Cobalt Dragon

The Glob's page

26 posts. Alias of BH Tay.


An underground group of "heretics" contact the PCs. They want to help but can they be trusted? These heretics have been "proven" to have committed numerous crimes using the church's name.

The heretics is small, maybe less than 10, consist mainly of commoners so even if they can be trusted, how much can they contribute? They might follow the PCs plan if it is not obviously suicidal.

If they cannot be trusted, they might be a group of commoners thinking they are fighting to "purify" the church but is actually led by a demon. The group is a honey trap to identify problematic elements. This can lead to the PCs being led into a trap if they are newbies or they can turn it around by unmasking and killing off the demon.

Later when they nearly defeat the demons and learn that actually they took over to fight off a devil incusion whose leader is
i) fallen paladin
ii) unknown, they are trying to find out using the honeypot tactic
iii) the town mayor

The fallen paladin may be
i) unaware of the devil incursion
ii) scout for the devils
iii) trying to rally the town against the devils but found demons instead.

So the demons parley to fight off the devils together, after which the demons promise to leave peacefully. Newbies might fall for this. Laugh at them when the chaotic demons start sneak attacking the party near the end of the battle with the devils. Party will have to solve this problem on their own.

For further expansion, the town can either be rendered inhabitable and require adventurers to protect them as they slowly crawl with wagons of their belongings to the next town, or be devastated but remain livable. In the latter case, the party may be required to help defend the town, secure resources or even be mayor.

Since you can use 3.5, want cheap, crafting capable and also avoid damage, Clockwork Mender from monster manual IV is probably the best.

They suck for strength so you might want either a labour force made up of followers, undead or a few more expensive but strong golems

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roguerouge wrote:
What advice would you have for best use of this kind of golem?

Buy a chair. Strap to golem. Sit and throw.

More money? Buy a metal box with a chair, arrow slit and hatch. Strap to golem. Enter it. Sit and throw.

Golem getting banged up? Buy non magical armor and a shield for golem. A lot of the old 3.5 methods listed below still work or the basic principal can be adapted to pathfinder

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Seeing many people who never play pickup groups. God complex DMs are a laugh there.

Well, if that makes you think they should get punished, it would be a riot with some other types of players i've seen.

With some of the people i have gamed with, the kid would have been sold to the king using kidnapper style ransom retreival tactics, for whatever they could get.

Another bunch would be thinking up ways and means to make the kid transcribe all the spells or use him in anyway themselves.

As for furthering the plot, there is always someone or a number of somebodies who oppose someone else, so even if they become enemies of the state, they can still be contacted by "allies".

For example,
A bunch of renegade mages who may
i) aim for magic to be free for all

ii) aim to sieze the codex for the good of their group and may kill the PCs after helping them out in a pinch and securing the codex

iii) aim to sieze the codex for whatever ideals and will try to persuade the PCs to join

A faction in court that plan to depose the current ruler, not because of arcane magic being outlawed but because
i) they want power for themselves. Wizards or groups of them are useful and expendable after power has been seized.

ii) they want to outlaw divine magic as well and return the land to the "purity" that it should be. Arcane casters can catpaws or scapegoats used to kill divine casters so they want to make sure the codex is reviled more and as a distraction

iii) Only sorcerers with powers in their bloodlines are the ones decreed by the gods to sit on the throne. By sheer coincidence the faction is composed of exactly such people. Wizards and the current ruler are but pretenders to the throne.

Underground clerics and followers of a church different from the national one may intervene because
i) They want more allies in overthrowing the monarch and restoring the worship of their own god

ii) There is no freedom which for some is enough excuse to start blowing things up, even if life is pretty good for everyone else.

iii) The true priest of the LG god tell the party that their god been skinned alive then destroyed just after the barrier was created and a NE god is wearing the skin. Those in power at the current church are all actual followers of the NE god, aiming to guide the good aligned ones into debauchery and evil. They need allies to expose the truth.

Royalty may intervene because
i) the prince is dabbling in arcane magic as he sees himself ruling over all creation if only he could get his hands on the Simulacrum spell. He's not going to expose himself to help anyone since he has brothers willing to take over as heir to the throne but untraceable help may be given.

ii) The king is actually a sympathizer to wizards (perhaps someone in his immediate family was one and was merciless persecuted) but because his forefathers have set down the rules, he cannot change it without facing complete opposition from the church and his own subjects. Certain things like permissions or orders for wizard hunters may be delayed, face to face weekly status reports, etc though nothing that openly connects him to it.

iii) Anyone in line to the throne (or evben the monarch himself if the church overpowers the monarchy) who wants a catspaw in reducing the power and control of the royal family or church. Openly fireballing in town is highly welcome, killing one of those dragons may even gain the party certain favours like unguarded gates or patrols that conveniently went for a toilet break. The more it shows the masses that the church and/or king has weak or no control, the more favours they get

Mix and match as desired.
Then of course you have the barrier, which may be something the PCs can utilise or those connected to it may aid them in return for certain favors.
i) It may require the sacrifice of a hundred sentients every year to empower. The church finds willing fanatics to do it every year but now, there isn't enough volunteers. Alternatively some LGs find this insufficient reason to kill off a hundred sentients every year

ii) The barrier may have been erected against the wishes of the royals and church and may in fact be a prison which the royals/church has spun as being something they chose. The codex may in fact be the key ro source of the barrier and they aren't against wizards but rather are hunting the codex to open the barrier.

iii) Everything outside the barrier is dead and overrun with undead/far realm entities/intellect devourers. The codex may be evil and attempting to open the barrier. Or the codex may be a freedom lover and want to open the barrier to grant freedom to everyone. Or the codex may simply know the truth while the royals/church don't believe it at all (the LG god would need to be trapped along with them or restricted in communing the truth)

iv) the barrier was put up for no reason other than as an experimental space on a large scale. The royals are the wardens in this prison while the LG church acts as the guards. The LG church may actually be LN depending on the reason for the experiment. One reason could a (still ongoing?) arcane cataclysm that was inflicted on the outside world and thus the LG god was trying to see if a world without arcane magic would survive and prosper (the codex was created to rebel against this)

Or it may simply an all powerful cabal of immortal arcane casters outside the barrier trying to create a new strain of beings without any arcane talent but with full intelligence (constructs), no overwhelming desire for death (undead), can become clerics who worship them and can never gain the same power the achieved (arcane talent) for use as slaves. The reasoning may be simply to kill those who show talent and sooner or later everyone should have no talent. The codex in this case is a trap and the LG church's god is a slave of the cabal.

v) The barrier is actually holding the last hope of the previous world. All else has been destroyed and the planet is slowly breaking up. The area within the barrier is seen as a sort of colonization ship that will hopefully survive the breakup of the planet. The codex is the main computer that was lost and can either fire up the thrusters or open the barrier. The royals and church want wizards dead because actual arcane power (spellcaster slots, not UMD) is required to power the computer and they are also the most likely to have the codex. Openly destroy the codex and the persecution *might* stop as the main reason was to avoid sucking vacuum if the barrier was opened.

Syrus Terrigan wrote:

>>> Glob --

Surely you're not suggesting that we can only play games in a trouble-free environment? How many rubber bubbles does it take to play a safe game?

Build a better rubber band. Call it what you like.

Sorry i thought the OP simply wanted to play in a "trouble-free environment". I did not notice he was trying to build a new gaming system. My bad.

Torchbearer gets you an alchemist apprentice at 5th level. Its very limited in the claasses you can recruit and you AND the alchemist have to spend a feat.

Squire gets you one at 3rd level but no real spellcasters (half casters at best) so you're stuck with standard alchemist crafting.

The Recruits feat (5th level) could also work though all but one are blocked from crafting. Assign one as 'travelling with you in spirit but not travelling with you physically' to craft stuff.

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Syrus Terrigan wrote:

Gunny43 jumped into the situation, saw some trouble spots, and came here for HELP, not cataclysmic revision. Come on, folks!

Mr A: I saw someone bungee jump before so i'm going to jump off a 20 storey building with a rubberband!

Mr B: You're going on a one way trip because the rubberband's maximum stress can't handle your weight and even if you change it, you have to calculate the tenstile strength and expected enlongation will not cause you to eat pavement. Then you have to consider the physical connection points of any harness will not cause you to dislocate or suffer internal bleeding at the point of rebound. You do have a harness right?

Mr C: Why are you discouraging the guy! He wants to jump off a building with a rubberband, you should encourage him!

If someone does not know the systems well enough and cannot see what changes were made for what reasons, it will only cause further trouble down the road.

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Pathfinder should not be mixed with 3.5 unless you really, really know what you're doing. Many of the gaps in 3.5 such as divine metamagic and all purpose druids have been closed.

I would advise consulting with your players and restarting the campaign with ONLY pathfinder rules. If you're really concerned, limit it to the basic books.

You can agree to let any player that wants to use XXX PrC/feats/etc use those stuff with an open caveat, that you will work with the player to balance out any problems that occur during play (aka its overpowered) or remove the PrC and let the player rebuild his character. Just remember to inform beforehand and make it fair if something gets removed

Alternatively, just roll with it and let them overrun your monsters (remember you're not really aiming for a TPK). Or dump in a lot of weaker monsters (or summoners with stuff pre summoned) and swarm which will force more resource usage. Or use harder tactics vs the party (however this may kill them if they don't know how to handle it) such as incorporeal flyby attacks from below the ground, flight based encounters, magic jar attacks etc

Regarding magic users from 1e, 2e and 3e,
In 1e magic users only became powerful once they hit level 10+. Save or dies were of no consequence because it was simply so easy to save (qv old save tables and a XXX of protection so failure was only on natural 1). Because of the way HD was handled, it was easier to simply spam damage. At lower levels, you could die easily because your AC and hp was really bad compared to monster THAC0.

20th+ level casters ruled all, not because they used save or dies but because they used magic w/o caps at range, ala 10 auto hit magic missiles per casting for 10d4+10 or the 20d6 fireballs that made meteor swarm a less than spectacular spell. You really had no chance at mid levels if a high level mage BBEG telported in.

Classes no longer had hit dice after a certain point wizards at 11, fighters at 9th, etc so they did not have sufficient hp to take large scale 20d6 hits. The 88 hp huge ancient red also was just free xp against uncapped magic as long as you avoided immunities

2e closed the magic cap problem by limiting the maximum level effect. This weakened magic users (renamed wizards or mages IIRC) a lot and save or dies still were useless (qv the same tables again plus the same XXX of protection).

Added to TWF and the player option range of grandmastery, at 7th level (you could find the slots but it was not easy), the fighter was actually the most powerful single target combatant. The main problem was WP slots (rather like the feat deficiency for fighters in 3.5) but that only delayed the ridiculous power of the fighter. A optimised TWF grandmaster fighter could take down an average (non maxed hp) great wyrm red in 1 or 2 rounds even with the changes to dragon HD from 1e, by using twin longswords 4x(d20+3+3(+3 magic weapon)+6(18/00 strength)) for 4d20+48=~90 damage/round.

Consider that the average 20 HD monster had ~90 hp and it become LOL. Of course if you had twin vorpal weapons, things normally ended even faster since you spammed for the successful roll range 4 times every round.

Compare vs the 10d6 fireball that would need a 10th level+ magic user to cast and did an average of 35 damage, wizards became the mook killer while fighters were the boss killers.

3.0 was a revolution so everything was very different. The whirlwind bag of rats fighter was invincible as long as he had rats and after that was FAQed, grabbing feats and PrCs to stack Spell DCs became the big thing as that old save table was no longer in use. Save or dies became top dog until epic spellcasting made everything LOL.

3.5 reduced that issue by halving all spell DC gains and in the cases of PrCs, changing the spell DCs to caster level increases. Save progression lag then became the main issue as spellcasters compensated by targeting weak saves. Of course stuff like divine metamagic and such were around and stuff like lion totem barbarian 1s became available. Epic spellcasting was not talked about much that edition, as it was stuffed in the secret closet and many hoped it would remain unnoticed.

An interesting point is that the very rarely referenced but common break point across all editions (though it has greater or less costs in each edition) and even pathfinder has always remained the same. Simulacrum.

Change the cleric to a (very) quiet NPC who is adamant about getting a fair share of treasure. Avoid common DMPC problems and you're good to go.

If they don't want to get less treasure, then they can drop the cleric and live with what they have.

If they try to get the cleric killed while returning to town to loot his corpse, then if the cleric survives and suspects something, have the cleric leave the party. Since the cleric will talk, other NPCs will also be less likely to join or hire on to the party.

If the cleric dies, then just follow the standard rules for wealth by level or if you really want to hammer it in, have the grieving relatives of the dead cleric show up later and hound the party for answers in a public place.

graystone wrote:

To MendedWall12: "You can also use Sleight of Hand to entertain an audience as though you were using the Perform skill." So someone that's "wanting to actually use the skill to their character's monetary advantage" can do so without causing trouble for the other party members.


i) Perform DC 30 - In a prosperous city, you can earn 3d6 gp/day. Sleight of Hand - standard action, gains as per target.

ii) Why do the other players feel REQUIRED to say "Yes officer, i know this man and i am his accomplice"?

iia) The entire scenerio depends on the other players allowing it. If the players know what is coming and allow the thief to spam sleight of hand without reaction then they are implicitly giving permission and its a PARTY CHOICE, in which case the DM HAS NO SAY IN THE PARTY'S CHOICE. He only has to respond to the choice.

iib) If the thief player spams the skill without informing the party or being noticed by them, then the OTHER PLAYERS WILL HANDLE THE SITUATION. He only has to remain the neutral judge and to meditate between OOC conflicts

iic) if the other players allow the thief player to spam the skill and even aid another on it because they get a share of the stuff, then again its a PARTY CHOICE and the DM HAS NO SAY IN THE PARTY'S CHOICE.

graystone wrote:

And to why people would be mad, ask yourself this. If I make an pyromaniac-built rogue with profession arsonist and set every building the group walks into on fire because I put points in the skill would you be upset? Pretty much the same with a kleptomaniac thief pickpocketing...

As for "causing trouble for other party members", apparently asking questions via profession RULES is now equivalent to "causing trouble". Players should talk only when the DM allows it. Players can only use whichever skills the DM allows. Profession rules? What's that? The DM has Rule 0.

Also, all skills must be banned. They all cause trouble

DM, whats the upcoming weather? DM, whats the nearby geography? DM, where's north? DM, is that plant usable for anything? (tons and tons more)

DM, i use sense motive on the guard saying its 1 sp to enter. DM, i sense motive on the bartender saying his inn is clean. DM, i sense motive on the man saying he needs help. DM i sense motive etc etc

DM, i appraise the chair. DM i appraise the vase. DM i appraise the bed. DM i appraise the chest. DM i appraise the etc etc

DM, i bluff that i am a god. DM i bluff that i am his father. DM i bluff that i am his superior officer. DM i bluff etc etc.

Frankly if the DM has such an attitude, its not a problem about the profession skill, its not even a problem about the player. Its the problem about the DM.

RaizielDragon wrote:
But you're using an example of a profession that easily comes up in most even said so yourself. What about some of the more obscure professions that have been mentioned? It's really up to the DM; almost completely so. A player can be as inventive as they want on how to make their profession apply to a certain situation, to the point that they are maybe even grasping at straws, but it's up to the DM to allow it or not. A strict DM might insist that you use a Knowledge: Dungeoneering check and that you absolutely cannot use your Profession: Miner check. What about a DM that would allow it, but never has the party go into a cave? What about a player that has something like Profession: Husbandry? If the DM never has you come upon a farmer who needs assistance with a pregnant horse, you'll never get to use your skill, and so they were wasted skill points (beyond fleshing out your characters role/background).

Said strict DM will need to read the actual rule for profession which state "You can also answer questions about your Profession. Basic questions are DC 10, while more complex questions are DC 15 or higher."

If it is in the purview of mining, then the rules explicitly say you can answer it. I do not expect a player to use Professsion (miner) to answer a question on ocean currents. That would be very stupid.

If you never go into a cave (which by the way does not actually require a CAVE but any natural underground structure) then simply use the other things mining influences. Lump of gold is pyrite? River has gold for panning? That pit is actually an open land excavation?

Profession Husbandry? Hey DM, are those domesticated animals? Hey DM, are those animals sick? Hey DM, what sort of things do i need to help cure those animals? Hey DM, what's the worth of that animal? Hey DM, which of those animals is the best in hit points? Hey DM, can i domesticate that animal i have never seen before? Hey DM, what do i need to domesicate it? Hey DM, etc etc.

I feel Kingmaker is good for smaller number of players. Because of the storyline, the smaller the number of players, the more involved they can be.

Arcane Addict wrote:
That said, in order for Profession to function the way, I think we all agree, it should does require your DM to cooperate by first creating a situation where it could apply and then allowing for it to do so. In its essence, mechanically, Profession doesn't stipulate what it can and cannot do beyond the 'salary' it provides (with a few exceptions here and there).

That's the thing. It does not require the DM to specifically cater for said profession skill. It requires the player to actively find ways to use it.

The crux is the passage "You know how to use the tools of your trade, how to perform the profession's daily tasks, how to supervise helpers, and how to handle common problems. You can also answer questions about your Profession. Basic questions are DC 10, while more complex questions are DC 15 or higher."

The example i used in Profession (mining) directly involves underground work. Since many dungeons are underground, the DM never has to cater for anything. The player instead must be aware enough to utilise the skill.

Is it better than having 3 knowledge skills? No, because it likely has a higher DC for the same question that a knowledge check could answer and does not have the breath of scope. However it is not a useless if players remember it was changed from 3.5 and start using the skill.

Adventurer School Start (this is seriously missing since AD&D's college of wizardry's small adventures). Place in very remote region with travel by teleport circles

Standard rivals, friends from school participating in games (adventurer style) with rampant cheating of course

Archeology Adventure (desert, jungle, you name it, just place a ruin in it)

Standard plot of wizards/clerics corrupted by evil, students being used to breed evil creatures or be possessed etc

Adventurer School internal war and destruction. Party highest level left alive with dozens of novice survivors. Regional dimensional lock aka no teleport haha. Try some sob stories or ensure friends and rivals survival to get party to be attached so its more satisfying if they get munched by random encounters

Reach city and find that possessed principal has spread lies that the party have kidnapped and brainwashed students (the horror!). Get bounty hunted while having to ensure novices safety.

Principal has influential people possessed and breeding an army of spectres by simply putting 1 spectre in multiple villages where the high priest is from the school (possessed or turned to evil of course). Priestly consultation chambers (no sunlight allowed) given new sturdy iron door and renamed "welcome to your new unlife" room. Clerics given personal consulations by the high priest first

Party has to navigate multiple hostile nations bordering the school's remote region to convince them to work together. Everyday spent doing so increases the number of spectres available.

One or more of said nation heads and their aides and families may have already been visited by the principal. These nations will have set up special alms buildings in their city slum areas. Half starved little kids and infrim elderly eagerly collect food from these points and find themselves free from hunger forever (spectres, with some vamps on a pyramid spawn scheme).

Once they number a few hundred, they will (at night of course) go around and start making more new citizens, starting from places furtherest from churches and with the most young kids (lowest levels hahaha). Nation head will summon the higher level priests to talks of how the economy is bad because of too many poor people (as a distraction). Since it takes a 3 or 4 rounds every new spectre and each new spectre starts making spectres, in an hour, everyone will likely be overwhelmed.

Party has to gather up whatever help they can and fight through the army of energy draining undead (size dependent on party's suceess or failures) to penetrate the school's interior. Spectres can fly and go into the ground so earth gliders and fliers will have an enjoyable time.

Standard dungeon delving to find principal and blah blah artifact of evil. Artifact has special field that drains levels permanently every other round (covers entire room)

If the party fails, a new nation of undead will take over the area and the DM will probably be hated by the party. If the party wins, the undead army scatters and things might be even worse as outbreaks of vamps and spectres

Arcane Addict wrote:

I see Profession (Gravedigger) had some use re. threadnecromancy ;)

The Glob, Profession (Miner)'s functions as you've described them can be performed by Knowledge (Dungeoneering) and either (Architecture) or (Geography) depending on whether it is artificial or natural. That is why this is a 'problem' as stated by the OP in the original post. Of course, there are some professions you could think of that wouldn't have such an overlap, like (Gambler) mentioned in the post above yours (unless you really, really stretch Knowledge (Local)!). That said, sometimes it feels more appropriate to give your character Profession rather than whatever else it could be....

On the first page someone mentioned giving out additional skillpoints for the express purpose of selecting Profession skills and the like. That post is some 2 years old, but that same idea has found its way into Unchained. I would suggest using it!

Using multiple knowledge skills vs 1 profession skill is not really a "problem". It is

i) cost effective if you have no desire to get multiple knowledge skills
ii) covers areas that do not have a clear overlapping skill such as identifying ore from rock and type of ore.

To make it clearer, i see Knowledge as giving narrow but more comprehensive information (aka lower DC, possibly extra info) while Profession can do the work of multiple skills but with less specialization (aka higher DC)

The power of a skill like profession lies mainly with the player's ability to think outside the box. The rules state clearly that

"You know how to use the tools of your trade, how to perform the profession's daily tasks, how to supervise helpers, and how to handle common problems. You can also answer questions about your Profession. Basic questions are DC 10, while more complex questions are DC 15 or higher."

For example, i take skills like Profession (miner) as a second tier choice (things like Sense Motive and Perception occupy the first tier). With that one skill, you can do things like estimate depth, estimate tunnel stability, mark down potential ore veins for followers/constructs/hirelings to mine later, etc.

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DM ran this straight from the book. Had some bickering of party vs DM at the end. Most memorable was this convo (not exact, what i can remember from memory). Don't think this adventure will continue since this was a pick up group but it was rather funny

Wizard: I scry for that librarian cleric who was stacking books in the city, teleport with the barbarian, grab her than teleport back. I have the spells memorized. Do we need to roll attack or whatever?

GM: Ok she's a level 3 wizard. You're level 17. You succeed.

Cleric: I'm going to tell her i'm testing her as a rep for Shizuru to make sure she can do her librarian job that she's been doing for years correctly and ask her if good people should redeem evil or kill them.

GM: She hesitates before answering that they should be redeemed.

Cleric: BEEEP! Wrong answer. Hesitation shows lack of conviction. Barb wake her up please.

Barbarian: Ok i punch her in the ribs as an unarmed strike without using strength. She won't die from the damage even on a critical and she can even AoO me if she wants. Its just damage right? Nothing wrong with using some damage that won't kill her to wake her up?

GM: Ok she's pleading with you to stop hitting her and that she doesn't even know who Shizuru is.

Cleric: Who cares if she doesn't follow Shizuru. We measure everyone by Shizuru's ruler regardless of who they follow. We need to make sure she can do the important job that she's been doing so far. What we are doing is perfectly LG right?

The next question ended up having the librarian dead because the barbarian punched twice instead of once but was true resurrected by the cleric (roughly followed what happened in the module i think). Game ended after the paladin player (who just stood around with me) suggested ending the session.

DM did manage to avoid the obvious trap of telling them to change alignment since this mirrored iomedae's part

Ran into some problems with the definition of base speed. Is it purely landspeed (some spell descriptions support this) or is it any movement type (some references to land speed support this)?

Some abilities modify base speed instead of defining exactly what it modifies so a method of distinction would be helpful

Would like some offical reference if possible (errata, faq, etc)

Thanks in advance

Sueki Suezo wrote:
There's no problem executing Save Or Die spells. The Save DCs for these spells are so jacked up at higher levels that if you direct a SoD or SoS spell at someone that has a low Save against that spell, they are pretty much out of the game. When you have Fighters getting hit with Dominate Person and Insanity and they only have a 5% to 15% chance of saving against these effects, that seems a little overly powerful to me. And given the lowered costs of stat boost items in Pathfinder, I suspect that this problem will only escalate in higher level games under the PRPG rules.

Eh, that's my point, thank you for repeating it to me. You are stuck in only seeing 3.5. Pathfinder represents a chance to fix the problems of 3.5 while keeping all the good points.

As for martial classes having only 5-15% vs will saves, this only happens if the caster player (or DM for NPCs) is more experienced while the martial player (or DM for NPCs). A fully optimized flying charger can 1 shot kill pretty much anything about the same CR with probably a 5% miss chance (natural 1) and even that can be reduced via rerolls through feats, spells, items, etc. More so if he has 1 level of lion totem barbarian. It really just comes down to initiative.

The Glob wrote:
This has a lot less to do with "salvaging plots" and more to do with ensuring that an encounter of a given CR actually remains at that CR. How is a GM supposed to come up with encounters that are a balanced challenge for the party whenever there are SoS and SoD spells flying around and the power level of each group can be instantly dropped by a single SoD spell? It's a problem that cuts both ways: if Team Monster gets the drop and fires off a few SoD spells, you'll probably have two party members down and the encounter's challenge rating has now shot through the roof. If the players get the drop and do the same to Team Monster, then now they are free to run roughshod over the remaining opponents with very little resistance. SoS and SoD spells rapidly change the dynamics of an encounter without requiring much tactical effort. Fighters can do a lot of damage, but they have to actually expend some effort to be able to do so - Wizards just have to take a standard action and someone's out of the combat.

CR at best is only a guideline. It never compensates for good or bad luck at the table. What you are saying here can also happen in the following manner:

Fighter gets moved externally or has pounce type capability or is a charger build, hits, crits, opponent dies.

Now regarding your view that the fighter needs to expend some effort to do so, i am not sure what sort of effort is involved. Character building effort? Effort to be in a position to attack?

For character building effort, both casters and martials are similar enough to be negilible. As for effort to move into a position to use your attack form, that is also similar. Both requires a path of effect to the target. The disadvantage for a melee martial only lies in
i) his movement rate/type vs ranged
ii) The damage he can take due to AoOs

For point i) it represents a relative failure during character building at least in the item department (most commonly) and is not difficult to rectify after the 1st.
For point ii) it also represents a relative failure in character building as AoO bypass is not that difficult especially when you can fly.

The final point here is that you still keep thinking that the caster in a NEW system has exactly the same chances of affecting an opponent and there is no cost to a SoD. A SoD's cost is in its failure. When it fails, you have basically done nothing for that round expect a move equivalent action.

Sueki Suezo wrote:

I hate to break this to you, but math is ultimately what you and your character are depending on to calculate whether or not they are going to be successful or not in any endeavor. You can denigrate the idea of addressing and balancing that math as "handing the game over to a calculator", but mathematics has been the foundation of both paper and video games since they were invented.

And frankly, I'd like to see MORE randomness introduced to the game, thank you very much. I'd like to see encounters at higher levels where the entire outcome isn't based around a few "swingy" saving throws.

Recovery Saves = more dice rolls = more randomness.

So if you're "pro-randomness", then I don't know why you're arguing with me. :)

Your randomness seems to have been based on merely "combat should happen as i the DM see fit and it should be 50%." Your response here only supports that conclusion. "Swingy" will never happen because if so the martial classes might as well open a bedroll and go take a nap. Or are you restricting "Swingy" only to saves?

Lets take the switch to damage you are advocating. That only makes it less random. Over a large sample or number of dice in this case, the average happens more and more. So if you switch to a SoD = 20d6 damage or whatever, you are merely restricting the "randomness". Sufficient amounts of this and statistics would tell you when you would win on average and when you would not. That is what i meant by resolving everything by a calculator.

On the other hand, i have no problem letting the dice fall where they may even if the BBEG of a supposed climax is one shotted by a spell, by a charger, by a rogue with 2 bags of holding, etc. It may in fact even be more memorable and a moment for laughter.

Sueki Suezo wrote:
Good DMs make games that are remembered for 10 years, not bad game mechanics.

Forgive me if this does not apply to you but this IMO is normally the thinking of a DM who wants to write a book and believes he has a wonderful plot filled with tear inducing storylines, hateful BBEGs, etc.

All that is great but thats a book, not a campaign. A campaign should have no problem responding to a lucky roll.

An un-analyzed quickthink solution would be simply give every martial character the indomitable will feat for free if will saves are really so terrible. Fort save not enough? Add in a similar mechanic as indomitable will. Repeat for Reflex if desired

Going through the skills section of Pathfinder made me think.

Why not take a leaf out of Mechwarrior?
Skills were bunched into oblivion in 4e but the reason, ease of starting a character was valid. The lack of skills for task resolution rather than just combat resolution was also just as valid.

In mechwarrior, you get skills and subskills. Lets say technician as the skill but also subskills like technician/engine, technician/sensors etch. mechwarrior's way of handling would be to allow you to get a +1 bonus at a cost of -1 penalty to all other subskills, but thats not really good enough IMO.

If the skills were grouped BUT subskills were also available, you would have 2 levels of complexity. For DMs who wanted to play fast and easy, they would ignore subskills, using only the group skills. For groups who prefer realistic or like complexity, they could use the subskills.

Take for example atheletics as a main skill with jumping, swimming climbling as its subskills.

Atheletics 10
Jumping 10+5 competence
Swimming 1
Climbling 10 +4 competence

To prevent skill ranking from going out of whack, reduction in a subskill for specialization in another subskill would be a competence bonus (which overrides many magic/item effects)

For novices, they could simply use Atheletics and the equivalent of having all the subskills at 10

ignore - Just realized posted to the wrong subforum

Sueki Suezo wrote:

The problem with this logic is that spell DCs scale up so much in 3.X, you're not really looking at a "low chance of success" for most SoD spells. Phantasmal Killer is an exception (it offers two saves, and maybe that needs to be fixed), but your Slay Livings and Fingers Of Death and Disintegrates and the like have very good chances of success, even against enemies with high Saves. And given how easy it is to acquire stat-boosting items in PRPG, I don't forsee this issue going away anytime soon.

Eh, i already listed that as the problem in 3.5. You have missed the actual point. The problem lies not with SoDs, the problem lies with the percentage chances of successfully executing it.

Like i have mentioned, if a plot gets derailed just because someone got lucky on a SoD, that means the plot is too rigid. If for example, the fighter crits with all his attacks (a well built one vs a AC he can hiot at 50% on his last attack will actually have a good chance of doing so), you face the same problem.

If we removed randomness from the game (and the DM's ability to respond to that randomness), then there is no need to actually do combat, as a calculator would have solved who would win.

In 2e, it is not impossible to see someone actually fail a save vs spells at 15% but it is rare enough that when pulled out as a last resort and actually succeeds, you get high fives all around the table. This is what I, when i DM want to see. Something my players will remember 10 years down the road.

If they fail and its a TPK, fine. Players know sometimes the dice works for you, sometimes against (qv dice superstitions)

A low chance success save or die spell is extremely dangerous to use. Not dangerous to the opposing monster but to the party. Every round someone casts a save or die that is resisted, the effect is the equivalent of him telling the DM he does nothing except maybe a move action. No buffs, no healing, no debuff spells, no nothing. If this course of action is done over lets say 3 rounds, it is the equivalent of (total party number -1) vs monster CR for those 3 rounds.

This tends to lead to many bad things happening to some people in the party especially on a boss fight and is the reason why most people dump the save or dies in 1e and 2e.

If a save or die breaks up a plot because of an unforeseen death of some BBEG, I would like to point out this: Storylines adapt to the circumstances unless you only accept a rigid storyline. BBEG dies, contingencies happen, whether clone, contingency, ally resurrecting etc. If the party is smart enough to not kill the BBEG but imprison him, then his leftenants step up to the plate

Sueki Suezo wrote:
Personally, I think it would be much more reasonable if she just took 12D6 + 1 point of damage per level of the caster instead of dropping over stone dead (much like the rest of the SoD spells are set up now).

Disagree. I don't like the fact that SoDs become just damage. The real problem with SoDs in 3.0 were that the percentage chance of success could be jacked up to near 80+%. In 3.5 the percentage chance was lowered to ~50% optimized but you could find ways to cast twice, increasing the over all chance to ~75%.

In 1st ed and 2nd ed, SoDs always existed but were considered useless as the saves of the PCs were reduced the chance of success to ~35% at low-mid levels to 5% at low-high levels. This was retconned to 15% for any non demigod somewhere in 2nd ed. Combined with an inability to cast multiple times to stack the chances, SoDs were mostly last resort types or ignored for escape spells like teleport.

As long as you can manage the percentage chances to be low and prevent stacking by multiple tries in 1 round, IMO it provides both flavor and an interesting last resort. Of course there is the differentiation from 4e as well, as if too many things look like 4e, then pathfinder should just be abandoned as an alternate system

My old 3.5 druid just died and i'm thinking of using the pathfinder druid. Some comments

The wildshape ability is scattered. It would be better to at least put the pg 160 as a reference into the power or the spell wording itself. When looking at it i was thinking of whether i got healed when i wildshaped, did my stats conform to the animal, did i use the BAB of the animal, did i get secondary attacks, etc.

That was how i stumbled on to this post, trying to find answers (and that was in pg 160)

Now looking at the druid wildshape, i disagree its been nerfed to uselessness. I use the elemental companion subsitute ability rather than the standard caster+tank animal or wildshape tank + animal tank style. For those who find it nerfed too badly, think about how to play to the druid's new strengths

Because of the massive MAD using wildshape now, the optimal use of the druid as i can see is the hidden, stealthy caster + animal tanker. Having tiny size at level 6 is a massive boon. Having earth and air elemental movement at level 6 is also another massive boon.

The opposite end i can see would be the druid fighting type (large size wildshape) backed by an animal companion. Casting ability would be not a priority.

Will attempt to play the stealthy caster + riding dog tank and see how it goes.