SheepishEidolon's page

2,514 posts. 21 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist.

The "Digital content" / "My downloads" section of the page could use... vast improvement. There have been a few statements suggesting it's work in progress, during the last few years, but appearantly there was no major change.

Maybe a complete overhaul is simply too much of a project. In this case, splitting it into small improvements would help incredibly. User's life could be easier even with just a consistent order of "File Per Chapter" and "Single File", by stripping repeated "Paizo Adventure Path" entries in each line or by starting downloads automatically, after watermarking.

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Lately, my local GM enjoyed dragging us into aquatic adventures. And frankly, I hated all these restrictions that come with operating in water (optional rant in spoiler tags):

You can't do that, you can do this only half as well as usual etc.. With opponents appearantly never affected. And the usual solution is "caster casts some specialized spell to completely remove the problem" - YAWN. It might be realistic (well, beside the spell), but it isn't fun IMO.

So I thought about environments that actually give new, interesting options to the players. Like subjective gravity to move more freely, a network of short-range teleportation circles or the ability to throw big chunks of terrain around. The opponents would have the same options.

Does anyone have further ideas?

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It seems to be a common assumption that the Unchained version is a straight upgrade. This always felt a tad off to me, so today I dived into CRB, APG, UCombat and Pathfinder Unchained for a detailed comparison.

Unchained keeps some class abilities and improves some others. Beside talents, the newer version is indeed strictly superior. However, there are a few talents which got silently removed or "sidegraded" (mix of up- and downgrade):

Basic talents

Befuddling strike: Was removed in favor of disoriented injury, but lasted longer than that (1d4 rounds), though only with a static -2 AB penalty

Charmer / fast fingers / hard to fool / honeyed words / peerless maneuver: Basically certainty with a fixed skill, but +1 use at level 5 and rogue's edge is not required

Convincing lie: Silently disappeared (basically: others spread your lies)

Guileful polyglot: Silently disappeared (basically: +4 languages known)

Ki pool: Silently disappeared (basically: Wis mod size)

Major magic: Fixed amount of 2 uses is superior at level 2 and 3, if you pick it up early (retraining or Extra Rogue Talent), Unchained version becomes superior at level 6+ though, with 3+ daily uses

Offensive defensive: Silently disappeared (basically: +1 dodge AC per sneak dice against target you hit with sneak)

Snap shot: A basic talent in CRB, an advanced one in Unchained

Advanced talents

Hardminded: Silently disappeared (basically: automatically save against illusions)

Master of disguise: Can't don disguise as standard action, but doesn't require Quick disguise talent either

Master tricks: Silently removed (basically: pick a ninja master trick)

Skill mastery: Nerfed to just Int mod skills to always take 10 in, instead of 3+Int

Thoughtful Reexamining: Silently removed (basically: 1/day reroll Knowledge / Sense motive / Perception for new / better information)

Personal opinion

Some of this is minor to negligible. Offensive defensive was a pretty good talent though, even with the FAQ clarifications (doesn't stack with itself, only against attacked target). Reduced access to ninja tricks is a downgrade, even though it protects the ninja's niche. Snap shot was a tad broken anyway. Hardminded was a nice "you can't outwit me" ability, like Slippery mind is. Skill mastery was good, now it's rather niche.

Got the current Humble Bundle and many PDFs with it. Great stuff, but so I faced the assets pages which needs search - click - wait - click - click for each file, and that's when you don't accidentally click an entry you don't want (like the one-file-per-chapter version).

Now I got the itch to redesign the entire page, but I guess you have other things on your plate. Some less drastic things that would already be very helpful:

1) A stern look at grouping. The first 15 Wayfinder books are scattered over 7 groups, and for some reasons there are two Player Companion groups and two Campaign Setting groups.

2) More prominent markers for "Single File" and "One File per Chapter", like a bold font weight. Or maybe a symbol before the long product name.

3) A "Download today's additions" button.

Some people at Paizo emphasized they would like to see more reviews. Especially since the latest products got even less ratings than those before, I collected some ideas which might help:

Options with (relatively) little effort

1) Make the "write a review" link more prominent. I wrote several reviews in the past, but I still have to search for the link every other time.

2) Encourage people with a sentence that you want reviews. From the discussion I remember several people were hesitant to write, even if they could make up valuable contributions (from my point of view).

Option with more effort, likely

Protect the review text from being killed by the need of another login. If you spend enough time to write more than a few sentences and click "Submit", the page requires you to login again - and the text is gone. The frustration will ensure many people won't write such a long review again. Sure, there are ways around it (saving the text with Ctrl-C, for example), but not everyone knows about them.

In PF1, summon monster and summon nature's ally offer a lot of options for each level. It makes these spells more flexible than most - which is nice for a patient player digging through the options, but means questionable game balance, stepping on other players' toes (healing summons, for example) and potential choice paralysis for less savy summoners.

So I wouldn't mind to see them broken down to different spells:

Summon animal
Summon fiend
Summon giant
etc. etc.

That would make it easier to create thematic summoners, and it would feel more rewarding to collect these spells.

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Grapple came up in my latest PF1 session, again. I told the player I will have to grab* my two-page flowchart first. This was a joke - that I would dig for such a complex overview for an already decided battle, but not that it's two pages. Even in the CRB it's roughly a full page of rules text, if you include the section about the grappled condition.

* Accidental pun.

So I'd like to see a simplified version of grapple in PF2. What do you think?

The current blog entry states that initiative won't be changed:

As we've mentioned elsewhere, encounter mode functions much like it did in Pathfinder First Edition, with each round of play taking 6 seconds of game time. You roll initiative at the start, putting all of the combatants in order; each one takes a turn in initiative order

My issue with rolling initiative right before combat: As a GM you try to build an impression of danger or excitement with describing and showing the scene. Then you ask players to roll initiative - argh, the fight is inevitable now! But the whole excitement collapses while you (or some player) collects and sorts initiative values. Basically the excitement is interrupted by the bureucratic act of handling initiative.

Now there are ways to speed up initiative, for example you and your players can roll multiple times at the begin of the session. And the initiative roll itself creates excitement, sometimes - will I be able to get into position before the puncing dire tiger strikes? So butchering the holy cow "initiative rolls" is probably over the top - but I think a 2nd edition is a good opportunity to tweak it a bit.

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Look what is hiding here...

Maybe it's just me, but, using mostly the 'random new posts' side panel, I end up in Starfinder threads quite often. At the side panel I see only a 'Rules questions' prefix, which could be either game. The thread titles are sometimes obvious pointers, but sometimes not. Once I hit the thread, there is only a minor difference left, in small font:

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo / Starfinder® / Rules Questions vs.
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo / Pathfinder® / Rules Questions

The brute is amazingly unpopular in this forum, and given the impressive amounts of drawbacks that's understandable.

I will try a systematic approach to find build paths in his favor.

Mitigate drawbacks:


* Only Fort as strong save: Try to compensate with items and feats
* No medium armor proficiency: Go for reach weapons
* No martial weapon proficiency: Go for unarmed or longspear (reach 15 and 20 when Large!)

Brute form
* No size bonus on Str & Con: Don't go toe on toe with the enemy
* Typical -1 AB from Large: Not much you can do here
* -2 penalty on AC & Cha / Dex / Int skill checks: Again, don't wade directly into battle (especially since Large adds -1 AC also)
* Can't use most Cha / Dex / Int skills anyway: Don't build around them (e.g. feint makes no sense here, unless via Intimidate); keep in mind what still works (Acrobatics, Fly, Intimidate, Ride)
* Spellcasting doesn't work: Don't multiclass with a caster
* Combat start forces him into brute form unless Will save: Plan to go brute form in combat anyway
* Flat-footed during transformation, needs a full-round: Don't be the first who meets the enemy (see above)
* When all foes are down, will attack allies unless Will save: Drop your weapon when battle is going to finish (and don't go the unarmed route) or use just weapons with nonlethal damage (unless foes are immune)
* Only 3/4 BAB counts to qualify for feats etc.: Don't plan for high BAB stuff like Stunning Critical
* Mundane clothes and armor get destroyed: Buy some cheap replacements - becomes cheaper if you don't use much clothing outside of settlements
* Magic weapons and armor don't grow with you (initially): Pick up Sizing Equipment at level 2
* Fatigued / exhausted after getting into social identity, with no chance to shorten the time: Estimate whether next battle will be soon (also ask your scout in the group) - if yes, stay in brute form

Make use of bonuses:


Archetype specific
* Untyped size increase: Depending on the GM, you might be allowed to add Enlarge Person on top of brute form
* Increased reach: Focus on AOOs (no Dex penalty for Combat Reflexes, after all) and / or on maneuvers
* +1 to CMB from size: Consider a focus on maneuvers
* Full BAB progression for attacks: Use Power Attack
* Bonus to melee attack & damage rolls: Go melee
* Heavy Punches: Better unarmed damage than a Medium sized monk, but you have to get relatively close and can't disarm yourself before combat end
* Scale Surroundings at level 4: Climb speed 30 is neat, whether you want to jump down on enemies or help your friends to get up somewhere; remember the +8 to Climb checks from a climb speed and you can always take 10
* Awesome Blow talent at level 8: Push your foes back into longspear reach, down a cliff or away from the (other) squishies
* Total Destruction: Probably the weakest brute vigilante talent, but you can throw some / all friends (depending on your and their size) to a more favorable position, once you hit level 8
* Tear Them Apart at level 20: Might be the strongest rend effect a PC can acquire, at this level it's a nice little bonus when you full-attack anyway

* Social talents for discounts, better Intimidate, Mockingbird etc.
* Expose Weakness: Dirty Trick with reach, to reduce DR / hardness? nice
* Favored Maneuver: Another argument for going maneuvers
* Inspired Vigilante: Be a skill monkey, works rather in social form though
* Lethal Grace: Works well with unarmed and the nonexistant penalty on Dex
* Perfect Fall: Fits to climbing based tactics (Scale Surroundings)
* Perfect Vulnerability: Should be compatible with some maneuvers, e.g. trip or disarm
* Returning Weapon: Consider a throwing build
* Shadow’s Sight: Darkvision never hurts
* Shadow’s Speed: +10 (later: +20) speed are nice for many things, e.g. a longspear user who wants to keep foes on a distance
* Strike the Unseen: Well, you don't have hidden strike, but still you get the three Blind-Fight feats for a single talent
* Sure-Footed: Full speed at Acrobatics and through difficult terrain? Fits well with the speed increase from Shadow’s Speed
* Vital Punishment: Muhaha - deal Large weapon damage on an AOO (which you get a lot with your reach), as bonus, this one is extremely brute-friendly
* Startling / Frightening / Stunning Appearance: You still get these class features, for example after striking from invisibility (ask the friendly little mage on your side)

To summarize: No, the brute is not suited to simply wade into battle and destroy everything. Instead, he does better when attacking from reach, especially if the GM allows Enlarge Person on top of brute form.

Longspear and unarmed seem to be the most obvious weapon choices, both get damage boosts from the size increase, level based bonus and Vital Punishment. The longspear gets special benefits from Power Attack, but you will (more or less) need Sizing Equipment at level 2. Unarmed becomes better by Heavy Punches and Lethal Grace. Consider combining both weapons - longspear for the distance, unarmed if close melee is necessary.

Combat maneuvers profit from the size a bit (+1 CMB and sometimes the reach), also there are some talents around it: Awesome Blow, Favored Maneuver and Expose Weakness. You might have to sacrifice some longspear / unarmed damage for this utility, though.

Your size gives you an occasional edge on Intimidate - you might get the +4 from superior size or avoid the -4 penalty from being smaller. Further, the brute is surprisingly good at climbing, which can be helpful both in combat (jump down on them) and out of it.

Now, probably the brute's biggest problem is attacking his allies. I wouldn't spend too many resources on improving the Will save - rather knock yourself out at the end of battle, with nonlethal unarmed damage. Or forgo the save on a disabling spell (sleep, deep slumber etc.) from an allied caster. Or keep an enemy alive but grappled or pinned or otherwise mostly neutralized. Or run away shortly before the battle ends. Or be a one-person-shock-trooper to begin with. While I don't see any perfect solution for all situations, there are several approaches possible.

Lately there were some complaints about the recent changes to the lore warden archetype. I was puzzled that a 'lore warden' was considered a common solution for a CMB build, but it made sense mechanically. With this option (more or less) gone, maybe we could use new content for such characters. Ideally something where it thematically fits better?

The link to the adventure is off, it should be like this one.

Beside that, the ratings so far are quite impressive - and after reading part 1 a bit, appearantly totally justified...

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Mystic theurge is often criticized for losing CL in comparison to a conventional caster. But sometimes you find solutions at strange places. I read through Horror Adventures and the following alternate racial trait for half-elves caught my attention:

Horror Adventures, page 39 wrote:
Multidisciplined: Born to two races, half-elves have a knack for combining different magical traditions. If a half-elf with this racial trait has spellcasting abilities from at least two different classes, the effects of spells she casts from all her classes are calculated as though her caster level were 1 level higher, to a maximum of her character level. This racial trait replaces multitalented.

Assuming two classes with 2nd level casting at level 3 (wizard, cleric, witch, druid etc.), you can focus on one of them (meaning 7 levels for it) and max out mystic theurge (10 levels). Throw in Multidisciplined and the good old Magical Knack and you make it to CL 20:

7 focussed caster class
10 mystic theurge
1 Multidisciplined
2 Magical Knack

The other class makes it to 7th level spells (class level 3+10) and CL 14 (you can use Bifurcated Magic race trait for +1 CL). You lose a lot of class features and lag behind one spell level for quite a while, but it might be worth it for you.

Next session, my players have to defend their town against a monster army. Since a lot of creatures will be involved (no armies though), I don't want to bore them with rolling for each NPC separately. I made up the following simple troop combat system:

1) I add together the XP for both sides and look up the closest CR value. So there are no longer NPCs but only two CR values.

2) Both sides get a d4 combat roll. They do damage to the opposed side depending on dice result:

1: no damage
2: 20%
3: 30%
4: 50%

So in average both sides suffer from 25% HP loss each round, being killed after 4 rounds. This is based on Bestiary statistics - a CR x creature can kill another one in this amount of time, in average. Independant of the CR, actually.

3) If a side can't attack, it gets no roll.

4) If the CR of one side is higher, modify as following:

CR x+1 vs. CR x: 1d4+1 vs. 1d4
CR x+2 vs. CR x: 1d4+1 vs. 1d4-1
CR x+3 vs. CR x: 1d4+2 vs. 1d4-1
CR x+4 vs. CR x: 1d4+2 vs. 1d4-2
(probably not usable beyond)

1d4+2, 1d4-2 etc. can result in new values:

-1: no damage
0: no damage
5: 60%
6: 80%

5) The amount of dead creatures is the squared health loss. So with 30% health loss 0.3*0.3 = 0.09 = 9% of the creatures died. Multiply with the creature amount and round down. If one side is a single creature, accordingly it will die only to 100% health loss (or more).

6) PCs battle single creatures as usual.

What do you think? And are there alternatives out there?

At my group I noticed they need an increasing amount of time to heal their wounds. For efficiency reasons they still mainly use Cure Light Wounds, and it needs a lot of rolls to get everyone back to full HP. So I wonder: What do you think about 'take 5' instead of rolling d8 there? Probably just out of combat and starting at caster level 5 (resulting in 10 HP per CLW)?

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This probably has been mentioned before, but: If we take some time to type a review and hit the 'Submit' button, we end up on some general page, with the review text gone. I guess it's a timeout related to some security mechanism.

Copying and pasting the review is a workaround, but not everyone is familiar with it. A fix should increase the number of reviews per product significantly, with a higher ratio of in-depth reviews.

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

There is a teamwork feat for tripping together, in the Rival Guide, called Topple Foe:


Topple Foe (Combat, Teamwork)

You and your allies can work together to trip larger foes.

Prerequisites: Combat Expertise, Improved Trip.

Benefit: If you attempt to trip a foe that is larger than you, you gain a +1 bonus on your CMB check to trip the foe as long as an ally with Topple Foe is flanking the foe with you. If multiple allies with Topple Foe are flanking the foe with you, you gain an additional +2 bonus on your CMD check for each additional ally that’s flanking the target. The bonuses granted by this feat stack with those granted by Improved Trip and Greater Trip.

Each time you attempt to trip the same foe in consecutive rounds, the bonus granted to your trip attempt increases by +1 per ally, to a maximum bonus of +4 per flanking ally on the 4th round of consecutive trip attempts.

The CMD bonus is odd - shouldn't it be CMB? It would be more consistent and fit better to 'an additional +2 bonus', the next sentence and the next paragraph (especially '+4 per flanking ally').

I skimmed Bestiary 5 and it seems to be a great book overall. But I saw quite a few familiar faces: Monsters and player races from Inner Sea Bestiary, Blood of the Moon and Lords of Chaos. From GM's and player's view this can be good or bad, depending on priorities. My main issue is: The transfer is incomplete. If you want all the content, you will still have to get the original sources. And at the same time you pay for the pages of Bestiary 5 (not much, but you pay).

So I'd prefer a cleaner approach, either:

a) Include them, but all of them from the sources in question. And please tell us about it.
b) Don't include previous creatures into bestiaries. Mentioning where's more might be good for both sides.
c) Don't include them, but make up a separate big book only containing monsters which were already in other sources (beside B1, B2 etc.).

Personally, I'd prefer c). I would even pay the usual price for a 300 pages bestiary full of recycled monsters. While I am mostly a PDF buyer, other might feel the same way.

What do you think?

If your players tend to steamroll everything with superior damage, it may be a good idea to strengthen at least key opponents. That's where this template kicks in: Calculcate NPC HP as normal, then double the value. It's little effort to hopefully significant effect.

CR +1 feels alright since for +2 you already get two creatures who also have double HP altogether - but also twice the actions. Technically this template could be applied multiple times (4 times HP, 8 times, 16 times, ...), but at some point it will become unbelievable.