Deep Crow

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A good two weeks before your selection to crew Explorator 4, otherwise known as Desna’s Reach, Explorator 2 left orbit around Bretheda and entered into Drift space to explore a sector of space galactically north of the Pact Worlds System. The second of five ships to be completed through the very public Explorator project it was named Sarenrae’s Light in keeping with the naming convention of Weydan’s Will the first of the explorator fleet to go galactically south of the system. Explorator 3, known as Iomedae’s Heart still needed to be fully supplied and its crew trained by the time of your recruitment. Accepted or not it was pretty clear from the outset that mere acceptance was just the start. Hours of filling out paperwork, contracts, liability forms, release forms, emergency contacts, surveys, interview agreements and a whole blur of other forms, documents, genetic imprint worms, and magical microgeas.

Then came the physicals, the psych exams, the numerous interviews so long and so thorough you felt your brain melting inside your skull as yet another corporate shill discussed mission goals and worst case scenarios and your “qualifications”. You swore if you heard the word “qualifications” one more time you were going to qualify a bullet in someone’s smug forehead.

Thankfully after being on the receiving end of hours of scrutiny you got your clean bill of health, mostly clean mental health, and whatever misgivings your interviewers had about you didn’t seem to amount to much. All done right?


Next came the training. Training for handling boarding emergencies, hull breaches, xeno infestation, dimensional rift protocols, radiation leaks, drift engine failure, arcanofusion reactor breach, choking hazards, and sudden dead officer simulations. Four weeks of grueling training. For the military among you getting into the groove of such trials was a matter of knocking off the rust and getting back into step. For the civilians to whom it was the first time donning anything resembling a uniform it was a lot more drudgery.

As the weeks grinded on however the reason for such intense training became clear. It happened during meal time when Sir Oliver complained about the massive quantity and lesser quality of mamy of the supplies being brought aboard when the Station was little more than a week away from anywhere.

Then Moira chimed in saying that it would be a week back but several months to a year just to get where they started essentially negating the supply journey. Melfecor confirmed sayong somberly that the strength of the Starstone is both savior and trap as the Drift currents get stronger the closer to the station.

Moira likened it to swimming at a beach with no tide. Going out into the water the current constantly batters you back but eases up as you get farther. Drift beacons work much the same way. The signal off the starstone is so strong however that its own frequency has an affect on all others. So while riding the current of one beacon you will be pulled back by the Starstone. The effect is subtle but significant over time. Of course before Melfecor could enthusiastically get into the math of Drift dynamics in unbeaconed systems and the theoretical Drift “undercurrent” Sir Oliver begged them to stop.

But the point was made. If you had to limp back to Absalom Station the mission was finished whether complete or not.

From there the drills and training continued but taken a little bit more seriously. Afterall no one wanted to have to return to the station for a stupid and easily avoidable mistake.

After this came about a week of public appearances, interviews, news reports, and talk show sit ins. It was necessary, sadly, the Explorator project was a public project and many of the companies and organizations who donated funding and technology relied on public opinion to get said resources. It wasn’t long before it became clear who withered in the spotlight and who thrived. Pretty much the entire crew, filled with hardened military vets, socially awkward scientists, and dirty foul mouthed engineers whose skill with rapid calculation was second only to creative insults were not really asked for more of the same after one or two such appearances. The captain however, a woman accustomed to appearances in order to propose projects, present findings, or occasionally lead a sermon fell comfortably into the role of ship’s representative. Then there was Ko. Charming, beautiful, and always ready with a well timed joke or flutter of her silveryt eyelashes it wasn’t long in the week before she got her own fan base. The mail that came in afterward mostly favored her, and just before you were pushed back into another day of drills she received an oil on canvas painting of herself in the nude laying among velvet sheets. Of course being the conceited drow that she was it was immediately hung in her quarters.

With another day of drills behind you to keep you sharp you are finally given one week to get your affairs in order before you would be going on a very long mission into deeps space. In one week Desna’s Reach would be released from dry dock. In one week Explorator 4 would slip into Drift space around the Starstone and not comeback for four long years.

To your surprise it seemed that no one, even the rugged Sir Oliver, knew who you were. Well outside of Ko of course. You took an opportunity to plug your band in one appearance, little good that does with its lead singer f$+*ing off to deep space. It was kind of liberating, knowing that you could show off your skills at the control stick with no one being aware of the ride you were about to take them on.

Check your DM’s

It was unnerving in the extreme being thrust from one unfamiliar situation into another. Of course by now you were familiar with the equipment and how much of it functioned. And truth be told the HAC was kind of exciting as you could put together realistic holograms of your old home to reminisce and escape the culture shock of being a man ten thousand years removed from history. The interactions on the ship were relatively pleasant and Lieutenant Nallas’s inclusion into the crew was a solid rock foundation to which you can hold.

Yet the most unnerving points about the crew were Ko and the masked Threnedar. Ko represented something about your ancient history you were unfamiliar with, and the little you knew of the drow turned your stomach. Knowing that one of that race would be on board made you somewhat uneasy. Yet Threnedar was worse. His emotions and deep monotoned bass were hard to read and he seemed to be observing you at all times. You knew of the elves of Castrovel and their views on others races. You simply did not have cause to share them. In fact the way they handled themselves made them just as foreign and alien to you as the robotic priest or the willful telepathic captain. At least the science was good, even if you had to work with a floating brain as a partner.

Despite everything you managed, of all things, to get in charge of the ships engineering. It’s arcanofusion engines. It’s weapons arrays, it’s delicious and expensive proprietary technology. Except, well, you had no idea on how a lot of it worked. Delt, your Ysoki subordinate, helped design the phasing cloak but even he had difficulty trying to explain the system in a way to udnerstand. Best you can figure it wasn’t magical, nor was it based on light bending technology. Those could easily be beat with strong enough sensors or common sense. No it apparently used time warping magic in very subtle ways to freeze photons and heat signatures for roughly a micro second to mask the ships presence. It only worked well at a long distance and it wasn’t a cloaking device, but it was a form of protection not yet seen in the pact worlds. Delt was easy. He loved to talk about family, and building things. Real blue collar sort. Melfecor was much harder to talk to. He was a priest of Tirune that only seemed to talk to PR5T, the ships own nuts and bolts priest. He didn’t see the engine for what it was, basically a machine built to do the job of making Molly ridiculously rich and famous, but as a revered engine. A device of divine purity that represented his gods will to spread its touch across the cosmos. Weirdo. The shirren gunner you brought over isn’t doing too hot. It was like he went from one set of cops to bigger sterner cops with less time for his b**%!!#+.

Compared to the relatively informal apprenticeship when you served aboard a forerunner ship the crew and training of Explorator 4 are much more organized. While few if any of the crew are forerunners themselves you find yourself stunned by the sheer volume of knowledge and experience each of them have in their respective fields. Even the captain, a woman you were sure would be little more than a company woman in a favored position when you were first approached by recruiters for the project, had a name you recognized from more than a few first contact reports and research papers.

The science here was good. The equipment was good. Now all that had to happen was surviving the trip.

Please go ahead and post a summary of what you do the week before launch to get you in the game proper. Once everyone is onboard I'll get us going towards the first real mission

So let's start by getting the character creation out of the way.

Level 10
66,000 credits
Normal buy method.

No real restrictions on equipment just not more than one tier above your level. Just bear in mind you're on a starship with limited space so be mindful.

While you're working on this you'll need to also get your roles figured out. I have a fairly rough idea on who might end up doing what but I'm keeping those thoughts to myself and letting you work it out.

It helps that you get to pick your ship. I put in the Campaign info a bit of information and I'll be copying there what I'm writing here as well.

The Explorator Project isn't jsut about packing some high level people in an Immortal and sending them on their merry way. Explorator ships were designed with the most cutting edge technology, much of it proprietary and a great deal of it experimental. All the ships are tougher and possess a great deal more space than their size and tier might lead you to believe.

This alone would make you the envy of any crew. Yet there's more. Each ship sports advanced arrays of sensors and laboratories perfect for carrying out your mission.

And on top of that these ships have abilities not seen on any other ship yet encountered.

The ship

Desna's Reach:
A powerful missile boat with a powerful array of long range weapons and hefty armor. Has the best internal security of any of the ships.

SpecialPhasing Cloak: Inspired by the stories of ancient cat like creatures known as displacer beasts Desna's Reach is constnatly veiled in a spatial warping closk that makes targeting solutions difficult to pinpoint.

Any weapon fired on Desna's Reach from beyond Short Range has a 50% chance not to hit at all.[/i]

Iomedae's Heart:

The Barathu's of the Sopeth corporation did not originally intend on building starships. Never the less the massive colony got to work and with the aid of Verthani cyberneticists and Anacite roboticists the first biomechanical starship was born outside the secretive shipyards of the Xenowardens.

Resembling something like a legless pillbug or squat earthworm Iomedae's heart was built with endurance in mind. Capable of self repair and able to produce food for its crew the Iomedae's Heart is ideal for long tours with no need for refit and resupply in dry dock.

Special Communion: All crew members get a biomechanical data jack. Plugging into the ship allows crew members to commune directly with the ships mind granting them a +1 circumstance bonus on all skill checks in starship combat.

Sarenrae's Light:
While most companies were satisfied with the Arcanofusion and antimatter engines that most ships have, Solar Dynamics researched and created their own self contained, miniature sun effectively doubling the output of an equivalent power core.

Sarenrae's Light is a demonstration of what such a power core can do for a ship lending incredible reserves of power to weapons and allowing transplanar technology to grant an incredible amount of inside space to the crew.

Special Burning Blade:During the engineering phase an engineer may overcharge all of the ships direct fire energy weapons in an arc of their choice. While so charged the next attack the weapon makes in that round deals maximum possible damage (as if all dice rolled at their highest). This is performed either as a divert action or as part of an overcharge action.

A weapon may be fired for two consecutive rounds like this before it overheats and shuts down for three rounds to cool. A science officer may override the safeties as part of the engineering phase and is unable to take their turn during the helm phase. If done so the weapons can be overcharged again but if fired they immediately gain the wrecked condition and cannot be fired again until repaired.

Weydan's Will/Sling:
One of the earliest proposed designs of the Explorator project was a small carrier with a scouting ship. The scout would be sent ahead to confirm and get better readings that the carriers long range sensors would catch. More, the small scout could be used to ward off threats at longer ranges or flank targets attempting to bring down the carrier.

The result was Weydan's will a ship absolutely covered in missiles in torpedoes, an intimidating look meant to ward off hostile aliens and able to overwhelm even the most enthusiastic point defense systems. Weydan's sling was built as a support craft able to carry a small two man crew to help survey a system in a smaller amount of time than physically bringing the ship from place to place.

Special Coordinated fire. The Will and The Sling were built with coordination in mind. As a result both targeting computers are linked to provide the best possible angles of attack in situations where a target is between the two. As a result any gunnery check made while the sling and the will are on opposite sides of an enemy target and both ships are firing in that turn are made with a +4 bonus.

Pharasma's Judgment:

Verthani shipbuilders had long acknowledged the benefits of physically connecting one's nervous system to the ships computer. Able to read status reports, diagnostics, and readouts at the speed of thought a pilot has unrivaled ability to assess their ships capabilities.

The Pharasma's Judgment takes this ability to its extreme. Looking more like a massive fighter than a true ship the pilot is actually inserted into an amniotic tank where dozens of cables, tubes and other devices are inserted into cybernetic sockets. The result is that the pilot becomes, quite literally, one with the ship.

The result is a ship with unparalelled speed and maneuverability, capable of presenting it's powerful forward mounted weapons or strongest defensive side it maneuvers less like a destroyer and more like a fighter.

Though easily one of the strongest ships from a tactical perspective some critics have argued that this has sacrificed too much from the cargo space and research equipment necessary for a long survey mission. And some experts have come to question the safety of the pilot being so immersed in a ships systems.

Special Psychosomatic Feedback: The pilots incredible connection to the ship's systems allow hers to control a ships weapons with incredible ease even while doing daredevil stunts at high speed. She can make snapshot minor actions at no penalty and up to twice during the gunnery phase even if gunnery actions have already been taken. However no weapon can be fired more than once per round.

This connection is not without cost. For every 5 points of hull damage the ship takes it's pilot takes 3 points of damage themselves as the neural feedback cause their body to bruise and bleed in empathy with their ship.

The group needs to pick one of the above.

Once everyone makes a post indicating they're here I'll toss the link out to Roll20 in your PM's so you cna look at the ships physical stats.

As the Pact Worlds start to fully heal from the wounds it received from the Swarm Wars and comes to grasp the full extent of the danger the Starstone represents in this new age of easy interstellar travel the combined forced of the Church of Triune, the Knights of Golarion, the Absalom Council and various other smaller independent corporations and organizations have combined their resources to begin a joint venture called the Explorator Project to explore as much of the Vast and NEar Space as possible in an effort to catalog threats, explore new worlds, survey potential resources, and build alliances with those races friendly enough to be so inclined.

To this effort the most talented members have been pulled from these vast organizations to crew the 5 new Explorator class starships. Large ships equipped with the latest in scouting and research technology to be crewed by the best and brightest to explore dangerous new worlds and defend themselves from the bleak and mysterious unknown.

You have been selected to crew one of these ships to go on a long tour of Vast space, four years in fact, in order to survey a previously unexplored sector of space. But first you have to prove yourself worth the investment.

is a high level PBP of 10th level inspired by fiction along the lines of Star Trek. It’s divided up episodically with players dealing with various events along their survey mission.

Submission Guidelines:
For now I don’t want stats as those will be figured out before the game gets started. Instead I would like a detailed backstory including your experience as to why you’re high level and the circumstances involved in your interest in the Explorator Project. If you wish to give theme and class with that you may though it’d be a bit more artful to knead that into your backstory in a way that isn’t particularly explicit.

The other thing I require is a short description of an NPC crew member and their role on the ship you'll be commanding.

Pact Worlds stuff is of course allowed, no restrictions on allowed races.

I'm looking for about 4-5 players with a good posting rate. Maps and combat will be handled on Roll20. Everything else on the boards. I'll be closing recruitment around April 6th.

So given the ludicrous amounts of intelligent beings in the Pact Worlds system (seriously you can't trip without facing a lawsuit from the rock you bashed your shin against) I wanted to present this to at least one of the brave developers to give a best guess and let others have a crack at it to see how hilariously high a number we can come up with. For those curious real scientists for our own galaxy come up with numbers ranging anywhere between 10 to 10 billion civilizations.

The Drake equation is:

N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L

N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible (i.e. which are on our current past light cone);

R∗ = the average rate of star formation in our galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fl = the fraction of planets that could support life that actually develop life at some point
fi = the fraction of planets with life that actually go on to develop intelligent life (civilizations)
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space

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Leaping away from my pile of collected dust and dreams of distant stars to throw in my excitement.

I've been around since nearly the beginning and have seen the game quietly develop itself with a variety of resource systems and expectations with more and more rules stacked on top of one another.

To see it mashed up and streamlined into something more coherent excites me in many ways.

So, the thing I've been waiting on before writing anything remotely serious has finally dropped and we get a glimpse of what to expect when we're forcing saves on critters whether we're solarians, mystics, technomancers and what not.

So the progression of the "good" save for monsters is relatively linear with a couple of really high levels not really moving very much. So for target numbers we'll start with that and add 15 to it. If that seems high, bear in mind this is the good save being targeted and I'm deciding high on purpose since this is meant to be an end goal, not a stringent requirement. You can adjust down to fit your needs.

Chart is here because I'm too lazy to format for the forum.

The other reason I'm going with the good save/s is you won't always be aware or capable of targeting the lower saves.

I'll expand on this and get on to making those target numbers (if at all possible) when I can tomorrow. Just wanted to put this out there to be munched on for a bit. I'm well aware that they're high but this lets us check the viability of such abilities against equal CR opponents.

So having had a chance to go over the various blogs and watch the various playtests and demos hovering around the internet I took some time to sit down and speculate how the various rules changes might affect common tactics and strategies as players transfer over from pathfinder to starfinder.

One big generalization that we cna get out of the way is that the Forge still applies as far as I know. Positioning, resource management, and action economy are still very important aspects of the game so building your group along those lines will still go a long way. What really changes are the details. With the lack of 9th level casters (at least for now from what's being hinted at) and the emphasis on ranged combat, it's somewhat more difficult to properly control enemies. Players will have to get used to finding proper cover and cutting off angles of attack in order to maintain positional advantages.

This isn't to say that melee characters won't have their place. Indeed one of the biggest counters to ranged tactics are large meaty bodies wailing away at someone's face. Expect reach weapons and smoke grenades to be the bane to many encounters as the AoO against ranged attacks still persist and its quite likely concealment will still be a thing.

Resource management in particular will be quite important. Resolve is likely going to have many many uses over the course of the game as Paizo writers love their resource pools and having one built in opens up a lot of possibilities for them to expand on it.

So what of tactics? How do they change in light of the enw rules and systems? Well the first thing that will pop out to most people will be the lack of iterative attacks. This is replaced by the ability to do two attacks at a -4 penalty. In essence that likely means two weapon fighting, rapid shot, and other such feats will simply provide a scaling reduction in that penalty depending on the weapons you wield. Tactically it means that big solid hits will count for more rather than positioning for life ending full attacks. Especially in the case of kinetic weapon users who will likely have to deal with higher defense scores than energy weapon counterparts and will rely on the single atacks more. On the flipside since energy weapons target the lower AC and tend to do slightly lower damage it's possible that lower stat characters might benefit from chasing higher attack bonuses and gfetting mroe attacks to capitalize on some damage bonuses and extra chances to get critical hits.

Speaking of AC since energy weapons tend to be extremely common getting one's EAC up will be relatively important as a bunch of goblins with cheap laser pistols can be far more dangerous to a slow heavily armored soldier than a drone with an anti tank rifle. I imagine plenty of items and armor types will help bring your EAC up which will have the benefit of being useful against a number of spells asw well. I like to think that Solarians might have a lot of natural ways of dealing with energy attacks as attuned as they are to the rhythm of the cosmos.

With that in mind it looks like combat maneuvers are all but gone. Which leads me to believe that the individual maneuvers have been rolled into feats or class features that let you perform them. I kind of hope that they've just been simplified rather than requiring a choice to get them. But I haven't really seen anything about it. With 6th level casters being the norm I'd like for non-magical classes to be able to take a greater role in battlefield control.

In any case I'll come back with thoughts as I have them.

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So anyone who knows me is well aware of my love affair with magitech. Whether its an enchanted robot buddy or a soul eating tank powered by the inifinite endurance of the shambling dead.

Starfinder is pretty much exactly what ive been looking for to revive my interest in paizo related products and has reignited what got me writing for it from the start.

That said as a fan of the genre I want to share what I hope for next month.

For one i hope the line between magic and technology is so blurred that the practitioners of magic just do things for free what costs a soldier or operative some money to do. Im not talking about utilizing a skill to operate mage reatricted items but how the scaleable items can match and in rare cases beat magic.

Take for example a police force that often utilizes hold person. That force might employ a few mystics who can use the spell to subdue and apprehend suspects at a distance. However the same force can also employ neural disruptors to get the same results at a relatively cheap cost and woth little training. The difference being the disruptors have a relatively small range and.paralysis time. Fine for regular ofgicers but not so much fpr long ranges or difficult to hit targets allowing the mystics to serve as specialists.

However recent job riots have illustrated the nees for a mass disruptor prompting the manufactirer to propose adding such a product to the police arsenal. However, fearing obsolescence the local mystics guild proposes training their magical officers in the casting of mass hold person. To complicate matters an outside magitech conglomerate proposes a piece of equipment that allows riot officers to activate a vest to project a disruption aura along with a helmet that allows multiple officers to work in conjunction at 1/4 of the cost of the wave cannon.

So in the end the debate doesnt come down to quick but mysterious and rare magic options versus slow ineffective options. But cost, time, training and the details of politics.

I also hope that magic is even more banal than it is in fantasy where magic has this kind of feeling of necessity to it that kind of disrupts the idea of blue collar heroes just being preternaturally skilled. Like, id love it if groups have debates on whether certain spells were even worth using on the basis of having a machine or weapon that can perform the same function at a manageable cost. At that point its not science vs. Magic but magical science vs. Scientifically applied magic.

Ultimately if we end up channeling a bit of the ole Douglas Adams I think we're doing great.

Male Orc Expert 5

As the sun crystal crests above the highest most buildings shadowing the people of Emerald Square who are typically accustomed from making the journey from their homes to places of work find themselves gathered around the central well of the square.

The well is the sight of grisly murder. Anabelle a young redheaded seamstress has been brutally killed. He once soft and lovely features battered, crushed and chopped up against the side of the well, a sight that would make many of the women and some of the fathers stay awake that night in horror.

Sitting not far from the grisly scene is a young man, his face streaked in tears staring at his own bloodied hands, the front of his outfit already caked with gore. Tearfully exclaiming to anyone who dares to ask or even raise a fist that he did all he could to help her and had no part in her murder.

Emmet arrives on the scene before the Lair Watch's local officers arrive and tries to bring some peace to what may end up being a lynching before long.

Male Orc Expert 5


So i have a few ideas on how to go about this.

Gritty city game.

A kaiju focused sort of game. Of characters suddenly finding out how tiny they are.

Its been a while since I've run a game.

So instead of trying to come up with some clever plot or start an ap that will never finish I've decided to do things opposite.

As such players come up with backstory and concept FIRST. Sheets will be made once we determine the nature and plot of the game itself. I will be closing recruitment friday night as a result so we can get on the details asap.

Some guidelines

1. Post story and character synopsia. No mechanics! Exceptions being things that define them as a character like a sorcerer might refer to themselves as such but the streetwise tought wont flat outvsay theyre a fighter for example.

2. Answer the 7 questions posted below.

3. Dont get too attached to details. Part of this is having characters that mesh and relate.

Seven questions to help detail you and the character.

what sort of game are they best suited for?

What is the characters greatest strength? Greatest weakness?

How does the character react to tragedy?

What is your characters greatest triumph? Greatest mistake?

What sort of person would this character call friend?

Does this character thrive in chaos or fight desperately to reclaim peace?

If circumstances didnt drive them to adventure what would they be doing otherwise?

Ill be taking 5. Looking forward to see whar we come up with.

*explodes out of the dust*

So I've been rather out of the loop for a while and tentatively decided to comeback and decided to clear up a misconcieved notions regarding the Forge of Combat that comes up form time to time.

The fact that there are three roles does not mean one role per character. Indeed, if you notice in the article I go at great length to describe a group where each member took on two roles. The only truly specialized member was the dwarven ranger who excelled at dealing damage in a variety of ways never needing a specific circumstance to deal significant damage.

Truthfully, most classes and character concepts are going to have difficulty filling every aspect in a single role in every circumstance. Spellcasters who mostly support, may find themselves in a position where they need to cover for another role with their class abilities, or a martial character may find that a magic immune enemy renders their normal control method relatively useless and must step in to control enemy movement.

It's honestly in the groups best interest if everyone can cover multiple roles, or, be so well versed in the role that few if any circumstances will come up that prevent them from performing that role effectively. In part that's what the ranger is supposed to effectively embody. Wielding weapons of multiple damage types at multiple ranges generally means that he's a buff or two away from mitigating the most dire circumstance that would keep him from doing his main job.

So, while using it as an analysis tool to gauge how well a group might do on paper in combat please keep in mind characters can often do more than one combat role even if not exactly built for it. Spell choice, or often innate class abilities can often add wrinkles to a character you might not expect. More than that some classes are versatile enough that they're a rest period away from changing roles entirely.

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Just continuing a line of discussion from another thread I think is worth discussing but not in that thread.

Jockston wrote:
TarkXT wrote:

So I've given it a fair go and it looks really compelling if you simply go with the stamina rules on top of everything else you get something that looks pretty nice. I'll share one of the results when its done.

also, I'd never suggest a new player try a fighter.

Paladin or Ranger definitely.

This i don't understand...

A core fighter is effective at combat with no book keeping. No pet stat blocks, no lay on hands or spell lists .

In other words it teaches nothing about playing the game beyond being a fighter.

Consider the difference between a human fighter and a human paladin or ranger at 1st level.

The human fighter has to select not one, not two, but three feats.

Now an experienced player would probably grab power attack, weapon focus, and some other feat that goes towards a build down the line.

A new player might grab combat expertise, exotic weapon proficiency gnome hooked hammer, and toughness because more hp, defense, and double weapons is good right?

Immediately you run into this issue where you have to teach the new player how to pick feats. Some feats are good, many are not, and since there are so many feats to pick from the issue itself is daunting.

Regardless of what feats they select they will be stuck into that option until they can get a chance to change one of them later.

Overall, however the first part of the class doesn't teach them any mechanics. they don't learn about utilizing actions since the fighter at this level has no means to make their economy more efficient or a way to use swift/immediate actions. It doesn't teach them roleplaying since it provides no flavor or roleplay restrictions upon which the player can use as a guide for how they act in character to represent their class. Since the fighter has few skill points to work they don't get a chance to play around wiht skills as often either.

More over since the class is so generic and is basically all about picking the right options it's extremely easy to find one self in a corner when it comes to character building.

Lastly as the class goes on it introduces no new concepts for the player to draw on past the first level. They gain some static bonuses but their overall number of things they can do remains roughly the same.

So the idea of the fighter being new player friendly is bunk. It's far better in the hands of older players who understand how to work around those limitations without getting caught in a number of traps.

So what would I propose?

the Argument for the Paladin

The paladin is usually either loved or hated by experienced players due to the excesses of its code of conduct.

However this code of conduct has its uses when teaching new players in that it gives a guideline on how a paladin acts. It gives them clear inspiration, and just as importantly clear mechanical effects should they fail to meet that criteria.

this last part is important as it teaches players to consider that even though dice are not being rolled their actions have clear consequences that can manifest mechanically. If they treat a commoner cruelly they may be forced into combat with the guards. If they disregard the portents of a crazed old woman they might be unprepared for the ambush down the road. Having it clearly spelled out helps build an understanding that roleplay is not merely a function of paly acting but has real consequences upon the actual crunch of the game.

Next are the two mechanical abilities that the paladin possesses; detect evil and smite evil.

Smite evil is a clearly written ability whose benefits are immediately recognizable. It tells the player "Activate me and you will be better equipped to vanquish this one monster."
It gives bonuses to offense and defense with some further additions against certain enemy types giving the player a clue as to what enemies this will typically work on. However because it's limitation is normally invisible that leads us to our second ability.

Detect evil works in synergy with smite evil in that it allows the paladin to identify those targets his smite evil ability will work on most readily. This teaches the player that some abilities work well together within the same class. This also gives the paladin player a clear indication about what the paladin is about; seeking evil and then vanquishing it.

Both abilities also offer something the fighter at that level cannot. It teaches the player about activated abilities and resource management. A player will see the once per day limitation upon the smite evil ability and intuitively understand that this ability is best saved for moments when it's very much needed. Detect evil has no use limitation adn can be activated as often as needed in order to help the player assess roleplay and combat options and to determine whether or not their smite evil will be wasted on an opponent that is not obviously evil.

As the class progresses it goes on to teach them about party support, immunities, divine spellcasting, and the player's choice of weapon enhancement or animal companions. It does this slowly, opver the course of many levels with each ability up until around 5th offering new concepts for the player to explore and understand. at that point it gives the player

Just as important as all of this is that the class makes it very difficult for itself to do poorly. A paladin will remain effective regardless if the player wants to go heavily armored, two handed, polearm, archery, whatever. If a player picks their mercy's poorly they have not made nor broken the character. If they choose the mount without mounted combat feats they still receive an overall bonus to their abilities. Any poorly picked spells can be remedied the very next in-game day.

Overall the class would be my first choice to give to a new player who is completely new to the concept of roleplaying.

The Argument for the Ranger

But, let's say the player has played other roleplaying games before. Maybe they've run around in videogames or they've played party rpg's like paranoia, fiasco or what not.

So that means that a roleplaying guideline from the paladin might not be appreciated. They already know how they want or should act.

So that brings us to Rangers.

Design wise rangers and paladins are very similar. The exceptions being that where the paladin emphasizes support and a theme. The slayer emphasizes utility and awareness.

What does awareness mean? Well it means paying attention to the state of the game. Is this guy a favored enemy? Am I in favored terrain?

In terms of utility that means the large number of skills and the number of bonuses to skills they can get from other class abilities. The class draws players towards actively participating in parts of the game that the class is good at, tracking, outdoor survival, and scouting. It allows the player to get used to the skill system by having more opportunities to roll well on them.

Like the paladin it introduces the players to divine spellcasting at a level where they've likely grasped the basics of their class.

Unlike the paladin it gives a clear indication of what combat styles the class favors and gives a short list of feats for each one.

This lets the player explore their options within a style without enamoring them in a large number of extraneous options or hefty planning. They want archery? Archery feats are there for them to use. They want two weapon fighting? All set up. No prerequisites need to be met letting the player determine in the future whether the feat is worthy of the investment in the future.

As the class continues it gives progressive upgrades to the class's abilities that are not complex and allow the player to feel as if they're getting stronger in a fairly clear way.

Ultimately my conclusion is that just because something is simple doesn't make it a good teaching tool. Which, is ultimately what giving a new player a class choice is about. Fighters can teach you how to play fighters, but paladins can teach you how to play clerics, bards, and other classes that can expand on the themes and mechanics the paladin introduces. Likewise the ranger helps you get into druids, slayers, alchemists, and other skill heavy classes.

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Generally I lurk on the advice boards but there's not a whole lot of advice as much as house rules so I kept it here instead.

So here it is.

Further details are in the blog in terms of intent, impact, and what not but I'l post the list here if that's the only thing you're interested in.

1. Untrained Combat Maneuvers do not provoke AoO’s.

2. When a character is dropped below 0 hitpoints there is a 50% chance they remain conscious but with the disabled condition. Every time a disabled character loses hp in anyway there is a 50% chance they fall unconscious until brought above 0 hit points again.

3. When you miss an opponent with an attack by more than 5 + your Dex and Wis modifier you provoke an attack of opportunity from that opponent. This attack of opportunity cannot provoke an attack of opportunity in turn if it misses in the same way.

4. Flanking, higher ground, and charging allow you to roll twice on your attack and take the highest roll.

5. CMD adds either Dex or Str modifier (whichever is highest) not both.

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So I decided to try something different this time around. Hopefully in an effort to release more in a timely fashion.

Suggestions are welcome I'm hoping to be able to parse out information a little faster and more digestible this way.

So I've been pondering this question, not just in regards to Pathfinder, but in regards to other games that include combat as a centerpiece as well.

And it had me thinking.

What is a good fight?

Keep in mind I'm not simply talking about challenging fights with a wide variety of enemies, personality, and quirks. But at its very core what makes a fight fun.

I sat down and tried to do some research came up with a basic synopsis on the elements that make a fight fun and came up with some decent ideas on the elements that matter (challenge, relevance and tension) and I wanted to typify what would appeal to what in terms of the type of tabletop gamers that there are.

Unfortunately, no one has done a serious study on the various sorts of tabletop gamers that exist. Sure there are a lot of joke instances but nothing particularly useful from a research or even business perspective.

So, I felt compelled to ask.

What makes a good, memorable, fun fight from a meta perspective?

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A bit of fun exercise. But I like how a wedding ceremony can reveal much about a culture.


Desnan's favor small bonding ceremonies performed before a priest of Desna and a few immediate family members.

The real celebration comes after the ceremony where the happy couple travels from home to home in their respective neighborhoods and announce their love and bond to the occupants, typically friends and close neighbors.

The people at the homes in turn congratulate them, offer gifts, sometimes shelter depending on the time of day.

Depending on the influence of the couple and the size of the community this journey can take a few days to weeks of celebration that culminates in the couple settling into their new home, or continuing the journey as part of a caravan or wandering band depending on the family and culture.


As one might expect a Calistrian wedding isn't necessarily a strict bond between lovers but a sign of strong devotion and feelings between a pair of lovers. The feeling itself is difficult to communicate in the common tongue but the result are a bonded pair that do not so much love each other exclusively but trust one another completely and swearing to avenge the other should they become a victim of some sort.

Most ceremonies typically end with a grand party which will usually have an orgy.


Iomedaean weddings resemble tradtional Aroden weddings wiht the exception that everyone is expected to come armed in some form including the bride and groom (or bride and bride or groom and groom Iomedae is not particular on that). The tradition started in armies where most Iomedaeans can be found and expanded into the civilian realm shortly after Iomedae took Aroden's place as the prime god for a lot of his former worshipers.

The ceremony itself consists of solemn vows of devotion, protection, and faith followed by celebration adn festivities afterwards. However unlike many faiths Iomedae expects her worshippers to have no more than a single day afterwards for the pair to consummate and celebrate and even this is given begrudgingly as she expects the pair to return to their duties as soon as able.


More than love Abadar values financial stability. Thus each of the happy pair is expected to pay off the potential value of the other to their respective family who is expected to set that value upon the announcement of the proposal.

Though cold sounding the adherents to the faith claim that the surest way for a home to be secure and happy is financial stability and much of the money is typically returned to the pair in the form of gifts and property.


Lamashtan weddings are rarely witnessed by civilized folk. No oaths or devotions are sworn and the ceremony itself is relatively simple. Before a priestess of Lamashtu the couple imbibe a potent aphrodisiac and hallucinogen that supposedly gets them closer to the goddess as they consummate their bond before the whole congregation. Should the couple survive the ceremony a child is all but guaranteed, as does the child's inevitable deformities.

Male Orc Expert 5


Male Orc Expert 5

And here we go.

Been a while since I updated the blog so I did it wiht a little post.

In keeping with certain other things I said I'll post the relevant text here.

Little things count.

It’s easy for us to get caught up in the big vague concepts such as DPR, tactics, optimization, cahracter concept, or something so big and important like party make up. Does our group of two oracles, a paladin, and a bard have enough skills to spread our capabilities well? Does my cleric benefit the group more as offensive support or as a defensive anchor?

But what about the little things?

Such as encouraging every spellcaster in the group to have a healing type spell to spare charges off the wnad at the end of the day or to take pressure off the support casters after every fight. Or, keeping one damaging spell on hand in case an enemy really needs to die right now and they have taken so much damage that it can’t be that far off.

Or, rather than stopping at the very first square that comes to mind to make an attack consider if the next square over will give your allies more space to work with, more ways to flank, more avenues to get shots in or to make it easier to lay down spells on you or your target.

The truth about the little things is that they stack up and it all begins with two questions.

What do I have in excess and how can I use that to benefit the group?

Let’s say for example you have all the spells known of a certain level you want. But as more spells pile on to that list you are left wondering what to do with them. Do you let them go to waste? Do you pick a spell that sounded neat? Grab a situational spell?

I think the best answer is to look at your group as a whole and decide for yourself what works best with them. Is one caster doing the majority of healing? Maybe a healing spell will help lighten their burden. Is a monk struggling with their AC? Maybe just having mage armor where you don’t require it will help. Have loads of extracts you never use and an extra talent? Grab the infusions talent and pass them around.

Too much gold? See if someone has a dream item they are just shy of. Maybe throw the money into another healing wand for the group as a whole.

The ultimate benefit to all of this is that as the group takes on each other’s burdens they become lifted as a whole. The caster that is less worried about healing can focus on buff and support spells for the party. The monk wiht the higher ac gets hit less saving resources and making them more effective. The dream item at the pc’s command increases how dangerous they are in combat overall. With everyone having access to excess infusions they can save group action economy and spend quiet rounds in combat utilizing those infusions to great effect.

It doesn’t cost much. A spell known here, a spare talent their, some extra gold that would otherwise sit still on the sheet until your next big purchase. Before you know it these little bits of teamwork really add up.

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Most Relevant Build and World Information Will be Here.

So this is a homebrew experiment on a series of houserules meant to allow heroes, to well, be heroes.

You are newly recruited agents of the secret society that calls themselves the Red Sentinels. Claiming to act above any guild or law they work relentlessly to resolve the plague that has been devouring the city of Freeden for years. You have been chosen, either from the guilds, the populace or perhaps even among members of the Church of The One Lord to help solve this menace and release the city from the plague once and for all before another Flesh Harvest begins.

If you have any questions do let me know. I answered some in the interest thread already.

This will be up until Sunday night. I figure that's enough time for those truly interested to get something together.

Ultimately what I want is two things. A solid sheet and a very compelling character. The length of the game depends very much on the strength of the characters and the reliability of the palyers. If I can have reliable players with very strong and interesting characters with hope for development than who knows how long this will go for.

So I decided to do something a bit experimental and drug out some stuff I haven't made use of in a while.

Relevant Information Is Here

But so you understand the basic premise the group is selected by a secret society to help uncover the mystery behind a years long plague that has gripped the city. Two years from an event called by citizens the Flesh Harvests there is fear that such an event might occur again and efforts are being made to halt the spread before it happens.

Right now this is just an interest check instead of a proper recruitment as I'm still building the game and don't want to do more work in terms of world building than I have to. So as I work on it I'm answering questions simultaneously. Once I'm satisfied I've answered enough questions gotten enough interest I'll open a proper recruitment thread.

So, looking over some stuff from Path of War and reflecting on the design philosophy behind it something occurred to me.

What happens if we remove the 9th level casters entirely from the equation?

How does the game change?

I know it's going to be hard but can we not invoke the dark and squiggly one while discussing this? I'm curious about how the game balances under these parameters not so much about summoning the Dark One.

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So a long while ago I did a bad thing and ended up making like a 45 page thread in a valiant effort to attempt to optimize my way out of Rogue cruddiness into Rogue greatness. I ended up copy-pasting all the builds I found into this document for future generations

The result?

The ACG came out and flat out murdered the poor bastard.

But we learned alot. We came up with ways to play it that were previously unthought of. We certainly didn't approach even a minimally optimized bard in terms of options but we did do some really neat stuff.

But now we have the unchained rogue. Is it better? Will it let us compete? Let's see. I've been meaning to do this since the book came out. But now I have the time to get it to work.

So as before let's get to it.

First the Goals

First, we want to make sure the Unchained Rogue is better than Core Rogue.

Second, we want to make sure our new Unchained Rogue can reasonably compete against our 3/4 casters like Bards, Inquisitors, Alchemists, and the undisputed ruler of skill checks the Investigator.

We are not interested in competing against Rangers, wizards, slayers and what not as they cover different conceptual ground.

This needs to be done as a PURE rogue. Dipping one or two levels is okay but doesn't give a strong argument.

Our Challenges

Saves: We have one good save. And it's reflex. This is bad for us. PArticularly since we don't have an in-class method of reliably increasing them. But maybe I'm wrong.

Sneak Attack: It does not increase on a crit and requires us to be flanking a target or catching them flat footed. This wouldn't be so bad except it's also our main source of damage. To add to our troubles it's also the ability that triggers our new and nifty

To overcome this we must either produce a constant situation where the enemy is flat footed or make it to where sneak attack is a secondary source of damage.

Low attack: Unlike our brothers in the 3/4 bab range we have no means to increase our attack rolls. Even the monk can spend a ki point and get an okay boost to attacks. Rogues are forced to rely on positioning which is not a province of the rogue.

To overcome this we'll have to figure out how to get the most out of our attack to ensure that our sneak attacks even hit. Otherwise we will not be doing great damage nor making reasonable use of debilitating injury.

Skills and abilities It's extremely difficult to find something the rogue can do that a single casting of a spell can't do better.

To overcome this we need to make a rogue that's unique in the sense they can't be replaced with a spell or an eidolon. Being replaced with another class doesn't count since we can mix and match classes like this anyway (barbarians for paladins, sorcerers for wizards etc.).

Will Rogue's Edge help us fill that gap? Or it an insult?

Our tools

Just so we have a common ground to work with here keep things paizo published, and 20pt. buy.

Builds posted must be functional at all levels and try to come to fruition at or before 10th level (because we want to talk to the pfs crowd as well)

VMC is okay but I don't actively encourage it myself.

Our agreement.

Please no snark, and no negativity. Saying things like "the best rogue is a ninja/bard/alchemist/eidolon" is unproductive to the discussion. We're not here to talk about how the rogue sucks. We're here about how to make the rogue awesome.

On the flipside don't talk about the awesomeness of rogues without throwing up some mechanics. And if you do throw up some mechanics don't do things like take two levels of rogue and call that a good show of the class.

And please, no anecdotes like "a good player can make the rogue work" that's unhelpful.

Also, show your work. Don't make claims like "the unchained rogue is super broken" without backing your claim with math. If your rogue character is successful, post them and give the context of the game and explain why they're successful.

Also, keep in mind that goalposts might be moved. We want to push ourselves. If we can go beyond being better than a bard or investigator (unlikely but maybe possible).

Lastly, no houserules or class redesigns. We work with what we got, not fantasize about what we could have.

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So I'm looking at the occultist and there are lots of things, concepts mainly, that seem to work for me with it. A wielder of ancient weapons, someone who has inherited a heroes panoply, someone whose haunted ancestry manifests itself through items they once carried.
Or simply a psychic sensitive who uses items charged with history and power to make their magic work.

I'm gathering information on it because I'm rather curious on what all it can do. Parts of it strikes me as a class quite capable of a lot with careful thought and planning. Like is it possible to build a quite dangerous blaster with Evocation implements? Could you be a good summoner? A great fighter? An excellent rogue substitute?

I'm playing around and looking at stuff. Very utility heavy in terms of spell lists and powers. Things like MAgic circles feels tacked on for flavor while at the same time still useful enough that I'd consider falling asleep in a magic circle to keep me safe from possession and all that. Interesting stuff overall.

With all the attention paid to kineticists I'm looking at Occultist and wondering if we're not missing the real star.

I have to admit the book is growing on me some. Even if I had zero interest at first.

I'm rather fond of the Ghostrider archetype and I think the Promethean Alchemist and Flesheater Barbarians are sleeper hits both flavor and mechanic's wise.

Psychic detective might objectively be one of the strongest archetypes printed. Replacing their unwieldly extracts with straight forward spells seems a trade up.

Both magus archetypes seem great to me. Especially the unarmed one since we've been patiently waiting for an arcane fist for a while now.

Furious spell feels like the kind of feat I want to build something around.

Overall some neat stuff. What has everyone else found?

Hello hello.

So, I've been prodded by my friends and significant other to start a high level gestalt game.

This will be set in Sigil though much of it will largely be changed since there won't be any greyhawk or forgotten realm influences.

There is no overarching "plot" to the game merely a scenario the characters will be dropped in that I will simply sum up as "A large inheritance" and we'll go from there.

First game will be on the 26th at around 3pm Eastern US time.

Things you should know:

We're doing this over Roll20 and through Mumble or Google Hangouts if we can't get a server. Mumble is a free program. Mics are certainly required.

Recruitment ends Tuesday morning if I don't have a great candidate already.

I don't want to babysit. Sorry, but I'd like someone familiar with the rules. Not necessarily super proficient but someone who understands the basics at the very least. I very much want to focus on the game itself rather than the rules.

Yes my spouse is playing. No it makes no difference in how I treat her in-game. I've slept on the couch over this.

Character Creation:

25pt. buy

Everything on is allowed. However no monster races that give racial hit die, no templates.

10th level max hp per level. 62,000gp

Companions and cohorts are not gestalted.

Current players are a Druid/Rogue a Paladin/swashbuckler and a bard/summoner.

If you have any further questions please let me know.

So, I'm an old hat when it comes to optimization.

I was there when PunPun was born, when the only way to defeat him was to abort him by sacrificing an artificer to the gods.

I was there when people widely considered psionics to be overpowered in part due to a complete lack of understanding of the system. And then when people said that PunPun technically could not work. But no one cared because you can't hold a good Kobold God down.

So I'm used to my share of outlandish claims (I had a 7 page argument with someone who thought fighters were OP) and different versions of balanced versus OP.

But recently I've heard the implication, if not the outright claim that a Path of War character is equivalent to a gestalt character. And an optimized one is equivalent to a triple gestalt.

For those ignorant. Gestalt was a rule introduced in unearthed arcana that let you combine two classes. You simply took the best of the two classes, the abilities of both and ran with it.

So, say a Paladin/Oracle would have full BAB, full casting and all the paladin and oracle abilities.

It's a pretty popular variant for a number of reasons from allowing GM's to run smaller but balanced groups to giving characters a lot of flexibility for more individualistic games to simply wanting have a nice bonkers high level game.

So, I'm familiar enough with Path of War that I'm putting some stuff together. But maybe I'm simply biased in thinking that it can be quite nutty but nothing worse than what I can pull with, say, any full caster.

So, honest opinions, do you think Path of War classes are equivalent to the monsters in gestalt games, or even triple gestalt? And why do you think so?

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So a week or two back I was given he task of giving the other two Machinesmith expansions a look so we can improve and clarify the issues with the work already put in and getting them on par with the concepts and stuff produced with WoMD.

Brief Disclaimer:
In case it needs to be said please keep in mind that anything said or changed is not an insult, jab, or otherwise disparaging of the original authors work. The stuff in question was before we had a really good editor in Joshua Yearsley and without much if any input from the original authors of the machinesmith. This is not about making a bad content good, but making good content great.

So let's go over briefly what will happen starting with the easiest things.

Cutting Edge Machinesmith.


Converter: Probably the biggest revisions are happening to the converter.

Ultimately, it's just boring. Boring would be okay if it had a lot of utility like the analyzer. But it really doesn't.

So we with kaboom.

If you consider the Analyzer to represent machines that observe and calculate, and the constructor to represent machines that design and build, than the converter represents those machines that reproduce the more fun parts of physics from tesla coils to atom bombs.

It's getting it's spell list overhauled to be more in line with the analyzer in terms of level and ability.

In addition it's getting more base abilities similar to the analyzer as well (which if you remember granted bonuses to skills, dark vision and what not) with the idea being that you can customize your kaboom and at a master level basically tell time and space itself to shut up and sit down while you walk across it.

If we look at it from a player perspective the analyzer is there for subtle players who want to act on as much information as possible, hate being surprised, and affect the world in subtle but significant ways. The constructor is there for creative players. Those who know that a solution is only a matter of having the right tool, whether it's the appropriate magic weapon, wondrous item, or simply a big crowbar. I can imagine engineering majors drawing out full diagrams of the stuff they make to solve a problem.

The converter exists when you don't care to be subtle or creative and just want impact. That is not to say that it's unintelligent. Not at all. Among the abilities I'm considering is the ability to expend a number of charges and rebuild assembled prototypes by disassembling full slots into empty ones, changing energy damage types, or switching out augmentations on the fly.

So, it'll be stronger but still limited by its charges and it's smallish spell list. It'll open up more options but should not overshadow any other greatwork to any significant degree.

Mobius Armor

I'm kind of fond of this given its obvious inspirations. Not much is changing here. Some clarifications but otherwise I feel it's good enough not to warrant any changes for better or worse.


Again, not much to say here. Some clarifications, some polish, nothing too bad.


One thing some will notice when they compare new and old is I'll try and remove as many spell references as possible and just give relevant text where I can. I'm trying to get away from spell reference where ever possible as I find it irritating to have to look up spells and then translate that spell through the thing referenced.

Sometimes it's unavoidable for word space. Other times it's just less confusing to give text and modify.


Overall I liked the techniques and are virtually flawless. I didn't see a need to change them myself. Editing may though.


Again not much changing here.


Reprinting construct subschool. Mostly just some minor revisions here and there.

I'll go over changes to the fleshwriat next. Overall it's going to see some big revisions.

So I've been wanting to run a home(ish) game for a while and had in mind to do a Kaiju focused one. But that task is daunting and requires quite a bit of time to get right.

So I'm scratching the itch in the meantime with an adventure path that's about as wild as running like hell from the cloverfield monster in the first few hours of the homebrew I had in mind.

So here we go.

The Basics.

1. If you are interested simply let me know in this thread. Give me a quick run down about yourself and your experience and I'll let you know via PM.

2. A microphone is mandatory. Maptools is java based and I'll be getting the latest version to ensure everyone is on the same page. I have no interest in other things atm as maptools is nice, quick, and I'm comfortable with it given my many many folders of things for it. Plus, people skilled in java can make some very good macros. It's also free. So yeah.

3. I don't want your character sheet. I don't want your backstory. Seriously if you give it to me here I won't even consider it. Sure, you can work on one but don't expect it to be final. Reason being as I plan on the first session being purely about the players getting together to make characters, hashing out their backstories, and building an actual team rather than a bunch of poor sobs thrown together as this AP seems to implicate. You'll be better for it trust me.

4. First session will be on the 14th with Recruitment closing on the 8th. 4 people with a 5th if I feel it works out.

Things you should know.
1. All Paizo, Machinesmith, and Path of War Material will be allowed. Unchained classes allowed but not required (you can still be an APG summoner if you choose) Stamina system in place but only for Fighters who gain the Combat Stamina feat for free at 1st level.

2. 20pt. buy starting at level 1. Two traits one must be a campaign trait. I highly suggest getting the players guide.

3. Encounters are being altered for difficulty. Not CR. Which is to say certain things are changed to make fights harder without necessarily making the numbers bigger. Their tactics and equipment might change, I may switch out NPC's of one class for another, I might do something extremely subtle like simply move the furniture around the room. Whatever I can do to increase the difficulty and force the group to act as a group and not a pack of individuals I will do so.

Confirmed Houserules

Injury System: I'm currently working on an injury system I am looking to publish. The concept is that it is harder to actually lose a character to death but easier to see them injured. Details will come in when we start the game so I will just say that it's very easy for a character to lose a limb or break a leg and it takes time to properly heal. Magic can't really do the trick for a lot of injuries but some spells will be introduced around 3rd spell level that should function like remove disease/curse to give a good chance.

To Be Discussed houserules

I'm considering some other houserules to help combat be more dynamic/tactical. But, we'll talk about those with the group as a whole. Some thoughts.

No Attack of Opportunity for combat maneuvers if you do not posses the feat.

Attack of Opportunity against you if you miss an attack by 5+Wis mod.

And some others depending.

Let me know if you have any questions.

So recently my GM has ruled that unless specifically stated in the maneuver that golden lion maneuvers do not benefit me.

Citing this.

Golden Lion wrote:

The discipline of Golden Lion is a practice passed between war leaders, chieftains, generals, and militia leaders over the generations, meant to bring a group of warriors together into one cohesive unit. Golden Lion is a discipline that only greatly benefits a warrior who believes strongly in teamwork. The larger the group, the more who can benefit from the skilled leadership of a dedicated commander. Golden Lion benefits its practitioners indirectly, by aiding their allies instead. Because of this association with team work and working in groups with many differing people, the associated skill for this discipline is Diplomacy, and its associated weapon groups are heavy blades, hammers, and pole arms.

Is this how it's supposed to work? Or do I still count as my own ally and this is flavor text?

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Here's the blog post.

For all the talk about the ability for one class or another to crush a game master’s plans every gamer from the newest player to the most ancient of Gygaxian disciples understand that they are ultimately at the mercy of the dice. For all the bluster about good role playing and optimization it all too often comes down to blind stupid luck in determining whether or not we succeed or fail.

This is why much of optimization is, at its core, all about altering chances to favor the character. Or rather it’s about eliminating risk and maximizing reward. Whether it’s forcing a failed save by the enemy with high DC’s or a high, consistent critical range to ensure that you critically hit often many choices are made to make these opportunities happen as often as possible.

Tactics are no different. Actions, positioning, and numbers shift and flow altering percentages either for or against the group. Tactics is all about controlling this chaotic movement so that it allows the odds to always favor the group.

In this section we’ll discuss the two kinds of risks a group must face in every combat and how they affect the actions a character will use.

Hard Risks

Hard Risks are the easiest for any player to determine as they are based entirely on raw math.

The first thing any player should know about hard risks is what is sometimes called the 5% rule.

The 5% rule comes from the idea that on nearly every check made by a character using a 20 sided die there is always a 5% chance the die will come up as 20 and thus auto succeed or come up as 1 and thus automatically fail regardless of whatever bonus is behind the die roll. Basically, a critical hit or critical miss respectively.

This rule is what explains how a CR20 dragon can still be genuinely afraid of a large human army mostly composed of level 1 to level 3 warriors. They do not necessarily have to be skilled with their ballista shots, bolts coated in magic weapon oil, or alchemical frost weapons, all they have to be is lucky.

So, keeping this in mind any calculation of a percentage on a d20 will never get higher than 95% nor lower than 5% since the extreme ends of the spectrum are automatic successes or failures.

One method (that is less likely to require a calculator for expediency) is to subtract the bonus from the target number and multiply the result by 5. The number given represents a percentage chance to fail the roll. You can subtract this number from 100 to get the chance to succeed.

If this sounds complicated don’t worry too much. Often times just knowing you need a number above 10 or 12 is more than enough to tell you that the chances are not in your favor for the action to succeed. The only tricky part is finding out the target numbers. Game masters aren’t exactly going to tell you what those numbers are. That’s metagaming. However, simple observation of rolls, bonuses, and whether they succeed or not can give you a fair guess. Often if you at least work at it a GM won’t get upset simply because you knowing the number does speed the game up.

Let’s take an example and put some of this together, let’s say a paladin is flanking with a ranger and trying to debate whether or not he should use his smite evil ability on a particular foe. The ranger takes his full attack of three attacks each with a bonus of +15 on the first two attacks and a +10 on the last attack. The ranger rolls a 24, a 27 and a 21. The 21 and 24 both miss the targets AC but the 27 hits. The paladin has a base modifier of +17 on his attacks. Knowing that the targets AC is at least 25 and no more than 27 he needs at least an 8 to have any hope of hitting the creature or anywhere between a 60% to 50% chance. Deciding that the extra +3 bonus he can get from his ability is worth it he activates smite evil to grant him a 75% to 65% chance of hitting the target. Much better odds and buffs from other party members can be added to the attack bonus to make it easier to hit the monster.

As another example of decision making based on hard risks a wizard has to defend himself from an incoming orc brandishing a mean falchion with his name on it. With a base 18 AC thanks to mage armor and a great dex modifier the orc’s +5 attack bonus only has a 35% chance (a 13 on the roll or better) of hitting him. However he already knows that the orc will charge granting him another +2 bonus on the attack raising his chances to 45%. Given his low hit points the orc has a fair chance of dropping him immediately if the orc rolls high or crits. The wizard could cast shield granting him an additional +4 AC and lowering the chances of getting hit to 25% from a charge. Those are good odds. However the wizard also has the sleep spell which the orc only has a 20% chance of success against. At this point the only real difference is a question of reward, which we will get into later.

Soft Risks

Soft risks are chances taken based upon enemy psychology and habits and have more to do with the likelihood an action is going to take place rather than whether or not an action will succeed. These are far more difficult to quantify and much of it relies entirely upon game master habits. This is, yes, metagaming. It’s unavoidable as you are not determining what exactly the orc is going to do but rather you are actually determining the game master’s interpretation of what the orc would do.

That’s important. Because even if you are running the same module, adventure path, or pathfinder society scenario, each gamemaster will run it in slightly different and often significant ways that run counter to your expectations. So, pay attention, consider how the monster may act under your game master.

Ultimately, what it will come down to is experience and a good idea of what you’re doing versus what the enemy is going to react to. Assume the worst, assume the enemy is smarter than they are, and you’ll do fine.

Let’s go back to our above to our wizard example. The worst case scenario for the wizard is that the orc will charge him. However the orc could also decide to instead chuck a javelin at him or perhaps run off and flank with a companion against the groups fighter. The last option may be even worse than the wizard simply getting charged. If the fighter is dropped by a lucky crit the wizard may suddenly go from facing one orc in melee to two or even three. This decision, at once simplified by mathematics, is made more difficult by enemy psychology. Sure, the orc may see a paper thin object with finite hit points to massacre. Or, it could rightly see an object to fear and may choose to engage another enemy to free up comrades to face your threat. Just as likely the game master has chosen to run his orcs as mostly cowards who only face opponents when they outnumber the group a good two to one and thus may decide to flee altogether.

A Factor of Reward

So far we've discussed the concept of risk in terms of enemy psychology and hard game mathematics. We've looked over how we discover chances of success and how they pertain into our decision making process. However one factor we have yet to cover is what success actually gives us.

You see it’s easy to think that simply having a high percentage chance of success is all that’s required to make a decision. But, we also have to factor in the actual rewards for such a decision. What we have to look at is whether or not the outcome fits our goal for the combat.

From a group standpoint this means defeating the encounter while spending as few resources as possible. Individually speaking this means fulfilling your role in the group while maintaining your ability to continue doing so.

If we go back to our wizard example above we discussed the mathematics and various actions the orc can take leaving us with two possible decisions on our wizards part. Casting shield means a guaranteed outcome that gives the orc little chance of actually harming the wizard. However casting sleep gives us a good chance of dropping the orc out of the combat completely. The reward for shield is a heightened AC at the risk of the orc taking another action to make the casting of the spell all but meaningless. The risk of sleep is the chance the orc will make their save and leave the orc more or less open to do as they please.

What the wizard chooses to do is simply a choice of deciding whether or not the risk of either action is worth the reward and deciding whether or not that reward corresponds to their goals. In this case the wizard, whose role it is to control the enemy would find that casting shield would do nothing to control the enemy and does not function to make the encounter go any faster. Casting sleep would not only potentially being the encounter closer to an end but also fulfill the wizard’s role in the group of ensuring the enemy remains controlled. In the end, the wizard casts sleep.

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And here we go.

So, I ultimately killed the book idea.

It wasn't a particularly easy decision since I got so much of it written already. But, I came to the conclusion that when I eventually publish my own book I wanted to do something else.

So, rather than let that work go to waste I'm simply iving it away bit by bit.

At some point I'll compile the house rules and suggestions for making games, specifically combat, more challenging and throw them into a book as that both seems much more marketable and a little bit more palatable than releasing what s essentially a strategy guide.

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So I sat down and did a thing with a mic and made a podcast because writing takes hours and this took about 20 minutes.

I talk briefly about things other people have written and wonder what to do with stuff I already wrote.

Also it's Christina Stiles and Misfit Games. It was late and I was tired.

So I find myself in a dilemma of too many options.

I have 15 1st level (npc) elven followers along with an Arcanist cohort and a Machinesmith character.

We're to form a military unit for us in mass combat and out. Guns everywhere is the rule and I have loads of money to kit out the crew.

So basically everyone already has a handy haversack, plenty of ammo, and at least a masterwork rifle.

I've toyed with a number of ideas from technology to siege weapons.

What I want to do is produce something fast, mobile, and packing a good hard punch.

I have 13,000gp to spend. Troops are already armed and kitted up for basic stuff. So I'm looking for something extra to give that extra push towards awesome.

Male Orc Expert 5

Place holder.

So I already discussed this a bit in a somewhat rambly blog post.

But, I wanted to bring it here to have an actual discussion on it.

Because, while there are rather lively and tired debates on the stormwind fallacy we rarely talk about how sometimes we refuse to be smart in combat because it's not in-character.

Male Orc Expert 5

And here we go. Split up from the old thread since they were taking that over.

Male Orc Expert 5

Alrighty so let's get character creation started.

The first thing we're going to do is select the regiment we want to be a part of. This help determines some things like starting aptitudes, doctrines and what not. Training stuff.

Cadian Shock Troopers: Disciplined fighters from the ever-besieged world of Cadia where over 90% of the population is raised form birth to defend against the forces of chaos. You've held and handled weapons since you were old enough to crawl. Your tactics, uniform, and doctrines set the standard that all Imperial Guard regiments strive to follow.

Catachan Jungle Fighters: Born and raised on a death world with legendarily inhospitable conditions to human life you represent man's ability to adapt and overcome. A true survivor in the most hostile of situations.

Death Corps of Krieg: Conceived in rebellion and born of nuclear fire you come from a background of regimented self sacrifice and penitence for the crimes of your ancestors.

Elysian Droptroopers: From the fringes of space you have served a tour of duty defending your homeworld and hunting pirates, raiders and other terrors that come from the deepest ranges of space. Lightly armed and lightly equipped droptroopers specialize in dropping on enemies from orbit, from dropship, or from other airborne conveyances to surprise and ambush an enemy and conserving resources until the battle is won or at least until reinforcements arrive.

MAccabian Jannissaries: Driven by zeal enflamed by the deepest of faiths the Janissaries see their tour of duties as pilgrimages rather than military service.

Mordian Iron Guard: Supremely disciplined and organized your regiment comes from a planet where the unruly require a tight fist to keep order. You represent that order.

Tallarn Desert Raiders: On the desert world of Tallarn you honed your skills for the ambush and the well placed shot on the deserts and tunnels of your home. Guerilla warfare is your creed whether emerging from the dunes lasguns ablazing or thundering suddenly from the mountains astride a powerful leman russ tank.

Vostroyan First Born: You are the first born of your family and due to an agreement made way way before your time whether you wanted to or not you were sent off to serve the imperium in tithe. Your family considers this a great honor and you may have even met a relative when you were shipped off. Vostroyans take pride in their equipment often getting heirlooms from their family in the guard but nonethless of the utmost quality due to your homeworlds close relationship with the Adeptus Mechanica.

The Swordmasters of Yatagan: Raised on a feudal world where skill with the sword is cherished and respected more than the crude ease of lasgun fusilades your regiment relishes the thrill of close combat even against physically superior foes. Your regiment is known for its grisly trophies and unparalleled skill in close combat.

If you want more info fluff wise on the regiments all but the last one can be looked up via google and be provided an absolute wealth of information.

I made the last group because I figured something from a feudal world (i.e. has tech closer to the 1300's) might be more comfortable to those unfamiliar with the setting.

As far as people from a mix of homeworlds might be concerned we can discuss it but I'd like for most of the squad to come from the same homeworld.

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This is the revised version

Mainly I redid how I uploaded the main page to make it much easier to edit. It also let's me see how many people are actually viewing it.

Both things are fairly important as I wanted to address some issues of formatting (people complained it was hard to read) and make it easier to add things in (when new content is released). Also, I like to see when people are reading thigns as it lets me know just how popular/useful they are.






*Inquire at your local recruiting office*

So I got my hands on Only War. Perhaps the only dark heresy spin off I'd want to run (I'd much rather play Rogue Trader). I'm reading through it and getting familiar with the rules and working on understanding the game itself.

If this was going to be a game where I'd need to have a firm grasp of the rules on the fly I'd take my time on this. But, the advantage of PbP is people can learn at relatively the same pace as long as the foundations of the game (the actual players and world) are there.

So, I know most people here play Pathfinder or some version thereof so I don't exactly expect many people to understand anymore than I do and that's okay.

I have one person, a possible second, and I need two more to get started.

So with that in mind I'm only keeping recruitment up until Wednesday. Why? Well I don't expect complete characters as most of the actual work has to be done collaboratively (particularly regiment selection).

Scenario wise the game will be relatively short and will take place entirely on a paradise world.

So this recruitment will only ask a few questions to get an idea on what character you are thinking about. Don't go too deeply into it as the character can greatly change during the actual creation process.

I'm willing to work with someone getting through the creation process for their character if I feel it's worth the time.

In the mean time.

What is your characters first experience with death?

How important is family to your character?

Describe your characters childhood.

DICLAIMER: I'm not really interested in a purely min/max optimization debate. In my mind the debate is done in regards to these two classes for now.

With that out of the way I'm left wondering if there is really any point to these classes.

What I mean is is there a concept that can't be better covered through another class?

Fighters are particularly bad here. Most of their archetypes come down to "pick X weapon and specialize in it". That seems fun if you just want to build some stupidly simplistic characters with few tricks in combat and fewer still out of it. But that seems to lack more than a little bit of mechanical depth to form the foundation of a roleplaying one.

Rogues are a touch better. But the rogue suffers from the problem that pretty much any character concept you can think of for a rogue can be done better from the mechanical viewpoint of other classes. Just think of a singular concept character that you can think of and chances are you'll find an archetype from a core, base, or hybrid class that fits your needs and offers more. Often, when this is put up as a suggestion I see people reject ideas not because they feel it doesn't fit the concept but because the other class comes with extra mechanics they feel they don't want to deal with. A shame too, as I think having mechanics you don't use can actually provide a bit of depth in and of themselves.

For example consider one of the pathfinder tales books that has an inquisitor of Pharasma who staunchly refuses to use any divine magic due in part to his Rahadoumi pride and part our of spite for his coercion into a nigh eternal servitude. That makes you consider concepts like the ranger who refuses to get another animal companion after his last one died or the druid who refuses to summon animals due to the pain that it can inflict on the animal in general.

It doesn't help that the main feature of rogues is split between so many classes, many of them capable of doing the job better by dint of having support of other abilities. After all simply having Detect magic available as a spell is a step up in many ways.

So, what that leaves us with is simply having a rogue or a fighter be a class that can cover concepts both mechanically and flavor wise that other such classes can't. Sadly it seems whatever gap, if one even exists now after ACG, is essentially gone.

So that brings us to the question. Is there a character concept right now for either class not better covered in another?

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And here we go.

At the time of this post I don't feel it's entirely complete. I think a few things need to be refined adn that will require more time I think. Also I think it could look better. We'll see. In any case if there are any problems with it you see let me know.

So I'm nearing the end of the alchemist guide just editing, art, and putting it together.

After that I'll do what will undoubtedly be an interesting guide on the Shaman, a class I think is going to be very very powerful once it's figured completely out.

After that though I don't know. I want to do one more guide after updating the others. I like the idea of doing skald which is another class I think needs figuring out. I like brawler too but I think people are slowly chewing that one into an interesting shape. Hunter is one I've felt severely underrated and we know how I like to crush things with the weight of the twelve ton "underdog".

So I put together a poll here.

I'll keep this up until October 11th.

In the meantime we can discuss the options and how each class interacts with itself.

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Defensive type characters have long been considered suboptimal. There's a good reason for this. Often these builds don't deal the necessary damage to be viable and often end up barely mobile bricks who find out there hyper focused defensive strategy isn't enough to keep them alive.

Or, in the case of Crane Wing builds you get nerfed. Sorry. :/

But, I put some thought into this. Is there still a good tactical advantage to playing a good high defensive character?

Well let's see.

1. Survivability - Survivable characters can do more. They can take more hits, eat more spells and good survivable characters can get through more fights. Endurance isn't often a problems as much as simple fight ending capacity.

2. Efficiency - It's weird but as a character that takes little damage you should expend very few resources. The trick, I think, is that people go overboard on one form of defense and fail to consider layering defenses atop one another so the investment is low enough for good offense to be added in.

3. Enemy Resource/Action Sink - An interesting thing about defenses is that when an enemy fails to penetrate them they produce an action advantage in that they completely negate the action in question. So, if you pass a save on a targeted spell, fail to take damage from an attack, or otherwise cause an opponents action to do nothing.

So there is a tactical incentive to go heavy on the defense. I just think actual thought needs to be put into it rather than relying on gimmicks.

With that being said let's get to work.

What good defensive character needs.

~Solid Saves. Two of the three saves need to be high enough to make most saves reasonably. The third can be weaker but still fair enough. Good saves make good survivability and in many cases can negate spells used on you. So the bestiary chart does give a fair number to base it off of so let's get a run down:

CR Minimum Saves
1 +6
2 +7
3 +8
4 +9
5 +9
6 +10
7 +11
8 +12
9 +13
10 +13
11 +14
12 +15
13 +16
14 +16
15 +17
16 +18
17 +19
18 +19
19 +21
20 +22

~ High AC. Ac represents the most common and useful line of defense against physical attacks. It's actually fairly easy to get really high. So not too much effort should be put into getting it high, but we do want to have at least around 50% miss chance on attacks against AC. We shouldn't need much more as we should have other means of covering defense.

CR Minimum AC
1 12
2 14
3 16
4 18
5 20
6 22
7 23
8 25
9 27
10 28
11 29
12 31
13 32
14 33
15 34
16 36
17 37
18 38
19 39
20 40

~Layered Defenses: Having passive defenses are great but we need more. If an enemy can bust our AC, he needs to deal with miss chances, if saves are not a problem for them they need to deal with immunities, if ranged enemies have true seeing to bust through the invisibility they need to get through Deflect Arrows. If we get hit we should be able to knock the damage off with DR or swift healing. That kind of stuff.

~Damage: Look, even if we become literally invulnerable it doesn't mean spit if we can't end the fight. It's unlikely we'll do support and while control is a possibility it might be best left to casters. I also don't expect Falchion Fred levels of consistent, constant damage. But, given the tools available there's no reason we can't get close. Arcane strike is easy to get, power attack works just fine on a one handed weapon, slashing grace allows us to make dex based builds more easily.

The Work

So let's get to it shall we. Based on the minimums above let's try to make defensive characters that can meet these standards.

~20pt buy.
~Paizo stuff.
~lvl is up to you.

~Be practical: The build should avoid too much silliness. i.e. I shouldn't hurt myself picking up all the books this one character takes. It shouldn't require GM approval (like a custom race out of the ARG). And shouldn't make people scratch their heads trying to visualize it.

~Multiclassing is okay but don't get crazy and again be practical. It shouldn't be a stretch for one class to progress into another. A barbarian segueing into fighter is reasonable. A wizard segueing neatly into brawler isn't a particularly natural occurrence.

~Don't rely on a magic item. If I can sunder one piece of equipment and ruin everything than the build was flimsy from the start. A defensive kind of character shouldn't come apart at the seams in terms of defense or damage if you do something as silly as lose your agile weapon.

~Be consistent. It's great that you can get a 25 AC and 50% miss chance at level 2. But if you can't maintain that through out the adventuring day it's all but useless. Active defenses either need to be plentiful or need only be used in situations where the extra defense is needed.

~Layer defenses. Just having high AC isn't enough as I discussed above. So have multiple ways to defend yourself. Miss chances, parries, etc. etc.

~Be useful. I think it shouldn't need to be said but pure defense is not the goal. Practical defense is what we need. A solid front from where we can safely do things like deal damage.

I'll start posting builds of what I've come up with later. Feel free to comment, post, or throw out your own ideas in the meantime.

So I'm considering making a magus/brawler gestalt for a game.

And I'm wondering whether or not it's worth it to go for eldritch scion with the arcane blood line?

I'm kind of in love with the idea of using martial versatility along with the brawlers array of abilities alongside a magus's own versatility to smack people around.

My only question is whether or not eldritch scion is worth it or should I go for a different variety of magus?

So after roughly 3 years of sticking around our inquisitor is finally bowing out. :(

So now we seek a 4th to replace him going further into the 3rd book.

So, ewal quick

Level 5, 20pt. buy
2 traits, one must be campaign
ACG is okay since I'm getting mine thursday.

In the tradition of the game answer the following questions with your submission.

1. Why are you in Westcrown?

2. Given a chance would you hurl down the ruling houses and take their place? Or create a new form of government?

3. What will you be able to contribute to the group?

4. How do you expect the character to develop roleplay wise? Mechanically?

5. I'm a Hellknight about to lay some police brutality down on you. What do you say to stop me from breaking off my spiked greaved boot in your butt?

Group consists of Witch, Cleric, and Fighter. Taking one more. A second at the groups discretion.

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