I guess the writer had only the iconic swashbuckler in mind - which is a Medium sized half(?)-elf. And the Advanced Class Guide had a bad start (as far as I heard), so even after years of fixing there might be some more minor oddities left.
Squares are intended to be 5-foot-sized:
Core Rulebook, page 170 wrote:
There are prices for masterwork adventuring gear:
Ultimate Equipment, page 56+ wrote:
They all provide a small mechanical benefit - a masterwork ring doesn't. So personally I'd go for 25 gp or less for the ring. Not that it would make much of a difference when the party is at level 2+.
There is way more potential in turning the ring into a plot element: Does the previous owner's spirit demand its destruction? Wait, is this thing made of bone that resists identification? Is there some magic remaining, and can be activated after the right steps?
An alternative would be to move the existing character to the second group, then create a new PC for the first group.
If I knew there are few sessions in the first group for me, I'd go for some mechanically simple (which works from the beginning and where I must remember only few details) and also rather simple roleplay (quite close to my RL character, limited amount of RP hooks).
Phoebus Alexandros wrote:
Much of the concept I’m working on is driven by themes rather than mechanics. That is to say, I’m interested in the character making sense mechanically as well as stylistically, but optimization is not a priority.
What are the themes you chose? With a squint test I currently see "fey" and "trip".
The "survival plan" and "get through" part sounds like you expect a difficult life for this character. Is this actually realistic, given the campaign and the GM? Because worrying too much can easily make you retreat to stuff you are familiar with, killing the concept you created.
It happened before. I had a player who started off with an original character concept (a curious merchant), but after a character death he was so consumed by fear that he abandoned that completely, in favor of playing yet another "god wizard".
You can find the specific forum for Reign of Winter here. Answers might be slow there, but it contains a lot of contributions from other GMs.
The monster in book 3, page 22 is supposed to be run as written there. Appearantly Paizo made some balancing changes: The creature is threatening in both versions, but the new version has significantly reduced damage, giving players more time to think.
From what I've been reading, Reign of Winter is rough sometimes. That's ok if everyone knows about it - so I'd announce that before starting the campaign. If encounters are consistently too difficult or too easy for the group, you can still tweak numbers or talk with your players about a solution.
As zza ni already pointed out, faction traits are their own thing. Archives of Nethys has a very straight-forward list of all types at the entry page for traits.
Magic traits are marked as such. While other traits might be about spellcasting or the like, the category in brackets matters and there is only one for a given trait. So a faction trait can never be a magic trait.
You can safely ignore the "basic" part, it's just to inform readers that combat, faith, magic and social traits are very generic and open for (almost) all characters.
Finally, be careful with drawbacks. Ambitious players are likely to pick up a drawback which (almost) never affects them. This way they (basically) gain a free trait, which widens the power gap between them and other players a bit. Which can reduce fun for both sides: They are more prone to complain about "useless" fellow adventurers, while the others will feel more like powerless bystanders.
Some ideas from PF2's GameMastery Guide:
Knowledge is endangered.
It's possible to fail at any of these, while still "winning" the fight.
It's an abstraction. The squid might attack with many tentacles, but mechanically it's just one attack, although with increased damage and further goodies (crit range, grab). Paizo doesn't want people to roll numerous weak tentacle attacks, because it slows down the table. So they opted for combining these attacks to one.
A similiar case is the aberrant Unchained eidolon with the tentacle mass evolution it unlocks. It's also just one attack, mechanically.
If I'm not going TWF, does it matter when someone takes combat trick?
Combat trick IMO has three possible uses:
1) Get a combat feat one level earlier. Example: Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (ITWF) would need level 9 otherwise.
2) Pick up a prerequisite feat you don't really want and move on to the actually interesting feat just one level later. So you don't have to wait two levels. Example: Combat Expertise as regular feat, then Improved Feint.
3) When multiple interesting feats become available at the same level, combat trick also speeds you up. For example: ITWF and Greater Feint both require BAB 6, so rogue level 8.
Yes, you gain no iterative attacks (BAB-5, BAB-10, BAB-15) with natural attacks. But it's not that bad, because iteratives suffer from reduced accuracy, haste still works and you can add further natural attacks.
As a rogue, I wouldn't worry too much about damage output when everything goes right (you can full-attack, target can be sneak attacked, you don't get mauled etc.). Because then you will do more than enough damage anyway, even without d8 or other tricks. Rather I'd make up several backup plans for the situations where something goes wrong: Have a ranged weapon, support your team with Demoralize or Feint, hide when necessary etc..
Casting lesser animate dead...
Finally started Curse of the Crimson Throne by playing out the players' backstories. It worked pretty well since they were open to it - and they enjoy personally tailored content. They encountered named enemies and it became quite personal. Only drawbacks were that one player had to wait hours until he got to play (he didn't mind though) and that I had to improvise quite a bit after another player rolled way too well.
Regarding Unchained action economy: Given the players' choices, being able to take multiple swift actions per round shouldn't be an issue. We don't have any paladin, inquisitor or other class that would heavily profit from it.
Adaptable Luck as a replacement for Halfling Luck seems nifty but how practical is it on a tankadin? Are any of the alternate racial traits worth it?
Personally I'd keep Halfling Luck. It's not exciting, but a +1 to all saves can help even a paladin. Adaptable Luck can be boosted by the Fate's Favored trait, if you want to go this route.
I also like Fleet of Foot, to gain a move speed of 30 ft. As a tank, you want to get into position as fast as possible.
Finally, I'd consider Evasive Nomad (+2 Reflex, -2 vs. fear that usually don't matter) or Fey-Quickened (+2 initiative, and, well, the Run feat). Reflex is a relatively weak save for a paladin, and initiative also helps you to get into position before the enemy gangs your vulnerable party members.
A few things that come to my mind:
1) Scrolls can be of solid material like wood.
2) A creature can simply carry a scroll in one hand, assuming it will need it soon. Yes, this makes the scroll more vulnerable, and it might be not of use - that's the risk you take for a big action economy benefit.
3) Scrolls compete with regular spells and multiple item types that evoke spells (wands, staves, spell tattoos etc.). If action economy for scrolls becomes better, there is a risk that alternatives become obsolete, making the game more dull.
I only read through it a few times, but I found it too clunky and not innovative enough. It spends a lot of effort on reimplementing regular spells, instead of coming up with really unique things. I guess it allows a few creative combinations of target, effect and meta words, but it didn't seem worth the trouble.
There is a guide about the reincarnated druid which points out that casting restoration with words of power doesn't come with a material component (which is handy when you gain 2 negative levels from your reincarnation). I guess similar tactics (respective exploits) are possible with other spells.
I have a dwarven barbarian on my idea list, he is focused on tanking. Archetype is invulnerable rager, combined with Stalwart for high damage reduction. A single level in fighter (unbreakable) nets Diehard, which helps to avoid sudden death from rage end. It also makes heavy armor an option (high AC has amazing synergy with DR), but barbarian's fast movement won't work then. Steel Soul seems like a feat that thematically fits.
Beyond that, Advanced Race Guide has a few options about dwarves and their helmets. They are not that powerful but quite unique. I also like dwarven war-shields, but Dex 15 for dual-wield is a steep requirement for a dwarf (maybe on the long run?).
The clichee of a mindless charge into a bunch of enemies doesn't work too well in practice, a barbarian player still has to think about positioning properly. If you keep that in mind, sudden death from rage end should be much rarer.
The source was apparently PC:QGttE which after a bit of digging I assume to mean Qadira Gateway to the East, but I do not have that one.
Yes, it's that book. Original text is:
Qadira, Gateway to the East wrote:
It seems like the usual -1 damage from alchemical silver would apply.
Personally I would homerule it to use D8s just to congratulate and reward the player for the creativity used to play something out of the ordinary
I had some bad experiences with being too generous, so I'd consider carefully whether it fits the table, and in doubt stick to "No".
Still I'd express some respect for the idea. In my experience players sometimes care more about being appreciated for their creativity than they care about actual ingame power.
However if I'm helping someone in the forums and they don't specify I'd like to know what PoV I should use.
IMO it's best to tell them both RAW and RAI - and your own take on it. This leaves the decision to the asking person - after all, they know their table better than anyone here.
That said, for a game designer rules are just tools. A game is designed with a certain experience in mind, and rules only exist to contribute to this experience (among with presentation, story and technology). And if a rule damages the experience (often in combination with other rules), it should be modified or removed.
Seems like you took a deep dive into your options already. Some more ideas:
1) Look at the party composition. The better your fellow adventurers are at instant killing (dedicated Power Attackers / archers / blasters come to my mind), the less helpful is debuffing. It becomes more helpful at tougher battles (which matter more since they are more lethal), but for easy battles probably have a backup plan.
2) Be small sized for +1 AB. It won't reduce your damage, but accuracy is precious when firing rays. In fact, try to become tiny sooner or later. Reduce Person is a first-level spell, and it can be made permanent later.
3) Beware of concealment. Especially total concealment can ruin your day with a 50% miss chance, so consider Blind-Fight or True Seeing.
4) The penalties for shooting into melee or through cover are steep: -4 each, and they stack. Picking up Precise Shot (and its prerequisite Point Blank Shot) might hurt, but is probably worth it. Cover can often be bypassed with moving around (remember you have your move action, opposed to a full-attacking archer), and magic makes you more mobile over the course of levels (Expeditious Retreat, Spider Climb, Fly etc.).
5) At higher levels, Quicken Spell on True Strike can help if you really want to land a hit.
6) If the ray allows a save, Persistent Spell is usually a strong boost. Since ray spells can be useful despite low spell level, adding metamagic on them might be easier than for most other spells.
7) Finally, keep in mind not every creature is affected by your rays. Thanatopic Spell helps against undead, but for constructs no such metamagic is available IIRC. Better have a backup plan here.
OK, so it's useful if you lost initiative. But denying Dex to AC seems like more of a rogue move. Apart from a potentially easier chance to hit, can you think of any other way a samurai could make use of Wave Strike, considering its limitations (first turn, swift action)?
Samurai has no accuracy boost from a class feature (the order might help or not), so the increased chance to hit has higher value than for a fighter or barbarian. You probably want to pick a target which acted already and is within reach - it might not exist, but every combat feat is situational to some degree. Speaking of situational: The few targets who have uncanny dodge are still vulnerable to feint, too.
And your first target is not necessarily the one you want to spend your challenge on. Maybe the goblin chieftain sends a distraction creature first - which is no match but must be removed to get to the chieftain. Maybe you don't want to use challenge at all, because you are low on daily uses and the encounter seems rather easy. Maybe you can do something special on your first strike (poison, disease, sneak attack etc.), so you want to maximize your chance to hit (challenge doesn't help you with that, by default).
Finally, Greater Feint helps everyone in the party who uses attack rolls (even a ray caster). So depending on party composition, you could gang a certain creature to remove it quickly - the others could delay their turn after you. Note that Greater Feint might be ruled to just help the feinting creature - the common interpretation seems to be otherwise, but in doubt check with your GM.
Mechanical Pear wrote:
There is a (wizard) school power: Versatile Evocation from the focused school Admixture. It changes the damage type and the descriptor. You are restricted to 3+Int per day, but I guess that won't make much of a difference in actual play.
Further, there is the Elemental Spell metamagic, probably as a rod. But you'd have to negotiate with your GM whether it affects the descriptor and you'd need a separate feat / rod per target element.
Be careful to not rely too much on a single trick. When the trick doesn't work, you are screwed. And when the GM nerfs the trick significantly (whether directly or indirectly), you are screwed, too. Have at least one backup plan.
Adventurer's Armory 2 introduced weapon modifications which are more geared towards usage by players. You could at least cover the damage part with "razor-sharp".
If switching between damage types is good enough, the Weapon Versatility feat works. I guess aerodynamic could be covered by magic somehow.
I think it's very elegant: You open up a lot of options, there is little new to be understood, and the price is appropriate.
Implementing it as an archetype (like Thassilonian Specialist) seems like the best way to go, even though some concept like double-school (similar to focused schools) is a close second IMO.
Speaking of focused schools: Is it legal to take them as one or both of your schools?
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I highlighted that second part though about the character's ability to cast spells with a CL of 11 or greater b/c I'm pretty sure that's saying it is a prereq for becoming a lich, not for making the phylactery.
Well, the sentence before the highlighted one is about the phylactary, and the sentence afterwards is about it, too:
Each lich must create its own phylactery by using the Craft Wondrous Item feat. The character must be able to cast spells and have a caster level of 11th or higher. The phylactery costs 120,000 gp to create and has a caster level equal to that of its creator at the time of creation.
So a possible reading would be "must be able to cast spells and have a caster level of 11th or higher to construct the phylactery" (italics my addition).
The point is moot anyway, since there is an official way to become a lich without a CL: The Eternal Apothesis ritual.
Well, if you count "must be able to cast spells" and "caster level of 11th level or higher" as ordinary prerequisites for a magic item, you can avoid them by taking +5 on the DC two times.
While such a dedicated crafter without access to spells doesn't fit the classic image of a lich, it would be an interesting adversary (or PC) for sure.
A few more options:
Be a tiefling, pick up alternate racial trait Smite Good.
None of them strikes me as "simply gain smite evil pretty much for free". But honestly, I don't think a bloodrager needs a further damage boost.
I'd choose vampire, but I am also the kind of player who prefers sorcerer over wizard. They might be more vulnerable, but they are also closer to the living, physically and mentally.
This discussion makes me think about combining the advantages of these templates (including graveknight, thanks for bringing this up). Maybe this is an interesting goal for a villain: They try to transform themselves into a new, superior kind of undead, cherrypicking from all three templates, and the route requires a lot of innocent lives. Who knows, some liches and vampires might be very unhappy about the threat of a new type of undead, which could rule them all, so they might support the heroes. At least until the threat is handled...
I'd ask him what he expects from it:
Simply granting him the title would be possible, but players usually prefer to work for their achievements - they feel more worthwhile that way.
The ascension to the throne of a runelord could easily drive a new campaign: There are ancients secrets to be unveiled, powerful rivals to be neutralized and eldritch places to be conquered. Maybe you will need ambassadors in nearby countries - and agents who keep an eye on those pesky other runelords.
How much effort are you willing to put into it? And what are the stances of the other players?
Expeditious Retreat has its niche even when Haste is available: Not capped to double base speed, lower spell level (for example easier to quicken) and longer duration. So it's not that much of a problem that they don't stack.
Beyond that, does anyone really want level 5+ characters run around with 90 ft lightning speed on the usually small maps? It might feel cool a few times, but then it becomes cheesy. And as usual, the GM can use the same tactics for their NPCs...
I'm curious how the feats work out in practice.
I GMd for a samurai with Cornugon Smash and after a while I simply declared the target permanently shaken once the samurai hit it. The Intimidate DC is quite low, especially for a dedicated PC. The creature was dead soon after anyway.
The player figured out some powerful synergy with the order of vengeance: Scaling AB boost, scaling Intimidate boost, scaling shaken penalty. We played until level 21 so he profited a lot from all this scaling.
IMO Cornugon Smash works better with standard action attacks: Walk up to your enemy, hit it, make it shaken - so it has a harder time to hit you in return (and is more vulnerable to your casting allies). Full-attacks on the other hand are quick to simply kill your target, rendering debuffs rather pointless, and shaken from multiple hits doesn't stack anyway.
Beyond that, basically being locked into Power Attack can become a problem. The AB penalty increases, new iterative attacks come at higher penalty and samurai has no AB booster by default. It worked out ok for the samurai in question, thanks to his order and me handing out strong items, but the issue was still noticeable at higher level. Either way, the samurai dominated most encounters.
I'm trying to think if there's a lower-level (and obviously weaker) version of the With This Sword alternate capstone
Closest thing is probably the built-in option to turn a magic item into your new bonded one:
CRB, page 78 wrote:
A wizard can designate an existing magic item as his bonded item. This functions in the same way as replacing a lost or destroyed item except that the new magic item retains its abilities while gaining the benefits and drawbacks of becoming a bonded item.
So you could use the item and tweak it further by crafting, even without the crafting feat.
Golarion has a few creatures with superhuman wisdom. Wisdom helps to intuitively understand what's going on inside of other creatures. Maybe a local good-aligned dragon volunteers to listen and guide traumatized humanoids. Maybe an angel uses the role of a patient innkeeper as a disguise and a chance to casually further the goals of Good. Maybe a monk got enlightened enough to understand fellow mortals within moments.
These individuals would be very rare, but some of them could be well-known, so people might travel a long way to see them.
Fighter without archetype has access to the advanced weapon training option Fighter's Finesse. It allows you to use Weapon Finesse with all melee weapons of the chosen group. If you spend a feat on Advanced Weapon Training, you can pick it up at level 5 already (4 if weapon master archetype).
By RAW advanced weapon training isn't available for polearm master. But if I was the GM, I'd take Mark Seifter's stance here: The new ability is close enough to weapon training to count as such. Either way, spear fighter doesn't have this issue.
Finally, I'd consider carefully whether to focus on longspear / spear / shortspear / javelin - or to try to master them all.
In addition to VoodistMonk's RAW arguments: Pathways 28 has an example creature, a phase spider that's still a magical beast after applying the template.
So maybe the author initially planned the template to turn creatures into undead, but later abandoned the idea. Without realizing the impact on the introduction (fluff) text.
Are there any other strength bonus types? Like divine, infernal, luck, etc?
Beside the already mentioned profane there are at least sacred and untyped.
We had a thread about the highest Str score a while ago. But the results might discourage you from doing your own research, so maybe visit it only afterwards.
1) Make sure you read the Player's Guide carefully. Not every player does, even when you ask them to do it, so it's for the better you know what characters fit into the campaign and what don't.
2) Do a session 0 where players and you talk about what to expect. If everyone expects roughly the same degree of powergaming, roleplay, GM fiat, session frequency etc., mood will be much better.
3) Don't worry too much about the rules. Unless it's a matter of life and death for a character, you fare better with a quick ruling because it keeps the game going. Try to be fair and make a note to research the actual rule afterwards. And it's the player's job to know rules concerning their characters, not primarily yours.
4) Ask your players for feedback and start with the most reluctant one (because otherwise they will just agree to what someone more dominant said). Don't simply give them all they want, but consider all requests carefully.
5) Starting as a new GM is rough. Don't hesitate to say "sorry, that's too much for me right now" if necessary, and look up things between sessions.
Personally, I did read through the official GameMastery Guide and found it to be extremely helpful, but every GM is different.
What's the intended audience?
IMO the simple ranking has some merit for players who have little experience with PF casters so far. It helps to narrow down the class choice, and more details might be too much at once. Further the (totally valid) argument "with this archetype / trick the ranking no longer fits" is weaker for such players, because they are (in average) less willing to dig through all the options.
Some of them might not be familiar with all the used terms, though. "Control" is probably the easiest to misunderstand. So if you intend such players as audience, some explanation should be helpful. Even if the terms seem totally obvious.