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I have a player who believes my dice have it in for him. Actually, I think most of the gaming group we both belong to thinks that. I dont believe they think I personally have a grudge against this player's characters, but they definitely are superstitious about the dice. I can even see where they are coming from. His PCs do seem to soak up a lot of the crits and do seem to be more often than random chance would allow the targets of dangerous attacks on those infrequent occasions when the targets are randomly determined between two or more party members.

From my point of view, what the players miss is that this particular gamer, when not playing an arcane caster, not only has a predilection for making PCs with high AC values that can very often only be hit on a crit (he gets missed far more often than he gets hit) or a successful grapple attempt by a grapplemonster (some APs are full of them), but is the guy who often acts as the party tank, thus putting his characters in the chaos of frontline melee combat far more than most of the others. Add to that a desire to be the character who is taking the lead or sometimes even scouting ahead and a disinclination to "play it safe", and there is no need for my dice to be imbued with a grudge. A player who puts his PC in harm's way will occasionally get harmed.

Of course, there is a reason he tends to play more martial characters than not these days. One of the events pointed to as proof of the "dice curse" happened years ago when he was not playing a martial character, but instead a fragile wizard whose brains were dashed out by a bugbear warband leader. However, in that game, he unfortunately could not count on the high AC martial characters in his party (some played by people still in our gaming circle) to even attempt to stand between him and the enemy. It is all too easy to land a critical hit on an unarmored mage. He lost faith in the ability/desire of the other players to defend him. He does still enjoy playing PCs who aren't frontline combatants, but nowadays tends to do so more often in games in which I myself am playing and am playing a martial.

So we all laugh about the dice curse (even though they genuinely believe in it to some degree) and I am careful to be very open about all my rolls (in these COVID days all done virtually via roll20), but ultimately this perception of dice bias is a result of player gaming style and intraparty dynamics. At least, I think so. My big black d20, "The Ebon Hammer", does have an undeniable history with that guy...

If players want to play villains AND the GM is willing, there are published APs for that. Skull and Shackles, Hell's Vengeance, Way of the Wicked. Alternatively, a GM can flip the script on an AP created for heroes, although that takes more work. It could be fun, IF everyone was on board with the idea.

However, the GM is not bound to run such an adventure against his or her own inclinations. In fact, in such a case it is a grievous mistake to try. The GM probably won't enjoy it, which means that the players won't enjoy it much either, aside from the immature sort who play evil PCs only to get a rise from others, and they aren't worth coddling. An RPG is a collaboration, a compact, between GM and players, not a war. Were it a war, GMs would win, as they have the power to do almost anything, including killing the PCs. If they GM frivolously or in bad faith, the players can leave. But players who abuse the compact by deliberately playing disruptive PCs are also abusing the bonds of friendship assumed to underlie the gaming group. No GM is required to run an adventure for people who are deliberately attempting to subvert the premise, except perhaps in the unlikely or at least uncommon event of a GM paid for his or her time and effort. If your friend isn't being paid and isn't having fun, why continue with this game? The players aren't keeping up their end of the deal, after all.

Well, there's the Story feat Eldritch Researcher. It's completion benefit reduces the metamagic cost for original spells you invent yourself, but it wouldn't come into play until higher level (the completion benefit only applies after you invent a spell of 6th or higher level).

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I am not a gambler. However, a lot of real gamblers--and by "real" I mean those who consistently make money at it--are very cold and calculated about the risks they take. They are excellent at figuring their chances of success and--if they play cards--are also very good at Sense Motive. You could play to that.

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Potion of gaseous form? If the tadpole is a separate creature, it might theoretically not be affected by an effect that targets only the host creature. Probably too easy to work, though. However, even if it was affected automatically by spells affecting the host, what about casting particulate form? That might allow it to be removed without hurting you very much.

If this counts as a disease, a paladin with the disease mercy would automatically use it if he or she applied lay on hands, as all known mercies are automatically applied. That might do the trick. So would putting on a periapt of health, which would render the wearer completely immune to disease, Presumably the tadpole would then leave or die.

Or how about Faith Healing (occult skill unlock for Heal skill) to remove affliction?

Agénor wrote:
I do not read that the Statue spell prevents its target from moving normally. The fact that it is noted as (harmless) comforts me in this opinion. This spell is a high level, it wouldn't be this high if the advantages it granted were counterbalanced by the disadvantages you perceive it has.

Clearly the caster can move normally on the caster's turn, yes, merely by using a free action at the beginning of the turn to shift to flesh and another to shift back again at the end of the turn. When it's not a caster's turn, however, could said caster use a magical flight effect to be hovering out of reach in midair in Statue form, or would it be necessary to land? Likewise, if the caster wanted to minimize the effect of a group of enemies' readied actions, could they fly in Statue mode down a corridor lined with murder holes to minimize arrow damage taken?

I cannot recall in over 30 years of gaming having ever seen a caster actually use this spell. I thought it would be fun to do something different, so I looked at it. But it feels (to me, at least) as if it is missing a lot of necessary explanatory text. Armor Class adjustment; whether or not criticals, sneak attacks, bleed damage, ability damage, and all sorts of conditions are applicable; and whether the caster does or does not count as an object vs. energy attacks and ranged attacks. All of that is left to table interpretation. As a GM I can make rulings if I have to, but I was also thinking of using the spell as a player and in both roles I was hoping maybe some of this had been thrashed out before.

Thanks for the response. I have a 12th level wizard who is getting close to 7th level spells, so I'm mostly just thinking over options. Although I do GM a game every other week, so I might use this against a party at some point. If I did, though, I'd want to be sure to have any homebrew rules regarding this spell nailed down in my notes first to ensure fairness to the PCs.

One more question. I understand that Fly is a Dexterity-based skill and was already anticipating a significant penalty to Fly checks because of that. However, is there a rule of which I am unaware stating that a skill like Fly that is mental in nature (when used via spell or spell-like ability) is unusable while paralyzed? A caster could still levitate in such a situation. The text for the paralyzed condition reads like so:

Archives of Nethys wrote:
Paralyzed: A paralyzed character is frozen in place and unable to move or act. A paralyzed character has effective Dexterity and Strength scores of 0 and is helpless, but can take purely mental actions. A winged creature flying in the air at the time that it becomes paralyzed cannot flap its wings and falls. A paralyzed swimmer can’t swim and may drown. A creature can move through a space occupied by a paralyzed creature—ally or not. Each square occupied by a paralyzed creature, however, counts as 2 squares to move through.

The fact they call out winged flying creatures who become paralyzed as falling because they cannot flap their wings would seem to indicate that other forms of flight are at least not guaranteed to fail.

The question is not whether Baba Yaga is personally evil, because that is a known fact. Nor is it whether she is more or less personally evil than the witch she opposes. Each has committed sufficient atrocities to merit death from any given paladin, if the paladin could only manage it.

The three questions in this particular instance are 1) which of them poses the biggest threat to the people the paladin must attempt to defend, 2) whether the paladin has the ability to oppose the greater threat without simultaneously aiding the lesser threat, and 3) whether the paladin would be compromised in working with an evil ally. I think you are only asking about that third one.

As a GM and as a player, I don't believe a paladin can justify taking immoral actions toward a goal, however that desirable that goal might be. Nor could a paladin condone evil actions taken by others toward said goal. One thing a paladin very definitely cannot do is sacrifice his or her own beliefs. As Melkiador stated above, an occasional atonement would likely be necessary in this case. The line between tenuous partnership and collaboration is frequently not neon-bright.

I doubt it would be possible to force Baba Yaga into any agreement, and any attempt to trick her probably would go exceptionally poorly (even if that weren't dishonorable, and therefore usually off the table for most paladins in most circumstances). Moreover, she isn't a devil to be bound by a tricky loophole and even if you could somehow twist her to your will, making a being like that mad is a bad idea. It's incredibly easy for a powerful evil being to get revenge on a paladin, if that is a goal. You do it by hurting others.

However, you might perhaps aim or hope to gain her grudging favor. Not for your abilities, of course. A CR 30 mythical Queen of Witches won't be moved by much in that regard. But perhaps she'd be impressed by honor and steadfastness. She has lived an incredibly long life without seeing a lot of that from humanity. If you made clear that you were asking nothing for yourself, but that your aid was conditional on her word that she would permit modest reform, she might consider you an idiot but respect you for it nonetheless. A lot depends on how the write-up on her in the AP defines her character. Your GM obviously can't come out and tell you, but perhaps there is someone in your PC's party who has a knowledge (local) skill high enough to give you a window into her personality that could prove useful in this regard. Does she pride herself on keeping her pledged word? Is she actually repulsed by goodness, or so jaded and cynical she doesn't believe it exists and that it is only a mask for hypocrisy? What are her ultimate goals? To what exent does the misery of the common people factor into them? If the answer is "not much", maybe she would be indifferent to many things the paladin might request (which is a lot better than hostile).

Normally an AoO can only be made against the opponent who made it possible (provoked it), but although Song of Sarkoris specifically makes an exception to this general rule the only other difference to the usual AoO mechanism itself is that any AoO(s) thus generated cannot prevent the completion of the action that provoked them. So a paladin ally could take a massive hit from an ogre that would kill her, all party members (including the walking dead woman) would get an AoO against whoever they felt like attacking, but the pally would still die, even if every party member's AoO hit and the entire ogre murder-family also went down.

There would be nothing in that scenario that would have any bearing on the fact that it was the action of the ogre matriarch successfully gutting the pally like a trout that generated all those AoOs in the first place. I don't see how the target of the AoO has any bearing in this case on the question of who generated it. That being the case, since "provoke" has no alternative meaning within the ruleset outside Attacks of Opportunity and merely acts there as a synonym for "gives rise to" or "creates the opportunity for", I don't see the loss of the word as important. Given the differences between the AoO granted by Song of Sarkoris and the ones the rules generally allow for, it would have been far easier for them to avoid calling it an attack of opportunity at all if they did not want it to interact with the AoO rules and feats. Song of Sarkoris could have simply granted a single extra out of turn attack that was resolved simultaneously with the attack that generated it. They didn't do that. Paired Opportunists should absolutely apply.

The post title pretty much sums up the question. I believe the answer is most likely yes (using spells like Overland Flight or Fly in which the flight is mentally controlled, anyway), but was somewhat surprised to see no references online to anyone ever using this tactic.

The Statue spell description is vague as to what type of actions can be taken by a caster in statue form. Perception is explicitly allowed, and the spell does not even impose a penalty, which you'd think it would. I mean, you can't turn your head to look behind you in statue form. What about other purely mental actions, though? Concentration seems as if it should be a gimme, but what about occult casters who do not need to use non-mental components? Can they still cast their spells?

A statue spell turns the subject to solid stone, along with any garments and equipment worn or carried. In statue form, the subject gains hardness 8. The subject retains its own hit points. The subject can see, hear, and smell normally, but it does not need to eat or breathe. Feeling is limited to those sensations that can affect the granite-hard substance of the individual's body. Chipping is equal to a mere scratch, but breaking off one of the statue's arms constitutes serious damage. The subject of a statue spell can return to its normal state, act, and then return instantly to the statue state (a free action) if it so desires as long as the spell duration is in effect.

On a related sidenote, the spell says nothing about AC. I'd guess the affected person would probably have the same AC as an Animated Object with a Dexterity of 0 and would count as paralyzed unless flying is an option, but that is merely a guess, as the spell doesn't mention anything about it. If the caster does not count as an object (and the spell description has nothing explicit to indicate it makes that change) and is not paralyzed in statue form when it is not the caster's turn, does that mean an opponent can coup-de-grace? What about sneak attack? A mere 8 points of hardness does very little to alleviate that kind of pain against the kind of opponents someone employing this spell would be likely to face.

Does anyone have any information on any of this?

Let it be granted for the sake of argument that the overwhelming majority of goblins are evil. This is not the end of the argument. Paladins kill either to punish the wicked for their misdeeds or to defend themselves or others against an imminent threat. The inherent wickedness of goblinkind is not as relevant as the question of HOW evil and chaotic they are. Paladins can't go around killing evil humans or dwarves or halflings just because they are slumlords, war profiteers, worship Asmodeus, or routinely cheat their customers. They can't break into prisons and slaughter the inmates who detect as evil. In fact, outside of the confines of adventure paths, by definition exceptional, there are relatively few circumstances in which paladins can freely kill. Part of this is because of the conflicting demands of law and good, and part is because it is generally recognized that good and evil exist on a scale and not all evil creatures merit death merely because they are somewhere on the evil side of that scale. Evil outsiders always do. In most games, there are other creatures also considered so irredeemably and utterly evil they are worthy of smite-on-sight status (ogres, spirit nagas, most undead, etc).

In some games this list is long and in others it is not. This will depend greatly on the GM. A GM who sees goblins as moral beings who merely have a predisposition for evil will not run a game well suited to a paladin whose player is accustomed to thinking of all goblins as semi-intelligent annoyance monsters who eat children if left unchecked. The reverse is also true. In some games, the GM has defined goblins in such a way that goblin babies, thus far innocent of any wrong-doing, are nonetheless worthy of killing because they lack the potential to ever be anything better than a menace to the nearest nongoblin community. If a player tries to play a paladin in that game who believes that all intelligent creatures can be redeemed and brought to goodness, frustration will ensue on both sides.

Goblins do not exist in our world. They exist only within the imaginations of those who play the game. It is not possible to establish a single correct answer to the goblin baby question until every player and GM has the same shared viewpoint about them. This won't happen. So in some games the correct answer will be something like "Burn them with fire--it's the only way to be sure" and in others players might adopt them or subsidize orphanages, trade schools, and missionaries who actually have a chance of success.

As GMs, it is our duty to be clear in our own minds where we fall on these sorts of issues. As players of paladins, it is only prudent to discover what our GMs' positions are. Don't play a paladin in a game run by someone with whom you have little in common. Your paladin will either fail or fall unless these questions never arise, in which case why play a paladin at all?

Strange Aeons is a less than ideal campaign for an intimidate build. I am not saying it won't work at all, because there are certainly enemies it will absolutely work on, but there are a lot of undead. They're immune to demoralization, unless there is a feat out there I'm forgetting that allows that (I wouldn't be surprised). There are also some other creatures immune to fear. Just a heads-up.

I play a life Oracle in a 3-person Carrion Crown campaign and we have gotten almost to the end of Book Six without being seriously challenged more than a couple of times. This GM has TPKed multiple past campaigns, so I don't think she's going easy on us. In fact, she's told us she routinely maxes monster hit points. That being said, since I play one I think I know their capabilities well enough to say most life oracles probably have bad Fortitude and Reflex saves, bad touch AC, and so-so CMD (at best). Can't you use whatever part of that is true for this character to make things interesting for him?

For instance, some GMs play monsters with grab as if they would never consider using a straight grapple attack, even if their chance of hitting with their primary attack and actually getting the opportunity to use grab is very slim because of super high PC AC. They should forget about regular attacks against PCs who simply cannot be hit and go straight for the grapple.

Or give some of the baddies the fiendish template so their smite good ability comes into play. Or some sort of invisibility, which gives a+2 to hit on top of depriving most enemies of Dex and dodge bonuses. Use spells like Waves of Exhaustion (good saves don't work against no save) against him or Silence centered on a bad guy who is attempting to beat him down. The bad guy might not hurt him, but the oracle won't be contributing much aside from (Su) abilities until he gets away.

Traps. Most traps don't target Will.

Don't try to kill him, but forget about "fairness." Strange Aeons is a horror campaign; your players didn't sign up for it looking for fairness. They were looking to be made afraid.

Only that if you are suggesting half orc ranger, also suggest the racial feat Keen Scent. Not only is it an extremely powerful feat (especially for a ranger), it will give him an ability no other party member without that feat can match or duplicate, even if they are also playing martial types.

Ranger with Natural Weapons style and Aspect of the Beast feat?

You could flip the script. Maybe it's not about the dark-adapted races raiding/attacking the Shard Realms. Maybe it's the other way round. If most of the world is Darkened, then that's where most of the resources are. What are the odds that each and every Shard-lit area is completely self-sufficient? Maybe after the former Underdark races moved in to abandoned territory, they understandably didn't feel like sharing their new mines and allowing their rivers and streams to be diverted for Shard-lit agriculture. Maybe any attacks on the lighted areas are simple retribution for what they see as attacks on them.

Moreover, the people living in those lighted areas are probably not going to give up on the idea they still "rightfully" own the dark areas they once lived in, which still contain many or most of the necessities of life. At the very, very least, they'd still need to trade with the Darkworlders, even if they weren't raiding. They couldn't afford to pretend they didn't matter or exist, the way most surface worlders used to pretend about the subterranean races. I would not be surprised if dwarves suddenly became much more prominent, what with their combination of darkvision, combat ability, and business sense (yes, yes, I know #NotAllDwarves). At the same time, with so much new territory opening up to them, races like the drow would have less internal pressures. I'm not saying they'd all turn good or neutral, but when everything you need is simply there for the taking and there's plenty of new room to escape a hostile society, I bet there would be some breakaway groups.

Anyway, interesting premise. It'd be cool to hear what you do with it.

Intimidate builds. PF1Ed has utterly broken intimidate rules. No save, the DC doesn't scale remotely fast enough, and there are easy ways to increase the fear level past shaken. The most frustrating character of this type I ever saw was a PC whose player utterly refused to even roleplay the fact he was scary. He wanted to be able to make the party's enemies run away by hitting them with Cornugon Smash (for generally unimpressive damage), but insisted against the evidence that he was playing a "nice guy" who no one could find at all threatening. If he hit, the only suspense was in finding out how many rounds the enemy was out of commission, not whether they would be (undead and constructs aside, of course).

Use those monster special abilities, and ignore the AP whenever it has the monsters acting really dumb. Maybe 4 PCs need a break now and then. 6 PCs do not. If the monsters have Power Attack and are using a one-handed weapon with nothing in their other hand, have them attack two-handed for the extra damage (or give them a tower shield, at least). Give the bad guys guard beasts with scent so they're not as easily surprised (speaking of which, don't forget the increased sensory range of the few dragons in the AP, who should never be surprised by anything short of mass teleport into attack range). If monsters know the party is near, readied actions can prevent the party winning initiative and DPSing them down before they get off a single attack. Don't let the party get away with the 15 minute adventuring day. If they stop to rest too often, let some of the areas they "cleared" become UNcleared. And, by Desna's bright stars, never EVER let them fight a flying dragon or air-walking rune giant on the ground. Those creatures have ranged attacks and reach for a reason.

At least theoretically, once the Runeforge has been opened and Karzoug has been dealt with the knowledge of the old magics could have re-entered the world in several different ways.

I am currently playing a Thassilonian wizard in a Shattered Star campaign who was one of many people rescued from the Runeforge by the PCs in my gaming group's previous Rise of the Runelords campaign. He had spent millennia as one of several polymorphed goldfish in a fountain in that timeless place.

My GM ruled that the physical transmutation was permanent, both because of the "natural decay or spoilage" language and to avoid drinkers ending up with stomachs full of blood or sewage or acid or whatever at end of spell duration, which is clearly not the spell intent. However, my GM also ruled that the spell effect was so strong and the buff so good (at higher levels) that only the first person drinking of the wine within the spell duration gets the buff effect (for the remainder of the duration), after which the rest of the wine becomes nonmagical. This is obviously a house rule, but it seemed reasonable to me, as a strong buff that could effect hundreds seems overpowered for a spell of this level.

Who is to say that "With this Sword" is not appropriate? He has ridiculous wealth even without that glaive. Would saying it was a capstone item really be short-changing him?

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Dasrak wrote:


Multimorph: 2/5 if you like polymorph spells it's pretty good, but polymorph spells are pretty niche for wizards...

No argument here, but as an aside, if that niche is one you want to roleplay, then Multimorph with Improved Eldritch Heritage (shapechanger bloodline) is a definitely a good way to go, as Multimorph combined with the bloodline power Mutable Flesh is a beautiful thing.

Mutable Flesh (Su) At 3rd level, once per day when you cast a transmutation spell with a duration of 1 minute per level that affects only you, you can increase its duration to 10 minutes per level. At 9th level, you can increase the duration to 1 hour per level.

In mountainous terrain there is the avalanche trap and the "catch the party with flying critters halfway up a cliff face" situation (flat-footed from climbing and no bows or two handed melee weapons) and the "giant(s) trying to bull rush PCs off the trail and over a cliff" situation (I ran that once where the giants jumped from the cliff above and a giant adept cast Feather Fall just before they landed on the trail. Instant brawl from nowhere and fun times.

Named Bullet can be cast well ahead of any encounters on any arrows/bolts/bullets the allies might be using (although it's kinda wasted on bolts). Shared Training is only a 2nd level spell and also can be cast well ahead of time to give multiple allies access to multiple teamwork feats. Blistering Invective requires only an easily pumped skill check and allows no save (if they have a paladin, combine it with Draconic Malice to eliminate immunity to fear). The initial damage is relatively trivial, but mass shaken condition plus catching your enemies on fire is not. Hidden Presence can be super fun if you can overcome their Will saves, as is Shadowmind. Inquisitors can be combat beasts, but if you are going for a spellcaster, make him a buffer/debuffer over a straight damager.

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I currently play in a party of three that is on book 6 of Carrion Crown. Aasimar Oracle/Soul Warden (life mystery, blackened curse), half-elf paladin of Sarenrae (undead scourge), and human witch (with a nervous giggle tic that doubles as cackle in combat). My Oracle also carries and frequently talks to the polished and enchanted skull of the witch PC's first character, a Samsaran sorcerer lost early on in Book 2. It has been made into an "Orb" of Golden Heaven.

All of us have maxed ranks in Perform (Sing) because our self identity is that we are a singing troupe that does a little light adventuring on the side. We prefer to draw masses of enemies to us via loud, annoying, and coordinated song than go looking for them one by one. Favorites include "Walking on Sunshine," "Lil Red Riding Hood," and "We are the Champions."

The paladin tanks (with the oracle occasionally stepping up), and the oracle and witch buff/debuff. If it's undead we face, they might be pushed/pulled en masse through Walls of Fire or Walls of Silver via Improved Channel Force. The witch throws Misfortune hexes everywhere.

The GM increases numbers faced and maxes enemy hit points, but as the paladin frequently observes, "Bards exaggerate. This adventuring gig just isn't that hard."

Anyone with the ability to cast Named Bullet or use a wand of same.

Named Bullet wrote:

Named Bullet

School divination; Level inquisitor 4, ranger 3, sorcerer/wizard 4, witch 4


Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M/DF (an item from the selected creature or creature type)


Range touch
Target one piece of ammunition or one thrown weapon
Duration 10 minutes/level or until discharged
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless, object); Spell Resistance yes (harmless, object)


You imbue the target with deadly accuracy against a selected creature type (and subtype for humanoids or outsiders) or a specific creature you know and can name. When used against the selected creature, the ammunition never misfires and is unaffected by concealment (but not total concealment), and at a range of 30 feet or less, the attack targets the selected creature’s touch AC. When the target hits the selected creature, you must overcome that creature’s spell resistance, or this spell has no effect. A normal hit scored using the target against the selected creature is considered to be a critical threat and deals 1 extra point of damage per caster level (maximum 20), which is not multiplied on a critical hit. A natural critical hit deals the same extra damage, but that damage is multiplied due to the critical.

Once the target is used to attack the selected creature, successfully or not, this spell is discharged.

Tick swarm (CR9) or fiendish tick swarm (CR10)

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8 days normally, or 4 days if you fast craft, but that raises the crafting DC by 5.

I guess I wasn't clear in my last question. If we replaced the word "feat" with "talent" in your last post, why would that not be true?

Wouldn't that same logic imply that individual talents themselves do not count as class abilities, despite the fact that--at least in some cases--only slayers may take them?

Hm. Okay, I can see that yours may be the correct interpretation. Just checking, though: would you ALSO say that the Endurance feat and the combat style feats that rangers get outside the normal odd level feat progression (or Scribe Scroll for wizards or Eschew Components for sorcerers) do not count as class abilities? I was under the impression that the extra fighter feats WERE the greater part of a fighter's class abilities.

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This question may have been previously addressed, but if so I haven't seen it.

A slayer's studied target bonus increases the DCs of slayer class abilities by one for each point of bonus. I feel safe in assuming that slayer talents with DCs (e.g., Assassinate) count as class abilities, but what about combat feats gained via slayer talents that also have associated save DCs (e.g., Blinding Critical)?

Animate Dreams, created by the tortured subconscious of the by now hopelessly insane dwarf. Also, or alternatively, multiple kastamut inevitables (as a bonus, they look like metallic dwarves) who were bound or showed up on their own to prevent the demon's release and therefore see the party as probable enemies.

You could go Barbarian/Brawler to get Weapon Specialization. It would take just as many levels to go Barbarian/Fighter, of course, but Brawler might work better with some character concepts.

Awwww. Well, heck. Would have still been a possibly worthwhile bonus at +1/3, but 1/6 is just insulting. I'll keep the PC, but favored class bonus is definitely going to change.

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It's campaign specific, but in Carrion Crown I'm currently playing an aasimar Oracle of Pharasma (Life mystery) who has the channeling revelation, is taking the aasimar-only channeling feats, and gets the favored class bonus that gives him an extra +1/2 effective channeling level per class level. He also has the Blackened curse, which will soon allow him to create Walls of Fire that his channeling feats will be able to blast or pull undead into. He's pretty fun.

The fact that there is such an insane number of threads on this and the devs have never (to my knowledge) weighed in with any indication that they had any intention of allowing ranged flanking bonuses or ranged flanking sneak attacks seems a fairly decent indication to me that they didn't mean to do so. A pity, I think, but there it is.

That said, the Gang Up feat FAQ really isn't the be-all and end-all of this debate. I belive that particular question was answered before it was even possible to legally threaten with a ranged weapon. The Snap Shot, Improved Snap Shot, and Point Blank Master feats came out after 2010. It's unreasonable to expect a ruling to cover things that aren't possible at the time the ruling is made.

There were not a lot of trees in any part of Vaasa any of my characters ever got to see, so there isn't likely to be a lot of wooden buildings. Theoretically, you could have a city made of yurts, but the players might not want to stick around and building security becomes a serious issue in an evil city. I guess it could be mostly stone, but Vaasa might not have the population base for quarries. So that leaves using ice, maybe with mammoth bone struts/bracing. Actually, you could have carved animal bone and horn in place of lots of things normally fashioned from wood. Two of the largest buildings in town might be a temple to Loviatar (to contrast with the following of Loviatar's rival Ilmater in Damara) fashioned from black ice treated with the Hardening spell and a stone public bath house connected to geothermal springs that is commonly used as a neutral meeting spot to conduct business.

I dunno, just a few thoughts trying to set the place apart visually from other places your PCs have visited.

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If wizards were given access to cure spells, it would not be a power-up. What, use their precious spell slots to restore (not buff, but restore) other PCs to factory mint condition AFTER they have taken damage? They've got far better things to do! Or at least they ought to. Any wizard in a party of normal size who wanted the ability to heal others would want it for role-playing reasons, not because healing would represent a pathway to increased power. That's one reason Pathfinder gave clerics the ability to channel healing energy in addition to spells--they were trying to do away with the idea that clerical spellpower was best used as handing out bandaids. Even bards have better things to do with their spell slots in and out of combat than heal, unless no one else is in a position to do so. But as to why they have the ability in the first place, bards started out way back when (before 2nd Ed AD&D) as the first and prototypical prestige class (before the term even existed, in fact), a PrC that required them to work through levels in fighter, thief, and druid before they got any levels in bard, so they always did have the ability to heal and there's never been any game balance reason to take that away from them.

I don't know if his is still a permitted use of the spell, but Rope Trick has been used for several past editions as one slightly awkward way to bypass a door or relatively thin wall. If the spell is cast immediately adjacent to a vertical surface then the opening at the top (which enters the extradimensional hideyhole) can be placed so that it appears on both sides of the barrier.

As an aside, the enchantment has only shown up twice in the game I run, on weapons in the hands of NPCs. When the PCs asked what they knew about it, those with decent rolls in knowledge: arcana were told it was called the hellfire enchantment, a flame that burns only the life force. The nomenclature change did nothing to alter the power of the enchantment, but it did help to avoid the light saber connotations.

Kryptik wrote:
Zog of Deadwood wrote:
It seems as if this tactic would be substantially less useful with judicious use of Magic Aura and Phantom Trap spells.
Yeah, except for the fact that a section of wall or floor doesn't really qualify as an "item."

Depends. A door or flagstone could easily fit within the 5lbs/caster level of the Magic Aura spell. Same goes for a carpet. And even on a seemingly seamless cavern or tunnel floor who is to say that some sections are not actually thin plates of separate material? Especially if those plates are magicked to blend in?

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Oh, and don't forget to occasionally add an illusion masking a real, but invisible danger. They can disbelieve the illusion of the pit, but that won't help much if the illusion covers a true pit trap that hasn't yet revealed itself (optional: mocking laughter from a magic mouth spell when the pit trap is activated).

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It seems as if this tactic would be substantially less useful with judicious use of Magic Aura and Phantom Trap spells.

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Geas doesn't remove free will the way Dominate Person does. An affected target of this spell can choose not to obey and take the penalties to stats over time. The penalties cannot directly kill you, and don't kick in quickly, so the spell is useless in combat except against the most selfish of PCs in situations in which a geas is not likely to be removed.

Calybos1 wrote:

This was more of a player problem than a character one, because every character this guy made was essentially the same character: a sullen, standoffish thug who bulked up in one particular fighting specialty (depending on the system it could be armor, super-strength, grappling, an all-encompassing smite, etc.).

Then, whenever we encountered a situation not specifically attuned to his specialty--roleplaying, for example--, he'd sit on the sidelines and complain that "there's nothing I can do. This sucks." In PFS, he made an armor tank with these exact same characteristics. If anybody hit him with a spell or touch attack, he'd howl and say "Oh, so my armor's worthless. Thanks a lot."

Oh, and he made sure never to tell the other PCs (or players) anything he saw or learned. Or what he was planning to do, in or out of combat. The same character, over and over and over again....

You must live near Sacramento, because that guy is in my gaming group too. You left out the constant inappropriate come-ons to female PCs and NPCs, though.

MurphysParadox wrote:

1) Yes, since one of the spells to gain access to the class (command undead) is a wizard/sorcerer only spell.

2) "Soul warden levels stack with levels in any class that grants channel energy for the purpose of determining the number of damage dice his channel energy ability deals to undead (if any)." That's the only part that stacks. So you have two sets of uses per day; one from the Cleric levels and one from the Soul Warden levels. So your cleric levels make this feature of the Soul Warden more powerful, but Soul Warden levels do not improve the Cleric's Channel Energy in any way.

3) I'd say no. Necromancers don't really get channel energy, the class feature, they get specific bonus feats and count, for only the chosen feat, as being able to channel because it is required to use the feat. However, it is a semantics argument, so there is no 100% clear answer.

Regarding 2) and 3) above, I started with a few points of divergence from your conclusions. After thinking it over, I still do, but not the same ones I started with.

Here is the text of the wizard necromancer's Power Over Undead ability:

CRB wrote:
You receive Command Undead or Turn Undead as a bonus feat. You can channel energy a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier, but only to use the selected feat. You can take other feats to add to this ability, such as Extra Channel and Improved Channel, but not feats that alter this ability, such as Elemental Channel and Alignment Channel. The DC to save against these feats is equal to 10 + 1/2 your wizard level + your Charisma modifier. At 20th level, undead cannot add their channel resistance to the save against this ability.

Here is the full text of the Soul Warden Channel Damage ability:

Soul Warden wrote:
At 1st level, a soul warden gains the power to harm undead with positive energy. This ability functions exactly like a cleric's ability to channel positive energy to deal damage to undead (but not to heal living creatures), and counts as channel energy for the purposes of qualifying for feats or determining effects that rely on channel energy. A soul warden uses his class level as his effective cleric level when channeling damage. He can channel damage a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier. Soul warden levels stack with levels in any class that grants channel energy for the purpose of determining the number of damage dice his channel energy ability deals to undead (if any).

Now, the necromancer's channeling ability is extremely circumscribed, but there is no denying that he does have it. It's right there in the description. I originally believed that this meant they would count for damage purposes. As far as that goes, I still think they should. There is already a feat, Channeling Scourge, allowing multi-classed cleric/inquisitors to count their inquisitor levels as cleric levels for the purpose of channeling when dealing damage. A necromancer specialist, far more invested in necromantic power than most inquisitors, who has chosen the option of channeling positive energy and thus forgone the ability to Command Undead (vastly more powerful and long-lasting than Turn Undead) really should get something for that sacrifice.

Sadly, I now realize that, by RAW, they do not, even if that was the intent. Wizard necromancer levels stack with Soul Warden levels when channeling for damage, but it nowhere says they count as either Soul Warden levels or as cleric levels, so the only good they get of being necromancers is being able to channel for damage using the channels they receive as a necromancer specialist, counting damage only from the dice they get from Soul Warden. Pretty lame. It's very slightly better than any other wizard who became a Soul Warden, at least when killing skeletons and zombies, but a wizard at mid-to-high levels shouldn't even be thinking about such trivial opponents.

Of course, the primary utility of Channel Damage is not actually using it to damage, but instead to get nifty spells that don't take up a spell slot. That would be true even if necromancer levels did add to channeling damage, but it's the principle of the thing.

I cannot give official answers, but here is what I think:

  • From a RAI standpoint, it seems very clear from the abilities, background fluff, and even the illustration that this PrC was designed for wizards and to be an optimal option for non-evil necromancer wizards. Fortunately, from a RAW standpoint the text in the sentence you noted does not actually debar that option, even though, like you, I think the word divine was included in error (maybe cut and pasted from another PrC). Nowhere is it claimed that divine spell casting is a prerequisite, and that sentence does not actually state that Soul Warden levels increase divine casting. Rather, it says that a character with levels in more than one divine spellcasting class must choose which class the added levels go to, without specifying that the class in question must be divine.
  • Regarding the 2nd question, the uses are independent, so the caster gets more channel attempts, but the Soul Warden channels can only be used to damage. Further, note the second and last sentences in the Channel Damage description: "This ability functions exactly like a cleric's ability to channel positive energy to deal damage to undead (but not to heal living creatures), and counts as channel energy for the purposes of qualifying for feats or determining effects that rely on channel energy. [...] Soul warden levels stack with levels in any class that grants channel energy for the purpose of determining the number of damage dice his channel energy ability deals to undead (if any)." It seems clear that the damage to undead is stackable either way, whether using a cleric's channel energy or a Soul Warden's channel damage. So no worries there, except for this sentence: "A soul warden uses his class level as his effective cleric level when channeling damage." Per RAW, that would seem to say the DC of Channel Damage does NOT similarly increase with stacked levels, but is based solely on the class level of the Soul Warden. I think this is probably carelessness on the writer's part and is not RAI, but it is difficult to be sure.
  • Yes, those necromancer wizard specialists who channel positive energy (a tiny minority, to be sure), can stack their levels in necromancer with their levels in Soul Warden for the purpose of determining damage. And, it would seem from RAW, can now use their normal channels to damage as well (although I am unsure that was intentional). But as per above, possibly not for determining save DC.

Lifat wrote:
Not sure where you are getting the half cost from?

Because adding abilities to a bonded item works like crafting, and crafting cost is half the base cost of the item.

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Sure, greenwood seems as if it should work to block brilliant weapons, but unless your PC is restricted to light armor, it seems as if living steel would be a better choice, if it exists in your campaign world.

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