Thevanan Quain

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I absolutely intend to move past the interest check phase; I simply need feedback to tailor the story space and narrative domains for the campaign.

If anyone is wondering where I went for the last month, I fell down a rabbit hole while trying to get religion working. Splicing together the various creation myths of Mesopotamia and the Levant is taxing my creativity to the limit, even after I've decided which city-state's version of a god's familial and marital status to use.

The Google doc now has a better introduction to the deities.


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Bluenose wrote:

[

Thelemic_Noun wrote:
Don't forget what killed Jesus

Suffocation? Seems slightly irrelevant.

According to the story, he was stabbed in the side with a spear. While crucifixion usually killed by suffocation, it would be hard to "[give] a loud cry and [give] up the ghost" if the guy was suffocating.


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Don't forget what killed Jesus


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Google doc link

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"I have a word to tell you,
a message to recount to you;
the word of the tree and the whisper of the stone,
the murmur of the heavens to the earth,
of the seas to the stars.
I understand the lightning that the heavens
do not know,
the word that people do not know,
and earth's masses cannot understand.
Come, and I will reveal it."
--The storm god Baal

These lines were written more than three thousand years ago, when the mystery sang alive still in the water and singing birds. This campaign seeks to recreate the sense of boundless possibility, resonant myth, and familiar strangeness that imbues the oldest stories ever told.

The world of Ashshirru is young. Grandsons of gods sit on the thrones of city-states. The written word, carved in stone and impressed in clay, is a secret known only to magicians, priests, and sages. The great and the noble ride chariots to war, and steel is rarer than gold; Everywhere, battle is lit by the gleam of bronze.

The spirit world is terrifyingly close. Great evil does not dwell beyond a gate, awaiting the chants of cultists to loose it on the world; It is present in dark graveyards, abandoned towns, and wild places, and slinks into homes by night to bedevil mortalkind. No town is afflicted with plague, no well befouled with poison, no child beset with nightmares, save by malign, otherworldly forces.

The greatest magic comes not from within oneself, but by manipulating the demons, ghosts, and spirits that are omnipresent in the world. Some magicians bargain with or even serve those more powerful than they, while others subjugate hordes of lesser spirits and control them through hidden knowledge or by right of birth and blood.

The gods themselves are real, and those who travel to the highest mountains can touch Heaven, or descend into the depths and wander the caverns of Hades. The hierophants of holy sites see gods face-to-face.

By turning back the clock, everything old is new again–literally. Do you want to be the first in the world to do something most campaign settings take for granted? Now is your chance.

Ashshirru draws on (but is by no means bound by) the history and mythology of the Ancient Near East, which includes Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia, Elam, Israel and Judah, the Hittites, the Medes, Canaan, Ugarit, Tyre and Sidon, and Old Kingdom Egypt.

Don't let that list scare you! You do not need to be a historian or scholar to participate; you don't even need to skim the Epic of Gilgamesh.

––––––––––––––
End pitch
––––––––––––––

I'm sure many of you have questions. If you're interested, tell me! If there are questions you'd need answered before deciding if you are interested, be sure to post them. Even if you're already hooked by concept and description alone, give a sentence or two (or three or four or five or…) about what you expect from such a campaign.


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I've noticed a trend in RPGs (including Pathfinder) where swords get most of the love in terms of magic items, class features, and feats (and in PFRPG, blatant mathematical superiority).

The polearms in the martial weapon category have some neat tricks with the right feats, but when fighting larger monsters those tricks become increasingly hard to pull off.

I ask because I intend to run a Bronze-Age campaign, and by making iron rare and steel almost impossible to acquire, swords and polearms (except the rhomphaia, which looked like a naginata with a slightly shorter haft) are mostly off the table.

It's odd that the rhomphaia sucks so hard, since it was used by the Greeks at the battle of Thermopylae, and is a close cousin to the cheesemaster 9000, i.e. the falcata.

I guess being simple weapons means they have to kind of suck, but I'm surprised there are so few options to make spears viable.


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The gods aren't OGL, so they're "hard" to find "officially."
In 3.0, gods almost always had ability scores in the high 30s at a bare minimum, many going up to the 50s or even 60, and pretty much every single one had 20 outsider Hit Dice and 20 levels each in two base classes (and some prestige class levels for the greater deities) for a total of 50 to 70 HD. Plus maximum hit points per Hit Die. I'm talking thousands of hit points.

Of course, having 40 to 50 class levels in PFRPG would just get unmanageable, so I'm thinking more along the mythic rules.

Also, if the PCs hit level 20, killing a god shouldn't be "badwrongfun"; theomachy was a pretty consistent theme in Mesopotamian folklore. Even YHWH of Israelite religion had traces of Mesopotamian theomachy in His scripture, seen in places like the Song of Moses and Psalm 18.

Psalm 18:7-15 wrote:


Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, for He was angry.
Smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from Him.
He bowed the heavens, and came down; thick darkness was under His feet.
He rode on a cherub, and flew; He came swiftly upon the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering around Him, His canopy thick clouds dark with water.
Out of the brightness before Him there broke through His clouds hailstones and coals of fire.
The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered His voice.
And He sent out His arrows, and scattered them; He flashed forth lightnings, and routed them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at Your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.


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Jason Nelson wrote:
Mythic Monsters: Middle East might be relevant to your interests, as might Mythic Monsters: Egypt!

Yeah, yeah, you'll get your money. God.

Kidding. You guys are awesome.


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Mangenorn wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
Lillend azatas are close enough. The only thing I would change is giving them shapechange so they can blend into societies and subtly influence poets and artists without them knowing. Plus,it's easier to inspire when you can change into anything.

There's nothing stopping you from swapping out one of the 2nd level Bard spells Lilends get with Alter Self as a GM.

This works out pretty well, even CR-wise.

That would only last 7 minutes.


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I've been batting this idea around for a while now, and have come here to see if anyone has any thoughts.

Oriental Adventures was obviously a huge success, and Easten culture (primarily Japanese, but with increasing proportions of Chinese, Korean, Indian, Tibetan, Thai, Indonesian, etc.) has been an increasing presence in the RPG sphere. We've transitioned away from ripping off the intellectual bandwagon of a British linguistics nerd and have begun plagiarizing from a much wider variety of sources!

Which has led me to ponder a Bronze Age Mesopotamian setting, especially after the release of Mythic Adventures.

Since records from the Bronze Age are incomplete, and thus focusing on a single culture would be overly restrictive, I've lumped together Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia up through the Achaemenid period, the Hittites, Israel and Judah, Tyre, Sidon, Ugarit, and Old Kingdom Egypt.

There are, of course, several Mesopotamian and similar Bronze-Age monsters in the Bestiaries, some of whom are obvious, but others which I might have missed. After all, cultural references can be subtle. For example, I would never have guessed that the marut inevitable was from Indian mythology, but there you go. Golden helmets and breastplates, association with lightning and thunder. Easy to miss the forest for the lich-hunting robotic trees. So there's no telling what Mesopotamian influences in the core rules I might have missed.

Monsters:

Girtablilu, B3 p 130 (Akkadian)
Humbaba B3 p 151 (Sumerian/Akkadian)
Lammasu B3 p 175 (Sumerian/Akkadian)
Maftet/Mafdet B3 p 188 (Egyptian)
Nephilim B3 p 200 (Hebrew)
Shedu B3 p 243 (Sumerian/Akkadian)
Tophet/Topheth B3 p 271 (Hebrew)

Elohim B4 p 86 (Hebrew)

Ahkhat B5 p 14 (Egyptian)
Anunnaki B5 p 28 (various Mesopotamian)
Apkallu/Abgal B5 p 32 (Akkadian/Sumerian)
Karkadann B5 p 148 (Persian)
Sha B5 p 226 (Egyptian)
Shabti B5 p 227 (Egyptian)
Uraeus B5 p 259 (Egyptian)

And of course divs and ghuls derive from Persian mythology, and Pazuzu/Hzuzu derives from Akkadian and Babylonian mythology.

A few things occur to me:

Wizards and arcanists would be extremely rare, and alchemists only slightly less so. Their spellbooks, formula books, and scrolls would be tablets and cylinders of fired clay.

Perhaps scrolls would, instead of being consumable, function as 1/day items for 10 times the price (spell level * caster level * 250 gp), with the same material and focus component cost adjustments as wands.

Barbarians would vastly outnumber fighters. The lack of heavy armor proficiency would be far less detrimental in a world where iron is extremely difficult to come by and nonmagical full plate does not exist.

The bard would still exist, but would need a new name.

There would be essentially zero monks, but a larger-than-normal number of brawlers.

What cavaliers that do exist would be charioteers.

Clerics would be somewhat rare, with almost all of them being members of priesthoods centered around one of the handful of major city-states. The average divine spellcaster would be a shaman, with a very large proportion of those having the animist archetype. Oracles would be somewhat rarer than shamans but more common than clerics. The druid class need not be any more or less common than normal, but would need a new name.

For fighters and barbarians, there is the problem of iron being almost unknown. It would come mostly from meteorites (which in game terms would be adamantine) or rare nuggets underground (which would usually be cold iron). Using bronze for metal would remove quite a few weapons and armors from the game, at least until later levels. Players would also need masterwork versions of weapons to avoid having them break on a natural 1.

Just to give them a reprieve, I'd say that bronze items are immune to rust, and that spells like magnetic field do not function on them.

To make iron more valuable, I'd rule that all iron has the properties of cold iron (including price, and with the 2,000 gp cost added to the base price rather than paid later for adding magic enhancements), and can also bypass hardness of 10 or less when attacking objects.

Bronze-Age Weapons & Armor:
Light armor:
padded
quilted cloth
lamellar cuirass
leather
parade
studded leather
wooden
chain shirt
lamellar (leather)

Medium:
armored coat
hide
lamellar (horn)
scale mail
agile breastplate
breastplate
chainmail
lamellar (steel)
mountain pattern

Heavy:
lamellar (stone)
stoneplate

Shields:
buckler
light steel (quickdraw)
light steel
light wooden (quickdraw)
light wooden
heavy steel
heavy wooden
tower

Simple light:
battle aspergillum
brass knuckles
cestus
dagger
gauntlet
light mace
punching dagger
sickle
spiked gauntlet
wooden stake

Simple one-handed:
club
heavy mace
mere club
morningstar
shortspear

Simple two-handed:
boar spear
longspear
quarterstaff
spear

Simple ranged:
dart
javelin
sling

Martial light:
handaxe
kukri
light hammer
light pick
sap
shortsword
starknife
throwing axe

Martial one-handed:
battleaxe
heavy pick
light flail
terbutje
trident
warhammer

Martial two-handed:
earth breaker
greataxe
greatclub
heavy flail
mattock
rhomphaia
scythe

Martial ranged:
amentum
atlatl
composite longbow
composite shortbow
longbow
pilum
shortbow

Exotic light:
aklys
knuckle axe
pata
scorpion whip
sica
swordbreaker dagger

Exotic one-handed:
dwarven waraxe
great terbutje
hooked axe
taiaha
wahaika

Exotic two-handed:
bo staff
dwarven urgrosh
gnome hooked hammer
harpoon

Exotic ranged:
bolas
boomerang
halfling sling staff
kestros
lasso
net
rope dart
snag net

There would be essentially no magi that weren't eldritch scions or otherwise free of the need for spellbooks. The class would also need a new name.

Paladins with special mounts would be charioteers.

Rangers, hunters, and slayers would be unchanged.

Apart from the kineticist, the occult classes fit surprisingly well. Mediums and spiritualists are age-old archetypes, as typified by the witch of Endor in the Old Testament. Just replace the tarot decks and ectoplasm with seer stones and tuḫḫu.

The occultist's obsession with the spiritual properties of physical items fits in well with traditional sympathetic magic. The necroccultist and sha'ir also fit perfectly (genies predate Arabic culture).

The mesmerist is also thematically fitting, if you ditch the Victorian trappings (pendulums, "animal magnetism"), and focus on fascination (the technical term for the evil eye) and oneiromancy.

Gunslingers, ninjas, and samurai don't exist for obvious reasons, and inquisitors aren't very thematically appropriate in a world where religious belief is far more fluid, to the point that besieging armies try to bribe a city's tutelary deity to gain entrance, rather than scream that said deity is an abomination.

Class Names (Akkadian/Sumerian):

Alchemist . . . . . . . . . . sha-gabêshu
Antipaladin . . . . . . . . parriṣu
Arcanist . . . . . . . . . . . kakugallu
Barbarian . . . . . . . . . . urshānu
Bard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . nuāru
Bloodrager . . . . . . . . . maḫḫû
Brawler . . . . . . . . . . . umāshu
Cavalier . . . . . . . . . . . mār damqi
Cleric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . sangû
Druid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . nēshakku
Fighter . . . . . . . . . . . . zakkû
Hunter . . . . . . . . . . . . māḫiṣu
Magus . . . . . . . . . . . . multēpishu
Medium . . . . . . . . . . mushshipu
Mesmerist . . . . . . . . . . mupashshir shunāti
Occultist . . . . . . . . . . . . shagammāḫu
Oracle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . shā'ilu
Paladin . . . . . . . . . . . . . qarrādu
Psychic . . . . . . . . . . . . . shabrû
Ranger . . . . . . . . . . . . . dayyālu
Rogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . guzallu
Shaman . . . . . . . . . . . . kāribu
Skald . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ṭabbālu
Slayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . ṭābiḫu
Spiritualist . . . . . . . . . kashshāpu
Sorcerer . . . . . . . . . . . kalû
Summoner . . . . . . . . . sha-shipti
Warpriest . . . . . . . . . . arīru
Witch . . . . . . . . . . . . . āshiptu
Wizard . . . . . . . . . . . . ummânu

A more Mesopotamian cosmology would be very different from the traditional Great Beyond.

There would be a Dimension of Dreams, an Ethereal Plane, an Astral Plane, and a Plane of Shadow (whose version of the Underdark would be the destination for the dead). Flying high enough into the sky or climbing mountains of incredible height would bring you to another plane where deities dwell. And portals to demiplanes would exist all over, hidden in remote places and abandoned ruins.

I'm debating how to best try to fit the various supernatural monsters from the bestiaries (fey, outsiders, undead) into the Mesopotamian system of labels (utukku, edimmu, udug, udug hul, asakku, lamassu, shedu, and so on), but boy, does that task look exhausting.

But demons and evil spirits wouldn't be dwelling on a remote plane waiting for a cultist to open a gate; they would be terrifyingly close. Many would dwell on the ethereal plane in remote places and ancient ruins, and come out by night to attack the mortal races through curses, disease, poison, madness, and possession; slipping ethereally into one's very home.

That's about as far as I've gotten in the outline. Any comments, thoughts, or contributions?


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Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
Lillend azatas are close enough. The only thing I would change is giving them shapechange so they can blend into societies and subtly influence poets and artists without them knowing. Plus,it's easier to inspire when you can change into anything.
Pretty much what I was thinking

Also helps get around the "mermaid problem".


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The incubus has a good equivalent (the gancanagh azata, Bestiary 5 pg 38), but unless it's hidden away in an adventure path or softcover, there doesn't seem to be a good-aligned equivalent to the succubus.

Brief tangent:

Gancanagh, according to W. B. Yeats (1888):

Nicholas O'Kearney, a Louthman, deeply versed in Irish lore, writes of the gean-cánach (love-talker) that he is "another diminutive being of the same tribe as the Lepracaun, but, unlike him, he personated love and idleness, and always appeared with a dudeen in his jaw in lonesome valleys, and it was his custom to make love to shepherdesses and milkmaids. It was considered very unlucky to meet him, and whoever was known to have ruined his fortune by devotion to the fair sex was said to have met a gean-cánach. The dudeen, or ancient Irish tobacco pipe, found in our raths, etc., is still popularly called a gean-cánach's pipe." The word is not to be found in dictionaries, nor does this spirit appear to be well known, if known at all, in Connacht. The word is pronounced gánconâgh.

Now, of course, the gancanagh azata has the change shape ability and can thus adapt to any preference, but unlike, say, the doppelganger, their base form has a set biological gender, and both the description in the Bestiary and the lore on which the monster is based imply that this outsider race is entirely male.

This isn't an inherently bad thing; After all, the incubus is always male. I just find it odd that there is no succubus equivalent of good alignment.


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I also find it weird that a good-aligned arcane caster that wants long-term aid from an angel has to yank them from the Upper Planes against their will and trap them in a circle smaller than your average solitary confinement cell to do so.

"Haziel the Unbowed, will you protect Lanna's orphanage from the depredations of Belphegor's infernal legions?"
"Yes, I shall. But only because I choose to. You colossal ass."


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Cole Deschain wrote:
Rysky wrote:
... what does Class have to do with running a country?

...

Well, there's a nice political joke all polished and weaponized and ready to launch...

...It's funny because it's true.


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Now obviously, planar binding is one of those things that give GMs headaches when the players get access to it, so making it "easier" is not necessarily the most popular idea in the world...

I'm just asking, from a design standpoint, what other spell requires two other spells to be cast in order to function properly?

In addition, the magic circle spell has an alignment descriptor opposite that of the creature being summoned. Building a trap for an azata is either a lawful or evil act.

I presume the thaumaturgic circle spell from occult adventures is intended to get around that alignment problem, as well as the need for knowing 4 separate spells to have access to the full spectrum of outsiders. But it is considerably more specialized than those other circle spells, so spontaneous casters are still penalized.

Would it not make more sense for the construction of the trap to be part of casting planar binding, rather than requiring a bunch of other spells?


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Jader7777 wrote:
relativemass wrote:
This reminds me of the optimal Guess Who strategy.
I wonder if people play this game at a competitive level. I see no other point for this to exist aside from an extremely good conversational point at parties.

People stack plastic cups at a competitive level.

Stack.

Plastic cups.

Competitively.

Nothing surprises me anymore.


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Jader7777 wrote:
DrSwordopolis wrote:
Jader7777 wrote:

Sorry Thelemic, but I believe commune would allow me to mess with your head as the nature of questions function the same as twisting a wish. Like for example if you needed to find the big bad who was hiding in a city and you decided to use a Guess Who? style of reductive questioning I would have conflicting answers that were 'true'.

<Snip>
You're basically saying "With this fishing rod I will catch anything!" as you cast into Red Herring lake.

You're basically saying "Divination spells don't work in my game" as your players try to use them. Why not just say it outright?

Also, why not allow the functioning of divination spells in your game?

The spell works, I think it's asinine to think a spell gives you dry technical 'game' information. If you bother to read the rules you'll see that the spell had a lot of conditional modifiers. I'm sorry that "you have to be careful and use you brain about this" instead of "I brute force algorithm my 1800-dial-a-god gimmick" offends your delicate player senses.

This logic is just as bad as "I use magic missile, everything is a glass crater now right, thats how missiles work"

And devising algorithms doesn't qualify as using one's brain for what reason exactly? I can't follow the thread there.

A GM can shut down commune at any time, whether subtly (the god knows misleading information), not-so-subtly (the god doesn't know anything), or very unsubtly ("All communication with the Outer Planes has been severed; put on your adventuring boots).

And instead of a god saying "it's male and female, but not a hermaphrodite," it would answer "unclear" to the first question, or if it is actually trying to help, give a short answer like "They have many faces," which is still vague enough that it could mean either multiple suspects (which changes the search parameters significantly) or a shapechanger/master of disguise/vigilante.

That's the brilliance of Information Theory. Unless your god is ignorant of the answer (in which case contact other plane can serve a similar purpose while contacting other gods), a search tree can be implemented that can eventually find an answer (or, answer space) that is useful, given even an arbitrarily small seed.


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The presence of "Don't know" makes the percent tables on contact other plane somewhat misleading. What matters are the chances that a definite answer is reliable (i.e. true) or unreliable (whether a lie or random).
The percent chances for those are shown in the following table:

.

____________________________Reliable___Unreliable
Elemental Plane:_______________47.2______52.8
Positive/Negative Energy Plane:___52.7______47.3
Astral Plane:__________________57.1______42.9
Outer Plane, demigod:__________62________38
Outer Plane, lesser deity:________70.6______29.4
Outer Plane, intermediate deity:___79.3______20.7
Outer Plane, greater deity:_______89.8______10.2

As you can see from the chart, there is no reason to visit any entity less powerful than a demigod, and you should shoot for nothing less than an intermediate deity each time.


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TheFinish wrote:

The main problem I see with Commune is that Deities and their agents in Pathfinder aren't omniscient (as far as I know). So in your example, they could very well answer "Unclear" to the first question (because they simply don't know where the birthplace of King Something of Lostrecordslandia is). Not to mention, they may answer Yes or No and be wrong too, which creates a whole host of other problems (after all, the spell does say "The answers given are correct within the limits of the entity's knowledge", emphasis mine.)

But if your deity is indeed omniscient and such, sure, you can find anything playing twenty questions, it's just a question of time (and it will probably take more than twenty questions).

I'm aware that Pathfinder deities are not omniscient, and mentioned that in the post. GMs can almost always shut down divinations in one way or another.

You could always try contact other plane if your god (or your familiar's god) isn't the best. It can be more dangerous and the entities can intentionally lie to you, but there is, believe it or not, a mathematical method for dealing with that.

In the example linked, it discusses optimum strategy for dealing with 1 or fewer lies in a given set of answers. It's technically possible for there to be way more lies (in fact, up to 100% lies) in a given set of 1/2 CL questions, but when you get the spell, you have at most 4, and if you're a wizard or arcanist, a pretty decent shot at making the DC 16 check to ask a greater deity, who is 90% reliable, so you'll almost always be able to use the Rényi-Ulam strategy on a given batch of answers.


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This thread will be a place to discuss the intelligent use of commune.
So, here's what Ultimate Intrigue says about commune:

Ultimate Intrigue on Commune:

Commune: This is a critical spell to note, particularly because some improved familiars can use it earlier than normal and without spending the required gold. Normally, casting commune consumes 500 gp worth of special materials. Remember that commune talks to either a deity or divine agents; there is no guarantee that the spell will contact a god. The spell text includes a reminder that powerful beings of the Outer Planes are not necessarily omniscient, so be sure to think about whether they would know the answer. As a rule of thumb, look at the deity's portfolio and have the contacted agent be particularly knowledgeable in that area. This can also lead the PCs to find a cleric of a more appropriate deity to cast the spell on their behalf. This could add an interesting narrative step and a potential for roleplaying the interaction. In any case, remember that commune calls out that the question has to be one that could be answered with a yes or no, though if the deity or its agent thinks a misleading one-word answer would harm their own interests, they might give up to 5 words to help clarify. Chances are, the PCs were already suspecting something before they cast the commune to begin with. For instance, if they already suspect that Lady Proper-Names-Are-Not-OGL has been replaced by a rakshasa, they could ask if she is, and if it makes sense for the deity or its agent to know the answer, it might say "yes." However, if the PCs know that there is a rakshasa imposter, but not who it is, they couldn't ask "who is the rakshasa" to get the answer "Lady Proper-Names-Are-Not-OGL."

Key points to note and/or assumptions we're here to question are in bold.

Now, commune is basically a game of 20 Questions (or 6 Questions and a feat, or 1 Question per 2 levels and 500 gp), with the added bonus that some actively misleading answers are called out as such and give additional information, and that the spell will answer with "Unclear" if it doesn't know the answer.

You would think that commune would be an incredibly inefficient way to find out information if you don't already have numerous other clues, but it's actually easier than you would think, if you do it right.

Example: Finding a Stationary Location:
As an example, I'll use one that may not be very useful (because find the path can often answer this type of problem instantly), but is a great demonstration because it can be mathematically quantified very easily and any 8th-grader has the mathematical knowledge to follow along.

So let's say you're trying to find a stationary location (say, the birthplace of King Something of Lostrecordslandia), you have an Improved Familiar that can cast commune for six answers per week, and the location of the place or object in question is known to the deity you are asking.

Let's say you have a month or so to find it, and you know what continent it's on, which has an average diameter of about 4,100 miles or less (which, for reference, is an area over four times the size of the continental United States).

Now, here is the incredibly simple procedure by which you can find the location:
Pick two points that are on opposite sides of the continent (or the closest known landmarks to each of those points, if you want to stay in character), which we will call Location A and Location B. (Imagine them as points on the diameter of a circle that encloses the entire continent). Then ask if, say, the birthplace of King Something is closer to Location A than it is to Location B. (If you want to be technical, ask if the distance as-the-crow-flies between Location A and the Birthplace of King Something is less than the distance as-the-crow-flies between the Birthplace of King something and Location B).
Repeat the cycle, with the new point A being whichever of the previous two points the location was closer to, and a point B at the center of the previous circle.

You start with a 13,176,795 square mile area with a radius of 2,048 miles.
After the first question, you have a search area of 3,294,199 square miles with a 1,024 mile-radius.
After the second question, you have a search area of 823,550 square miles in a 512 mile radius.
After the third, you have a search area of 205,887 square miles in a 256 mile radius.
After the fourth, you have a search area of 51,472 square miles in a 128 mile radius.
After the fifth, you have a search area of 12,868 square miles in a 64 mile radius.
After the sixth, you have a search area of 3,217 square miles in a 32 mile radius.

If knowing where it is to within about 60 miles isn't good enough, you'll need either another week or another 500 gp and 5th-level spell slot.

After the seventh question, you have a search area of 804 square miles in a 16 mile radius.
After the eighth, you have a search area of 201 square miles in an 8 mile radius.
After the ninth, you have a search area of 50 square miles in a 4 mile radius.
After the tenth, you have a search area of 12 & 1/2 square miles in a 2 mile radius.
After the eleventh, you have a search area of 3 square miles in a 1 mile radius.
After the twelfth, you have a search area of four-fifths of a square mile in a half-mile radius.

If you don't know what continent it's on and have to start with "Is it closer to the North Pole than it is to the South Pole?", you've only increased the number of questions by 1 or 2. In either case, it only takes three weeks to locate any stationary location on the planet to within 330 feet or less, provided you can identify it unambiguously and are the right religion.

Modified sequence for "I have no idea where to begin":
Start with up to 210,828,714 sq mi search area with a 8,192 mile radius as the crow flies (i.e. ignoring curvature)
(~196,100,000 sq mi = earth's surface area)
After the first question, 52,707,179 sq mi, 4096 mi-radius
After the second, 13,176,795 sq mi, 2048 mi-radius
...
After the fifteenth, you'll have a search area of a fifth of a square mile in a quarter-mile radius
After the sixteenth, 152,053 sq yds, 660-ft-radius
Seventeenth, 38,013 sq yds, 330-ft-radius
Eighteenth, 9,503 sq yds, 165-ft-radius

If you got through all that, you'll understand the key to the spell: it works just like a binary search tree. If you don't speak computer, that means that if you can word a question in such a way that each answer eliminates half of the remaining possibilities, then the power of simple yes-no answers is exponential. With one casting of commune, an improved familiar could find the single correct answer to any problem with 64 or fewer possible answers. With 2 castings, it could find the single correct solution out of up to 4,096 possible answers. Three? over a quarter million. A month? Over 16 million.

Obviously, this approach is either time-consuming (with the 1 per week limit) or expensive (with the 500 gp per casting cost from the party's divine spellcaster). So there are still plenty of ways that a GM could stop this lunacy even without making a god look stupid: either with a ticking clock in scenario A, or the simple reality of wealth-by-level for scenario B.

I've been trying to come up with a procedure for finding names as easily as locations, but language is a hell of a lot more complicated than basic geometry.

Anyone have any thoughts, either for the example above, for a procedure to find names with commune, or other ideas relating to using commune intelligently?

Note:
If you're going to provide an example from a Paizo adventure path, please put it in a spoiler, with the name of the path and the chapter it's in, like so:

Rise of the Runelords, Chapter 1:
No 1st-level character is casting commune, for free or otherwise.


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The expositor functions similarly to the kineticist and 3.5 warlock, only for divine magic rather than occult or arcane.

It has the wizard BAB, good Fort & Will, 4 skills per level, d6 HD, no armor or shield proficiencies, is proficient with simple weapons and their deity's favored weapon, etc.

In exchange for no armor, they get the monk's Wisdom to AC and level-based AC bonus features.

They get an effect that's essentially the same as a ranged version of the paladin's lay-on-hands and graces, but with more uses per day and the ability to cure more things as they advance in level.

They also get an at-will ranged ability that deals damage and at later levels inflicts conditions. The damage is relatively modest, but the conditions can get nasty.

Then there are their investitures: (mostly) at-will supernatural abilities, many of which duplicate spell effects. (This section is by no means finished).

Does anyone have any design input on what you see? This is a very rough draft.


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Who else is in your party?


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My favorite is using limited wish to duplicate geas, which has no save and is balanced by its 10-minute casting time, which doesn't apply when duplicated by limited wish.

Anybody have any others?


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TOZ wrote:
Nope. You're just suffering from the paralysis of choice.

And clearly, the paralysis is a feature, not a bug, despite its negative psychological impact.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
This is a problem with all good monsters / villains. When they become famous, they become familiar. There aren't many horror sequels that are as scary as the original, because the fear-of-the-unknown factor is gone. Successful horror sequels often mutate into action (Aliens, T2) or comedy (Evil Dead 2) to cope with this.

Or try something neat like with Halloween III: Season of the Witch, only to demonstrate why we can't have nice things.


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This applies to the Elder Mythos as a whole; I just use Cthulhu because it is so famous it starred in a three-parter South Park episode.

The main point of cosmic horror, insofar as I can gather, is taking the sense of awe and wonderment that Neil DeGrasse Tyson feels when looking up at the stars, and flipping it on its head. Humans are ants--less, even. We absolutely do not matter, our achievements turn to dust in an eyeblink, and the hard-and-fast truths we hold to, including things as simple as the limit on the number of mutually perpendicular lines that can intersect a point (3), can change at the whim of entities we cannot fathom, let alone stop. The protagonist in a Lovecraftian tale is akin to a termite that comes to comprehend what the giant tarp over the house and those mysterious metal cylinders portend.

But the other side of the coin is isolation. The Lovecraftian hero writes his experiences in a diary that (in-universe) will never be read, or if read, disbelieved. Cosmic horror relies on the feeling of smallness, and when humans feel small, they turn to others. What sustains the protagonist's horror is the certain knowledge that this solace is denied them, because what they have witnessed is so far beyond common understanding of the world that, unless one has witnessed it firsthand, the cost of believing it is simply too high, requiring as it does that one discard the model of the universe they have spent a lifetime building. People look at those trying to explain the Mythos the way they look at the Timecube guy.

But when Cthulhu has become not only a staple of weird tales and fantasy, but a pop-culture icon, that isolating feeling is gone, and so is half the horror.

Sure, there are tropes that say "this is a Mythos story." The GM uses the Sanity rules. Geometry misbehaves. The motivations of the cultists is not lust for power, but nihilism, and the standard line "we serve that we may be the first to die" will be on every minion's lips. The GM uses aboleths, bholes, the color out of space, deep ones, denizens of Leng, elder things, flying polyps, gugs, hounds of Tindalos, the mi-go, nightgaunts, and shoggoths. The campaign features sunken cities and ghoul-haunted necropolises, or even asteroids or moons inhabited by the undead.

But those things are all window dressing. The fact that two to four others believe you undermines a lot of the tension.


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For a while I was fine with the evil tag on infernal healing. Giving arcane casters access to healing magic via a malign bargain with evil forces was thematically appropriate.

Everyone bought wands of infernal healing instead of CLW anyway, because adventuring is a business and nearly doubling the cost-effectiveness of out-of-combat healing is a damn good bargain, devil's blood notwithstanding.

But now, celestial healing exists, permitting UMD-free healing by wizards, magi, etc.

It's just that it's strictly worse mechanically unless cast at CL 20, though you won't be chastised by paladins for using it.

Was there something wrong with the divine-exclusive vigor spells from 3.5? I know they're technically closed content, but the core concept was simple:

A level 1 cleric/druid touch spell gave a living creature fast healing 1 for 1 minute + 1 round/level (capping out at 15 rounds at CL 5).
A level 3 cleric/druid touch spell gave a living creature fast healing 2 for 1 minute + 1 round/level (capping out at 25 rounds at CL 15).
A level 5 cleric/druid touch spell gave a living creature fast healing 4 for 1 minute + 1 round/level (capping out at 35 rounds at CL 25).

Would it be wrong to just introduce this item into the campaign?

Phyzer's rod of withstanding travails
Price: 300 gp
Aura: faint conjuration
CL: 1st
Weight: 1/2 lb
This unadorned, perfectly straight, hollow metal rod has a screw-cap on one end. Unscrewing the cap is always a move action, but screwing it back on tightly enough to engage its magical abilities requires 8 hours. While open, any number of platinum, gold, silver, and copper coins can be placed in the rod. When the cap is replaced, the coins disappear, and for every 1.5 gp worth of coins placed in the hollow, the rod gains 1 charge. The charges remain indefinitely until expended, and there is no limit to the number of charges the rod can hold. By speaking the command word and touching it to themselves or another creature, the rod's wielder can expend one charge to heal the target of one hit point of damage. Only creatures with levels in an arcane, divine, or psychic spellcasting class (or those who succeed on a DC 20 Use Magic Device check) can activate the rod. If a creature activates the rod via Use Magic Device, they can expend a total of 10 charges before needing to make another check when activating the rod.
When created, new Phyzer's rods of withstanding travails have no charges. The item's resale value is half its base price plus 0.75 gp per charge.
Construction Requirements: . . . Cost 150 gp
Craft Rod, cure light wounds

.

.

Or, perhaps more elegantly, bring back cure minor wounds, but with a material component worth 1.5 gp?


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So now that class skill really just means "+3 bonus", unlike in the bad old days where things like Spot and Listen were capped at half your level (and required separate ranks), it seems that EVERY GUIDE recommends putting 1 rank/level in Perception.

If you fail a Perception check, you can end up not getting to act in the surprise round, which means losing an action. Losing an action is the Pathfinder equivalent of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: it will not be forgiven, in this life or the next.

On the flipside, succeeding on a Perception check sometimes makes the difference between getting surprised and getting to set the encounter on your own terms, where it's the enemy that loses an action.

And since the PFRPG doesn't do Epic Level Handbook nonsense, the result of the d20 is always relevant: there is every possibility that in a 4 or 5 man party, the wizard/fighter/whatever with Wis 10 and no modifiers other than their ranks could save everyone's asses if the druid/ranger/inquisitor blows their roll, provided they invests 1 rank/level in the skill. (And thus, if a party is ambushed, the players can rightfully say to the wizard that not investing in Perception puts the party at additional risk).
For Int-based classes like wizard, arcanist, psychic, and occultist, taking Perception isn't that big of a sacrifice,and it's also less of an issue if your race grants extra skill points, so sorcerers and oracles (who are pretty much all humans for that favored class bonus) are also generally fine.

The folks who get screwed are fighters, bloodragers, and cavaliers, and to a lesser extent mediums, spiritualists, druids, and some clerics (nonhuman clerics without an Int bonus basically ALL have Knowledge [religion] and Spellcraft as their skill selections).

For bloodragers, and especially fighters, they get too few skill points. Fighters getting too few skills is not a newsflash to anybody. Bloodragers need Spellcraft and Knowledge (arcana) to qualify for some of the better feats, so they really only get one free point each level, which usually goes to Acrobatics.

So is Perception a skill tax? I understand that the skill system is a useful simplification whose benefits (streamlining gameplay) vastly outweigh its flaws (occasional unrealistic or unclear results), but receiving and subconsciously processing sensory input is literally the reason creatures have brains at all!

I'm fine with individuals with higher Wisdom scores, particular racial traits, or training in a particular class like rogue, ranger, barbarian, druid, etc. being flat-out better at perceiving things than a Wis 10 commoner of equal level. I'm fine with individuals of a higher level being flat-out better at perceiving things than they were at lower levels, for the same reason I'm okay with 10th-level characters being able to casually break Olympic records. What I'm not fine with is the fact that not maxing out your ranks in Perception is a crime against the party for which some classes are punished more harshly than others.


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I really like this archetype.
You only get vigilante talents at 2nd, 6th, 12th, 18th, and 20th, and many talents are restricted since you lack a vigilante specialization.
Unlike the 3.5 warlock, most of your abilities are not at-will, and mystic bolts scale like garbage (1d6+1/4th class level) compared to the old-school eldritch blast.(1d6 per 2 levels).
Mystic bolts don't require a concentration check to cast and don't have to worry about spell resistance, but I can't think of any feats or items or spells that enhance it at range (other than obvious things, like Point-Blank Shot). But for getting more out of it, Deadly Aim doesn't apply to touch attacks, haste grants an extra attack with natural and manufactured weapons (mystic bolt is neither).

Though it is (Su) and doesn't provoke, the ranged attack you make does provoke, unless you have, say, Point-Blank Master (mystic bolt). That doesn't work because you need Weapon Specialization (mystic bolt).

Without a way to add extra damage to the die, your attack will suck, and remember, you sacrificed a full BAB or a sneak attack clone.

How do you build one of these things? Gaaah!


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To Charon's Little Helper above, I say that that is a positive thing, because whoever made those forum posts probably didn't have a publishing arm and probably dropped off the face of the Internet when he switched to another username or stopped playing 3E.

You other people—except the dude immediately above me, you magnificent ninja bastard you ;)—are missing the whole point.

This is a community who all come together to share ideas and benefit from each other's expertise, not flypaper for Paizo to attract stray revenue sources.

Imagine how sh*tty the Iliad would be if the first guy to sing it had taken out a copyright and prevented anyone else from changing it, rather than have the story evolve organically as part of an oral—and later written—tradition to create the masterpiece we have today.

And if it weren't for the ability for anybody to come along and take things for inspiration, we would never have gotten the Aeneid, which is like the Quarantine to the Iliad's [REC], but still an excellent mov–I mean book.

Imagine if the Anglican church had copyrighted their translation of the King James Bible. John Milton would have been sued for infringement trying to write Paradise Lost (though I suppose he could have added MLA citations next to each and every direct quote or paraphrase from the Bible, which I am sure would in no way detract from the poetic effect).

And if you've ever read Paradise Lost, you know that there is an incredible amount of material there that was borrowed to create the D&D corpus. For instance, the scene of Satan waking up in Hell and creating a Palace out of a barren plain is referenced in Fiendish Codex II. Also the notion that Heaven and Hell, rather than a places above and below the surface of the earth, are in fact different planes of existence entirely. And the name "Pandaemonium" was originally invented by John Milton for this poem, and went on to become an entire plane of existence in the Planescape setting.

Good artists borrow. Great artists steal. And every time you sing "Happy Birthday" in public without paying royalties to Warner Music Group, you are technically stealing.

The myths that inspire human culture the most... are anonymous. Stop trying to make money doing this, because you will miss out on the joy the hobby can bring by stressing out over the kind of crap mentioned above.

---------------------------------

And I must point out that, while yes, they do seem to take an alarmingly broad claim of ownership over your comments, Paizo is a small enough company that their chief creative officer took time out of his day to let me know he laughed at one of my jokes.

Paizo is not Comcast. They have ethics and a standard of moral behavior and they would never hurt their fan community by doing something as blatant as stealing ideas (ESPECIALLY anything involving proper names) without credit and then suing their fans when they try to publish their own brainchildren. Paizo, DESPITE WHAT THEIR INFURIATING TARDINESS IN ADDRESSING THE FAQ BACKLOG WOULD SUGGEST *COUGH* *COUGH* cares too much about their fans to do that to them.

So stop worrying and have fun.

Unless Bank of America is about to repossess your house or vehicle, in which case I understand your professed level of concern.


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You should stop eating shellfish.


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So I've looked at the investigator, and (especially with the Empiricist archetype and Student of Philosophy and Precise Treatment traits) it's difficult for even the bard to compete with them on skills, especially factoring in bonuses from extracts.

But no matter how good a character is at out-of-combat tasks, if they suck in combat they're going to drag down the whole group and eventually get someone killed.

As far as races go, half-elf (with the flexible +2 from human heritage and the ability to take the Elf favored class bonus to increase their inspiration pool) seems to be one of the stronger options.

Obviously Quick Study is the 5th-level talent (or 3rd-level, if your DM lets you pick it even if you don't have studied combat yet), full stop. Amazing Inspiration, which increases your inspiration rolls (including attacks, saves, and skill checks) by an average of +1, is your 7th-level talent, full stop. Combat Inspiration is the 9th-level talent, full stop.

Studied Strike is interesting. If you wait until the last round before studied combat wears off, you don't really lose much other than a worse chance to hit with your iteratives. But if you use studied strike earlier, you might kill the target a round earlier, which is better all around. But if you misjudge the right time to spring your attack, you wind up gimping yourself.

My question is, do the three talents mentioned above enable an investigator to contribute meaningfully to combat while retaining out-of-combat utility, or does he need to invest in multiple feats? And if so, which ones?


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I found it odd that there were no archetypes for slayers focused specifically on attacking spellcasters, so I decided to make one. Tell me what you think.

Slayer Archetype: Mage Harrier

Class Skills: A mage harrier adds Knowledge (arcana) and Spellcraft to their list of class skills.

Suffer Not (Ex): In addition to the normal attack and damage bonus, a mage harrier adds their studied target bonus as a bonus on saving throws versus the studied target’s arcane spells, to the concentration check DC for the target to cast arcane spells defensively within the mage harrier’s threatened area, and as a dodge bonus to AC versus touch attacks made by the target. This replaces the normal skill bonuses and increase to slayer class ability DCs of the studied target class feature. This ability alters studied target.

Forbidden Lore (Ex): A mage harrier adds ½ his slayer level (minimum 1) on Spellcraft checks to identify arcane spells and the properties of magic items made by arcane spellcasters, and on Perception checks to notice or pinpoint the location of invisible creatures within line of sight. This ability replaces track.

Slippery Mind (Ex): As the rogue talent of the same name. This ability replaces the slayer talent gained at 4th level.

Fool Casting (Su): A mage harrier of 7th level or higher can trick an opponent into believing that they have been charmed or dominated. When the mage harrier succeeds at a saving throw against a magical effect that provides ongoing control (such as charm person, dominate person, or a vampire’s dominate ability), they can allow the spell to take partial effect. To the caster, it appears that the mage harrier failed their saving throw, but the mage harrier is not under the caster’s control. If the spell provides a telepathic link, it functions normally, but the mage harrier is under no obligation to follow the caster’s commands. The mage harrier can dismiss a fooled spell as a standard action. Fooled casting can be used when the mage harrier succeeds at a subsequent saving throw against an ongoing effect, such as that granted by slippery mind. This ability replaces stalker.

Spellbreaker (Ex): At 10th level, the mage harrier gains Spellbreaker as a bonus feat. This replaces the advanced slayer talent the mage harrier gains at 10th level.

Rarified Aura (Su): At 11th level, the mage harrier and their held or worn possessions are protected by a constant nondetection effect, as the spell, with a caster level equal to their slayer level. This ability replaces swift tracker.

Athame’s Rebuke (Ex): Once per day as an immediate action, a mage harrier of 13th level or above can make an attack against a studied target that casts an arcane spell (even one with a swift or immediate action casting time) as if the mage harrier had readied an action to do so, without having taken the normal standard action to ready. The mage harrier can only use this ability if they are aware of the enemy's location and are capable of taking an attack of opportunity against them. If the mage harrier has already taken the maximum number of attacks of opportunity for that round, they cannot use this ability. At 17th level, the mage harrier can use this ability twice per day. This ability replaces slayer’s advance.

Rend Eldritch Essence (Su): At 20th level, a mage harrier who uses master slayer can choose to render the target feebleminded, as the feeblemind spell, with a caster level equal to their slayer level. Arcane spellcasters take a -4 penalty on their saving throw to resist the master slayer ability when used in this way. This ability alters master slayer.


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LazarX wrote:
Saying it's an issue doesn't make it an issue.

But all the other people saying it's an issue isn't even a hint of a clue that it might actually be an issue?

LazarX wrote:
Is your problem that players tend to standardize on tactics? That's what players will DO. They will find something that works and use it again and again in any situation where it will work. That's not an issue, that's play style. And again you're on a messageboard full of optimisers, munchkins, and would-bes looking for the one good gambit. If it wasn't Haste, and it isn't Haste always, it'll be something else.

So discussion is pointless, because there will always be a thing that is better than most other things a vast majority of the time, to the point where not using it is an indicator of lack of familiarity with the game or a deliberate choice to be suboptimal.

I can't really think of a standard campaign style where attack rolls aren't the most common actions characters take. And haste helps anybody making an attack, especially a full attack.

Haste is a massive boost to the most common action in the most common style of game.

I'm not saying get rid of it. I'm saying it shouldn't be so strong as to have no consistent serious competitors. If it is going to stay as strong as it is, there should be other options that make the choice less clear-cut.


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And as for blessing of fervor, that's really just a buffed version of haste.

If anything, perhaps the design intent was to take some of the pressure off the arcane caster by allowing clerics to provide the extra attack per round function, in much the same way that it's preferable for the cleric to handle dispel magic duty since the arcane caster has better things to do with their 3rd-level slots.


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Just as an aside, I have nothing against Jason Statham, or nonspellcasters either for that matter.


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A sonic screwdriver.


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Not in a mechanical way, obviously. Mechanically, haste is one of the most powerful spells in the game.

But should it be?

It seems that the game revolves around the existence of one single spell that isn't even that iconic outside of the D&D context. Haste is as much of an obligation as the Big Six, which endless threads have complained about.

But nobody seems to be complaining about haste, despite how much it distorts the game.

"Hey guys, I know we got into this game to project ourselves into a fantastic universe, but the very mechanics we use to determine success or failure tell me that launching a ball of fire to obliterate our foes is objectively, provably, mathematically worse than turning all of you into a shakey-cam effects shot from Crank 2. So put on your Statham face, because rules interactions and probability calculations that weren't fully thought through at the time by some guys in Seattle during the Clinton administration are about to break your immersion like the neck of a Hispanic guy being pulled out of a helicopter."

(Yes, yes, the Hispanic guy in the helicopter scene was from the first movie. My point still stands).

Is anybody else bothered by this?


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Which is too bad, since they get no benefit from a high Intelligence, and they have 2 + Int skills per level.

I hope to hell that gets changed.


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So, the mediocre BAB can be made up for, but only at the cost of accepting burn.

That may or may not be an acceptable tradeoff. Only playtesting can truly iron that out, but it's something to keep in mind.

Some quick notes on a few methods of overcoming resistances that I have seen on my first real skim through the infusions:

Terrakineticist can overcome special material DR with Rare Metal Infusion at class level 6.

Pyrokineticists can ignore SR at class level 16th with Pure Flame Infusion.

.....

It seems Composite Blasts are intended to be a way around elemental resistance or immunity. Yeah, your damage is cut in half, but it's better than nothing.


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Since this is OCCULT adventures, I'm talking more about Ghosts than Liches.

A haunted house adventure revolving around an evil poltergeist works much better at medium to higher levels when it is a Ghost Kineticist rather than a haunt that the cleric can just channel-spam into oblivion.


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Joseph Davis wrote:

Neither can Wyrwood Barbarians, nor can they benefit from about half of the Bard abilities.

Part of the reason is there's no constant "undead" race in pathfinder, that also doesn't count as a living creature (such as Dhampir) and while you can conceivably tack a kineticist onto a monster, just like any other class, the bulk of design work and balancing principles go into making it work for player characters, the majority (vast majority) of which are not undead.

Now, your world, your game, etc. You can do whatever you want to circumvent this, such as MAKING it work for them, however, keep in mind, about 95% of what kineticist is runs off of Constitution, a stat that Undead do not have.

It's in the Bestiary rules that anything modified by Consitution is instead modified by Charisma for undead, so kineticist powers would be based off Charisma.

Also, now that the idea has been planted in my brain, the fact that undead can't rage or bloodrage is really silly. Aren't there undead monsters whose entire concept revolves around anger?

Imagine Kruhulik Ghostslayer of the Northern Steppes, treacherously slain by his skald in the deep wastes, his spirit filled with rage and spite and a desire for vengeance, whose ax has the ghost touch property.

Now that he is a ghost, his class abilities are unusable?

Despite being a corner case, it's a corner case where the rules directly work against solid story concepts, and just because a DM can ignore those rules doesn't mean they aren't bad rules.

If a rule isn't followed in certain circumstances, the better decision is to amend the rule to take those circumstances into account, instead of using selective enforcement.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Thelemic_Noun wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
...Why shouldn't the Kineticist be a better blaster than a blaster wizard? I mean, blasting is pretty much the one thing the Kineticist does. I'd expect her to be better at it than anyone else.

Because they can do it all day, whereas a wizard will run out of fireballs after one or two encounters, up until high levels where teleporting the martials into a position where they can full attack an enemy deals more damage with your standard action than literally any spell you could possibly cast.

However, unlike the 3.5 warlock, which was basically a magical archer who got neat tricks like unlimited flight and unlimited greater invisibility to compensate for their weaker damage, the kineticist is pretty terrible compared to the Pathfinder versions of archer characters.

The "all day" argument is extremely unconvincing. This is only a problem for the first few levels; the ice sorcerer I'm playing with hasn't run out of blasty things to cast in a very long time. Note this is against a GM who's approach to encounter design is "throw a sizable army at it".

Which is why the 3.5 warlock was roundly ridiculed once people got over the novelty of a 1st-level character using shatter at will.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
...Why shouldn't the Kineticist be a better blaster than a blaster wizard? I mean, blasting is pretty much the one thing the Kineticist does. I'd expect her to be better at it than anyone else.

Because they can do it all day, whereas a wizard will run out of fireballs after one or two encounters, up until high levels where teleporting the martials into a position where they can full attack an enemy deals more damage with your standard action than literally any spell you could possibly cast.

However, unlike the 3.5 warlock, which was basically a magical archer who got neat tricks like unlimited flight and unlimited greater invisibility to compensate for their weaker damage, the kineticist is pretty terrible compared to the Pathfinder versions of archer characters.


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Actually, I posted an arcanist build for blasting that I thought was pretty good. It was deleted because the build name was a portmanteau of "arcanist" and the name of a certain organization known for blowing things up whose name also starts with "a."

Potent Magic is better than Spell Specialization because it can be used with ANY blast spell for a +2 caster level, rather than just burning hands (and later fireball). But in a dedicated blaster build, you will want to have both, since they stack.

And you want school savant for the Intense Spells power.

With caster level boosts, spell penetration feats are not necessary.

sample blaster build:

Human School Savant (evocation [admixture])
Traits: Wayang Spellhunter (fireball), magical lineage (fireball)

Level (caster level for main blast, caster level for main blast spending reservoir point):

1 (3, 4): Spell Specialization (burning hands), Spell Focus (evocation)
2 (4, 5):
3 (5, 6): Intensify Spell (yes, I know you'll need to wait a level, but it's still worth getting now)
4 (6, 7):
5 (7, 9): metamagic knowledge (Empower Spell), Extra Exploit (potent magic)
6 (8, 10): swap (burning hands) for (fireball) as your spell specialization spell
7 (10, 12): Varisian Tattoo (evocation)
8 (11, 13):
9 (12, 14): Dazing Spell, quick study
10 (13, 15):
11 (14, 16): Extra Exploit (metamixing), greater metamagic knowledge
12: (15, 17):
13 (16, 18): any exploit you want, any feat you want

(..................if your DM permits retraining, retrain Extra Exploit (metamixing) for another feat you want and learn metamixing as your 13th-level exploit.
...................Potential feat choices: Greater Spell Focus (evocation), Selective Spell, Persistent Spell, Quicken Spell)

14 (17, 19):
15 (18, 20): any exploit you want, Spell Perfection (fireball)
16-20: It doesn't really matter what you do here, since you can change your spells and one of your metamagic feats each day, and your metamagic fireballs no longer require you to spend one of your higher-level spell slots or spells known.

..............................................

At level 6, you can immediately start casting Empowered fireballs that are already at the 10d6 damage cap, and you add 1/2 your arcanist level to damage, for effectively 15d6+3 damage.

At level 7, you no longer need to spend reservoir points to hit the caster level damage cap and can instead use it to boost the DC (or boost the caster level if you *really* need to overcome some tough SR, though with a caster level 3 higher than normal I can't see this coming into play that often).

At level 8, you can prepare Empowered Intensified fireball (18d6+4) in your 4th-level slot and free up a 3rd-level slot for haste or fly or whatever.

At 10th level, your Empowered Intensified fireballs now do 20d6+5 damage. You can prepare Dazing Intensified fireball in a 5th level slot, and you now have quick study in case you need to teleport that day.

At 11th level, you gain greater metamagic knowledge, allowing you to pick between Quicken Spell, Selective Spell, or Persistent Spell for a given day, and now that you have more metamagic feats available it makes sense to pick up metamixing.

At 12th level, you are now at the damage cap for Intensified fireballs even without spending points, and so you can use metamixing without worrying about running out of points to boost your damage.

Instead, you can use metamixing and greater metamagic knowledge to pick between Quickened Intensified, Dazing Empowered, or Persistent Intensified Empowered, and still leave your 6th-level slot open for something like tar pool or summon monster VI.

From now on you can pick exploits however you please. At 13th level, pick up Greater Spell Focus (evocation) [or, if your DM is completely asleep at the wheel, Ascendant Spell], and at 15th level pick up Spell Perfection (fireball).

With Spell Perfection (fireball), you can now cast what are effectively up to 11th-level spells out of a 3rd-level slot. With a lesser Quicken metamagic rod, that becomes 15th-level spells out of a 3rd-level slot up to 3 times per day.


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Well, this thread went south fast.

But back on point...

Since the corrective measures for gender dysphoria in Golarion (2,250 gp one-use wondrous item) permit "passing" with 100% success (including biological functions such as reproduction), a great deal of the issues facing the real-world transgender community don't exist in Pathfinder.


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Again, haste is only for one character.

If you lose concentration on haste, the target loses a turn.

It's still not garbage, though, because the extra weapon attack is still there, and there's also an option to take your move without provoking from anything you happen to pass by.

It's about time the whole game stopped revolving around one single spell that isn't even that iconic outside of the D&D context.

"Hey guys, I know we got into this game to project ourselves into a fantastic universe, but the very mechanics we use to determine success or failure tell me that launching a ball of fire to obliterate our foes is objectively, provably worse than turning all of you into a shakey-cam effects shot from Crank 2. So put on your Statham face, because rules interactions and probability calculations that weren't fully thought through at the time by some guys in Seattle during the Clinton administration have gone on to break immersion for thousands of players for over a decade."


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Most Important and Contentious Text in class description:
On page 9 of the ACG it states that "Feats and other effects that modify the number of spells known by a spellcaster instead affect the number of spells an arcanist can prepare."

These will go in order of difficulty (note that I am a terrible judge of difficulty).

  • Can an arcanist take Spell Mastery, as per the witch and alchemist FAQ?

  • Can an arcanist take Preferred Spell to add a spell to his list of prepared spells per day? That is, can he be considered to "have the ability to cast" a spell for purposes of the feat so long as he has access to it and the ability to prepare a spell of that level, or does he only considered to "have the ability to cast" a spell while it is on his spells prepared list?

  • As an extension of the question above, if the arcanist is only considered to "have the ability to cast" a spell while it is prepared, does that mean that he cannot take a feat such as Destructive Dispel unless they have dispel magic or greater dispel magic prepared for the entirety of the leveling process and temporarily lose access to the feat whenever they have not prepared one or the other?

  • Same question for Dimensional Agility, Detect Expertise, etc.

    It says on page 9 of the ACG that "Feats and other effects that modify the number of spells known by a spellcaster instead affect the number of spells an arcanist can prepare." It says under the Bloodline Development exploit that "If the arcanist already has a bloodline (or gains one later), taking this exploit instead allows her arcanist levels to stack with the levels of the class that granted her access to the bloodline when determining the powers and abilities of her bloodline."

  • Does this mean that an arcanist with this exploit and a level of sorcerer adds the bloodline spells to his list of spells prepared? Does an arcanist with this exploit and a level of arcane sorcerer increase his number of spells prepared with the New Arcana ability? If so, is it a generic increase of +1 at the level chosen, or does he select a single spell to add to his list of arcanist spells as if it were permanently prepared?

    I understand that there was a rather confusing FAQ whose purpose seemed to be controlling the ability of oracles to abuse Eldritch Heritage (arcane) and paragon surge, prior to the nerf of paragon surge. How does that apply to the arcanist?

  • Same question regarding the arcane bloodline and the Eldritch Heritage feats.

  • Given the existence of the Expanded Preparation feat, am I to assume that the arcanist does not qualify for the special prerequisites of Expanded Arcana, given that the feats are essentially identical save for a crucial limitation exclusive to the arcanist?

  • Can the arcanist take the Extra Cantrips or Orisons feat? And if he does, must he select two specific cantrips and permanently add them to his list of prepared spells, as the feat would do if he were a sorcerer, or, per the text on page 9, does he just gain 2 extra spell preparation slots of level 0?

  • Since the Flexible Wizardry feat was printed in the ACG and not before, and that the feat has the word "wizardry" in the name, I am going to take as a given that the wizard level prerequisite is non-negotiable. However, if an arcanist with 1 level of wizard has this feat, can he apply it to arcanist spells? The language of the feat does not specify "wizard spell slots," only "spell slots," and the words "prepared" and "spell slots" is used by both the arcanist and wizard classes, albeit with slightly different mechanical outcomes, and there is a way to parse this feat so that it interacts with the arcanist casting mechanism without having to reinterpret or "fudge" a single word. But is it supposed to do that?

  • Can an arcanist with the Sacred Geometry feat apply it to a spell prepared with metamagic without knowing the metamixing exploit?

  • Can an arcanist with Spell Perfection apply metamagic to a spell prepared with metamagic without using the metamixing exploit?

  • How does Greater Spell Specialization work with arcanist spells, if at all?

  • Can an arcanist wearing a ring of spell knowledge cast the spell stored in the ring by expending a slot of equal or higher level as if it were one they had prepared that day? Or do they not count as spontaneous arcane spellcasters for purposes of using this ring?

  • Can an arcanist use a page of spell knowledge, or do they not count as a spontaneous caster for purposes of using the item?

  • Can an arcanist use a pearl of power?

  • Can an arcanist use a runestone of power, or do they not count as spontaneous spellcasters for purposes of using this item?

  • Can an arcanist use the Magical Epiphany feat? If so, how does it work?

  • Can an arcanist with the Blood Arcanist archetype take the Bloodline Intensity, Mythic Bloodline, or Bloodline Immunity archmage path abilities?

  • Can an arcanist with the school savant archetype take the Flexible School, Harmonious Mage, or Mythic School archmage path abilities?

  • Can an arcanist take the Perfect Preparation or Rapid Preparation archmage mythic path abilities? And if so, how do they work?

  • Can the arcanist take the Divine Knowledge archmage mythic path ability?

  • Can an arcanist use mnemonic vestments?


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    It's spelled "rogue."


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    This has really been bugging me.

    Not that I'm complaining about player power; blasting things into oblivion is less useful for casters than using control magic, and Dazing Spell and Persistent Spell would be pains in the ass with or without level reducers.

    I just think it's weird that something people base entire builds around is supposedly on the same mechanical level as an extra class skill, to the point where they can essentially pick up the same effect twice for low-level spells via Wayang Spellhunter (allowing auto-Empowered fireballs by level 5/6).

    It just seems like they distort the game, is all.


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    ElterAgo wrote:

    I could agree with that if...

    Everyone says that by RAW, if you cast a spell with still spell, silent spell, and eschew materials that everyone can still tell you are casting a spell even if there is zero visible or audible effects.

    That's because you are making a Poop Face. And not the quick grunt of casting a swift-action spell, but several seconds of pushing.

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