Dr Lucky

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If you want to play Pathfinder (and use the Pathfinder campaign paths) with players who find the rules confusing, here are a few suggestions: (I've dealt with a similar situation myself introducing my wife and daughter to roleplaying)

1) Restrict the rules. Core rules works fine, or Core + APG at most. Less rules = less complexity. Also, spontaneous casters only. Oracles and Sorcerers are easier to play than Clerics and Wizards.

2) Make the characters yourself. Get an idea what each player wants to play and then make a character for them. Make sure to crunch all the numbers so they have all the calculations they need close at hand. If you want to take this to the next level, do the levelups as well (give the player maybe 3 good choices then do the calculations for them)

3) Give them a handicap. New players often have difficulty with the tactics of the game, and the game is VERY tactical. Give them levels above what is recommended for the module to make it a bit easier. Once they get the hang of it, you'll know when the encounters start to become too easy, then even it back out.

4) Multiple Choice. My wife taught me the importance of this technique when I was teaching her. Delete "What do you do?" from your vocabulary and instead give 3 options. As in, "You could open the door, listen at the door, or look for another entrance, which do you want to try?" This is much easier for very new players who find the endless options in roleplaying overwhelming.

5) Find a ringer. If you can get even one experienced player at the table, they can be the mentor for everyone. It makes the learning period much easier.

Hope that helps.

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Demoyn wrote:

I, of course, prefer the imp over the mephits. They all have positives and negatives, though, but they're all better than a bonded object except in rare cases.

Imps have better special abilities than Mephits have. I prefer Mephits because of the size issue. Can a tiny creature use a wand? Can a tiny creature throw a tanglefoot bag? Can a tiny creature carry a haversack full of goodies?

As a small creature a mephit can do all those things (since Halflings and Gnomes can)

(note I'm not looking for debate on those questions, the debate would need to be with your GM)

Jeff W wrote:
what makes Mephit so good? Faerie Dragon seems like the best because they have UMD +9 and 3 Sorcerer Levels so they don't need UMD to many wands. Not to mention they also have Greater Invisibility, Telepathy, etc.

I totally agree about abilities, same point as above though. Faerie Dragons are tiny, Mephits are small.

If your GM is clear that they will allow a tiny creature to carry a bunch of equipment and use it, then Faerie Dragon is the way to go.

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Broken record alert:

Familiars + Improved Familiar are really that great.

However, you need to know how to use them. I'm strongly considering working on a mini-guide for making the most of your familiar. It is surprising how few players know the tricks to make them work so well for you.

Here's some basic tips:

1) Always improve at level 7. I think Mephit is pretty much the best choice possible for improved familiar. (personally I like Dust, you get perfect fly, blur and wind wall, great combo!)

2) Get your familiar some nets (small size + net = entangled condition for free on medium or smaller sized enemies, goodbye charge attacks and reflex saves)

3) Tanglefoot bags and smokesticks too (I think the uses here are pretty obvious, but let me just give an example: My character throws X (horrible debilitating spell) on the enemy, and my familiar throws a smokestick in front of me so the horrible enemy cannot see me to take revenge)

4) Max a few skills: Healing, Use Magic Device, Stealth. No, your wizard probably won't use these skills, but your familiar will! BTW get him a healing kit. Ally gets poisoned? Familiar goes with healing kit and fixes him up.

5) Wands. Yep, these are great by mid level (use the option in Advanced races to switch your familiars feat to Skill Focus: Use Magic Device for additional bonuses). Some obvious wands: Remove Fear, Protection from X, Delay Poison (Ranger wand), Lesser Restoration (Paladin wand), invigorate, silent image, Entangle, Faerie Fire, keen senses, Obscuring mist, Enlarge Person, Bless...these are all level 1 wands (and don't necessarily need 50 charges)

Treat your familiar like an extra action and reach spell put together every round. I generally use my familiars for light buffing/debuffing and then as a combat medic when party members get poisoned/diseased/frightened/panicked/exhausted/fatigued/mind controlled/ability drained etc.

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Artanthos wrote:

Are you going to allow the character in fire elemental form to start fires and emit light?

A fire elemental can already start fires with the burn ability. That makes sense to me.

As for emitting light, see below*

Artanthos wrote:
Are you going to allow the character in water elemental form to extinguish fires by moving over them or flow through narrow areas?

A water elemental can already extinguish fires with the drench ability. That makes sense to me.

As for moving through narrow areas, see below*

Artanthos wrote:
Don't add effects that are not in the rules, unless you are house ruling a home game.

This statement is the differing view here.

*The rules are excellent for giving general guidelines on how to play, but they just can't cover everything, especially when players get creative.

The GREASE spell tells you how it works when you cast it on a target, or on an area.

Let's say you cast it on an area that is a steep downgrade just before the enemy runs down the slope. According to the rules, if he fails his REF save, he falls down and stays exactly in the place he falls so now you have a guy sitting on a greasy hill and not sliding.

In these cases the rules fall down. The grease spell is excellent for giving multiple uses, but it would be insane for the rules to cover every circumstance. That's why the game needs a GM.

In the example given, as a GM I would have the enemy slide to the edge of the Grease spell. If that sent him over a cliff, congrats to the players for being creative. If it happened to a player, I might be soft and give him a REF save to grab onto something before he went over.

In the case of taking the form of a Fire Elemental, if a player didn't like the existing rules for setting stuff on fire, too bad. There are rules for a Fire Elemental setting things on fire, so it's covered.

If a character wants the Fire Elemental form to emit light, it would seem to me inconceivable that it wouldn't. Torchlight seems to be the obvious realistic amount. If the rules disagree, then the rules have fallen down again, just like falling on Grease on the slope.

Now if a character in Water Elemental form wants to move through a narrow area, I would be more inclined to say he couldn't, since water elementals have a shape, and I'm not convinced they can change that shape. I would probably point out that humans are made primarily of water as well, but squishing them too much gets messy.

That said, if another GM went another way on that, I probably wouldn't bat an eyelash.

(I should mention, as it's probably relevant, that I only play "home" games)

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This discussion is carried over from a post in the advice forum as it was about to go off topic.

When I wrote my Guide on Wizards, one of the things I wrote that generated a lot of disagreement was when I suggested that a wizard who cast Elemental Form would be unable to meet the somatic component for casting spells (as I had always seen pictures of elementals without proper hands). I was linked many pictures of elementals with hands to show me the error of my ways. My opinion on elemental form interfering with spellcasting has become clouded since.

Now though, on another thread discussing Oracles, I suggested that an Oracle using Beast Shape would not be able to cast spells with Somatic components since none of the applicable forms have proper hands (of course Still Spell would work), nor are Oracles able to take the natural spell feat.

Here's my opinions on the topic, but please reply below with your own.

Just a Mort wrote:
I've always wondered what consists being able to use somatic components for casting.

Here's the appropriate snip from the polymorph spells rules: (bolding emphasis is mine)

When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body. Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function while melded in this way (with the exception of armor and shield bonuses, which cease to function). Items that require activation cannot be used while you maintain that form. While in such a form, you cannot cast any spells that require material components (unless you have the Eschew Materials or Natural Spell feat), and can only cast spells with somatic or verbal components if the form you choose has the capability to make such movements or speak, such as a dragon.

I think the rules for Material components/Verbal components are pretty clear. With Material components you need a pouch, natural spell or eschew materials. For Verbal you need Natural Spell, Silent Spell or a form that can speak.

Somatic components are a bit more vague. Here's what the rules say about Somatic components:

Somatic: A somatic component is a measured and precise movement of the hand.

I've always thought that was clear, but am second guessing myself now as this is not the first time my interpretation of this has been challenged.

I've always interpreted it as you need a hand, and that hand must be free, unrestricted, and able to make specific and precise gestures.

That would mean a paw wouldn't work, nor would a tentacle, or an appendage, or a talon. It would need to be a hand, as in an appendage with a thumb and some fingers.

When I look at the Natural Spell feat, it allows you to: "substitute various noises and gestures for the normal verbal and somatic components" which suggests to me that making gestures with something that is not capable precise movements of a hand does not satisfy the requirement unless you have the feat.

The rules specifically say that a Dragon meets the requirements. Illustrations I've seen in Pathfinder sources seem to be pretty consistent on the front appendages. 1 thumb and 3 fingers (all clawed). This fits with my previous assumption on the requirements.

However, then the question goes to:

Just a Mort wrote:
If it is hands, or claws, how do royal nagas and coutals cast? Neither of them have hands, both are snakes.

If you look at the feats of these creatures, Natural Spell is notoriously absent. How indeed do these creatures cast? They clearly would be unable to meet the somatic components for their spells.

Personally, I would say it's because according to the entry in the appropriate Bestiary...they can.

I know that is not a particularly satisfying answer, but I strongly suspect it is the correct one. I would suggest that they wouldn't need the Natural Spell feat to get the effect of the feat because that IS their natural form.

Just a Mort wrote:
Quite a number of magical beasts (kamadan, catobepas, chimera) speak a language, so spell casting as a magical beast should not be a problem, even though lunar oracled can never take natural spell.

Certainly any creature that speaks a language is going to be able to meet the verbal requirement of spellcasting, but you've made the conclusion that Somatic Components are unnecessary.

Here's the conclusion where we must disagree, and I would ask others to weigh in on their opinions.

The logic here appears to be "because they can cast in that form without somatic component, so can my character..."

My opinion would be that if you make a character who IS a Royal Naga, your character can cast spells. If your character takes the form of a Royal Naga, you would not (unless using the Still Spell feat or a spell without Somatic components)

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sunbeam wrote:
I used to think Wood made the best battle oracle. I still think it is very good (Wood Bond is huge for a combat character), ahead of both Metal and Battle.

I'm not sure I get the reverence for Wood bond, it's similar in value to the Weapon Mastery revelation from Battle mystery (similar attack bonus values, of course there are differences in weapons that can be used and inclusion of improved critical)

The main difference is that Wood bond is top 2 for Wood mystery, while Weapon Mastery ranks fourth (at best) for Battle mystery

Also keep in mind the Battle mystery spells are better suited to a combatant.

sunbeam wrote:
Heck it's been a while, but I remember thinking Ancestor would be as good as the latter two as well, but it has been a long time since I thought about these builds.

I would rank Ancestor #2 for a battle oracle build. Very strong mystery. You have about 4 revelations that are well-made for an Oracle specializing in combat (Spirit shield, Blood of heroes, Spirit of the warrior and ancestral weapon) and some decent mystery spells including heroism and Greater heroism)

sunbeam wrote:
But the new kid on the block, the Lunar Oracle is pretty much the best one to use for this now.

This statement is why I'm responding to your post. Would love for you to explain how Lunar Oracle is best for a Combat Oracle build.

If you combine Form of the Beast with Gift of Claw and Horn I could see a Lunar Oracle being in good at combat as a Druid who BAFFLINGLY didn't take the Natural Spell feat, and vastly inferior to a Druid who did.

The spells are not well suited to combat, not that you can cast them if you are using one of your only revelations that give you any combat ability at all.

Am I missing something?

sunbeam wrote:
You can do some of the same things with Dark Tapestry, another mystery I think contends with Battle and Metal in the pecking order, but Lunar is hands down the best if that style is something you can live with.

Dark Tapestry is IMO the best Oracle Mystery, though not for an Oracle specialized for combat (though it's OK for that). I particularly love this mystery for the amazing versatility. Last Oracle I made used Dark Tapestry (Halfing Oracle) and he was a friggin' Ninja.

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Mortistic wrote:
Treantmonk wrote:
Thac20 wrote:
Ask your team-mates to shoot at you instead of the giant. When they miss your AC 30 the giant takes the damage. :-)
If your GM gives you any resistance (because GM's can make up rules if they want), this is the answer. When you turn it around to show how ridiculous his ruling truly is, he'll get why he shouldn't use it.

By doing this you would need to score 30-33 on your attack roll to hit the offending giant. The rule wasn't made up without thought and preparation first, it just makes the feat Precise Shot more valuable. The idea is to make the game more realistic and a touch more risky for people shooting into combat without the feat (which I still think is fair it's a risk vs reward mechanic for those people who aren't intending on becoming Legolas) its not to punish someone with an AC of 30.

One of the best games I've run resulted in a goblin joining the party on the basis he shot his mate and claimed he had planned to all along.

I think you misread the OP.

He said if the attack on the target misses, then the character the target is in melee with takes the damage.

If they shoot at the halfling, they are almost certain to miss. By missing the giant is hit automatically.

With this crazy house rule - the arrow ALWAYS hits someone. That's silliness.

If a GM wants to have some form of danger for missing when firing into melee, then fine. Might I suggest the following as a houserule instead:

1) When firing at an opponent in melee, if you roll a natural 1, you make a second attack roll targeting the character they are in melee with. If that attack hits, the character takes the damage.

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Thac20 wrote:
Ask your team-mates to shoot at you instead of the giant. When they miss your AC 30 the giant takes the damage. :-)

If your GM gives you any resistance (because GM's can make up rules if they want), this is the answer. When you turn it around to show how ridiculous his ruling truly is, he'll get why he shouldn't use it.

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waiph wrote:

I thought he was agreeing that it has its place.

Ahhh, that would make much more sense.

Dr Deth wrote:
A cleric optimized for melee should more often hit rather than heal.

A Cleric optimized for melee should do what is tactically appropriate for the situation. Agreed that it is more likely to be attacking most of the time. However, Clerics have healing built into their abilities, naturally there are times that healing is a good option for any Cleric.

Dr Deth wrote:
A divine caster optimized for healing should often heal rather than hit.

Well, if you've optimized your Cleric for healing:

1) Why? Clerics are good at healing without any optimization in healing.

2) Clerics not made for melee definitely shouldn't be wading into melee (normally), but that doesn't mean that healing is the only remaining option. Even if you are "optimized" for healing, you can still probably cast combat spells, buffs, etc. Probably, more often than not, there are spells that would aid combat more than a cure wounds spell, no optimization required (except perhaps your memorization list)

Dr Deth wrote:
Both can be a substantial asset to a party. However, if there's already a tank in the party, the melee cleric player should discuss his role with the party.

Most parties would probably benefit substantially more from a second melee character who can heal when it's needed than a "primary healer" character. All positive-energy Clerics are good at healing, if that's what you focus on with your build, you end up reducing the versatility of your character.

Of course, melee-Cleric is just one option. What about Summoning cleric? Archery Cleric? Enchantment Cleric? Mobility-tactical Cleric?

They're all healing-clerics, they can just do things that are better than healing most of the time.

You can purposely make a Cleric can't contribute anything except healing to the party, just as you can make a Rogue who isn't good at anything besides opening locks, but why?

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When you pick spells for a Sorcerer (especially core) you want to pick spells that remain useful at higher levels. A first level sorcerer might find sleep to be super-useful, but by 6th level it's become entirely useless.

another trick is to avoid spells that are circumstantial. Spells like Breathe Water for example just aren't going to come up enough and would be better off on a scroll.

The final trick is to avoid redundancy. A Sorcerer spell list should never have Levitate, Fly and Overland Flight. You've wasted 2 spell selections!

Here are some spell selections I think are pretty good:

1: Silent image, grease, shield, Enlarge person

2: Glitterdust, Flaming sphere, Hideous laughter

3: Fly, Haste, Slow (BTW haste and slow are not redundant, they are complimentary!)

4: Dimension door, Fear, Confusion

5: Wall of stone, Feeblemind, Telekinesis

6: Form of the dragon, circle of death

Just some examples....

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Fake Healer wrote:
There are people on the boards that will tell you how healing in combat is bad, a wasted action...

No kidding? Those people are crazy. Healing has it's place. I'm not sure it's the most effective thing a Cleric can do, but it has it's place.

Fake Healer wrote:
The trick is not wasting too many resources and getting shoe-horned into a totally heal-bot role.

I think this is the far more prevailing opinion out there.

Healing can be useful in combat, but tends to be a poor primary role because healing:

Fake Healer wrote:
scales horribly with the damage being dished out at the levels in question....

At least until spells like Heal come up, which changes the landscape. It's the "cure" spells that are problematic (unfortunately the ones that Clerics cast spontaneously)

Fake Healer wrote:
I am not one of them. I have seen healing in combat be the difference in keeping a Barbarian doing his excellent melee damage. I have seen healing in combat be the difference where I could see that if one guy fell the rest of the party would topple soon after.

I think it's important to point out at this point that if that Cleric is spending his time buffing/controlling/doing damage instead of healing when the healing isn't needed, you may never get to the point where it is vital in many combats. Still, every combat is different...

Fake Healer wrote:
Incidentally I have also seen the effectiveness of a blaster caster even though they are supposed to be totally horrible and a drain on the party according to the messageboards.

No kidding? Those people are crazy. Blasting has it's place. Clerics aren't particularly suited to blasting, but the occasional flame strike has it's place.

Fake Healer wrote:

The messageboards are full of people who theorycraft and DPR themselves into stupidly restrictive roles in the name of some supposed "effectiveness equation".

Don't listen to them and do what you think is best in your game.

I find playing a character who can only do one thing well quite boring. Versatility is power anyways. Considering what the other characters are good at and considering how you might work well as a team has value, especially if you don't want to be falling into the die-raise dead-die-raise dead pattern.

My advise would be opposite of what is quoted above. You should ALWAYS listen to advise, just take it for what it's worth. If that advise is criticized, consider the criticism with the same skepticism as the original advise. There is a lot of differing views on these boards, there is value in that.

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4 words:

Way of the Wicked

In other words, if your players want to play evil characters, maybe you should just go with it.

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5. Noisy party member in the hole, then sneaky halfling carries it into heavily guarded area, then noisy party member climbs out.

6. Set in wall, climb in, silent image wall over top of hole - perfect hiding place

7. Getting through a locked door. Place under door, crawl into hole on your side of door, crawl out on other side.

8. Place it on a flat and thin piece of wood. Turn the wood upside down (hole upwards) and place over yourself for even more perfect hiding place.

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Blasting sucks. Sorry, couldn't resist, and a few years ago, it really was true.

Fortunately, metamagic changed that, and Rime spell is a great example of how it did. The real lovely thing about Rime spell is you can affect multiple creatures with a single spell, EVEN IF THEY SAVE. Lovely.

As for suggestions:

1) Don't stop at Rime spell. It's going to be great at low levels, but by mid level, metamagic like Daze spell becomes game-changing. Daze makes a particularly nice "lesser" metamagic rod, since then you can throw daze-fireballs with 3rd level slots.

2) On the same line of thinking, consider your magical lineage trait carefully. Magic Missile + Rime spell is going to be wonderful at lower levels, but if you chose something like Fireball (cold damage), you could cast it once with Rime to affect more targets than magic missile ever would (even if they make their saves), and then a followup Daze fireball would really clean house (everyone would be -2 to saving throw, and failed save would mean dazed for 3 rounds - game over.) Finally, because the damage dice are higher, you have a better chance at punching through cold resistance to do that all important 1 point of damage that makes the metamagic effects work.

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I would say that you are missing 2 things.

1) Reach is an advantage, not a disadvantage as you are suggesting. You do require 5 feet of extra distance from the target to start, on the other hand, you can charge from a distance that is too far for someone without reach damage as well.

That's not the real advantage of reach however. The reason reach weapons are good is because a) They tend to provide you with more attacks of opportunity (twice as many threatened squares and anyone trying to get close to you provokes)

and b) They provide a tactical advantage when fighting with allies who also use melee weapons. (More can surround a single enemy)

2) Your math (which I'm assuming includes critical damage for those extra decimal points) is way off since you only include base damage.

Extending damage numbers while ignoring bonuses to damage is meaningless.

Consider a conservative bonus of +20 to damage at level 20. What do the numbers look like then? Heck, consider a moderate +5 to damage when you first get spirited charge...

Hope that answers your question.

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qutoes wrote:

blah blah healing not healing. The most important thing in this post is "The Treantmonk" sighting!!!!

Good to see a Legend posting!

Thank you for the guides that set the standard and format of all to follow!

You make me blush. Thanks.

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Rory wrote:
For posterity, that swift action healing revelation requires 7th level, a revelation pick, burns two spell slots and still can only be used once per day at 7th level. It's okay for an emergency heal, but do note the extravagant cost. You'd get far more bang for the buck with the Extra Channel feat. Channels heal at range, while threatened and/or grappled as well, so have different, but as much emergency healing utility (while retaining immensely more out of combat healing).

You can cast when grappled too. You can also move and cast a spell in the same round too. Channel energy will also heal less to a single wounded ally then a level appropriate healing spell. BTW, Oracles get lots of castings per day. Yes, you can run out of spells, but probably no faster than an equivalent level sorcerer.

The healing revelation is indeed limited, but using 2 spell slots to get quicken spell with no level adjustment is a bargain.

Normally for an Oracle to use quicken spell on cure critical wounds he would need to be 16th level. 7th level is fantastic.

That said, its not nearly the best mystery on the Battle Oracle list, but useful for someone who wants to be able to heal in combat.

(Personally, I would take Surprising charge at 1st level, War sight at 3rd, and maybe Combat Healer or Battlefield Clarity at 7th, and Iron Skin at 11th (stoneskin without material components - wizards will be so jealous!))

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A few random suggestions:

I see lots of posts so far recommending the "life" Oracle, I would disagree. Just because you want to heal doesn't mean that should be ALL you do. Healing is necessary in any party as you mention in your OP, but healing isn't a good choice as a SOLE focus for any PC.

I recommend the Battle Oracle. It has a good healing option allowing healing as a swift action (once/day at first level), not a bad option if you want to healing-specialize, which actually makes healing a good choice during combat! In addition, your character can be an effective combatant as well. Honestly, you are going to get every healing spell with lots of castings per day, and casting healing spells as a swift action - that will cover the healing needs of the party - honestly, and you can contribute beyond healing.

It also has multiple other available options that are particularly wonderful, such as rolling 2 dice for initiative, or the "charge" ability which is really like an immediate action teleport - so good it's nearly broken.

As for curse, I'm partial to the haunted curse. It's inconvenient, but not debilitating, and the extra spells known are particularly nice when you are a spontaneous caster.

Human should work fine for race, I would put the +2 in Str not Cha.

Ability scores: Got to disagree with the OP here. Casters need a super-high primary stat ONLY if they are relying on spells with DC's. The Cleric list is far more focused on healing/self buffing/summoning and that's precisely what you should do with it. Focus on your combat stats, then have enough CHA to cast your highest level spell. A 14 CHA at 1st level is plenty. I would recommend focusing on Str as a primary, with Cha/Dex/Con as secondary stats. This will make you an effective combatant and caster with all the healing your party will need. When you need an offensive spell, throw a summon monster spell out, since there is no DC, the casting stat won't be an issue.

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First thing I'll point out is that Horrid Wilting isn't a great spell. It does d6/level damage, with a save for half. However, with d6/level spells, a save should not be necessary for survival. With even a mediocre Con score, any PC of any class should survive such a spell fairly easily unless the caster is of significantly higher level than the PC's.

Consider a Horrid Wilting cast by an epic caster - that's 20d6. Normally you aren't going to get more than one level of metamagic on there, but a metamagic rod could easily throw a maximize or something on it. Still, that's 120 damage, which any character near 20th level (I would imagine you'll be darned near 20th if the lich is epic AND mythic!) should be able to take easily.

Consider a weakly wizard. 20 levels of d6/level, plus maybe a starting 14 con, plus 1/level favored class, and a +6 enhancement and toughness should be looking at over 200 hp by 20th. Of course, inherent bonuses could throw that significantly higher.

The reason there are not very many defences against this spell is because otherwise it's just a fireball with a higher CL damage limit. Like fireball, it sucks to get hit, but it shouldn't be killing you. Even with metamagic involved.

However, unlike fireball, Horrid Wilting is targeted, which means line of sight is required. This means your improved familiar (you have a familiar right?) can drop a smokestick (someone already mentioned this earlier), which is an item any first level character can afford, drop it in front, and you're fine. Obscuring mist/Silent Image (wall) are some first level spells that make you untargetable. Obviously, there are a wide variety of spells beyond first level that will do the trick as well. Winning initiative is necessary to enact the defence though.

Generally, with high level spell battles, initiative is important. If you win initiative, all you need to do against a lich is hit him with a Maze spell, move 9 melee PC's/summoned creatures around the square where he used to be, and prepare 9 readied actions to hit the lich the instant he returns. If you cast the Maze before the lich acts, he'll never get a single action in the combat.

If you can't win initiative (because he's mythic and you aren't), and his spell can't be disrupted (because he's a lich), and his caster level is so much above the party level that you suspect party death after a single d6/level spell, then contingency (dimension door) will give you an instant retreat. You might want to also speak to your GM about appropriate challenges.

I should mention that I would seldom recommend using a contingency to defend against horrid wilting...because there are dangerous spells to worry about.

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Freedom of Movement is one of the most ambiguously worded spells in the game, so unfortunately, there isn't going to be a definitive answer.

According to the spell description, it allows you to move normally even if being hindered, and gives examples of Paralysis, Sold Fog, Slow, Web, Grapple, or underwater.

However, this leave a MASSIVE grey area.

1) Can he ignore encumbrance?

2) Is he slowed by difficult terrain?

3) Can his movement be stopped by a wall?

4) Can his movement be slowed by tripping him?

5) Can be be slowed by death? Can being literally dead slow him down?

I've included absurd examples which no GM with a grain of sanity would consider within the realm of the spell, THOUGH THESE LIMITS ARE NOT MADE CLEAR IN THE SPELL DESCRIPTION.

To answer your question, if you are the GM, consider the implications. This is a 4th level spell. Ignoring difficult terrain I would think should be within the ability of a 4th level spell, but also consider the precedent. Can very difficult terrain also be ignored? If he can walk through trees and branches unhindered, what about a wall of thorns? What about a wall of ice?

If you aren't the GM, then the GM needs to rule. I recommend conservative ruling. If I was the GM, I would probably rule that the spell would lessen the severity of difficult terrain by 1 step (difficult terrain becomes normal, very difficult becomes difficult, etc)

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Assuming you are focusing on UMD, then wands can be a good strategy that is also reasonably cheap.

The key is first to look for spells that provide effects that are not reliant on DC (as Wand DC is always the minimum - easy save!) and secondly avoid spells that require caster level to be effective.

First level wands are extremely cost effective. Running through 50 charges of something you will use 1/battle ends up taking a long time, and for 750 gp, is a steal.

Here's some basic options to get you started:

Bless: A simple and effective 1st level buff that is not DC reliant or overly CL reliant (Edit: Had a quick concern that this might not stack with Inspire Courage - no worries, it's a morale bonus and inspire is a competence bonus - stackable!)

Silent Image: Note there is "no save" until the enemy "interacts" with the illusion - this usually requires a wasted attack or at least a wasted move action on the part of the enemy. CL is not a factor. First level spell.

Lesser Restoration: OK, going to throw some cheese here, but technically a first level spell for Paladins, so a first level LR wand is technically possible. If so, a great deal.

Remove Fear: Situational, and you may not need 50 charges, but a useful wand to have in reserve.

Protection from Good/Evil/Law/Chaos: A great way to subvert mental control of a fellow PC. First level and not DC dependent.

Entangle: OK, the immobilization effect is DC dependent, but the difficult terrain effect is not, and the area is quite large, first level spell. (At low levels, Grease will accomplish the same thing with a smaller area, but no UMD roll)

Obscuring Mist: No DC, not level dependent, first level spell - can be useful even at high levels. (later on, treat yourself to a Fog Cloud wand for better versatility)

True Strike: Wand left hand/Whip right hand. True strike-trip, True strike-trip.

Ray of Enfeeblement: Unfortunately, you can expect a 1/2 effect because of the saving throw, but 1/2 effect is still going to usually be 2 points of strength loss. That's minus 1 to hit and damage.

Enlarge Person: Fighter types love this buff. No DC, first level casting will last the whole battle.

That should get you started.

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SNA is, generally speaking, inferior to SM (there are exceptions).

That said, a Druid gets to cast SNA as spontaneous spells which adds some nice flexibility to the spell list.

Also, although SNA may not be as good as SM overall (and not nearly as good as when a Summoner uses it), summoning is still really useful and powerful, SNA included.

You mention how "Flame strike" is a great option that does "so much more" damage than an equivalent level summoning spell.

If a 7th level Druid casts flame strike - he could do anywhere up to 42 points of damage (potentially to multiple opponents), while a SNA spell (let's say a Giant Scorpion with SNA IV augmented with AS) could only do up to 36 points of damage.

However, consider that damage is a one-time damage with the flame strike, while the summoned creature will attack again for the next 6 rounds, meaning that same creature actually has a damage potential of 252.

That's not it though. That Scorpion has a chance for up to 14 grapple attempts and 7 poisonings.

Also keep in mind that scorpion can flank to provide +2 to hit bonuses to party allies

It can also block enemies from attacking you

I haven't mentioned the possibility for attacks of opportunity yet, increase that damage potential to 336.

You can also use to to block up bottlenecks, find invisible creatures (tremorsense), and, as you mention, eat up the attacks of the enemy (a use I don't think you give enough value to)

Of course, you don't have to summon a scorpion, SNA IV gives lots of other options for lots of other uses as well. If you look at all the SLA options between every kind of mephit and Satyr's, you will find a significant selection, or maybe you want to Bull Rush (earth elemental), or Trip (wolf), or just need to fly across a gorge (wasp).

Summoning means versatility. When playing a caster, versatility = power.

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My God Wizard's always carry a crossbow (light). If and when they are forced to use it, they usually fumble for a bit, then scream at the BSF "HOW DO YOU LOAD THIS THING???" Maybe they hold it upside down, or with the bolt facing themselves for additional fun.

As for the enchantments he might put on such a weapon, I think "Allying" is a pretty obvious choice.

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I agree with TFY that a Witch would be a great choice if you want to focus on save or die (or save or turn to frog) spells. Evil Eye and Misfortune take even great saves and turn them to mush. Pick up a Persistent metamagic rod so you can say the eternally fun phrase: "Make a Fort saving throw at -4 but roll twice and take the worse result, if you make the save, then do it again."

If you want to go wizard or sorcerer, your best bet would be to go with "no save" debuffs like Enervation. Giants have great Fort saving throws, so unless you have tricks to foul that up like the Witch, it makes things difficult.

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Zark wrote:
Treantmonk wrote:

I missed you. Very nice to see you back!

I hope everything is well.

It is, thanks! The rest of life gets busy and I don't have time for forums, but had some time off so thought I would pop by with my 2c.

DrDeth wrote:
But I have some grave issues with your Bard builds...

Perfect guides are impossible anyways since different groups play different styles, and different GM's run things different ways. Only you know the kind of group you play in.

All my guides are my opinion only. I don't want people reading them like gospel. Take a read, and if there is stuff you like, or it gives you some ideas, then mission accomplished. Disregard the stuff you disagree with.

I've never written a guide that wasn't criticized by multiple posters. There are certain cases I've considered them objectively wrong, but most of the time it's just different playstyles/prioritization.

For the record, it's very seldom I dump a stat below 8 these days...guess my playstyle changes too.

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Mystic Theurge characters are probably a lot of fun when your character is 16th level and casting as a 13th level arcane/divine caster.

At level 4, it's going to suck eggs. Multiclassing spellcasting classes is an exercise in masochism. Don't expect to have much fun until your character gets to level 8 or so.

However, if you have your mind made up - here's some suggestions:

1) Your caster level will never be where it should be. This makes everything you cast exceedingly dispellable. Permanent effects can't be dispelled - that makes spells like Wall of Stone particularly attractive.

2) Let's touch on Caster level again. Some creatures have SR. This is a problem. Make sure you get the penetration feats. On top of your race, you should be OK.

3) Play like a coward. Your Arcane 3/Divine 3 character is going to be super weak, and have almost no defenses. Lots of players have the joy of playing a character that can't contribute under the assumption that the character would eventually be able to contribute - then splat.

4) MAD can be a problem. If you can get classes that use the same casting stat (like Oracle/Sorcerer for example), you can alleviate that. However, expect to suck even LONGER before you start contributing. Just be prepared for it.

5) Take a good look at the WITCH. I consider the Witch the solution to the crappy Mystic Theurge PrC, as it's a caster that has a spell list that looks like someone took the wizard and cleric spell lists and mixed them all together. Often a good choice if that's your interest.

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I often come up with ideas that sound great in my head, so I would put them in my guides thinking, "What an original idea, I'm a genius!"

That said, some of those ideas I'm more proud of than others. The Controller Bard is not one of those I'm as proud of.

I think the concept works pretty well for low level, but simply lacks the staying power to be effective if you get into higher levels.

If you are playing low levels only - give it a shot. If you are going to higher levels, I would recommend any of my other Bard builds instead.

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Generally speaking, when you are playing a caster, Fog clouds and obscuring mist aren't about the 20% miss chance, they are about the total prevention of vision over 5'. For a caster, this can be monumentally useful in a number of ways, I'll list a few of the most common here:

First let's explain how a fog cloud doesn't screw you over (this is the most common complaint I hear, "The fog cloud hurts me as much as the enemy!")

If you have a variety of spells, there are likely many choices you have that don't require you to see your target. Fog cloud blocks line of sight, but not line of effect. This is an important distinction. You may not be able to see anyone, but you can still summon creatures, lay down walls, throw area of effect spells, etc. Keep in mind that with things like summoning - you don't even need to know where the enemy is, you can summon the monster, it runs out of the fog, and locates the enemy. Some creatures (like Dire Bat) can locate creatures within the fog as well.

Now let's discuss how it can be used to foil the enemy:

1) Archery: Wizards and Sorcerers don't like being attacked, that's why they hide behind the big stupid fighter types. Archery can eliminate that advantage, so making yourself effectively invisible by fog eliminates their ability to target you.

2) Enemy casters: Some casters use dirty tricks like actually targeting your character with spells. The nerve! Fog forces them to play on your terms, eliminating nasty rays and other targeted spells. By the way - most spells that provide a Fortitude save (you don't like making fortitude saves) require line of sight.

3) Enemy melee attackers: Not seeing you is basically invisibility, it prevents charges, and also makes them need to hunt through the fog to find you. Maybe they find the fiendish dire wolf you summoned instead...

4) Summoning: My favorite trick is summoning, but the 1 round casting time is a vulnerability I don't like. Summoning in Fog reduces that vulnerability.

I've used the term "invisible' a couple times here - because that's what fog makes you. However, unlike invisibility, see invisible, glitterdust, and invisibility purge are of no help in finding you.

Final point: You mention smokesticks. Smokesticks are wonderful little inventions that an improved familiar mephit can drop (or if you have a kind DM, any familiar). That means it's basically in addition to your normal actions! (I've been recommending familiars for years now). So your round can go: 1) Target enemy with nasty spells 2) Mephit drops smokestick 3) Take move action to back up, becoming 100% obscured. Isn't that lovely?

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Neo2151 wrote:

So the one glaring weakness with being a Wizard is the phrase, "If only I had prepared X today!"

So a familiar grants you some sort of bonus, usually very minor (+4 Init and, arguably, +2 Fort being the exceptions), and allows you to cast your touch spells through it.
Improved Familiar replaces the list with more powerful creatures, but you lose out on the minor bonus for... what exactly? A CR 2 creature instead of a CR 1/2? That's still not very impressive after, what, 4th-5th level?

Bonded Object allows you to bypass that one weakness I just discussed. On paper, that seems 1000x times better than a familiar. And yet, when I look around on the forums here, familiars almost always tend to be more popular.

Am I missing something?

Yes, you are missing the "Improved Familiar" Feat.

This allows you to take a familiar who has hands and can (potentially) use wands, throw tanglefoot bags, do healing checks, aid another, throw a net, etc. It's like an extra action every round.

On top of that many improved familiars have very nice spell like abilities, and often make great scouts (sometimes with natural invisibility, good stealth scores and flight)

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At least level 10, no higher than level 15. I would go for 12.

I'm surprised to see the results thus far. More weight to 20+ than I would have expected. I find the game gets bogged down at very high levels.

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Any time you get the choice to roll less dice, the game gets better. Pathfinder should be about roleplaying, not about luck.

Then again, I houserule HP so those aren't rolled either.

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Edit: post was in bad form.

GM: smarten up! Good GM's either don't fudge rolls or they fudge rolls to prevent long lucky/unlucky streaks that ruin players fun.

Extending a players unlucky streak by fudging rolls...


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Darkholme wrote:

That you want your prostitute character to do more damage when sneak attacking with her lipstick?


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dragonslie123 wrote:

Maze, Please cause that wouldwork for more than 1 round?

Depends on the creature. The thing is, there is no save, and there is an INT ability check to get out. Ability checks do not automatically succeed on a 20, which means that any creature with less than 10 INT can't get out of the Maze for 10 minutes, no save, and no chance to reduce the time.

So for example, if the party is fighting a couple Fiendish Colossal Scorpions (each CR 16), you cast maze, kill the other, heal up, set up baracades, find cover, summon some critters, wait, have tea, scorpion returns at the exact moment you predict and you destroy him.

Against creatures with high Int, you count on 1 round, but that too has its purpose.

What's with the "please"?

prismatic wall =s save

Prismatic wall is a ahem...wall. It is for controlling the battlefield. If your opponents are stupid enough to run through it, they take craploads of pain even if they make all 7 saving throws in a row.

greater planar binding, that is beyond cheese.

I'm very sorry mister 38 Int.

Are you for real?

Summon monster 7 outshined by the 10 fighters in the group-- I have augment summoning. trust me... i went this route.

Summon monster isn't about replacing fighters...I would explain, but I'm pretty sure there is trolling going on, so it's probably not worth the effort.

Reverse gravity - what doesn't fly?

Want a list?

Here's an idea, why don't you look at the "monsters by CR" in the PFRD, you will find many CR15+ that don't fly.

Here's one: Tarrasque (CR 25), since there is no SR, no Save, Tarrasque is rendered useless instantly and without fail.

Like Maze, you have it ready for those it will work against.

greater polymorph - ( you mean baleful polymorph??) save or suck.

No, not baleful polymorph, GREATER polymorph. If the opponents always save, then buff.

Didn't you just claim the party was full of fighter types?

did all these

Did you do maze against a creature with <10 Int? Obviously not.

Did you do reverse gravity against a creature that can't fly? Nope.

Did you use Greater Planar Binding to build your power? You say no.

Did you use Prismatic Wall to control the battlefield? Sounds like not.

Did you do Greater Polymorph to buff your allies? Nope.

How can you claim you "did all these"?

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Alienfreak wrote:

Jesus stop b&$+@$@&in' the Thread already.

I knew what you meant the first time.

Everyone knew what you meant the first time. Context is more than enough to let us know when AC means "armor class" and when AC means "animal companion"

My sarcasm isn't directed at you AF!

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Alienfreak wrote:
Because I think the buffs the Cleric can cast on his ACo

Armor Class Zero?

Listen, I'm pretty sure the AC will have an armor class higher than zero. Especially if you buff the AC of the AC.

Or are you thinking of previous editions...THAC0?

...excuse me, I must fall off the fence again...

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What would I do?

Prismatic Wall
Greater Planar Binding
Summon Monster VII
Reverse Gravity
Greater Polymorph


Sounds like you are too caught up in spells that are going to need saving throws.

I like to avoid those spells, as my luck tends to be similar to yours.

That's the best thing about Wizards, and one of the primary reasons they are my favorite class. You can make them luck-proof.

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Darkholme wrote:
Nemitri wrote:
Oh please stop using AC for animal companion, AC is usually reserved for ARMOR CLASS, not animal companion.

Wait... He wasn't talking about buffing his armor class?

No wonder that post didnt make any sense.

Good call. I was like, "What is a Druid casting divine favor on his armor class for?"

Then I drooled a bit, slapped my chest and fell off the fence.

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OmegaZ wrote:
Wow, thanks for the great advice everyone! Any other suggestions? What about stuff to avoid?

That list is too numerous to possibly fit in a post (and would take hours to compile)

Instead I'll just give a bit of more general advice:

1) Pick a good mystery:If you aren't set on a particular Mystery, I would highly recommend "Battle", and the first Revelation I would recommend is "War Sight".

War sight will give you a huge initiative advantage, and eventually give you actions in surprise rounds. Battle itself has a fairly decent list of spells, especially the lower level ones.

2) Avoid redundancy. When you are playing that has limited known spells, you aren't always best to pick up the spell everyone says is "best", instead look at the spells you already have, and pick a spell that does something different. For example, if your character has both Hold Monster and Hold Person, Dispel magic and Greater dispel magic, Blade Barrier and Wall of Stone, your spell list ends up full of redundancies, meaning you can do less things.

3) Favor spell versatility: Spells that do very specific things can be OK, but spells that you can use for all sorts of things are the spells you want on your list. Compare Blade Barrier and Wall of Stone for a moment. They both do similar things, but Wall of Stone is shapable, which also gives it the ability to perform more functions than the obvious "combat wall" one, making it the spell you should give preference too.

4) Favor spell LIST versatility: Make sure that your spell list contains spells that buff, control the battlefield, debuff, blast, perform utility function, etc. Spell lists that do lots of things will make you much more versatile as a character.

5) Avoid circumstantial spells: Your spell list isn't long, so you should avoid spells you aren't going to cast often. Remove curse is a very useful spell when you need it, but how often do you need it? You might only get a couple chances to cast it over the course of an entire campaign. The rest of the time it's just stealing the space of a spell you may be able to cast all the time.

6) Avoid spells that don't scale well: Cause Fear is a pretty useful spell at first level, but by level 6 it's really quite useless. You have some ability to switch lower level spells, but that ability is limited. If you pick a spell that isn't going to be useful at higher levels, you need to make a plan to switch it off. If you can't make that plan, you probably would be better served with a different spell.

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Spells I would pick first from each level:

Protection from evil


Summon Monster III (trade off for Dispel magic later)

Air Walk

Wall of Stone


Summon Monster VII

Orb of the Void (UM)

Miracle (to duplicate other spells)

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Apotheosis wrote:
Treantmonk wrote:
Good stuff.

Alright. I was thinking that was probably the reasoning, but I'm not anywhere near as good at subtle rules nuances as I was once upon a time and wanted to make sure it wasn't something fundamental I was missing.

Thanks for your reply.


This is kind of another topic, but just as an aside, if Oracle is fast becoming your favorite class, I wonder why?

I find they suffer the same problem I find with Sorcerers.

They are labelled "spontaneous" casters, but they only get one choice of their highest level spell when they first qualify for that spell level.

Spontaneously casting from a list of one isn't spontaneous, nor does it give you reasonable opportunity to have versatility.

If you are expected to be a party healer, this is a bigger concern.

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Mogart wrote:

In the game that I am currently playing in, every player is level 5.

At level 5 we are supposed to have 10,500 gold worth of items.

Each player currently has 1/10 of what we should have as level 5 characters. It has gotten so bad that the cleric refuses to memorize any restoration spells because it is too costly to cast it.

The summoner is afraid to send his eidolon into combat because everything we have been fighting deals ability damage and the eidolon can not heal it.

What class would you guys take so that you had no reliance on magic items provided by your DM?

#1 Summoner

Why is your summoner even considering sending an eidolon into combat when funds are low? SUMMONED MONSTERS are PERFECT for this scenario. They don't need healing, ability restoration, level restoration. They are completely disposable, and he can summon them as a STANDARD ACTION. That, is PERFECT for this scenario.

Summoned Monsters always come without equipment or the equipment listed under their entry in the Bestiary, so if your Summoner is equipment starved, it doesn't affect his summoning ability AT ALL. That means his primary ability is unaffected.

Multiple summoners for a single campaign are fine too. They tend to stack very well.

Heck, a FULL PARTY of Summoners would be very effective in a campaign like this, even if none of them ever summons their eidolon.

#2 Bard

If your party isn't properly equipped, a good buffer will do wonders for survivability of everyone else. Furthermore, Bard + Summoner is a nasty mix, since those summoned monsters get very deadly once you start inspiring them.

If you don't have a Summoner, skip the Bard too. Really, have at least one Summoner though.

#3 Sorcerer, Wizard or Witch

This is kind of self-evident, but Sorcerers, Witches and Wizards tend to rely less on equipment than most other classes. Spells themselves don't need magic items to make them work well, and will scale properly, even if your character is unequipped.

#4 Archery based Paladin

With divine bond, the Paladin can enchant his own weapon, which is a big deal when magic weapons are rare. This will give your party a much needed damage dealer that can keep range and support with less armor and AC.

The perfect party of 5 in my opinion in a resource starved campaign would be Summoner, Another Summoner, Witch, Bard, Archery based Paladin

Between the Bard, Witch and the Paladin your healing is more than covered, and melee would involve 2 summoned creatures supported by inspire courage and a wave of arrows from Bard and Paladin, Summoners controlling the battlefield with walls and mists and other "no dc" stuff, and the Witch throwing nasty debuffs.

Lots of DM's are stingy, I played a Shackled City campaign where our party never got a chance to sell anything or shop for anything after level 10 (and we played near level 20). I played a Malconvoker (the 3.5 summoning expert) and owned the campaign.

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ShadowcatX wrote:

I'm not great with divine magic but there's a few suggestions I can make.

First, do you have anyone doing controlling? If not you might try branching out there, actively prevent the damage rather than try and heal it after the fact. Summon monsters can help with that, not only by drawing attacks but also blocking charging lanes and killing enemies.

I'm sure you already do, but just in case, try and heal up after combat as much as possible.


Preventing damage is usually more efficient than healing it after the fact.

Here's some spells on the Cleric list that can help with that:

Level 1:
Obscuring Mist
Cause fear

Level 2:
Darkness (For a dwarven cleric - I would call this a "must have")

Level 3:
Summon Monster III (Cheetah is a good choice for tripping fun)
Blindness/Deafness (blindness, not deafness!)
Dispel Magic
Wind Wall

Finally, if you don't have Improved Initiative, get it! Your best chance to prevent damage is to go first!

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First of all, if that statement becomes a reasoning to go all offense and scrap the defense, then the reasoning is flawed.

That said, offense is a pretty good defense in some situations. I wouldn't put it the best overall though.

Then again, I wouldn't put AC or HP at the top of the list either.

Control is probably the best defense overall. If you can prevent your enemies from getting their full attacks, then you've defended yourself better than the best armor.

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Diego Rossi wrote:

Favoured soul: 60 spell know. The main advantage is that he has more mid level spells.

It's not about how many spells of any level he knows at level 20. That's a near meaningless number.

When a favored soul reached level 4, he got 3 2nd level spells. That's real spontaneous casting.

When he got to level 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18, he would select 3 spells known for his highest spell level known. None of this one garbage.

When my sorcerer gets to level 10, I don't care how many 1st level spells he has to choose from. He's got 1 5th level spell to choose from (so basically NO CHOICE at all), and that sucks.

By the time I have more than 2 spells of any given level, it's not my highest level spell anymore (2 exceptions to the rule are level 3 and level 20).

That means I'm never getting much benefit from spontaneous casting for my highest level spell as a Sorcerer, some big advantage!

Then look at the Bard, which never has a single spell known of any level ever. Why couldn't that be done for the Sorcerer?

The answer is because the designers overrated spontaneous casting.


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I chose to vote for Prop 8 in CA because there wasn't enough information (in my mind) to logically make the change that would allow gay marriage.


I hope you are never on a Jury to convict someone of murder when the death penalty is on the line.

Normally, not enough information should have you make errors in people's FAVOUR, not the other way around. Sheesh.

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Eacaraxe wrote:
people got up my butt


edit: What's that gerbil doing here?

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Vuvu wrote:
I would argue that the right inspire competence can be used with stealth depending on the performance type. Say you are doing an imitation of a cat and how they move, that might inspire a stealther to move more cat like. I would say all of the skills if you can make a good description of what you are doing to inspire it should be a go.

Am I the only one envisioning a Bardic Mime?

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KaptainKrunch wrote:

While I basically bashed Paizo for not fixing Charisma themselves, I also didn't offer any suggestions to fix it.

That's because I really don't know how to fix it.

Here's one:

Combine Wis and Cha into a single stat, call it Willpower.

Move a couple skills around.


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pad300 wrote:

I will note that your PC better not have "good" written on his character sheet at this point - enslavement and then murder to avoid longer term consequences...

nor lawful I suppose.

I usually go neutral with the following 2 rules:

1) Treat all creatures with honesty, mercy and respect.

2) If the creature is the physical manifestation of evil, ignore rule #1.

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