon ALSO fails at filling mages swords role. So in essence, vs a high level enemy, both suck.

Sir Thugsalot, I can best this encounter with some very easily achievable actions on the fighters part. First - he is also a halfling because race has no bearing on class abilities. Second, he pulls his bow and readies his action to shoot the rogue when he appears. Third...loot rogues corpse. The fact remains that in a single shot battle this fighter will win 9 out of 10 times. This is of course assuming a fighter optimized towards the same circumstance (because why compare 2 things that aren't built to compete? You don't compare apples to dumptrucks do you?)

You and I could hypothetically argue rogue vs. fighter debates all day, but in all honesty I agree with you....somewhat. Rogues are awesome in CERTAIN circumstances, the problem is their not awesome in the most common circumstances. That is the point of this thread IMHO.

Anyways, aside from the previous 2 paragraphs I am currently trying to make a rogue for an upcoming RoTRL campaign. I've taken numerous stabs at it, and honestly I think the rogues biggest disadvantages really are just overcome with smart planned out playstyles.

To follow along this line - Rogues are great at LOTS of things. Any one class can do these better(dpr, skills, spells, mobility, traps, etc...)but having the ability to do all of them is what makes the rogue truly unique. The bard is obviously the closest comparison, but even that the bards specialty is very different. A bard usually has to focus on either making those enchantment DC's extremely high, or focus on making himself combat effective, whether through trips, nets, or just attacks. The rogue however is uniquely equipped to be good at all those things, while not being amazing at any.

So I guess, with all that preamble,I guess what I'm getting at is that the rogues shtick is that he doesn't have a shtick. Its his ability to do many different things, and be prepared for anything/everything that makes him so versatile. Need a scout? Sure. Need a trapfinder? Sure. Need a utility caster? Sure. Need a flanking buddy? Sure. Need a party face? Sure. Need some physical damage? Sure.

I think the rogue needs to focus less on any one thing and just prepare for as many situations as feasible. Get yourself a TON of 1st level scrolls/potions, many of these are AMAZINGLY useful. Take dirty trick for when you just can't sneak attack, and instead, blind the enemy for a round to help your fighter out or deafen that enemy spellcaster and jam his spell. Jump in their and flank with your fighter, help him hit and at the same time do some damage (Pro tip - do less damage then your fighter so that enemy doesn't smash you in the face, you roll d8s not d10s, let him get hit). Get yourself a good initiative and take your first round out on someone who rolled low! Be adaptable, I really do believe thats the key to being an awesome rogue.

I appreciate this thread, I'm going to come up with a build for my rogue and post him here. Perhaps I can give data from the upcoming campaign as well.

load yourself with +damage. 2 handed weapon 18 str base wizard buffed at level 5 can do -
+6 str
+3 bulls str
+1 monstrous physique or alter self both medium
+2 arcane strike
+1 weapon
+3 power qttack
damage dice +16

swinging at
+7 Str
+2 bab
+1 weapon
-1 power attack.
+2 heroism (if needed)
9 or 11

compared to fighter 18 base str +2 belt
+7 str
+1 weapon training
+2 weapon specialization
+6 power attack
+1 weapon
damage dice +17

+6 bab
+5 str
+1 weapon training
+1 weapon focus
+1 weapon
-2 power attack.

you both have similar hit and damage. albeit yours is nova and his is lasting but you have other spells in addition to this. the higher the levels go the more things sway in your favor. id say level 5 is the beginning of a 'fighter' wizards career.

Greater Heroism. Monstrous physique. Greater magic weapon. Bulls strength or similar enhancement. Shield spell + 2handed weapons. These are how you match a fighter. Im actually playing a rift warden wizard right now who is doing amazingly with it. Just remember you will never have the iterative attacks so at higher levels focus less on full attacking and more on moving/vital striking. You can get insane strength scores with very little effort.

Yeesh this thread exploded again. I'm under the firm belief that DnD has very little effect on pathfinder. Pathfinder however has a HUGE effect on DnD. Pathfinder has effectively taking over as the TTRPG and as such has taken much of DnD's old fan base with it.

In my opinion no cross over of the two would ever come to fruition. The only way I see WOTC/Hasbro affecting pathfinder is if they created an edition that was good. It has been stated in this thread before, and I really believe this to be true. I'm not a loyalist, this was proven when DnD created the garbage that is known as 4th ed. It effectively drove me into the open and waiting arms of Pathfinder. Pathfinder is a beautiful mistress, she accepts all my old source books, she allows me to convert all those old musty tomes into useful relics of power. It's these qualities about her that make me stick with her.

If WOTC/Hasbro created a product that out did pathfinder (yes, it would have to out do it, cause now I've invested thousands into pathfinder) then I would definitely think about switching back. Do I believe this likely? No. Do I believe Paizo would go down without a fight? Also no. I think WOTC/Hasbro has an unrealistic goal with their new editions. Rather than cater to the amazing fan base it has created they have chosen to alienate us with overly simplistic rules, and a serious lack of realism. If they had simplified what needed to be simplified (grapple, seriously that STILL doesn't make sense.) and stopped printing their plethora of unbalanced, unplaytested garbage (planar shepherds, BOED,BOVD...to name a few)then I know myself and my group personally would still be with them. I also know through the glory of the interwebs that there is 1000's more like me.

WOTC/Hasbro is going to continue down the road of self destruction, anyone in the 5th ed playtest (like myself) could tell you that. The rules will become even more simplified, and even more offensive to older players (lack of hardness on objects, everything doing the same damage...etc) However none of this matters to them. DnD books are the real money maker, not the gaming content. As such, who cares if their system burns, Mr.Do'urden will continue to make them money for many years to come.

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I hear you Rhatahema, I vividly remember the monkey grip of 3.0, and now we have the titan mauler archetype to sate our 2 handing fury! It's true, maybe I worded myself poorly. I do think older players have an easier time learning the system than a new player, I just think our mastery over it takes longer. I mean its the same with anything that is close but not exactly the same.

Anyone who has switched companies without switching fields can tell you that. You pick up bad habits (and good ones) and they can often be tricky to break!

Although we've gotten quite off topic, I think in the end Paizo purchasing DnD is very unlikely and not beneficial. As much as I loved forgotten realms richness, or the amazing dragonlance world, I really am enjoying exploring Golarion without any regrets currently. I think if Paizo started producing APS from either of those lines it would instantly create competition with themselves, and honestly there is no point. Paizo writers are doing awesome, and have pushed to the forefront in an industry where they were definitely the underdog. Kudos paizo, you don't need DnD materials, the OGC/OGL was more than enough, and you're well on your way to a MUCH better system.

137ben wrote:

I do want to point out, for those who've already forgotten/weren't playing back in 3.5, that the issue of experienced players getting the rules mixed up existed before PF, because of house rules. People who play for a long time get used to their house rules, and occasionally mix them up with the RAW.

3.5 and PF are similar. Extremely similar. So similar that distinction between them, in most cases outside of PFS/LG/organized play, is smaller than the changes people make between RAW and their games. As a result, people can continue to use their previous house rules without modification and barely if at all notice a difference.

I agree with this in some regards, although I think the statement is a little bit too general. I mean yes, some of our house rules from 3.5 were quite game changing (we had divine metamagic completely banned, and for good reason). While others were quite small and unnoticeable (combining use rope and escape artist...because...well....duh). However, pathfinder changed ALOT of things from 3.5, not as much as 4th ed, but enough that it is dubbed 3.75.

In fact, lots of our house rules don't even apply to pathfinder (like the two I just listed.) The invention of the CMB/CMD made grapple a non chore, and actually useable by anyone without a degree in dndology.

I don't think experienced players are getting caught up on major differences, I know I don't. However it is the subtleties, like a rogue now being able to sneak attack undead, or the changes to a paladins smite, these are the things we slip up on. The changes that while subtle are what clearly define pathfinder as the better system. The utilizing of alternative 3.5 rules (weapon groups, max hp at first level to name a few) that only help to amplify the overall playability of the game. These changes, while minor, are many; and many minor changes definitely lead to a very different system. Just the other day I found one that I missed, Rangers can HIPS in any of their favored terrains! That is SO much better than the "natural terrain" that my 3.5 players handbook says. I played a ranger not to long ago and didn't even bother to read the changes to half the class features. I just assumed most of the similarly named ones were the same! Shame on me!

Anyways, I think you get my point. The changes, while minor, do create some confusion for experienced players, and this is honestly why I believe that players who are indoctrinated into TTRPGS with pathfinder ultimately end up as better players than people who have 2 3 or even 4 systems worth of knowledge stored up in their memory banks. Just my 2 copper pieces.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN SNEAK ATTACK UNDEAD? I don't know how many times I have screwed this up. Coming from 3.0/3.5 I definitely make more mistakes then someone who has only ever played pathfinder. I mean I don't grapple for fear of losing daylight too fast. I also love prestige classes, despite the fact that they suck in pathfinder. PLANAR SHEPHERD Oh how I miss 3.5 lol...not

I may also be looking for a new home game soon, if you're still seeking new players send me a PM. Been playing pathfinder since its beta and 3.5/3.0 since their inception as well.

Good ideas Golo. No there is no reason for the transmutation specialty. I thought it would be good to supplement the enhancement bonuses in the early few levels. Good points on the improved counterspell line, I was torn between that or dimensional agility. Focusing on conterspelling would set me into a more definitive role whereas dimensional agility would allow me a broader skillset. I think going down the improved counterspell route may be the best bet. I shouldnt try to do too much with one character.

Ya I want the PrC. The goal is a slugging wizard with a differnt feel. Dark is correct. we are playing wrath of thr righteous which is the mythic paizo adventure path. It allows me abilties like mage armor that becomes +13 armor bonus. As well as the ability to cast a 1st level cleric spell. Its the culmination of the mythic and spells that allow me to make a competent slugger.

I alluded to all of that in the original post zanthrax. My appologies if it wasnt clear. In addition a slugger is just a melee combatant. With stoneskin mirror image and the enhanced mage armor and shield I will sport a VERY respectable ac and other defenses.

Just for the record wizard spells offer them up to +8 str bonus from size. That coupled with divine favor makes my base to hit +19 at 20. Thats not adding normal strength modifiers, belts, feats, weapon plusses, heroism, etc.. its very easy to make a wizard who can match a fighter you just have to have a goood grasp on spells to use. I needed help with obscure feats traits or possible spells I missed. Perhaps items that would help. What I dont need is to change the prestige class or base classes because they arnt the problem. If anyone has any advice fitting of the criteria I asked Id really appreciate it. Sorry Lazar this isnt directed towards yo. My frustration is with the constant recommendation to change the only things I dont want t change.

While I appreciate the assistance im honestly a bit surprised by the comments. Between mythic abilities and spells a 20 wizard has better defense than a champion fighter. I stated in my original post I already know my build is viable im just looking for thatt extra oomph since it is a bit obscure of a build. While I do agree tbat cleric would be a better melee combatant wizard is one of the options thats unchangeable. Honestly with mythic monstrous physique and the ability to take divine favor i think wizard may actually be better in combat than a cleric. Does anyone have any advice that fits my request?

Hi folks! I have a character planned out for an upcoming game. Normally I don't care too much about optimization and focus more on flavor however this one legitimately has me a bit stumped. The idea itself is quite unique and as such is not exactly "super powerful." So I'm asking you, the genius residents of the advice forum to help me toughen him up a bit (if he needs it). I've done alot of my homework already and as such have what I believe is a very good foundation. This character is going to be played in the WotR AP, so no spoilers.

Certain things are non negotiable, character must be a dwarven wizard (any type!) that becomes a rift warden, and must be a "slugger" with high survivability. Must take Inscribe Magical Tattoo as 5th level feat. Minimal to none offensive casting. 25 point buy, everything else is fair game. My current build is below:

25 Point Buy

Str - 17
Dex - 12
Con - 17
Int - 15
Wis - 9
Cha - 8

Race: Dwarf
Class Transmuter 5/Riftwarden 2
Banned: Evocation, Necromancy
1st - Steel Soul
1st - Scribe Scroll (might try to convince DM to let me take SF like in PFS)
3rd - Spell Penetration
5th - Spell Focus Abjuration
5th - Inscribe Magical Tattoo
7th - Arcane Strike (really not great, but the mythic version is good)

At level 1 this makes my saves respectable vs Spells/SLAs and Poisons, it also give me a +5 to hit, and a decent amount of damage. Comparable to almost any 1st level fighter. As I get higher levels I plan on offsetting the loss of BAB with buff spells (bulls strength gives me early enhancements to hit and damage, heroism, haste, false life, blur, mirror image, shield, mage armor, enlarge person, reduce person) Lots of really good buff spells to suit my needs.

This character will be starting at level 1, so keep that in mind. He needs to be survivable and effective from level 1 all the way up. The adventure path is based on fighting demons, as such he's built with that in mind. Swift actions after level 5 are pretty much spent on counterspelling till about level 12ish, hence why arcane strike isn't great (although the mythic is!)

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated!

Aye, I agree. If any AP is gonna have use for them it'll be this one. What with all the evil outsider focus and such. The humerus thing about this is it doesn't really affect Improved counterport which has a DC based on 10 + Character Level + CHA which means its already going to be ABSURDLY high. It does however destroy the channel ability of the class for wizards, as at 12th level a DC 16 +cha will save is pretty much an auto success for most monsters. Stupid ability being based on caster level for a class that loses caster levels is just quite an annoyance.

Anyways, appreciate the help and the conversation, this will definitely help me make a more informed decision on the characters viability.

Thanks for the prompt answers Blahpers, greatly appreciated.

I agree with you on both point A and B, althought point B means the class feature is MUCH less useful in an adventuring campaign (no spoilers if it does actually have use in this AP). I do understand the flavor and really enjoy it, hence my excitement to play the class!

Where our views differ is on the third ability, I utilized the channel as an example AGAINST your statement, not for it. So your reference to channeling seems contradictory to your view. See their channel is based on core casting stat, rather than Charisma, which leads me to believe that their other core abilities should function on the same basis. I have an odd belief that this should be based on core casting stat and is probably a non corrected error based on an early creation of this class (perhaps one more based on channeling, or more sorcerer based)

Edit - After having reread the planar channel I see your point. You still channel as a cleric which means the DC is CHA based, however your uses per day are based on intelligence. This is a pity, unfortunately this greatly discourages other classes from becoming rift warden. May have to rethink the viability of this dwarven rift warden.

So we're going to be starting the WoR AP right away and I'm playing a Dwarven Wizard, transmuter. His spells will ONLY be used for buffing and counterspelling. As such, starting at 6th level, I plan to do as much counter summoning/teleporting as I possibly can. However, the uniqueness of the class has me pondering the rules, so I'm looking for a couple quick answers!

1 - Counter Summons, the level 1 rift warden ability gives them the ability to counter summon monster spells as if using the quicken metamagic feat. This text is very unclear as to what type of action your using. The ability begins by telling you to "ready an action" which RAW takes your standard action to do, it then continues on to tell you that this makes the spell a "swift action." My question is, which is it? Is it I ready a standard IE - attack on approach, and in addition I get to cast a quickened counterspell should the need arise? Or do I just ready the swift and use my turn as normal? Or do I lose my standard and my swift? The last obviously making the least sense

paths of prestige wrote:
A Riftwarden can ready an action to use a summon monster spell or spelllike ability as a counterspell, even though the casting time for a summon monster spell is 1 full round. When used this way, the summon monster spell is treated as though quickened to a swift action via the Quicken Spell metamagic feat, though its spell level is not increased, and it can be used only to counterspell. When used to counterspell, a summon monster spell can counter any conjuration (summoning) spell or spell-like ability of its level or lower, including an outsider’s summon ability.
2 - Counter Port is pretty straight forward, however, theres a fairly tricky bit of wording in it. Essentially all this ability does is allow you to counterspell teleportation effects using conjuration spells of 1 level higher, rather than the normal just the same spell. Is this correct? There is no other added benefit of this ability currently? The way it reads it still requires a readied action, and still must be identified. In addition to this, it seems to imply you can counterspell the ability AFTER the ability has been cast "returning teleporting creatures to their point of origin" However, this would mean you would have had a readied action to send the fiend back in the first place. Which seems HIGHLY UNLIKELY as how would you know when your about to be teleported or D-Doored in on?
paths of prestige wrote:
At 4th level, a Riftwarden can ready an action to counterspell a teleportation effect that allows a creature to enter or exit an area within 30 feet of her. She can use Spellcraft to identify a teleportation effect immediately as creatures arrive and can counter the teleportation effect with an identical spell or with any Riftwarden conjuration spell of at least 1 spell level higher, returning teleporting creatures to their point of origin.

3 - Improved counterport, Is there some reason this ability doesn't function off of "relevant ability of the spellcasting class she selected" like every other class feature? It seems oddly specific that it is the only ability utilizing charisma, when even the channeling ability (normally a CHA based ability) uses core casting stat. Just a possible FAQ/Typo question :D

Anyways if you can help with any of these it would be greatly appreciated. I know my DM and play group would love to have these answered prior to me showing up with my awesome dwarven goodness :D

Jehova - My bad about the permanency reduced person, also my bad about the lack of custom items, don't know why we'd have a challenge like this without custom items but still allow things like permanency since their both core rule book things defined by DM fiat.

To defeat Gatling he falls victim to the fickle winds debacle that the original monk fell victim to. The only issue here is that gatling can occupy the balors square which gives him a way around this. This means the balor in my opinion would be best off using a greater invis scroll. You currently do not have a way to deal with it. You of course can rectify both of these situations by changing your item selection/build slightly.

Every strategy you create, or every thing you change will create a new hole in your idea. You posted a build, balor killed it, you changed build balor will adapt to kill it. I do not think it's possible for you to create a build that can handle anything the balor can do UNLESS you to resort to using the balors exact tactics. In which case, highest character wealth/best caster will win. I already stated this previously in my post to andreww.

As far as leadership goes, that is the simplest way to win this challenge. I'm glad nobody tried to use it, as yes, rage-lance-pounce would dominate this. A barbarian riding a summoner? A wizard following his bro BSF into battle?

All I was trying to explain was this challenge isn't very difficult. Any Class combination can do it with proper item purchases as the majority of the abilities you guys are using is coming from item purchases (except full casters who are just casting the spells themselves.) Any class can get to 50 AC/28+ all saves/ mediocre DPR 100+ (all thats neeeded for the challenge, enough to slowly kill the tarassque while still only getting hit maybe once or twice)/UMD 30/Rod of Absorption/high init. I'm 99% sure having all those pre reqs on any class will pretty much auto win this challenge.

If you want to really test min/maxing characters out make it so that the monsters always roll 20's you always roll 2's and monsters get the surprise round, then make it so there is none of that teleporting shenanigans (even for the solar) and see what happens from there. I bet alot of the characters proposed wouldn't do so well then. However I still believe there are builds that would make it.

Edit - My proposed min/maxing rules:
Monsters Considered to Roll 19's for everything (5% chance of rolling a 1-20, still factored in - no 1's for saves as this can create random save or die scenarios which should rarely occur)
Players Considered to Roll 2's for everything (5% chance of rolling a 1 or 20, still factored in - no 1's for saves as this can create random save or die scenarios which should rarely occur)
Same Fields as Offered, there is always a surprise round in the monsters favor (but some classes can still act during these)
Teleportation spells can be used, however, you must teleport within the area of the arena offered.
No Pre Buffs, No rests, next combat begins immediately after the last opponent is defeated, all area of effect spells/abilities/effects are dispelled immediately after an opponent dies and you instantly teleport to the new locale.

**Bonus points** if you make the monsters first roll the 20, and your last roll the 20. EG( Monster - 20,18x19,1, 20, 18x19....etc/You - 1, 18x2,20, 1, 18x2,20....etc.) Obviously not exploiting this so that your 20th attack is something that would usually miss. Reseting the count for each monsters obviously.

As well I propose adding a Star-Spawn of Cthulu to the list. His overwhelming mind ability can prove super deadly to some characters. I propose adding him in the same area as the shoggoth, immediately after the shoggoth dies.

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Andreww - I totally agree with you, I missed the permanent see invis on your sheet, my bad if it was there. I agree with your wall of force, but his solution would be a scroll of mages dis (which he could fail, so he'd also need a umd item, all which he could afford if he sold one of his weps). Like I said, this battle would turn into a "who can prep better!" and you would ultimately win with your higher PC wealth and your 20 caster levels.

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Rage Lance Pounce is a character build that came across here sometime, while it is near impossible to find the original iteration of the build there are numerous variants of it kicking around. It is said to be a Barbarian that is unkillable by ANY caster. The point of it is essentially a barbarian, raging, riding a mount with pounce, using a lance. This thread should help you out some.

What is Rage Lance Pounce?

The goblin is tiny because he has an item of reduce person, 2500gp cost, custom created using CRB.

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I hate to be a stickler but a couple of things, first I will address:

Jehova - Teleporting is infact encouraged as per the rules. In the solars description it says he planeshifts away to buff if needed. This means that as long as the combat resumes (not permanently ending) then teleporting is perfectly fine. Thats alot of feats you've swapped out and lost lots of the class abilities of your Gunslinger. Maybe remake him and resubmit if this current iteration doesn't make the cut.

Andreww - I agree with you about the solar being the most dangerous, however he doesn't get an instant surprise round which basically means GG to him because you get 2 turns to his 0 if you can kill him in that time.

As I already stated in my post your character is a full caster as such has more potential to beat the balor then the gunslinger. However, you just casted 2 spells on your initial turn, discern location, and see invisiblity. Infact, you casted see invis without even seeing him go invis. I already explained how the balor has the shopping set up pre combat (as per rules) thus only taking 6 seconds to do so. This would give you 1 round to cast 1 spell. Probably discern location, which would be worthless as he would be upon you next round. As I already stated, I'm 99% certain this battle would delude into a "who does the most useful out of combat thing" which I'm also 99% certain would end up being the 20 caster.

As for your explanation of how the balor would just attack from an RP perspective I'm calling BS. In the Balor write up " A balor reduced to fewer than 50 hit points almost always seeks to flee via teleportation, but if that and flight prove impossible it seeks to position itself such that, if it is slain, its death throes are as devastating as possible to the enemy host." It's tactic is to run away if outgunned, if it knows it's outgunned from the beginning it only seems logical it would do some preparation. Especially since this is the general of the armies of the abyss, not some mindless baby finger eating babau.

I was simply giving an example of how everyone was under judging tactics of these mobs. In my opinion if the solar had a surprise round and equal character wealth, he would kill every one of these characters.

Finally, if this is just an exercise in "tough character builds" why even bother when we did 9 months of this with R-L-P and the builds were FAR more effective then what is being posted now, no offense to the people building, these are excellent starts, it's just those were tailored by 3 forums worth of people over several months and were polished and ready. Cool character builds are awesome, and giving them a challenge if even better, but lets be realistic about this challenge, I would say its achievable by any class who properly spends character wealth. This includes straight 20 fighter builds. Especially if we continue the assumption that teleporting away = a nono.

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I think people are underestimating what some of these creatures can do quite greatly.

Balor - Having Greater Teleport at will means he is not sticking around to talk if he is outgunned. And since he knows when he's outgunned his first action is to GT away. Once away, he can sell any of his items (worth a fortune) in order to buy ANY ITEMS HE NEEDS TO TAKE OUT YOUR OLD SETUP THANKS TO HIS +31 UMD. A couple good ones versus the gunman would be things to boost his touch AC or to make him impervious to his bullets, like a scroll or two of fickle winds. Since our hero is only working with D-Door to travel, this balor moves way faster, as such can accomplish these tasks way quicker. A scroll of fickle winds pretty much shuts down the gunman for all intensive purposes. Or better yet a couple scrolls of greater invis. Our hero can't even see invis (as far as I can tell), which means we just show up invis and wait for our stuff to crit recasting Ginvis whenever its about to run and laugh as we beat you into submission only to follow up with your family.

Edit - Against Andreww the balor goes right for a scroll of AMF and proceeds to do the same thing to you, it uses its surprise round to tele away, sells whichever item it wants, buys a scroll of amf and greater invis, uses the invis, teleports back to the location of the combat however 200 yards straight above it (outside reach of your arcane sight if you casted it during the time he was gone) then moves in to just out of arcane sight range, casts AMF on himself and moves in. While he's inside the AMF, he pretty much proceeds to pound your face. - This fight is tougher for the balor then the gunslinger as Andreww is a very competent spellcaster as well and it could turn quite quickly into a "who is more creative with their time away" battle, as frequently seen in the R-L-P discussion.

Edit x 2 - All the Shenanigans that the balor can perform is because he is aware of what you can do ahead of time. This means he could call his pal joe the traveling demon merchant, have a pre planned sale of his items set up ahead of time. He chooses not to sell his stuff previously (because he needs to be baseline) because he doesn't believe you're going to be able to kill his bro the shoggoth. When he's proven wrong and you do show up he teleports to his buddy joe, swaps the items that round, then does everything I've already explained. This greatly helps to narrow down the amount of time it takes to set all this up for him. It also makes it more difficult for you to have a contingency set up.

5 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Question unclear.

So, after using our healthy search function I have been unable to locate a definitive answer on this. I would like to craft an intelligent item. As far as I can tell, they aren't that expensive. However, there is no explanation behind caster level of spells intelligent items can cast at. Lets say I want to craft a weapon that can cast Mage Armor as a 20th level caster (Increasing the duration to 20 hours).

According to the intelligent item rules, It would cost 1200 gp to cast a 1st level spell 3 times per day.

300 Masterwork cost
2000 +1 enhancement cost
500 base cost for intelligent item
200 to increase casting stat to 11
1200 to cast Mage Armor 3/day

Total Cost - 4200

This however states that the spell is cast at the caster level of the item. How to determine this is unexplained. Numerous people have stated you use the minimum caster level required to create the item. For items such as bracers of armor, ring of prot, etc. this makes sense. However if I'm using a weapon, shield or armor this tends to get a little hazy. Minimum caster level to craft a +1 Magic Sword would be caster level 3rd (5th for the feat, but crafted at 3rd). If I make this a +2 sword at a later time, does this improve the caster level of the weapon to 6th?

In addition to this since a +5 enhancement bonus on a weapon is the maximum, does this mean it is impossible to make an intelligent weapon cast at anything above 15th level?

As well along these lines is there anyway to improve the caster level without improving the enhancement bonus of the weapon. For example a +1 sword that can cast 20th level mage armor.

Thanks in advance, I apologize if this was already gone over, but unfortunately search failed me, and thusly I need you, the great community, to come to my aid.

EDIT - By my calculation to apply a Command Word enhancement to it would cost 7200 gp. This would allow me to use my own action to cast a 1st level spell as a 20th level caster, once per day. If I did it this way would this allow the intelligent item to cast all it's spells at 20th level? In addition, would the magic item be able to use it's own actions to active the command word, as it does get it's own actions per round?

As well if I added an additional command word enhancement to this item like invisibility would I be forced to pay the cost as though it was added by a 20th level creator, even if I only needed it to cast at say 6th level? By my count casting it at 20th level would increase the cost to 14400 whereas adding it at 6th level caster would only make it about 1/3rd of that. Thanks as well for my random edits!

I agree with nico, using weapon finesse lets me make the trip/disarm using dex with a trip/disarm weapon. The reason i'm focusing dex over str is because dex is better for combat reflexes and AC, and str really only benefits damage.

That monk idea seems good, I'll have to look into it more C8. The double chained kama is 2 handed, thats why I missed it. Keep the ideas flowing guys.

So, I'm planning on playing a maneuver based fighter for a Shattered Star campaign. I'm looking for a way to optimize this character for combat, while still maintaining decent flavor. Rules are 15 point buy, any pathfinder books, build must be useful from level 1-13.

What I have so far -

Half Elf Lore Warden Fighter 1

Feats -
1st - Ancestral Arms (Flying Talon), Combat Reflexes, Weapon Finesse
2nd - Combat Expertise, Weapon Focus (Flying Talon)
3rd - Improved Disarm
4th - Weapon Specialization (Flying Talon)
5th - Improved Trip
6th - Greater Trip
7th - Greater Disarm

As far as I know Flying Talon is the only 1 handed weapon that is finesseable, has reach, and can trip/disarm. This allows me to use a masterwork Klar/buckler or light shield with no penalty. Suggestions?

Galadeus the Unkillable

Drow Oracle 1/Paladin 3/Monk 1/Horizon Walker 3/Ranger (Infiltrator) 2/ Shadow Dancer 10

Stats - 20 point buy (+5 Stats from level Ups)

Str 7, Dex 20, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 22, Cha 30

BAB +15
AC: 52 (Pit Fiend hits on a 20 only)
10 Base
1 Dodge
5 Dex
6 Wisdom
8 Bracers
5 Ring
5 Amulet
1 Robe
7 Shield
4 Combat Expertise

Saves - Fort +34, Ref +34, Will +34

Defensive abilities
DR 10/-, Spell Resistance 31, Immune to (Sleep, Disease, Sickened, Tracking?, Fear, Fatigue, Exhaustion, Poison, Bleed), Improved Evasion, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Slippery Mind, Fire Resist 10, Freedom of Movement

Drow - Immune to Sleep, SR 31
Oracle Mystery - Heavens
Oracle Orisons
Oracle Curse - Wasting (Immune to Disease, Sickened)
Oracle Revelation - Lure of Heavens (Immune to Track? Lol)
Paladin Aura of Good
Paladin Detect Evil
Paladin Smite Evil 1/day
Paladin Divine Grace
Paladin Lay on Hands 1/day (Mercy Irrelevant - Remove Shaken)
Paladin Aura of Courage (Immune to Fear)
Paladin Divine Health (Immune to Diseases)
Monk Flurry of Blows
Monk Stunning Fist
Monk Unarmed Strike
HW Favored Terrain - Desert +4, Cold +2
HW Terrain Mastery Desert (Immune to Exhaustion)
HW Terrain Dominance Desert (Immune to Fatigue, Fire Resist 10)
Ranger Favored Enemy Orc
Ranger Track
Ranger Wild Empathy
Shadowdancer Hide in Plain Sight
Shadowdancer Evasion
Shadowdancer Darkvision
Shadowdancer Uncanny Dodge
Shadowdancer Rogue Talents (3x)
Shadowdancer Shaddow Illusion
Shadowdancer Summon Shadow
Shadowdancer Shadow Call
Shadowdancer Shadow Jump 320ft
Shadowdancer Defensive Roll
Shadowdancer Improved Uncanny Dodge
Shadowdancer Slippery Mind
Shadowdancer Shadow Power
Shadowdancer Improved Evasion
Shadowdancer Shadow Master

Feats -
1 Endurance
3 Combat Reflexes
5 Drow Noble
Monk Bonus Feat - Dodge
7 Mobility
9 Drow Noble Improved
Ranger Style Feat - Shield Focus
11 Missile Shield
13 Drow Noble Greater
15 Noble Spell Resistance
17 Great Fortitude
19 Combat Expertise

Items 223k
Cloak of Resistance +5 (25k)
Headband of Mental Superiority +6 (144k)
Belt of Physical Prowess +6 Dex, Con (90k)
Ring of Protection +5, Regeneration (140k)
Ring of Freedom of Movement (40k)
Bracers of Armor +8 (64k)
Amulet of Natural Armor +5 (50k)
Gamboge Nodule Ioun Stone (54k)
Monks Robe (13k)
+5 Heavy Fort Klar (100k)

Still 223k gold left to spend. I believe this character has pretty much everything he needs to be a defensive power house. He doesn't fail any save that I know of, and his AC is near unhittable. Then we have his 31 Spell Resistance which is quite beastly. The rest of the money would be spent on wands scrolls of random useful spells like prot from fire/acid/elec/cold. Stoneskin isn't really needed as you have a natural DR 10/-. Pretty decent attempt at a survivalist character I think. Also still has 3 rogue talents unused.

Having a free hand lets you throw shurikens if you plan on taking the shuriken weapon style. It also lets you switch between 1 handed and 2 handed fighting with your falcata, for example, if you know your going to full attack. Why not 2 hand that falcata, gain 1 1/2 str for the attack, then let your second hand go to go back to your open fighting stance.

Like was mentioned, open hand allows you to disarm and take an oppponents weapon. Or to use the actual STEAL ability to take their weapon before they draw it. Perhaps to steal that backup ranged weapon before you run away. Or hey, maybe you just need a potion and you notice BBEG has a potion belt.

Deflect arrows requires a free hand, and eventually snatch arrows does the same thing.

Glove of Storing filled with a wand, potion, scroll w/e you need makes it really handy to have an open hand.

Rude gestures - If its a homebrew campaign and you like to make intimidate checks to goad your enemies, your DM may give bonus' depending on how well you roleplay the situation. Sometimes flipping the bird can be worth that +1 you need to make that check.

Whistling - Signal whistles. You'll probably be the party scout, if you get into a hairy situation. Whistling is sometimes the better option to "HELP ME IM GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY GOBLIN CHILDREN!"

Torch - Holding that torch for the first few levels is often important, especially if you don't got access to a light spell in your group. Sometimes its important even if you do got a light spell and your in a large room.

Passing items to players in combat - IT REALLY SUCKS TO HAVE TO DROP YOUR WEAPON OR SHEATH IT AND DO THIS. Party member need a potion/scroll bad? Pull it this turn, drop it and let them come get it on their turn. No wasting that standard action for you (long as you have a haversack, but we all have a haversack right?)

Flavor Descriptions - You run your falcata through the Kobold to your left, sidestepping, you narrowly avoid a spear-head sent flying from off to your right. With a quick twist of your body and a shift of your weight you find yourself nose to nose with the culprit. A kobold looks you directly in the eyes, its mouth twisted and wrenched into a snarling smile. "Die puny human." It mouths the words just as you reach your free hand up, clenching, you here a sickly gasp and you watch as the kobolds smile turns into a look of fear. You begin to choke the life out of the kobold, watching as its tiny body flails beneath your finessed grasp. "Never talk when I've got a hand free, rodent."

Do it. If negative repercussions happen, then so be it. The dm still has to come up with a plausible way for the party to find out. I'll warn you in advance though, If your DM wants something to happen, it will happen regardless of how you try and stop it.

Now to go read the other thread...

Things that rely on monsters being hit would still be beneficial. You only split damage, not ability drain/damage. For example, if you were a rogue 3/magus 1 and lets say you beat these guys in initiate, you could spell combat this ability to give yourself 2 attacks.

Each attack would be dealing (1d6 weapon +2d6 sneak +str)/2 +1 str or dex damage. I know its not a great use, but sometimes lowering 2 peoples str by one could be beneficial. An even better would be if you put an enhancement on the weapon to do ability drain/damage on hit.

For all you DMS out there, ghouls with 1 level in magus could be fever giving monsters. Or wights handing out multiple negative levels to multiple people? GG party. All in all I think this is one of those spells that is alot deadlier for a DM then a player.

Sure, just list whatever houserules your using so we can make transitions.

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Welcome to the first round of a new game I like to refer to as Pimp my Kobold. Most people generally agree that kobolds are the weakest monster race. With that said, lets make some kobolds that really shine in terms of optimization. Requirements - 20 point buy, build must be at least level 7, must maintain a kobold theme (even if it's obscure). I'd like to start it off with:

Galadeus, The Cursed Thorn

Chatoic Neutral Rogue (Poisoner 7)

Stats: Str 10, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 7
HP: 66
Initiative: 10
AC: 24, Touch 15, Flat Footed, 20
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +10, Will +6
Feats: Improved Initiative, Shadow Strike, Toughness, Iron Will
Traits: Reactionary, Indomitable Faith
Abilities: Darkvision 60ft, Gliding Wings, Light Sensitivity, Sneak Attack 4d6, Poison Use, Evasion, Master Poisoner, Uncanny Dodge, Rogue Talents - Finesse Rogue, Ninja Trick - Pressure Point, Swift Poison
Important Skills - Craft (Alchemy) 14, Stealth 18, Acrobatics 14, UMD 8

Attack:Rapier +11 1d4+5 (+4d6 sneak attack, +1 Str or Dex Damage, + Poison) 18-20/x2

Longbow +11 1d6+2 (+4d6 Sneak Attack, +1 Str or Dex damage, +poison) 20/x3

Equiptment: +1 Agile Rapier , +1 Mithral Chain Shirt, Assorted Arrows (Silver, Adamantine, Cold Iron), +1 Buckler, +1 Composite +1 Str Longbow, Ring of Prot +1, Cloak of Resistance +1, Wand CLW, Random Adventuring Gear, Assorted Poisons (Deathblade, Wolfsbane, Dark Reaver), Wand of Invis 5 charges

Basically Galadeus wants to start off comabt invis, opening up with a big sneak attack, preferably with a heavy hitting con poison. Against enemies with low strength, he may shoot for a str hitting poison in order to encumber them past the point of usefulness. Galadeus will forgo his move action in favor of swift poisoning usually, especially if he believes he can maintain an advantage by staying in combat.

Galadeus is covered in the black scales of his tribe. He was revered at birth due to the wings protruding from his back. The other members of the tribe thought him more closely related to their god, Nebulu, a black dragon who nests in their swamp. As such Galadeus had a fairly easy life, that was until one day a band of adventurers came and slew Nebulu. Galadeus watched as the adventurers dispatched of his god with ease. After the battle, Galadeus approached them, and asked that he be taught their ways in order for him to grow strong and smart enough to lead his tribe. The alchemist member of the band, Kedral, took in Galadeus and showed him how to extract and make poisons. This became a passion of Galadeus, and eventually, he left the adventurers to pave his own way in the world.

TEM - His con is actually 18. His exact stats for future reference: Str: 15, Dex: 16, Con: 18, Int:7 , Wis: 7, Cha: 15. +4 from raging gives him a con of 22. This provides him +6 to his save, +2 from class gives him a total of +8. I believe he also has a trait which is +9. The +10 is apparently a cheat bonus I've given him. Don't quote me on the trait either till I can see his sheet. Could've sworn it was +10 though, but perhaps it is only 9, I doubt he took great fortitude I'd have to check to be certain. Going with +9 though, it still does not change the math. Your also forgetting that if they charge before the barbarian goes, their to hit is still the same, and they only get 1 attack (+2 hit is negated by the fact the barbarian hasn't raged yet). So no, by the math of your charge into flank, all they've done is missed their attacks and made themselves easier to hit, but that didn't happen, so your hypothetical is also irrelevant.

Max hp at level gives him 16 hp, no favored class benefit as its in oracle. Technically raging he'd be at 18. The barbarian can charge from 60 ft away as well. Since he made his perception check, and beat them in initiative, he goes first. And their flatfooted. Regardless of this however, the dm chose for them to be less than 30ft away pre combat (probably for perception reasons and for them being near enough to the crab pot area), so the barbarian didn't even have to charge. I'm assuming its because he didn't want to force them to charge as well, and for ease of controlling the underwater environment, again not sure till I read the AP.

I'm starting to believe at this point that your becoming frustrated with the discussion, so I'll politely ask that you drop it. It is no longer constructive, and if you want to do math with me I'd be fine to take it to private messages. We've gone from providing valuable underwater combat information and insight to a generic your numbers vs mine argument.

The Block Knight - I agree. We do have the ARG, however at level 7 is when freedom of movement is available for the most part. So it should balance out around then. The point buy becomes less important approaching level 12, but a +2 to every stat never really goes away. I do tend to agree however, that for the beginning the races will give us a superior advantage. At least the gillman anyways. It seems our main failing was the lack of proper point buy information available in the books. I should have researched it prior, but that was many years ago and well before I even frequented these forums. We will be switching our point buy to compensate, and I'd be happy to update with information on what happens to our group because of it.

Ferrin - We will play with the proper underwater combat rules as now we have them. I read that argument back in may and never finished reading into its resolution, as such didn't get the jacobs official until I went back to reread it. I still don't see it getting much tougher, as our gillaman will still ignore most important penalties.

It seems the race choice coupled with our high point buy is whats causing this. The race choice shouldn't matter in my opinion as they list rules for playing these advanced races, but I do see the point. Our point buy issue will be changed for this adventure, and for every adventure further. We may even bring our homebrew campaigns down to this, although we do enjoy rolling, and its alot easier to balance monsters vs a party in homebrew campaigns than it is in an AP. Thank you all for your input, I'm learning new stuff with every post. Please try and keep up the spoiler tags.

Tem - I gave you the math for a non raging barbarian (as per what my post says) so that you could see how trivial the fight could be. Your math is still poor. But I will redo it, with all the correct numbers this time (barring the rolls, which I already stated were above average, but not game breaking.)

So Raging Gillman Barbarian, swinging a piercing weapon vs reefclaws.

Barbarian to hit +5
Barbarian damage 1d10+6 Average damage per round 11.5
Barbarian AC 17
Barbarian HP 16
Barbarian Fort Save: +10

Reefclaw to hit +0
Reefclaw damage 1d4/2
Reefclaw AC 14
Reefclaw attacks per round 2
Reefclaw HP 27

Okay so those are the numbers that we already know. Since our barbarians initiative is higher, and he didn't fail the perception check, for sake of ease he goes first. Barbarian swings, does 11 points. Puts himself in posistion to only get full attacked by 1 creature for the round. Other 1 has to move in. Creatures attack 3x (90% chance of hitting) They miss. Now heres where things can vary, if barbarian hits the same reefclaw, that reefclaw then falls into negative hit points and becomes STAGGERED, if he misses, I agree the fight would be a bit more difficult.

Barbarian hits, setting reefclaw into -22, and staggering it. He then moves away provoking AoO's. One of these AoOs is a hit (120% chance of hitting), the other is a miss (50% chance of hitting). The Reefclaw hits, unfortunately won't make the grab, as it has a 50% shot. Barbarian however now has taken 2 points of damage. He is also 30 feet away, which means he is not getting full attacked this next round. Reefclaws swim up and 1 attacks from flank (other is staggered) (80% chance of hit) it misses. Barbarian then attacks the one thats flanking him. Barbarian kills it. Barbarian is now fighting one reefclaw. Which he just killed while only taking 2 damage from the last. Rinse, repeat, barbarian gets grappled, switches to a dagger (actually states in my original post.) but still manages to win without ever being really in danger.

Now theres a few things you ignored in the entirety of the thread. I already previously stated our barbarian rolled better than average. He could effectively kill 1 reefclaw in 2 hits. Or stagger a reefclaw in 1 hit. Which makes the fight EVEN EASIER should that happen. You also forgot 100% about stagger from ferocity. Next the fort save is DC 13, our gillman here fails that on a 3. About 1/6th of the time. As you saw from combat, he doesn't get hit 6x. The numbers I posted in the original post was to show how easy the fight would have been if he didn't rage, then at the end of it I added that it was more dangerous but he did in fact do it.

The next thing im going to address is the underwater rules. This argument has already been had on these forums once before. The majority of posters in the rules forum agreed that natural attacks were still subject to reducing. Here is the thread: Underwater combat discussion To my knowledge, it still has never been clarified whether referring to "land based creatures" excludes aquatic creature subtype or not. If it has, then our campaign was running on old knowledge and please show me a james jacob post that fixes it, then I'll be glad to use the clarification. Till then, I trust my rules subforum friends.

Oscarmike - Yes we play with minis, full grids, terrain modifiers, critical hit and miss decks. I already explained oscar (previously in this thread) that I didn't steal from the big chest as I knew there was extra loot in it from my diplomacy check. Please reread the thread before you continue the same moot arguments that have already occurred. Its fun to debate, silly to debate the same thing twice.

Again guys, I appreciate the comments and the enjoyable discussion! Keep em coming.

EDIT - Wow guys, that kinda makes me look silly. Apparently James did comment on the situation and I just hadn't reviewed the thread in several months. It apparently will be added to the errata, so please disregard our poor use of underwater rules. The needed adjustments will be made in game. Not gonna edit out the blunder, this way everyone can bask in my poopooness. It also seems most of you already knew this as it was stated the correct way james supports it - Natural weapons unaffected, manufactured affected. I apologize for my misplaced arguments. However, for the record, I still don't think our barbarian was in any danger from the reefclaws. Albeit, the numbers probably only favored him due to good rolls now.

I agree with you wiggz, adding enemies to encounters however does change the book. It changes the loot we would get, the amount of experience we get and what resources we may have to expend. These are huge factors, if we level up early it could make stuff even easier. If we have additional gold it could again, make things easier in the long run. Ferrin, we are a group of 5 DMs, if he started adding advanced templates to mobs that arn't supposed to have it, we'd be able to tell by the way he rolls. Then we'd ask him about it when he handed out xp for a non advanced creature. In fact, most of us do our xp before he has a chance to tell us because we already know what its going to be. Not to mention as we progress further, throwing in an extra bad guy could mean an extra +1 weapon, or an extra 3-4k gold. Which is nothing to sneeze at if you have to do that every encounter.

Just to clarify though, we play the APS RAW, which means the DM follows the book to the letter in order to stop us from derailing the campaign. If we manage to derail it on our own, then poopoo for us. It is still dnd, and we still have our own options, but the dms job is to keep it as close as possible, making adjustments only after we have made a mess of things. I hope this helps explain it.

Varthanna/Ferrin - I believe that underwater combat penalties still apply to aquatic creatures. Either that or they should then receive a penalty on land. See, a creature like a shark is always fought in terrain where it has advantage, which usually means a raised CR, however this is never taken into account by the APS or by most dms in general. This leads us to conclude that they aren't actually gaining as much a benefit from the terrain as we would think, which is why we take it RAW (that they still suffer penalties for not using piercing attacks). It also makes sense from a physics standpoint, things just don't work like that underwater, even 'aeronautically dynamical?' are still hampered. (That sentence sucks, but you get the meaning) The resistance is still there, its just reduced due to the shapes of their bodies for movement and such. However, a crab claw is still clumsily shaped and it should be reduced damage underwater. Especially when they can fight on land with no penalty.

Awesome thanks, I wish they woulda put it in the vbooks or made it like pfs. Were gonna drop down our point buy

I agree on all points except for your understanding of water based combat. Sharks bites are not hindered as they are piercing. Even aquatic creatures take penalties if not using proper weapons underwater. Bludgeoning and slashing have always been reduced under water and claws are bludgeoning and slashing. As I stated, we're all well versed in the rules.

Where did you find the information about the APS being set for 15 point buy? We were under the impression they were 20 point buy. As such we knew we were beefing a little bit, hence why we try strange character archetypes (arcane trickster) instead of your typical wizard/cleric/fighter/rogue party. If its 15 point buy we should definitely tone it down. Where can I find that info though?

*shakes finger* Bad military time bob, 1233hrs is 1233pm. 0033hrs would 1233am! Happy birthday either way! Keep posting the awesome builds, gave me nearly 20 minutes of amused reading!

Ya I figured that TBL, the main point behind my question was seeking a comparison between this and other APS (as you said, I've played em). This way it would help us gauge what to expect difficulty wise. If its another kingmaker we will have to stop playing RAW and look to the forums for advice. It sounds like it isn't that simple though, and we may just be dominating because of our experience as you said.

Either way, thanks for the input!

Okay lots to address, I'll start with the stuff I am sure about as again I haven't read the ap so cant address it all.

A gillmen has a swim speed of 30ft, does not need to make swim checks and is not considered "hampered" by swimming. This means a gillman can take a "run" action in water. Allowing for 90ft of movement in a round, this allows the gillman to get there in 2 rounds (using only the move action of the 3rd round to make, still leaving the standard available for perception). Like I said, Gillman has an AC of 19 and cannot drown and is not hindered at all by water combat as long as a weapon deals piercing damage.

Now Reefclaws attack with claws, which are either SLASHING or BLUDGEONING. Which means they both deal half damage in water (most of you are obviously ignoring this). Which means Reefclaws deal 1d2 damage and they take -2 to their attacks. This means in water combat, reefclaws are actually a poopoo monster. So, to hit this barbarian with 19 AC in water combat the reefclaw needs to roll a 19 or a 20.

The barbarian is attacking with an effective Ogre Hook (looks different)1d10 damage. This works out to roughly 5+ 1.5str damage per round. He has a +2 str bonus, so average 8 damage per attack. Monsters hit him on a 19 or 20 so roughly 1 in 10 attacks. 2 attacks per round means they hit once every 5 rounds or so. He kills 1 of them in 10 rounds rolling average (and hitting only on a 10+).

This is the math behind what the combat should look like with statistics. Our barbarian hits on less than a 10, and raged and did more damage (albeit at more risk). But still the combat was VERY easy for him. So please, everyone complaining that this reefclaw encounter was somehow nerfed, please roll it out for yourself. 19 is not a high ac for level 1 (albeit pretty high for a barbarian), and the water ACTUALLY FAVORS our gillman in this situation, not the reefclaws.

I'd like to add that, there is no way my dm could have fudged this fight. All dice are rolled infront of us, we all know the stats for reefclaws and under water combat. This fight is just a simple understanding of how underwater combat actually works, and a poor choice of monster for the combat. (reefclaws need beaches, or small amounts of water.)

Now that this has been addressed I'll move on. Ferrin, like I said I don't know about the specifics on the quartermasters however I will say, I did not try to pick the metal trunk. Since I rolled high on my diplomacy check (stated earlier in this thread) I recieved additional stuff from the quartermaster. This enabled me to know that the QM had more in storage then simply our gear. It also enabled me to get 150 gp of free loot I believe. This made it easier for me to ascertain the gear I sought and not steal anything above and beyond. I did not try and take from the locked trunks, and as I stated the QM was left open. Again, I won't know all the specifics behind it till I can read the AP, so I'll have to take your word for it. If our gear shoulda been unstealable, then he did ease up on us, and we will hold it against him.

Ferrin - The mutiny still took place as the book says its supposed to, it just happened 4 days earlier. We took all the penalties for it happening earlier as well (not being able to rally additional people, etc. Fighting them all at once rather than separately, if thats even an option). We just all agreed that we wouldn't be bullied any longer, and a DM cannot stop us from attacking. In addition, I did say days were condensed, however all actions were rolled for those days. The condensing simply came in the form of less roleplaying to be honest. Rather than talk out conversations between 4 players and 4 seperate npcs and try to influence them with our words to gain bonuses to our rolls, we simply made the rolls and let the chips fall where they may. We also had each player roll all his rolls at once rather than descripe monotonous actions that occured the same each day. Barring of course, the days were things happened. Like the owlbear fight, etc.

To everyone - Thank you all for your input, I do really appreciate it. I realize I'm getting defensive when I'm not the one under scrutiny. To be fair, I'm just an argumentative person and dislike believing I'm playing a watered-down, softened version of an AP. Our group consists of 4 dms, all who have been playing dnd for several years and all who are heavily scrutinized by the others. We are all min/maxers and munchkins and are all okay with it. Keep the comments flowing, I'm kind of enjoying hearing how our gillman barbarian is super OP :P

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Hmmm assuming a level 20 campaign, lets see if we can do it. Assuming the +CR is the same as +LA in 3.5, and we use 25 point buy, I present to you:

Galadeus, Scourge of the Endless Seas

Advanced Merfolk (CR +1)/Half Dragon (CR +2)/Half Fiend (CR +2)/Half Celestial (CR +2)/Half Janni (CR +2)/Lycanthrope (Human Form) (CR+1)/Fey Creature (CR +1)

Monk 1/Barbarian 1/Alchemist (Mindchemist) 1/Wizard 6

Hit Dice: 6d6, 2d8, 1d12 Total: 9HD

Str: 10

10 Base
+4 Advanced
+8 Half Dragon
+4 Half Fiend
+4 Half Celestial
+2 Half Janni
+5 Tome
+6 Belt
+4 Rage

Total: 47

Dex: 16

16 Base
+4 Advanced
+2 Merfolk
+2 Half Fiend
+2 Half Celestial
+2 Half Janni
+4 Fey Creature
+5 Tome
+6 Belt
-2 Cognatagen

Total: 41

Con: 16

16 Base
+4 Advanced
+2 Merfolk
+6 Half Dragon
+2 Half Fiend
+2 Half Celestial
+5 Tome
+6 Belt
+4 Rage
+1 Level

Total: 48

Int: 10

10 Base
+4 Advanced
+2 Half Dragon
+4 Half Fiend
+4 Half Celestial
+2 Half Janni
+2 Fey Creature
+5 Tome
+6 Headband
+1 Level

Total: 40

Wis: 10

10 Base
+4 Advanced
+4 Half Fiend
+4 Half Celestial
+4 Half Janni
+2 Lycanthrope
+5 Tome
+6 Headband
+4 Cognatagen

Total: 41

Cha: 14

14 Base
+4 Advanced
+2 Merfolk
+2 Half Dragon
+2 Half Fiend
+2 Half Celestial
+4 Half Janni
-2 Lycanthrope
+2 Fey Creature
+5 Tome
+6 Headband

Total: 41

Armor Class

10 Base
+15 Dex
+15 Wisdom
+4 Natural Armor Half Dragon
+1 Natural Armor Half Fiend
+1 Natural Armor Half Celestial
+1 Natural Armor Half Janni
-1 Natural Armor Fey Creature
+2 Natural Armor Advanced
+8 Bracers of Armor

Total: 56

Galadeus, The Scourge of the Endless Seas was created by the greater gods at the time of creation. He was placed on the Material plane before it had been given form. He is the grandfather of every and all races, and to some he is also the bringer of the apocalypse.

Galadeus I believe fits the minimum requirements of the OPs super tough PC (40 All stats, 50+ AC, Mostly Wizard)I didn't spend alot of time working out the math, and I believe you could optimize him a hell of alot more, but, just as a warning to the OP, you shouldn't let your PCS play Galadeus.

Varthanna - the ship action taken was to explore the quartermasters area, if there is a rule saying only one attempt at each quartermaster chest per night then he did not follow it. I know there is a rule per footlocker, but the quartermasters area was left open (apparently there is a roll for that.) As such, it got robbed. We also weren't foolhardy. We didn't display what we stole and we hid a number of items in other peoples footlockers. He can roleplay peoples reactions fine, but there is listed consequences for listed actions - ex keelhauling for murder, keelhauling for stealing etc etc. So to ignore that and add additional punishment, or a different consequence would have created a different atmosphere. However, if it does only allow looting of 1 chest in the quartermaster area per 1 action (as long as that is specified) then you are correct. But I won't know that for 2 weeks, and if that is true, and it is 1 quartermaster chest per action, then the only difference it would have made is I would have been fatigued to gather both. Still a minor penalty.

Thebwt - Either way my rogue could not fail the check to steal it from them, or fail a check to discard it so the point would be moot. Arcane tricksters are set up to be good thieves, which is the direction I'm taking the character.

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