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Deriven Firelion wrote:

You could make a variety of wizards in PF1. One of those concepts was a blaster/damage dealer that was easily on par with martials. I built that character.

But that wizard in 1e was straight-up better than the martial cuz not only could they do as much damage, they were also the 'god wizard' and could switch their spell selection at will. How do I know? Cuz I also built that character. I matched the martials in my party with damage, and I had a ton of spells that could do other stuff. When you have the whole wizard spell list from 1e and did as much damage as a martial why play a martial? You can teleport, scry, create demiplanes, clone yourself, obviate skill challenges, AND do much as damage as them.

Also 2e illusionists are way better than their 1e counterparts due to the new illusion rules. Illusory object, a 1st lvl spell, can single-handedly win encounters, amongst the myriad of other phenomenal illusion spells. You're also forgetting you can play a battlefield control wizard that focuses on reshaping his environment.

Temperans wrote:
Devilbunny, you were talking about a damage spell I responded about the damage spell. Also I dont believe anyone has said they wanted Fireball vs a single target to deal as much damage as the Martial, where did that even come from? I didnt even say your experience was bad, just that more people needed to chime in, which Exocist did.

Sorry, I didn't mean to target you with that. It's just something that was mentioned earlier in the thread when there were complaints about damage.

Anyways I think APG is going to solve a lot of issues that people have. Animate Dead has been mentioned to be one of the spells in it, and said to work similarly to the existing summon spells. That means a 5th-lvl Animate Dead should let you summon a bone croupier which have a 1/day ability called Change of Luck where instead of rolling a d20 check, the target automatically fails the roll. Should make every spell with a saving throw much better.

Temperans wrote:

Well yes using the right spell vs the right enemy is the way to maximize in this edition. I am not denying that.

Just saying 1 good fight doesn't make a class feel better. Specially when the concept is something other than "Use Disintegrate".

But you can though. My example also had the lich being stuck in a Resilient Sphere. I could have also cast Wall of Stone and blocked off the minions forcing either the lich to try and get rid of it, effectively wasting a turn while my allies beat on it, or just deal with not having minions to assault us with so we can all then gang up on the lich anyways.

And those spells are just as useful in almost ANY encounter. And if they aren't? Good thing you've got the whole arcane spell list. Target's got a weak Will save? Drop a Confusion on them, no incapacitation trait, if they succeed they're still stunned 1 but if they fail they're now confused for a minute.

The great thing about wizard is if you know what you're facing ahead of time, you can tailor your spells specifically to screw something's day up. Because you're a prepared arcane caster.

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There's a lot of baggage and presumptions from 1e carrying over. Everyone can agree god wizards are not wanted in the new edition. But they treat wizards as if the same tactics from 1e work for 2e. The spells that auto-won 1e encounters now mostly have the incapacitation trait, so they're only useful for specific situations. And that's intentional game design. The best spells that are always useful are the ones lacking that trait. Take those if you want to be consistently able to contribute, and only take those incapacitation ones if you know what you're walking into. That's when they're at their most devastating.

You need to cast smart in 2e and spells will be hella useful. Don't lob a fireball against something you suspect has a high Reflex. Also don't lob a fireball against a single target and expect it do as much damage as the martial. That's a relic from 1e, and why wizards were broken. Cuz they were doing the martial's job just as well/better on top of being able to do other things.

People are also saying it's not fair that my examples have the weak save being targeted. Why? That's the whole point of playing a spellcaster, target the weak save.

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Temperans wrote:

1st, a lich itself is a level 12 enemy. So it was only 1 level higher.

2nd, Fort is their weak save at +17, compared to their high save of +23.
3rd, it sound like the GM sent a bunch of level-2 or level-4 creatures. In which case yeah your Chain lighting would deal a lot of damage.

I am not trying to dismiss your case because its clear you had fun. But its clear that the encounter was heavily in your favor, from the number of minions to the Lich being weak to fort saves.

My point is that we need more info. 1 case of a single encounter going perfectly doesn't help when everything else feel bad. Would you agree?

Isn't that the case with any class? A lot of people are arguing that wizards can't contribute effectively compared to other classes while I'm saying they can. Nobody complains about the fighter not being able to perform well in situational combat encounters like things that are incorporeal and invisible, or with flight, or fighting in the heart of a volcano. Yet the wizard, who has a whole spell list suited for not only specific combat situations like the aforementioned ones but generic ones as well, is ridiculed. If wizards were just as good as fighters at their job, why play a fighter when you can play someone with just as much dmg output as a fighter and teleportation, divination, summoning, etc.

Everyone just looks at the martial classes and go good proficiencies, BIG NUMBERS, feels good to play with new action economy. Which they are. They feel great to play after 1e. But people feel as if wizards suck cuz they got hit the hardest with the nerf bat because their primary schtick is spellcasting and magic isn't what it used to be and the wizard's numbers aren't up to par.

But that's on the surface. If you actually look at the game design, the numbers are extremely tight cuz Paizo has guys like Mark Seifter, who was doing AI research at MIT, balancing 2e. Spellcasters are behind by 2 points in spell attack rolls and DCs compared to martials hitting things (and only 1 point by the time they get legendary spellcasting) because not only can they target the weakest defense of their choice, they also have spells that fundamentally break reality. Martials can't buff effectively, provide new movement options, reshape the battlefield, etc.

If you give spellcasters similar scaling item bonuses, they would come out 2 points ahead of martials except fighters in both attacks rolls and DCs. And they can still target the weakest defense.

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

More theory-craft which doesn't emulate the experience in games. I would rather see damage tracked in a party over the course of an entire module to see where casters stand or even multiple boss fights against level +2 or +3 creatures. That is the data I want to see. Not theory-craft.

With martials using flanks, item bonuses, and caster buffing, they benefit far more than casters benefit.

In PF1 casters could attack some creature weak point like Touch AC or make someone flat-footed losing their dex, which balanced out lower attack rolls. Now they have lower attack rolls with nothing to balance it out. No item bonuses and no flanking. Just a lower attack roll with ACs of monsters much higher for two action attacks don't do much damage with a higher chance of failure in a round to relying on a single roll.

Not just theory-craft, I've actually played 2 high lvl wizards, one with spell substitution and one with spell blending, since Pathfinder 2e came out. If martials get caster buffing, then spellcasters should get the same benefit of the doubt. Flat-footed is easy to get from a myriad of spells and conditions (such as prone) at this lvl. Arcane casters are usually 2 points behind in spell attack rolls compared to martials but it's more than made up for with true strike. AND you can target your choice of defense as an arcane caster between AC, Fortitude, Reflex, and Will while martials can only hit AC.

My 11th lvl party consisted of my wizard, a maestro bard, a Giant instinct barbarian, and a Dex dual-wield fighter when we ran up against a lich and a bunch of undead minions. Lich was flying, and barbarian had terrible ranged options so he couldn't attack the lich and just focused down the undead horde while the fighter took pot shots with his bow at the lich. The bard buffed everyone, and kept them topped off. First round of combat, my wizard killed a quarter of the minions and severely injured the rest with a chain lightning and then trapped the flying lich in a quickened resilient sphere. The lich wasted his turn dispelling the sphere, so on my wizard's second round of combat he cast true strike and disintegrate. Bard's inspired heroics increased my spell attack to +22 and I got two attack rolls with true strike. Got a crit because of that so the lich's Fort save counted as one degree worse. My spell DC was 30, so the lich needed to roll a 13 or higher on his Fort save. Ended up rolling a 11, so he failed but since I crit on my attack roll cuz true strike and inspire heroics, he crit failed. Did 140 damage to the lich, and turned him into paste.

The rest of my party sat there stunned after that cuz I effectively dusted a lvl 13 encounter by myself with some assistance from the bard's buffs. And that's just one example from our campaign, if ya want more I can provide them.

Unicore wrote:

Also, it seems like people are lumping battlefield control in with either general debuffing, or else direct damage. That seems like a big mistake, especially because it is where the wizard shines the most (followed by maybe the animal Druid). Battlefield control is where wizards bend reality into the party’s favor, which is very much their thematic niche, and where the ability to prepare different spells every day, even if you are choosing them from the same school, is most useful. And it can’t be done with cantrips at all so it really is dependent upon having as many spells as possible and isn’t dependent on only your top spell levels.

“I find it difficult in play to have the wizard do what I want it to do most of the time,” is a very valid criticism of the wizard because being stuck with the wrong spells ruins your whole adventuring day. It has also been a valid criticism of wizards since forever. PF1/3.5 only ever got around this, at higher levels, by giving magic the ability to bend the math so heavily that you could force what you want magic to do onto every situation. I for one don’t want that coming back.

It's partially why I think they should have built Spell Substitution into the chassis of the class so that all wizards would have it.

I think the fiction kind of fits. The god callers of Sarkoris aren't too far from the vestige-bound binders of 3.5e. Mechanically I agree having a customizable pet and regular summons doesn't fit the image as well which is why I suggested that it would only work if they got rid of the summon spam.

Cozzymandias wrote:
"vagrant-poet wrote:
I like [drifter's gambit], but I was just about to post that the math doesn't really work, and it's incentive is in being hit by weak foes.

Agree that the math doesn't work, I had a brain fart when I was doing the probabilities. I'll take another look at it (unless I end up changing DG as below)

midnightoker wrote:

Woah, as far as I can tell you don't get an attack.

If you did get an attack after taking damage, and the success of that attack dictated the reduction of your damage, that might be worth exploring:

As I wrote it it doesn't give an attack, no. I actually do like the idea of Drifter's Gambit giving an attack now that you mention it though--I think that's probably more thematic than reducing the damage. I'd probably have to cut the damage reduction since it might be a little OP even without it (you'd most likely be getting a free attack every single round), but it's definitely worth playing with.

If you do go the route of making Drifter's Gambit give an attack, I suggest you may want to limit it based on the type of attack just for balance purposes. Like if gunslingers only get an attack when shot at by a physical ranged attack while ronins get an attack against a physical melee attack. Fits the fiction. Otherwise the gunslinger's reaction is gunna be a bit superior since they can perform it at range and in melee reach while ronins won't be able to react against ranged attacks. I guess ronins are going to get more reactions since they'll be at risk of being hit more often by virtue of being in melee. However, sometimes they won't be within reach of their target to retaliate such as when fighting a huge or gargantuan creature that acts first and strides up to them.

Regardless, skimmed through it real quick and love a lot of the changes. In the Nick of Time is an awesome feat, and I honestly hope we get more narrative feats in general from Paizo (they did say investigator will have some stuff like that). Definitely prefer Outlaw as the third path name over Mercenary since the vibe fits a lot better as well.

Gunna go to bed, but I'll take a look at some of the other changes later. Excellent second draft!

Thematically, summoners are actually quite reminiscent of binders from 3.5e. Make a deal with an entity that will serve you in exchange for something they want? If the eidolon does become the focus of the class and they decide to get rid of summoning minions, perhaps binder would be a more appropriate class name at that point especially if Paizo wants to roll spiritualist into it as well.

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Temperans wrote:

Edit: Erased the to hit comment due to ninjaed second post by devil bunny.

The point still stands that you are doing generally same or worse than martial, and clearly worse than Sorcerer.

P.S. At level 11 they are roughly equivalent right? Then at level 12 martials get Greater Striking and then become better than casters.

Flat-footed at high lvls is relatively easy for a caster to obtain as well. An illusionist is walking around with perma-invis from their focus spell. A spellcaster with good Dex (second most important stat after casting stat for them) and maxing their Stealth can start a fight concealed with the Avoid Notice exploration activity. Many spells apply conditions that impose flat-footed even on a successful saving throw and you can take Quickened Casting by then to cast multiple spells in one round. Only useful once a day, but most players will save it for the big fights anyways.

Attack buffs are just as easy to apply to casters as martials. Inspire courage/heroics/heroism does the same for your accuracy chances as it does the martial.

At 15th lvl, you get 8th lvl slots so you could true strike quicken disintegrate and power word stun all in one turn. Power word stun doesn't even allow a save, and at best they're still stunned 1. Polar ray also becomes another attack spell you can true strike with and they don't even get a save for the drained 2 condition either. I'm also confident Paizo will release more and more single target dmg spell options as content gets released.

And of course you can only do it a limited amount of times per day. If they could do it as much as martials AND still cast utility/buff/debuff/battlefield control spells, they would be broken.

I do admit there are levels where casters fall slightly behind in the math. They do tend to be behind the proficiency curve by 2 points for certain lvls considering most martials get master with weapons by 13 while casters get master with spellcasting at 15. Greater Striking only applies for lvl 12 since casters get 7th lvl slots at 13 so disintegrate would be doing an extra +2d10 dmg. +3 weapons are pretty big for martials at lvl 16 but that gap shrinks significantly once casters get legendary spellcasting at lvl 19.

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Here's some more math. One of the biggest complaints I'm seeing is spellcasters can't do diddly squat against boss-lvl threats. Let's take the above scenario with the 11th lvl spellcaster and the 11th lvl martial facing off against a 14th lvl boss. Now according to analysis done in another thread, the most common AC and Fort save numbers would fall under the high category for an AC of 36 and a +28 Fort. Most martials (except fighters) will have a +22 to hit with a 20 in Str/Dex and a +2 striking weapon. So their first attack roll needs a 14 to hit which is a 35% chance. Second attack roll would require a 19 without agile/flurry for a 10% to hit. Third attack roll isn't even worth bothering with, you're likely going to have a more useful action to take. Even the second attack roll is questionable, and it would be much more worthwhile to use a 2-action attack feat like Power Attack.

So assuming you attempt to strike twice, then the odds of hitting one of them as a non-fighter martial are 38%. For the thief racket rogue, it would probably be 39.5% since they're likely using an agile weapon for their second attack. Meanwhile the odds of a true strike disintegrate hitting against the same AC is 37.5% because the caster only has a +20 to their spell attack roll, requiring a 16 or higher on the die (no magic item bonus). Seems like everyone's in the same ballpark. The Fort save DC for the disintegrate will be 30, so the boss's average roll will succeed but not crit succeed. So the non-fighter martial if they land one attack is outputting 30 dmg for the barb and 27.5 dmg as a rogue while the arcane spellcaster is doing 33 dmg. The sorcerer with Dangerous Sorcery fares slightly better with 36 dmg. There's a 3.5% for the barb to land two attacks, a 5.25% for the rogue to land two attacks, and a 5% chance for the boss to crit fail his Fort save. Both the martials and casters have a 9.5% chance of critting with two attack rolls. While the arcane spellcaster is certainly competitive in terms of damage in this scenario, they would probably be more useful to the team if they were to debuff the enemy by targeting their weak save or buff their allies. Or even a battlefield control spell.

So what did we learn from this? Well, for one, I knew the math for 2e was tight but until the numbers were crunched I didn't realize exactly how tight they were. Still if ya wanna do just pure damage as an arcane caster, you're gunna be able to keep up with the martials.

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Temperans wrote:

You are saying a lv 11 Wizard spending 2 spells and 3 actions and if the target failed the fortitude check, gets to do more damage than a Rogue using 2 actions.

The lv 11 Wizard spending his full round and multiple resources is 23.6% stronger than a the worst martial at damage using 2 actions.

Let that sink in. Its not stronger than the Ranger, let alone the Barbarian or Fighter. Its stronger compared to the Rogue, which is built to sacrifice damage for an stupid amount of skill feats compared to everyone else.

Force damage is more valuable than the rogue's weapon damage, specifically once your character level goes into the teens. You're almost never going to run into something resistant or immune to it. Situations with creatures resistant to certain types of damage unless you have a specific precious metal or physical damage type is pretty common at these levels as you're often fighting either outsiders, fey, or undead (incorporeal, vampires, liches, etc.). Stuff like constructs are also immune to precision damage. Solo epic level threats like Treerazer, the Tarrasque, and elder wyrmwraiths all have massive weapon damage resistances. But no force resistance or immunity.

Rogues are only the worst martial when you account for defenses. Their damage is on par with rangers, barbarians, and fighters. You're making a baseless claim without looking at the facts. How would I know? Cuz I actually did some number crunching, and am running a game for a high lvl rogue on top of playing a game with a flurry ranger and a fighter.

11th lvl giant instinct barbarian with a +2 striking greatsword is hitting for 2d12+17 per hit for an average of 30 points of damage. Assuming they hit as often as the rogue was in the above scenario, they're doing 60 damage per swing. If they crit on their first attack and land their subsequent ones (roughly the same odds as the best outcome of true strike disintegrate), then that's a total of 120 dmg which is still less than the 132 dmg.

Let's assume we have a 11th fighter with a +2 striking greatsword who is landing all 3 of their attacks per round due to their high accuracy. Each attack is hitting for 2d12+8 which is 21 dmg on average. That's still only a total of 63 dmg. Most of their feats that grant them extra damage requires setup from the fighter so they'd have to sacrifice an action to Demoralize or another one to use Intimidating Strike or Knockdown so they can then benefit from Fearsome Brute or have a higher chance of hitting/critting a prone target. So then you're losing that third attack that landed dropping you down to 42 dmg plus whatever benefits you gained. If your combat routine had been Intimidating Strike->Shatter Defenses, then your dmg total is 45 with Fearsome Brute and master Intimidation. Next round, your average dmg on all your attacks with 2d12+11 would be 24, and if all three hit then it's a total of 72 dmg. Even if you crit on two of those attacks, that's still only 120 dmg.

So at just 11th lvl, the spellcaster is outpacing the dmg of these damage specced martials, or at worst on par, for 4-5 rounds contingent on how many 6th lvl slots you have. With no setup and 120 ft. range. They don't need to spend the first round of combat maneuvering into position or sacrificing actions to pop off abilities that boost their damage. And they still have almost all of their 5th, 4th, 3rd, and 2nd lvl slots. Need a Wall of Stone to cut off the enemy for a few rounds or a Cone of Cold to take out a bunch of targets at once? No problem, that's something they can do 4-5 times on top of their true strike disintegrates.

Realistically speaking, you're not going to go through all these spell slots without the party calling a rest. Sure the martial could go all day, but that's why they're the martial cuz it's the one big thing they've got going for them. If your caster were to be replaced by a martial, maybe the party might not need to ever rest but they're going to run into a hell of a lot of encounters where they wished they had a caster to take care of the flying invisible dragon, permanent side effects of failed saving throws like curses/death/petrification, or access to difficult regions to explore like another plane of existence. Not even mentioning the utility of dispel magic for stuff like dominated allies, buffed enemies, etc.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

This is just not true. Versus the vast majority of martials throughout most of the game, casters are better at area effect damage as well (indeed, the only build that comes close is a 16th level plus Barbarian with Whirlwind Attack and a reach weapon...and that version usually only on Giant Instinct), and they get utility spells which are a straight utility and non-combat advantage that's just superior to those of most non-Rogue martials as well (since everyone gets Skill Feats...they're behind some people in Perception, but spells make up for that). They're also, collectively, better at in-combat healing and flatly better at condition removal.

Now, that last one doesn't apply to Wizards, and you can argue that other Classes are better than Wizard at all the others if you like, but casters collectively are pretty obviously better than martials in several spheres that are not just 'buffing and debuffing'.

AoE damage is pretty good as long as the monsters are spread out right, don't have immunity, don't succeed at their save, your allies aren't in the area of effect, and are you starting to see why this is rare? I have been able to use Phantasmal Calamity to maximum effect one time. When I did, it was great. Most of the time it is hard to set up for maximum effect.

The vast majority of damage is done by the martials. The best thing you can do is buff them and let them do their thing.

The best buffs you can give the martials to do their job is fly and haste if not a bard. I spend most of my spell slots casting haste and fly.

Except spellcasters can definitely equal martials in damage by the time you hit 11th level if you build them right. Arcane spellcasters and crossblood evolution sorcerers have access to true strike disintegrate at that level. A thief racket rogue of the same level with Precise Debilitation and a +2 striking rapier does 5d6+7 per hit for an average of 27.5 dmg. The disintegrate does 66 damage on average, assuming failure on the Fortitude save (which is very likely considering the spell is also true striked) or 72 if you have Dangerous Sorcery. Assume the rogue lands two attacks, with their third one probably missing or his final action being spent needing to get into position. The rogue is doing a total of 55 dmg for the round.

Now assume the rogue crits one of his attacks, but the wizard's target gets a crit success on his spell attack roll and the target fails their Fort save (pretty good odds with true strike, at worst even with the rogue's odds to crit). The rogue now has done a total of 82.5 dmg while the wizard has done a total of 132 dmg. Even if the rogue lands his third attack that would only bring his total up to 110 dmg. If you're playing a specialist wizard with spell blending, you can do that 6 times a day by 12th lvl. If you're playing a crossblood sorc, you can do that 4 times a day by 12th lvl but with Dangerous Sorcery you're hitting for 72 dmg on average and 144 dmg on a crit.

And that's just ONE trick in the arcane spellcaster's bag of breaking reality. With their spell list, they could also have 4th-lvl invisibility and flight up when they need it along with whatever assorted buffs they would like such as blur, mirror image, stoneskin, etc.

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People are seriously underrating the value of spell substitution. I played a mid to high-level campaign that revolved around being in Sigil and plane hopping, and I regularly had to swap out spells because I had no idea what we would be going up against. We were investigating a lead in the city, so naturally, my spells were prepped for information gathering, reconaissance and interrogation. Our lead suggested that the Elemental Plane of Water should be our next stop, for which we were not prepared for, but a little spell swapping later and we were good to go.

Another time, we thought we were going to catch the BBEG unaware and ambush them so my loadout was mostly combat spells. But apparently the BBEG was tipped off to our plans right before we had arrived and had absconded to the Abyss. Instead of giving them time to treatise with their demonic allies and gather reinforcements as they consolidate their power base, we decided to give chase and plane shift there. The cleric couldn't swap out his spells because he had prepped for a fight, but since I had spell substitution it took only 10 minutes before I could cast the necessary spell.

What makes wizard unique is the breadth of the arcane spell list, and being able to substitute spells on a daily basis if not quicker with spell substitution. Easy access to spells that target all the saving throws - Occult is too focused on Will saves, Primal is mostly Reflex saves, and Divine combat spells are generally limited by alignment or specific creatures. You can switch from information gathering to combat to exploration and survival of harsh environments to covert infiltration quite easily. Which is why they are not a weak class. Fighters can't do that, they will only ever excel at beating things down with a stick, that is their whole schtick.

Are they boring? Yeah. Wizard feats are useful but aren't fun. School powers feel underwhelming and do not nearly add enough to justify calling you a specialist in a school when you often aren't better than like a sorcerer with those same spells.

But is the wizard class weak? Nope.

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SuperBidi wrote:

As a side note, Sorcerers can have familiars, too.

Henro wrote:
I think universalist bond offers a pretty interesting prepared/spontaneous hybrid playstyle. I don’t think it’s a subpar option at all.
A Universalist casts spells from a choice of 3 spells per level. An Arcane Sorcerer casts spell from a choice of 4 spells plus signature spells. And he is fully spontaneous and not hybrid. I hardly think there's any mechanical reason to play a Universalist over a Sorcerer.

Uhhhh, yeah there is. That universalist wizard can prepare situational utility spells that the arcane sorcerer doesn't have. Underwater temple? Let me just swap my normal loadout for that. Arcane sorcerer can't do that. Spell substitution gives even more flexibility since they effectively have access to their whole spellbook with only ten minutes of prep time. If you find yourself suddenly needing to be on the Elemental Plane of Fire when you thought you were fighting undead, it's minimal effort on the wizard's part.

This is a pretty great first draft! Lots of good ideas here that seem to capture the essence of the class. Quite evocative which I think is really important to nailing the theme of the class. Mechanically, I don't think I can touch on much that others haven't already brought up, but it's worth mentioning that I do agree that Warrior-Poet shouldn't just grant a straight skill increase. Not only do I find it dull from a player's POV to spend a valuable class feat on becoming expert with some skills, but I think the general design philosophy of class feats is to open up new options instead of just making existing options numerically superior. Something like this may work, but feel free to rephrase it or not even us it, just throwing out ideas:

You possess inner tranquility garnered from contemplation and self-reflection. You gain access to Obtain Clarity of Mind as an exploration activity.

Obtain Clarity of Mind
Concentrate Exploration
You spend 10 minutes engaging in an expressive endeavor like calligraphy or philosophical debate, obtaining an empty state of mind where you are not occupied by thought or emotion. Make an appropriate Lore or Society check against a hard DC of your level.
Critical Success: Same as success, but you retain the benefits until you rest.
Success: You may choose to roll with the skill used for this activity for your next initiative check, and you gain a +2 circumstance to initiative if you choose to do so. In addition, you may perform the Defend exploration activity without meeting the prerequisites for Raise a Shield while you have this initiative bonus. These benefits are lost if an hour passes without an initiative check.
Failure: You may not Obtain Clarity of Mind again until an hour has elapsed or you have rolled for initiative, whichever comes to pass first.
Critical Failure: You are troubled by your thoughts, and may not Obtain Clarity of Mind again until you rest.

You may want to limit it to the ronin path due to its heavy inspiration from the concept of mushin, but that's up to you.

As for higher level feat ideas, perhaps something like a higher level of the Whirlwind Strike feat called Paint With Blood for the ronin path that you lets you move in between each attack. If you wanted to, you could also restrict it by limiting the max movement to their Stride speed, or do something more spell-like such as an emanation equal to their Stride speed.

Also really appreciated the Note on Film and Appropriation section.

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Wizard feats are kinda bland I will admit, but the class is far superior to its 1e iteration where it could break the game. If wizards were just as good at combat as martials (or better as they were in 1e), what's the point of playing a martial? If you could achieve what a fighter can do in combat without being a fighter, what's the point in the fighter class? You can no longer solo entire encounters with one spell, and that's a GOOD THING.

Your spells are most effective when working with your team, and putting them in positions to win fights. Due to the new math of the system, every +1 matters since it not only increases your chance to hit by 5% but also crit by 5% effectively a 10% swing in changing the odds of a dice roll. Every small debuff and buff counts. So yes, spells like fear, which may feel underwhelming to cast, provide a huge bonus. Assume a party of four of let's say the standard 4 adventurers - fighter, rogue, cleric, wizard. That one fear spell you cast is going to probably affect two of the fighter's attack rolls, two of the rogue's attack rolls, a cleric spell and maybe a cleric attack roll as well as EVERY single one of the targeted enemy's rolls. Same with other battlefield control spells like grease which causes enemies to become prone which inflicts flat-footed (which is a 10% increase in a failure becoming a success and a 10% increase in a success becoming a crit).

And on top of that, you're a WIZARD. You can literally remold reality. You contribute by simply existing, and giving the rest of your non-spellcasting companions options they wouldn't have. Need to traverse across a ravine? No problem cast fly. Can a fighter do that? Nope. Need to explore an underwater temple, and worried about both breathing and how cold it will be down there? Endure Elements and Water Breathing. Can a fighter do that? Nope. Need to dispel the enemy's flight spell so your allies can reach him? On it. Can a fighter do that? Nope. Need to teleport across the world (or another plane) to stop the BBEG from activating the doomsday device? Easy. Can a fighter do that? Nope.

So why do you need to be as good as the fighter at his only schtick? You still have combat utility. Wall of Stone or Wall of Force can trivialize fights by separating them into two encounters practically, isolating the most dangerous target or splitting off enemies from supporting each other like, let's say a group of archers pelting arrows down at you and providing ranged support for their allies. 4th-lvl invisibility on a rogue is like giving them steroids and watching them start a blood-soaked rampage across the battlefield.

Whatever, the point being a wizard has options. Plus the arcane spell list is still really good and super flexible. Only list with reliable access to all 3 saves on top of spell attack rolls. You can also still carry a team if they're built to support you. Have a bard with dirge of doom in your party? Multiclass into rogue and pick up Dread Striker. Then cast true strike disintegrate at the enemy. Frightened 1 and flat-footed from Dirge+Dread Striker gives them a -3 TO THEIR AC. And you still have true strike! The chances of you critting are insane. Their Fort save is then also made at a -1 penalty from being frightened.

Really, the only thing that has changed since 1e is that you can no longer solo carry entire encounters by yourself. And that's the point. Pathfinder 2e is a team game where EVERYONE gets to shine. Not just the wizard. You enable your allies, and the teams wins as a whole or your allies enable you, letting you shine, and the team wins as a whole.

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I love the concept of a drifter-like class. Strong thematic concept not covered by the existing martials with room for interesting design space. Covers the whole wandering, lone wolf warrior (usually specialized with a specific weapon) thing very well that gets depicted often in media. Usually follows a personal code of honor.

Mysterious stranger with a steely-eyed gaze, lightning reflexes, and smoking hot steel barrels by his hip.

The vagabond sword saint, masterless and dishonored, wandering in search of a higher calling (or coin), with nothing at their side but flashing steel, a wide-brimmed straw hat, and worn sandals.

A multilingual, plane-hopping bounty hunter with a colorful tongue, a penchant for trouble, and a relentless drive; takes contracts from outsiders for high-value targets. Perhaps has a lethally modded chopper. Think DC's Lobo fused with like an inevitable.

Whatever you want to call a wizard, they've existed far longer in our collective history/myths/legends. Whether it be as a magician, a sorcerer, an enchanter, a mage. People know what it is and what it entails. The story of Merlin goes way further back than the invention of the 'wizard' class in D&D. Modern media like Harry Potter gives people an idea of what a wizard is when they hear the name and what they can do. If it had been named magician, people would still know what the class would entail in a fantasy game. If you google kineticist on the internet, you get "someone who studies kinetics", "a specialist in kinetics", and "a person who works in kinetic art". You might be able to infer that perhaps it involves elemental manipulation after you looked it up. But it's not intuitive. As other posters above us have mentioned, they had players that all had radically different ideas of what a kineticist class would do.

And if Paizo is willing to rename paladin to champion (a core class that has existed faaar longer than kineticist), I don't see why kineticist would be exempt if they believe there's something more fitting.

Y'all think psychic will get the occult list? Also, I would love something like the binder from 3.5e to make a resurgence. Very unique class. Seconding warlord as well. Martial support is definitely a category that hasn't been touched.

Most importantly I would like classes that offered unique mechanical play. Otherwise, I don't see why it can't be just rolled into an already existing class. Or be an archetype. A distinct enough theme is also very important. A lot of the classes from 1e offer nothing unique from a thematic standpoint that isn't already covered by another class and does not push the envelope far enough mechanically to deserve its own class either unless it was reworked from the ground up like the new swashbuckler. The hybrid classes were especially guilty of this.

As pointed out above, arcanists are basically wizards that studied the experimentation of magic itself. Exploits definitely seem like something that would fit the wizard tool kit easily. Skalds are just battle bards, and it looks like we're getting warrior muse bards soon too. Hunters? Nothing really separates it as a concept besides an animal companion focus and spellcasting, but ranger is going to have both of those once APG releases. Speaking of which the new ranger is built from the slayer chassis from 1e already. Shifter is just a more martial wild shape druid. Probably fits better as an archetype.

Of the 1e hybrid classes, only shaman, bloodrager, and brawler felt unique to play. And really only the shaman feels like it deserves its own class based on how much territory the concept covers that existing classes can't fulfill.

Honestly, I'm really looking forward to the first new class. Paizo has mentioned that it is something they'd be interested in working on once enough 1e content has been updated.

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Temperans wrote:

A lot of the connotation of names have to do with the knowledge people have of it.

For example: If no one knew about Spider-Man and you were to ask random people what they thought it was, I bet most wouldn't think its a teen/college student that swings around from webs in a spandex suit and has a side job as a photographer.

Similarly, a person that has little knowledge of "-kinesis" as a term will not realize how much meaning the name "Kineticist" has.

That's the other issue though. A lot of new players, especially first time players, aren't going to recognize what a kineticist is or does based on name alone and might just breeze over it. Spider-Man on the other hand is a multibillion franchise so you're way less likely to run into someone who doesn't know your friendly neighborhood spider. Actually I don't think I've ever met a person in my life who doesn't know who Spider-Man is. Same with classes like wizard or rogue - instant recognition cuz you have a frame of reference.

Kineticist? Hell, all my players played Pathfinder 1e for years, and only one person could tell you what that class is or does besides me because of a lack of interest in the occult classes. Whenever I bring up playing a kineticist, I get asked what it does again.

As mentioned before, I really like Antiquarian as an Occultist substitute if the class was to be renamed.

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Temperans wrote:

Elementalist does not quite convey what Kineticists are about.

A Kineticist does a lot more than just control the elements, which is usually limited to: Fire, Water, Air, Earth. A Kineticist works with planar energy.

So while an elementalist stops at manipulating the 4 elemental planes.

A Kineticist is manipulating, the Positive, Negative, Ethereal, and First World (Wood). There is even an archetype that basically implies they can control radiation.

Like elementalism, nothing about the word kinetics suggests the manipulation of planar energy. It's the mechanism by which a physical or chemical change is effected. Which makes sense if we're just talking about manipulation of the classical elements. Or from a scientific standpoint. But I think it's valid that control over metaphysical quantities also exists a bit outside of its scope/purview.

PossibleCabbage wrote:

But if telekinesis is a thing that's fine in the diagesis, what would you call someone who just does lots and lots of telekinesis?

And if Telekinesis is fine, why isn't Pyrokinesis, Aerokinesis, Geokinesis, etc.? What grouping term would you use for all these [Foo]kinesis users

It's fine from the context of a spell that is meant for players and the GM to wrap their heads around. It's a unified term so that out of game everyone can recognize it as what it is. I doubt within the world of the game, everyone calls it fireball just due to the nature of simultaneous invention and lack of mass global communication. Probably hundreds of wizards from varying cultures have 'invented' their own fireball in their respective regions forever ago and call it each by a different name. It's why in older editions of D&D you have spells called like Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion. A more ubiquitous spell would likely have multiple people claim it, so fireball is just an easy name to reference a spell some wizards call Exploding Pyreflame or Miniaturized Forbidden Sun depending on where you are.

So who knows? There may be no single spell within Golarion called Telekinetic Projectile, but there are quite a few that have the exact function despite different names. To make that not a nightmare for people who play this game, we are given the umbrella term for the spell - Telekinetic Projectile.

And wizards love naming things especially if they believe they're the ones responsible for it. It's just the academic nature of their field and need to be recognized for their accomplishments, a trait many of them share. Look at a wizard's thesis - they have very particular names that are long-winded despite most wizards all having the same arcane thesis like spell blending or metamagical experimentation. Within the world, they're each instead given names like Principia Arcana or On the Methods of Spell Interpolation and the Genesis of a New Understanding of the Building Blocks of Magic.

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Salamileg wrote:
Since the game already has three spells with the word "kinetic" in the game (the three Telekinetic spells)and they don't feel out of place the name Kineticist is fine.

Spell name design is a little different than class name design. Spells are supposed to be plain and descriptive so they're easy to remember and reference. Fireball is a rather pedestrian name, and easy to visualize what it does. Same with something like Telekinetic Projectile. If fireball had been named like Infernal Flowering Crimson of Death or whatever, obviously it's a cooler name but it wouldn't parse its function simplistically. And I'd assume we were probably playing a wuxia game instead. Class names should be more evocative and distilled with flavor - brimming with ideas. At the very least so that new players can have something to work with as a source of inspiration, and have an idea of what the class does.

The design team recently mentioned on stream during PaizoCon that it took them to the last second to settle on Desecrator for the new NE Champion, and they went back and forth on a lot of names because they wanted something that would fit the essence of the cause. Lyz Liddell also mentioned how much more important names and naming in general was to the game design team than she thought it was, something she was unaware of until she transitioned from her old role to her current role. It rings especially true since they renamed the Paladin class to Champion since they believed it was more fitting, and the Paladin class has much older roots than Kineticist.

Decimus Drake wrote:
I wonder if those who dislike the "modern" sound of kineticist are a suffering from some form of the Tiffany problem?

I do agree here, which is the issue - connotation. While Tiffany may have been common in classical Greece, if you ask most people it would still sound too "modern" despite having a much longer history. Perception skews it in a certain direction, and I don't think I've ever introduced a new player to the Pathfinder class roster and they were immediately piqued by kineticist despite how awesome the class is both in concept and design.

There's a distinct lack of some je ne sais quoi quality that the name does not possess, regardless of its etymology. I literally asked my girlfriend and her friends (none of whom play tabletop RPGs) right now which classes they would be interested in playing, if they were to play a game, from a list of the core classes and the occult classes from 1e. Kineticist ranked near the bottom in interest, and when I asked why, I was told they didn't know what that was in the scope of a fantasy context. I explained it as, "Think benders from Avatar," and immediately that sold a lot of them on the class with quite a few saying that might be the first thing they tried if they played (perhaps due to Avatar streaming on Netflix right now).

Temperans wrote:

When you said Psyker the first thing that came into my mind was the Psychovore style feats from PF1. Where you punch people in such a way that they get confused, lose 1 point of Int and Wis, and you gain temp HP.

Also anything related to the Psychic class.

As for "tech being in a limited area". That is a matter of how much the DM emphises it. But they are spread throughout the setting. The Cyphergate in Riddlepoint, Light of Varisia in Sandpoint, any ruin of Thassilon. Guns and cannons all over the Shackles with its Pirate theme.

Everything is very much dependent on how much the GM knows, and how much they ant to emphasize it.

Magnimar skyline that looks like more than then just fantasy to me.

You do raise a valid point regarding tech, but I would argue that Golarion standard guns and cannons like the ones in the Shackles are pretty normal for a late medieval/early Renaissance period. Which is why they don't really qualify as sci-fi to me. Rail guns on the other hand?

Also weren't most of the monuments of ancient Thassilon created by magic/slave labor? I'm running Runelords right now, and that was the impression I was given. Karzoug and the other runelords mostly had enslaved rune giants build the wonders and ruins leftover from that time period like the Irespan in Magnimar.

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Gorbacz wrote:

So your real problem is that Kineticists aren't confined to Numeria and poison your pristine medieval fantasy with a sci-fi taint.

In that case, I have some bad news.

Absolutely not my problem. The idea of kineticists does belong in a fantasy game. And all over Golarion as well.

Also not a big fan of Shaper or Bender as well as they're pretty reminiscent of Avatar, and, besides that, are quite bland. Would prefer Kineticist still over those two despite the aforementioned sci-fi connations.

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I'm well aware that gatling guns and lasers exist, what with Numeria, the entirety of Iron Gods, and the Technology Guide from 1e, but it's somewhat localized to a specific region and is certainly not common. You don't see nobles in Brevoy blasting each other with laser pistols nor are there cybernetically augmented individuals running rampant in Varisia. Most of Golarion has little to no sci-fi elements. Your average campaign will not run into that. If there were, this would be like Starfinder or Shadowrun instead. Nor do you see classes with the name Space Marine, Tech-Priest, and Psyker. Kineticist doesn't stand out from a lineup like that. Cleric, Druid, Bard? Maybe, a little bit.

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My players and I were just talking about this. We love everything about the design space of the class and the role it fulfills, but we agreed that the name didn't strike us as particularly fantasy. I guess, technically, science fiction does encompass science fantasy but that's a whole can of worms I don't want to get into.

However, what can I say is that most of my group grew up reading Tolkien, and later on George R.R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Robert E. Howard, Brent Weeks, Ursula K. Le Guin, Patrick Rothfuss, etc. As a reference point, we're mostly in our early 20's if that matters. Now obviously, Golarion isn't predicated heavily on any of these fantasy authors' works, but the heart of the matter is that none of us feel, in our gut, that kineticist is a particularly suitable name. It simply doesn't resonate as fantasy nor does it seem particularly evocative.

If anything, the first thing I think of is kinetics and, subsequently, physics. While that may accurately describe the broad range of a kineticist's abilities from a scientific standpoint, it doesn't feel like a fantasy class. If anything, the name conveys just a catch-all word for what the class's role is and nothing else. Like yes, I can manipulate an element, but what does that mean thematically for my character? How is that tied into the setting? Unlike most classes, there's little to no consistent media to use as a frame of reference when you think kineticist (besides elemental mages in various forms of fiction that differ from source to source and benders from Avatar but the latter is tied heavily to the setting).

Wizard? You think of a mighty and powerful wielder of the arcane arts who has spent years and years of study unlocking the secrets of reality. Gandalf, Dumbledore, Merlin, Prospero, Sparrowhawk, Harry Dresden, etc. Gunslinger? Conjures forth a deadeye gun fiend with smoking barrels and a propensity for dishing out high octane violence, all the while gritting their teeth. Roland Deschain, Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, the Man with No Name, etc. Rogue? Endless amount of concepts that leap to mind - thief with a heart of gold, the assassin with a rigid code of honor, the ruthless gang enforcer, scheming mastermind who weaves webs of lies.

Kineticist? Hmm, something about manipulating elements. Maybe middle school science where you first encounter the concept of kinetic energy. Conceptually, nothing strikes me besides Avatar. There's no inherent cool character archetype that stands out, and that I can build off of roleplaying-wise. Sure, that hypothetically gives me the freedom to play whatever and then justify it, but it doesn't give me inspiration for a character concept.

It doesn't need to be an already existing concept or name even. Look at D&D 4e's avenger. While you can argue over the merits of the name, it certainly sounds badass and fitting for a divine assassin sent to hunt down the enemies of their god. That's an idea you can play with right off the bat. Now I will admit 4e did also have some bland names. Like seeker. Way too generic, and it's kind of a stretch to relate to their primal power source. If I told a new player they could play seeker, they would probably just stare at me and blink.

On a slightly different tangent, I would like kineticists to be tied into Golarion lore more or a better explanation of what differentiates them from being mistaken as just another spellcaster but more specialized. To your average layperson, sure a sorcerer, a wizard, and a witch may seem the same, but there is a narrative difference. Sorcerers are born with power stemming from their unusual bloodline or an event occurred that significantly altered them like being born on the Day of the Reckoning of Abraxas where the sun was swallowed for a bit and residual energy leaked in from the Outer Planes. Wizards obtained magic through rote memory and a significant amount of studying which gives them a very academic approach to magic. Witches struck a pact, knowingly or unknowingly, with a being of immense power.

Kineticist seemed like they had a really cool class idea with strong mechanics to back it up, but no real thematic reason to exist. And a bit of a strange name for the genre.

About to run the Xanesha fight next session, and just wanted some clarification on how to use suggestion in 2e in combat due to the new wording, specifically this part, "You suggest a course of action to the target, which must be phrased in such a way as to seem like a logical course of action to the target and can't be self-destructive or obviously against the target's self-interest."

The latter portion of that statement seems to suggest that you can't ask the character to drop their weapon or take a hike back down the stairs in the clock tower you're fighting atop of due to the inherent conflict with the target's own self-interest of fighting beside their companions and keeping them safe (unless perhaps they're like evil or something, and motivated by selfishness). Even asking someone to close their eyes would run counter to their self-interest due to how much more likely you'll be hurt by not being able to see.

Any ideas?

Swordsages from 3.5e's Tome of Battle would definitely pique my interest. They're physical adepts who have mastered the Sublime Way. Basically, blade wizards. Not sure how they would replicate a discipline's maneuvers since they're closer to focus spells in design, but obviously that wouldn't be very viable given the limited focus pool.

So, I've finally gotten around to running my first AP (Kingmaker to be precise), and I was just wondering how often everyone around here has been TPK'd in an AP [oh, and specifically which one(s)]? I'm currently going to run it for six players with 20-point buy using the 6-player conversion rules for Kingmaker posted on this forum, and I became curious of which APs (if any)were notorious for TPKs.

For Bernie, Clustered Shots would be a good feat to take against the golem.

Yeah, rogues are really gimped when it comes to options and versatility. Honestly, it seems like you did the best you could given the circumstances, and you did easily navigate the last two encounters. I'll be quite interested to see how the cavalier fares.

sunbeam wrote:

What is this fixation with "team?"

There have been a couple of entries that soloed the whole thing. Well one almost did them all. If she had been more diligent about scouring the druid spell list, and found some spell with the right features, and did the usual spell perfection/focus/persistent things, she probably could have one shotted the dragon.

I won't guarantee such a spell exists, but as the number of splatbooks rise, the probability approaches 1. And a spell that one shots dragons is probably useful in a lot of situations (flesh to stone, suffocate, etc). Heck Dazing alone would probably do it. Metamagic rods probably are good enough that she could get by without feats, except focus feats (realized spell perfection is level 15 or so).

But as regards a "team," if the individual members are capable of doing it solo, what other optimization do you need?

And what kind of team would be more powerful, what kind of teamwork are we talking about, that is better than a team composed of individuals that take powerful classes?

The builds I've seen are hardly useless in a great number of situations, it's not like they are useless for anything but these challenges.

If I were to take a stab at this again with Serena against the magma dragon, I would have her buffed up with invisibility, strong jaw, protection from energy against fire, stoneskin, thorn body, air walk, and displacement as a behemoth hippo. She would spend her surprise round closing in on the dragon since the magma has blindsense to 60 ft. Assuming the dragon wins initiative which is likely, it would likely choose to breathe fire because it doesn't know about the protection spell or full attack. The protection from energy against fire would make its breath attack useless, but if it chose to full attack using Power Attack that's 37 damage after applying stoneskin (blindsense doesn't negate Serena's 50% miss chance from invisibility). However, the dragon would take 37 points of damage on average from thorn body with the three natural attacks it managed to hit, dropping it to 158 hp.

Serena's +16 Will allows her only a 20% chance of failing against frightful presence. Now on her turn, she would attack using Vital Strike, giving her a 45% chance to hit. Assuming she misses, her invisibility breaks and the dragon full attacks her with Power Attack. She takes 37 points of damage again because of displacement (by the way, I'm assuming dragon always hits her if it can get passed the displacement since her AC is terrible). Dragon's hp drops to 121 hp from thorn body. Let's say Serena manages to hit her Vital Strike and Furious Finish on her turn, that would instantly kill the dragon. If the dragon had spent earlier rounds casting dispel magic (only 50% chance of getting rid of Serena's stoneskin) or breathing fire, I think she would have this fight won more quickly.

EDIT: I would give Serena a 55-60% chance of winning against the dragon in straight up combat (if she has time to buff) which obviously isn't ideal, but more than what most PCs can accomplish.

andreww wrote:
Encounter #3: Air walk, displacement, shift into behemoth hippo, and cast strong jaw. Then move straight at the patrolling erinyes and bite it with Vital Strike and Furious Finish while raging. Stupid true-seeing makes it hard to sneak around. Maybe get hit twice or three times, dropping Serena down to around 70ish hp, if the devils react first. Once the erinyes is dead, finish off the rest of the bearded devils and move on after healing with a wand of cure light wounds.

There is one problem with this part of things. True Seeing has a range of 120'. The Behemoth Hippos has a speed of 50'. All of your preparations are cast out of charge range. You get one attack against her given your reach following which she greater teleports to alert Godric. She then returns to the skies and engages you at range. She may alternate rounds shooting and teleporting or spam Fear at you until you get a 1. She certainly isn't going to stand there and take vital strike bites to the face. Similarly the bearded devils will be spamming at will scorching rays at you while keeping at range with teleport. To be fair their range is much more limited due to scorching ray being a close spell. With Godric alerted you can also expect him to be adding more summons. 1d3+2 Babau casting at will dispel magic needing a 13 to strip off a buff will remove a lot of your benefits.

Now obviously there are ways you can deal with these but this one is not a foregone conclusion.

Despite the fact Serena only gets one attack off against her, that's all she needs since even without Vital Strike and Furious Finish, she can use grab as a behemoth hippo. Her CMB is +7 from BAB, +11 from strength while raging and wild shaped, +2 from Huge size, and +4 from having grab for a total of +24 against the erinyes' CMD 25 for being flat-footed (Serena can charge 120 ft. because of fast movement from barb and hippo speed, so still allowing her to cover the distance). Once the erinyes is grabbed, she might as well be dead. A protection from energy against fire should render the scorching rays useless while Serena takes out the bearded devils or use summon nature's ally to do so. Alternatively, she could probably sneak around the devils as a thrush or bat while invisible if possible. Plus, Godric can't summon babaus right? They're demons first of all, so Asmodeus would probably object, but throwing that away it's a chaotic spell and Godric is LE so he can't cast it.

Atarlost wrote:

No sane GM will let that slide. Maybe you can have the miss chance, but there's a region of increased light wandering around. Kill the stupid invisible wizard that carries a torch. He's at the center of the glow so he's trivial to pinpoint.

You're not an invisible wizard, but an extraordinarily sneaky rogue with a flaming stick is still going to stick out like a flaming stick in an unlit dungeon. You're just more likely to be house ruled against because your flaming stick is hidden-but-still-illuminating because of nonmagical shenanigans rather than magical illusions.

Plus, the demonic mohrg can just cast darkness on the light source and then the rogue can't see again. And to get sneak attack off it, he needs to be within 30 ft. in which case the mohrg just casts blasphemy which is a 40 ft. burst centered on itself. With a CL 18, he will paralyze, weaken, and daze the rogue if he fails his saving throw. The rogue's +3 Fortitude gives him only a 15% chance of saving. Even if he saves, he is still paralyzed for 1 round in which case he can't stealth and the mohrg will see him. Then he's still screwed.

The succubus in the first encounter also has greater teleport and ethereal jaunt available since she isn't bound anymore, and can easily avoid the rogue's attacks. She can also use detect thoughts to pinpoint his location.

Mordo the Spaz - Forum Troll wrote:
Encounter four. Why people visit fancy ball? Queen chambers have window. Approach from outside, flying and silenced. Break window. Cast at golem from outside building.

Because parties are more fun to attend than crash ;D

Sindalla wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
I like how your human rogue solves the maze by stumbling through the dark and still manages to function when they can't see anything. ;)
You're right, add a torch to my equipment... Sadly enough, I can still Hide in Plain Sight with one out.

Besides, doesn't your Hide in Plain Sight only work in urban terrains? Which includes none of these encounters...with the exception of #4

andreww wrote:
I am honestly not looking too see if they can blow past them or solo them. I am looking to see how they contribute as part of a team, one probably rather less optimised than the Limburger,

I know. It's just interesting to see how versatile some classes are compared to others. You'd have to heavily optimize a character to be able to get past these encounters solo which you won't see from most PCs.

These encounters would be so hard to accomplish with a fighter or rogue. You'd have to invest a lot into magical consumables and pick up Use Magic Device. Even then, it seems dubious that they could blow through most of these encounters.

Yeah, the barbarian level isn't exactly desirable, but it's really the only way to get rage. Although, the bonus to movement speed is also very nice since I can't charge and Vital Strike. As for breaking down the door, andreww's idea is probably the best way to go about it although I didn't think of it at the time. I was debating purchasing a chime of resounding silence for Serena, but that was 10k and she would have to ditch the wands and the potion of acute senses. Her biggest weakness is her extremely low AC and how easy she is to hit although as you can see I tried to mitigate that with displacement, tankiness, and ungodly stealth to get the drop on her enemies before they can react.

EDIT: Shadow Druid made this build complete by making her quite versatile. Being able to cast invisibility and displacement as a druid is a godsend.

andreww wrote:
My only real issue with the whole Obscuring Mist thing is that it is centered on you. If it follows you as you move then it is fairly obvious where you are (although I am not entirely sure it does).

Fog cloud doesn't. It spreads from a point you designate.

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Okay, my turn to have a shot with this *cracks knuckles*
The only PFS rule that she breaks is that her alignment is evil, so she could pick up the Shadow Druid feat.

Serena Wyreth, female human druid 9 (menhir savant)/barbarian 1; NE Medium humanoid (human)
Traits: Indomitable Faith (+1 to Will), Strong Willed (+2 against charms and compulsions)
Initiative: +1; Senses: none; Perception +18

AC: 11, touch 11, flat-footed 10 (+1 Dex)
HP: 92 (1d12+9d8+40); Fort +13, Ref +6, Will +16; +2 against charms and compulsions, +4 against spell-like and supernatural abilities of the fey
Defensive Abilities: resist nature’s lure, resist electricity 10; Immune: poison

Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
Special Attacks: walk the lines 5/day, place magic 8/day, wild shape 3/day, rage
Druid Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th, concentration +15): At will- spirit sense; lightning arc 8/day
Druid Spells Prepared (CL 9th; concentration +15; 4/7/6/5/4/3)

Str 22, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 20, Cha 7
Base Atk +7; CMB +13; CMD 24
Feats: Vital Strike, Furious Finish, Natural Spell, Shadow Druid, Iron Will, Improved Iron Will
Skills: Climb +19, Fly +14, Knowledge (nature) +13, Stealth +11; Languages: Common, Druidic
SQ: nature bond (Air Domain), venom immunity, fast movement, electricity resistance
Equipment: headband of inspired wisdom +2 (4k), belt of physical might +4 (40k), amulet of mighty fists +1 (4k), cloak of resistance +2 (4k), 2 wands of cure light wounds, potion of acute senses, around 8k left

Encounter #1: Serena will have the area scouted out ahead of time with spells like call animal, charm animal, commune with birds, and speak with animals. Once she knows what she's up against, she casts barkskin, which givers her +4 AC, air walk from her bonus domain spell, and protection from energy against fire. She then proceeds to wild shape into a thrush and casts invisibility which is granted to her via the Shadow Druid feat. Serena then flits through the air casting Spirit Sense to make sure there isn't anything she's unprepared for, and surprise! She finds a disguised succubus (yes, I may be metagaming this a bit, but it's fair to say that someone cautious would use it whenever there's danger)! With +11 base Stealth, +12 from now diminutive size, +3 from increase to Dexterity from wild shape, and +20 from invisibility, I guarantee she won't be spotted (for those who are too lazy to add that's a +46 Stealth).

Next, she proceeds to fly down, right next to the succubus while casting displacement and strong jaw on herself while still in the air. On the subsequent turn, she continues following the succubus as a thrush before wild shaping into a behemoth hippo. Her Stealth is now +11, -10 from being a hippo, and +40 from invisibility while not moving. She then breaks invisibility during the surprise round, rages, and uses Vital Strike. Her attack modifier as a behemoth hippo is +7 BAB, +11 from strength of 32 because of rage and wild shape into a Huge creature, -2 from Huge, and +1 from the amulet of mighty fists for a total of +17. The succubus is also flat-footed giving her an AC of 17 and Serena gains another +2 from to attack from invisibility. Auto-hit if Serena doesn't roll a 1.

Damage dealt is on average 72 from 16d8 bite attack from strong jaw and Vital Strike,+16 from strength, and a +1 from amulet for a total of 89 points of damage. With a DR of 10 from the succubus, that drops her hp down to 4. Serena's bite attack also gives her a free grab with a +20 from CMB (+13 base, +5 from being a Huge creature and the bonus strength, and a +2 from strength increase due to rage) against the succubus's CMD 22. Basically the succubus is grappled, and has close tono chance to break free from Serena's CMD of 29. While the fire giant and its minions start streaking over, maybe even getting a couple attacks off if they're close enough (missing half the time from displacement), Serena breaks the succubus in half with another successful grapple check and then flies into the air from her earlier cast air walk (yes, flying behemoth hippos).

The fire giant may be able to hit her again, but she has 112 hp from rage and hasn't taken too much damage so far. She continues air walking up until she's right above the fire giant and then uses her 15 ft. reach to attack with a Vital Strike and Furious Finish. Serena has a 70% chance to hit an AC 24. Assuming she does, that's 146 points of damage. Bye-bye fire giant. The rest of the minions are mopped up as she shifts into a thrush again and summons a large air elemental. The poor hell hounds and cave trolls still haven't evolved to use a ranged attack. While the elemental uses whirlwind, Serena casts call lightning storm with each bolt dealing 5d10 or 27 points of damage on average, 13 with a successful Reflex DC 20 (normally it's 3d10, but whirlwind simulates stormy conditions).

Conclusion: She basically had to blast through and go full nova, but it was enough to take care of the succubus, fire giant, and minions.
Encounter #2: To traverse the dark tunnels of the necropolis, Serena will take the form of a bat and easily reach the demonic mohrg (locating it with Spirit Sense) without fighting any of the zombies due to her +26 Stealth (this time without invisibility). Plus bats don't exactly look threatening to zombies even if she is spotted while breaking cover.

Okay, time for the fight. (UN)HOLY CRAP!!! HOW IN THE WORLD CAN A CR 12 DEMONIC MOHRG SUMMON A CR 13 GLABREZU?! Now, that's just unfair! And Serena doesn't even have the option of silence like Limburger...Okay, deep breath. Serena, still in bat form, casts strong jaw, displacement, invisibility, and echolocation before actually entering the area with the mohrg. The mohrg has a +22 Perception, but that's not good enough against the stealth of the invisible bat flies straight up to it. Serena then shifts into a behemoth hippo, and her Stealth is now +40 from not moving while invisible, +11 base stealth, -8 from Huge, and, -2 from Dex loss when changing into a Huge creature for a total of +41 Stealth. Then she breaks invisibility for her Vital Strike attack during the surprise round which is +19 while raging and invisible against a flat-footed AC 19.

It hits, and she deals an average of 90 damage, reducing the mohrg from 171 to 81. The mohrg has a higher initiative, and is likely to react first during the first round of combat. However, most of it's spells are useless against another evil creature and summoning the glabrezu requires a round in which case Serena will use Vital Strike and Furious Finish to deal 146 points of damage and kill it. The only option left is to attack and pray it hits with a paralyzing tongue. However, Serena has displacement active making it only 50% chance that the attack will hit. If it does hit, she has 55% chance of saving against the paralysis and then proceeding to kill the mohrg the next turn because of her +15 Fortitude. The possession ability that kicks in when the mohrg is dead is a DC 23 Will against Serena's +16. 70% chance that Serena saves successfully.

Conclusion: Much harder than the first encounter and required a lot more thought despite wasting less resources. Mainly it was trying to avoid the glabrezu from being summoned.
Encounter #3: Air walk, displacement, shift into behemoth hippo, and cast strong jaw. Then move straight at the patrolling erinyes and bite it with Vital Strike and Furious Finish while raging. Stupid true-seeing makes it hard to sneak around. Maybe get hit twice or three times, dropping Serena down to around 70ish hp, if the devils react first. Once the erinyes is dead, finish off the rest of the bearded devils and move on after healing with a wand of cure light wounds.

Change into a thrush and cast both invisibility and strong jaw before dropping in on the cleric. Silently flit her way through the shadows with a +46 Stealth against the +20 Perception of the infernal priest. Not gunna cut it, pal. Change into behemoth hippo. Surprise round is Serena using Vital Strike and Furious Finish to kill off the cleric while raging, with a +19 attack against AC 26 for being flat-footed. The rest of the zombies are one-shotted with an average of 87 points of damage being dealt a turn even without rage.

Conclusion: Pretty simple and easy overall. Erinyes gave the most trouble, and even then it was only because of true-seeing.
Encounter #4: Inspired by Crosswind's idea of the obscuring mist, Serena casts fog cloud in the middle of the party before shifting into a bat. While the party guests are confused and distracted, the Avoral Agathions and guards will not be able to spot the spellcaster because of the fog which limits their vision to 5 ft. Serena then navigates her way via blindsense to the queen's chambers. Then shifts into a behemoth hippo, casts strong jaw, and slams the door down, triggering the trap. Her +15 Fortitude gives her only a 20% chance of failing the save against the baleful polymorph. She then turns invisible before attacking the stone golem, one-hitting it with Furious Finish and Vital Strike while raging. Consuming the potion of acute senses, her Perception is now +38. Easily finds the hidden panel and triggers another trap with a 20% chance of failing it once again. Retrieves info, smashes a window, and change into a thrush. Flies out and uses walk the lines to help escape as soon as it isn't dimension locked anymore.

Conclusion: Hmmm, not exactly subtle, but it worked.
Encounter #5: Ahh, this is a freaking mature adult magma dragon. No way in hell Serena will kill this thing. AC is too high, SR is too high, saves are too high, it's got dispel magic, and on top of that it's 4 AM in the morning now.

Haha, whoops my bad. I totally derped out on the Cloak of Charisma thing, and my mind instantly reverted to back to 3.5 for some reason. As for wizards crushing these encounters, I also agree with you on that. But, like you said, smashing is sooooooooooo much more entertaining.

Crosswind wrote:

Very impressive. However, Cloaks of Charisma and Cloaks of Resistance occupy the same slot, so they don't stack. Also since no crafting is available, you can't change the it into, for example, a ring of resistance or something. That's really only a minor quibble though. I doubt getting rid of one of those items would change any of the encounters significantly. Really, the only encounter that poses a true challenge to the synthesist summoner is the magma dragon.

EDIT: Oh, you might also have trouble with the Avoral Agathions in Encounter 4. They have true seeing and see invisibility with a +23 Perception, so you'll definitely be spotted and the alarm will be rung. Things could get pretty tricky from there.

EDIT 2: I'll try my hand at this next with a druid. I doubt she'll have as much success as the summoner though. I'm also wondering now about how a martial character would fare against these encounters given the lack of access to spells.

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Hmm, fighters do have somethings going for them though such as really awesome, but specialized builds. One of my current characters is a lore warden fighter that uses a whip, and has whirlwind attack, improved trip, lunge, and just finished the whip mastery feat tree at level 8. So as a full-round action he can trip everything within 20 ft. Definitely helped last session when I tripped five stone giants in one turn. I doubt a ranger could pull that off with all of the feats required.

Alexandros Satorum wrote:

Take your time. I have to work on my theses today and tomorrow I have to grade exams, so I will not have the encoutner until thursday or friday.

Make then whatever level you want. DO you want hte fight CR +4 or CR +5?

Also, do nt post your characters here, As I want to create a generic BBEG not just one that attack your party weakness.

Also, My goal is to create a challenging and fun encounter. If your party get crush in the way so be it, but that is not the primary goal.

Okay, the extra time should help. Hmm, I'll take the CR + 4 encounter, and I'll post the characters when you're ready. They won't be as optimized as andreww's were, but I still intend to trick them out without cheesing.

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