Shield Guardian

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D&D/Pathfinder is neither a narrative game nor a wargame. It is a combination of the two, and is both, without truly being either one. A narrative game is generally not going to have a battlemap (though they can still be useful for showing approximate positions and such during combats). A true wargame lacks any narrative at all.

In games with presence instead of charisma as an attribute, it's the force of personality that's emphasized, and, especially since there are several spontaneous spellcasting classes that get their spellcasting ability from such a force, it seems to me that that is what should be emphasized with charisma as well.

Something I would like to point out as well is that I've noticed, as a GM, in Paizo adventures there are female characters are specifically referred to as beautiful but yet have low charisma scores (like 8).

Lastly I would like to agree with those who have said that appearance is not necessarily attractiveness (though it can be) and with those who recommend letting players say how attractive they are and applying ad hoc bonuses and penalties as appropriate. If they want something more concrete, take a trait.

I'm making NPCs to inhabit a campaign I'm working on, and the standard soldiers are level 3 Fighter (Phalanx Specialist) With Longspears and Tower Shields. I'm planning on giving them the Shake it Off and Shield Wall feats to make them more resilient.

My concept for the army is that the front rank of soldiers use their tower shields for total cover while the second rank attack, meanwhile archers shoot over their heads and cavalry hit the stalled opposing army in the flank.

My question is this: would it be justifiable to give the phalanx, being a virtual wall of tower shields, either a bonus to reflex saves, evasion, or some other boon vs. blast spells like fireball?

Apart from a battle herald or feats like iron will to boost saves or dedicated counter-spellers, are there any other ways to provide mass defense against AoE spells?

Thank you for responding to my comments.

I see where you are going with the paladin roles now.

Let me approach my first comment from a different angle...

I still think though that your guide, by just flat out saying you should never get your AC too high because of power turtleing, is not taking into account the differences in play styles of GMs. I have GM'd and played under different GMs enough to know that the GM you have (and the gameplay decisions he makes, both in style and in tactics) makes a bigger difference than any other single consideration at the table.

I play with two guys who, when either is GMing, see it as an adversarial position and will actually try to kill your character (problems there I realize). To further complicate things that group is mixed of optimizers and non-optimizers, making relying on the party to pull it's pull it's weight a gamble. I use this as just one example of when not having as high an ac as possible is a bad move.

My point is your guide pretty much says there are no circumstances in which a paladin should make an aegis build, due to the high AC, yet you give no strictly mechanical reasons why a low ac is superior. Instead you base your assessment solely on how a GM *may* act, presumably based either on your experiences, how you would act, or both. I'm not discounted your reasoning either. Yet there may be players for whom having the highest AC possible *is* the best choice, because their GMs don't act in accordance to the philosophy you lay out. I'm not saying that what you say doesn't make sense, I'm just saying not every GM is going to be like that, and that can make what is *optimal* a very different thing.

You don't make a lancer if the terrain in your GM's campaign won't be conducive to making repeated charge attacks (which is the case in many campaigns, though obviously small riders have it easier). How is that very necessary disclaimer different from what you say about the aegis paladin?

I realize you probably aren't going to yield the point, especially since your guide has not included an aegis paladin ever to my knowledge, but I wanted you understand that the advice you're offering may not be applicable to every player in every circumstance, not that it's bad advice.

I hope everything I said made sense.


On the whole I really like your guide. I can tell you've put a lot of work into it, and I can tell from this forum that you've been listening to the input of others. I want to stress that I appreciate what you've done with it. There are two things that bother me about it however.

The first is this whole business of avoiding being a "power turtle." You insist that if your AC gets too high, your GM will simply never attack you. If this is the case you have a poor GM. Though there are always going to be reasons that come up for monsters to attack other characters (racial animosity, whoever happens to be closest, or other circumstantial factors), generally speaking monsters are going to (or aught to) attack who, according to what intelligence they have, is the biggest threat. This does of course mean you need to be able to bring the pain. However, even if a monster *is* intelligent to realize it's better off trying to kill your allies first, it's a bad GM that metagames his knowledge of your AC and their attack values and ignores you from the get-go.

Your guide describes a pattern of attacking, "drawing aggro," taking hits, and then using lay on hands as a swift action to heal your wounds. My thought is, will it really make any difference to a monster whether or not he can hit you if you just can heal the damage he does anyways? Whether or not the monsters are intelligent enough to grasp it, the "smart move" is either overwhelming you first (which will be easier thanks to your deliberately lower AC) or taking out your allies, which is the very thing you were trying to avoid.

The other thing that bothered me, and I'm trying to put this as carefully as I can, was the roles to play section. Now, I really appreciate that you have that section. Most optimization guides don't focus on the roleplay aspects one bit. My concern is that there are other ways to play a paladin than the ones you listed. Where is the classic chivalrous knight, for instance? Where is the virtuous knight who leads such a pure life he motivates others by example, and can cause feelings of guilt with a glance. Where is the humble knight who serves the poor and protects the weak? You obviously can't cover every way to play a paladin, but I felt like the section could be expanded on.

I hope this post doesn't come off as too negative. I wanted to address these things, but I don't want it to seem like I think your guide is rubbish.

I posted on this thread a month ago, and as it is still going, I would like to say something to the #1 (Never heal in combat, period) advocates, along with those who think that healing should only be reserved for bad luck or mistakes.

If you never have to heal in combat, your GM is being too easy on you.

I'm probably going to get some flak for saying this, but chances are your party is either optimized enough to need a higher CR to challenge it or a GM that will play monsters/NPCs to their full effect. Granted some monsters are mindless or too stupid to use tactics, but most aren't. I often see monsters encountered in strange and disadvantageous terrains. Kobolds should attack from ambush and with traps. Hobgoblins should fight as a team. Dragons should have plenty of room to fly. A discerning opponent should probably try to kill the arcane caster in the first round if he can. A monster with a wisdom score above 5 should roll a heal check to see if a dropped PC is dead or not. If they succeed: coup de grace if not threatened. Oh...and use those special abilities like poison on hit and so forth. I've seen GMs skip things like that they that either from neglect or to "be nice" and turn the encounter into a cakewalk.

It has been argued that having a healer is a crutch. No more than always having somebody buff you. If your arcane caster goes down to -8 in the surprise round (if you say this is impossible either you cheat, you lie, or you've never had a GM worth his salt) and the fighter and rogue don't get their haste, and with the additional loss of 1/4-1/6 of the party's action resources, they've been effectively castrated.

I am not trying to suggest that every encounter should put somebody below 0, nor am I suggesting that healing and buffing are the same thing or equal in value. I am saying that having somebody who can slap on some serious in combat healing (i.e. nothing less than 'Heal' at higher levels) can be necessary at times, and if it isn't, your group isn't doing it "wrong" per se, but I would submit that you aren't being "challenged."

A last note is one of roleplaying: people have noted that it can be fun to play a dedicated healer. I this is true, but it isn't for me. However, regardless, I do normally play Lawful Good characters and the typical PC is thought to be 'good' battling 'evil.' If you are a good cleric serving a good deity, and you have an ally near death, can you morally not heal them in order to lay the smite on somebody? I don't think even Iomedae would be happy with that, let alone a goddess like Sarenrae. Frankly, I think that's the sort of thing that gets clerics stripped of their powers.

I have a question on rules interpretation that may go into rules as intended vs. rules as written.

The text of the "Shield Master" feat is as follows: "You do not suffer any penalties on attack rolls made with a shield while you are wielding another weapon. Add your shield's enhancement bonus to attacks and damage rolls made with the shield as if it was a weapon enhancement bonus."

As written, a literal interpretation would seem to indicate that, if you have another weapon in your hand, nothing can penalize your attack roll when attacking with the shield, such as power attack, combat expertise, two-weapon fighting, or even spells and effects like Doom that penalize attack rolls.

Am I correct in assuming though, that the feat, if it is to be used as intended, is meant to negate all the penalties for using the shield to make offhand attacks using Two-Weapon fighting feats only (regardless of whether the shield is light or heavy)?

I think one thing adding a lot of confusion to this threat is poorly defined terms. I will attempt to make some distinctions which I think will be helpful.

The difference between in and out of combat healing is pretty straight-forward, and has already been discussed quite heavily. Most of the classes can heal out of combat using a Wand of CLW, but not many classes can effectively heal *in combat.*

What is a healer? I will define a healer as someone who is of a class (and build) with abilities that grant them the full range of divine healing and status removing spells. A paladin and a bard are not healers...only secondary healers...good for out of combat heals or perhaps the odd emergency. The simplest way of putting it...a healer is somebody who can cast "Heal." If the party gets ambushed by an invisible spellcaster with a maximized fireball, followed by some empowered scorching rays at the fighter, which puts the wizard at 0, the rogue at 15 and the fighter in single digits, Lay on Hands isn't gonna cut it.

A "dedicated healer" "heal-bot" "walking band-aid" etc. is somebody who has thoroughly specialized in healing to the point where they are not good at anything else, least-wise common combat applications. Dedicated Healers are usually beast when fighting undead, but that doesn't exactly happen everyday in most campaigns.

The heal spell is actually a pretty good use of your standard action. Woe is the party that is fighting a monster who can do more damage in a typical round than a "heal" will heal. The cleric's Channel energy, particularly with the selective channel feat, is decent too, especially at lower levels. I've seen that keep the whole party from dropping. However, these are only better than smiting the thing when HP are low, particularly if somebody could die.

Another option you have is to summon a creature with healing spells and let them cast cure serious or whatever they have on the fighter while you drop a comet on the evil priest on Zon Kuthon.

James Jacobs wrote:
I'm not sure who Yollanda is. Did you mean Yondalla?

Yes...the halfling deity from 3.5...she has a shrine and a small cult following of philanthropists in Brindol -- it's been so long since I've played 3.5 rather than Pathfinder I have a hard time remembering the names of the old pantheon.

The obvious conversion of Pelor is Sarenrae, of Wee Jas is Pharasma, but the best thought I had was Shelyn.

When I can't play RPGs, I like to spend my time working with them. One of my favorite things to do is build characters (PCs and NPCs of all levels).

I saw people talking about Red Hand Doom being the best mid-level Adventure from 3.5, so I knew I had to check it out and I'm glad I did..I'm hoping to run it someday.

In the mean-time, I'm reworking almost all of the classed characters to use Pathfinder classes. I've tried to keep the themes of the characters consistent, even if I use a different class altogether. A few of them I also gave an extra level or two. I was wondering if you could give your opinions of some of the more major revisions...

1)Captain Soranna I made a lvl 6 Paladin (Hospitaller) [was Fighter/5]
2)Captain Lars Ulverth I turned from a simple Fighter/7 to a lvl 11 Cavalier/5 Bard/1 Battle Herald/5
3)The aranea spy Miha Serani I made into a Rogue/Arcane Trickster. Her HD gave her the prerequisite spellcasting, so she loses a bit of casting for a heck of a lot of skill points and class skills, which she needs as a spy.
4)I changed the bugbear sorcerer Wyrmlord Koth into a Magus. The presence of the generic Hobgoblin sorcerers (which I will give the draconic bloodline to, obviously, and perhaps levels in Dragon Disciple), somewhat overshadow him, so I thought it would be chance to play with the new class.
5)I made Wyrmlord Ulwai Stormcaller a Storm Druid rather than a bard with the 3.5 prestige class. The mindbenders can play bard...a hobgoblin druid that summons lightning storms is special I think.
6)As pathfinder has no favored soul, I made the Wyrmlord General Kharn a Battle Oracle. I thought the powers were quite well-suited to a general.
7)I made the doomfist monks anti-paladins instead. I had a hard time figuring out exactly what their role was, but monks didn't seem to fit with the rest of the adventure, IMO. So I picked something vaguely religious that wouldn't step on any other bad guys' toes.
8)Perhaps the biggest revision: I made the Ghostlord into Bones Oracle. I knew I needed to keep him divine, but I couldn't find a druid archetype that would fit with the blighter idea and make sense with the whole lich/undead end of thing. The mystical nature of the oracle seemed to fit with his role in life, and the bones mystery seemed to fit his habits in death. IDK if this still fits with your concept of the guy...maybe I just didn't understand who/what he was supposed to be.

As a relatively minor question, what god would you use from the Golarion pantheon in place of the Yollanda in Brindol?

Thanks in advance...I know this is a long post.

Aye, I'd like to see this too.

Most of all, I'd like to see a mechanism for determining a mass melee in just a few rolls. Or for mass reflex saves vs. a fireball. Or handling Arrow volleys vs. large group of targets.

It'd be kind of nice to see a new kind of feat called formation feats that allow a group of creatures with the same feat to act as one creature for the purposes of attacking and being targeted. For example, 18 soldiers could form together as one huge creature, with 6 attacks per round as per the base soldiers, an ac of the base soldiers, etc. It would have hitpoint=avg hp soldier*#of soldiers/2. When those hp are depleted, the unit breaks up into 9 individual soldiers at full hp (assuming all were at full when the formation formed) taking up the same space as the huge creature, but in a looser formation. I'm just pulling this idea out of my rear, so it's just a thought...based around the idea of the mob templates I saw in 3rd edition.

As a DM, my preferred method for handling this issue is to give out a couple of arrays to choose from (usually a little powerful so nobody complaines). I dislike having only one array or the traditional point buy system because it seems to penalizae characters who don't want to have any true dump stats.

Lets take for instance, a Paladin. I hate playing characters with low wisdom or low intelligence. I'm a pretty smart guy, so playing someone who is stupid has little appeal to me, as I would find it difficult, if not impossible to role-play properly for an extended period of time (my own cleverness could often amount to meta-gaming, as my character wouldn't be thinking such things, whereas I can safely assume that with a higher score, if the character knows what I know, he would come to the same conclusions I as a player come to. Now, back to the Paladin...You can't dump charisma on a paladin because that's your secondary ability score. You also need a high strength and a decent con. You probably don't want your dex to be below 10 either. So you can only dump wis or cha. A paladin *shouldn't dump wisdom...wisdom is determines your ability to make wise decisions, tell truth from lies, and sometimes even the application of right vs. wrong. It's not in character for a paladin to have a low wisdom score. And if you don't want your character to be a box of rocks, or want to take combat expertise or something, point buy ensures your mediocrity. A lot of classes can take a dump or two without hurting themselves much. For classes with MAD, it is sometimes a choice between mechanics and flavor/character concept/role playing. The virtue of rolling is that if you don't have any bad rolls, you can have a character without a stat lower than 10 or 12. A wizard with 6 cha and 8 str is probably less handicapped than paladin with a dexterity, wisdom and intelligence scores of 10.

This is why I like giving players a couple powerful arrays to play with. Low strength doesn't hurt a wizard much, but mediocre strength doesn't help him much either. It's the most benefit to the characters that need it.

Coriat wrote:
The Americas, prior to the abolition of slavery in the US and British Empire, used a rather different kind of slavery than the slavery used in other times. It was a concept developed by the Muslims in Africa. Perpetual inherited chattel slavery. This is the slavery most of us are familiar with, and is considerably worse than the other varieties, except perhaps modern sex trafficking.

The slaves who were worked and starved to death underground at Laurion might disagree with that assessment ;)

Once again, I will say that the idea that ancient slavery was systematically better than later black slavery is largely baseless. Household slaves tended to be treated better and slaves in large-scale agricultural or mining operations tended to be treated worse, under both systems. The difference is that modern people are more familiar with the less cruel aspects of ancient slavery, and the more cruel aspects of black slavery.

I will not argue that ancient slaves were *treated* better than black slaves. What makes it worse is the keywords *Perpetual* *inherited* *chattel* slavery. Further, it was race-based, which perhaps I should have mentioned earlier. Slavery in the ancient world was basically its own socio-economic status for an individual. Slavery under the Arab system throws everything out and makes a person a piece of property, and just like you would own the calves your herd of cows produce, a master owns the children of his slaves. And there is no way out of the cycle. Perpetual, inherited, chattel (and race-based) slavery. That's why its worse. Treatment varies from circumstance to circumstance, but the dehumanizing aspect is what makes this variety so terrible.

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Usually, in a debate like this, there is usually someone with whom I can agree, but it seems like everyone here is off in at least one regard, dealing with the issue of historical fact. What you deal with it, is just your opinion...

Slavery exists today, in every country in the world. There are probably as many slaves in America as anywhere else. Slavery will always be around because it is so profitable. Simply being illegal has never stopped slavery (today called human trafficking). Many people turn a blind eye to it because its easier to ignore, especially as most slaves today are prostitutes or children.

Slavery has always existed, and in virtually every culture. What has varied is the conditions in which one comes to be a slave, the status of slaves, the amount of rights a slave has, and the cultural expectations of slave owners.

The Americas, prior to the abolition of slavery in the US and British Empire, used a rather different kind of slavery than the slavery used in other times. It was a concept developed by the Muslims in Africa. Perpetual inherited chattel slavery. This is the slavery most of us are familiar with, and is considerably worse than the other varieties, except perhaps modern sex trafficking. A slave is sold, has no rights, is property like ox, and the worst bit of all...his status as a slave will be inherited by his children, and their children, and so on...

Historically, slaves were usually taken as prisoners of war (the preferable alternative to the also common extermination of the populace). There was no bankruptcy in the ancient world. If you couldn't pay, you, and perhaps your family would be taken as slaves until the debt was paid. From a certain lens, this is more honorable than how we treat money in our society.

In some cultures, slaves could have relatively high status, being in service to a great noble, and as such having a much better quality of life than they could have had they been free. In many cultures, slavery was not permanent...Romans often granted freedom to favored slaves in their wills.

Then there is the issue of treatment. One could make the argument, and the slave owners in the South certainly did, that the slaves had a better life on the plantations than the free Irishmen working in the factories up North. A slave was guaranteed food and and a pension, and most owners made sure they were healthy. A factory worker worked with no insurance in an extremely dangerous and unhealthy environment for just a few pennies a day.

As has been pointed out, serfdom is its own kind of slavery. A serf has few rights, does not own property, is exploited for his labor by the lord of the manor, and is prohibited by law from leaving the land. This manorial system, however unfair, was something of a social contract though..the lord treats them not too badly and protects them from vikings and such (or orcs) and his own profits thereby, and they won't cause a fuss.

Finally, I'd like to note that the ancient Greeks and Romans had highly sophisticated cultures, and advanced ideas about philosophy...ancient man was not less intelligent than modern man, they just lacked modern technology. Though I would not endorse Greek or Roman ethical codes, it is a poor argument to say that they were unenlightened. Perhaps the fact that they new what they were doing when they put whole cities to the sword makes it all the more terrible.

As for the question itself...I would say that slavery can be practiced by a person of any alignment depending on the laws, the culture, and the treatment. However, Lawful Evil fits best and Chaotic Good fits worst. Slavery is usually an institution that is legal, and undermining the institution (i.e. killing a slave owner and freeing his slaves) would be breaking the law. What one does about the laws in question determines the law or chaos question. What the laws are depends on the campaign. What sort of slavery it is largely going to be dependent on the DM. Ownership of slaves, why the slaves are owned, and how the slaves are treated determines the good-evil axis. Slavery in itself is never good, but could be either neutral or evil, depending on the circumstances.

TLDR: Slavery is very old and has existed everywhere, in every time, but isn't always the same. It's not as simple as some are making it out to be. This isn't a black and white question. Freeing lawfully owned slaves is chaotic. Owning slaves if they're well treated is neutral. Owning them and treating them badly, or making slaves of people, is evil.

All mental stats are important for a leader, but I think Charisma is the most important. Intelligence would reflect an understanding of how things work, what the problems you face are, and what possible solutions there are. Intelligence is important. Wisdom would determine how good you are at weighing options delivered to you by intelligence. Even more important than intelligence. Charisma represents how good you are at convincing others that your idea is the right one, and how willing others are to follow you. Most important.

A King can't be a dunce, because he has to understand what's going on around him. He needs to have a bit of wisdom, because the decisions ultimately rest on his shoulders. But the King is the figurehead, and the symbol of a nation's greatness, so a high charisma is the most important stat for a King, in my opinion. A King can surround himself with advisers and counselors...people of high intelligence and great wisdom, to present plans and schemes and offer their experience, insights, and wisdom. It is less important that a King be a genius himself, than to be able to judge good advice from bad, and when a course of action has been determined...rally the people around.

Very, very rarely does a player spend a precious feat on something that will benefit another party member, or the whole party, rather than just themselves.

Any rogue in the universe would love for the party fighter to take Combat Expertise < Improved Feint < Greater Feint , but I've never heard of that happening. About the only way I can see such build sacrifice happening is if the Rogue got himself a fighter cohort with the leadership feat. Craft Wondrous Item and Craft Magical Arms and Armor are feats that are like this however. A wizard that takes them could be taking something like Spell Focus, Improved Initiative, Toughness, Augment Summoning, Superior Summoning, Craft Staff, Craft Wand, a Quicken Spell, Extend Spell, Intensify Spell, or one of the Arcane Discoveries. A wizard is much less dependent on magical equipment than most other party members, as he has spells that can duplicate the effects of just about any item he could make. It is a sacrifice for him to take those crafting feats.

That being said, a Wizard's Job isn't crafting items. A wizard's job is to cast spells in (and out of) combat to support the party in a fight. A cleric's job is to buff, heal, etc. A fighter's job is "tank." Crafting is extra, so a cleric charging for healing is not comparable. (It would not be unreasonable for a cleric to charge for expensive material components used in things such as raise dead) A cleric charging for healing would be like the wizard charging for every spell he cast that benefited the party, as if he was an NPC.

I've never been in a party with a caster that took crafting feats. If a Wizard took the Craft Wondrous Items feat in my party, I'd be happy to pay them up to +50% for what they paid to make the item. They'd make a profit, and I'd still be saving 25% on the item. It'd also allow them to continue to make more and more and more items for the whole party, and themselves. And what will they make for themselves? Hopefully wands, staves, and scrolls, which will also help me in the long run, but that take a fair amount of investment up front. I think 25% sounds like the most reasonable number to me. 10% is cheap and free is being extorted.

I think the best solution is one that has been suggested and endorsed by many others: ask the DM to let you retrain the feat to one that will cause less controversy. The fighter isn't a punching bag, the rogue is more than trap finder, and the cleric isn't just a box of band aids. Likewise, the wizard deserves respect, and should not be taken for granted.

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Personally, I think the three classes best suited would be a Bard, a Paladin, or a Cavalier. Personally, I prefer the Paladin or Cavalier, with slight preference towards the Cavalier (better skills and less tied to a religion) as I think the ideal King is one who could perform feats of arms, lead from the front and inspire not with magic but with actions, personality, and rulership.

I know this was about base classes, but I think the ideal character would be a Bard/Cavalier/Battle Herald. The Battle Herald reminds me of Henry V.

By itself, I don't really like the idea of a bard being a King, because the Bard seems too chaotic personally.

A King would have others working for him: a high priest/spiritual adviser (Cleric), a Marshal/Constable/General (Fighter/Cavalier), a Regent/Chancellor (Wizard I think), perhaps a Master of Spies/Assassins (Rogue) and/or a Fool (Bard). You can get a whole high level party out of a King's entourage.

I remember there was a 3rd party class for 3.5 (can't remember whether it was base or prestige) designed for high ranking aristocrats that I thought was pretty well designed.

Edit* Oh, and I forgot to talk about alignment, since nobody else has been... I think the ideal king is Lawful Good. An executive must enforce the law, for a the government to be just. Likewise, he was temper justice with mercy and fear with love, hence the Good. The best King is one who is both feared by his enemies for his wrath and loved by his subjects for his greatness, wisdom, justice, and generosity.

The great kings of England were warriors, and most of them were loved by their people (with some exceptions). William I, Richard I, Edward I, Edward III, Henry V. Perhaps it is a cultural bias of Anglican tradition, but I think most people expect a great king to be warrior.

Thank you everyone for commenting. Your thoughts have given me some good ideas!

I specifically mentioned blast spells because they were the first spells that came to mind that one would circumstantially spam in some combats, but that would not be spells that a wizard would normally want to prepare a lot of.

A wand of those 1st and 2nd level spells you'd cast all the time, but won't know when you'll need them like Grease, Glitterdust, Invisibility, Resist Energy, Blur, Shield, etc. would seem to be a godsend, if you could use your own caster level and ability mod for the DC.

Am I correct that this would be a good way for a wizard to work around his opposition schools? For instance, a wizard with Enchantment as an opposition school could have a Wand of Charm Person and use it without any problem, correct? Of course, crafting items from an opposing school could be problematic, but that doesn't mean 1) it can't be done 2) you couldn't purchase the item or obtain it as treasure.

This also would seem to have interesting implications when combined with an exhaustive spellbook and the Arcane Discovery Fast Study, which lets you prepare part of your spells in just one minute. If you left a couple of each of your lower level spell slots open, (and could afford to because you had the wands for your most frequently used low level spells), you could sit down and a minute later have the perfect spell for any occasion under the sun. Not too viable in combat, but for out of combat utility...

james maissen wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

My war wizard sure loves it.

Still, at the levels you can get it, one must wonder, why aren't you using a staff?

Especially since you have craft staff...

I'm assuming I would use a staff as well, but, especially for level 1 and 2 spells, a wand would be cheaper. Staves are really expensive. Staves seem like a better way to get a couple extra castings of mid-high level spells you use all the time.

There's no save for 1/2 with Scorching Ray, so assuming I hit with the ranged touch attacks, I'd be doing an average of 42 damage with each charge of the wand. And I wouldn't be using a spell slot. It would seem like a good tactic to buff, debuff, summon, and/or control...and then pull out a wand and start blasting if the fight wasn't over too quickly.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Sir Cirdan wrote:
The biggest reason I have a problem with monks is that what they can do mechanically is unrealistic. Now, by unrealistic I mean two things: first and foremost, that it breaks the laws of physics or otherwise violates what would be possible in the real world under similar circumstances. I have a problem with the idea that in a world with undead, dragons, and fireball spells the nature of gravity, the hardness of metal, or other such things would somehow be different. Magic allows such things to be altered and bypassed, such as allowing a huge creature to fly, or a dead thing to walk, but where there is no magic effect, things are going to behave the same.

This makes me want to stab myself in the brain with a pencil. It HURTS!

If the game world has enough magic in it that undead walk around freely and wizards can stop time, then the setting is totally saturated with magic. Even mundane people eat and breathe magic all day long. If they are somehow immune to this, then make them immune across the board, by giving them golem-like "magic immunity." Otherwise, accept that high-level fighters have soaked up enough magic in their day to do stuff that makes Die Hard seem realistic.

This simply does not follow. You argument goes something like this.

A wizard can use magic to create zombies
A wizard can use magic to stop time
Therefore, a fighter can jump across the grand canyon.

Magic comes from somewhere. Whether drawn from nature or words of power or the blessings of a deity, magic isn't just "there." Spell-casters are special classes that have learned to channel power from various sources. What you're talking about is a sort of campaign setting where the normal folks have levels in sorcerer instead of commoner. If you give the fighter an expeditious retreat and a jump spell, I'm sure he can leap superhuman distances, but that is magic at work. I fail to see any logical reason that a wizard lobbing fireballs would do anything different to a fighter than being near a grass fire.

BTW, if I was trolling, I wouldn't be trying to make a point, I'd simply be making fun of monks, which is pretty easy to do. As is, I'm just trying to point out that psionics seems one of the better ways that one could explain a monk's superhuman abilities, as natural explanations don't work as well (for a host of reasons I'd rather not argue). There are a lot of people who love monks, and there are also a lot of people who hate monks, for various reasons. Making monks a bit less cheesy and a bit more useful could reconcile most of these people.

Is this Arcane Discovery as powerful as it seems to be?

It would allow basically any 4th level or lower spell on the Wizard/Sorcerer Spell List to be viable in a wand. For blast spells, a simple Wand of Scorching Ray as used by a caster with this discovery would do 12d6 fire damage, instead of 4d6. A Wand of Fireball would do 10d6, instead of 5d6.

For spells with durations, the duration will be (assuming at lvl 13) more than doubled for 3rd level spells, more than quadrupled for 2nd level spells, and x13 for 1st level spells.

For spells with DCs, the DC will probably be at least 5 higher.

A reminder, and for any who don't know, an Arcane Discovery can be taken in place of a feat or a bonus feat by wizard. Staff-Like Wand allows the wizard to use his caster level and ability mod to DCs as if the wand were a staff, when using a charge from a wand. The requirements are Wizard lvl 11, and Craft Staff. To get the most bang for your buck, it would seem like Craft Wand would be good too.

Considering that a wand is roughly the price of a pearl of power for the same spell level, this seems like an incredible deal from an economic standpoint alone, even before halving the cost with the Craft Wand feat.

I wondered what other people's thoughts were on this though, especially the reactions of any who have actually used it in a campaign. I'm not very experienced with primary spell-casters, especially in Pathfinder, but Treantmonk's guide to God Wizards has really made me interested in playing one now, when I get the chance.

I just wanted to throw out a couple comments:

I'm what some might call a "monk-hater." I regularly ban them as a DM both because I don't like eastern classes mixed in with western medieval fantasy and because I find the monk to ruin my own suspension of disbelief. I study military history, and if an arquebus can't penetrate a renaissance breastplate, there is no way a fist could. About the only way I can conceivably see an unarmed warrior harming a man in plate armor is to break his limbs through grappling.

I suppose at this point a lot of people reading this want to tar and feather me, for saying Jacki Chan would lose to Sir Lancelot 99% of the time...but bear with me.

The biggest reason I have a problem with monks is that what they can do mechanically is unrealistic. Now, by unrealistic I mean two things: first and foremost, that it breaks the laws of physics or otherwise violates what would be possible in the real world under similar circumstances. I have a problem with the idea that in a world with undead, dragons, and fireball spells the nature of gravity, the hardness of metal, or other such things would somehow be different. Magic allows such things to be altered and bypassed, such as allowing a huge creature to fly, or a dead thing to walk, but where there is no magic effect, things are going to behave the same. The second thing I am getting at is that many of the monk's abilities are either extraordinary abilities, or else supernatural ones that offer no explanation for how they work. How exactly does a monk's wisdom score provide a bonus to AC for instance? How does a monk's fist do more damage the same monk armed with a weapon? Some things don't make sense and need to be explained.

Which is the point I've been getting to. I don't really like psionics as they've been done in the past, as a rule. What I'd like to see them is be simplified as simply another subset of magic (Divine, Arcane, Psionic) and have psionics behave more like magic for simplicity and ease of use. Having the monk be a psionic class, probably replacing the psychic warrior and/or the the soul-blade would be rather simple. A monk would be a psionic class comparable to a ranger, bard, magus, or paladin. Before buffs, a monk would be basically an unarmed and armorless fighter with improved unarmed strike. After infusing himself with psionic power, he can punch like a giant, has natural armor like a dragon, run speed like a cheetah and is hasted and blurred. At high levels he can even fly as per the spell (like Neo). There are a number of ways you could mechanically work this, but I'd personally kind of like to see the monk modeled of the Barbarian. Finally, the monk shouldn't be so penalized for using weapons. Perhaps a variant could exchange weapon proficiencies and as a sacred vow in return for increased unarmed damage.

Let us compare for a moment, the rogue and the fighter. The fighter gets a few nice things like Weapon and armor training that are a little bit better than uncanny dodge and trap sense, but not nearly as good as a sneak attack. The rogue gets a d8 hd and 8+ Int skill ranks per level compared to the fighter's d10 hd and 2 skill ranks per level. They both have one good save. The fighter has a full BAB, and the rogue has a 3/4 BAB. Regarding these things, the only real advantage the fighter has is the full BAB. Now, if we throw in rogue talents and bonus feats, I think we'd all agree that feats are generally better than talents (depending on the build, and which talent you're talking about), but were the rogue talents any better than they are now, the rogue would clearly be the superior class to the fighter in almost all respects. They are something that was completely absent the class in 3.5, yet the rogue was still perhaps the best non-casting core class. It would unbalance the game if rogue talents were much more powerful.

Firstly, I think that comparisons to Nazis should be avoided in discussions like these for two reasons 1) the practices of many monstrous races such as gnolls make the Nazis look like girl scouts 2)in my experience, as someone who has actually studied the subject, most people on these forums don't have any idea what in the heck they're talking about when referring to Hitler or the Nazi party.

I think to answer the question as to what evil is (for the purposes of an RPG), you first have to ask why they include alignments to begin with. The reason is that the classic moral conflict of good vs. evil is a staple of fantasy, from mythology to fairy tales to modern literature. It's a part of our cultural heritage, and is often used in stories to make moral points that aren't so easily made within real-world settings. D&D, being the grandchild of fantasy literature such as Lord of the Rings, is a natural inheritor of this pattern.

So, with this in mind, if the campaign follows the traditional pattern, evil is the force that opposes the PCs. The exact nature of the evil varies, but if the PCs are working for good, it is natural that their enemies be evil.

There are different kinds of evil, and the fact that evil can come in different forms, from different sources may be part of the confusion.

1) There are creatures in D&D, such as undead and evil outsiders that are inherently evil. Whether infused with negative energy (a powerful harmful to all forms of life) or evil made manifest in a corporeal form, unless the DM treats them differently, evil is as much a part of these creatures as green is part of lime jello.

2) Some actions are done with selfish or malicious intent. Regardless of the outcome, the motivation behind the action is evil, rendering the action evil. Saving a hundred children from a burning building isn't a good deed if you were only doing it to keep yourself from getting thrown in jail after accidentally starting the fire in the first place.

3) Some actions are inherently evil, regardless of intent. It has been said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Now, just how lawful a character is (or a player for that matter) determines whether or not they would determine whether the circumstances can mitigate or even justify the means. For example, stealing is always wrong (or at the least, unlawful), as it harms another, but is it simply the lesser of two evils if the alternative is starvation for someone? I'd say so, but nothing can make that act good. As a more extreme example, if a Paladin can save a thousand innocents by torturing one evil minion, should he do it? I would say it is up to the player of the character to decide. As a DM, I would make said paladin receive an atonement (I probably wouldn't make him lose class abilities, simply get the spell asap) to cleanse the blood from his hands.

I'm not going to argue about what actions are inherently evil and what ones aren't. I'd cite the 10 commandments as a reference, and you can play lawyer with somebody else if you like. A quick and easy guide to evil, for playing your character and as a gm:

4)Follow your conscience. If it doesn't sit well with you, there's a good chance it's evil. Does it make your spine crawl when the paladin says he's going to burn down the temple of Lamashtu that has various monstrous infants inside?....I'd listen to your inhibitions.

Quatar wrote:

Well most responses were along the lines that the Paladin has to change his view on things and the wizard is totally in his right to have an Imp. It's a devil for christ's sake. They're made out of Evil. With a capital E.

Read the paragraph about associating with evil in the paladin class.
** spoiler omitted **
And that's about evil characters, thats already a huge problem. Creatures that are basicly the embodyment of evil should be way way worse.

And I agree, there may be a way, I mentioned one. I also said he should sit down with them, instead of asking us here for advice on how he can rules-lawyer his way into having the Imp and the paladin not being allowed to do anything about it.

I agree entirely with Quatar. By the time the wizard can get an improved familiar (assuming the campaign begins prior to level 7), the paladin already is a staple member of the party. On the one hand, if a paladin can't coexist with players who aren't also lawful good, the paladin is probably either being played wrong or else is in a campaign unsuitable for a paladin. On the other hand, coexisting with the party goes for everyone equally. The guy who wants to play the monstrous race, the mentally unstable spell caster, the creator of undead, the kleptomaniac, and so on all need to make sure that their characters are going to fit with the group. If the Wizard wants an improved familiar and the imp wouldn't fit in the party, he aught to pick something else, like a mephit.

A couple points: getting an Imp familiar is likely going to upset somebody in a party with good-aligned characters, and not just paladins. Good clerics, oracles, and inquisitors, good druids and rangers (especially those with evil or lawful outsiders as a favored enemy), most cavaliers, and celestial bloodline sorcerers would also have especially have strong objections to a fiend.

There is an inherent difference between killing a devil (or a demon, or other evil outsider) on sight than a drow, an orc, or a goblin. Those races are "usually evil." An evil outsider is always evil--it is an inherent part of their nature. It is subject to a DMs interpretation whether they even could be redeemed.(And if so, by what means? A miracle or wish to even attempt it?)It would not be a high DC knowledge check to know that the "job" of an Imp is to corrupt mortals. Any paladin with a wisdom score of at least 10 would surely realize that attempting to redeem the Imp would be a difficult process, and the longer the Imp was around the wizard, the wizard would be subject to its corruption. To protect the party from the Imp's influence, its destruction would be necessary as a safety measure, from the perspective of any character acting within a good alignment who knew what an imp was.

*Edit: One additional note: most paladins, clerics, cavaliers and such would function within an order or other hierarchical organization in which they could seek counsel or information on the subject. Further, any number of NPCs would recognize an Imp for what it was. Even if disguised, sooner or later, it is logical they'll come across an NPC who inspects them with true seeing or similar magic, blowing the imp's cover. The wizard's secret would not likely stay secret forever.

Such as it is, I'm re-making all the classed characters in the module with Pathfinder classes to make each NPC the same CR as is in the module (which means an extra PC class level or an two extra NPC class levels in most cases), using the feats etc. given as rough guidelines. As such, for my purposes, in this specific case, I need to make venerable male human rogue, and give him enough levels and goodies to make him CR 8.

Yes, I would say that -6 Str, Dex, and Con do hurt a rogue quite a bit, especially the Dex and Con. For an NPC that could easily put his Con Mod as a negative and his Dex around 10, before enhancement. And overcoming venerable age is a high level spell. I could just make him old instead of venerable, which would make it a bit easier to compensate for, and just forget about adjusting CR to compensate.

Anyways...It's probably something I'm just going to have to guesstimate, but I'd prefer to have a 'by the book' ruling. It's also nice to have have such things as precedents for future rulings....

And thank you, Johnico, for pointing out the Monster Statistics by CR table. I don't think it has much use to the current conundrum, but that table should be of great use to me in the future as a DM.

There is an alternate rule somewhere in 3.5 to allow a player to make an attack with the haft as a quarterstaff/club of it's size (1d6+1.5 Str) at a -4 nonproficiency penalty.

Short Haft allows you to attack with the head of the weapon rather than the haft, and at -2 rather than -4.

There was also another feat that let you change a reach weapon to a non reach weapon as a swift action, but unlike short haft, if you do that, you no longer threaten at reach.

Then there is the spear 'shove' feat, which was thematically good, but mechanically terrible. Basically, you could shove somebody away from you with your spear. Make it into a decent bull rush attack with the chance of knocking them prone, and maybe they won't want to come near you anymore.

Personally, I would houserule that anybody can "Pommel" with their melee weapon for 1d3 dmg light, 1d4 damage 1h, or 1d6 dmg 2h Bludgeoning (unless the weapon had no haft, pommel, or other such thing, such as a katar {punching dagger}). Someone proficient in a weapon aught to know how to actually use it as a weapon, which means attacking using all parts of it.*

D&D gives you a big 5' SQ area to work in. This is literally huge when it comes to combat. Even with one guy in every square, that's still a loose skirmish formation. A shield wall or phalanx type formation would have 4 men in one 5' SQ. In those tight situations, you only have one place to stick your spear, and only one place for the butt to fit behind you. Particularly if you're using pikes. But in such a formation, if a guy gets past your spear point, he still has another 1-4 points to deal with, depending on the length of the spears. Because of the 5' Square, you lose the advantage of fighting in close order, but you do have plenty of space to move your crap around, unlike in those situations, where even using swinging a longsword might become difficult in the press. Point being: just like the halfling with the dagger is able to attack the guy, despite not really having the arm-length to do it, because of the notion of moving around in the 5' square, Somebody with a reach poll-arm should be able to withdraw it to attack an adjacent opponent.

*I've seen some fancy sword work by reenactors that do things like trip with the free hand, bash the skull with the pommel, and then finish with a half-sworded downward thrust on the prone opponent.

I was looking at a module for 3.5 that I've been converting to Pathfinder and it had a Venerable age Rogue 10 that was CR 8. For 3.5, I figure he should have been CR 10 given 3.5 CR I was wondering if there were rules in 3.5 and/or Pathfinder concerning aging and CR for NPCs? Anybody know if there are rules to use for this?

It would seem like a caster would either be the same power level or stronger, but a combat class, especially a barbarian or fighter, would be significantly weaker the more they aged.

I don't see how wearing metal armor has anything to do with ceasing to revere nature. Ceasing to revere nature is casting fire spells in dry forests, charming animals to trigger traps, polluting water, and things like that. The way I look at it, metal armor simply makes puts a barrier between you and the source of your power...nature...making it such that you can't use your magic.

There were 3.5 prestige classes that allowed druids to wear metal armor, such as the Fochlucan Lyrist.

I personally do find it a bit...uncohesive...that druids carry manufactured metal weapons but not manufactured metal armor. Or, for that matter, manufactured anything wood, but not manufactured metal armor. Metal is as much a natural substance as wood or leather. In fact, one could make the argument that druids should be like the PETA freaks and not use consume or use any animal products, such as leather armor. It would make more sense to me that a druid would be against wearing an animal's skin than against wearing a bit of mail.