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As far as I can tell, using magic without components is impossible in 2e. Innate spells (which seem to be 2e's version of spell-like abilities) aren't described as having no components. Silent Spell still exists in 2e, but it doesn't work on spells that only have verbal components and I haven't seen a 2e version of Still Spell anywhere. It looks to me like it just isn't possible to use magic without components of some sort in 2e (counting substituted components like a bard playing an instrument, unlike 1e where it was possible in theory with all the right feats.

Is this true, and if so was it a purposeful design choice for 2e?

Kayerloth wrote:
To add a thought or two to what I meant when I said I wanted the cloud effect left by the Storm of Silver to do more than just act like a Fog Cloud. My dilemma is that most of the thoughts that ran thru my head said it added too much, making the spell too potent for a 5th level spell. *shrug* Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps the cloud radiates a protection from evil; or something along the lines of a consecrate/desecrate, sympathy/antipathy, repulsion effect, or even a Glitterdust effect. In any case I didn't think the Fog Cloud effect was out of place, it makes sense just fine.

Yes, that's been my dilemma too. It would be all too easy to push the spell up above the appropriate power level by taking on another effect, so it's difficult to come up with something that's fitting, useful, and also not too useful all at the same time.

Kayerloth wrote:

PS: Just a note, all spells inherently bypass DR, the spell would bypass devils or any creatures with that DR without the text specifically calling for it.

CRB,glossary wrote:
Spells, spell-like abilities, and energy attacks (even nonmagical fire) ignore damage reduction.
Perhaps that's what the lingering Cloud should do. While it remains any attacks within the area bypass DR as if they were Silver and Good so even if struck by a normal Longsword while in the Cloud the creatures DR would be bypassed.

Spells normally ignore damage resistance, but spells that explicitly deal a physical damage type (like piercing, in this case) are still subject to DR. This is clarified in an FAQ here. Of course, if the spell deals physical damage, it doesn't have to contend with energy resistance, so it's a trade-off when compared to something like Fireball. Storm of Silver basically gets to ignore all of a Devil's defenses since it bypasses their DR, energy resistance, and SR.

Goth Guru wrote:
In storm of silver, that's the storm cloud. It's the only effect that makes any sense.

I'm sorry, I'm not quite sure I understand what you're saying. Do you mean that the Fog Cloud-like effect of the spell makes sense the way it is or are you suggesting it should be changed somehow to be more storm-like?

Andostre wrote:
I think that the spell description needs to provide a saving throw akin to the Bluff mechanic or as an illusion spell, because it seems unlikely that everyone will be come distracted by it every time it's cast. I realize it's not an illusion or enchantment spell, but... it is kind of a bluff? And what happens if someone passes their Spellcraft skill check to recognize what spell your wizard just cast? Can they announce that the spell is completely harmless? Or maybe combine those two things, and the Spellcraft or Knowledge (arcana) check serves in the place of a saving throw.

You're not exactly wrong that it's unlikely people would be feeling threatened by it every time, but... The spell would be way too weak if it allowed a saving throw or some other mechanism to bypass it. To be fair, it isn't completely harmless, since touching it can still stun you. But the best justification I can present is that the sparks don't necessarily have to actually feel threatening to do their job- just distracting, since all they do is provide flanking and distracting someone from defending themselves is pretty much what flanking is. Think of it like one of those fountain fireworks going off right behind you. Even if you don't think it's going to hurt you, it's bright and flashing in the corner of your eyes and noisy and might singe your backside enough to make you flinch. It's certainly distracting, which is what I was going for with the idea.

Andostre wrote:

1) Does the path retracing cross planes? I ask because many spells can't do that.

2) Can the skull go around obstacles? Let's say it's path was through a door that has now been closed. Will it wait for the obstacle to be removed, or will it try to find a way around?

3) Regarding saving throws:

As the hateskull is not a true undead but rather merely a magically-animated skull, it is treated as an object for the purpose of saving throws and any effects that interact with undead.
Can you be more specific? Because I go and look at the "Damaging Object" section under Equipment in d20PFSRD, and I see the following:
Animated objects count as creatures for purposes of determining their Armor Class (do not treat them as inanimate objects).
4) Just to be clear, this leaves the original corpse as permanently headless, right?

For the first two questions, I imagine my DM would rule that it can cross planes if there's an open path, like a lingering Gate spell or a portal, but not if the path is closed. This would be the same for it trying to get through doors and around obstacles it can't easily (say arbitrarily, with one move action) move around too. It's similar to the way the skull would behave when created in a place it doesn't "recognize" from when it was alive. In these cases, the skull would simply float around doing nothing until someone it recognizes as a target comes by (and then it attacks) or someone such as Hateskull's caster opens the pathway (in which case it would carry forward).

As for the third question, I completely missed the section of the rules you're quoting, so I'd have to go and change the spell's wording to reflect it. The skull should probably make saves like an animated object since that's effectively what it is. I included the line in the spell about treating it like an (inanimate) object because I wanted to make it clear that the skull is not treated like an undead (IE, not subject to positive/negative energy, can't be controlled by a necromancer, isn't evil or even aligned at all, etc).

Defining the way the skull behaves is pretty hard to do without including several extra paragraphs. In fact, the original pitch for the spell to my DM was two paragraphs longer if I recall correctly. I wanted to shorten it up while still being clear, but it's tricky and I don't think I'll be able to make the spell adequately describe the skull's behavior in all or even most circumstances without making the spell way wordier than it should be.

Oh, and as for the fourth question, yes. In particular, that means it's not a valid target for another Hateskull spell.

Andostre wrote:
To Kayerloth's point above, the spell doesn't specify that a lava eruption only targets one person. It says "any creature."

Okay, I can see why someone would interpret the spell's wording that way. It's a semantic argument to say I thought "any creature" implies any one creature (as opposed to something like "any two creatures" or "all creatures"), but there's no reason to debate the wording when I know the intention is for it to target one creature and can easily go change the wording to reflect that. Thank you both for the help.

Andostre wrote:
stuff about Reactionary Reprisal

Reactionary Reprisal, being my Wizard's custom Abjuration spell, was probably the second hardest spell to come up with so far (the hardest being a Transmutation spell because Transmutation already does so much that it was difficult to come up with an idea that could make for a well-designed and balanced spell but also hadn't already been done). The tricky part about Abjuration, I learned, is that a spell that just makes you functionally or outright immune to X is neither creative nor interesting.

My Wizard invented this spell after an enemy Wizard tried to dispel my Water Breathing spell while we doing some underwater combat, which I'm surely using as the IC source of the idea. But OOC, I got the idea because one function of Abjuration is described as "using magic against magic" and that made me start thinking about using magic against magic against magic- a Ward against Wards, which was in fact the original idea Reactionary Reprisal grew out of.

Andostre wrote:
stuff about Storm of Silver

I'm just not sure what could be added instead of the fog effect which would be appropriate in a metaphorical vacuum, and like the way it synergizes with the fellow PC who can see through fog when contextualized with my existing party. Removing the fog altogether certainly makes the spell too weak, but what could be added to it that doesn't make it overpowered compared to other 5th level blast spells like Cone of Cold and Acidic Spray or even higher level blasts like the 6th level Chain Lightning?

I'll add to this a quote from one of the other players in the group who weighed in on the spell:

The Shaman's player wrote:

I like where Storm of Silver ended up. I think it's a spell [the party's Shaman] will prepare once she has an additional slot, but not one that's powerful enough to be her best option. I think that means the power level is acceptable, but this spell is a little hard to judge. So much of it comes down to whether or not the Fog Cloud is a useful additional effect.

In terms of MTG cards, I'm kind of reminded of Electrolyze, a card I thought was trash at first glance. Two weak effects combine to make a solid spell. Hopefully that will be the case here.

Thank for taking the time to give me some feedback- this thread had been sitting unreplied to for so long that I'd almost forgotten about it.

Kayerloth wrote:
stuff about Threatening Sparks

I think it was actually very much the DM's intention that Threatening Sparks should have a duration of concentration. He made comparisons between Threatening Sparks and the Bard cantrip Unwitting Ally, favorably saying that Threatening Sparks was at an appropriate power level because it didn't allow a save, could work from any unoccupied space (instead of only one with an occupying enemy), and could last longer than one round.

Still, you bring up a good point, because the idea of making it a move action to move instead of a standard action to concentrate on just never occurred to me and maybe it just never occurred to my DM either. In hindsight, I think that would be more appropriate if it relied on a move action and did not have a potentially-forever long concentration duration.

Also, good catch on the part about stunning someone from range; that part I am certain is probably not intended.

Kayerloth wrote:
stuff about Hateskull

"Retracing its path" refers to the path it walked in life, literally. The skull would float backwards along whatever path the creature traveled leading up to its death, square by square, until it either finds someone to kamikaze on or the spell's duration runs out. Because my Wizard is a Divination specialist, both my DM and I enjoyed that he snuck a quasi-Divination effect into his Necromancy spell, since the spell's real purpose is for the flying skull to lead you back to the victim's other allies or home.

Kayerloth wrote:
stuff about Erupting Pool

I'm a little confused by your interpretation of this spell. Causing the pool to erupt requires a standard action targets a single creature within 10 feet per caster level, and decreases the spell's remaining duration by a round. Since the spell's duration is 1 round/level, that means you could only make the pool erupt at someone once per two caster levels (since by the time you've used up half the spell's duration on eruptions you've also already used up the other half on actual duration).

At the time my Wizard made this spell, he was having trouble dealing with flying enemies since many of his favorite spells like Grease and Create Pit just don't work on people that fly over them. Being able to launch a burst of lava at a flying enemy was the main intention behind giving the pool the ability to erupt.

Kayerloth wrote:
stuff about Reactionary Reprisal

We've been seeing a lot more dispels and counters in the time since I first posted this thread, so Reactionary Reprisal is looking more and more handy lately. I agree that the wording is a little messy, but I'm glad to hear that's the only problem you have with it.

Kayerloth wrote:
stuff about Storm of Silver

It admittedly IS weird that this is (or will be, I still haven't had the downtime to actually invent this one) an arcane spell; the flavor is very clearly divine. It was my own biggest problem with this spell, and the only reason it's a Wizard spell at all is because a Wizard is the one inventing it. Part of the reason it's so divinely-flavored is because we fight a lot of devils (we're playing Hell's Rebels) and I wanted some anti-devil tech. Beyond that, I don't really have an answer for why it's an arcane spell.

As for the fog cloud effect, it functions as the Fog Cloud spell, so yes, it can be dispersed by wind just like a Fog Cloud spell. I think adding something else to the fog cloud, be it using a stronger fog spell like Stinking Cloud or something random like (caster level) amount of damage to evil creatures every round might be too strong when the fog is already the spell's secondary effect. The spell originally dealt 1d6 damage/caster level with the needles but had its damage scaling knocked down to its present amount because the DM felt it was too powerful of a blast in that form.

It's worth mentioning, though, that fog effects can be easily exploited by the party's Aerokineticist, whose vision is not blocked by fog because of her Windsight utility talent. That's part of the reason I want to include the fog cloud effect in this spell.

The link doesn't work for me; it says the file does not exist.

My Wizard PC has been inventing a series of unrelated spells, one in each school as he levels up, and I'm curious what other people outside of my play group think of them. He is currently in the process of inventing his fifth spell.

For context, if anyone is curious, the PC in question noted that ancient Thassilon associated each school of magic with a sin and believes each sin to be associated with a color as well. Because some people consider there to be an eighth deadly sin, Vainglory, and there was an eighth school of magic Thassilon didn't acknowledge, Divination, he figures there should be an eighth color of the rainbow and seeks to create it. We decided this process should involve making a spell of each school and color. He has made a red 1st-level Evocation spell and then an orange 2nd-lvl Necromancy spell and so on, and will continue to invent new spells until eventually finishing with an 8th level Divination spell of some previously nonexistent color. OOC, this has proven to be troublesome, partially because of the large number of spells that already exist and partially because of power level concerns and balancing. All of these spells received a lot of tweaking to get them from my original idea to something the DM would approve of, and although I'm not interested in going back to get the DM to change what my spells do I am interested in what other people think of them and whether they are appropriately balanced for their respective spell levels.

Threatening Sparks:
School evocation [electricity]; Level bloodrager 1, magus 1, sorcerer/wizard 1

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S

Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets one unoccupied square
Duration Concentration
Saving Throw see text; Spell Resistance yes

A burst of electrical energy briefly distracts a foe from your companions, giving them a short window of opportunity to strike. When you cast this spell, a ball of electricity is generated in an unoccupied square within range, shedding sparks and crackling menacingly. Although this ball is mostly harmless, it appears dangerous enough that it counts as threatening enemies in adjacent squares for the purpose of determining flanking. When you concentrate on this spell, you may move the ball of energy to any other unoccupied square within the spell's range. The ball zips quickly through the air to its newly designated location, but never collides with creatures or objects along the way. If, for whatever reason, the sphere is outside of the spell's range, you must move it back into range when you next concentrate or the spell immediately ends.

Any creature that attempts to move into the space occupied by the shower of electrical sparks or who chooses to attack it destroys the sphere automatically and ends the spell (no attack roll needed). However, the creature must then make a fortitude save or become stunned for one round as the sphere of electrical energy discharges into them. Spell resistance applies to this effect but not the flanking effect, and creatures which are immune to electricity are likewise immune to the stunning effect.

School: Necromancy [Death, Curse]; Level antipaladin 2, cleric/oracle 2, shaman 2, sorcerer/wizard 2, witch 2

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a burnt shard of bone)

Range Touch
Targets one dead medium or small creature with a head
Duration 1 minute/level or 1 day/level (see text)
Saving Throw (see text); Spell Resistance (see text)

This spell animates the head of a slain creature in a manner similar to creating an undead, but in a much more temporary fashion, and can be used by necromancers to seek out the home or allies a slain enemy has left behind. The grudges and grievances the living creature had in life, no matter how small or petty, are magnified and used to fuel the hateskull's temporary animation. The hateskull has an AC of 14, hardness 2, 5 HP, darkvision out to 60 ft, and a fly speed of 40 feet with perfect maneuverability. As the hateskull is not a true undead but rather merely a magically-animated skull, it is treated as an object for the purpose of saving throws and any effects that interact with undead.

If the hateskull is animated in a location where the creature had been in life, it immediately begins retracing its path until it finds a creature it would have recognized in life as an ally. Otherwise, the hateskull simply hovers in the air until such a creature enters its view. If the hateskull sees multiple potential targets, it always pursues the closest target, and if all potential targets leave its view the hateskull hovers in place for 1 minute waiting for them to return before returning to whatever action it was doing before seeing them.

Once the hateskull detects a target, it begins screaming vile curses and jinxes at the target while moving as quickly and directly towards them as possible. Its movement provokes attacks of opportunity as normal, except from the target of the hateskull's attack. The hateskull rams into the target at full force, shattering over them in the process. The hateskull deals 1d6 points of damage to the target and possibly afflicts them with a spiteful curse. If the hateskull's victim fails a will save, they take a -1 penalty on all saving throws for a number of days equal to your caster level. Spell resistance applies to this effect.

Erupting Pool:
School Transmutation [earth, fire]; Level antipaladin 3, bloodrager 3, druid 3, magus 3, sorcerer/wizard 3, witch 3

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, F (a small piece of igneous stone)

Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Area 10ft radius spread
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw See text; Spell Resistance No

This spell causes the ground in the targeted area to temporarily transform into searing lava. The volume transmuted in small, only a few inches deep, and movement through the area is not hindered by this transformation. However, any creature in the area of the spell's effect when the spell is cast, who enters the area of this spell, or who ends its turn in the spell's area takes 2d6 points of fire damage from the lava (but no more than once per turn).

Furthermore, the caster can cause a burst of lava to erupt out of the pool towards any creature within 10 feet per caster level of the lava as a standard action. On a failed Reflex save, this burst of lava deals 2d6 points of fire damage; a successful save avoids the damage entirely. This damage increases to 3d6 at 7th level and 4d6 at 10th level. Each time the caster causes the pool to erupt in this manner, the remaining duration of the spell is reduced by 1 round. If this would reduce the spell's remaining duration to 0, the spell ends.

As is normally the case with lava, any creature who takes damage from this spell continues to take damage for 1d3 rounds after exposure ceases, but this additional damage is only half of that dealt during actual contact.

Reactionary Reprisal:
School abjuration; Level cleric/oracle 4, druid 4, inquisitor 4, magus 4, sorcerer/wizard 4

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a tiny piece of mirror)

Range personal
Duration 10 minutes/level

This spell creates an invisible ward of magical energy around you. As an immediate action, you can dismiss this spell whenever another creature attempts to dispel or counter one of your own spells. The expended ward's energies are used to destabilize incoming spells that would unmake your own magic. You make a caster level check against a DC of 11 + the opposing spell's caster level. If successful, the spell being used to dispel or counter your magic is itself countered.

If dismissed in response to a spell that is not being used to counter or dispel one of your spells, the spell still end but the effect is wasted.

Storm of Silver:
School conjuration (creation) [good]; Level cleric/oracle 5, inquisitor 5, magus 5, paladin 4, shaman 5, sorcerer/wizard 5, unchained summoner 5

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (bottled air), F (a blessed mithral needle worth 500 GP)

Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Area cylinder (20-ft. radius, 20 ft. high)
Duration Instantaneous and 1 round/level
Saving Throw Reflex half; Spell Resistance no

A storm of radiantly glowing silver needles rain down over a 20-ft radius area, dealing 1d8 points of piercing damage per two caster levels (maximum 10d8) to every creature in the area. The needles are imbued with the power of the heavens and count as both good aligned and silver for the purpose of overcoming DR, making this spell particularly useful against devils. This damage only occurs once, when the spell is cast.

For the remaining duration of the spell, a 20-ft. radius spread is filled with a silvery mist (which functions like Fog Cloud), as the potent holy energies within the needles cause them to begin vaporizing.

Is there any way to increase the enhancement bonus on a Phantom Blade's phantom weapon beyond the amount given by standard phantom weapon progression, even just temporarily? Unlike a Bladebound Magus' black blade, there's no option to spend a point to increase the weapon's enhancement bonus (though it's nice that the Phantom Blade has a wider selection of special weapon properties to pick from).

I'm asking mostly because I'm worried about DR being a big issue for the archetype, so if someone knows another way to effectively deal with DR that would also be helpful.

My Wizard PC has taken the Eldritch Researcher story feat and has been busy trying to invent lots of new spells lately. Working with my DM and the other players to come up with new spells of our own has made me start to wonder: what's the design process for coming up with ideas for new spells like at Paizo?

James Jacobs wrote:
Part of what helps me manage the answers is when folks don't put multiple questions into the same post. Sometimes, I have only time to answer one or two posts before I have to run, and if there's a LOT of questions in one post, that causes problems, so please keep it to one question per post. For this one, please re-post your additional question.

Oh, I didn't realize. I'll be sure to keep any posts I make here more narrow in scope in the future!

What do Daemons think of Rovagug and/or Groetus? Beyond just "more gods that need to disappear", of course.

How do you keep tabs on this thread? Do you just visit it regularly, rely on email notifications, or do you have some kind of bound outsider or familiar who spends all day watching the thread for you?

Also entirely unrelated to the last question, what do Daemons think of Rovagug and/or Groetus? Beyond just "more gods that need to disappear", of course. Do they work to the same end, or is there a significant difference between what Daemons want and what Rovagug/Groetus are expected to do?

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Another way to handle her is to keep on the move and use area attacks; if you end your turn far enough away from her, she can't step and full attack you with the starknife, and if she always has to approach to attack you, she won't be able to also step out of the spot that turn so you'll know where she ended up. Either way, it's a highly mobile fight, and you'll probably have to change up your tactics from the norm to handle her.

You'd have to end your turn really far away from her though, at least 250 feet if I understand right, and I'm not sure of many (any?) ways to move that fast in Pathfinder without also sacrificing your offensive potential for that turn because you've spent your actions moving instead of attacking/casting.

The ability doesn't require her to attack, so if you keep moving away she could just stalk you by taking her 150-step each round and remaining very effectively stealthed. At some point, you have to stop moving and then she can strike, possibly before 150-stepping away again and re-stealthing somewhere else. Makes for some serious hit and run tactics!

My second thought was that you'd be able to pin her down if you could stick a Dimensional Anchor spell (I don't have her stat block on hand but I'm sure she has some high SR you'd have to pierce first). But upon reviewing the spell's text, it looks like by RAW it would have no effect on this ability because it's (Ex) instead of (Sp). In fact, this makes me realize that Dimensional Anchor shouldn't work on hypothetical (Su) abilities that allow extradimensional travel by RAW either, although I think the RAI might reasonably extend to cover them.

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I made a magical mug which could be commanded to fill up with either hot tea or iced water at-will. However, the item was cursed such that whenever it was commanded to fill up, it would fill with whichever of the two drinks the commander desired less at the time.

The item was quickly (but laboriously, as he had no means but to bash it repeatedly against the floor) destroyed by the party's Cleric of Trelmarixian for being an affront to his god.

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The line about how the ability defeats all forms of sense makes me think See Invisibility and even True Seeing won't work, but Purge Invisibility should as far as I can tell. Of course, Purge Invisibility only reaches out 5 ft/caster level. Coincidentally though, at 20th level that reaches out to 100ft, which just happens to be the absolute maximum range a starknife (with its 20ft range increment) can be thrown from.

So the lesson to be learned here is "Don't fight Black Butterfly without a 20th level caster handy." Who would have thought you couldn't get away with challenging gods as sub-20th level characters?

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The Small But Deadly feat is written in a vague manner, but depending on how your DM interprets it the feat might be really, really useful for you. You could even flavor the strength coming not from muscle but from conviction to his ideals or the blessing of his god, or something of the sort.

So, I've read the segment on the Soul Trade and I understand what interest Daemons have in mortal souls. But I'm curious about the other races of outsiders, and how they view/use mortal souls. In particular, Devils. Devils are all about damning mortals to Hell, getting them to sign away their soul, all that jazz. But... What does an individual Devil actually get out of it? Do they consume souls to gain power, or are they all working together to gather souls for the creation of new Devils/the expansion of their plane, or do they do it for entertainment and like to watch mortals suffer in their free time, or do they do it for the warm fuzzies they get in their Outsider-equivalent of heart when they think about how happy they must be making Asmodeus?

Any official lore would be really nice to know about, if there's much out there on a subject this specific. I'm playing in a Hell's Vengeance campaign, and it's been making me wonder about this topic.

I was speaking with a friend recently about the preconstructed spellbook called the Book of Harms. We both agreed that it seems underpriced for its effect, a preparation ritual that allows a wizard who prepared at least one spell from the book to spontaneously apply the Maximize Spell feat (whether they have the feat or not) to any one Evocation spell they cast each day without increasing the spell level or casting time, in exchange for taking 1d4 damage per level of the spell. The cost of the book with the ritual is 900 GP.

But my friend asked whether taking the damage from the spell should force the caster to make a concentration check for the spell. It doesn't feel like that would have been the intention of the developer, and in the text it makes no reference to requiring a concentration check because of the damage. I've never seen anybody mention having to make concentration checks to use it either, which makes me think I'm not the only person who had never considered the idea. But by RAW, I think it would, since you're taking damage as you cast a spell, and it somewhat balances the item's low cost since if you don't pass the check then you end up losing the spell and action. On the other hand, I'm not certain how easy or difficult that check is at various levels.

Do you think it is intended for the boon from the Book of Harms to force its user to make a concentration check? If not, do you think that would be a reasonable houserule for a DM to make to balance this item's power?

The preparation ritual's text is included here, for easy reference:

Harmful Surge (Su) You can maximize a spell, but doing so damages you. Spend this boon effect as a free action when you cast a wizard evocation spell. When you do, you can treat that spell as if it were cast with the Maximize Spell metamagic feat, but you take 1d4 points of damage × the level of the spell that you are maximizing. The damage you take cannot be reduced in any way.

And here are the rules about making a concentration check for taking damage while casting a spell:

If you take damage while trying to cast a spell, you must make a concentration check with a DC equal to 10 + the damage taken + the level of the spell you’re casting. If you fail the check, you lose the spell without effect. The interrupting event strikes during spellcasting if it comes between the time you started and the time you complete a spell (for a spell with a casting time of 1 full round or more) or if it comes in response to your casting the spell (such as an attack of opportunity provoked by the spell or a contingent attack, such as a readied action).

If you are taking continuous damage, such as from an acid arrow or by standing in a lake of lava, half the damage is considered to take place while you are casting a spell. You must make a concentration check with a DC equal to 10 + 1/2 the damage that the continuous source last dealt + the level of the spell you’re casting. If the last damage dealt was the last damage that the effect could deal, then the damage is over and does not distract you.

Although it seems that you've already made the decision, I too will voice my support for a ring as a bonded object. I really adore familiars, great fun and useful mechanically, and I've never been able to convince myself to take a bonded object instead when given the chance. But the closest I came was when I considered taking a bonded object to get a ring. Part of my logic was that although I'm almost certainly going to take Craft Wondrous Item (which would cover amulets) and could plausibly take Craft Wand if I plan to use them a lot, I don't think I would ever take Forge Ring. Because of that, taking a ring as my bonded item means I will definitely be able to take advantage of the fact that I don't need the appropriate crafting feat to upgrade it- that benefit is wasted if I end up taking the feat on my own!

Besides that, a ring seems much harder to steal or sunder than the other options, if you have to worry about that kind of thing with your DM.

If you're still thinking about what kind of ring to make, I second Tonyz's suggestion of a Ring of Freedom of Movement.

As was mentioned by Jinaeus, the armor bonus on the robes seems fairly easy to get elsewhere. If I get actual Bracers of Armor, I can add special effects like Spell Storing to my "armor". If I can cast Mage Armor on the regular, I get a slightly lower bonus but I get it for free and it even applies to attacks from incorporeal creatures (because force effect). If your DM allows specific magic armors to be upgraded, Djezet Skin becomes worth as much AC for a lower price (11,410 GP to make it +5 AC total, I think).

Spell Resistance always makes me wary of my allies being unable to connect with their friendly spells during a fight, though perhaps I'm being paranoid. The concern might be more justified on a martial character, since a you don't have to worry about the party's caster getting through your SR if you ARE the party's caster... But still.

The bonus on penetrating SR and the bonus to saves are the best parts of the Robe of the Archmagi, but those kinds of bonuses can be acquired elsewhere without too much trouble or cost.

In the end, I prefer the Otherworldly Kimono. Cheaper, gives a bigger caster level bonus which applies to more things, and comes with a sweet 1/day Maze effect that pushes the item's bonuses even higher.

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BenS wrote:
I suppose if my new-best-friend, that 9th level mage who has prepared Secret Chest for the day, was around to help me craft it...I'd be back to a 14 skill check. But that's a ridiculous scenario. What I need help w/ understanding, though, is the reference to "another magic item". Does that mean a 1-use item like a scroll or potion (for lower level spells)? Or a permanent magic item? I'm not grasping something, but hopefully those crafters out there on the boards can explain what that means.

"Another magic item" refers to any item that could cast the spell for you. A wand could do it, but if hypothetically we were talking about a spell that's not on your list, you'd probably have to pass a UMD check to actually use the wand. Either way, you'd be out a number of charges equal to how many days you need to spend crafting, since you have to provide the spell each day spent crafting. Similarly, a scroll would work, or rather a number of scrolls equal to the number of days you need to spend casting. Staves would work, too.

Also, this isn't really within the scope of your question, but in your hypothetical the Witch could just take 10 on the Spellcraft check to bypass having to roll at all.

BenS wrote:
Addendum: some items beyond requiring a Craft feat + spell, might also require a class feature. Does this lock out my Witch from ever crafting that, or is it just a matter of adding +5 to the difficulty? Can the Witch use UMD (emulate a class feature) to try and get around that prerequisite?

The ONLY prerequisite you cannot bypass by increasing the DC is the relevant item crafting feat, unless you're making spell completion or trigger items such as scrolls or wands. Required class feature? Required race? Required skill ranks? Doesn't matter. Even required feats OTHER than the appropriate crafting feat can be ignored.

The other day I had a random thought about about a corner of the rules I hadn't considered before, and I'm curious if other people will come to the same conclusion as me. The question is whether or not a Wizard who prepares a spell from an opposed school (which uses two spell slots) could use a Pearl of Power normally to restore the spell once cast. I can see room for an argument that you would need TWO Pearls of Power to recall a spell that took two slots to prepare in the first place, but I don't think that's actually the correct conclusion.

Looking at the text of Pearls of Power,

"This seemingly normal pearl of average size and luster is a potent aid to all spellcasters who prepare spells (clerics, druids, rangers, paladins, and wizards). Once per day on command, a pearl of power enables the possessor to recall any one spell that she had prepared and then cast that day. The spell is then prepared again, just as if it had not been cast. The spell must be of a particular level, depending on the pearl. Different pearls exist for recalling one spell per day of each level from 1st through 9th and for the recall of two spells per day (each of a different level, 6th or lower)."

I see no mention or reference to spell slots; a Pearl of Power allows a prepared caster to recall one spell. Because a spell from an opposed school is still just one spell (even if it does take up two slots), I think a single Pearl of Power of the appropriate level is sufficient for allowing a Wizard to recall a prepared spell from an opposed school. Is this just obviously the right answer, or is there anyone out there who would disagree?

Oh, I'm content with applying common sense to these situations. I believe I mentioned something to that effect earlier. I'm just curious about how this all works by RAW.

Byakko wrote:
If you have two individuals in delay, coordinating with each other, there's really not much stopping them from deciding which goes first. So yes, they can alternate from round to round on which goes first.

I agree that it's possible, but with some limitations. First, if you delay to act on the same initiative count as someone else, whether you go before or after them is determined by the normal rules for resolving initiative ties. Second, if you instead to delay to an initiative count below theirs and then the pair of you continue doing this round after round to alternate which of you goes first, eventually your initiative scores will be lower than that of someone else in combat. In other words, if you repeatedly alternate which of you two goes first, eventually you'll also both be going after someone who you previously both went before.

Byakko wrote:

Note that that with Merge With Familiar each merge/unmerge does cost a move action, so they're actually losing quite a bit of action economy by doing that.

For example, when you said "With his turn, Bob merges Fox into him and them moves towards the next enemy.", Bob has actually given up his standard action to pull this trick off. So yeah, it's a clever thing, but not that overpowered.

If an enemy really wants to counter this, they can always ready an action to attack the emerging familiar and 5' step away, or similar.

Yeah, I don't think it's especially over-powered. I was more wondering whether I was right that doing this little maneuver would eventually put Bob and Fox behind other people in initiative order. After the discussion so far in this thread and my extra research on how initiative and delaying works, I'm more convinced than I was before that I am correct.

JoeElf wrote:

Even though Familiar F could not have rolled to beat A, it can still end up in position 1 if it elects to do so.

Even though Familiar F has a modifier of +5, it can still elect to go between characters F and C with them both having a +4.

This is probably the way I would handle things, but I don't think it's necessarily correct by RAW, because it ignores the initiative scores that are being used to determine turn order. I don't believe initiative scores are "forgotten" after combat starts or that they stop being used to determine turn order.

For your first example, I'll refer to this portion of the rules about delaying: "If you take a delayed action in the next round, before your regular turn comes up, your initiative count rises to that new point in the order of battle, and you do not get your regular action that round." That means what's happening in this situation is that the familiar's delay is setting its initiative score to some number arbitrarily higher that A's initiative score- it could be 26, 30, or 100, but the point is that initiative scores are still being used to determine the turn order.

In your second example, it's a bit weird because by RAW what should happen is that the familiar delays and sets its initiative to 20 but then is subject to having its exact place in turn order determined by a tie breaker. In other words, the familiar can choose to move on initiative count 20, but it can't choose what order it moves in relative to the other characters on initiative count 20 because that is determined by the rules for a breaking initiative ties. The text supporting this comes from the general rules for initiative: "If two or more combatants have the same initiative check result, the combatants who are tied act in order of total initiative modifier (highest first). If there is still a tie, the tied characters should roll to determine which one of them goes before the other." Nothing in that text implies that such tie breakers are only used when initiative is first rolled.

Of course, that's a case of RAW being a little silly and I don't think I know anyone who would try to say that the familiar couldn't choose to go between characters F and C. So in the end, I agree with how you say your hypothetical situations SHOULD be handled, although I don't think it is supported by RAW.

For a situation where I believe our interpretations would differ, consider circumstances similar to what I outlined in the opening post- something where you have two allies delaying in an alternating fashion for whatever reason. If there was an enemy who started behind them in initiative count at the beginning of the fight, this process of two people continually delaying to act after the other would mean they eventually end up acting after the enemy is question. At least, that's what I would say, because each time they delay they are actually reducing their initiative count and then using that new count to recalculate their position in turn order. Repeatedly lowering their initiative score in such a manner means that it will eventually be lower than that of someone else who was originally behind them in initiative.

wraithstrike wrote:
If you delay until after someone you move below them on for initiative.

That's what I said, but my player disagreed. Delaying is described in the rules like so:

"When you delay, you voluntarily reduce your own initiative result for the rest of the combat. When your new, lower initiative count comes up later in the same round, you can act normally. ... Your initiative result becomes the count on which you took the delayed action. If you come to your next action and have not yet performed an action, you don't get to take a delayed action (though you can delay again)."

The way the phrases "initiative result" and "initiative count" are repeatedly used makes it seem pretty clear to me that you actually adjust your initiative score and use it to determine your new position in combat (which means that if you move to the same initiative as someone else, you have to break ties by DEX, at least in terms of RAW). My player felt that initiative and DEX scores are only used to determine the turn order at the start of combat and are then basically "forgotten". They are no longer used to determine turn order once combat has actually started.

There's an interesting scenario that came up during combat in the last session I ran. I'll lay out the context quickly.

An Eldritch Guardian Fighter has a mauler familiar. In the middle of combat, the Fighter (we'll call him Bob) applies an Oil of Merge with Familiar to his familiar (we'll call him Fox) during a combat. This allows them to merge with each other to share the same body.

Bob's initiative is 4, and Fox's is 3. Bob delays his turn until after Fox, and merges with Bob. Bob then takes his turn, moving next to the enemy and attack. Next round, Bob now goes before Fox, but he delays to go after Fox. Fox exits Bob and attacks the enemy (killing it), and then Bob takes his delayed turn. With his turn, Bob merges Fox into him and them moves towards the next enemy. Next round, Fox delays until after Bob's turn, and Bob spends his turn moving closer to the enemy and attacking. Fox the takes his turn, exiting Bob and attacking.

The cycle continues in this manner for the rest of the combat. My players says that Bob delaying his turn changes his position in initiative (which I agree with, that's what delaying is for) but puts him on the same initiative count as Fox. After that, the two of them can just choose which order they act in because they share initiative and breaking initiative ties with DEX is only done when initiative is originally rolled. According to Bob's player, continuing to alternate delays every turn is really just a formality, he doesn't need to do it because the two share initiative now and can choose which order they act in for the rest of the combat.

My understanding of how delaying works is that when you delay to go after someone, you actually go AFTER them. Fox doesn't move to a tied initiative with Bob, he moves to the initiative after Bob. Each time they delay, they move further back in initiative. If there was an enemy behind them in initiative (an initiative score of 1, for a convenient example), Bob and Fox would eventually also be moving after that enemy once their initiative drops below 1.

Who is correct? I'm fairly baffled by this situation. If Bob's player is correct, it seems like a party should almost always delay until the entire acts on the same initiative, because even though that lets most or all of the enemies act earlier than the party the party gets the tremendous advantage of always being able to pick the order they act in each round.

DmRrostarr wrote:
Likewise I would say no as the check (die roll) is performed at the end of the d4 hrs in the Diplomacy example.

Though I agree with the conclusion that something like Eagle's Splendor shouldn't help with attempts to gather information via diplomacy, I think it's better to say the problem is that the buff doesn't last a significant portion of the task's length rather than that the check is rolled at the end of the task. After all, that justification just leaves open the implication that you should get the bonus if you have Eagle's Splendor cast on you in the last few minutes you spend gathering information.

Although I wouldn't use a specific rule, in a more general sense I would say I'd only allow some sort of buff to apply to a check if that buff lasts at least a significant portion of the time required to complete the action that the check is made for. For example, if you (some how) had an Eagle's Splender spell cast on you that last for 50 minutes, and your attempt to gather information took only 1 hour, I would probably allow you to apply the bonus to the check. If the buff stuck on you for 30 minutes, I might give you half the bonus the spell would normally provide.

joep wrote:

Can you create arrows or bolts of spell storing and put spells like silence, obscuring mist, grease, burning hands, etc in them?

If so, how much would they cost?

You can't put Spell Storing on a ranged weapon or ammunition. It says so in the ability:

A spell storing weapon allows a spellcaster to store a single targeted spell of up to 3rd level in the weapon. (The spell must have a casting time of 1 standard action.) Anytime the weapon strikes a creature and the creature takes damage from it, the weapon can immediately cast the spell on that creature as a free action if the wielder desires. (This special ability is an exception to the general rule that casting a spell from an item takes at least as long as casting that spell normally.) Once the spell has been cast from the weapon, a spellcaster can cast any other targeted spell of up to 3rd level into it. The weapon magically imparts to the wielder the name of the spell currently stored within it. A randomly rolled spell storing weapon has a 50% chance of having a spell stored in it already. This special ability can only be placed on melee weapons.

A spell storing weapon emits a strong aura of the evocation school, plus the aura of the spell currently stored.

lemeres wrote:

Well, a few common ones

half orc alt trait for tattoos- saves
jingasa of the fortunate soldier- AC?
luck stone- saves
pretty much any divine class with divine favor- attack/damage
archaeologist- attack/damages/saves/skills

Those are just a few off of the top of my head that seem like they would come up fairly often. Things you might be able to build for.

It's worth noting that the bonus from a Luckstone also applies to all skill checks and abilities checks, so Fate's Favored will bump those up too. A passive +2 bonus to all skill checks that will stack with pretty much everything is certainly nothing to scoff at... A Luck Blade also provides a +1 luck bonus to all saving throws.

Boots of Speed aren't command word activated, they're use-activated. If they needed a command word to activate, turning them on would require a standard action. It also doesn't have 10 charges per day, because that would be like casting Haste on yourself (for its full duration) 10 times a day. Instead, it gives you the equivalent of one casting of Haste (10 rounds, because the item's caster level is 10) but lets you spread the rounds of the Haste effect out over the day because... Well, because the developers thought it would be more useful like that, I suppose. Anyway, for Boots of Speed the formula would look like this: (3*10*2000)/5= 12,000

I'd imagine the characters would try using the wand and, finding that the methods of activating it don't just come naturally to them, realize they have to use alternative methods (AKA Use Magic Device) in order to coax the wand into doing its thing.

The subject of whether or not someone is aware of what spells are on their spell list is something that's never been considered in a game I was in. That seems like the sort of knowledge that's too meta for characters to know about in-character, but what they can definitely know is whether or not a magic item works easily for them or if they have to try and force it. Otherwise, if you really wanted to have them actually roll something, a Knowledge skill of the appropriate type (Arcana for arcane, Religion for divine, Nature for druidic-divine) seems like it's fitting. I wouldn't make the check a difficult one, since this isn't the sort of thing I would want to pose a significant obstacle to the PCs.

Part of the issue here is that it's fuzzy whether or not classes are even a concept in-setting. It's easy enough to say wizard and have that mean something specific in setting, but it's harder with classes like ranger. Yet, at the same time, anyone who identifies a wand with Spellcraft knows what classes are able to use that wand without UMD, so maybe the distinction between classes in-setting is pretty clear? Really, I suppose it comes down to what the setting in question is (usually Golarion, when it comes to Pathfinder) but I think most people like to assume most game mechanic terms aren't used in-setting.

Lost In Limbo wrote:

I allow them on a case by case basis.

And by that I mean, I almost always allow them but my players still have to double check with me just in case (I'm looking at you, "ability focus should apply to all witch hexes at once").

Ditto this, basically.

If you want to gain mechanical benefit from your paladin's worship of their god of choice, look to the Sacred Servant archetype.

Ascalaphus wrote:

You can't do so normally. There's no normal rule to let you do that defensively. There are in fact only two things you can "do defensively":

- Attack (-4 to hit, +2 dodge to AC)
- Cast a spell (concentration check, don't provoke)

Now, there is a way to drink potions without provoking, using the potion glutton feat, but be advised that the action of drawing the potion can still provoke AoOs.

Potion Glutton! That's what I was thinking of, thank you. I guess it's a feat, not a trait. But hey, the feat mentions that the normal way drinking a potion works is that it's a move action that provokes... I'm pretty sure it's normally a standard action, isn't it?

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Pathfinder Core Rulebook, p86 wrote:
When your character is not in immediate danger or distracted, you may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them automatically successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible for a character to take 10. In most cases, taking 10 is purely a safety measure—you know (or expect) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so you elect to settle for the average roll (a 10). Taking 10 is especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn't help.

Assuming they're not trying to put on a disguise as lava floods into the room or the guards are banging of the door, I'd say so! Taking 10 is something I'm pretty sure you can do with any skill check that isn't specified as not allowing you to take 10... So long as the character isn't distracted, of course.

The rules don't really address this as far as I know, so it's a situation where the DM has to use his/her judgement (and thus will vary from table to table). Personally, I would say they lose the action, as they've already committed the effort to supply the components of the spell, but they wouldn't expend the spell they were trying to cast (not that you were asking about that part, but I feel like it's another part of the situation that people could disagree about).

There's no rules text about this I can quote for you, at least that I know of, so if someone else does supply a clear answer to the question from the rules, that'd be news to me.

In the same sort of way that you can cast a spell defensively? No, not by RAW at least. I believe there is a trait that allows you to drink a potion without provoking, but the name of it doesn't come to mind at the moment.

No, increasing the enhancement bonus of his/her weapon only ever costs the magus one arcane point (unless they're using certain magus arcana like Bane Blade). As they reach higher levels, the amount of enhancement bonus they grant their weapon increases, but the cost stays the same. If this sounds OP, consider that many martial classes have some method of boosting their ability to hit and increase their damage- barbarians have Rage, fighters get their Weapon Training, bards use Inspire Courage. Paladins can even get a very similar ability via their Divine Bond. Magi have their own unique way to buff their accuracy/damage (which is especially important for a 3/4s BAB martial, as compared to a full BAB one), but it comes with its own advantages and drawbacks compared to the methods other classes have.

If they had to spend arcane points on a one-to-one basis for the enhancement bonus, their "1/2 magus level + INT mod" pool of points would be empty in a flash at higher levels because that cost is going to scale faster than the pool itself will. If you have to spend 4 or 5 arcane points to get your sword nicely magic'd up in a fight, even at high levels that's going to be taking away a pretty large chunk of your arcane pool (especially considering the buff only lasts one minute, which is almost always enough for one fight but probably never enough for something like a dungeon).

GM Nitemare wrote:
As for a familiars skills, if using the masters ranks (because they were higher than the familiars) the familiar would only get the the masters ranks, any +3 bonus for any class skills would have to be included only if they were treated as class skills for that particular familiar, correct? Sorry, Ive never played a class with a familiar before.

That's correct. The familiar gets its master's skill ranks (assuming the master has more ranks in the given skill), but modifies those skill ranks with its own ability scores, class skills, and other miscellaneous bonuses/penalties (don't forget size modifiers to stealth, racial bonuses to fly for birds, or Skill Focus if your familiar has it!). In order to figure out exactly how many skill ranks your familiar has in certain skills, you might have to reverse engineer it from their statblock, but it's not too hard to do.

Incidentally, if you want to be able to combo your spells with a fellow caster, there's a teamwork feat for that called Elemental Commixture. It's debatable whether it's worth using, since the secondary spell just gets eaten up by the first spell to add an extra effect that may not be as useful as the second spell itself could have been. Still, there are a variety of effects you can get out of the feat, so you'll probably find situations where at least one of them will be useful- plus, it's very flavorful if you want to represent your mages working together to pull off cool tricks with their magic.

Short answer: The -2 to your effective wizard level doesn't matter. The saves, BAB, skills, and HP of a familiar are determined your character's total values from all their levels.

Long answer: Eldritch heritage has you treat your effective sorcerer level as your character level minus 2. The Arcane Bond power of the Arcane Bloodline gives you a familiar using your sorcerer level (or character level minus 2 in this case) as your effective wizard level. However, the effective wizard level of a familiar's master only affects the abilities gained, INT score, and natural armor bonus of the familiar.

The fact that a familiar uses the base saving throws of its master as calculated from all of his classes means that how many levels in wizard the familiar's master has doesn't matter to calculating the familiar's saves. In the same way that the familiar of a Wizard 1/Fighter 9 still has the +6 base fortitude save, the familiar of someone using Eldritch Heritage calculates its saves without regard to its master's levels. Same for BAB, HP, and skills.

The reason that -2 clause is in Eldritch Heritage is because it matters for some bloodline powers, but the Arcane Bloodline is one where it doesn't matter as much.

Maezer wrote:

His attack bonus doesn't charge with regards to your class level so the -2 doesn't apply. At level one is your BAB+attribute mod at level 20 its still BAB +attibrute mod.

The -2 is only really go to effect Natural Armor Adjustment, the familiar int score, and what 'specials' he has access to.

Yeah, this is basically right, although to clarify remember that it's the master's BAB plus the familiar's attribute modifier. A familiar only gets the base values for BAB, saves, and skills from its master, but still modifies them with its own ability scores. Max HP however is calculated without regard to the familiar's CON score, and is fixed at half of the master's HP. This means that a familiar's HP isn't decreased when it takes CON damage, but is decreased when its master takes CON damage... How strange the bond between servant and master is!

Your caster levels are kept separate from each other, so if you were a Sorc 5/Bard 3, you would have a caster level of 5 for your sorcerer spells but a caster level of 3 for your bard spells. This same logic applies with feats, so only your highest caster level is really relevant for qualifying for feats (or determining their effect, in the case of something like Arcane Strike).

There are a few ways to raise your effective caster level though, most notably an Orange Prism Ioun Stone or Magical Knack trait.

Guru-Meditation wrote:
If the Witch can increase her to-hit sufficiently, then buying a +4 STR item and taking Power Attck is the best path for a damage increase.

True, and that's what I was thinking. Unfortunately since her natural weapon is using INT-to-hit, increasing her STR won't actually increase her accuracy (although if she's mixing iteratives with her natural attack, it would obviously help with those).

Candra wrote:
Thank you for the ideas so far! Keep them coming if you've come up with other ideas. I may be looking at more monster feats, since Natural Attacks is something that most players don't have to deal with but monsters do all the time.

I don't think there are many monster feats that will be helpful to you as is. I was going to suggest using spells like Monstrous Physique to gain more natural attacks, but to my great surprise those "Form of X" spells are almost totally absent from the witch's spell list!

However, depending on how your DM interprets the Prehensile Hair hex you may find that your hair counts as a third arm (I would say that it does, if it were my game) in which case you would qualify for Multiweapon Specialist. Now, of course, as a caster you don't want to be holding a weapon in both of your hands, Eldritch Knight or not (and you're limited to natural attacks with your third "hand"). But if you can find a way to get two claw attacks, or take Improved Unarmed Strike, you can keep your hands open for casting spells while still being able to get the +2 bonus to all your damage rolls from Multiweapon Specialist.

You will have to raise your DEX to qualify, though. But if you already want to pick up Piranha Strike, which requires Weapon Finesse, you may well be wanting to increase your DEX anyway.

Actually, Evolved Summon Monster (and other similar feats like Augment Summoning) totally work with a Summoner's ability to use Summon Monster X as a spell-like ability. Here's why:

Pathfinder Core Rulebook, p221 wrote:

Usually, a spell-like ability works just like the spell of that name. A spell-like ability has no verbal, somatic, or material component, nor does it require a focus. The user activates it mentally. Armor never affects a spell-like ability's use, even if the ability resembles an arcane spell with a somatic component.

A spell-like ability has a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise in the ability or spell description. In all other ways, a spell-like ability functions just like a spell.

The last sentence is the important part, because it means spell-like abilities are affected by feats that affect spells unless they're explicitly stated not to work together (like metamagic feats, for example). So carry on!

Val'bryn2 wrote:
Power Attack doesn't matter anyway, it requires Strength 13, the witch only has a 9 normal, 10 shapeshifted.

That's true, the prerequisite slipped my mind because it's never mattered for any character I've actually taken Power Attack with (who have a lot more than 13 STR even at level 1). She could qualify for it if she wore a Belt of Giant's Strength +4 or similar item though, and though taking a feat you only qualify for by the grace of a magic item is the sort of thing that'll make you paranoid.

I wouldn't really recommend Improved Natural Attack. Increasing the size of your damage die sounds great in theory, but it's only an increase of average damage by 1 point. That's probably not really worth a feat. If you've already got Arcane Strike though, there's a feat called Riving Strike that you might find useful.

If you're looking to boost your damage, Power Attack is obviously a useful damage boost that's more or less mandatory for something like a barbarian or fighter, but in this case your to-hit bonus is probably low enough that Power Attack would be a questionable choice (if your DM would allow you to use Furious Focus with your natural attack, that would offset the penalty completely since you're not getting multiple attacks if you only want to use your natural weapon). Normally, I wouldn't recommend Vital Strike but because you're using a natural attack, you don't get iteratives anyway and it might not be a bad choice here. It's still not great though, because it's only +3.5 damage on average. There aren't a lot of great options for boosting your damage via feats in this situation- magic items will probably be more helpful.

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Kavalina Norreiys wrote:
Why thank you. I have already started the AP, so changing maybe a bit hard. Any ideas for later levels?

I'm coincidentally playing in a Kingmaker game as a NG human who recently converted to the worship of Shelyn. One of his personal projects (well before he started worshiping Shelyn) was to personally fund the construction of a new district in our capital to be dedicated to fine arts, higher education, and cultural development. IIRC it takes 12,000 GP (3 BP) to build a new district, which is potentially feasible for a high level character and certainly a goal you would have to spend some time working towards. After getting the district built, you'll probably need to let the kingdom itself finance the construction of actual buildings because they're too expensive for a single PC to saddle the cost of unless you've got some crazy income generation going on.

Nothing says the effect of the Ring of Retribution doesn't work like every other reflex save effect. It might seem silly to be able to evade your way away from an explosion centered on you, but if it wasn't suppose to be possible it would have a clause similar to the Detonate spell (which is that you automatically take half damage but receive no saving through).

The real question is how you'd fluff it, though! Personally, I'd imagine it looking similar to what you'd see when a monk's spell resistance isn't overcome by a Fireball spell, with his body glowing faintly as the flames simply fail to scorch his warded flesh. Of course, that's not really a dodge like you'd expect a reflex save to be, but... Well, I'll chalk it up to gameplay and story segregation.

Another helpful way to think about things is to remember that taking 20 means doing the task over and over again until you get it perfect. That's why you can't take 20 on things with a risk of failure: it's assumed you're failing at the task several times over the course of taking 20. When a singer is out on stage at the opera house and performing for a crowd, they can't really afford to screw things up 19 times and get a do-over each time until they've got it down.

Fortunately, darkness and cold go hand-in-hand, so some cold magic would probably still be fitting in flavor for a witch with the shadow patron. That said, if you're looking for ways to make areas of shadow (aside from just casting spells like Darkness yourself) there are a few items like a Bag of Shadow Clouds or Rod of Shadows that could be effective-if-pricey options.

Ridiculon wrote:
anybody know if these are supposed to combine like this?

The darkness shed by the subject of an Umbral Spell is different than the spell itself having an area of affect. By RAW I don't think it would work with Arcane Mark, but it's the sort of thing you might be able to get your DM to approve. Assuming they do rule that applying Umbral Spell does make your spell count as an area spell, I believe it would work. I don't think it's completely unreasonable to say they do work together like that anyway.

Even if your DM is a stickler for RAW and doesn't let you apply Umbral Spell to Arcane Mark, you could always use this trick with other spells (although personally, if you just want to entangle enemies, I would favor Rime Spell since it's only one feat and a +1 level adjustment).

On the subject of how to handling the saving throw, I would personally call for only one save at a raised DC rather than several saves at a lower DC, partially just because it's cleaner and requires less rolling. It's similar to how multiple doses of poison being combined are handled.

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