You could still argue that the prepared caster archetypes are superior because they provide greater flexibility. That's a strong point in their favor, especially for people new to the system who might have trouble picking the best spells. But the spontaneous dedications grant casting that keys off charisma, which can be beneficial if you want the character to be a strong communicator.
They also provide access to a different set of feats. The Bard has potentially useful skill consolidators in Versatile Performance and Bardic Knowledge, a reliable buff in Inspire Courage and a powerful debuff in Dirge of Doom. I'm less impressed with Sorcerer feats, but Elemental Toss might be a fun focus power to pick up for clerics with weak domain powers.
The summoned creature gets to act immediately. From page 195:
You could argue that the text in Summon Monster overrides the general rule, but because it's parenthetical, it seems more likely to be an incomplete reminder of how the rules work.
I'm not sure I like the idea of tying class feat effectiveness to skill proficiency. One of the theoretical strengths of the current feat paradigm is that it separates combat capabilities from narrative capabilities. This means wizards or fighters can focus on stealth, crafting, or diplomacy rather than arcane lore or athletic prowess based on their desired role and backstory. If combat capabilities depend on skills (outside combat maneuvers, which are generally weak), that freedom goes away, a shame given how few skill increases most classes get.
Having said that, boosting feats based on skill proficiency would make increasing proficiency more exciting. I can see value in that, but the developers would need to work to make sure the skill-powered feats are appealing but not mandatory. Otherwise, optimizers will feel constrained by the system and non-optimizers will underperform to the point of frustration.
Doktor Weasel wrote:
I suspect Ultimate Combat's Dragoon is a reference to Kain, a character from Final Fantasy II (or IV, if you prefer) who could jump off-screen to land a delayed but more powerful attack.
My post was meant to be humorous. I'm not actually suggesting that a class should be able to poach features from every other class. However, I imagine you could create "the dappler" presented above by playing a Half-Elf Rogue who takes the Fascinating Performance and Pickpocket skill feats, the Sorcerer Dedication and Basic Sorcerer Spellcasting class feats (to learn Charm), the Adopted general feat (to gain access to First-World Magic), and the ancestral feats Otherworldly Magic (for a wizard cantrip), First-World Magic (for a druid cantrip), and Multitalented (for Monk Dedication and therefore more powerful unarmed strikes).
Even if there were a class that could take every multiclass feat, remember that they would still be bound by action economy. Our hypothetical dabbler might know how to cast every low-level spell, but with the exception of True Strike and Shield, most spells require two actions, so he'd only be able to cast one a round. He might also know how to use every weapon ever invented, but he could only have one or two drawn at a time.
Multiclass feats also tend to grant class features much later than their parent classes. For example, someone who wants to play a Fighter with a knack for bardic music would gain Inspire Courage at Level 8 instead of Level 1, Inspire Competence at Level 6 instead of Level 2, Dirge of Doom at Level 12 instead of Level 6, and Inspire Heroics at Level 16 instead of Level 8.
As for the name, you could go with Diletante to represent someone with a casual interest in a wide variety of fields, or Prodigy, to convey the idea that the character must be unusually talented to understand the basics of so many fields. Alternately, you could come up with a more magical justification for the character's skill. Perhaps he's a Medium who borrows talents from his ancestors or an Inquisitor who draws on his god's vast knowledge to go undercover.
I assumed it was intentional. The Dappler likes to keep people on their toes. If they know he's a "dabbler" up front, they'll expect a wide variety of tricks, but if he introduces himself (or herself) as _THE_ Dappler, they'll assume he's amazing at...something. While they're wracking their brain and critically failing their Society (Recall Knowledge) checks trying to figure out what that something is, he can:
The Dappler is a man of many talents. He doesn't always play Pathfinder, but when he does, he does it well.
On a more serious note, I wish classes or multiclass feats had more built into them. When I multiclass, I often feel like my base class provides nothing more than a few +1s and a hitpoint pool, because I have so few feats left over for base class feats.
On a more relevant note, the Dappler should have class feats that allow him to temporarily gain training or greater expertise in a skill, provide stances that change the attribute governing an activity in exchange for a penalty, or allow him to break the level cap on multiclassing feats.
No. Feats can only be taken once unless they have language that says otherwise. For example, the human feat General Training has "Special: You can select this feat multiple times, choosing a different feat each time," and the Rogue multiclass archetype feat "Skill Mastery" has "Special: You can select this feat up to five times."
Tusk, that is incorrect. Page 7 of the Multiclass Archetype document gives us:
Personally, it doesn't bother me that sorcerers have less flexibility than wizards. If I'm taking Sorcerer Dedication over a prepared caster dedication, it's likely because I enjoy spontaneous casting, value Charisma more than Intelligence or Wisdom, or want the skills the Bloodline provides. I've also considered taking it to give a martial access to the Demonic bloodline's life-draining bite.
Having said that, I find Bloodline Breadth's progress extremely slow. It feels silly to spend a feat at 8th level for a single Level 1 spell slot when I could get an action I can use every round. But that is true for the prepared casters as well. I wish all the breadth feats gave more slots, but they can't give too many or dabblers would overshadow full-class casters.
I agree that it would make sense for multiclass sorcerers and bards, like their full-class counterparts, to be able to swap out spells as they level.
GM Laments: Char list is hard to interact, Actions\activities are complicated to remember, entry barrier for new players is high... (And some thoughts about solving)
Perhaps Monks will have a class feature similar to Studied Resonance that allows them to key their focus points off Wisdom. If it's optional, Dragon Style adherents could stick with Charisma to give their intimidation-based feat more
I'm disappointed to hear the survey responses pointed toward mandatory magic weapons rather than inherent damage dice growth. However, I can understand the desire for magic weapons to be powerful. As much as I dislike in theory the connection between items and effectiveness in combat and with skills, it does make finding treasure and shopping more fun.
People often say it's possible to keep item acquisition fun by making magic items interesting, but that often comes at the cost of complexity in the form of item-specific actions, situational bonuses, and charges. Although I'm only building Level 9 characters, I'm already at a point where I want to ignore the one-a-day powers attached to certain items, such as the Phylactery of Faithfulness's augury effect, and the situational bonuses attached to others, such as the Staff of Evocation's +2 circumstance bonus to identifying evocation magic. If all items had such bonuses, using them (and creating comprehensive character sheets) would be a headache.
Having said that, I hope the core books ship with official variants that provide the expected bonuses not through magic items but through leveling or gold-gated training. That wouldn't help in organized play, which is where I'm most likely to play. But it would make running the game easier on GMs who like low-magic settings, use a slow format such as play-by-post, or want to tell stories where handing out magic items wouldn't make sense (such as a poor town being invaded by man-eating ants or an enemy nation that takes a 'quantity over quality' approach to equipping its troops). Such a system might also help players understand the bonuses the base system expects them to get through items at specific levels.
"Highest spell level you can cast" only includes spell slots from the archetype for which you're taking the Breadth feat. Take a look at Wizard Dedication:
You can cast more arcane spells each day. Increase the spell slots you gain from wizard archetype feats by 1 for each spell level other than your two highest spell levels. For example, at 8th level you could prepare two level 1 spells, one level 2 spell, and one level 3 spell.
The "from your wizard archetype feats" is meant to apply to everything, including "your two highest spell levels." The example supports this interpretation, for it lacks any explanation of what happens if you're able to cast higher spell levels because of your class or another multiclass chain.
I want to say "I don't mind a few damage dice, because if they ever become overwhelming, I can pull out my phone and have it do the math for me." But unless I'm looking up spell descriptions, I prefer not to have my phone out during games for fear I'll succumb to the temptation to check my e-mail, Facebook, this forum, the Star Wars: The Card Game forum, and...you get the idea.
(Besides, I only got a smart phone recently. Even in the modern era, I don't think they should be assumed.)
That makes me want to say "I'd prefer fewer dice so I don't feel tired at the end of five consecutive combats." But while that may be true in a given session, it'd make character progression feel slow. I may not want to roll six dice for every hit at Level 20 (or 11 dice if I play rogue, before considering runes), but I'm glad I get to roll two dice instead of one at Level 5.
So, do I like dice? No! But yes.
While creating a sorcerer who specializes in hunting undead for a one-shot that requires us to be members of the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye, I initially thought it would be a good idea to select Ghostly Weapon so I could give my more martial allies the ability to bypass the damage reduction on ghosts. Unfortunately, the spell can only target non-magic weapons. Since it is a third level spell, by the time a player gets it, they're likely to have access to potency runes, which make their weapons magical and therefore ineligible for Ghostly Weapon.
Looking at the Bestiary, casting Ghostly Weapon might still be worthwhile in corner cases. The damage resistances that Ghostly Weapon bypasses range from 5 to 10, which means a d4 weapon would need a +2 rune for its average bonus damage to match the weakest resistance and a +4 rune for its average bonus damage to match the strongest.
Of course, that's a d4 weapon, which few players will use. A d6 weapon would only be 1.5 damage behind the weakest resistance with a +1 rune or 3 damage behind the strongest resistance with a +2 rune, and a d8 weapon would only be 0.5 damage behind the weakest resistance with a +1 rune and 1 damage behind the strongest with a +2 weapon.
Even if the resistances were stronger, Ghostly Weapon should still be able to affect magical weapons. It's silly to picture a spellcaster saying, "That's an undead, boy! Put away your grandfather's magic sword and draw your backup so I can give you the power to strike our foe effectively!"
Please let Ghost Touch affect magic weapons. If I'm spending a third-level spell slot to make someone else more effective, it needs to make them noticeably more effective. Especially since the spell's one-minute duration means I'll likely need to go into melee or take Reach Spell to grant its benefit.
It's referring to the highest spell level you can cast, meaning that a 7th-level sorcerer would add 4 charges to the staff. The "number of spells interpretation" is understandable, but it would create a situation where sorcerers would rotate between adding 3 and 4 charges rather than gradually getting better.
AndIMustMask, it was my pleasure. Thanks for giving me an excuse to write.
I can see the value in empowering player characters (or the allies they recruit) to use magic and skills to change the world where they're ultimately the stars. Coming up with creative ways to use spells and other abilities can be fun. For example, I love the idea of a 20th-level Elven monk with Nimble, Fleet, Winding Path, Tiger Stance and Enduring Quickness running 21 miles an hour to deliver medicine to the sick or warn towns of the oncoming demon horde.
As a player, I'd also appreciate having fewer slots to track at high levels. However, I'd be worried that non-casters would be overshadowed by spells. The ranger who can find water even in the driest desert will feel far less useful in a party with a wizard who can create it at will.
When I GM, I also generally like to tell stories that focus on conflicts between people in gritty settings. Perhaps there's a war between several tribes over who controls the desert oasis. While I suspect I could come up with reasons for water access to be an issue in a world where a seventh-level caster can generate enough water to sustain 2,000 people a day, such as those casters being rare or distrusted by the populace, that is an extra task. I could also confine my games to low levels, but that would get old.
Having said that, Pathfinder's world already falls apart if it's examined too closely. For example, it does a poor job of exploring the effects magic would have on society. In a world where a 2,000 gold ring can let workaholics survive without stopping for meals or shutting their eyes for more than two hours, I'd expect science to advance at a rapid pace. I can also see an industry built around renting the rings to students who need to cram.
So I think I could live with more powerful, repetitive magic. It'd disrupt the setting, but that setting is a playground, not a simulator. I'd just nod and keep pretending everything except the cool parts works like an idealized version of medieval Europe, because that keeps the focus on the fun.
AndIMustMask, spell level no longer influences DC. The DC for every spell is 10 + the caster's proficiency bonus + their casting ability modifier + any relevant item, circumstance and conditional bonuses. Thus, an 11th level Wizard with 20 intelligence and no bonuses would have a DC of 26 (10 + 11 for trained proficiency + 5 for Intelligence) whether he's casting the Level 1 spell Grease or the Level 6 spell Chain Lightning.
Since save or suck spells benefit from the increased DC more than damaging spells, I imagine most casters will use their low-level spell slots on utility spells, buffs or battlefield control spells that have a big enough effect without heightening to be worth using in combat.
GwynHawk, I'm not sure I like the idea of giving casters unlimited spells beyond cantrips. I'm worried that would keep the designers from putting powerful, world-altering spells in the lower levels. For example, you'll notice that they changed Create Water from an unlimited cantrip to a Level 1 spell. Since most of the games I've played in end before level 11, I'd like to get such spells earlier.
It can use the Grapple action that appears under Athletics.
specialized companions - how can a companion get more than one specialty? The paragraph mentions twice there’s a way to do that, but I don’t see rules for that anywhere.
Druids of the Animal Order can take the Specialized Companion feat multiple times. Since it's a level 14 feat, their animal companion could end up with four specializations.
I figured Bottled Lightning would be the opener! I'm glad the Flat-Footed condition is proving useful. Since Flanking, the Daze cantrip and tripping impose Flat-Footed as well, I was worried it would be so common that the effect from Bottled Lightning would be redundant.
I was hoping you'd say something about Liquid Ice. Hampered 10 seems like a weak condition to me unless you're trying to catch someone who is running away, especially given Liquid Ice's lower damage. But I haven't played the game yet, so all I can do is theorycraft.
The fourth level feat you're thinking of is Calculated Splash. As Shroudb mentioned, it lets the Alchemist set an empowered bomb's splash damage to his Intelligence modifier. Empowered bomb itself has no effect on Splash damage, so by default, a third-level Alchemist's Fire would do 2d8 damage and 1 splash damage, or 2d8 and 4 splash damage with Calculated Splash and 18 Intelligence.
While Alchemists' proficiency with bombs never increases, their empowered bombs grant a +1 item bonus to attack rolls at Level 15 and a +2 item bonus to attack rolls at level 19. Unfortunately, this bonus comes late, and it doesn't stack with the +2 item bonus from Alchemist's Goggles or the bonuses to ranged attacks from Quicksilver Mutagen. Nor does it match the +4 item bonus spellcasters can get to attack rolls with duelist's gloves or wands, or the +5 bonus weapon wielders can get from enhancement runes.
If your GM decides to consider bombs a "fighter weapon group," which seems a bit of a stretch, alchemists can gain Expert proficiency by taking Fighter Dedication before Level 12 and Weapon Expert at Level 12. Uncanny Bombs also allows alchemists to ignore screening, which imposes a -1 circumstance penalty on ranged attacks.
Perhaps Alchemists are meant to be skill monkeys who make up for their lack of skill increases relative to the rogue by preparing a mutagen for every occasion.
Yes. Bombs are martial thrown weapons with a range increment of 20 feet. To throw them, characters use the Strike action, which has the Attack trait and therefore takes the multiple attack penalty.
On the bright side, bombs target Touch AC rather than regular AC. To my understanding, Touch AC is generally two or three points lower than regular AC.
Even so, the posts I've read on these boards (and my attempts to build them, which unfortunately are not informed by play yet) suggest that Alchemists are week, as you say. They need to spend feats to get abilities other classes get for free, such as being able to add an attribute to damage and 'shoot' into melee without damaging their allies. Their offensive and restorative abilities also cost resonance to use. They might have more bombs than an equal-level caster, but those bombs' only advantages over attacks with a level-appropriate weapon are the ability to take advantage of elemental weaknesses and impose conditions on a single target.
Like many, I dislike tying damage progression to runes rather than skill. While I enjoy finding and acquiring powerful items, I'd prefer to pretend to be a character who survives through skill, not wealth. There's also a fair chance I'll only play Pathfinder 2E through forum games, which move so slowly that it's easy for characters to outlevel their equipment.
Tying damage to runes also takes away unarmed combat's advantages in politically-oriented games. For example, I love building monks who act as assassins or bodyguards. I can't imagine them saying, "I'm sorry, my lord. I know you're in danger, but I need a moment to wrap this cloth around my hands before I can strike down your foes, for only when they feel the smooth touch of silk are my fists truly mighty."
I'd prefer not to tie weapon damage to proficiency unless there are ways for casters to increase their proficiency in a variety of weapons. I like gishes and have a hard time imagining a seasoned adventurer walking into a dragon's lair or even a bandit's camp without a backup weapon.
My favorite gestalt combination so far has been a Gunslinger/Magus with the Pistolero and Eldritch Archer archetypes. I loved being able to deal ridiculous damage while casting battlefield control spells such as Glitterdust or trying to trick opponents before combat with the various illusion spells. All good saves, decent skill points, and solid initiative helped make the character a powerhouse.
Right now, I'm playing an Investigator/Psion. A Psion/Wilder would be stronger in combat, but I've enjoyed the Investigator's various skill boosts, good reflex saves, and flexible mechanics. I love turning a failed save into a success with an Inspiration die.
Because of campaign constraints, my Investigator side has the Sleuth archetype rather than one with alchemy or casting. While the character would be more versatile with casting, I've gotten more use than I expected out of the Sleuth's initiative boost, speed boost, and ability to reroll inspiration die.
I love skill monkeys, so if I get the chance, I'd like to play a Wisdom-focused Possessed Shaman/Inquisitor. That combination would give me access to Visualization of the Mind, a level 2 spell that can grant a +5 bonus to ability checks associated with Wisdom for 24 hours. The Conversion Inquisition would make Diplomacy, Bluff and Intimidate Wisdom-based. The Lore Spirit's Benefit of Wisdom class feature would add Spellcraft and the knowledge skills to that list, and the Possessed Spirit's Shared Skill ability would let me add three other skills, one of which I could change every day.
Plus, I'd have an effective base of 9 skill points a level! Take that, Rogue! Stop pointing out Versatile Performance, Bard!
When I try to open Player Paraphernalia #32—Magus Archetype: The Ecclesiast using the iPad programs GoodReader and iBooks, the file is marked as a review copy. The mark interferes with my ability to read several parts. It is absent if I download and look at the file on my computer, so it may be an issue with the software. Regardless, can I get a copy that is completely free of the mark?
You might be interested in Darth Stabber's Handy Gestalt Handbook. Because of the action economy issues you describe, he recommends that players choose an active class that provides actions (e.g., spells) and a passive class that provides other benefits (skill points, saves, feats, or class abilities) to cover weaknesses or strengthen the active class's roles.
When I build gestalt characters, I try to pick a role and two classes that will help me fill it. For example, I might play a Master Summoner/Bard so I can summon swarms of monsters, then bolster their attack rolls with the Bard's Inspire Courage. Alternately, I might play a Druid/Ranger to boost my combat effectiveness in Wild Shape, a Mesmerist/Kitsune Sorcerer to make my enchantments ridiculously hard to resist, or a Wizard/Rogue with options from both sides that grant initiative boosts so I'm guaranteed to go first.
Alternately, I might devote one class to combat and one class to the other aspects of the game. For example, I could build a Psychic//Psychic Investigator and put offensive spells on the Psychic side and divination or buff spells on the Investigator side. Both approaches can work.
I like gestalt games for allowing me to explore classes I would never play normally. I generally want several options in combat and 8-12 skill points a level, so I'll rarely play fighters or gunslingers in a normal campaign. In gestalt, I'll at least look at them.
You might be interested in the trait Forbidden Knowledge, which allows you to roll a Knowledge (history) or Knowledge (religion) check "any time you would roll a Knowledge (planes) check." That will free skill points for other uses.
If you like the idea of playing a Bard and are interested in social skills, Persuasive Performer can allow you to substitute any Perform skill for Diplomacy once you get Versatile Performance.
A Possessed Shaman eventually gets 7 skill points a level, one of which you can move around each day. The Lore or Ancestor spirits have access to hexes that change the attribute governing knowledge checks from Intelligence to Wisdom. Lore also gives a +10 bonus to all Knowledge, Spellcraft, and Linguistics checks, but only at level 16, which is beyond the scope of most games.
A Psychic with the Enlightened discipline from Occult Origins can roll knowledge checks twice, while one with the Rebirth discipline gains Bardic Knowledge. Since Psychics cast off Intelligence, you should have a decent skill point count and a high bonus.
I love three of the archetypes from the book:
While I doubt I'll ever play it, I can respect the thought behind the Unwavering Conduit, an archetype for Lawful summoners. In exchange for more restrictive skill point allocation rules and an alignment-bound Summon Monster ability, it boosts the Eidolon's saves, which I understand to be one of the Eidolon's major weaknesses.
I also like the Herald Caller archetype for providing four skill points a level.
The book also offers support for counterspelling in the form of two feats that boost dispel checks.
If you're curious what the book contains, consider looking at the Monster Summoner's Handbook section at Archives of Nethys.
Cyrad and I had a discussion about the archetype in the Product Discussion thread for Heroes of the Streets in which I tried to address his concern about combining battlefield control spells with ranged attacks as follows:
I appreciate your honesty, Thaliak. Though, damage isn't just my concern. Archery and crowd control spells are some of the strongest combat contributions in the game. Giving the action economy to do both at the same time without putting much risk is insanely powerful.
I still think my arguments are valid, so I'm reposting them here. If the other options that allow casters to combine damage and battlefield control are allowed in PFS, why ban the Eldritch Archer?
Part of the argument seems to be, "There is so little risk! This guy can do everything that the Magus can do, but he doesn't have to put himself in danger." I have four responses to that:
I suppose people could say, "Thaliak, you're comparing the Eldritch Archer to Summoners, one of the strongest class in the game even in its unchained incarnation. I don't want more options of that power level in PFS!" I don't agree with that sentiment. If I'm unfortunate enough to end up at a table where everyone cares only about power, I'd like to at least see several different character concepts rather than the Murder-Pounce Summoner, the One-Trick Zen Archer, and the Superstitious Two-Hand Barbarian I've seen or read about on the boards.
If I'm fortunate enough to end up at a table with people who try to build reasonable characters and share the spotlight, an Eldritch Archer would be a great ally. If the player notices he's steeling the spotlight, he has several options:
Of course, if his allies' dice go cold, he's still a Magus. When the enemy boss has his axe raised to finish off the prone fighter, the Eldritch Archer can pull out all the stops and kill the enemy before he can deliver the finishing blow. I think I'm okay with that.
For what it's worth, there already are several ways to combine movement-agnostic damage, the primary benefit of archery, and crowd control. Any caster can do it with Dazing Spell, summoning or combo spells such as Snowball and Blistering Invective. Summoners, Sylvan bloodline Sorcerers, Druids, Hunters, Sacred Huntmaster Inquisitors, Spiritualists, and any caster who is willing to invest feats in Nature Soul, Animal Ally and Boon Companion can come close through their companions.
Ranged Spell Combat doesn't work with Rapid Shot because Rapid Shot requires a full attack action. Although Spell Combat allows the character to make iterative attacks, it isn't a full attack action.
Having said that, I agree that Ranged Spell Combat will be powerful. I just don't think it's strong enough to warrant too much concern unless the Magus knows what he's doing in a party with an otherwise low optimization ceiling. That will be a problem with almost any class, including the base Magus.
I'm glad my posts have been enjoyable. Shadara, that makes sense given her background and should lead to more interesting posts than if she were perfect. How old does she look? If she's young enough, Quinten might be inclined to lecture her more (which I'm sure won't endear him to her, but that's what teachers do).
Herkymr, I'd say "bah," but to be honest, I've occasionally enjoyed losing internet access. It forces me to remember other activities I enjoy (and get more done around the house).
By the way, is Iron Killer still joining us? I figured he would be the second guide Jerras mentioned.
As Cyrad points out, you can use Spell Combat without using Spell Strike to cast a crowd control spell while shooting. If you find the feats for Arcane Strike and Riving Strike, you can even hit enemies with a -2 penalty to saves against the spell you cast.
Cyrad, I'll admit it's a strong ability. However, as I tried to say in my original post, I don't know how much stronger it is than a Bard with a high enough Inspire Courage bonus to turn two or three hits into misses while casting spells. In combat, the Bard may be even stronger, as those hits will come from martials who have damage-boosting class features and can invest more in strength than a Magus who needs strength, dexterity, and intelligence. Out of combat, a Bard should definitely outdo a Magus.
I could be off base. I'm not the most experienced player, and the game where I'm playing an Eldritch Archer is already ridiculously overpowered. But I'm looking forward to seeing what the archetype can do.
In fairness, it gets Perception in return. That's normally a great trade, but it can be frustrating if you have a character concept that requires too many out-of-archetype class skills to regain UMD through traits (such as a bodyguard who needs Sense Motive and Knowledge (local) to protect his ward).
The Eldritch Archer has at least five minor downsides. He:
Remember, without an Arcana that is only available at level 12, Ranged Spellstrike's range is capped to the range of the spell. That might force the Eldritch Archer closer to the front lines than most archers would prefer to be.
Alternately, it could encourage Eldritch Archers to focus on battlefield control spells rather than burst damage. If so, the Eldritch Archer might be comparable to a bard, which can contribute damage through move action performances on the same round it casts spells.
Herkmyr, no problem. It's been fun. Good luck getting the Internet online.
Milos, thanks for the reply. I think I'll have Quenten accept the disguise for now. It doesn't seem like a good time to introduce the interactions him realizing you're a vampire would create, and it would be more fun for him to realize it based on what you do.
All, am I doing a decent job of putting enough material in my posts for you to jump off of? I've been trying to find the balance between putting in enough to be interesting and putting in so much they're a hassle to read.
I don't see why that wouldn't work. Neat thought.
Illusions have a few problems:
But if you're creative, illusionists can be versatile and powerful. More importantly, because their signature spells are so open-ended, they're a blast to play.
The first problem is one you can deal with easily if you're in a home game. If your GM likes to reward creativity and focus on fun and story rather than strict adherence to the rule, you'll be fine.
If you play in Pathfinder Society and have a new GM each week, talk to the GM before you play to make sure his thoughts on illusions line up with yours. If case they don't, bring backup characters.
In either case, consider reading Rules of the Game: Illusions and its second, third and fourth parts. It was written in the 3.5 days, but it's probably the closest thing we've got to an official guideline on how to interpret the rules governing illusions.
The Need to Concentrate
If you dream of creating two illusions at once, a certain race with a knack for illusions has access to Effortless Trickery, which lets you concentrate on illusion spells as a swift action. If you don't want to be a gnome, you can play a human, half-elf, half-orc or Aasimar with the Scion of Humanity alternate racial trait and take Racial Heritage to qualify for Effortless Trickery.
If your concept calls for another race and you're comfortable playing a Bard–an amazing class with a spell list full of illusions–you can use the Spellsong feat to concentrate on an illusion as a move action by spending rounds of bardic performance. A Skald might be able to take the feat as well, but before you play one, make sure its buffs will be useful for your group.
Of course, you could always play a Wizard or School Savant Arcanist to make your "concentration" illusions last a number of rounds equal to half your level after you stop concentrating. In general, I prefer Arcanists for ease of play and their ability to boost the DCs of spells with Potent Magic. However, Wizards get access to the Resilient Illusions arcane discovery, which can make your illusions harder to disbelieve.
If mastering magic in all its forms isn't your cup of tea–or if you share my aversion to classes with 2 skill points a level–consider an Occultist with an illusion implement. They get a power that mimics Minor Image and lasts a round a level, or a minute a level once you hit 7. If that isn't long enough, the gnome favored class bonus can increase the duration by a minute a level (which means a gnome Occultist's implement-spawned figments persist for a minute and six seconds at level 1, a feat no other class can match).
If your GM dislikes Occultists or considers psychic magic inappropriate for his campaign, an Inquisitor with the Relic Hunter archetype can steal most of the Occultist's tricks. Personally, I love the idea of an Inquisitor who uses illusions to make the stories of his faith come alive.
Have a given you too many choices yet? No? Well, if your game allows Variant Multiclassing, you can pick any class with the right spells on its list and still add half your level bu taking the Wizard multiclass variant and choosing Illusion as your school!
If you don't want to concentrate yourself, get a familiar with the School Familiar archetype and have it concentrate for you.
Dealing with Spellcraft (by concealing your casting)
I know of three ways to prevent people from identifying your spells. The first is Spellsong, which I've already mentioned. In addition to letting you concentration on a spell while performing, it enables you to pass off your casting as part of a performance by spending a round of Bardic Performance and making a Perform check opposed by viewers' Sense Motive or Perception checks.
The second is Secret Signs, which allows you to conceal a spell by making a Sleight of Hand check if that spell only has somatic components. Most illusions have verbal components, so to benefit from the feat, you'll need Silent Spell in addition to Secret Signs.
The final option is Cunning Caster, a feat from the recently-released book Heroes of the Street that allows you to conceal your spellcasting with a Bluff check. Unfortunately, there's a catch: You get a huge penalty to the Bluff check if the spell has a material, somatic, verbal or focus component. All of the image spells have focus, verbal and somatic components, so you'd be making the check at a -12 penalty.
But don't worry! If you're a psychic caster, you use Thought and Emotion components rather than Verbal and Somatic components, so you would only take a -4 penalty. If you're a Mesmerist, a class billed as a master of illusion and enchantment spells, you'll even get a bonus to your Bluff checks equal to half your level and non-spell abilities that count as illusions!
If starting at people to make them believe your illusion isn't your thing, the Psychic, Occultist, and even Medium have access to illusion spells and psychic casting. So do Sorcerers with the Psychic Bloodline, Magi who take the Mindblade Archetype, and Investigators who become Psychic Detectives.
Of course, you could always hide your illusion-crafting the old-fashioned way: Turning yourself invisible and casting a Silent or Psychic spell. I gather there are people who would argue that doesn't work, but I think most GMs would allow it.
Dealing with True Seeing (otherwise known as "having a backup plan")
I hate to say this, but it might be time to show off your other skills. Illusions are amazing in the right hands, but sometimes they're not the right tool for the job. Make sure you have others at your disposal.
Or walk up to the Cleric, laugh, and say, "See this!" Then cast Color Spray and watch as he drops his mace and his holy symbol (we'll assume he rolled a 1 on his Will save).
Stopping Successful Saves
Having said that, there are ways to increase DCs that are unique to illusionists and enchanters. The most obvious is playing a gnome. The second is the Resilient Illusions Arcane Discovery, which I've already mentioned. The third is the Mesmerist's Bold Stare ability, which allows you reduce the Will save of single enemy by two and eventually three. The final option is the performance granted by the Negotiator Bard archetype, which eventually reduces saves against charm, figment, glamer, and shadow spells by -4.
One other thought: If you play an illusionist, consider investing in Knowledge skills. Being able to ask your GM what goblins fear more than anything before you decide what to create can be priceless.