I am not familiar with PFS rules, so, some of my suggestions may not be legal.
"Fates Favored" trait is a MUST. There is no reason you wouldn't want to improve your bonuses by an extra +1.
The second trait is up to you. Both Matt2VK's suggestion for that extra initiative ("Reactionary") or keerawa's suggestion for "Maestro the Society" are excellent suggestions. I would go with the latter for the extra 3 rounds of Archaeologist Luck.
I learned about Lingering Performance could be applied to Archaeologist Luck on these boards actually. Again, there is no reason to not accept extra opportunities to use your luck. I have to disagree on Matt2VK's point of vue of "Lingering Performance" usefulness in low combat games. Bards are usually the group's skill monkey and Archaeologist Luck can be used on skill checks, so even if the game lacks combat encounters, extra uses of luck is never a bad thing.
I also built an halfling archaeologist and I went with a dip into Ranger with Wild Stalker and Trapper archetypes. The Trapper archetype gives you Disable Device (and "Trapfinding") as a class skill without spending a trait for it , and the Wild Stalker archetype gives you nice perception bonuses with "Strong Senses".
"Strong Senses (Ex): At 1st level, a wild stalker's life among the wild has sharpened his senses. He gains low-light vision and a +1 bonus on Perception checks. If he already has low-light vision, he gains a +2 bonus on Perception checks instead. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels after 1st..."
A level dip into Ranger also gives you the same number of skill points as a bard, +1 BAB, +1 on REF and FORT saves, access to better armor and weapons, tracking.
I would keep DEX at 18 and go for the archery option as the OP. The bard was always meant as a support character, not a frontliner. Plus, a halfling with high DEX makes a VERY stealthy scout, adding extra trapfinding, better perception/senses, and tracking only makes sense.
Roleplaying, and having fun with it, has nothing to do with stats or results. Roleplaying is basically acting. An actor can be interesting and have fun doing it wether he plays a fool, a brute, a brilliant, a charismatic, a schlob, a wretch, a sniveling weasel...
In my group, players almost never play a Wizard if they can have access to a Sorcerer. A sorcerer starts with the same number of skill points as a fighter. But even with characters with lots of skill points, they can't be master of everything. A fighter could still find his own niche/speciality (with traits, he has access to almost ANY skill), he could pick a skill or two not covered by his fellow adventurer and fully invest to be the best at it while others might spread out their skill points on too many different skills. Feats, traits, racial bonus might even boost him up further.
The group I currently GM has a Fighter, a Cleric, a Sorcerer (who all have 2+INT bonus skill points/level) and a Monk (4+INT/level). So they have to share different responsabilities. The cleric concentrate on Knowledge: Religion, the Sorcerer on Knowledge: Arcana, the monk has no skill points to spare on any Knowledge because he has to cover the rogue/scout role (Stealth, Perception, etc). So that leaves a lots of options for the fighter to make himself useful just on the Knowledge front. Ours decided to concentrate on Knowledge: Dungeoneering, but he could also have covered Engineering, History or other useful knowledge skills via traits (and/or feats).
Of course, the bigger the group, the more it is difficult to find his own niche, and not only for Fighters. If the group is large with numerous skill monkeys (rogues, bards, rangers, etc), the the fighter might have less options. But there is always Profession or Crafting skills that will at least add color to the character. Crafting masterwork armor and weapons can make for a decent income. Even the climbing skill you mentioned, sure the sorcerer could use a Spider Climb spell, but I'm sure most casters will be more than happy to let the Fighter use his climb skill, so that the caster can keep his 2nd level spell slots for more useful spells such as Mirror Image, Invisibility, etc.
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
+1 on Ciaran Barnes comment.
I am new to these boards, but one thing that seem to be evident here is an almost anal mindset on overoptimization. Well, there you have it, one-trick ponies can be boring to play.
Players should stop seeing Pathfinder as an MMO. It is called a "Roleplaying" Game for a reason. A character should be more than a stat block. Playing rolls without playing role is missing the point of RPGs IMHO.
And, like many other have suggested, players should work on their character background at least as much as their stat block. Then, with a good GM, their character will always be fun to play.
One of my favorite thing specific to Pathfinder is the trait option. Traits are a great tool to develop a character's background (even for the most clueless or lazy players) and should not be selected just with the greedy lust for more bonuses. They can open a new skill to your Fighter's limited class list (provided he has not dumped his INT and has some points to spend). Knowledge, Profession and Craft skills are obvious ways to make a Fighter still useful during their "rest & resupply" stays in town.
I am surprised by the OP's comment about the monk of his group feeling useless outside fights. Monks have access to all kinds of different abilities, skills, feats that should make them good in multi-tasking roles. The one in my group is pretty much the group's scout (having the best stealth and perception), is the secondary face (with good Sense Motive to boot), and, having taken the Caretaker trait, is the back-up healer to stabilize dying, stop bleeding, take care of recovering wounded, etc.
Final point: I disagree with propositions that a GM should give extra skill points or items or any other advantages to compensate players for their poor choices on their part while building their character. If you are not too far in the game, you might want to give them a chance to change a trait and/or revise their skill spending. Either that or make them start new character from scratch with an invitation to read the first chapter in ULTIMATE CAMPAIGN.
I had the very same thought. Just: wow! Cool dragon! Awesome to see it in flight as if it just took off the ground or as if it was coming down. Would have been perfect if it's head was tilted toward the ground where terrified players would be.
As for suggestions for future biggies (in order of preference) :
As an old timer GM I understand your need to map everything in your campaign. The longuest campaign I ever ran was a thieves guild set in AD&D Waterdeep and besides all multiple sourcebooks from the publisher, I had two thick binders of maps (including the Inside of shops, important houses, etc.), and NPC character sheets. I had to be prepared for anything because I had (and still have) players who don't follow the usual timeline of modules and get strayed into subplots of their own devices more often then not.
For devising powerful NPC, it help to think "how did he or she ended up in that position? What make him so important/powerful/feared? (beside his current position/role).
How did he gather informations before he became a manager of spies? Intimidation? Charm? Might?
He or she might have been the best agent/spy for the previous master, so he would have high skills and levels in rogue or bard, including fighting and sneaking abilities he might not get to use anymore. He would have accumulated the best Equipment/magic items available to him/her.
He or she might be a charismatic priest of a god of secrets? A former courtesan (now head of a prostitution house?) of Calistria maybe? A Norgorber cleric posing as guildmaster of the merchants guild?
A Sorcerer or Wizard (specialized in divining? Charm?) completely obsessed with knowledge, ALL knowledge, small an big, whose power resides more in information brokering than magical prowess.
Questions that might help you orient the build of your NPC.
The very first Pathfinder character I built (and my favorite) is of the same type, a Rogue/Knifefighter/Scout with a single level dip into a Ranger/Trapper/Wild Stalker to get trapfinding back, plus a free good perception bonus (Wild Stalker) to help even more trapfinding, and decent boost into saves, BAB, hit points.
Aside from the obvious "River Rat" trait for the +1 damage with daggers, I took "Hidden Hand":
"Your concealed weapons strike fast and true. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Sleight of Hand checks made to conceal light weapons and a +1 trait bonus on attack rolls when making an attack with a light weapon during a surprise round."
He'a a halfling with Craven, Lowblow and Fleet of Foot alternate racial traits (fast, sneaky, and stealthy). He might be the best scout-type character I ever made and it makes for a pretty hard-hitting rogue for a little guy with small blade in his hand.
Why can't we have both?
Especially after last set that was all about demons, I could use some more basic stuff that the Pathfinder Battles line is missing.
I am all for cool monsters, but do I need half dozen variants of succubus-types? Not really. In most of my games, I will use and reuse more humans and other PC proxies (dwarves, halflings, gnomes, etc.) than most big monsters that might only see play once or twice (except for classic rank and file monsters like goblins, orcs, zombies, etc).
In the game I just started last week-end, my players had to make do with miniature that looked very little like their character because they are still too little options for PCs (except if you are a human pirate!). Our gnome fire-wielding sorcerer has to use the Eel from the Skull & Shackles set as a proxy because they are no male gnome caster in any set. He is crossing his fingers that Balazar will be the second iconic in this set. In my games, the party almost always have riding dogs or a donkey or a horse to carry extra equipment. I would love to use an actual mini instead of using a token (or the awkward jumping wolf from the first set as proxy for a dog).
I prefer to see more miniatures that have the potential to see more use/time on the grid map, than too many weird monster that I might never use. Sure, once in a while, a cool miniature might inspire me to include a monster I might not have considered playing otherwise, just for the fun of dropping it on the grid and see my players react to it. All I'm saying is the Pathfinder Battles line is still young and has many holes to fill, and I am happy this set looks like it will do just that.
Awesome preview!This set can do no wrong so far.
VERY happy to see more player proxies.
+1 on more males, with two-handed weapons and polerarms. More dwarves, halflings, gnomes, elves, a male catfolk would be welcomed... and I certainly wouldn't mind a second model for a tengu! ;). Oh, and clerics and casters that don't look like evil nemesis or pirates, etc.
Don't forget that majority of players are males and, in my 30 years + experience, most of them prefer to play male characters.
Wrath of the Righteous : 1.5
Mummy's Mask : 3.5
Iron Gods : -1
Oooh! Hope you won't mind me using this in my campaign.
I usually am the GM of the group I play with.
I guess that, in Pathfinder, my favorite character would be the Magus. In fact I just built a Kensai Magus as an NPC for the next campaign I am GMing because one of our regular players might not make it.
The other type of character I like to play are rogues. I guess for the same reason: when they land a sneak attack, they can hit pretty hard, and have a useful range of abilities and skills.
In general, I prefer spontaneous casters (Sorcerer, Oracle) to casters that have to prepare their spells (that is one thing I would like to change to the Magus to make it perfect).
I prefer warriors who rely on skill over brute strength.
I could never accept in my mind the concept that Rangers can cast spells (the Skirmisher or Trapper archetype represent well what a Ranger should be to me), or the whole Performance ability of Bards.
I don't think I ever played a religious character (Paladin, Cleric, Druid, etc.), thought I would like to try the Inquisitor someday (Solomon Kane is my favorite R.E.H. character), and I've build a swashbuckly Cayden Cailean as a suggestion for one of my player that I would have liked to play (he went for the obvious Sarenrae-Kyra style instead)
Very cool to read! Thanks for sharing your game with us.
I raise my beer mug to you for handling so many players!
I don't think I've seen these reported yet (from the Core Rulebook):
Valeros, Harsk, and Seelah falling or being hit by traps (p.418)
Amiri being covered with tiny crawling spiders (don't remember where I saw it)
Amiri looking disgusted while discarding from a pile of papers/scrolls that look like bills or payroll sheets... Bureaucracy has to be the worst torture for a barbarian (from Ultimate Campaign, p 80)
How cool is that!?
I was just going to proxy last preview's Falcon as most bird familiars, but this is just SO much better.
And the actual miniature looks great too.
Happy, happy! Joy, joy!
I did not see the goat coming (never read the AP), but yeah sure. I sure can use some. As Vigil pointed out, they add some non-fantastic color to Smuggler's Shiv. The goat add another much needed option for familiar, can be used to populate farms, small towns, a perfect innocent looking polymorphed enemy/monster, etc. I am already thinking about ways to put goats in as many game as I can GM as a quirky running gag... It just stimulate my GM creativity as I am writing this...
The two human casters looks very nice too. Nazenha, in particular, is beautiful with the flowing robe and all. And Radosek might just be the perfect stand-in for my planned cameo appearance of Tim Pratt's Rodrick in my game when my players get a few more levels (the Ice woand looks almost like a sword).
This looks like THE set that will make me go crazy and go for a full case... The only thing I dread are those probable out-of-time russian soldiers... I hope they are not too many of those. Those and tanks, and Rasputin, are the reason I didn't buy this AP. Not a big fan of historical figures invading my fantasy world. A Rasputing mini wouldn't bug me though, I would just use him for something else.
Both are good and can be fun to play. Both can be powerful frontline warriors.
Diversity/flexibility is where they differ.
Barbarians can do more different things than a basic Fighter: Rage powers, fast mouvement, Trap Sense.
Fighters on the other hand shine on flexibility with their generous access to Feats. They can specialize in whatever the player wants, even in the earliest levels. They are like a box of legos to a kid, you build what you feel like playing.
I prefer the Fighter for this reason. The Fighter is the perfect dip-class because it can be whatever you need it to be.
+1 on "NO enlarged Iconics for me".
Erik Mona wrote:
You just made my day! Thank you!
This set is turning from a "I hope there is something in it for me" , into a "must set aside budget for a full case" scenario.
Since I'm not into demons and high level games, I will probably be buying only a few singles from the Wrath of the Righteous.
But Reign of Winter seems to have more what I like both as a player and GM. Cold climates, northern barbarians, viking-types, trolls, etc...
Very happy with all four reveals.
I was going to use water elementals as proxy for both Ice Elementals and golems, but these two are so (pardon the cheap pun) cool! I can almost hear the ice cracking while looking at them.
+1 to the request for Red Mantis Assassins. Additionally, after Reign of Winter I would like to see another Legends of Golarion-esque set that includes stuff like some Aspis dudes, and a handful of other PFS friendly pieces. You could blend in some stuff from Jade Regent, which would be a good excuse to toss in Reiko and Hayate, as well as some other pretty rad things like a harpy (Zaiobe) or a Yeti in the large slot.
I'm with you for a second Golarion set not associated with a particular Adventure Path. Yes for a Red Mantis! Strix and gnolls. I would like to see more miniature options for PC or NPC. I'm starting a game as GM soon, and I have a lot of trouble finding minis that even come close to my Players specs. More options for dwarves are needed. Some gnome sorcerer/wizard types. More than one option for Monks. Barbarians, fighters with different weapon styles... Varisians and Ulfens, Shoanti and Keleshites, and Mwangi characters... etc.
As for Jade Regent, I would prefer a full set devoted to this Adventure Path. There is so much needed: male and female samurai, same for ninjas, Oni, oriental type dragons, tengus (!), Nagaji, Kitsunes, etc.
Kairos Dawnfury wrote:
I love the idea to follow Rodrick after Tomb of Winter Plunder, although I miss his artwork from that story...
I agree. Althought the art here is very nice, it is also too generic. He just look like another hero. The picture from "Tomb of Winter Plunder" was perfect in representing Rodrick's mischievious side and ambiguous morals.
And I also want to +1 on "Liar's Blade", my favorite Pathfinder novel.
Please give us more Rodrick and Hrym! Love those bastards!
Maybe a collection of short stories that would include the two short web tales?
Erik Mona wrote:
There are no shocker lizards in this set. There ARE more animals in this set. Possibly more than in all previous sets combined. Possibly.
That is GREAT news!I have been hoping for more basic animals for a few sets now.
And since, as a GM, I'm not big on demons, I'm also glad to hear we will be seing less of them for the near future. It was puzzling to me to see there were more succubus-type minis in all sets than they were of the whole dwarf race (only 3 in all sets so far, still no female, no cleric or caster, or hammer wielding, etc...)
This is probably my favorite preview ever!
The Falcon is my favorite. He can even proxy for other types of familiars/companions until we get an Owl, a Raven, etc... (maybe in this set with your promise of more animals in this set?)
The Falconer is awesome! He is perfect for a PC Ranger, or he can be a noble's personnal squire/huntsman/falconer, or an interesting NPC to guide the players to some remote locations...
And the Centaur looks very, very nice. I like the design and the details: saddlebags and all. And the paint job is beautiful.
Thank you Eric for answering all the questions and explaining to us a bit of the process.
This preview has given me hope
Star Wars: Scourge by Jeff Grubb. Pretty decent adventure read.
I have never been interested by Star Wars novels, but I gave this one a try because I have always liked Jeff Grubb's work, both in gaming and in his prose. I just fell in love with the characters in his Finder's Stone trilogy many years ago. I hope he gets to expand his short story "Catch of the Day" from Planet Stories' Worlds of their Own into a full novel in the near future.
Next on the reading pile is Pathfinder Tales: Death's Heretic
I highly recommend Pathfinder Tales: Liar's Blade, which I recently finished. Had a lot of fun reading the bromance between anti-hero Rodrick and his sword Hrym, and kudos for the nod to master Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar series on the title of every chapters! Please give us some more Tim Pratt!
Also just finished the last issue of the Pathfinder comic book series. I want more stories about our favorite iconics.
You know, with Tengu, Aasimar, and Tiefling now PFS legal, it might be nice to get iconics from those races.
I agree 100%!Aasimar and Tiefling are not my cup of tea, but they are very popular among players.
And of course, I would love to see an iconic tengu!
On the cover of the Advanced Race Guide, there is a tengu caster of somekind fighting alongside iconics Harsk and Merisiel. Maybe he will be finally 'made' and named in the Advanced Class Guide? (fingers crossed)
He could be the iconic Arcanist or Shaman? Or maybe even an Investigator? (as an homage to Edgar "The Raven" Poe who is credited with inventing the detective novel genre).
Oh and a male half-orc is a must!
And since we are stuck with getting more humans, I will add my vote for a male Shoanti Shaman, an a male red or blond bearded Ulfen Skald.
Erik Mona wrote:
And I was so hoping for a JADE REGENT set after 'Winter'.
Feiya is a welcome addition. And I love the Fox. Any chance to see more animal familiars and/or companions any time soon Eric?
One of the players in my group is hurting for a riding dog.