An alternative within CRB would be a level of wizard / sorcerer. This way you gain multiple cantrips unlimited times per day, and as long as an attack roll is involved, they scale with sneak attack. On top of that you gain a few uses of (potentially different) 1st-level spells as well as the first school / bloodline power. +2 on Will saves doesn't hurt either.
It comes with a few drawbacks, like arcane spell failure unless you rely on mage armor / bracers of armor, slightly slowed rogue progression and slightly reduced HP and BAB. But you keep all your feats and rogue talents, and the spells and powers are easily worth it, IMO.
Wait. People still seriously use CR/XP and the slow/medium/fast progression nonsense?
Sure, it worked fine for 19 levels and is still stable. It:
a) gives the players a steady flow of levels, at reasonable speed (every 4, 5 sessions)
I see how it could break apart when players optimize too much, but that's rather an issue with the ceiling of PC power, not with the CR system.
I find optimizing NPCs not worth it, for two reasons: They are still likely to die fast and you could just pick average NPCs with a higher CR. Of course, higher CR means faster leveling. I see two options here: You accept less encounters per level ("they earned it") or you openly announce using the slow XP track. The latter isn't that slow actually: It's only 50% more XP needed, which roughly equals +1 CR for every encounter.
In real life, when you lose an arm, you are quite handicapped. Over time, you can compensate, maybe to the point that you can do certain things better than before.
I'd handle it the same way ingame, because otherwise it becomes immersion breaking. "We have this party member with only one arm, but appearantly it doesn't matter" is as hard to believe as "they have no way to deal with it, in a world full of magic".
I once threw a were dire pole bear barbarian at PCs, at 15th-level. It was balanced in terms of attack, damage, saving throws... but not grappling. It could only fail a grapple roll on a 1 (because a 1 is always a failure). The CMB would have been somewhat more balanced in Pathfinder.
A grappled PC is frustrating for the player, but it also limits the monster's offense. At least one natural attack is gone, and at most the creature doesn't do anything else than grappling - while the remaining PCs still have all their actions.
At the end of the second book, we fought a giant killer whale as part of the encounter. It was frustrating, because you knew it would never miss, and there was nothing you could do about it at such a low level. My character spent one round at the "seashore" and got bitten. My high AC meant nothing.
Well, player strategies like high AC should work most of the time (since the player invested in them), but not all the time (since otherwise there would be little challenge). Displacement and improved invisibility can add another layer of defense - the first one is also available as an (expensive emergency) potion.
IMO those giant monsters are only interesting at high level, or at the very least when you have prep time to beat them.
Big monsters have multiple disadvantages, such as (usually) trouble in narrow passages, lousy ranged attacks and a low touch AC. Often you can exploit at least one of them.
I'd rule the following way: It works as long as there are no opposed Perception checks. So you can create an excellent ambush - as long as you don't get surprised during your long preparation.
However, when an opponent appears, you have to strike at them in the first round possible. If you try to bide your time and stay in hiding for at least one round, you have to roll Stealth vs. Perception normally. Maybe with a generous bonus of +5.
I thought about using troops, but I hate their auto-hit swarm style damage.
I'd look at table 1-1 of Bestiary - it includes reference values for AB and damage (if everything hits). For troops with few tricks, I'd stick close to the high value for both. Damage could be split into 3 attacks or so. Example:
Soldier troop CR 9
kevin bienhoff wrote:
Great art work!
Absolutely love the art.
Personally I find Reynolds' earlier works much better, but tastes are different.
However, I appreciate to see Paizo, Legendary Games and Owlcat Games working together. Looking forward to more revived APs and more computer game versions...
If you want a blade of fire as your main trick, kinetic knight is an alternative. Means you get +1d6 every two levels instead of just +1. And you can use it directly, no need to cast something before combat (or worse: during combat).
Anyway, if you want more damage from flame blade, Empower Spell gives you +50%. Further, you could use more metamagic (such as Elemental Spell to switch damage type), increase your caster level (for a minor damage boost) or pick up the dedicated feat Flame Blade Dervish.
Java Man wrote:
All this divergent talk of exotic and difficult weapons, but no mention of the martial no-dachi? Mechanically superior to a falchion in every way
Well, free proficiency with a falchion can make a difference for a half-orc or a Lamashtu cleric. And losing half a point of average damage might be worth it, if it allows to replace the moody d10 by a more reliable pair of d4s. After a few levels, this reliability loses relevance, sure - but this also applies to the half point.
As a starting point, you can check out the Pathfinder Wiki, especially "Culture & Society".
Orcs of Golarion is dedicated to describe life of orcs and half-orcs, and the book does it quite well. There are other books (Advanced Race Guide, Inner Sea Races, Belkzen), but they are not as dedicated as Orcs of Golarion. The Advanced Race Guide bits can also be found at d20PFSRD.
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I am not a super fan of Greatswords
Well, they are boring but practical: Good damage and solid crit behavior for little investment (martial weapon proficiency), but without any special abilities. I can totally see why many people move on to different weapons after a while, but greatsword has its place for new players or bread and butter concepts.
You made some good points about the earthbreaker, the weapon has a slight edge over the sword in average.
There is room for different interpretations, it could be 2, 3 or 4 dice. Personally, I lean towards 2 dice (effects not stacking), but I might be biased because: Rolling two dice for the worse result is already frustrating enough. Force someone to roll three or four dice multiple times and you might provoke a rage quit, including dice thrown.
If you don't mind to look at PF2 to learn devs' intention (in addition to James Jacobs' stance), there you can find an explicit rule:
CRB PF2, page 449 wrote:
You can never have more than one fortune and more than one misfortune effect come into play on a single roll
Depending on party composition, some fellow PC could cast keen edge on your weapon. A duration of 10 minutes per level means you would have the buff most of the time. Technically you could also use a wand, but that's usually more expensive than the weapon special ability, and less reliable.
Further, it depends on the campaign / GM whether the weapon special ability is easily available. In some cases taking the feat is way more reliable - but then you have to deal with the risk that you will find a keen weapon afterwards...
Personally, I'd try to warn my players that something very powerful comes their way. That could be giant footprints, the crushed remains of powerful other creatures or a closing thundering. So they might have the choice between fight and flight. Or at least the chance to prepare, both mentally and mechanically. And if they flee, still I would have established that really dangerous creatures roam here.
If they had real trouble with Huge+ creatures (which not necessarily equates very powerful), I'd give them some hints how to fight them. Reach weapons, specialized feats (Just out of Reach) and size increasing magic come to my mind.
Monsters killing average PCs with a single hit have their place, but I'd rather use them as story elements than as regular encounters. To sow despair when the party has to watch the inevitable destruction of a settlement, as bodyguards of creatures that are not supposed to be attacked (at least right now) or as threat that could be released if they don't act fast enough. And leveling / gearing up to be able to beat an once overwhelming foe is very satisfying, so I'd try to offer my players a rematch.
If other monsters don't really challenge them, more battlefield diversity (fog, lava, walls etc.), NPC magic usage (illusions, healing, slowing etc.) or special combat tricks (Pushing Assault, Improved Reposition, Spring Attack etc.) can make a difference.
I am reading Curse of the Crimson Throne the third time currently, and plan to GM it soon. The AP has an engaging and coherent story, enough setting variety and decent NPCs including a villain with some depth and early visibility. Opposed to several APs, there is no weak book and my players prefer heroic fantasy over survival horror.
Encounters might be too weak for the group, but that is hopefully easy to fix.
Material seems to be thin indeed - likely no major writer has adopted them as their "pet race" yet. When it comes to lore, Pathfinderwiki is usually a good starting point:
Inner Sea Races has half a paragraph on them:
some gnomes embraced life underground and called themselves svirfneblin. Where their kin above had to struggle to find continued meaning and stimulation, the svirfneblin combated the Bleaching by adopting a different obsession: the defense of their new home. Despite being among the friendlier of the Darklands’ inhabitants, these gray-skinned gnomes are comparably dour and pragmatic, sometimes even violent if a traveler stumbles upon their hidden settlements. However, they might also share Darklands knowledge with outsiders, if only to stir up trouble with their ancestral foes.
Heroes of the Darklands has some more bits:
I'm just asking how some of the decisions were made when it comes to how the classes are different. This comes from the desire to create a class that is balanced...
Advanced Class Guide has some pages on class design - which are also available online. Official stance appearantly is: If you make up something new, use existing classes as reference for power level and general design. They actually recommended the same for monsters (in Bestiary) and spells (in Ultimate Magic).
Further, they emphasize that creating a new class is a major undertaking and that making up an archetype / alternate class / prestige class is an alternative.
When it comes to balance, I'd say: Pathfinder is intended as a cooperative game, so balance matters less than at a competitive game. And some imbalance is actually good, because it allows players to improve by learning superior options and to adjust difficulty to their desires (for easy success or a challenge).
I'd go with something simple and join the game to look how the actual playstyle is like. Stories about it only tell you that much, experiencing it is a different beast. Simple also means you get powers you can use from the beginning and have fun with, instead of spending multiple sessions on a learning curve.
Could be as (relatively) simple as a "human" fighter 20 (amazing crits! or go mobile fighter for, well, mobility) with advanced, id mutant, mutant and half-dragon templates. IMO racial HD don't help much (especially in a mix with class HD and templates) and most templates come with serious drawbacks (or too little benefit to justify their +x CR).
I'd go by Iomedae's paladin code:
Inner Sea Gods wrote:
Personal feelings about goblins shouldn't impact judgment, even if family was affected. That's part of being a paladin: You believe in something greater than your mortal instinct or emotions. Finally, it wasn't the kids who did all this. By RAW, goblins are not automatically evil:
Advanced Race Guide wrote:
Alignment and Religion: Goblins are greedy, capricious, and destructive by nature, and thus most are neutral or chaotic evil.
So for me the question would rather be: Can I allow my fellow adventurers to slaughter goblin kids?
Of course this is just one take on it.
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
Voted for "Keep it the way it is in the Core Rulebook".
A fighter is in a party of ~4 player characters. It's totally fine if he covers only a fraction of the noncombat capabilities. I am opposed to the idea that everyone plays a Swiss Army knife. Leave the skilled people (bards, rogues etc.) some space. Trust them to do their job.
If you still want to combine a fighter's combat prowess AND skills / magic, you can have that, thanks to the options of 10 years of Pathfinder. It's not baked into the class, so you will have to spend character options on it. Powers should come at a price - classes like cleric and wizard are the real offenders here, with their broad and free / cheap access to new spells.
Further, it's good to have a class that barely spans 2 pages in the Core Rulebook. People not always want to choose a subtheme (like bloodline) or sandbox options (like revelations). Or deal with a point system (like ki) or spellcasting.
Yes, you travel around a lot, Riddleport is just a starting point. And you spend a lot of time in dungeons, it's no urban campaign.
Reasonably capable in combat doesn't hurt, though the AP isn't that hard (appearantly, I just read it). Con artist and unsavory night jobs should work a few times, for more you might need some tweaks from the GM.
Either way, the fact that you enjoyed the class is IMO the most important thing: I'd go for it. Just don't neglect your defense completely, when it comes to ability scores, vigilante talents and feats.
My group had to face demons a while ago - and their biggest problem was that the fiends escaped via teleport several times. For a melee PC feats like Pin Down or Teleport Tactician are very handy - but they are reserved to fighters (and others who count as fighters for feats).
Targeting demons with spells is challenging. You have to get around their innate spell resistance (be an elf, Spell Penetration, Piercing Spell etc. - or spells that don't allow SR). And they have an impressive array of resistances, with immunity to electricity on top. You can compensate with increasing your acid / cold / fire damage (bloodline arcanas, metamagic etc.) or using more exotic damage types (force, sonic, negative energy etc.).
Gronk de'Morcaine wrote:
Which dragon bloodline would seem most appropriate and/or at home in adventures near, on, or under the ocean? I know blacks are in the swamps, greens in the forests, blue in the deserts. But I don't remember any of the basic types being discussed much in relation to the oceans/seas.
The Legacy of Dragons Book expands the draconic bloodline to cover the dragon types from Bestiary 2 to 5. Brine dragon from Bestiary 2 seems like a fitting choice, for example.
I’m not sure if I should allow them to take the Advanced template multiple times, or only once, but I’m leaning to only once, since with enough stacking Advanced templates, they could become untouchable regardless of how many actual levels they have, and easily hit anything, also regardless of how many actual levels they have.
Well, a while ago I stacked advanced (+4 AC) with vampire (+9 AC for +2 CR, so pretty much the same ratio), and the melee PCs had a hard time. Usually +1 CR means roughly +1.25 CR (see the "Monster Statistics by CR" table in any Bestiary), hence they had to deal with an AC 9 points higher than usual. As players, they overcame the challenge thanks to a tactical retreat, rethinking and using their various resources. But you probably don't want NPCs and monsters face such bulwarks, after "just" three levels skipped.
Advanced is strong, I doubt many +1 CR templates can compete with it. The only drawback is that you don't get any new powers - but this drawback is actually enough to make it quite boring for players. High numbers are nice and can even win the battle for you, but it's usually the powers that really excite people. So in comparison the template usually will make a PC stronger, but also less fun.
If it's for Paizo's Golorion, then they have all sorts of information in their inner sea world guide, inner sea races (this one specifically has rp notes for each of their races), and various player companions on different peoples and cultures.
Yup, Inner Sea Races' RP notes give you a jump start, like this:
And there are a lot of details afterwards. IMO the character choices in this book suffer from being underpowered (especially the many teamwork feats) and the writing is only mediocre for Paizo standards, but there are at least some redeeming qualities, like the RP guidance.
The only problem I've found is the action cost: Immediate action.
I'd argue that negating another person's good roll is somewhat toxic. They rolled well and made the attack / save, against all odds? No, they have to roll again. And this can happen each round, with no save or immunity.
I doubt many GMs actually like such a mechanic being forced upon them. And there is always the risk for the players that they are forced to do rerolls.
Well, I can totally see people being fine with it ("part of the game" etc.), reroll doesn't necessarily mean a bad second roll and fate manipulation is a very thematic thing. But personally I would have preferred a sidebar "this is not for every table".
This message board is terrible for collecting all of the rules we will eventually need to integrate into a complete game.
If you want to advance the process beyond brainstorming and some discussion, a more methodical approach would be needed anyway. I agree the forum as a platform isn't perfect, but IMO the question of the best platform comes after deciding on the process. For example, more people involved in the actual decision making means they need more refined ways to commnicate.
Some thoughts on the process:
1) The project is too big to be solved as a whole. Splitting and further splitting is in order, until questions are of a size a team can handle.
2) And I'd absolutely go for teams, since individual persons tend to focus on certain things and ignore others. Even if they try to cover everything and be unbiased.
3) There is some science about optimum team size, it's supposed to be 2 to 7. Bigger groups tend to split into subgroups, fighting each other. However, as a project of volunteers a lot of people will drop out over time, so you might want reserves or to start with somewhat bigger teams.
4) In addition to the teams you need a least one dedicated person who supervises the entire process, with very low risk of dropping out.
5) Make sure there is some visible progress soon, to keep people motivated. For example it should be relatively easy to decide on whether to incorporate ABP and whether to tweak it.
EDIT: 6) Finally do some expectation management: There will have to be compromises and a few decisions won't be perfect in retrospect. So people with strong opinions on rules won't be 100% content with the result. But likely happier than with the current system...
The problem is, as I understand it, is that you can't take Accomplished Sneak Attacker more than once.
Yes, you can't. However, missing a dice or two not necessarily kills your build. And actually, you would have a hard time to insert the feat a second time (or more), given how many feats dagger throwing eats up.
My impression is: You already made up your mind and you want daggers and the rogue class by all means, with full sneak attack progression. So you are down to 2 class levels that can be spent otherwise. If you pick up brawler (snakebite striker, 1d6 sneak at level 1), you can afford another non-rogue level, so you are at 4 non-rogue levels.
Well, people here made several good proposals how to spend these levels. So I propose: Make your choice, accept that rogue and throwing both mean some struggle in actual play and enjoy the moments when it works.
Ryan Freire wrote:
Yknow I'm kind of ok with golems being tougher and generally a little under CRed
Oh, it was indeed nice to see golems getting some respect.
people proposing wildly different and mutually exclusive ideas for these "small tweaks", ranging from changing Improved Initiative to be +2 instead of +4 and calling it a day to removing Vancian and getting wordcasting instead.
To be fair, a group of professional game designers would start at the same point.
Wyran Tegus wrote:
We also maxed HP like 2E. Combats last longer and are less rocket-taggy.
I did that, too, but there are some issues with it. It weakens Con, Toughness and the HP FCB (relatively), it boosts some monsters more than others (golems get about +70% HP and it shows) and it's not enough on high level. Still it helps a lot.
Currently I consider double standard HP for both sides, with increasing to triple later. Means more time to react, more importance of debuffs and in general a more tactical play, with less randomness. Of course glass cannons have a harder time and battlefield control becomes even more attractive (you might have to ban / nerf several things).
Fragile PCs work well for survival horror (like AD&D dungeons), but they are not really suited for heroic fantasy.
It's easy to overdo optimization in Pathfinder. When you bring a combat mech to knife fights, you will have some fun on the short run, but annoy both your fellow players and your GM. Even if they let it fly, the easy victories will become stale.
So, my first question is: What's the power level of the campaign? More precisely: Does your GM lead for a long time now? Are they (in)famous for tough encounters? Do your fellow players profit from many years of experience? Do they pull ideas from guides and forums on a regular base?
If the answer is rather "yes" to these questions, then go on with powerbuilding. If it's rather "no", then better stick with something which you like instinctively, and ignore that the character could be stronger. They don't have to, in such a case.
I want to like them, but I am never happy with the available combinations. Sometimes there is a very interesting skill, but paired with a second one of, well, secondary importance. Bluff + Intimidate would be a staggering combination - mainly for combat application, to be honest.
Maybe these feats are like crossbows: You don't just add them to your build, you build around their variety of small benefits.
Scholar is by the way totally outclassed by Breadth of Experience (+2 to all Knowledge & Profession checks, even untrained), although that feat is racially locked (dwarf / elf / gnome). Makes Scholar even less appealing...
If miracle simply closes the rift, with no delay, no interaction, no challenge and no consequences, you throw away a chance on adventure. And there is little satisfaction on such an effortless success, unless you really play up the story of this rift and your players buy it.
Miracle could help you find an artifact to close the rift, allow you to get some support from a lhaksharut (powerful inevitable concerned with the separation of planes) or protect the entire party from the Negative Energy Plane for a while, so you can close it from the other side.
I'd try to make the deity's way of support fit to their personality and portfolio. For example: Nethys points you to the artifact, Abadar wants you to strike a deal with the inevitable and Sarenrae enevelopes you in holy light.
So miracle would help you more than a lower-level spell, but still it's up to the adventurers to actually do the job.
I have a "cool monsters" list to pull from, but my absolute favourite is the lowly mite. They are not only mechanically interesting (long range darkvision, scent, DR and prestidigitation at CR 1/4!), but have a distinct grumpy personality and walk the line between provoking anger and pity. The artwork also helps to set them apart from other Small sized low level threats.
Is the only reason Sonic is rarely offered as an energy choice because it's not a standard resistance?
I think I remember someone saying in a conversation a long time ago the reason was because so few creatures have Sonic Resistance.
Maybe it was this quote from Ultimate Magic, section "Designing Spells":
If you look at the spell list in the Core Rulebook, you’ll notice that there isn’t a 1st-level wizard spell that deals sonic damage. You may decide to design a spell to fill that niche, modeling it after burning hands, except dealing sonic damage instead of fire—perhaps you’d call it sonic screech. However, there’s a reason there aren’t as many sonic spells in the game: “sonic” as an energy type is a late addition to the rules, and very few monsters have any resistance to sonic damage because most monsters existed before “sonic” was defined as an energy type. Because there are fewer creatures with sonic resistance than creatures with fire resistance, sonic screech will almost always be a better spell than burning hands.
And they stuck with this. When Legacy of Dragons opened up exotic dragon types for your bloodlines, sonic was still unavailable (you could choose physical damage, though).
I'd rather have them come back in a changed way. That way the PCs still achieved something, even if they made them more powerful.
The focus on disease is actually very helpful - Core goddess Urgathoa stands for both diseases and undeath. So she might bring her favourite minions back, but likely as undead.
An inconsistent grid doesn't matter if the GM paints the map manually or prints only parts of it. Keep in mind Carrion Crown was among the first APs ever released, virtual tabletop likely wasn't big then. To answer the rhetorical question...
There is a workaround: Simply don't use Roll20's grid for such maps. Activate snap to grid only when you place the map image - it helps you to align it to the edges. Make sure both grids roughly fit, so PCs and NPCs will be properly sized. It has some limits, for example moving a character with cursor or measuring distance won't work perfectly. But it's quick.
In my experience the inconsistencies are always (?) at the edges. You can put the offending map parts onto another Roll20 page, move them by some pixels until it fits (filling the gap with copied neighbour pixels) or just tell your players the grid is off there.
Heather 540 wrote:
There is at least one archetype which does allow it - the Phantom Thief Rogue. It allows Combat Trick, Minor Magic, and Magic Magic to be taken multiple times. There might be others that do the same, but it has to be stated in the archetype itself or it's not allowed.
The swashbuckler archetype allows you to take combat trick a second time, but losing trapfinding is a steep price IMO.
Phantom thief can have nearly as many combat bonus feats as a fighter - still, you'd have to figure out ways to improve AB and damage. Unless you want to contribute in other ways than plain attacking.
There are some ways to use skill to deny foes their Dex bonus: Intimidate for Shatter Defenses, Sleight of Hand for Catch Off-Guard, Bluff for Greater Feint. Master Craftsman unlocks crafting (and improvement) of magical weapons, but in general, improving damage seems more difficult.
That should be it, according to a search in the Archives of Nethys.
I think a setting needs a clear focus. For example I'd go for either clockworks or golems - so the players notice that's what the civilization relied on. Personally I favor clockworks because they are less used.
Your boss is a good starting point for minions. Metallic, dragon, sphinx - why not have minions that are related to at least one of these facets? Metallic warcats and wyvaran soldiers come to my mind.
Your roaming monster could be super stealthy, evading the clockworks for a long time now. Or it's a mystery for the players: Suddenly there something that gets completely ignored by the clockworks. Is it the odd necklace it is carrying? Is it the type of monster? Is it within their ancient programming - and why?
They did release some new mythic stuff near the end of PF1. I know Kineticists got some stuff.
According to Archives of Nethys it's mostly Heroes of Golarion, but Distant Shores, Alchemy Manual as well as Cohorts and Companions have a few options, too. Didn't check out the spells or feats though, since they only have a source mentioned when you click the individual entry.
I'm now picturing the massive battle against the BBEG and his minions coming to a halt as killing one of those minions gives the party a level up and they want the boost before resuming the fight against the boss. "Time out, time out I just gained a level and want my 4th level spells to fight you with."
Reminds me of Asterix, when the Romans invaded England - and the English paused battle at 5 for tea time...
Gaining two levels with one encounter, hmm. To instantly get from level 1 to level 3 you need a bit more than 3k XP, even if we assume you are very close to level 2 already. Since XP is divided by 4 usually, you need more than 12k XP. And that's a CR 11 encounter. Maybe if you catch them asleep and happen to be a strong scythe wielder...
@RJGrady: Hrm, some curses do affect charactes quite often - clouded vision comes to my mind.
@Reksew_Trebla: Personally I wouldn't call it cheese - the player pays with a mystery choice and a revelation to get the drawback of the curse removed. That's a good deal*, but not gamebreaking. They even risk that the GM rules the revelation also removes the curse's benefits.
* and very roughly in line with the Wild Speech feat for druids and other wild shapers
I got the impression many players try to pick a curse with a minimum of negative impact. Tongues seems to be popular due to this, even though its benefits are rather lousy (well, for my taste).
So if you pronounce the drawback of ghoul curse more, you might end up with an upset player who asks to switch curse (probably to tongues) or to change class.
I think it depends on the general tone of the campaign: If it's rather gritty, there should be some mechanical disadvantage, even if the player doesn't like it. If it's rather light-hearted, you can as well let it slip.