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Organized Play Member. 71 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists.


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Personally, I LOVE that cocky grin of his. Kinda says, "yeah, I can take you". Or in his case, "what you gonna do? kill me? yeah..been there, done that, got better, try again"

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I just want to say I am loving these short stories, new rules or not. Keep them coming, James. In the meantime, I'll start looking for other things you've written ;-)

Mathmuse wrote:

The results look clean and clear.

FEAR Spell 1
Emotion, Enchantment, Fear, Mental
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 30 feet; Targets one creature
Duration by frightened magnitude
Saving Throw Will (S frightened 1 CS unaffected F frightened 2 CF frightened 3 and fleeing for 1 round)
You plant fear in the target. It becomes frightened and possibly fleeing with magnitude based on its Will save.

Evocation, Fire
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst
Saving Throw Reflex (S half damage CS unaffected F full damage CF double damage)
A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage. Creatures in the area take a multiple of that damage based on their Reflex saves.
Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

The keyword "basic" is not necessary and would only add to the jargon to memorize.

YES YES YES!!! Best idea yet; simple, easy to read, and keeps the word count minimized. All you need is a simple paragraph at the beginning of the Spells section to identify the abbreviations (S, CS, F CF)

Oh, and my game had only three players with me as the GM; human bard, human paladin, and half-elf cleric. The bard loved using inspire courage and telekinetic projectile in combo, the paladin made good use of shield block and retributive strike, and the cleric liked using his whip to trip foes, then smack them down, but he absolutely HATED the three action use of heal ONLY healing/inflicting damage equal to his ability score modifier, which was 2 points in his case. Did we misread the damage part of the three-action ability?

"You disperse positive energy in a 30-foot aura. This has the same effect as the two-action version, but it targets all living and undead creatures in the burst and reduces the amount of healing or damage to your spellcasting ability modifier."

First of all, this is very awkward wording since he says it has the same effect as the previous step, but t hen it changes the damage; the player found this wording very confusing and we argued about how much damage it meant. Second, wouldn't it make more sense if the damage at least increased by the level of the caster?

Also, does spell level no longer apply to saving throws against spells? I would think a higher level spell would still be harder to save against than a low level one.

A little question about the Advanced Alchemy ability for alchemist: It says he can spend 1 Resonance point to create a batch of items with the infused trait, but can he choose NOT to spend that point to create items without them being infused? Or it is mandatory for him to spend the point and they must be infused?

To me, this makes a slight difference since if he doesn't need to infuse it at the time of creation, then I would expect the item to last indefinitely since it becomes a "normal" spend-the-Resonance-when-used item, right?

As for his bombs, I would think using a Spell Pool would make more sense than burning up Resonance for them, but again, it would still limit the number of bombs he could throw since Spell Pools are limited and there are no additional feats to grant more points for different bombs since they all fall under the same alchemical items list. I think it might be better to give him an ability to make a flat check when he uses his ability for Quick Alchemy to avoid spending Resonance instead of waiting until he runs out, and just increase the DC by 1 or 2 each time. If he fails, he burns the Resonance; on a critical fail, he uses double the Resonance, which is more likely to happen when he pushes his luck. Just a thought.

And speaking of Spell Pools, can anyone explain to me why the Cleric's Spell Pool and Channel are dependent on his Charisma when every other class that gets a Spell Pool has it dependent on their key ability (except Paladin, who also uses Charisma)?

Bardarok wrote:
Personally I am excited about this. I think it will work a lot better for many character types than traditional multi classing did. It's a shame that you can't do a total career change though, that might be worth adding in as an option in addition to the archetypes.

What Jason said: "If these archetypes work, you can expect to see one for each class in the final version of the game"

So yeah, if the playtest is a go on these, there WILL be one for every class, not just the four mentioned in the blog

EDIT: My bad is someone else already said this; by the time I read these things, the pages are already flooded with responses and I just can't keep up :-(

Yachiru5490 wrote:
Okay, reading through this blog, there are some questions that I have... (etc., etc., etc.)

Just wanted to say, these are some AWESOME questions!!

Mark Seifter wrote:
Ikos wrote:

I will say, without knowing exactly how big ranged increments are or how much penalty they impose in 2e, TWF (or at least, agile weapons) seem like the go to with the 2e ranger. Going down to -0/-3/-6, and eventually -0/-2/-4 with iterative attacks seems quite powerful, especially if you can get some form of haste, such that you have a greater chance of making use of that third attack.


Yeah, but level 17 for the next reduction? I don't know, but to me that seems like an awfully long wait, especially when the average party only plays to level 16 if doing an adventure path.

I do like the idea of spontaneous casting for combat purposes, and for the hunter is makes sense to know a small selection of buff and healing spells that she can cast on the fly to aid her animal companion. I do not think she really needs access to heavy-hitter spells like flame strike and ice storm; the concept of the hunter is a tag-team with the companion, not "wipe the enemy out before we engage them" tactics. If the concern is having to battle multiple foes at once, then I would suggest better defensive spells to protect both hunter and companion, and feast that allow attacks to target multiple foes like Rapid Shot, Multishot, Cleave, Great Cleave, and so on. I do NOT think the hunter should have spontaneous Summon Nature's Ally unless you want her to be a broken class. I personally think that was one of the issues with the Summoner: he should have had spontaneous Summon Monster instead of the SLA, even if it meant limiting him to SM6, but at least in HIS case he doesn't have the combat prowess the hunter does. As it is, the hunter should be focused on working with her companion, not summoning in more forces. One concern is if the companion dies, the hunter loses half her abilities. I've previously suggested some sort of Lay Hands of Life Channel ability the hunter can use on her companion. Might I also suggest a type of Breath of Life akin to the Channeled Revival feat that works off this healing ability? Just a thought.

Weslocke wrote:

I have been playtesting a ranged hunter build this evening. That is why I took so long to respond. The ranged hunter (7th) in the test had no problem at all handling APL+2 encounters solo with much less effort than one would expect. It could quite easily achieve an opening attack total of +16 before activating its Deadly aim and Rapid Shot feats when working in concert with its animal companion. With deadly aim and str bonuses it could deal d8+d6+10 dmg per shot with its Composite (+4) Flaming Longbow +1. I will post on my experience in the playtest forum tomorrow.

It is more than capable as is. In fact, my playtesters are of the opinion that this class is already too capable.

Again I ask, could you present your build as you playtested it for reference purposes, please? I am having a hard time trying to figure out how a level 7 hunter with a BAB of +5 can get a +16 attack bonus BEFORE applying Deadly Aim and Rapid Shot. Likewise, I only see d8 (arrow) + d6 (fire) +9 (Str +4, Deadly Aim +4, bow +1) to damage, so where's the extra +1 coming from? Not criticizing, mind you; I just want to see what the build looks like to better understand why you feel the class is already "too capable", as it seems the majority of posters, myself included, have found it to be a pretty weak combatant.

Kryzbyn wrote:

I believe SKR said that this class is more of a beastlord than a hunter.

Don't get so hung up on the name.

I don't know, but I still feel if they're going to make this a beastlord or beastmaster class, then they really should consider giving her the ability to share senses with her companion a la Beastmaster.

Weslocke wrote:

My concerns are that our melee based hunter used in the playtest repeatedly stole the show before this revision. Now my player who was interested in the class feels that it is simply too good.

I would honestly like to know how the hunter was able to steal the show, no sarcasm implied. I would like to see what classes you were using, and what was the hunter's build like. In our own playtest, I ran a hunter with a wolf companion, level 6 group, and took teamwork and other feats meant to take advantage of the wolf's Trip ability. With only a 3/4 BAB, the -4 firing into melee penalty hurt my bow use, and although I had a +9 attack with a bastard sword (half-elf with ancestral arms, Str 18, +1 sword), I still missed more than half the time if I used my Combat Expertise feat unless I managed to get flanking with my wolf (most enemy ACs were between 15 and 20, which is not unusual for CR 6 combatants). The party duelist hit mush more often and was a more effective combatant, and the party shaman was easily a more effective caster. Plus, my wolf took a heavy beating every time and I blew off most of a wand of cure light wounds in just two sessions trying to keep him alive.

Honestly, I could definitely see why some people would prefer to make the hunter a spontaneous caster; if I hadn't bought the wand, I would have had to use all my spell slots for cure spells to heal my companion. Yes, you can argue that if it dies, I can try to summon a new one after 24 hours, or that having the druid spell list means I can gain access to Reincarnate (at level 10!), but I would really prefer to keep it alive since NOT having the companion actually cripples this class. Heck, even the summoner has something to fall back on if he can't use his eidolon. Without his companion, the hunter becomes a druid with only half the effective skill level. Being able to wield martial weapons and wear metal armor doesn't really make up for that, sorry.

Weslocke wrote:
My players and I are now of the opinion that this class gets too much.

Compared to what, exactly?

Weslocke wrote:
Metal armor access, all martial weapons, druid spells to sixth level, free teamwork feats, plunder the rangers spell list, free precise shot, rangers tracking and woodland stride, and all coupled with the best animal companion in the game?

Currently, the hunter does NOT have access to any ranger spells, only druid, and honestly, the only reason I can see for having the druid spell list is to give the hunter access to level 5 and 6 spells. Since the class is designed to be a combat team melee class, the ranger spell list is much more suitable, not that it matters much as the hunter will probably have to fill out her slots with mostly cure spells anyways since there is STILL no effective way for her to heal her companion otherwise.

Keep in mind the "free precise strike" ONLY works in tandem with the hunter's animal companion; she does not get to apply it against any other ally, which prompts her to still take Precise Strike to avoid the -4 penalty to fire into melee when her other allies are there, and in turn makes the Precise Companion feature redundant. Yes, Sean, I see what you guys are trying for, but let's be honest, unless the hunter is the ONLY melee PC (and that would be a strain to put the 3/4 BAB combatant as the only melee PC in the group), you will ALWAYS have allies rushing into melee after the first or second shot and still end up needing Precise Shot. Better to give a bonus combat style feat and let the hunter take Precise Shot IF she plans to go the route of the archer.

As for the teamwork feats, I, for one, would much rather have a limited combat style feature like the ranger and maybe gain a combat style feat at level 4, 10, and 16, instead of gaining a teamwork feat every three levels. Yes, I do like having access to the teamwork feats as they are the theme of the class, but I would be just as happy to gain them every 4 levels instead of every 3 and have access to combat styles in the interim.

Weslocke wrote:
Playtesting will tell, but my player who was playtesting a Hunter has now lost all interest in it.

Any why would that be when so little change has actually been done to this class? Does he find it weak? Or does he honestly think it to be too strong? And with comparison to what? Just saying he's lost interest in playing doesn't help the devs with the rebuild; tell them what the reasons are so they have something to work with before they release the final product.

Oh, and regarding animal focus: Yay for the minutes per level update, which I'm sure is meant to be non-consecutive, one-minute intervals, but for the people espousing that a "permanent +2 to Strength" for the animal companion makes this update so much better, let me point out that any "permanent" bonus still doesn't mean much if the companion dies in the first round of combat. I would still much rather have a Lay Hands or Life Channel ability usable only on the animal companion X times per day.

Craft Cheese wrote:

Templates that change the creature type (like celestial and fiendish) don't cause the creature's BAB, HD, and saves to change unless the template specifies otherwise. They're really only changed in type to gain associated immunities and for the purposes of interacting with effects.

As for BAB, the Eidolon does effectively have 3/4 BAB: It's got "full BAB" but doesn't get a new hit die each time the summoner levels. Making it have 3/4 BAB means it'd effectively have 9/16 BAB.

Yeah, I'm aware of all this; I'm just trying to find a way to make the class more playable even though I'm pretty sure my GM will never allow the class in his game no matter how much I try to "fix" the things he (and apparently others, from what he reads on the boards) has the most issue with. I'm just concerned the Hunter might go the way of the Summoner regarding the companion as compared to the eidolon and then we get another "unplayable" class. Here's hoping the play tests for the Hunter can make a more-balanced class, and then maybe, just maybe, someone can go back and fix the Summoner using the Hunter as a guideline.

Having played the druid/ranger dual-class sloooowww progression, I really look forward to seeing the final results of the Hunter and hope it will be acceptable to my GM...but then again, he has issues with companion creatures and summonings in general, so it probably won't.

Craft Cheese wrote:

I disagree: There are archetypes for the Summoner that weaken (or even give up) the Eidolon in exchange for improving the Summon Monster ability.

The consensus on these archetypes, more or less, is that they're bad deals. The "problem" with the Summoner is in the Eidolon, and IMO it's not actually a problem; It just does what melee/skill monkey classes should be able to do, but can't.

Yeah, my GM keeps bringing up the Eidolon as the broken aspect of the class and that's why he won't allow the class in his game. Myself, I have a couple house rules, such as the Eidolon does NOT get a full BAB (well, NEARLY full, that is), but uses the Summoner's 3/4 BAB. I seriously think it SHOULD be using the animal companion's BAB, but I think the eidolon was meant to be more combative and that's why it has a stronger BAB. The other problem with the eidolon is the d10 Hit Dice it gets as opposed to the Animal Companion's d8 because it's an "outsider", but technically so are summoned animals and they don't get d10 HD, just a template tacked on to the base stats ("celestial" or "fiendish").

This brings us back to the Hunter's animal companion: Would giving it a d10 HD as opposed to a d8 HD, as if some sort of "advanced" version of the base animal, make it too powerful? From what I'm reading, the general consensus seems to be to make the Hunter's companion more like the Summoner's eidolon, and yet those are some of the arguments as to why the Summoner's eidolon is too strong compared to standard PCs. The overall idea is for the companion to aid the Hunter as a constant ally, not take the Hunter's place in the battlefield like the eidolon (currently) does with the Summoner. I would suggest that if you want to make the Hunter's companion more combat-effective than a druid's, then either improve the Hit Die or improve the BAB, but not both. My preference would be increased HD; it doesn't really need to hit harder as much as it needs to survive longer.

Oh, and in case anyone wonders, yes, I have been recently play testing the hunter as is with a wolf as my animal companion.

Build: Caleb, Half-Elf Hunter 6, NG Medium humanoid (elf, human)
Str 18, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +4; CMB +8 (+10 trip); CMD 21 (23 vs. trip)
Skills Climb +10, Handle Animal +5, Heal +7, Intimidate +4, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +6, Knowledge (geography) +6, Knowledge (nature) +6, Perception +13, Spellcraft +5, Stealth +11, Survival +11 (+14 to track), Swim +10
Feats: Combat Expertise, Coordinated Maneuvers, Improved Trip, Quick Draw, Tandem Trip
Traits: forlorn, reactionary; Alternate Racial Trait: Ancestral Arms (bastard sword)
Gear: Wand of CLW; +2 Ironwood Chain shirt, +1 Keen Bastard sword, Composite longbow (Str +4), Ring of protection +1
Hunter Spells (usually) Prepared:
2nd —bull's strength, barkskin x2, lockjaw
1st —aspect o/t falcon, longstrider, magic fang x2, speak w/animals
0 —guidance, know direction, stabilize, purify food/drink, create water

Animal Companion:
Whisper, Male Wolf, N Medium animal
Str 15, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +4; CMB +6; CMD 19 (23 vs. trip)
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Improved Natural Attack (bite), Power Attack
Tricks: Attack, Defend, Down, Fetch, Heel, Hunting, Other: Flank, Seek, Stay, Track
Skills: Acrobatics +7 (+15 jump), Perception +7, Stealth +7, Survival +2

Our fist couple fights involved water-based encounters, so I didn't get to use my animal companion as effectively as I would have liked, and that sort of hurt my hunter as most of his feats were geared towards fighting in tandem with the wolf. Our third encounter was land-based, but I made the mistake of thinking Combat Maneuvers needed flanking and sacrificed the +2 to the wolf's Trip ability in favor of gaining us both a +2 to attack. Wasn't so bad, but I rolled horribly for my own attacks and while the wolf DID hit twice, I misread Tandem Trip and didn't realize the wolf gets TWO chances to trip whether I'm attempting to trip or not just for me having the feat. Live and learn, right?

Fortunately, we played these characters a second time, and my team got to see more battle together. My trick with the hunter is to start with the bow in hand, attacking with ranged while closing since I only get one attack anyways. As hunter and wolf close, I Quick Draw my sword and get into melee with my wolf either flanking or battling beside me. If there's no chance or too low a chance to Trip, then we flank; if it's possible to Trip, then we're adjacent. It seemed to work well, but a 3/4 BAB meant I missed more often than hit despite having a +9 bonus to melee (I tended to roll mid-range and lower more often than high; bad dice day for me), and although my wold had a 21 AC (Barkskin), he took a heavy beating a lot of times as he seemed to be the better target (with my ring, armor, Dex, barkskin, and Combat Expertise, I had a pretty decent AC), and my wand is mostly spent trying to heal the wolf. That's one thing the hunter could use is a way to heal his animal companion without having to use up his limited spell slots for Cure spells.
First session, we tried Animal Focus as written, but that meant I could only use it once, period, as everything we've done has only been in one day, and the one fight he used it in lasted only 4 rounds. Not cool.
Second session, we tried 1 minute/level in non-consecutive one-minute intervals and it was MUCH more effective, letting me switch as needed between Dex buff, Str buff, climb skill, and faster movement during a rather long battle, and be able to do it again later when we went up against the bosses and didn't hurt the game at all, although I DID overlook that when the hunter invokes the ability, his animal companion gets it as well. Overall, I like this ability and really thinks it to be MUCH more effective with longer durations.
Overall, I like the concept of the Hunter, but he needs more effective combat-oriented spells and some way to heal his companion, like maybe a Lay on Hands or spontaneous Cure spells that only affect the companion. Something akin to the Summoner/Eidolon Life Link might be nice, but I really don't like Life Link as it is currently written (having to wait until the companion reaches zero or less hit points to use would suck), and I REALLY do not want the Hunter to become a divine Summoner. I would much rather have the hunter be able to transfer hit points to his companion as a standard action touch ability that transfers up to his level in hit points usable 3+ Wis modifier times per day.

Joyd wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Joyd wrote:

Maybe this is dumb, but what do people think about giving the Hunter a spontaneous spell conversion list, like Clerics can spontaneously convert to Cure (or Inflict, if you're a necromancer or you make bad decisions) spells and Druids can convert to SNA?

One of the hallmarks of the Druid list is that it has piles of incredibly situational stuff, but it's not totally wrong to sometimes prepare some of those things if you have some idea that they might be useful, because you can always just make it an SNA spell instead, and SNA has property that it's widely useful in many situations. Similarly, casting cure spells with your slots as a cleric isn't exciting, it's a rare day where nobody gets hurt, so it's always something to do with your slots.

I was thinking that Hunters could have a conversion list that specifically focuses on their animal companions. It might involve creating some new spells, since there aren't interesting and generally applicable spells that benefit animals at every spell level, but it would let rangers prep the more situational druid spells more often without them going to waste so much.

I think they should just get a crazy summon nature's ally progression:

1 converts to SNA 1
2 converts to SNA 2
3 converts to SNA 3 or [4 starting at level 8 for two 3rd level spells prepared or one 4th level spell]
4 converts to SNA 5 or [6 starting at level 12 for two 4th level spells prepared or one 5th level spell]
5 converts to SNA 7
6 converts to SNA 8 or [9 starting at level 18 for two 6th level spells prepared]

Then let nature's allies share teamwork feats with the Hunter and his pet.

That's pretty neat. If they don't do that, one idea for an archetype might be a hunter that trades the animal companion for the Summoner's Summon Monster SLA, but for SNA instead, and the archetype is allowed to share teamwork feats and the Animal Focus boosts with anything summoned with SNA.

No no no no NO!!!

THIS is one of the biggest problems with the Summoner, and one of the reasons why so many GMs, my own included, have banned the Summoner class from any games. The Summoner should NEVER have gotten SM as a spell-like ability, and especially not in a manner that breaks the rules. IF it was meant to have SM as a SLA, then it should still act as the spell, standard to cast and 1 sec/level duration, and not the current, hideously broken manner it now is. If anything, Summoner should have gotten spontaneous SM by sacrificing a spell much as a druid does for SNA. Add to that a full BAB and d10 hit die for the eidolon, and we have a broken class with a companion that deals heavier damage per round than the party fighter, and now you want the Hunter to go in THAT direction as well? Make him a divine version of Summoner? Yeah, the class is weak, and yes, I can see a need for improvement, but if you make him like the Summoner, you'll just get yet another class that nobody wants in their campaigns because it's "broken and too powerful".
I really don't think the Hunter's animal companion necessarily needs to be more powerful than the druid's animal companion- it really doesn't. What it DOES need is a stronger link to the Hunter more akin to a familiar's link. One feature I would like to see is the Hunter being able to mentally "ride" his companion by mind-linking with it and being able to use it's senses; see what it sees, hear what it hears, etc. For example, something like the witch's Beast Eye hex.
Yeah, I'm thinking old school here, but when I first heard about this class, I was hoping for something like the old Beastmaster movies/TV show. From what I've seen so far, you're off to a good start, and while I think the CONCEPT behind the Summoner is a good reference point, don't go down that venue, please, as the Summoner already needs a revamp itself (and we probably won't see that until the next printing of the APG).

A bat's claw attacks would be from its feet, something not impossible since it can fly, and it can hover with a DC 15 Fly check. A werebat would gain Fly as a class skill being a winged monster, although that doesn't mean he'd have ranks in it, and it's claws would deal damage as per size as shown in the Bestiary under natural attacks by size. Likewise, I prefer to have all lycanthropes gain claw and bite attacks in hybrid form dealing damage as per their size, with natural attacks as per animal form when in animal form. Yes, combine this with the ability to wield manufactured weapons and armor while in hybrid form, and a hybrid were is doubly dangerous. However, I also disagree with the book's statement that equipment melds with the new form; I don't think it should, and if the hybrid form is one size larger or smaller than the base form, then said were would be hampered by his equipment as per wielding weapons and armor of an inappropriate size until he drops it, so relying upon natural weapons and armor might not be a bad thing after all.

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Don't know where else to ask this, but since this thread linked to the FAQ...

Since weapon specialization can be used for spells as noted in the FAQ, would a sorcerer or wizard who wishes to take weapon specialization (ray) still have to take 4 levels of fighter to get it? Or does using the feat for spells create an exception to the norm? Have to ask b/c I have a player running a sorcerer asking about spells and combat feats and I just know he's going to ask.

Thank you for the feedback, Stubs, but I would really prefer not to go to an outside source for answers, mainly because I don't have the money or inclination to invest in them. What I'm mainly looking for is either some official rulings, or at least other GM feedback on how others handled similar situations. I've learned recently that there is no longer a size restriction on grappling, although I'm still searching for clarification on that, so yes, a Medium ooze CAN grapple a Medium character, albeit with penalties. The main question is how does someone grapple something with the amorphous quality? Should there be a penalty to do so? Or would it just not be possible without some sort of way to contain said creature? Again, I'm just looking for other suggestions until something official comes out. We each have our own way of doing things; I'm just trying to be fair to my players...
At least for now ;-P

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sorry if this has been answered, but I'm not finding what I need, so...
Recently, I set my players up against a few gray oozes, and several issues came up, mainly stemming from the nature of oozes. First, while oozes are considered amorphous creatures, there is no set description for that quality other than what is listed in the stats for a gibbering mouther. Hopefully Bestiary 2 will change that, but for now, can a character actually grapple an amorphous creature? If so, should there be a penalty to do so, like trying to grapple an opponent larger than himself would apply? If an amorphous creature attempts to grab an opponent, is it still restricted by its own size since it can essentially change its form to envelop its opponent?

For the purpose of this battle, I ruled that being amorphous, the ooze could ignore the "only able to use this ability on creatures up to one size smaller) limit to allow it to grab and essentially engulf an opponent of its own size or smaller. My players, for the most part, agreed with me on this (one player didn't like it, but that's mainly because he had the lowest AC and was more likely to be hit). I'm debating upon if it should be able to engulf up to one size larger, but since "engulf" implies full immersion on the part of the target, larger creatures might not be able to be fully engulfed. Then again, an amorphous creature can also spread itself out pretty thin, so may be able to engulf up to one size larger than itself by doing so. For now, I'm going with "up to its own size" since that also implies it can only engulf one such opponent at a time, unlike the gelatinous cube which specifically states that it can engulf "as many as it can", which to me is unique to the cube (although an ooze might be able to engulf two opponents of one size smaller than itself, four of two sizes smaller, etc.)

I think there should be a specific listing for the amorphous quality defining what properties that gives the creature, especially since not just oozes are likely to have that quality (gaseous and water-based creatures would have it as well). Also, shouldn't ALL oozes have the engulf special attack instead of grab? I envision an ooze striking with a pseudopod is more likely to latch onto an opponent and spread over it rather than wrap a tendril around it and hold on with a "limb".

Any thoughts or clarifications on this? If there are specific rules postings, I would appreciate page numbers and/or links if you have them. My players also check these boards frequently, and will want to see for themselves if there is any "official" ruling on this.

RE: Attacks of opportunity against stirges: While the stirge is "effectively grappling its prey", its attack is not a grapple itself, and creatures using natural weapons to attack are considered armed so normally don't provoke attacks of opportunity when attacking. This is not the same as unarmed attacks: natural weapons are considered weapons, not unarmed, and creatures with natural weapons are considered trained in their use. Likewise, moving into a threatened square does not provoke an attack of opportunity unless the occupant of that square has taken a ready action to attack anything entering that square, which does not actually give the occupant an AoO, but allows him/her to use an initiative action to strike before his/her foe does. A couple of my players use this action a LOT when going up against foes they know little about.

RE: SNA: You want effective? Try summoning spiders: They can cast a web as a ranged touch attack that entangles and effectively immobilizes an opponent, at least for one round (often longer) unless said opponent can make a Strength or Escape check to get out of it. Had my druid delaying ghouls this way to give the party a chance to take them down and avoid being paralyzed by the ghouls' attacks. It's especially effective when you have multiple spiders gang up on one opponent.

Best Summoning moment so far: I set up an encounter with an animated two-handed sword flying around the room attacking from above, and the summoner used his SLA to summon in an eagle to grapple the sword. I missed with the AoO (eagles have a very good AC due to size), and the eagle succeeded in its grapple, effectively neutralizing the threat for a couple rounds while the two struggled. Two bad nobody in the room at the time could do enough damage to get past the sword's toughness to destroy it, but the eagle did give another character a chance to grapple the sword and swing it under a falling block trap that DID do the trick.

Clark Whittle wrote:
Above the rules refinement, Paizo is cutting edge as far as getting the best adventure authors in the industry today.

Not just adventure writers: Did you see who the author of their soon-to-be-released Golarion novel 'Winter Witch' is?

None other than Elaine Cunningham, one of the BEST (IMO) Realms and Ravenloft authors I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I am absolutely thrilled that she will be writing novels for Golarion.

Clark Whittle wrote:
Ustalav is my new Ravenloft, so I'm now offically Golarian exclusive for my fantasy RPG fix. :)

I saw the maps for the first release campaign setting, and thought to myself how familiar they were. If this indeed can incorporate my Ravenloft setting, as well as the things I like about the Forgotten Realms, I may actually have to consider selling off my FR books (GASP!!). They're mostly collectng dust right now as it is; never got a complete world picture since they stopped making region books prior to going 4th Ed, and I am SO not going to buy 4th Ed.

On the other hand, there's still a lot of useful material in those books...

I'll have to to wait for Paizo's own region books to come out, I guess.

Some monsters I won't miss for various reasons (had a post I wrote, but the screen switched on me when I went to post it; SO hate when that happens!):
achaierai, delver, ethereal filcher, ethereal marauder, krenshar, phantom fungus, thoqqua, and tojanida.

Some I miss and hope to see in Bestiary II:
gray render, hippogriff (although I think it's been confirmed it will be), tendriculous, alternate lycanthropes or at least a decent template for making them. I would mention the various aquatic races, but something tells me there's a specific reason why those were kept out, like maybe the fact that you're only likely to encounter them IN the water and most adventures take place on land, perhaps? Then again, you're not very likely to see merfolk on land unless they now have the ability to change their tails into legs (why not? Daryl Hannah did it in Splash).

Sadly, we won't see beholder, githyanke, githzerai, or yuan-ti in any future Bestiaries, but that won't stop ME from using them. After all, it's MY game, and I'll do whatever the Hello! I want :-)

James Jacobs wrote:
Hydro wrote:
I still think elementals are too humanoid in nature. They don't feel like "living (fire/water/wind/earth)" at all; they feel more like something a mortal wizard would shape a given elemental into.

Of the 8 elementals illustrated in the Bestiary, only 1 is what I would call "humanoid."

AIR: A weird multilegged bird thing and a tornado type thing.
EARTH: A dog made of rocks and a man made of rocks.
FIRE: A dragon/snake made of fire and a bat made out of smoke.
WATER: A shark made of water and a wave with a distorted face.

So yeah, I'd agree that elementals aren't necessarily humanoid shaped. In that only 12.5% of those we illustrate in the Bestiary are humanoid shaped.

To me, this implies that you could make the elemental resemble whatever form you wish it to be, so long as you maintain the current stats as listed for the creature i.e.- HD, BAB, number of attacks, damage, etc.). If you really want to be a creative GM, sure, give it multipe attacks as per the the form chosen, but then you might as well treat it as an elemental-template version of the base creature (chosen form), or at least drop the dmage by one step for primary attacks, two steps for secondary. I've done it before with firecats (fire-based tigers), it's really not that hard. Still, I wouldn't mind seeing a elemental template for each of the four primary elements simplified like the advanced, young, celestial, and fiendish templates in the bestiary (really big HINT HINT), something better than the ones in the Manual of the Planes (not that those were THAT bad, but not very well balanced IMO).

It was nice to see the chaitrakhan get some play, but I think it would have been better to either have them drawn by the sounds of battle, or just to eliminate the bugbears completely and make them the primary threat. Why would the bugbears be here anyways? From what you described, very few visitors ever come by the manor any more, so what do they stand to gain sitting out in the cold waiting for who knows how long for someone, ANYONE, to show up? Raise the danger level of the elements with some high winds (possibly grounding potential flyers) and bitter cold (still might not bother those resistant or immune to cold, like aasimar) and imclement weather. Nothing like new snowfall to cloak the approach of the frostcats (nice nickname, Sean), and having the eerie howl of a hunter rise above the wind...especially with nightfall fast approaching. Avoid directing the party actions, but still bring out your encounter point; use it as a possible salvation from the impending threat. I would agree with Clark that the chasm itself is more likely to be the encounter point, with the manor becoming the goal, and the drawbridge a secondary challenge to get to it. Of course, you have to convince the party why they need to use the bridge (but don't force them, in fact NEVER force them, to do something; otherwise, they're just more NPC someone else is running).

Yeah, that makes the encounter more of a cliche, but as Clark said, the whole "mad wizard" thing is pretty cliche as well, and sometimes that's what works.

Very nice background story; it really gave me a feel for the world setting. That said, I'm not sure what's going on here. I like the menagerie, but the whole plot is a "right place, right time" thing which a lot of players in my experience really don't care for. It too often becomes the GM leading the players around by the nose, forcing them into one encounter after another in a specific order of events, when they would rather explore their surroundings and see where fate takes them. I'm not sure what to make of the andorwesps; I'm not really sure if they would have been the appropriate round 3 monster to use here. Yes, the managerie is ample feeding ground for them, but the cages and stonework and other accessories could easily have been ample feeding ground for the chymick. For that matter, you have cold climate cages, so why not use the chaitrakhan? Nice nod to the haga, BTW; that was cute :-)

Overall, I really like the theme of a menagerie; an excellent excuse to have any creatures not normally sharing a habitat come together. However, the map is a headache. I like the overall building design, but prefer my map keys to rely more on symbols and less on colors.

_metz_ wrote:
drakkonflye wrote:

And I know this is just being nitpicky, but the bed in the thone room bothers me...

implies CR 6 or less

dump the bedroom...

I wondered about that, and so I googled it: (Bed in ziggurat) and eventually found that in Babylonian culture, it was required to provide a Bed and symbolic food for the patron deity of temples (typically in/near the main shrine itself, in case the God ever visited)

I know I am sick of generic temples, some ancient temple awareness is surprisingly refreshing

Also, you are aware they HAD to use a CR 6 monster from the previous round? (Although I prefer APL 6-8 dungeons myself, you can't teleport straight there, through the walls etc. I think too much of the awesome is reserved for high levels - if I can cast disintegrate ancient stone traps are less scary...)

Hunh, you learn something new every day. In that case, I take back my comment about the bedroom with sincerest apologies to Matt. s for the level 6 creature, however, yes, I was made aware of that. What I was saying was the first thing you encounter when you enter a lair often sets the mood for the rest of the adventure, and going up against the ossuary golem and its prisoner tells me that if this is the weakest of many threats (as first encounters usually are), then the party could be in for some serious trouble by the time they get to the BBEG. Then again, I don't know what level range the judges were looking for for encounter and locations, so I could just be off my rocker ;-)

Seriously though, Matt, I do enjoy what you've done in this contest so far. This round just happens to be one of the toughest to judge (and I in NO way envy the official judges their job. Heck, I didn't even make it past the first round, so who am I to judge?

I think I know more than I need to know about Dreega for this encounter, especially since she may or may not even be IN the encounter. I like the map, very well detailed and original; I don't see too many living lairs in games, and the layout is rather nice, if a bit of a headache for the cartographers. I don't understand the cosmology, though; I see the need to use the andorwesps (someone pointed out to me the need to use a creature from round 3), but why hobgoblins? They seem to be more-or-less casually tossed in. Likewise with the giant mantis: I can't see the andorwesps living in harmony with that, at least not based on the way they've been described throughout this contest. This kind of reminds me of some of the third-party one-shot adventures that came out with 3rd Ed; nice theme, good maps, but monsters randomly jumbled together just to fill space. I would have liked to see less info about Dreega and family and more about the lair itself.

So far, most of the entires have been more about location than encounter, whereas this one is mostly about the encounter. An interesting change, but I have to echo what Josh said. While I liked the idea of being dropped into the middle of the adventure as opposed to the beginning, I didn't care for the tight control exerted by the round-by-round play; it doesn't give me as the GM enough playaround, and my players almost never follow a scripted adventure. I would have preferred having options spaced out over a set period of rounds, having columns get struck at random and probable results rather than "this obelisk gets struck and falls right here" format. Still, the encounter was very well presented, and a nice way to bring the astrumel into play (although it also begs the question of how many times can you get away with that). Not sure if it's enough to get my vote, but definitely a contender.

I like the concept of a tomb that appears and disappears during key times, especially since it requires the party to work quickly to get the job done (considering my group can take up a whole night just battling one encounter), but it does make me wonder what happens to them if they don't get out before the place phazes out? Do they get stuck in limbo, trapped inside until death claims them and they join the ranks of lost spirits? Do they get dumped unceremoniously on the ground where the ziggurat stood (and possibly subject to a LOT of falling damage)? Does the building shift to a new location miles or even planes away from where they were?
I'm also concerned about the overall challenge level of this setting. The use of the ossuary golem implies a CR 6 or less based upon round 3 entries, but this project seems very large-scale, and I don't think filling it with CR 6 or less encounters would do it justice.
And I know this is just being nitpicky, but the bed in the thone room bothers me...
Do gods ever sleep? It just doesn't seem like the appropriate type of furnishings for a god, more like that of the high priest, yet the first room ends up being a combination bedroom/throne room/altar. Most of my experiences with RPG temples and strongholds is the main chambers of the head honcho (in this case, the absent god) are usually the last rooms, not the first. I can see the first room as the altar or throne room, but dump the bedroom aspect; it just doesn't fit for me.

One of the things I like about this round is that someone like me who has yet to play a game set in Golaria can get a decent feel for the setting througha well-written entry. This was one such entry, but only to a point. I enjoy the background, nice build up for behind-the-scenes and lead in to the current situation, and the setting works well for me. The observatory may be overused to some people, but so are taverns, castle ruins, haunted caves, abandoned manors...eventually, everything is a cliche. What matters is how it's delivered. This one was delivered reasonably well and nicely detailed (although this is the first time I've ever seen a map with website references). However, I didn't care for the monster encounter; while I like the caltrop golem, I thought it was ill-placed for this location. I don't know if the contestants had to include one of the round 3 monsters as a neccessity for this round, but I agree with Clark that this location might have been better-served by a glass golem hidden in the panes or something like that.

Alexander MacLeod wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
...or just give her a bad case of incurable sonic syphilis.
When do we get the game stats for this?

Hey, I'll be happy when I can see game stats for drunkenness. Got a player playing the "drunken friar" cleric and have to make it up as I go along how drunk he can get and still do something worthwhile.

And speaking of drinking...
I really like the winery background and storyline for this encounter. Sadly, I wish the map had lived up to the theme. I can't be too hard on that, though; my maps aren't the best either. Still, even if the place didn't have casks and tuns and such to show the winery aspect (it never was finished, after all), there should still be some kind of furnishings, at least a table and chair, writing desk, possibly a bed, assuming the priest resided here while overseeing construction (the part about his disappearance seems to imply he spent a lot of time here alone since there were no witnesses to it).
Also, percentiles are a headache. It's bad enough having to use them to determine a random encounter, but for one that's NOT random, I would much rather give the andorwesps a listen check to hear intruders and have them investigate than have a percent chance they pop out. Likewise with the floor: rather have a damage cap or weight allowance before it collapses than a percentage based on spell damage.

This is the first submission I read for this round, and I have to say I was very impressed. I can definitely see myself using something like this in one of my own campaigns. The history doesn't really do that much for me, however, as I have yet to learn any real background for Golaria, and this setting is a little too area-specific for my own tastes, but that's just me. I did get the impression that Calistria is a deity of nature, and having fey creatures guard a temple dedicated to her to me makes absolute sense. Having those fey turned fiendish due to the influence of a succubus and her master is a brilliant use of the fiendish template. I undertand Wesley's concerns about templates being just gimmicks (and apparently that he hates templates in general ;-)), but I don't see that here; these aren't just tacked on, but actually well thought out. It's a lot better than making variants of dryads and satyrs etc. when the template itself gets the job done nicely.

This is one adventure I would like to see more of.

KaeYoss wrote:
drakkonflye wrote:

Oh, and one last request (for now): MORE TROLLS!!!
So tired of players always knowing that fire hurts trolls. There's only so much control over metagaming; it would be SO nice to throw those rules marshalls for a loop once in a while ;-)

I don't call that meta-gaming. The information that you need fire to kill trolls is probably universal folk wisdom in a Pathfinder world. There are cautionary tales about it and everything.

Just like in today's world (at least in many parts of it), children are taught that you don't cross the street unless the lights are green, that you don't follow a stranger into his van just because he tells you about candy and cute little bunny rabbits (and countless other bits of potential life-savers, often dependant on where you live), children on Golarion are told about trolls.

There's the tale about Johnny Adventurer who "killed" 3 trolls and then went to sleep beside their "corpses", only to wake up tied up beside their camp fire where the trolls - miraculously returned to life! - are preparing a spit for him. Luckily for him, the trolls can't tie a decent knot, so he can free himself and, having no other weapon available, takes a swing at the trolls with a burning log - and they die, this time for real.

Well and good, and quite eloquently written, but two things:

1) I don't run my games in Golarion, as I don't have all the support material yet (waiting for the World Guides, and then we'll see).

2) This was just an example: this particular player is a long-term gamer, so knows about just about every creature in every MM and support material out there, including Golarion (HE has the chronicles sub), so trying to surpise him is difficult.

It wouldn't be so bad if he'd keep his mouth shut, but while I got him to stop naming the creatures as soon as he hears the description (even when I change it up a bit, he knows), he still has his "ah", "oh no", "damn", "I knew it", and so on comments, which can be pretty distracting to the other players. I've had to resort to making them make those Knowledge checks to see if they actuallt DO know what they think they do, but sometimes that leads to arguments with the other players. Enh...it happens. It just encourages me to drop in more of my own creations, that's all :-D

All this talk about maps brings up a good point. I myself am terrible at doing maps; freehand maps have odd boundaries, and graph papaer maps end up looking like box mazes. I once bought Campaign Cartographer, but I couldn't get it to work properly on the computer I had at the time, and now can't find a decent map-making program. Does anyone have any suggestions for a decent one? Preferably something that doesn't rely so much on freehand drawing as much as it does cut-and-paste for common symbols, and standard color and print tools. Also, cost is a big issue here: I don't make a lot of money, so I don';t want to be paying out monthly subs, or drop $100+ on something I won't even use that often.

James Jacobs wrote:
Fortunately, changing the word "fire" in its regeneration line to, say, "cold" or "sonic" is a SUPER easy house rule change.

Oh, yes, I've done that :-D

I am, after all, an evil DM. Nothing shakes things up more than taking what they expect and making it something different. I've also played around with templates (yes, I hear the groans), but due to the overabundance of templates in previous MMs and such, Pathfinder seems to be steering well away from them. I've actually been hoping to see some decent elemental templates, though, as opposed to the seriously lame ones I've seen before, preferably something that gives decent DR, SR, SA, or SQ instead of gaining SLAs dependant upon HD.

Yeah, I know..."house rule it".

Okay, maybe a dumb question, but how many of these are there? Is this the first such book? Aside from the core rules and these messageboards, I have little to no understanding of Golarion, but at least one of my players has been pushing me to check it out, and I'd like to know what I'm in for.

James Jacobs wrote:
But I guess I can say that this one will have a lot of planar stuff in it... since one of its goals is to fill out the other outer planar races with entries for inevitables, agathions, proteans, qlippoth, daemons, and so on...


I, for one, LOVED the Planescape setting, and was more than a little disappointed that it never made it into 3.5. I also loved Ravenloft, but good luck getting my current group to play THAT; something about too many undead (as if there is such a thing ;-P). Granted, I still won't see Planescape (not OGL :-(), but at least I can do SOMETHING with the outer planes soon!

Ah yes, hints indeed...
Any likelihood we'll get to see a sample creature from Bestiary II prior to publication? Also, any plans for more free pdfs of non-OGL creatures? I really liked seeing the caryatid columns statted out for PF, but I am SO jonesing for updates on the genasi! Or at least a viable PF substitute for them.

Also, you mentioned an updated campaign setting book coming out. Any idea when? I wouldn't mind scoping out the Golarion world setting, but I just can't afford to buy up all those chronicles and adventures and whatnot to do so, and the only copies of the world setting around here are from before the core book came out. I'm currently still running Forgotten Realms games, but sometimes those books give me a headache (a serious lack of decent random encounter tables, for one thing, and maps that lack detail for another). Besides, one of my players has really been pushing for me to run a Golarion campaign (and knowing him, that kind of worries me a bit LOL).

Oh, and one last request (for now): MORE TROLLS!!!
So tired of players always knowing that fire hurts trolls. There's only so much control over metagaming; it would be SO nice to throw those rules marshalls for a loop once in a while ;-)

Also, no monster that uses wings to fly has perfect manuverability, so you can't fault the ardorwesp for only having good manuverability.

Make that no LISTED monster does, but that's only because there is no listing for a giant dragonfly :-)

A dragonfly can hover, changed directions easily, and even fly backwards. I'd have to say if statted up, that would qualify for perfect.

Anyhow, love the way this creature turned out, although I am still not a fan of setting-specific creature names or references. I prefer my creatures to be more general; if I bring this into my game, my players will be asking "Where's Andor?" (except for the one who's more-or-less a rules marshall). Still, it works for me, and gets my vote.

Once again we have a creature with Golarion refernces throughout its background, and that, for me, is a put off. No offense to the judges and the people at Paizo, as I really enjoy the Pathfinder system and am ever so grateful that my 3.5 books will be doing more than collecting dust, but I do not use Golaria as my game setting. Whenever I see one of these creatures using that setting for background, my first thought is it becomes world-specific, and I feel like passing on it because it's likely to have abilities that reflect that.

That said, I'm glad I didn't pass on this one, as I do like most of what I see here. This creature is more elemental than beast, and I like that; I have a penchant for using elemental templates on standard monsters for extreme climates and especially regions of interplanar activity, so this works well for me. However, I do have to wonder if raising the local temperature, say for instance having a large fire going, would affect the creature's abilities.

I'm not too keen on the rake uncluding the tail strike; have to agree that should be its own (secondary) attack. I see the judges' concerns over relying upon non-defined concepts like body temperature, but I think if you implemented something along the lines of Sean's suggestions, this would definitely be a solid creature. I would agree the CR should be lower, though. I'm thinking 4, but then, I'm still getting used to Pathfinder's monster creation rules myself (which is why THOSE guys are getting the paychecks, and I'm just a lowly DM ;-)

The trouble with four contestants choosing to stat out the same creature is that I find myself wanting to mix and match them, take the qualities I like best from each and make a new creature out of that. Here, it's the aura of fleas I like the most. However, it does bring up the same question I had about one of the other entries, so with a little help from cut and paste...

The area affect spells supressing the fleas is just too vague; I can understand a sleep, dispel magic, fireball or other damage spell, but any area affect spell? Even alarm?

Basically, I don't think a blanket "any area affect spell" works; it would be better, to me, if you said any damage-causing area affect spell. As for the ability names, I like interesint names myself, but kind of have to agree with Sean that sometimes simple names work best. Still, they DID get my attention, so if that's the point, it works.

Not sure if this guy has my wote, though; while I do like some of what you've done, I'm not 100% behind this guy yet. I DO like this as an aberration, though; the original concept sounded too strong and too varied to be just a magical beast to me.

With all due respect to Mr. Schneider, I for one am glad to see any golem that does not default to the standard materials and the catch-all "immunity to everything BUT" that golems have become. In fact, I'd say take it a step farther and get rid of DR 5/adamantine and bludgeoning and replace it with DR 5/bludgeoning and magic to match its low CR. I mean do all golems HAVE to be resistant to all but adamantine weapons? Is that actually a rule, or just something we've become accustomed to from previous monster blocks? Not being facetious or sarcastic; it's an honest question (and please don't answer with "It's RAW" unless you can actually give me a source, thank you). I have half a dozen golems of my own I made as low-level encounters and dropped the DR and resistances down for that purpose. Who knows? Maybe I'll get the chance to present them somewhere myself some day :-)

ANYHOW, I digress hugely, and I apologize profusely (scatterbrained, what can I say?). I absolutely LOVE what Matthew did here and look forward to using this little guy in a future encounter (maybe even using several at once). I do agree with Sean that the saves and damage are a slight bit weak for the CR (I think you toned it down one step due to size Small) and see this more as a CR4 than 5, but the bleed damage from grappling is nice. I think unarmed strikes against it should deal damage to the attacker equal to 1d3 piercing plus their own Str modifier, though; as someone said, the harder one hits the golem, the more it's going to hurt. What if the attacker has DR? Do attacks made against the golem negate the attacker's own DR?

A moving carpet of caltrops is very nice, but what exactly does it do? Is it treated as a swarm for purposes of distraction and damage? Or does is require Acrobatics (balance) checks/Reflex saves to avoid stepping on the caltrops? Needs some clarity here.

Despite these little oddities, this creature has defintely got my vote. I thought the concept was pretty cool, and overall, you did a great job statting this guy out.

Personally, I find it interesting that everyone feels the spell dissonance ability is too strong when Dennis statted this out as a CR6 critter. Last night, I ran my 5-player level 2 party up against a CR3 gelatinous cube and almost had a TPK due to a DC20 Fortitude save to avoid being paralyzed (4 out of 5 failed, and the 5th never had to make the save). There are not a lot of level 2 characters that can make that very easily; even a warrior-based class with a decent Con bonus would fail the save at least 60% of the time. So no, I don't have a problem with the spell-hampering effect, although I myself might have made it more an ability drain effect since the creature is being presented as an outsider. That's just me, though.

I like this concept being presented as a demon; it's nice to see something other than imps and lemures as low-level "servitor" outsiders. I think more could have been done with its territorial establishment; this seems more a soloist here, while the original concept made it a lord of its demense. Where are its subjects? Charm monster once a day doesn't work for me. Also, I have to agree with Joel that the area affect spells supressing the fleas is just too vague; I can understand a sleep, dispel magic, fireball or other damage spell, but any area affect spell? Even alarm?

Honestly though, the original concept didn't really appeal to me all that much, and what you've presented here has changed my opinion about that. Not sure yet if it has my vote- haven't checked out the rest of the "nest" yet- but it definitely is one I'm considering. Well done.

Quandary wrote:

Still, rather than saying:

"Creatures affected by your illusion (pattern) spells are treated as if their total number of Hit Dice were equal to their number of Hit Dice minus your Charisma modifier (if positive, minimum 1)."

it would probably be clearer and more straight to the point to just say:
"...Your illusion(pattern) spells affect an additional number of Hit Dice equal to your CHA modifier (if positive, minimum 1)."

Shorter, and to the point.

Yes, exactly. That would clarify it very well. Heck, the original wording confuses ME and I'm a gamer with more than 20 years' experience; imagine how a newbie would feel reading that.

I think you guys are missing the true usefulness of this ability:

Cackle (Su): A witch can cackle madly as a move action.
Any creature that is within 30 feet that is under the
effects of an agony hex, charm hex, evil eye hex, fortune
hex, misfortune hex, or ward hex caused by the witch has
the duration of that hex extended by 1 round

So each round she could hex a different target, and cackle to maintain an ongoing hex, and as long as all targets remain within 30 feet, keep hitting them all each round. Very nice ploy when you have allies running interference between the witch and her opponents.

Oh, and just to note, I personally feel the witch's cackle should be a free action usable on her turn (or a swift action), not a move action. I mean really, how much effort does it take to laugh at someone? Yeah, you could say it takes at least minimal effort to exert magical influence, but then the bard can maintain a performance ability as a free action each round and still fight/move/use an item. Yes, it takes a standard action for the bard to initiate an ability, but technically the same is true for the witch since her cackle only extends the hex; she still has to cast (throw?) the hex in the first place.

I need someone to clarify this ability from Oracle of the Heavens:

Awesome Display (Su): Your phantasmagoric displays
accurately model the mysteries of the night sky,
dumbfounding all who behold them. Creatures affected
by your illusion (pattern) spells are treated as if their
total number of Hit Dice were equal to their number
of Hit Dice minus your Charisma modifier (if positive,
minimum 1).

Seems like an awful lot of fancy wording for an ability that does what, exactly? You get a "welcome to the planetarium" effect that reduces their effective HD for spell effects like sleep? Does this have any affect on their combat abilities? Saves? Feats? Caster level?

This is, to me, a very vague ability...

Which I guess means it had its effect on me

I definitely like this one, and actually hope that it IS indeed a template. I haven't seen too many templates in Pathfinder, and despite the overabundance of terrible templates in 3.5, have been waiting and hoping for a good one to come along. This is one I could enjoy as such, and even see potential for increased abilities dependant upon the power of the undead imprisoned within. Yeah, tricky to stat out, but I somehow don't think you'd have too much trouble with that.

And if it's not a template, it still is an awesome concept, and still very much usable. I really like the "toy surpise inside" :-D

Best use of death throes I've seen in quite a while. Looking forawrd to seeing THIS one statted out.

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