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All battle oriented Perception rolls I have players do them out in the open. There are a lot of rerolls out there, and also if a character rolls a 20 and still can't find something, they know they have to find another solution.

If a character enters stealth mode and is trying to find traps, I prefer to roll Perception checks in secret. I think it ruins the suspense if a player knows the total of his Perception check: less than 20 will usually be a failure, while over 30 will usually be a success. New players may also metagame, knowing that they rolled a 1 a Perception check, so deciding not to enter an area.

Otherwise, I use this rule: most active Perception checks are rolled by the players, while most receptive checks are made by me in secret. If an event happens that the players are unaware of, but I need to see if they are aware of it, I'll usually do the rolls myself so that they don't know to look for something. Or, if the players enter a room, I will do Perception checks for them in secret. If they ask to search a room, I'll have them roll their own checks. Every once in a while, I'll ask everyone to roll a Perception check for something that hasn't happened yet to throw people off their game.

People like to roll dice, as that's a lot of the fun in the game. However, you are telling a story and need to know when it's important to withhold information. Trying to find the right balance is tricky, but I definitely recommend against doing all the one or all the other. When in doubt, have everyone roll their own checks.

I prefer having players roll their checks as they happen. Rolling checks at the beginning of a game for the entire session is kind of a bummer, as you already know ahead of time if you're likely to succeed or fail on most of your checks.

Clerics aren't really all that necessary for healing. The reason you need a cleric is to remove harmful status effects, such as blindness, curses, disease, ability damage, ability drain, and negative levels. A party can always function without a cleric, but is really fragile and will often fall behind on gold if there are clerics that can cast spellcasting services for them. If there are no clerics around, they could often get nerfed for long periods of time.

Clerics have other important spells as well: Freedom of Movement, Air Walk, Resist Energy/Communal, Protection From Evil/Magic Circle Against Evil...many others that may not sound very glamorous, but can easily change the game in your favor.

The problem with clerics is that they are a little dull to play at the first couple levels. By the time you hit level 7 or 8, clerics start really pulling their weight and feel like one of the most useful classes. Like friends of mine have said, at high levels, 2 clerics (in a party) = win.

I'm not sure why Bastard Sword is worth it for a sword and board type. Without buffs, a bastard sword only does an average of +1 damage over a long sword. Hardly worth a feat. If you can cast lead blades or enlarge person it's better, but I don't know why it wouldn't be worth it at higher levels.

For instance, a Ranger casting lead blades and having enlarge person can do 8d8 damage with one single attack and vital strike. Average of 36 damage from weapon dice alone, plus another 12-15 damage from strength, power attack and other bonuses. Since there is no Clustered Shot equivalent for melee fighting, this might be a better way to go for melee fighting.

A fighter would lose lead blades, but could still easily drink a potion of enlarge person, dealing 6d8 with a large bastard sword and vital strike. The bonus on damage is worth it since the toughest enemies will have DR.

Sakrileg wrote:

So I am building a Lawful Evil Human Fighter(no Archetype) that wears fullplate and wields a bastard sword.He does not have the bastard sword feat, so he MUST wield it two handed. Also I went with dual talented so at level 1 he only has 2 feats (class & level).

Oddly I am at a loss with what feats to pick. Any ideas?

I would recommend Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) and Weapon Focus (Bastard Sword). Then use a Large Bastard Sword in combat. This will deal 2d8 + 1.5x your strength modifier, so on average 15 damage with 18 strength. It will go up to 23 damage if someone casts enlarge person on you.

Take Power Attack at level 2 and Furious Focus at level 3. Negate the penalties for Power Attack.

At level 3, you would have a +6 to hit and can deal 18 damage on average without buffs. Large size will penalize at a -2, but I think it's worth it, especially if you take Vital Strike later down the line.

Ear-Piercing Scream? +1 Caster Level would approximate damage to a magic missile.

Heroism or other long duration buffs. Good Hope later down the line, with a Metamagic Rod of Extend, may be worth it.

Touch of Gracelesness for effectiveness at low levels.

Hideous Laughter similarly will make the spell worth casting at low levels.

Those are the main ones I can think of.

I would not be opposed to playing a 10 point buy if that was the same for everyone.

However, GM secretly rolling stats for everyone sounds fishy. Psychologically, people are much more likely to make the best of what they have if they truly believe it was determined by random variables. If someone feels like there is foul play involved, they're much more inclined to be obstinate and disagreeable.

Truly a GM error, IMO. Unless he wanted you to leave the game.

Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't given it much thought, but yeah that would give me greater incentive to keep the full Ranger Favored Enemy bonuses.

Perhaps I should take Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) then. Multiattack when appropriate with a 1d10 weapon and a bite/claw attack, and perhaps carry around a large Bastard Sword that deals 2d8 when DR cannot be overcome. Lead Blades and Enlarge Person could get that up to 4d8, and an Improved Vital Strike can deal 12d8.

I like feats that serve two purposes, so perhaps that's what I should do.

Still thinking about it though.

Clerics make awful multiclassers. Outside of the Domain abilities, they don't really get much at low levels. Your main goal should be to get to your high level spells as quickly as possible. You could allow yourself to take one level of something else to gain something like martial weapon proficiency or a few extra skill points, but I would limit it to one level.

Clerics have lots of minor spells, but it's really your 4th + level spells that are going to help (and perhaps save) the party.

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I have a Tengu Ranger for Pathfinder Society. My concept is that he lived in a Tengu settlement that was commonly tormented by a local Tien village, so his Favored Enemy is Humans (he especially dislikes Human children). I took the Claws alternate racial trait to gain two claw attacks in addition to my bite attack so I could have three natural attacks per round. However, now I need to make a choice. I could do one of these four things

1: Stay straight Ranger. I would need to find a level 3 feat to take, which might be Combat Reflexes (to take advantage of my Wolf animal companion's trip attacks later down the line) or Improved Grapple.
2: Take a level of Fighter. This would give me the feats I would need to get me Feral Combat Training (Claws) and Boar Style. I love the idea of my character attacking someone, dealing bleed damage and flying away to wait for them to die.
3: Take two levels of Barbarian. I could take Extra Rage as my level 3 feat and Fiend Totem, Lesser to gain a Gore attack during Raging. Obviously, this could raise my damage potential quite a bit, but I would lose a level of my animal companion.
4: Take the two levels of Barbarian and the level of Fighter. I would be a natural attacking fiend, but would lose two levels of my animal companion, and three levels of all my Ranger, plus all the Feats that the build would require (Weapon Focus, Feral Weapon Training, Boar Style, Extra Rage)

Here is my idea for a feat tree, if I went straight Ranger:

1 Power Attack
2 Weapon Focus
3 Improved Grapple?
5 Boon Companion
6 Aspect of the Beast (Night Senses)
7 Tengu Wings
9 Tengu Raven Form
11 Quick Draw
11 Improved Vital Strike

My concern is that I feel like getting Favored Enemy bonuses and high level spells (such as Instant Enemy) is going to be more important than doing tons of damage. Another concern is that lots of natural attacks is only really a benefit at low levels. At higher levels, around 11 or so, it will nearly always be more effective to utilize a Two Handed Weapon, especially if I am hasted. If I take two levels of Barbarian and a level of Fighter just to enhance my natural attacks, I'm losing a lot of better balanced Ranger features at higher levels.

Which way should I go? I feel like I need to have a plan before I play him again.

Neat, this has been plaguing me for a while. I've seen it ran wrong in the past, so glad to see the specific rule. Thanks.

An enemy has greater invisibility and attempts to stealth. He also attacks someone in melee.

Would the target automatically know what square his target was in after a hit? Or would he have to roll a Perception check to figure it out?

I guess this would also go for someone getting attacked in total darkness.

I know that the attacker would take a -20 to his stealth check, but if his stealth score is really high without invisibility, he might still be difficult to detect.

I suppose the politics of the setting can be secondary. I just want to have a story that could seem like it could take place within a similar world as Game of Thrones. The main reason my work friends wanted to start playing D&D/Pathfinder was because of Game of Thrones, and a lesser extent, Lord of the Rings, so I don't want them coming in fighting only haunts and ghosts and werewolves with gunslingers and ninjas fighting with them. I want a mostly pared down medieval/fantasy setting with a little bit of emphasis on nobility and power struggle in the kingdom.

That said, if I could qualify one family as the Lannisters of the region, I could probably get the players into the story a lot more quickly, getting them to roleplay and investigate more readily.

My player's guide is primarily about creating a character for the setting, but I will try to incorporate more of the setting into it. I do like the traits that associate the players with a certain noble family in the region. Do these families ever get incorporated with the main story?

Well that certainly seems to make up my mind. Kingmaker seems to be the answer. I've already started writing out my own version of a "Kingmaker Player's Guide", just so I can generalize the concepts and rules to new players.

My only concern is: do you think Kingmaker will be easy to pick up and remain interested in for players that are very new to Pathfinder and tabletop RPGs in general. Its sandbox nature makes it sound like it might be complex and longwinded in nature. Is it pretty easy to pick up as a player?

I have been running a group of friends from work, who are all Game of Thrones fans, through some adventure modules. We have run through Crypt of the Everflame, Masks of the Living God, and we are halfway through The Midnight Mirror.

We have taken a few months off, so I would like to start over with new characters, in a new setting. I want to choose an AP that satisfies the following criteria:

(a) the setting, style, or story should somehow resemble Game of Thrones. I want something that feels medieval in nature.

(b) the AP should have consistent, satisfying combats. I am running the game for new players, who have very little experience with RPGs. I know APs can tend to have lots of role play and investigation, sometimes to the point where they can have no battles within an entire session of game play. A game that has a lot of action right off the bat would be ideal. The group likes role play, but they are new enough that they want to fight, just to learn the rules if nothing else.

I've played/run through Carrion Crown, and am about to start Shattered Star as a player. I own the first book of Kingmaker, as well as the full books of Rise of the Runelords and Shackled City, but am not familiar with all of those.

I think the third book of Carrion would be great for this group, but not the first or second. The first one is too much about undead, and the second has far too much investigation and role play compared to combats. The setting and werewolf plot of the third book would be great to run through, so I'd love to find something like that for first level characters.

I am not crazy about having Weapon Finesse at level 1. Unless you are a rogue or someone that stands to do crazy damage each hit, or you need weapon finesse for some cool feats, I think you would be happier redoing your ability scores and getting Lingering Performance at level 1. It's just not worth the loss of feats for the extra +1 to attack with a light weapon. I would recommend something like this:

STR 14 (16-2)
DEX 16 (14+2)
CON 12
INT 12
CHA 16 (14+2)

You won't hit as often, but you will do more damage when you do, especially since you'll get 21 rounds of luck instead of 7. If you use a rapier or scimitar, you'll be able to make it keen at level 6-ish instead of agile. If you're worried about the will save, take the indominable faith trait. The intelligence bonus is also key if you really want your bardic knowledge and loremaster capabilities to really be useful.

Once you get your key bard abilities (around 6-8), I might recommend taking a couple of levels of Dragon Disciple to gain natural armor and a bonus to your strength score, as well as two claws and a bite several rounds a day. You lose a level of spellcasting, but I think the bonuses you gain doing it would be worth it.

My arcaeologist for PFS is level 4. Here is my build:

Aasimar (Angel-Blooded) Archaeologist 4
STR 18 (15+2 racial, +1 level 4)
DEX 14
CON 14
INT 12
CHA 16 (14+2)
Vagabond Child (Disable Device)
Adopted / Bred For War
1 Lingering Performance
3 Enforcer
4 Intimidating Prowess (Rogue Talent)

Hmmm. I think by RAW, pirhana strike would not work with an elven curve blade since it is not a light weapon. You might have to put a point in strength and get power attack.

I hate your plan for major combats. You'll have to spend a round to start bardic performance, and then another three rounds to cast three spells before you even make an attack or offensive spell? By the time you're ready to fight, the battle will be over.

I play an arcane duelist, and I designed him equal parts buffer, debuffer, switch hitter (archer/melee). He is currently level 8.

Thokas Walamros
Human Bard (Arcane Duelist) 8
STR: 16 (15+1 level 4)
DEX: 18 (+2 belt, +2 racial)
CON: 13
INT: 12
WIS: 7
CHA: 18 (+1 level 8, +2 headband)
AC 21
HP 62
Fort +5, Ref +11, Will +6 (I think these saves are low, I carry around a potion of bestow grace if I get nervous)
Melee: Masterwork Cold Iron Longsword +10/+5 (1d8+3)
Ranged: +2 adaptive darkwood composite shortbow +13/+8 (1d6+4)
Bard Spells Known:
3: Good Hope, Haste, Slow
2: Heroism, Mirror Image, Glitterdust, Alter Self, Blistering Invective, Cacophonous Call
1: Liberating Command, Saving Finale, Grease, Cure Light Wounds, Feather Fall, Ear-Piercing Scream, Touch of Gracelessness
0: Read Magic, Detect Magic, Mage Hand, Light, Mending, Ghost Sound
Traits: Reactionary, Aid Allies (Shadow Lodge)
1 Arcane Strike
Point Blank Shot
Precise Shot
2 Combat Casting
3 Rapid Shot
5 Toughness
6 Disruptive
7 Lingering Performance

I will take Manyshot at 9

Equipment: headband of alluring charisma +2, belt of incredible dexterity +2, cloak of resistance +2, ioun stone (cracked dusty rose prism), bracers of falcon's aim, handy haversack, first level runestone

My strategy is to use an extend metamagic rod and to cast "Good Hope" if we are nearing a dangerous area. Otherwise, try to have heroism up if possible.

First round of combat, I cast Haste and Inspire Courage. Second round, I fire some arrows. When buffed, I get 4 arrows at +16/+16/+16/+11 (1d6 + 11 damage) that crit on a 19-20. Plus this way, I'm giving the entire party +5 on attack rolls, +4 on weapon damage rolls, an extra attack, and a +2 to saves. I hardly ever use performance to do anything other than inspire courage. Inspire competence on really difficult skill checks, blade thirst to attack incorporeal creatures, rallying cry for situational fear removal. Use 1st level slots to use Saving Finale, Liberating Command, or Feather Fall to save the party when needed. When battling a spellcaster, I drink a potion of enlarge person and approach with a long sword to take advantage of the disruptive feat.

That Veiled Illusionist prestige class is amazing. Definitely take it to get Loathsome Veil and one of the "Image" spells on your spell list.

That's interesting, regarding the dirge bard and color spray. I could see Sleep working, since the sleep effect itself is an enchantment effect. I guess color spray would be the same, but it just seems wrong for a skeleton to be paralyzed.

One more thing: Bard isn't an awful dip for an Oracle, but I would recommend staying away from Dirge Bard if you are trying to enhance Color Spray. Sure, the undead creature will be susceptible to the mind-affecting part of the spell, but the undead creature is still immune to both stunning and paralysis, meaning that at best you will just blind the undead for 1d4 to 3d4 rounds. While that might be a decent effect, it's hardly worth the two level loss in oracle abilities.

I was thinking of making a witch with augment summoning for Pathfinder Society. In PFS, wizards get spell focus as a bonus feat, so I was thinking of dipping into teleportation wizard to get a bunch of extra low level spells (feather fall, grease, etc.), the ability to teleport 5 feet as a swift action, the bonus to will saves, the spell list, and getting spell focus (Conjuration). Then I'm one feat away from Augment Summoning. Of course if it's not for Society, this wouldn't really work.

By the way, in your original build, I would recommend taking Awesome Display at level 3. Color Spray is still the best spell in the game at level 2 without Awesome Display.

Coat of Many Stars is probably not worth the revelation spot. Basically you can cast Mage Armor once per day. However, you are proficient with medium armor, and a mithril chain shirt is just as good in every way when you can afford it. By level 11-13, it's awesome, but before that it is kind of meh.

Guiding Star is situational but has great flavor. Moonlight Bridge is kind of tempting as well, I could imagine it being useful for a number of different circumstances, even at first level.

Piercing Spell is great, but:

(a) you can now buy a metamagic rod of piercing spell that works with Color Spray for 3,000 gp. The rod will stack with Spell Penetration

(b) the spell eats up a higher level slot

(c) Sorcerers aren't very good with metamagic. Changing a spontaneous spell to piercing spell makes the casting time a full round action. Considering how important positioning is for Color Spray, you might find the full round casting time to make the spell impossible to pull off most of the time. You also can't ready an action to cast Color Spray. You can't even handle a mount to get better positioning, as that will cost you your move action. You could eat up two consecutive standard actions to get better positioning and still cast it, but then you are giving enemies an opportunity to hit you and ruin your spell.

If you take Piercing Spell as a feat, I might recommend picking up a rod of Selective Spell. That way, you can hang out right behind your front line fighters and just cast color spray through them. That's something that would likely be easy to do with only a 5 foot step of movement.

Actually, if you need a cleric, you can make an excellent bard archer. A human bard (arcane duelist) can get point blank shot, arcane strike, and either precise shot or rapid shot at level 1. The arcane duelist isn't great at knowledge skills, but is a combat beast. Having a performance that negates fear effects is invaluable.

I play such a build with my PFS module character. By level 5, he was really strong, and at level 7, he's amazing. He switches to melee if there's a spellcaster around to use his disruptive feat.

There are some great domains out there.

Travel (Exploration subdomain) is good. See through doors and gain a bonus to your movement speed.

Persistance Inquisition gains you the Step Up feat.

Liberation and Luck are great old standbys.

Animal (Feather or Fur) are awesome and are probably the best for the money.

Plant (Growth) subdomain gains you enlarge person as a swift action.

Knowledge might be good, gains you a second chance to succeed on a knowledge check on an enemy. Especially if you are the only one with good knowledges.

Those are the ones that come to mind.

Oh if you had two more characters, I say keep what you have and add a cleric and a bard.

I think that's a pretty solid combo.

I kind of like the idea of playing something like a flame oracle for this. The temptation is to play a Winter Witch or something, but you just know everything is going to be immune to cold.

Someone should try to get Disable Device as a class skill. For an AP, try to have maxed out Perception, Diplomacy, and Knowledges (arcana, dungeoneering, local, planes, and religion especially).

I would recommend one of the three of you to get an animal companion. Animal Domain for Inquisitor, Sylvan Bloodline for Sorcerer, or the new Barbarian archetype in Animal Archive will work. Sorcerer can get Boon Companion at first level, while inquisitor waits until 5.

Actually, I think a Druid might be preferential over a Barbarian in this case, but I tend to favor spellcasters in general. Build a Druid like a Barbarian, but then you get two strong figures on the battlefield instead of one mindless brute.

My Heavens Oracle is actually mostly a sorcerer, with a dip of dual-cursed oracle. I think it's the best of all worlds.

Race: Gnome
Str: 6
Dex: 14
Con: 14
Int: 12
Wis: 7
Cha: 20
Traits: Tomb Raider (Perception), Reactionary
Level 1
Sorcerer (Wild-Blooded)
Sylvan Bloodline
Cheetah animal companion
Level 1 spells: Color Spray, Grease
Feat: Boon Companion
Level 2
Dual Curse Oracle (Heavens Mystery)
Curses: Legalistic and Blackened
Revelation: Awesome Display
Level 1 spells: Bless, Doom, Burning Hands, Cure Light Wounds
Level 3
Sorcerer 2
Feat: Extra Revelation (Misfortune)
Level 4
Sorcerer 3
Level 1 spells: Vanish, Entangle
Level 5
Sorcerer 4
Level 2 spell: Minor Image
Feat: Effortless Trickery
Level 6
Sorcerer 5
Level 1 spell: Liberating Command
Level 2 spell: Mirror Image
Level 7
Sorcerer 6
Level 3 spell: Loathsome Veil
Feat: Spell Penetration
Also, swap out your animal companion for a wolf or ankylosaurus, or something with a high strength score.

Key with this build: oracle spells are used to cast doom, two failed saves causes the target to be frightened for a minute.

Animal companion acts as a block and debuffer and can do some damage. At higher levels, take a Beast Shape spell to increase natural attacks and strength score even further. Mirror Image to make companion impossible to hit.

Color Spray will be your bread and butter at low levels. At higher levels, use Loathsome Veil, which can easily nauseate the entire battlefield for the entire battle. Then, go in and color spray them. Loathsome Veil is the big brother of color spray, but unfortunately Heavens Oracles don't get it. I would recommend taking a few levels of Pathfinder Savant at levels 8 and 9 in order to add it as a 4th level spell to your oracle spell list.

Wonderful thing is, if the target passes its save on color spray, you can immediately Misfortune the target so it has to reroll the save.

Use effortless trickery and silent image/minor image to create further obstacles or distractions on the battlefield. Try using your image to demoralize an enemy.

I like this build for flavor too. An illusionist gnome with a pet.

It says it creates the ammunition, and at that point the poison is part of the ammunition. And yes, the poison is a part of the ammunition. If it wasn't, you would have to do two attack rolls.

In PFS, the only legal magic item slot for an animal companion is the neck slot. This is the logic I go by, and in my opinion that slot should always be filled by an amulet of mighty fists.


Animal companions get their biggest jump in statistics at level 4 or 7, whenever they increase in size and gain their best late level characteristics. You really notice a huge uptic in power around those levels. You get a large concentration of hit points and feats early on, but once you hit level 9, you are then only stuck with your 3/4 level progression of a 3/4 BAB character.

Starting out with 2 HD at level one, gaining evasion at level 3, Devotion at level 6, a size increase at level 7, and multiattack at level 9 adds up to be a lot of bonuses. Around these levels, animal companions really feel like they are keeping up with a comparable full BAB class. However, after level 10, they just fall behind. You can't rely on an animal companion to be the main melee fighter in a party in the double digit levels, whereas that is pretty reasonable in earlier levels. If you use spells and magic items to buff up the companion, they could still be pretty comparable actually.

If you crafted your own arrow out of wood, metal, and feather and placed poison on it, why would the spell be able to recreate all those other components, but not the poison? If you painted the arrow red, would every arrow not then have red paint on it once you cast this spell?

It is of course something a GM could rule, but I see no reason why a poison arrow would not be able to be recreated with this spell according to the rules. I actually saw it from a player when I was a GM, and I thought it was pretty brilliant. I saw no reason why I should disallow it.

Animal companions can be incredibly overpowered around level 7-10. Once you hit level 11, they kind of max out and stop getting noticeable increases in stats. I just leveled up my animal companion from level 10 to 11, and realized that he doesn't get a single thing at that level. And the going is pretty slow after that as well.

Keeping an animal companion viable should be done with amulets of mighty fists and spells.

Druids with animal companions should cast Animal Growth and Bull's Strength.

Clerics with animal companions should cast Righteous Might and Divine Power.

Sorcerers with animal companions should cast Beast Shape III, Form of the Dragon, or any other similar spell that maxes out the companion's stats.

So yeah, the reason why companions suck at higher levels is that the Druid then has the resources to make up for it with buffs for the companion.

Oh and with Abundant Ammunition: it's a good spell, but not for saving a couple gold pieces worth of arrows. 200 arrows cost you 10 gold pieces. The weight is more a factor than the cost, and once you have a handy haversack, the weight is no longer a factor.

When to use Abundant Ammunition:

1) When you are using adamantine arrows

These are expensive enough that it will save you thousands of gold.

2) When you are using poison arrows

Have one dose of poison, apply it to one arrow. Put the arrow in your quiver, then cast abundant ammunition. If a 10th level bard does this with a metamagic rod of extend, he can get 20 minutes worth of constant poisoned arrows for the price of one dose of poison and one first level spell. If you have a way to use this in your build (or say a ranged based ninja in the party), this spell could easily be blue.

Fear is most useful when you are being attacked by a lot of enemies, and you want to separate the battle into two parts. Chances are, if they pass their save, they will still run back to fight the next round, giving you a round to buff or battlefield control, etc. Those that fail their save will probably come back to fight once the duration is over.

The description of Frightened says you run away until you are out of eyesight or earshot, so you don't have to escape the battle, just run around the corner. If you really want them to run away, you scream at them.

I think Blistering Invective is a wonderful spell. I was able to get a PFS Archaeologist bard up to +29 intimidate at level 5 (5 ranks, +2 trait, +3 charisma, +3 class skill, +4 for intimidating prowess rogue talent and 18 strength, +2 for heroism, +1 for ioun stone, +5 for special item from Masks of the Living God, +4 enlarge person), and I could easily demoralize the entire battlefield for 5 or more rounds. It has no save, and even spell resistance doesn't apply to that effect. Of course, the added fire damage doesn't hurt, and if they happen to be on fire afterward, they need to spend an action to put themselves out. It's a wonderful economy control spell and debuff all in one.

Demoralize is so great because it doesn't stack with itself, but it totally stacks with say, a casting of the spell Fear. Any effect the creates the shaken condition can stack with another effect that causes the shaken condition to create the frightened condition unless the spell or ability description specifically says it does not. The demoralize description says that if you use the demoralize option on the same target more than once, you only extend more rounds onto the length that that person is shaken. However, it says nothing in regards to stacking with a spell that causes a fear effect, and thus it does stack.

So a great strategy is to demoralize everyone on the first round, then on the second round cast "Fear", and even if they pass their save, everyone has to run away for a round and there's not a single thing they can do about it.

One really important thing I should note is that you have Silent Spell as a blue metamagic Feat, when it should be redder than red since in the description of the Feat it says that bards cannot benefit from Silent Spell metamagic. Silence is supposed to be a Bard's kryptonite. Well, that and the really sucky Fort save.

I would recommend throwing Dazing Spell in there instead, since Bards get Snapdragon Fireworks as a second level spell, so the bard could give up a move action each round to attempt to daze a target for two rounds. A pretty fine tradeoff at higher levels, I think. This is a good reason to take Spell Focus (Transmutation), as Slow is a huge spell that would also benefit from it. 14,000 gp for a Dazing rod isn't a bad idea.

Going Mystic Theurge is an awful idea if your primary goal is to cause damage. Your caster level is going to be -4 on both sides of things. You're not going to get Fireball until at the very earliest level 10, and then it's only going to do 6d6 of damage. Awful concept.

My best suggestion is to take the Heavens Mystery. The revelation "Awesome Display" is enough to help you survive through those awful early levels using Color Spray as a solid offensive spell. Maximize your Charisma and you could overpower pretty much any boss that isn't immune to mind affecting effects or has spell resistance.

Eventually, you'll be able to take "Loathsome Veil" as your first Sorcerer level 3 spell known, which is basically color spray part II. You'll nauseate most creatures instantly and forever.

Sorcerers and Oracles make terrible options for Prestige Classes. They technically shouldn't get their bloodline or mystery spells, while Clerics do get their domain spells and wizards gain their specialty school spells.

If you don't want to be a fighter of any sort, I would go for the blackened curse from Blood of Angels.

All of your weapon attack rolls are a -4 penalty.

However, you gain Burning Hands, Scorching Ray, Flaming Sphere, Wall of Fire, and Delayed Blast Fireball as extra spells known throughout your level progression. I am not a huge fan of most of the Heaven Oracle's spells aside from the insane use of Color Spray, so anything that happens to increase your spellcasting power is good.

I was going to do this with my Heavens Oracle

Gnome race
STR 6, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 12, WIS 8, CHA 20 (20 point buy)
1 level Dual-Curse Oracle with the Heavens mystery
Curses: Legalistic and Tongues
Revelations: Awesome Display, Misfortune (gotten through feat)

The rest of the levels in Sorcerer with the Sylvan bloodline to get an animal companion as a mount. Next feat, Boon Companion, to make myMount full leveled. Eventually, I would take Effortless Trickery. With this build, you can have a mount to ride around the battlefield, being able to cast spells with added metamagic as a full round action and still move. Additionally, if you cast Color Spray on something (a Sorcerer spell that can still take advantage of your Awesome Display revelation) and they fail their save, as a swift action, you can force them to reroll courtesy of the Misfortune revelation.

Of course, it goes without saying that you can take the Starsoul bloodline instead of Sylvan. Whatever works. Point being, I think a Sorcerer may be able to use the Awesome Display revelation more than a straight Oracle, if you can stand to lose one level of spellcasting.

By the way, double check with your GM if you can take Ability Focus as a player character. As far as I know, it's a monster feat, and one I certainly wouldn't allow in my games as a GM.

The sucky thing about witches is that your save DCs for hexes will never be great. Hexes are for the most part save-or-lose spells that will mostly lose, which means you have a good shot at doing nothing that round. Evil eye and Cackle is the only sure fire success. Get that first, then get misfortune.

You have until level 9 to get all of your hexes, so count up the number of hexes you need by that point, then see how many feats you have leftover in your build. The viable ones, IMO, are:

Evil Eye

Then ask yourself, which feats would be better than any single one of those? The answer will probably be not many. Accursed Hex, Toughness, Improved Familiar, Dazing Spell are some of the better options. I definitely wouldn't make room for a silly little bonus to skills like that when you have so many powerful hexes to choose from.

I personally really despised the Special. Since I was playing a LG-aligned character, the whole point of the scenario made me feel so disgusted that I couldn't even roleplay my character as being part of a society that would allow any of these things to happen, much less consciously be a part of it.

If the Pathfinder Society is not good aligned, why are evil people not allowed to be a part of it? If the Pathfinder Society is run like a thieves' guild, why would a Lawful Good character ever choose to have any association with it whatsoever?

It is simply NOT possible to roleplay certain character's ethical boundaries with this scenario. Simply playing it should infuse alignment penalties on any Good or Lawful character, IMO.

I absolutely despised it, and the only way I can have fun playing other Pathfinder Society scenarios is to completely block it from my memory, forgetting what the Society technically stands for, apparently.

I didn't make a stink about it while playing it, as I just kept my mouth shut and did my part to help out so I wouldn't hurt my team. But in reality, I hated all of these missions and didn't understand why my character would ever do anything here. If I was really RP-ing, my character would have left, and I would have left the special as well.

I'm building a Ranger/Alchemist, in the vein of Link from early Legend of Zelda games. I think it's a good fit, but I definitely want him to be as mechanically viable as possible.

He'll have the resources to fight up close, but will mainly be a bomber/archer. I was thinking to do full attacks with an arrow when making a full round action, and then using the Explosive Missile option when skirmishing and only having a standard action to attack.

Here is my build so far:

Elf Preservationist Alchemist 2 / Urban Ranger 2
STR 14, DEX 16, CON 12, INT 16, WIS 13, CHA 9
1 Net Proficiency (Spirit of the Waters)
1 Point Blank Shot
2 Throw Anything (Alchemist)
2 Extra Bombs (Alchemist-Society)
3 Precise Shot
3 Rapid Shot (Ranger)

I want to take all of the rest of the levels in Alchemist, with one extra level of Ranger at level 7 to qualify for Manyshot or Clustered Shot earlier, and also to gain Trapfinding.

The rest of the Discoveries and Feats I was planning on:

4 ?
5 ?
6 Explosive Missile
7 Manyshot
9 ?
9 Clustered Shot
11 Force Bomb
11 ?

The problem with the Alchemist is that it is endlessly buffable, so my first instinct is to just use extracts, wands and potions to buff up. I could use Alchemical Allocation to gain the benefits of a Heroism or Good Hope potion without using it, and I could eventually invest in a wand of Instant Enemy to make a boss into my Favored Enemy. However, I know I probably shouldn't spend more than a round or two buffing during combat, so I should look at picking Discoveries that can speed up that process.

I guess my main questions are:

1) Do I need "Precise Bombs"? If allies are near the target, I could shoot arrows, or I could take a Targeted Bomb Admixture if I really need to use a bomb. Or is Precise Bombs still necessary?

2) Is the Smoke Bomb / Stink Bomb combination the best early combination? As a wizard, I feel like players always despise the person that casts Fog Cloud or Stinking Cloud on the enemy, since they impede on visibility. Plus, I could see how their use could be somewhat situational. On the other hand, nauseating the enemy could give me a couple rounds to buff up, which would be pretty important...

3) Should I go for the "different element" pattern, kind of making my own Arcane Archer, if you will. I could get Frost Bomb, Acid Bomb, Concussive Bomb, etc. to choose a different element that will enhance my arrows using Explosive Missile.

4) Any other options I'm not considering? Should I save a spot for Dispelling Bomb, Tanglefoot Bomb, Fast Bombs, Blinding Bomb, Confusion Bomb, etc.?

So many options, but I can't tell what will be the best strategy in the long term. Any advice?

Originally, this was posted in the Pathfinder Society board, and then it was moved here by a mod. So, I think the question is whether a witch can take an Improved Familiar feat for Pathfinder Society, and if so, does that mean that the witch must kill his/her familiar (technically, the witch class says nothing about a familiar being dismissed, only what happens if it is lost or killed), and if so, does the witch lose his entire spellbook?

Thanks Mike! I'll let him know!

That is pretty cool, actually. I'll look forward to playing a scenario where the big bad guy is a Winter Witch (PrC), and maybe that will unlock the Prestige Class for my friend. In the meantime, I'll tell him he can put levels into the regular Winter Witch, hoping one day it will become unlocked, with a chronicle or boon if nothing else.

Still, it would be a weird class to unlock with a chronicle sheet, seeing as you kind of have to specifically choose to be a Winter Witch by level 1 in order to qualify for it.

I have a friend that was really excited about the flavor of the Winter Witch prestige class and already started making one using GM credits. However, I see that it is not included in the list of approved Prestige Classes from Paths of Prestige

When looking at the Winter Witch Prestige class, I'm really not seeing anything that would be overpowered for players. The witch loses new hexes in exchange for some light Oracle-level flavor abilities, like thawing and sculpting ice and snow, ignoring half of cold resistance, and seeing through blizzards. The winter witch gains one hex, "Ice Tomb", which is quite powerful but is currently legal for regular witches to take at level 10 (same level as the Winter Witch).

Now, all of the things the Winter Witch Prestige gains after level 13 are incredibly powerful, but seeing as this would be after retirement, I don't know why this would be an issue.

Is it really intentionally banned or have all the archetypes not been approved yet? Will other Prestige Classes from Paths of Prestige become available? I see that only 19 out of the 30 are currently approved.

My recommendation is to play a sorcerer and then roll random dice to figure out what spells he knows. Since sorcerers don't technically choose their spells, it would be fun to play that our as a player as well.

At first level, take mount instead of Summon Monster I. If you do get Spell Focus (Conjuration) and Augment Summoning at first level, you can make an extra tank on the battlefield in the form of a horse or pony. Augmented, a horse has 19 hit points and has two attacks that can each do 1d4+3 damage. Granted, they won't hit tremendously often, but he will at least get between you and the bad guys and can provide a flank and cover, and with two attacks, will at least hit with a bit of damage. Plus, it lasts for two hours, instead of one round, so you won't feel like you wasted a spell.

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boring7 wrote:
davidernst11 wrote:
John-Andre wrote:
davidernst11 wrote:
By the way, a wizard with 20 intelligence should have 5 spells: 1 base, 1 for primary school, 2 for intelligence bonus, and one from the bonded item.
As an aside: It's kind of funny how people just assume you'll be playing a minmaxed character. What if the OP wanted a wizard with, oh, I dunno, average strength? Decent CON? Or wanted a familiar, and not the bonded item? Or worse yet, wanted to play a universalist?

I was going by what the original poster used as an example (20 int, bonded item). I was saying that in that scenario, you get 5 spells instead of 4.

If you had decent strength, you wouldn't be asking a question about what to do, as you won't be much worse than a fighter at hitting with attacks.

And Universalist wizards? Pssh, who would play one of those? ;)

Me. Every school has something that is worth keeping unto very high levels of play.

Though admittedly, my last mage was an abjurationist and dropped illusion and enchantment.

And it's always important to remember what you can do without a spell. There are a lot of combat options, uses for skills, and the like to be used without magic, or with nothing but cantrips.

I once used detect magic to find a shapeshifter who was pulling a, "which one is the real one" dilemma with another character. Transmutation has a certain aroma to it, after all.

I never regret not going Universalist with any wizard.

Let's say you take Necromancy and Illusion as opposition schools. However, you want to prepare a casting of Enervation. Cool. You just use up two of your spell slots. That's ok, you are getting an extra spell slot anyway from your favored school. You can choose one spell from each level from one of your opposition schools and still be on par with a Universalist. If you really want to prepare multiple castings of Enervation, you probably should have decided to be a Necromancer.

I just think in the end, even if you cast one spell on each level of one of your opposition schools, you still have the same number of castings as a Universalist.

Falling prone does not give a penalty to reflex saves. You get a -4 penalty to melee AC and a +4 bonus to ranged AC. Nothing happens to your reflex save or dexterity.

An entangled creature who is fatigued, shaken, and sickened would suffer a -7 to their reflex saves. Try that route.

See, there you go though. This is from an FAQ, not the actual rulebooks. And if Inspire Courage, etc., can affect weapon-like spells like Spiritual Weapon, why would they not affect a weapon-like ability like weird words?

We have discussed all of these points with the player before, and he is able to defend it by using all of these other examples that work. By RAW, there is nothing about rays actually being weapons I the rulebooks. In FAQs, there is evidence that they are, but then again, so are other things that are not specifically mentioned in the books.

I just want a developer to officially give a word about this, so there is no question when I sit down with the player again.

And I would advise against Magical Tail.

The abilities would look like this:

Level 1: Disguise Self...use a wand
Level 3: Charm Person...cast it from your spell list at level 1
Level 5: Misdirection...cast it from your spell list at level 4
Level 7: Invisibility...cast it from your spell list at level 4
Level 9: Suggestion...cast it from your spell list at level 4
Level 11: Displacement...cast it from your spell list at level 7
Level 13: Confusion...cast it from your spell list at level 7
Level 15: Dominate Person...cast it from your spell list at level 10.

Basically, you are getting bard spells a few levels after when a bard already gets them, so for me this wouldn't be all that useful. It would be much better tI get a couple feats that would help in battle.

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