Thevanan Quain

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So I'm creating a setting with a deity selection based on a melding of Sumerian, Canaanite, and Hittite religion.

It's a rich and wonderful mythology; it just doesn't really translate well into game terms. Almost everybody has the Weather domain, the Plant domain (a stand-in for a nonexistent Agriculture domain), and the Air domain. Several have the War domain, and almost all of those also have the Weather and Air domains.

Oh hell, I'll just transcribe the list for the gods I've done so far:

Major Divinities:
Adad: Cloud, Plant, Storms, Weather, Wind
Enki: Artifice, Knowledge, Magic, Rune, Trickery, Water
Enlil: Cloud, Destruction, Fate, Glory, Nobility, Plant, Storms, Weather, Wind
Ereshkigal: Caves, Death, Repose
Gibil: Destruction, Fire
Inanna: Charm, Knowledge, Lust, War
Marduk: Cloud, Nobility, Storms, Strength, War, Weather, Wind
Nabu: Knowledge, Law, Rune
Nanna: Knowledge, Moon*
Ninurta: Protection, Storms, Strength, War, Weather, Wind
Ningishzida: Ancestors, Healing, Plant, Repose, Restoration
Ninhursag: Earth, Family, Growth, Healing, Plant
Nirgal: Blood, Death, Destruction, Sun**, War
Ninlil: Charm, Family, Water, Weather, Wind
Shamash: Law***, Liberation, Protection, Sun
*Not an actual domain in Pathfinder for some reason.
**Specifically, the deadly summer sun that brought drought and scorching heat, which isn't the aspect of the sun reflected by the CRB domain.
***More specifically justice, rather than law for law's sake, though there isn't a domain or subdomain specifically for that.

I'm sure that using more subdomains (or converting one of the dozens of 3.5 domains) would add a bit more granularity to this list, but the things that make these deities special are the deeds attributed to them in myth, their relationships with one another, and their conflicting depictions in various sources spanning over a thousand years. As far as game-relevant information, I could only find favored weapons for Enlil (who invented the mattock), Ninurta (who bore a magic, sentient heavy mace), and Marduk, who bore a thunderbolt named Imhullu that could be represented by training his clerics in the javelin.

Now, there were rules in 3.5 for tight pantheons (like the Norse, Olympian, or Egyptian gods), and I suppose I could use those, but what would a setting lose mechanically by getting rid of clerics altogether?

By way of context, the divine spellcasting classes left are the oracle, druid, shaman, hunter, ranger, and warpriest (which also gets the paladin & antipaladin exclusive spells).

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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.

Thesis Statement: I would like some general feedback (positive or negative) and input on any potential balance issues you see stemming from giving sorcerers a small amount of customization in their bloodline spells.

Background: The sorcerer bloodlines were a needed addition to the class, replacing the neat but flawed Heritage Feats in the latter half of 3.5 edition. Two otherwise-identical Pathfinder sorcerers can play like completely different characters depending on their bloodlines.

But there is one complaint; Namely, that within the bloodlines themselves there isn't much variety.

Of course, sorcerers are a tier 2 class and don't really need any increases in power level, which is why I think something that can only be changed at level-up and doesn't actually offer anything more than what a normal sorcerer could get would be the best solution for the Pathfinder sorcerer (or indeed, the only solution that doesn't break the game; it's far far too late in the development cycle to give sorcerers a different spell list the way 5e did).

Rules: These alternative bloodline spells work exactly like regular bloodline spells; at 3rd, 5th, ..., 17th, and 19th level, the sorcerer gains one bloodline spell of the highest level they can cast and adds it to their list of spells known. This bloodline spell can be selected from any one of those indicated for their bloodline at that spell level. At any level where they could swap a spell known, they can instead swap one bloodline spell for another bloodline spell of the same level.

Only one spell per spell level can be a bloodline spell. For example, if a sorcerer with the undead bloodline knows both energy drain and wail of the banshee, only the one learned as a class feature at level 19 is affected by abilities such as the bloodline intensity archmage mythic path ability.

I took the liberty of replacing bloodline spells that don't fit their bloodline's theme very well (likely because they were released early in the design cycle), such as tongues with monstrous extremities for aberrant sorcerers and shadow walk with dream travel for dreamspun sorcerers.

EDIT: Looking back, those are the only two outright replacements on the entire list.

Wildblooded sorcerer bloodlines aren't included in this list because there are only so many spells in the PFRPG line and I was already repeating myself more than I would have liked.

Some core bloodlines are so specific that there were not enough spells to give two or more options at every level (which I set as the benchmark), so you won't, for example, see the Ectoplasm bloodline on here.

The bloodlines are listed alphabetically. The original bloodline spell Paizo assigned for a given level is listed first.

There are 31 bloodline lists given, representing 28 Paizo bloodlines (Elemental was split into 4).

Half the bloodlines have only two choices at each level, and most of the rest have three (Abyssal, Celestial, Djinni, Dreamspun, Efreeti, Elemental [all], Infernal, Protean, Rakshasa, and Shadow), though one (Fey) has four, although there is at least one dud at each level there (tree shape, unnatural lust, matchmaker, poison, mind fog, green caress, pox of rumors, scintillating pattern, shambler).

Alternative Bloodline Spells:

1: enlarge person, adhesive spittle
2: see invisibility, fleshcurdle
3: tongues, monstrous extremities, countless eyes
4: black tentacles, confusion
5: feeblemind, echolocation
6: veil, acid fog
7: plane shift, insanity
8: mind blank, frightful aspect
9: shapechange, maze of madness and suffering

1: cause fear, protection from good, ear-piercing scream
2: bull's strength, darkness, acid arrow
3: rage, deeper darkness, lightning bolt
4: stoneskin, unholy blight, fear
5: dismissal, possession, telekinesis
6: transformation, acid fog, cruel jaunt
7: greater teleport, hungry darkness, caustic eruption
8: unholy aura, horrid wilting, rift of ruin
9: summon monster IX, storm of vengeance, energy drain

1: ray of enfeeblement, doom
2: touch of idiocy, blindness/deafness
3: ray of exhaustion, accursed glare
4: bestow curse, rest eternal
5: feeblemind, major curse
6: eyebite, flesh to stone
7: insanity, bestow greater curse
8: dimensional lock, prediction of failure
9: energy drain, cursed earth

1: identify, magic missile
2: invisibility, greater detect magic
3: dispel magic, arcane sight
4: dimension door, globe of invulnerability
5: overland flight, teleport
6: true seeing, greater dispel magic
7: greater teleport, greater arcane sight
8: power word stun, prismatic wall
9: wish, time stop

1: bless, bless water, protection from evil
2: resist energy, consecrate, burst of radiance
3: magic circle against evil, daylight, searing light
4: remove curse, holy smite, good hope
5: flame strike, hallow, dispel evil
6: greater dispel magic, true seeing, chains of light
7: banishment, joyful rapture, greater teleport
8: sunburst, holy aura, stormbolts
9: gate, heroic invocation, storm of vengeance

1: ray of enfeeblement, deathwatch
2: touch of idiocy, cup of dust
3: vampiric touch, ray of exhaustion
4: contagion, enervation
5: blight, waves of fatigue
6: circle of death, wither limb
7: waves of exhaustion, plundered power
8: horrid wilting, trap the soul
9: soul bind, energy drain

Deep Earth:
1: expeditious excavation, expeditious construction
2: darkvision, earthbind
3: shifting sand, stone shape
4: stoneskin, earth glide
5: spike stones, hungry earth
6: stone tell, tar pool
7: repel metal or stone, caustic eruption
8: earthquake, wall of lava
9: clashing rocks, imprisonment

1: alarm, moment of greatness
2: blur, embrace destiny
3: protection from energy, gallant inspiration
4: freedom of movement, death ward
5: break enchantment, grand destiny
6: mislead, getaway
7: spell turning, circle of clarity
8: moment of prescience, mind blank
9: foresight, time stop

1: shocking grasp, enhance water, alter winds
2: invisibility, gust of wind, minor image
3: fly, major image, create food and water
4: minor creation, air walk, control winds
5: overland flight, persistent image, major creation (created vegetable matter is permanent)
6: chain lightning, wind walk, heroes' feast
7: plane shift, limited wish, control weather (as druid)
8: greater planar binding, screen, whirlwind
9: wish, resplendent mansion, elemental swarm (air only)

1: mage armor, detect metal
2: resist energy, barkskin
3: fly, suggestion
4: fear, stoneskin
5: spell resistance, cone of cold (matches your dragon's damage type)
6: form of the dragon I, guards and wards, analyze dweomer
7: form of the dragon II, mass hold person, teleport trap
8: form of the dragon III, demand, dimensional lock
9: wish, overwhelming presence

1: sleep, ill omen, auditory hallucination
2: augury, oneiric horror, sense madness
3: deep slumber, minor dream (self only), clairaudience/clairvoyance
4: divination, greater oneiric horror, phantasmal killer
5: dream, lesser astral projection, nightmare
6: shadow walk, dream travel, dream council, prognostication
7: vision, permanent hallucination, insanity
8: moment of prescience, true prognostication, discern location
9: astral projection, microcosm, dream voyage

1: enlarge person, reduce person, produce flame
2: scorching ray, invisibility, pyrotechnics
3: fireball, ash storm, scorching ash form (self only)
4: wall of fire, mass reduce person, mass enlarge person
5: persistent image, fire snake, elemental body II (fire only)
6: planar binding, chains of fire, permanent image
7: plane shift, limited wish, fire storm
8: giant form II, incendiary cloud, wall of lava
9: wish, fiery body, meteor swarm

Elemental (air):
1: burning hands (electricity damage), alter winds, windy escape
2: scorching ray (electricity damage), gust of wind, whispering wind
3: protection from energy, wind wall, air geyser
4: elemental body I, river of wind, air walk
5: elemental body II, control winds, overland flight
6: elemental body III, path of the winds, wind walk
7: elemental body IV, control weather (as druid), fire storm (electricity damage)
8: summon monster VIII (elementals only), whirlwind, stormbolts
9: elemental swarm, winds of vengeance, ride the lightning

Elemental (earth):
1: burning hands (acid damage), expeditious excavation, stone shield
2: scorching ray (acid damage), binding earth, soften earth and stone
3: protection from energy, meld into stone, stone shape
4: elemental body I, earth glide, spike stones
5: elemental body II, wall of stone, transmute rock to mud
6: elemental body III, move earth, flesh to stone
7: elemental body IV, repel metal or stone, rampart
8: summon monster VIII (elementals only), iron body (can speak and drink potions), earthquake
9: elemental swarm, clashing rocks, imprisonment

Elemental (fire):
1: burning hands, touch of combustion, produce flame
2: scorching ray, flaming sphere, pyrotechnics
3: protection from energy, fireball, firestream
4: elemental body I, wall of fire, fire shield (warm shield only)
5: elemental body II, fire snake, lightning arc (fire damage)
6: elemental body III, chain lightning (fire damage), cold ice strike (fire damage)
7: elemental body IV, fire storm, firebrand
8: summon monster VIII (elementals only), stormbolts (fire damage), incendiary cloud
9: elemental swarm, fiery body, meteor swarm

Elemental (water):
1: burning hands (cold damage), hydraulic push, wave shield
2: scorching ray (cold damage), slipstream, ice slick
3: protection from energy, aqueous orb, hydraulic torrent
4: elemental body I, control water, wall of ice
5: elemental body II, alter river, globe of tranquil water
6: elemental body III, freezing sphere, oasis
7: elemental body IV, fire storm (cold damage), vortex
8: summon monster VIII (elementals only), seamantle, stormbolts (cold damage)
9: elemental swarm, tsunami, mass icy prison

1: entangle, tree shape, lesser confusion, ventriloquism
2: hideous laughter, unnatural lust, silence, invisibility
3: deep slumber, matchmaker, displacement, rage
4: poison, sculpt sound, nixie's lure, moonstruck
5: tree stride, lesser entice fey, mind fog, mirage arcana
6: mislead, transport via plants, green caress, flesh to stone
7: phase door, waves of ecstasy, entice fey, pox of rumors
8: irresistible dance, binding, scintillating pattern, screen
9: shapechange, greater entice fey, time stop, shambler

Ghoul Sorcerer:
1: ray of enfeeblement, repair undead
2: feast of ashes, ghoul touch
3: vampiric touch, meld into stone
4: fear, hunger for flesh
5: hungry earth, ghoul army
6: move earth, create undead
7: control undead, mass hunger for flesh
8: unholy aura, deathclutch
9: wail of the banshee, clashing rocks

1: ill omen, anticipate peril
2: augury, detect thoughts
3: harrowing, analyze aura
4: shadow conjuration, divination
5: contact other plane, retrocognition
6: legend lore, prognostication
7: greater harrowing, vision
8: moment of prescience, true prognostication
9: weird, foresight

1: moment of greatness, command
2: eagle's splendor, resist energy
3: heroism, magic vestment
4: threefold aspect, fear
5: greater command, overland flight
6: repulsion, greater heroism
7: greater age resistance, mass hold person
8: prediction of failure, demand
9: overwhelming presence, gate

1: protection from good, charm person, fool's gold
2: scorching ray, minor image, detect desires
3: suggestion, fireball, major image
4: charm monster, wall of fire, damnation stride
5: dominate person, hellfire ray, persistent image
6: planar binding (devils and fiendish creatures only), mass suggestion, chains of fire
7: greater teleport, fire storm, song of discord
8: power word stun, mass charm monster, trap the soul
9: meteor swarm, dominate monster, soul bind

1: ventriloquism, vocal alteration
2: hideous laughter, enthrall
3: suggestion, sculpt sound
4: shout, confusion
5: dominate person, persistent image
6: mass suggestion, music of the spheres
7: power word blind, song of discord
8: greater shout, power word stun
9: wail of the banshee, power word kill

1: obscuring mist, hydraulic push
2: see invisibility, minor image
3: gaseous form, water breathing
4: wall of ice, control water
5: persistent image, oasis
6: elemental body III, freezing sphere
7: plane shift, limited wish
8: polar ray, seamantle
9: wish, tsunami

1: burning hands, enlarge person
2: bull's strength, scorching ray
3: rage, fireball
4: wall of fire, mass enlarge person
5: cloudkill, decapitate
6: transformation, chains of fire
7: delayed blast fireball, giant form I
8: iron body, giant form II
9: meteor swarm, heroic invocation

1: charm animal, itching curse
2: summon swarm, ghoul touch
3: contagion, rain of frogs
4: repel vermin, fleshworm infestation
5: insect plague, greater contagion
6: eyebite, plague storm
7: creeping doom, waves of exhaustion
8: horrid wilting, summon monster VIII (1d3 leukodaemons or 1 meladaemon)
9: power word kill, cursed earth

1: entropic shield, bouncy body, break
2: blur, wood shape, make whole
3: gaseous form, slow, shrink item
4: confusion, stone shape, rusting grasp
5: major creation, transmute rock to mud, polymorph
6: disintegrate, wall of iron, animate objects
7: greater polymorph, reverse gravity, phase door
8: polymorph any object, earthquake, prismatic wall
9: shapechange, greater create demiplane, prismatic sphere

1: charm person, magic aura, sow thought
2: invisibility, detect desires, alter self
3: suggestion, seek thoughts, hold person
4: detect scrying, charm monster, glibness
5: prying eyes, mass charm person, mage's private sanctum
6: mass suggestion, veil, repulsion
7: greater polymorph, mass hold person, spell turning
8: mind blank, screen, greater prying eyes
9: dominate monster, shapechange, etherealness

1: ray of enfeeblement, shadow trap, dancing darkness
2: darkvision, darkness, silence
3: deeper darkness, shadow enchantment, gloomblind bolts
4: shadow conjuration, shadow projection, shadowform
5: shadow evocation, shadow endurance, waves of fatigue
6: shadow walk, greater shadow enchantment, shadow transmutation
7: power word blind, hungry darkness, project image
8: greater shadow evocation, screen, curse of night
9: shades, greater shadow transmutation, polar midnight

1: true strike, magic stone
2: glitterdust, soften earth and stone
3: greater magic weapon, meld into stone
4: stoneskin, stone shape
5: wall of stone, spike stones
6: wall of iron, stone tell
7: plane shift, limited wish
8: iron body, earthquake
9: wish, clashing rocks

1: shocking grasp, ear-piercing scream
2: gust of wind, sound burst
3: lightning bolt, call lightning (bolts always at full power)
4: shout, ball lightning
5: overland flight, call lightning storm (bolts always at full power)
6: chain lightning, path of the winds
7: control weather, stormbolts (cannot exclude creatures or vegetation)
8: whirlwind, greater shout (60-ft-radius spherical spread within long range instead of cone)
9: storm of vengeance, ride the lightning

1: chill touch, repair undead
2: false life, command undead
3: vampiric touch, lesser animate dead
4: animate dead, greater false life
5: waves of fatigue, mass repair undead
6: undeath to death, create undead
7: finger of death, control undead
8: horrid wilting, create greater undead
9: energy drain, wail of the banshee

I've always had a soft spot for the summoner class. But it stems largely from a deep appreciation for the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. Like the summoner, Bartimaean magicians had several minor magical tricks they could perform without needing help from an outsider, but their most powerful abilities by far came from their capacity to command spirits/demons from the Other Place. Skilled magicians could conjure weaker spirits with a snap of the fingers and a few words, but their greatest strength came from spirits/demons that could only be called and controlled with the help of complicated magical diagrams and rituals. A magician's power was most directly measured by the strength of spirit/demon they could call and subsequently control.
If I didn't know that the game was drawing on preexisting traditions, I'd swear the author played D&D or something.
There are a few key differences, though. Namely, a summoner in the Bartimaean mold would have no eidolon. Mostly because, save the rare few who develop Stockholm syndrome, every bound outsider is like the quasit: "[It] serves, yet it watches and waits for mistakes that might cost its master's life, or even better, an error that might let the [spirit] turn against its master."
Also, Bartimaean magicians bargain and negotiate purely with sticks. They never give their slaves gold, goods, or services, and instead rely on the strictures of the binding magic and their ability to magically torture them into compliance. The idea of having a spiritual connection to their slaves beyond that necessary to ensure their compliance would be anathema.

Of course, the Pathfinder summoner derives a great deal of their power from the eidolon, so removing it would change the class significantly.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to implement such an adjustment?

The entirety of the description of the ring of telekinesis is as follows:

Ultimate Equipment, page 175 wrote:
This ring, knotted with metallic tendrils encasing a setting of red and amber gemstones, allows the caster to use the spell telekinesis on command, lifting and manipulating objects at a distance using only her mind.

The spell in question has the following rules text:

Core Rulebook, page 357 wrote:

You move objects or creatures by concentrating on them. Depending on the version selected, the spell can provide a gentle, sustained force, perform a variety of combat maneuvers, or exert a single short, violent thrust.

Sustained Force: A sustained force moves an object weighing no more than 25 pounds per caster level (maximum 375 pounds at 15th level) up to 20 feet per round. A creature can negate the effect on an object it possesses with a successful Will save or with spell resistance. This version of the spell can last 1 round per caster level, but it ends if you cease concentration. The weight can be moved vertically, horizontally, or in both directions. An object cannot be moved beyond your range. The spell ends if the object is forced beyond the range. If you cease concentration for any reason, the object falls or stops.

An object can be telekinetically manipulated as if with one hand. For example, a lever or rope can be pulled, a key can be turned, an object rotated, and so on, if the force required is within the weight limitation. You might even be able to untie simple knots, though delicate activities such as these require DC 15 Intelligence checks.

Combat Maneuver: Alternatively, once per round, you can use telekinesis to perform a bull rush, disarm, grapple (including pin), or trip. Resolve these attempts as normal, except that they don't provoke attacks of opportunity, you use your caster level in place of your Combat Maneuver Bonus, and you add your Intelligence modifier (if a wizard) or Charisma modifier (if a sorcerer) in place of your Strength or Dexterity modifier. No save is allowed against these attempts, but spell resistance applies normally. This version of the spell can last 1 round per caster level, but it ends if you cease concentration.

Violent Thrust: Alternatively, the spell energy can be spent in a single round. You can hurl one object or creature per caster level (maximum 15) that are within range and all within 10 feet of each other toward any target within 10 feet per level of all the objects. You can hurl up to a total weight of 25 pounds per caster level (maximum 375 pounds at 15th level).

You must succeed on attack rolls (one per creature or object thrown) to hit the target with the items, using your base attack bonus + your Intelligence modifier (if a wizard) or Charisma modifier (if a sorcerer). Weapons cause standard damage (with no Strength bonus; note that arrows or bolts deal damage as daggers of their size when used in this manner). Other objects cause damage ranging from 1 point per 25 pounds (for less dangerous objects) to 1d6 points of damage per 25 pounds (for hard, dense objects). Objects and creatures that miss their target land in a square adjacent to the target.

Creatures who fall within the weight capacity of the spell can be hurled, but they are allowed Will saves (and spell resistance) to negate the effect, as are those whose held possessions are targeted by the spell.

If a telekinesed creature is hurled against a solid surface, it takes damage as if it had fallen 10 feet (1d6 points).

So, which ability score is it? I know that the save DC is set by the minimum ability score (15 in this case, for a DC of 17), but does that also apply to things like CMB? The reference to Intelligence checks implies that the user's abilities do indeed have an impact on the utility of the spell. So does the user's ability modifiers apply to the combat maneuver and violent thrust versions of telekinesis when using this ring?

Also, does the violent thrust version use the item user's base attack bonus? Usually these things are based on the creator's caster level, but BAB and caster level have no inherent relation to each other.

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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.


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:
quilted cloth
lamellar cuirass
studded leather
chain shirt
lamellar (leather)

armored coat
lamellar (horn)
scale mail
agile breastplate
lamellar (steel)
mountain pattern

lamellar (stone)

light steel (quickdraw)
light steel
light wooden (quickdraw)
light wooden
heavy steel
heavy wooden

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

Simple one-handed:
heavy mace
mere club

Simple two-handed:
boar spear

Simple ranged:

Martial light:
light hammer
light pick
throwing axe

Martial one-handed:
heavy pick
light flail

Martial two-handed:
earth breaker
heavy flail

Martial ranged:
composite longbow
composite shortbow

Exotic light:
knuckle axe
scorpion whip
swordbreaker dagger

Exotic one-handed:
dwarven waraxe
great terbutje
hooked axe

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

Exotic ranged:
halfling sling staff
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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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.

As far as I can see, one of the only benefits that sorcerers have over wizards and arcanists when it comes to being an emperor are their higher Charisma scores, which make them much better at the Ruler role in the kingdom-building rules.

When it comes to the incredibly complicated task of running a state, flexibility and problem-solving skills are of paramount importance.

Note that a 200-hex kingdom is equal in size to Slovenia or Costa Rica.

A half-elf who takes the human favored class bonus and learns the (nerfed) paragon surge spell is certainly in a better spot than most sorcerers, but any other race is at a significant disadvantage.

There are tools, of course, for sorcerers. At only 5,000 gp apiece, an emperor could stock a small closet with mnemonic vestments. The ring of spell knowledge and the page of spell knowledge also expand a sorcerer's repertoire.

Page of Spell Knowledge Abuse:
It's come to my attention that, as a wondrous item, the creator of the page of spell knowledge need not know the spell to be contained in the page for them to create it; they merely have a higher creation DC. While legal, this seems to go against the spirit of the rules. In fact, combining this with a ring of spell knowledge means that a sorcerer could theoretically gain access to any arcane spell of 3rd level or lower––including bard, magus, summoner, and witch spells––without recourse to any other character.

But the ring and the vestments require that the sorcerer have access to the spell from a scroll or spellbook. (Theoretically, I suppose, a sorcerer could use limited wish to duplicate a spell and teach it to the ring, but doing so is rather expensive). Thus, there is nothing they can learn that their court wizards/arcanists do not already know. In which case, why not just be a wizard/arcanist and skip the complicated and expensive item setup? (Again, apart from the higher Charisma giving better returns in the kingdom-building and Leadership departments.)

One thing that might explain the sorcerer-king trope (and especially why empires run by sorcerer-kings are often relics of the past) is the Wild Arcana archmage mythic path ability, but obviously not all mage-emperors can be mythic.

So how would a sorcerer ever run a country?

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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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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?

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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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?

Most people here have English as their first language, or if not, as a second language for a very long time.

The sending spell has a hard limit of 25 words per casting. In English, what counts as a word is pretty simple to define (compound words and contractions notwithstanding).

Just like with real-life communication, casters of sending have a couple of options to fit more information into the same space, like using prearranged code-words for complex concepts.

But not all characters speak Common (and, perhaps more importantly, not all players speak English, or at least, shouldn't have to do so in order to play a game they enjoy).

So, for sending (and similar effects that say "in [X number of] words or fewer"), how does one accommodate different languages, both in-game and out-of-game?

For example:
In English, the only grammatically-correct one-word sentences are commands or imperatives: "Move!"

But in a language with case-endings like Latin, Romanian, Greek (modern and ancient), etc., you absolutely can have one-word sentences. In Latin, "Emovebitur" means "[he/she/it] will be removed," and the conjunction "and" can be rendered simply by tacking the suffix "-que" on the end of another word: "senatus populusque" means "the senate and the people." In addition, prepositions such as "by", "for", "from", "out of", "in", "on", "to", "towards", and "at" can be left out if the case ending of a noun or the prefix of a verb implies it.

Latin and Greek can even use participles to convey complex conditional sentences very succinctly. Some Roman sundials were once engraved with "datam do, negatam nego," which in English is best approximated as "If it has been given, I display [it], [but] if it has been denied, I do not [display it]." (Translated literally, it's the considerably more obscure "I give [the] given [thing]; I [do not] say [the] denied [thing].")

For agglutinative languages like Sumerian and Turkish, the amount of information packed into one word can become absurd:


is the Turkish word for:

"As though you are from those whom we may not be able to quickly make into a maker of unsuccessful ones."

So, if you were speaking Turkish, you could relate:

The school principal, who thinks every teacher can be made quickly into a maker of unsuccessful ones, gets angry. He invites the teacher to his room and says "You are talking as if you were one of those we can not quickly turn into a maker of unsuccessful ones, right?"

(which is 50 words)


Bütün öğretmenleri kolayca muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriverebileceğini sanan okul müdürü bu duruma sinirleniyor, ve söz konusu öğretmeni makamına çağırıp ona diyor ki: "Muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmişsinizcesine laflar ediyormuşsunuz ha?"

which is only 23 words.

But the word limits of sending and similar spells is a game balance issue. So, should the word limit of a message be determined by the length of its English/Common translation, or by the language of the message?

In Ultimate Intrigue, page 161, it says "The most important thing to remember about scrying is that it must scry a creature. It is not able to scry a location. Erroneously allowing the spell to scry a location is a common mistake."

At first, I wondered how on earth people could misread something as simple as "You can observe a creature at any distance", or how a point in space could make a Will save, but then I realized that perhaps this was a result of GMs and players trying to fill a hole in the rules. Because I've looked, and there seems to be no spell in PFRPG that lets you clearly see and hear an arbitrarily distant location without having physically been there before. The symbol of scrying spell requires you to travel to a location and prep it for a future scrying, and clairaudience/clairvoyance has the range of dimension door but without the blind guessing aspect that makes dimension door as useful as it is (occasional Xd6 damage notwithstanding). The closest you can come is putting vicarious view on an object, turning it invisible, and using teleport object to send it to a particular location.

My main question is why there is no means yet released in PFRPG to reliably scry a location without an elaborate setup. I have additional thoughts, which you can comment on, but they are secondary to my main question.

There's always a danger when adding new utility spells, especially divinations, that you will upend the game with unintended consequences, especially when there is no counter or inherent drawback to a particular capability. For example, allowing wish or a 9th-level divination spell to replicate the effect of the Vizier card from a deck of many things would break the game.

But I've thought long and hard, and I can't think of any serious issues with creating a version of scrying that works for locations, if it's done right.

The spell screen seems almost tailor-made as a countermeasure: scrying the screened area gives a false vision with no save. Additionally, if an area is completely surrounded by a thin sheet of lead, scrying magic of all kinds simply fails to create a sensor at the specified location.

For those afraid of scry-and-fry, the lower-level cousins of screen, namely mirage arcana and hallucinatory terrain, can also foil teleport (and even greater teleport.)
For teleport, the key text is: "You must have some clear idea of the location and layout of the destination. The clearer your mental image, the more likely the teleportation works."
For greater teleport, the key text is: "If you attempt to teleport with insufficient information (or with misleading information), you disappear and simply reappear in your original location."

So if you scry a location and see a desert instead of a swamp, or if you see buildings or landmarks that aren't really there, your teleportation magic won't work. For standard teleport, they wind up in a similar area to the illusion they saw, and thus might not realize anything is wrong for quite some time. And for greater teleport, (where false information causes the spell to simply fail rather than send you on a wild goose chase), the failure could be indistinguishable from trying to reach a forbidden or dimensionally locked location. True, they do know that something supernatural is trying to impede them, but they can still come to a false conclusion just as with teleport.

I've thought about it, and this seems like a decent compromise:

Scry Location
School divination (scrying)
Level bard 5, cleric/oracle 7, druid 7, shaman 6, sorcerer/wizard 6, witch 6
Casting Time 1 hour
Components V, S, M/DF (a pool of water), F (silver mirror worth 1,000 gp)
Range unlimited
Effect magical sensor
Duration 1 min./level
Saving Throw None; Spell Resistance No

You can see and hear what occurs at a location which can be at any distance. You must make a successful caster level check to scry a specific location. The difficulty of this check depends on how familiar you are with that location and what sort of physical connection (if any) you have to that place. Furthermore, the difficulty to scry the desired locale increases if the location is extremely far removed, indoors or underground, or on another plane. The DC of this check is 20 + any modifiers related to your knowledge of the area, your connection to it, and the location’s distance, as set out in the following table:

Knowledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DC
None* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +10
Secondhand (you have heard . . . . +5
of the location)
Firsthand (you have been . . . . . . . +0
to the location)
Familiar (you have been to . . . . . . –5
the location often)
*You must have some sort of
connection to a location you have
no knowledge of

Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DC
Likeness or picture . . . . . . . . . . . –2
An object that has been in . . . . . –4
the area for a week or more
within the last year
A plant, mineral, or other . . . . . –10
object taken from the area
within the last year

Location . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DC
Per 1,000 miles away . . . . . +2
Indoors or underground . . . +2
On another plane . . . . . . . . +10

If you fail this check, the scrying attempt simply fails, and you can't attempt to scry on any place within 1 mile of that location for 24 hours. If the caster level check succeeds, you create an invisible magical sensor at any point you desire within the area. Through this sensor you can both see (as clairvoyance) and hear (as clairaudience) as if you were actually at that place, allowing you to make Perception checks as normal. You can rotate the sensor as you wish, seeing in any direction you desire. Once the spell is cast, however, you cannot change the position of the sensor.
The following spells have a 5% chance per caster level of operating through the sensor: detect chaos, detect evil, detect good, detect law, detect magic, and message.

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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?

Suppose an Abyssal sorcerer used shades to duplicate summon monster VIII. Could they conjure 2 Hezrou?

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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!

Detect metal is a neat spell with a whole lot of cool uses. Of course, the number-one nonmagical method for blocking divination, particularly detect spells, is a thin lead sheet.

For the "detect specific metal" version of the spell, does "detect lead" fail (as in, erroneously indicate nothing) due to lead objects blocking themselves?

For the "detect all metallic objects" version of the spell, do lead objects register? Do other metal objects coated with or enclosed in lead register? Does the "thin sheet of lead blocks detect spells" clause override the "gold coins with a thin lead coating are still 100% metal by mass" fact?

Uncanny Forethought was a feat from the 3.5 supplement Exemplars of Evil (page 26). This supplement was released in September 2007, very late in the 3.5 design cycle. Just two months later, 4th Edition was announced, and I assumed that anything that came out that late in the lifetime of 3.5 was... let's just say not designed with the level of care given to earlier products. In other words, things like Uncanny Forethought were broken and best left on the same garbage heap as Divine Metamagic + Persistent Spell + nightstick, or Assume Supernatural Ability.
For the longest time, I thought this about Uncanny Forethought, until I saw Brilliant Spell Preparation. I think it might be instructive to analyze the differences between the two.
Here they are side-by-side:

Brilliant Spell Preparation
Prerequisites: Int 13, ability to prepare 3rd-level spells.
Benefit: Select one class for which you prepare spells of 3rd level or higher. Once you select a class, it can't be changed. When you prepare spells for that class, you can leave one spell slot open as a special slot. The slot must be at least 2 levels lower than the highest-level spell you can cast. You can then prepare a spell in this special open slot as a standard action instead of it taking 15 minutes.
Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Each time you do, you can leave an additional special slot open.

Uncanny Forethought
Prerequisites: Intelligence 17, Spell Mastery
Benefit: When preparing your daily allotment of spells, you can reserve a number of spell slots equal to your Intelligence modifier. As a standard action*, you can use one of these slots to cast a spell that you selected for the Spell Mastery feat. The level of the slot used must be equal to or greater than the level of the spell you intend to cast.
Alternatively, as a full-round action, you can use a reserved slot to cast any spell that you know. The spell is resolved as normal, but for the purpose of the spell, your caster level is reduced by two.** The level of the slot used must be equal to or greater than the level of the spell you intend to cast.

*I'll assume for sanity's sake that the intent here was that if a spell had a casting time longer than a standard action, you would use that instead. Likewise, the increase in casting time was identical to that of adding metamagic to a spontaneous spell. WotC never got around to errata for the later 3e material.

**Let's assume that a spell with an effective caster level of -1 or 0 automatically fails; in 3e getting two feats of your choice at 1st level and an ability score of 17 was unheard-of for casters unless you were using the flaw system, which was broken as hell.

For the moment, let's ignore the second paragraph of Uncanny Forethought; we can come back to it later.

At first, Brilliant Spell Preparation seems inferior in every way. It requires you to take it multiple times for multiple slots rather than scaling with your key ability score, it does not work with your highest-level spells, and casting the spell from the reserved slot requires an additional standard action.

But Brilliant Spell Preparation doesn't require you to select a set of spells ahead of time. In addition, the level of the additional slot isn't set at the time you take the feat; it scales over your career. A wizard could take it at 5th level to gain a floating 1st-level spell slot, and at 17th level it will be a 7th-level slot, without taking additional feats.
Meanwhile, Uncanny Forethought relies on your taking Spell Mastery feats, whose benefits are set in stone at the level you acquire them. When you gain access to a new level of spells, you must take Spell Mastery again to use them with Uncanny Forethought, which in many cases creates the same level lag as Brilliant Spell Preparation.

Now, the second paragraph of Uncanny Forethought is somewhat more troubling. It can work with any spell, just like Brilliant Spell Preparation, but without the 2 level lag of the latter.

With Brilliant Spell Preparation, the standard action required to fill the reserved slot does not have to be taken during combat, such that a few seconds' warning before hostilities obviates the action cost, while the versatile use of Uncanny Forethought always costs additional time during combat.
Out of combat, despite its ability to work with your highest levels of spells, Uncanny Forethought is at somewhat of a disadvantage due to the hit to caster level that affects even lower-level spells.
In instances where there is no warning (which are the times when "I planned for this" is the most welcome thing one could hear), it would appear that Uncanny Forethought has the edge, because the standard action to prep the spell is a turn of spellcasting that is lost, while the unrestricted version of Uncanny Forethought merely increases the casting time to take up your move action for one round. But note that a full-round casting time has a significant disadvantage: every other combatant gets to take their turn in between you declaring you will use the spell and the time the spell actually goes off, and unlike with Brilliant Spell Preparation, you have to be casting for that entire time. If you successfully cast defensively, your opponents can still take a regular attack and force one or more insanely difficult concentration checks on you. They can also see you chanting and waving for six seconds and decide to duck behind a wall, cast an appropriate protective spell, or take other countermeasures.

The one-slot-per-feat nature of Brilliant Spell Preparation compares unfavorably with Uncanny Forethought's power to automatically keep pace with your key ability score without additional feats, but Uncanny Forethought has a feat tax in the form of Spell Mastery. The additional reserved slots from a higher ability score only work unimpeded with spells you have Spell Mastery for; thus, while there is more versatility in one direction, there is less in another. With a little bit of planning, the action disadvantages of Brilliant Spell Preparation can be overcome, while those of Uncanny Forethought are baked in, with an additional penalty of -2 to caster level.

So, which is better, design-wise? Play-wise?
Would you permit Uncanny Forethought in your game?
If not, would you permit it if using the feat's second option imposed burn (like the kineticist class feature) or had a daily limit? If not then, either, would you permit it with the secondary feature removed?

I've been away for a while and only recently gotten my hands on a copy of Pathfinder Unchained. It is indeed a remarkable achievement, and props are in order for the design staff and playtesters.

Since a collaborative game amounts to very little without a community of players, I think it would be good if the community shared what they think about PF Unchained: whether they use it at their table; which elements they already use or plan to use the most; which elements–if any–that they won't use; which elements they agree with in concept but simply never come up in play, etc.

Also helpful is whether one's view is coming from a player perspective or DM perspective.

On the one hand, this is a pretty iconic ability. On the other, it really seems to cause the game world to break down.

First, lots of outsiders are described as carrying equipment that would put them over the 50 lb limit even without picking up anything else, meaning that their stat blocks don't really make much sense.

Second, and more problematic, the ability to teleport at will makes outsiders almost impossible to attack, as they can't be located without powerful magic, and further powerful magic is required to act on that information quickly enough to catch up with them and prevent their escape. With no real concerns of being subject to a preemptive strike, outsiders can focus all their efforts on reconnaissance and offense. There are really only a few ways to manage threats from teleporting outsiders, and these approaches all have flaws.

Problems with those approaches:
Teleport trap only works if the outsider tries to teleport directly to the location, which only exceptionally stupid outsiders would do. If they teleport near to but outside the trap, either detect magic or a DC 27 Knowledge (arcana) check will reveal its presence, and they can simply use mundane means to enter the warded area. All you've bought is at most a round or two.

Dimensional lock is in many ways even worse, since the failed teleport immediately alerts the outsider that the area is warded and doesn't even have the potential to trap them.

Forbiddance hedges out teleportation and can also physically block outsiders with the threat of 6d6 or 12d6 points of damage upon entry.

However, every single one of these spells is of 8th level or below, and allows spell resistance. A single casting of greater spell immunity provides two and a half hours of protection from these spells. Teleport trap and dimensional lock become useless, and forbiddance only gives a round or so of warning, as the outsider can teleport to the edge of the effect and enter from there.

So, why do outsiders get at-will teleports? Is it because they are only partially on the Material Plane even if called rather than summoned? The existence of a mutable Extraplanar subtype and spells specifically designed to banish creatures with that subtype lends some credence to this interpretation, but if they weren't fully present on the Material Plane, wouldn't dimensional lock hedge them out completely?

Is there some legacy reason from the old days of the boxed sets that would shed light on this?

So I've been dying to create a slayer, but haven't been able to come up with a rationale for why his background calls for him to be a slayer specifically rather than some other class.

I'm trying to figure out a difference in background, training, and mentality to distinguish between the slayer, the rogue, and an urban ranger with the skirmisher archetype and a hunter's bond to his companions instead of an animal companion (that is, one with no spells or animal companion)

They all have a gift for mundane skills. The rogue obviously has a slightly broader range of skills, but not so much that it's wildly different from the other two.

None of them cast spells or have an animal companion.

The slayer's gimmick seems to be "I can kill literally anything with the slightest preparation unless they see me coming." The ranger's gimmick is "I can Terminator the crap out of a few types of creatures, and can help a few comrades do the same." The rogue's gimmick is "I make up for a lack of formal militia training by fighting dirty. I also stereotypically look good doing it, but that's up to how the player roleplays me."

While these are all slightly different, I can't come up with a backstory that screams "this is a slayer, and not either of those other two things" without using game terms. Because to be honest, all three are perfectly capable of specializing in assassinating people, although the rogue's unfortunate mechanical design puts them at a disadvantage from a purely rules perspective. Sure, the slayer gets an actual talent called "assassinate," but unless you're thinking in game terms, a full attack with +8d8 sneak attack or a massive favored enemy bonus isn't that different than an assassinate talent; hardy targets might survive, but most people get gibbed instantly.

How would a novel or film adaptation indicate that a character is a slayer and not one of the other two, assuming an audience familiar with fantasy tropes but with no knowledge of the mechanics of roleplaying games?


Personally, it seems to me like the slayer was just a way to outmode the assassin PrC, because the skill set an assassin develops can be used for nonevil purposes and the alignment restriction was really only there because of the silly line under the "Special" requirement.

While most of the other bloodlines fit conceptually with the class, the Arcane bloodline seems like a mishmash of abilities crammed together so that every bloodline from the CRB has a bloodrager equivalent.

Don't get me wrong, free blur and haste while raging is pretty cool on an 8th-level character, and options for weapon-wielding classes to better beat the piss out of casters are always welcome, but thematically, what is it?

The arcane sorcerer also kind of has this problem of "what?", but it's easier to rationalize: Epigenetics results in actions you take in your life affecting the way your children's genes are expressed, so if both of your parents are wizards, it makes sense for their kid to be so damned good at magic that it just comes naturally.

Or maybe the wife didn't read the directions for her Nuva-ring of wizardry IV.

But how do wizards produce a bloodrager kid? I don't get it.

And what other ways do arcane bloodragers get created?

Inspired rage wrote:
If an ally has her own rage class ability (such as barbarian's rage, bloodrager's bloodrage, or skald's inspired rage), she may use the Strength, Constitution, and Will saving throw bonuses, as well as AC penalties, based on her own ability and level instead of those from the skald (still suffering no fatigue afterward). However, inspired rage does not allow the ally to activate abilities dependent on other rage class abilities, such as rage powers, blood casting, or bloodrager bloodlines; the ally must activate her own rage class ability in order to use these features.


Abyssal bloodrage wrote:
At 12th level, the morale bonus to Strength granted by your bloodrage increases by 2, but the penalty to AC becomes –4 instead of –2. At 16th level, this bonus increases by 4 instead. At 20th level, it increases by 6 instead.

Inspired rage obviously wouldn't allow the Abyssal bloodrager to use their claw ability, since that is neither here nor there with Strength, Con, AC, and Will save adjustments.

But does Abyssal bloodrage count as a bloodline power and thus ineligible to be activated with raging song, or is it simply an inherent alteration of the bonuses of the bloodrager's bloodrage bonuses?

I ask because I just recently noticed that polymorph is still a 4th level spell on the spell list for the adept NPC class.

Was this just an oversight on the part of the design team?

So, as part of my look into worldbuilding, I recently realized that the game isn't very clear on how people go about solving crimes.

There are, of course, several options available to adventurers. When a suspect is in custody, a spellcaster can use contact other plane to contact as many different planar powers as their Intelligence check results allow. If four different greater deities all agree that Bandit McBanditson committed the crime, you have a pretty good place to start with the discern lies action.

But the investigator (who is the supposed master at this) doesn't get discern lies or contact other plane. And neither do NPC classes.

So how are crimes solved?

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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?

So, imagine the following scenario:

You are a 20th-level neutral elf arcanist (Int 30 without magic items) with spellbook access to every spell Paizo has ever published for Pathfinder (including ones that are ordinarily restricted to members of other races, with the exception of paragon surge, which you don't have).

You learn that tomorrow, every spellbook and arcane magical writing will be wiped clean, every arcane magic item and ongoing arcane spell effect will be disjoined, and every other arcane spellcaster (including monsters that cast as if they were a member of a PC class) besides yourself will be rendered incapable of casting arcane spells as if an attempt to disjoin an artifact had backfired.

You have the Scribe Scroll feat, but even if you scribed a scroll that day, it would be destroyed the following day. You don't have Spell Mastery or Expanded Preparation, nor do you have any archetypes.

You have one day's worth of memorization slots (9/5/5/4/4/4/3/3/3/3) to save as much of arcane magic as possible and pass on to future generations. Magic item crafting supplies and spellbook writing supplies will be readily available.

What do you save?

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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.

I really can't seem to figure it out.

The "sorcerer who's trying to be a wizard" niche is already covered by the arcane and sage bloodlines, especially given the relative cheapness of the mnemonic vestment.

Meanwhile, the idea of a class that tinkers with the very fundamentals of magic and reads their spells from a book is basically a Wizard+. Even the idea of wizards who "cheat" is covered by the exploiter wizard.

It feels like the arcanist is that kid at wizard school who says "I can do your own job better than you because I have Plot Armor and Genius Protagonist written all over me by the narrative demands of the campaign storyline."

Don't get me wrong, I love the casting mechanic. Nearly the same flexibility as a wizard, but with the fewer spells per day really driving home the difference between them and the sorcerer. So much so that in the campaign world I'm developing for the next go-around, the wizards are replaced by arcanists with the school savant archetype.

But the thing is, it seems hard to really justify the existence of both wizards and arcanists in the same game world.

Also, the fact that arcanist used to be a generic term that could be applied to any arcane caster but is now the name of a specific class makes writing about magic really confusing. The only universal word that isn't taken yet is mage, and that sounds too much like the plural of magus.

So how do you fit the arcanist into the world without deleting either the wizard or sorcerer, and not have too much narrative overlap?

So I was looking through some old files of mine and was reminded of an interesting concept I'd developed back in 3.5 for a warlock character I never got to play.

The gist of it was that his character gained supernatural powers from an otherworldly being in exchange for his face and voice.

What this meant was that he could change shape and voice at will (represented by the minor change shape racial ability of the Eberron version of the changeling race), but could never use it to assume the shape and voice he was born with, and thus the people he set out to save (first his family, then his village, then larger areas as the campaign progressed) would never know what he had done for them and would only remember him as "that drunk who got plastered and wandered into the woods."

So, since Eberron changelings don't exist in Pathfinder and neither does the warlock class, how would I best implement this character concept in Pathfinder, rules-wise? I might use him as a PC in a campaign at some point, or use him as an NPC.

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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?

It seems unfair for creatures immune to nonlethal damage to be unable to use Burn.

True, in its current form a creature immune to nonlethal damage suffers little or no drawback from using burn, but I think that's a problem with how the ability is implemented and not with the concept itself.

The key feature of burn is that nonlethal damage from burn bypasses all forms of magical protection and can't be healed without rest.

Undead occult adventurers shouldn't become less able to use their class features than a living being.

Imagine if a kineticist was betrayed, murdered, and became a ghost, only to find that many of his class features had stopped working.

So why not have a line in the burn ability stating that it overcomes immunity to nonlethal damage due to creature type, but creatures that normally cannot heal through rest can heal damage from burn through rest?

Or maybe just that if a creature is immune to nonlethal damage, burn damage becomes lethal instead?

I'm looking for the absolute craziest, so-bad-it's-good, what-the-hell-is-happening adventure that has ever been published (dead tree or electronic), for any edition of D&D, Pathfinder, or a clone or knockoff of any edition of D&D or Pathfinder.

I'm talking about "Why you eyein' my lemon drink" levels of unintentional hilarity, or "THINGS (1989)" levels of "WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?"

Does such a wondrous thing exist?

So, there are quite a few fey that have interesting concepts and would make for good encounters and NPCs for high-level games if their CRs were up to snuff.

So I tried scaling up an oceanid (Bestairy 4 pg 208, stats here), to create an Amphitrite-type NPC, and the results were garbage.

And I think this might apply to every creature that relies on spell-like or supernatural abilities (other than save-or-dies that scale with HD and are based on the monster's key ability) to threaten the party and doesn't have significant inbuilt PC-class casting like the rakshasa.

Back to the oceanid as an example.

From a numerical standpoint, the oceanid isn't a CR 7 creature. Her highest attack bonus is 2 points worse than the low attack for a creature of her CR, and her average damage with this attack is barely above the Low value. Her hit points are also quite low.

Looking at her, the reason she's CR 7 is likely because she is almost impossible to pin down in her native environment, with a swim speed of 80 feet, a range of 500 feet on her telekinesis ability, 100 feet on her ranged attack, significant DR for her challenge rating, significant fast healing for her challenge rating, and the ability to summon other creatures. Her fire vulnerability is difficult to take advantage of underwater because most fire spells are impeded there.

But the only thing that scales with racial Hit Dice are the caster levels for her SLAs and her telekinesis power (which is good, but not enough to base an entire creature around, especially since it doesn't permit the violent thrust version.

Her fast healing and DR don't scale and will eventually be outclassed, especially in PF where higher enhancement bonuses permit overcoming special material DR. And her waterspout damage will quickly become a laughingstock, as it can only be used once per round.

I think the justification for permitting its use only once per round is because her base attack bonus (+4) is so low it doesn't matter if it were treated like a normal ranged attack. But the restriction is right there in the rules text, so even with retraining her feats, granting a level of aquatic-bloodline-sorcerer and 10 levels of eldritch knight, she's still stuck with abusing vital strike for her damage to be anything close to respectable. And even with 10 levels of eldritch knight, her hit points and attack bonus are garbage. And her hit-and-run tactics are hampered by the fact that she can't use Spring Attack with Vital Strike.

So, how on earth do you scale up a creature like an oceanid whose power depends on their spell-like and supernatural abilities?

So it's generally accepted knowledge that 1st-level wands are an excellent deal, 2nd-level wands are priced just about fair (if a little on the high side), while 3rd and 4th level wands are overpriced.

1st level wand: 750 gp
2nd level wand: 4,500 gp
3rd level wand: 11,250 gp
4th level wand: 21,000 gp

So, for 1st level wands there are some standouts like infernal healing, mage armor, protection from evil, and lesser restoration (via the paladin list; wands must use the lowest possible spell level and caster level available to any class that can cast the spell to determine the market price, hence why wands of hold person cost 4,500 gp).

For 2nd level wands, not many are that great. The only real contender here is resist energy, which, with a total uptime of 25 hours divisible in 30-minute chunks, compares very favorably to the ring of minor energy resistance, which must have the energy type set ahead of time and would cost 24,000 gp if it were slotless.

For 3rd-level wands, I can't think of any spells you would want to have available in quantities a few scrolls couldn't take care of, yet that don't rely on caster level or save DC. And at 11,250 gp, many of the magic items that often get overlooked start to become serious contenders.

And 3rd and 4th level wands cost so much that they don't become chump change until long after the spell remains effective in wand form.

Also, there's not much point to a wand you don't use every single adventuring day, because the price and high number of uses is supposed to represent a major investment of capital.

So, what pricing scheme would be better for wands than the current one?

So simulacrum has been a point of contention in the magic system for quite some time now, being a favorite example of a broken, abusable spell.

Some examples of abuse of simulacrum include using it to gain a succubus's (or even Nocticula's) profane gift to your key ability score with no consequences (because the fake succubus is under your control and thus can't revoke the gift unless you tell it to), or creating a pit fiend or genie to abuse their wish ability.

The simulacrum can also be possessed via magic jar to enable truly staggering shenanigans with blood money and similar effects.

Even without complete and total cheese such as this, it can grant permanent access to a minion with cleric spellcasting, such as a ghaele azata, or any number of other game-distorting abilities.

The developer's answer is that making a simulacrum of a creature does more than adjust its saves, hit points, skill ranks, feats, and attack bonus; it also weakens their special abilities. But there are no rules in place for doing this consistently and it would need to be done on a case by case basis.

For example, a pit fiend simulacrum should look something like this:

Spell-like abilities (CL 10th):
3/day–scorching ray, protection from good
1/day–fireball, dispel magic, dimension door (self plus 50 lbs of objects only), invisibility, major image, unholy blight, wall of fire, hold monster, summon (1 barbazu, level 3)

fire resist 20, +8 on saves vs. poison, acid 5, cold 5, SR 16
DR 5/good or silver, no regeneration
Disease: devil chills
Poison: 1 Con, 1/round for 4 rounds, cure 2 consecutive saves
Str 24, Dex 20, Con 12.5, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 8

Lose wish, devil shaping, etc.

Now, 5e changed simulacrum considerably. It now requires you have the power to physically touch the target for the spell to work, and can only duplicate humanoids or animals. You can also only have 1 at a time.

While a relatively simple fix, I think this might be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Also, it would require rewriting the spell, whereas I would prefer to leave the spell text as-is and simply adjust the output to keep it from being broken.

So, let's see if we can come up with some guidelines.

  • The creature's caster level for spell-like and supernatural abilities, if equal to its hit dice, is halved. If it is less than its hit dice, it is reduced by 1/4. If it is more than its Hit Dice, it is reduced to its Hit Dice.

  • If the caster level for a spell-like ability is not at least equal to 1/2 the spell's level minus 1 (that is, the minimum wizard/cleric/druid level to cast the spell), it loses that ability. A thematically similar ability can be used to replace it, such as replacing permanent image with minor image, chain lightning with lightning bolt, greater teleport with dimension door, or replacing a greater, major, or mass version of the spell with the normal, minor, or single-target version of the spell.

  • Spell-like abilities of a spell level of 1st or 2nd that are usable at will become usable 3/day. Spell-like abilities of 3rd, 4th, or 5th level that are usable at will become usable 1/day, or are replaced with lesser versions usable 3/day (or at will for 1st-level spells). Spell-like abilities of 3rd, 4th, or 5th level that are usable 3/day or less become lesser versions available 1/day. Spell-like cantrips are unchanged.

  • Supernatural abilities that are based on spells and with only minor changes, if any (such as the vampire's dominate person power) follow the guidelines in the previous bullet as if they were spells (for example, the vampire's dominate person power instead becomes charm person, with the same bonus to the victim's saves for being in combat as in the spell description).

  • Spell-like abilities that duplicate spells that are not 5th level or lower on at least one class's spell list, a casting time longer than 1 full round, an expensive material component or focus, and/or a duration longer than 24 hours, are not retained. If lesser versions that do not violate these guidelines exist, they gain those instead.

  • Any ability to cast spells as a member of a character class (such as the rakshasa's sorcerer casting or the ghaele's cleric casting) uses 1/2 the effective class level of the base monster, rounded down. It cannot prepare or cast spells that violate the guidelines in the above bullet point.

  • The creature loses any item creation feats it might have.

  • Damage reduction above 10 is reduced to 10 if it can be overcome purely by magic or a weapon damage type such as bludgeoning. Damage reduction above 5 is reduced to 5 if it can only be overcome by alignment or a special material. Any "and" in the DR entry becomes "or."

  • Regeneration becomes fast healing, and the maximum is either the base creature's regeneration value or 5, whichever is less. Creatures whose regeneration permitted the regrowth or reattachment of lost limbs or organs now regrow them via fast healing.

  • SR values are halved.

  • Ability scores are reduced to 1/2 the base creature's score +5, rounded up, to a minimum of 10 or the creature's initial score in the ability if it was already lower than 10.

  • The maximum natural armor bonus is 5 for a Medium or smaller creature, or 5 + the creature's size penalty to AC for Large or larger creatures (i.e. +6 for a Large creature, +7 Huge, +9 Gargantuan, +13 Colossal).

  • Energy immunity becomes energy resistance 20, unless the creature has immunity due to a subtype such as cold or fire (but not devil or another subtype that is exclusive to one creature type).

  • Immunity to other effects (such as poison, disease, death effects, or mind-affecting effects) becomes a +8 bonus on saving throws against those effects, unless the immunity comes from creature type (such as undead immunity to mind-affecting effects or plant creature immunity to polymorph effects).

  • Energy resistance and saving throw bonuses against types of effects (such as poison or enchantment effects) are halved.

  • Breath weapon damage is halved, and abilities that inflict ability damage, ability drain, or energy drain inflict half the normal amount of damage or drain (minimum 1).

  • The creature loses any spell-like or supernatural ability (other than one that directly duplicates a spell) that would grant a long-term (24 hours or longer) bonus to another creature's attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, ability scores, caster level, ability checks, skill checks, concentration checks, caster level checks, skill ranks, feats known, hit points, effective Hit Dice, or other character statistic.

    Any other thoughts?

  • So 5e has vastly toned down the power of full casters without making them useless. The inbuilt feature of many spells allowing them to be cast in a higher slot in exchange for a more powerful effect made it far less necessary for casters to end the day with 10-15 lower-level spells uncast and wasting space on your sheet. And spell save DCs depend on your caster level, not the spell level, so the spells you learned at 3rd level have a chance to land even at level 20.

    So that's the good news for casters.

    Now obviously if we just made those changes to the PFRPG and didn't change anything else, we'd just make the problem of caster-martial disparity even worse. So here's some of the changes 5e has made regarding casters.

    Apart from instantaneous blasts, there are almost no fire and forget spells.Stinking cloud, cloudkill, most of the wall spells, dominate effects, and pretty much every spell Treantmonk rated as blue require concentration, or else they fail, and most have a maximum duration of 1 minute or 10 minutes or 1 hour, depending on what effects they're going for.

    Also, many buffs and utilities also have a duration of concentration. This includes invisibility, blur, fly, bless, and a couple of others.

    This kind of makes sense. James Jacobs tried to put a limit on simultaneous buffs into the core PF rules but couldn't do it without breaking backwards compatibility. If the buffs require concentration, then it becomes a much more nuanced decision as to whether or not to cast haste before combat. Self-buffs like divine favor don't have this limitation, and are in fact auto-Quickened.

    Other changes of note: animate dead costs nothing, but you have to recast it within 24 hours or you lose control of them. Wish costs nothing (there are no such things ss inherent bonuses) but unless you use it for straight spell duplication, you'll be taking Str damage whenever you cast another spell until you rest and regain spells, and if you used it for something more powerful than, say, a wishport or group instaheal, you have a 33% chance of losing the ability to cast wish at all, ever again.

    So which changes would you think some pathfinder campaigns could benefit from, and which would break the system?

    18 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 2 people marked this as a favorite.

    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?

  • Recrudescent Magic
    Your spells can resume even after being dispelled.
    Prerequisites: Extend Spell, Heighten Spell, Spellcraft 11 ranks
    Benefit: Choose one spell you are capable of casting, which must be one level lower than the highest-level spell you are capable of casting in that class and cannot have a duration of concentration or instantaneous. Whenever an instance of that spell that you personally cast is dispelled (but not counterspelled) by dispel magic, erase, greater dispel magic, or a similar effect (but not break enchantment, dispel evil, limited wish, mage's disjunction, miracle, remove curse, wish, or a similar effect), it is instead suppressed (as if by Aroden's spellbane) for a number of rounds equal to 3 + the amount by which the dispel check exceeded the DC, if any. After this time, the spell effect returns, provided it has any remaining duration. While suppressed, the spell effect radiates a dim aura of magic and can be identified via divinations and similar effects.

    Suppose a human in their early 30s [say 31 years old] becomes a lich. (Ordinarily, folks wait until they are near the end of their lives to undergo the procedure, but perhaps this individual was worried about a violent death and wanted the security of a phylactery).

    So, when they reach the [mental] age of 35, do they receive the mental attribute modifiers for middle age, and so on for 53 and 70?

    Obviously there are no rules for additional ability increases for the period after venerable, and that can be chalked up to the mind of undead creatures eventually ossifying as negative energy slowly saps their progress and drive for self-improvement (as described in Libris Mortis: The Book of Undead). But that seems like such a gradual process that it wouldn't occur until the timescale has extended past the average human lifetime.

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    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.

    While the wizards of the world devote years of study to categorizing, classifying, and separating spells from one another, the spellblender arcanist realizes the unity of magic, and how they can shape that power without diluting it through the prism of wizardly thought.

    Shape Magic (Su): The spellblender arcanist can cast an arcanist spell they have prepared without expending a spell slot by instead spending a number of points from their arcane reservoir equal to 1 + twice the level of the spell slot. This increases the casting time as if they were applying a metamagic feat on the fly. This does not allow them to actually apply a metamagic feat on the fly. They cannot augment this spell with their arcane reservoir, metamagic feats, or other exploits such as metamixing.
    This ability cannot be used to supply spell slots for archetype abilities such as spellblending or eldritch tapestry (see below).
    When an arcanist with this ability uses the consume spells class feature, they gain only 1/2 the normal amount of reservoir points, rounded down (minimum 0). This does not affect the consume magic items exploit.
    This ability alters the consume spells class feature and the arcanist exploit gained at 1st level.

    Spellblending (Su): Beginning at 5th level, a spellblender arcanist can cast an arcanist spell of any level he has access to of 2nd level or higher by spending 1 point from his arcane reservoir and two spell slots one level lower. For example, a 5th-level spellblender arcanist could cast mirror image by spending two 1st-level spell slots, reducing the number of 1st-level spells per day that he has remaining by 2 until he rests to regain spells. Doing so does not expend a 2nd level slot. This ability applies only to spell slots per day and has no effect on the number of spells the arcanist can prepare in a day. The arcanist chooses whether or not to apply this effect at the time of casting. Only spell slots of one level lower can be used with this ability; The arcanist cannot expend four slots two levels lower, eight slots three levels lower, or any other combination other than two slots one level lower. This ability has no effect on 1st-level spells or cantrips.
    The arcanist must have prepared the spell in question to cast it with this ability.
    This ability replaces the arcanist exploit gained at 5th level.

    Spellblending: Beginning at 11th level, a spellblender arcanist can cast an arcanist spell they have prepared as a 1st-level spell and an arcanist spell they have prepared as a 4th-level or lower spell as a single standard action by spending one 5th-level spell slot and 1 point from their arcane reservoir. Neither spell chosen can have a casting time longer than 1 standard action, nor can they have an expensive material or focus component. Both spells take effect in the order the caster chooses, as if the arcanist had cast them one after the other. Each of the chosen spells has its normal effect, including range, target, area, duration, saving throw, and spell resistance as appropriate to the spell's level. If the arcanist has the metamixing exploit, he can apply it to the spells cast with spellblending, but must expend points separately for each spell, and neither spell can exceed the maximum level allowed (1st and 4th).
    Only the higher-level spellblended spell provokes attacks of opportunity. If it is interrupted, however, both spells fail.
    At 13th, 15th, 17th, and 19th level, the arcanist can choose to forgo the exploit they would gain as part of their class progression in order to increase the maximum allowed spell levels of their spellblending by 1 (such as casting a 2nd and 5th level spell by spending a 6th level slot). The Extra Arcanist Exploit feat does not allow them to select this option.
    This ability replaces the arcanist exploit gained at 11th level.

    Eldritch Harmonics (Su): At 20th level, the arcanist can use spellblending and eldritch tapestry without spending points from their reservoir. Their shape magic ability now only costs 1 point per level of the spell to be duplicated.
    This ability replaces magical supremacy.

    So, I tried to balance this via an intricate series of mathematical interrelationships, and I'd like to know if anybody can think of a way to bust this.

    So an arcanist has the Siphon Spell exploit and the Allied Spellcaster teamwork feat. The party cleric has the Allied Spellcaster feat.

    The cleric and arcanist both have light prepared. They stand adjacent, and the cleric casts light on a small stone, receiving +1 caster level due to the feat. Then the cleric moves away, and the arcanist uses Siphon Spell on the light spell. Due to their high Charisma and various modifiers to dispel checks, they will almost always beat the DC by a minimum of 5, and usually by 10. Rinse, repeat.

    Does this mean that the arcanist can charge their reservoir essentially for free, and at 20th level cast spells indefinitely via magical supremacy?

    Halloween terror:

    Drow noble nightmare lord half-invidiak shadow lord shadowfire rogue (chameleon) 1/slayer 15
    CE Medium outsider (native, augmented humanoid [elf], evil)
    Init +13; Senses see in darkness; Perception +23
    Aura fear 60 ft (shaken, DC 31), frightful presence (DC 31)
    AC 24, touch 23, flat-footed 11 (+13 Dex, +1 natural); protection from good, 20% concealment (shadow blend)
    AC 36, touch 36, flat-footed 23 (+13 Dex, +13 deflection); incorporeal, protection from good, 20% concealment (shadow blend)
    hp 121 (16 HD; 1d8+1 plus 15d10+30); regeneration 5 (good or silver weapons)
    Fort +10, Ref +24, Will +9; +4 vs. illusions, +13 vs mind-affecting, +2 vs. enchantments
    Defensive Abilities regeneration 5 (silver or good), shadow blend, incorporeal step; DR 20/magic; SR ???; Immune cold, fire, poison, sleep, automatically disbelieves illusions; Resist acid 10, electricity 30, +4 vs illusions, +2 vs enchantments
    Weaknesses light blindness
    Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft. (perfect)
    Melee +1 keen conductive ghost touch scimitar +29/+24/+19 (1d8+14 plus 2d6 negative energy (Fort DC 30 half)/17–20/x2; 1 Con dmg [Fort DC 30 negates])
    Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
    Special Attacks sneak attack +6d6, studied target +4, assassinate (DC 24), deadly sneak, hunter’s surprise, nightmare magic, smite good, night terrors, dream slave, cloying gloom blast 3/day (DC 31), slayer’s advance 1/day
    Spell-Like Abilities (CL 16th; concentration +29)
    Constant—detect magic, protection from good,
    At-will—dancing lights, deeper darkness, faerie fire, levitate, ray of sickening (DC 24),
    6/day—shadow step
    4/day—shadow conjuration (DC 31), suggestion (DC 26)
    3/day—deep slumber (DC 26), detect thoughts (DC 25), dream, invisibility, nightmare (DC 32), plane shift (DC 30, Material Plane and Dimension of Dreams only), shadow evocation (DC 32), unholy aura (DC 31), telekinesis (CMB +29, DC 28)
    1/day—blur, dispel magic, divine favor, feeblemind (DC 28), greater shadow conjuration (DC 34), greater teleport, magic jar (DC 28), modify memory (DC 28), shadow walk, unholy blight (DC 27)

    Str 10, Dex 37, Con 12, Int 20, Wis 18, Cha 36
    Base Atk +15; CMB +15; CMD 38
    Feats Ability Focus (assassinate), Dastardly Finish, Dazzling Display, Disheartening Display, Intimidating Prowess, Killing Flourish, Merciless Butchery, Silent Kill, Slashing Grace (scimitar)*, Steadfast Personality, Weapon Finesse*, Weapon Focus (scimitar)*
    Skills Acrobatics +32, Bluff +32, Craft (alchemy) +24, Diplomacy +32, Disguise +32, Fly +26, Heal +22, Intimidate +36, Knowledge (local)+24, Perception +23, Sense Motive +23, Stealth +44; Racial Modifiers +4 Intimidate, +12 Stealth
    Languages Abyssal, Aklo, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Elven, Infernal
    SQ misdirection pool (16), ghostly form (16 rounds/day), feign death (DC 31), swift tracker, stalker, planar thinning 1/day

    So, the above is an attempt at a truly terrifying villain. In combat he is difficult to touch, strikes without warning, and can kill characters easily if he can get the drop on them. He has both shadow evocations and shadow conjurations to shift the battlefield as he pleases, and can simply attack foes in their dreams without ever having to get near them. In addition, he can possess them via magic jar.

    Does anyone have any ideas how to best use him, either in combat or out?

    And what CR is he? His SR value depends on that, but I haven't been able to figure it out.

    6 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

    Specifically, wizards with the Spell Sage

    Spell Sage wrote:
    At 2nd level, the sage's understanding of the spells of bards, clerics, and druids is so great that he can use his own magic in an inefficient, roundabout way to duplicate those classes' spells. Once per day, a spell sage can spontaneously cast any spell on the bard, cleric, or druid spell list as if it were a wizard spell he knew and had prepared. Casting the spell requires the spell sage to spend 1 full round per spell level of the desired spell (if the spell is on multiple spell lists indicated above, using the lowest level from among those lists) and requires expending two prepared spells of that spell level or higher; if the spell's casting time is normally 1 full round or longer, this is added to the spell sage's casting time. For example, if a spell sage wants to use spell study to cast cure light wounds (cleric spell level 1st), he must spend 2 full rounds casting and expend two prepared wizard spells of 1st level or higher.

    So, could a wizard use this ability to fulfill the spellcasting requirements of creating a spell-trigger or spell completion magic item? And if so, would it count as arcane or divine?

    And would the wizard need to make a UMD check to activate the item?

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