Are thrown weapons considered 'ranged weapons' when thrown and thus eligible for feats like Rapid Shot and Point Blank Shot? If so, assuming you have Quick Draw, could you combine the extra attacks from two weapon fighting and Rapid Shot with a thrown weapon in the same round?
Say a second level human fighter has Quick Draw, Two Weapon Fighting, Point Blank Shot(as a prereq), and Rapid Shot... can he use a full attack action to make 3 thrown attacks with 3 star knives at -4(plus any other adjustments for point blank shot or range increments) using a full round action?
I've never delved too deeply into throwing rules before. I've always considered Rapid Shot the archer's version of Two Weapon fighting, so the thought of combining them feels counter intuitive. The only possible barrier to it I can see in the rules is that all of the basic ranged feats from the Point Blank Shot feat chain refer to "ranged weapons" instead of "ranged attacks" and the equipment section defines ranged weapons as "thrown weapons or projectile weapons that are not effective in melee". It lists Javelins as Ranged weapons, but Tridents and Throwing Axes as melee weapons with a range increment. Weapons like the Javelin, while having rules for use in melee, don't have a listed melee category re: light/one handed/two handed, and therefore are problematic to combine with TWF, though I suppose they would default to being treated as non-light one handed weapons. My sense is that the designers were probably not intending to reference the "ranged weapon" definition provided in the equipment section when they use the phrase in the PBS-feat tree descriptions, simply because a character built around throwing axes/javelin's would be forever and utterly hopeless without access to Precise Shot which specifies shooting or throwing ranged weapons.
But then again, Rapid shot specifically uses the phrase "fire one additional time" which could vaguely be construed to exclude thrown attacks. Anyone with insights into an official ruling or rules interpretation care to chime in?
(Pet Peeve: I'm only interested in RAW/rules oriented input. House rules or other GM judgement calls as to what's fair/balanced/reasonable = no thanks.)
Interesting thoughts and charting... but I don't think your method yielded useful conclusions.
You're considering Banded Mail more optimal than Breastplate and equally optimal to Fullplate. Its stats are identical to fullplate, except fullplate get's an additional +2 to AC. An analytic method that counts that as equal is flawed. For a single point of AC advantage over breast plate, banded mail gives up 2 points of max dex and has a ACP that's 2 points more. Yet you're willing to elevate studded leather over chain shirt for giving up 1 AC and only getting 1 more max dex and 1 less ACP. I don't understand what economy your analysis is revealing to us.
Of course this is ignoring the fact that every character has a Dex score and a certain level of armor proficiency, and that plays a big part in what armor is optimal for them. Any max dex bonus beyond your dex isn't helping... and if you want to consider max-dex beyond your current for the purposes of being prepared later in your build... later in your build you should be looking at Mithral options.
In your opening post you hint at an interesting idea... gods vs. the outsiders that serve them. Like the story of Lucifer and his rebel angels turning against God (check out Paradise Lost for inspiration). Or like the the Greek Olympian gods overthrowing their predecessors the titans.
Maybe society has been gradually turning away from religion and turning towards technology/arcane magic. It reaches a point that the benevolent gods and the evil gods agree that the sentient races of the world are irredeemably flawed. Good and evil deities alike form a pact to cleanse the world of all life and begin anew. Their servants, the various outsiders, deal more directly with the peoples of the world and more invested in it. The good outsiders want to see the various humanoids who have remained faithful rewarded, and to keep up their good works. The evil outsiders have invested too much of their power in building up cults of humanoid followers and forming pacts with humanoid spell-casters. If the gods can so quickly turn on the mortals, who's to say the outsiders won't be next. Reluctantly the greatest of the good outsiders and the evil outsiders band together to declare war on the gods and to save mankind/elfkind/orckind/etc.
PCs would of course be caught in the middle, probably siding with the outsiders, and the outsiders' ultimate goal might be to ascend to godhood and replace the deities they destroy.
What also tends to prevent them is a willing GM to put a custom magic-item crafter-for-hire in their town. The magic item availability rules and the NPC spellcasting rules don't explicitly say this is an option, so GMs who want to rely on the default system wouldn't make this a thing. When I GM I do something similar, but it took me some gameplay fumbling before I decided to include the custom-item-maker-for-hire work around. I would prefer this option to be standardized so that new DMs have a more functional option for handling this.
As written, if the town doesn't have what you want, you pretty much have to wait a week and hope the GM doesn't roll over 75% again.
Darkholme, I pretty much +1 your entire list. However rather than rules for quick-generating minions, I'd prefer a full array of pre-generated monsters for every level. One of the things that bugs me about pathfinder is how often they present tools for the GM to build his own version of something that almost ever GM wants, instead of just building it for him. Town stats and townsfolk for example.
When I first read the Pathfinder core rule book, I was in love. That love sustains me when I see something I don't like in one of the supplemental splat books because worst case scenario, I can ignore any and all splat and run a very satisfactory core game.
Core 5th edition, seems like a bare-bones launching platform predicated on high levels of dependency on future splat books.
Pathfinder's chief weakness to me is a ho-hum GM book. They deliberately made it un-core, and it feels very unessential. In most cases, as a GM its something that costs me time to implement instead of saving me time by offering solutions to things that crop up while playing/world building. 3.0 and 3.5 had great DMGs, where pathfinder has an adequate DMG packed into its core rule book, with additional DM themed splat books for DM's who want to invest more time in optional sub systems.
So, I'll reserve my ultimate judgement until I see a 5th edition DMG.
That said, I take exception with the notion that the higher levels of complexity in Pathfinder's character options somehow curtails the freedom granted by free-form imagination imposed on a bare-bones rules set. Pathfinder's complexity is usually pretty modular for both GMs and players. Want a simple hack and slash dungeon crawl? The rules make it intuitive to run one. Want to take your game out of the dungeon into high concept intrigue and social adventure, great you have the tools to transition seamlessly. Want to play a rule's light character concept that manifests himself through roleplaying instead of feats and skill picks? Great, pick a character class, make a general build, and bring him to life at the table. Want your character to have very specific mechanic abilities to match the concept? Great, spend another hour or two combing through character options. Dependency on crunchy rules is generally up to the players and GM, but having them there gives you the option to use them when you need them. Rules-light systems are restricted by not having crunchy options when you need them.
I don't want complex rules or simple rules... I want good rules. Good rules create balanced mechanics to easily resolve the questions that arise from the gaming groups' collective creativity, while minimizing the tax on the GM's time, and ultimately providing a fun an challenging game. Bare-bones systems run the danger of devolving into "the GM's story-telling hour" while crunchier systems run the danger of devolving into table-top war gaming. Pathfinder leans toward the crunchy end of the spectrum, but all in all I'd say its imperfect rules are holistically the best ones I've encountered. To get me to play something else, it needs to fill a niche better than something else. I'm not sure 5th edition fills the rules-light niche better than fourth edition.
I think that the mechanics for Metamagic rods are better than the mechanics for metamagic feats. In fact the rods mainly exist because the feats are unsatisfactory. Both feat cost and gold expenditure represent a significant investment of your character building resources, but gold expenditure is rewarded much better for some reason, especially given the affordability of some of the rods. Eating up high level spell slots sounds like a better balance than limiting the ability to times per day, until you think of the impact on the game.
Usually casters' highest 2-3 levels of spells are the only ones making a big difference to the party in tough situations. Taking those away to power up lower level abilities usually won't do much more than breaking even with a properly selected high level spell. Caster's are going to provide the party with their big hat tricks less often and everybody has to nap more often. The adventure party becomes a sleepover party.
Metamagic rods don't have a meaningful cost besides the gold you spend on them. Three times per day is way more use than most casters generally should get out of their Metamagic feats unless if they're spamming a single exploit of a low level spell (in which case buy two rods). True, metamagic rods are priced so that for most of the game you're only able to afford a rod that powers up spells that aren't your top highest level... but that's not any more restrictive than the feats. Rods are used to make your backup supply of low level spells more viable, while leaving your primary supply of high level spells in tact. Your not doing bigger things for the party, you're just doing moderately useful things for the party longer. Big dumb fighter and sneaky rogue don't have feel so narcoleptic, and the game becomes more about adventure and derring-do, than setting up camp watches in ever other room of the dungeon and seeing how much the martial character can do without magical support.
SO... I think metamagic feats should just grant you some amount of free uses of their ability per day that only apply to spells of your highest level -X where X is the intended level adjustment for that metamagic feat.
Very imaginative. I'd enjoy playing in your world. Really like the vaguely colonial feel, as well as the government agent espionage implications you mentioned in another thread. Talk of colonies and the new world makes want to see somewhere vaguely based of of pre-revolutionary Boston and Philidelphia. The idea of playing a PC based on Ben Franklin tickles me.
Some of your blend of elements reminds me of Eberron... though it sounds like you want to play up the espionage more.
For the PC classes that you are unsure of how they fit in... I suggest looking through their archetypes and seeing if one of them fits in somewhere better than the core version. Classic bards for instance don't sound especially fitting, but their are tons of archetypes that radically alter the Bard's flavor. If you pick certain archetypes as the default for each class, it will go along way toward re-skinning away the classic D&D feel. Also, you could make different nations have a different archetype for each class.
For example, your default for fighters could be the Trench Fighter archetype that gives some gun related abilities. Also I could see certain parts of the world having Corsair fighters that just add pistols to the list of Pirate weapons.
Almost every class has an archetype that injects Fire Arms into their build. I suggest looking those over.
I really like the flavor and lore you've come up with, especially the death of the gods thing, but one potentially negative mechanical side effect I foresee:
There's a big difference between bloodline powers you pick as GM to approximate magic items, and the players ability to customize his build by selecting the right magic items from the many many magic item options available to them. The game is built on the assumption that characters have an approximate amount of intelligently selected magic items for their class determined by their level. The GM gets to choose the build of almost every creature in the game, each player only gets to build the stats of 1 PC. For you to take a major chunk of the mechanical choices of PCs, doesn't leave players with as much participation in the mechanical aspect of character building.
One solution might be to have the players have a pool of "goldpoints" appropriate to their level (or slightly reduced) as per the character advancement table, that they could spend on magic item abilities (weapons, armor, body slotted wonderous items, and rings) at level up... but just re-fluff it as powers they are obtaining from their bloodline.
"At level 6 I have 16000 goldpoints worth of magical abilities granted by mystical connection to the dragon bloodline. This power imbues my melee attacks with +1 and keen (8000 goldpoints), it also magically reinforces my armor +1 enhancment bonus to anything I wear and light fortification vs critical hits (4000 goldpoints), further it forms a protective mystical field that provides a +1 deflection bonus to AC (1000 goldpoints per ring of deflection), and it gives me a +1 resistance bonus to all saving throws (1000 goldpoints per cloak of resistance)."
You could also give them more thematic bloodline abilities and adjust their gold point budget accordingly.
I'm a GM, so that's how I see things.
1. The absence of an online npc character generator that allows me to designate a race, class levels, and alignment and then spits me out a stat block with vaguely intelligent feat, equipment, and spell selections. I had several of these options for 3.X, and it made my life 5000 times easier as a GM.
2. NPCs take FOREVER to generate in bulk after level 2.
3. Favored Class Bonus. I loved this at first. But after playing the system for a year, I find that it is just one more layer of character complexity that makes the game worse by allowing characters to erase their weaknesses and all look the same. It is especially bad because it highlights two of the systems worst class balance problems and makes them worse. It takes the only drawback of being a mage- squshiness, and largely lets you erase it with a bunch of free hitpoints (as if the d6 wasn't enough). Then it takes the games crappiest class, the Rogue, and let's anyone have a whole bunch of what makes them special: skills
4. The Splat Books. Specifically Ultimate Combat and APG. I don't mind Ultimate Magic, because it's so bad that there is nothing in there I'd ever want to use. The APG and Ultimate Combat entice me into hours of trying to separate the little flecks of gold from the piles of steaming filth. They are so very far beneath the standards set by the Core Rulebook that it can be disorienting. Granted, most of the material in the core rulebooks has been playtested and improved upon for decades by hundreds of players and designers, while the stuff in the splat was just pulled out of thin air by Paizo in the last 2-3 years on a deadline, but sadly that is exactly how it reads, and how it plays.
5. The Golgarion/AP centric paradigm. I run my own games that I generate, and set in Eberron. I hear that the AP's and PFS are top noch if you're into that sort of thing, and I don't doubt it, but I get the impression that they are not particularly concerned with making my life easier as a GM, because they think I'm using their Adventure Paths.
6. Traits. I thought these sounded like a great way of letting the players flesh out their characters, with some harmless little background perks. Turns out they are another layer of poorly balanced rules bloat that have added no additional flavor to the PCs, but have become central to several of their builds.
7. Class Skills mean NOTHING. Fighter- never dies in combat. Wizard- can control the entire universe by Lv 5. Cleric- never dies in combat AND controls the entire universe by level 5. Rogue- gets twice as many +3 bonuses to underpowered skills that everyone can access as the Cleric does.
8. Combined super skills, mean that classes with few skill points never notice that they have few skill points, further exacerbating the nerfiness of the rouge class. This is of course further exacerbated by the favored class thing that gives everyone as many additional skill points as they need.
9. Too many spells outshine skills and make rogues irrelevant.
10. Spellcaster>Warrior>Skill User
11. Monks either suck or use some poorly balanced splatbook mechanics that break/slow down my game. There is no middle ground.
12. Spell blasters still kinda suck.
13. Trip is a little OP. Giving a few more options to prone characters would help.
14. Too many cut & paste artifacts from 3.5 and awkward rules seams where they changed something without rewriting
15. Transmutation and Conjuration are still, individually the only school you'll ever need.
16. The 'Over Haul' of the spell system is underwhelming.
17. Clerics are still a little OP, though I admit they are less so than in 3.5
18. Christmas Tree effect, made worse by the fact that the rules imply unfettered market access to any magic item the players can afford.
19. Archetypes. I liked them at first... until I saw them in action a while. Want to give up a well designed special ability that the party is depending on someone of your class to have, to get a poorly designed special ability that lets you narrowly over specialize? Choose an archetype. Or, alternately: Want to let your players give up a useless class ability that they were never going to use for an over powered ability they are going to use 10 times a session? Choose an archetype.
20. The mechanics of the Sorcerer bloodlines are super under powered, especially when you compare them with their divine counter part, the Oracle.
Well all of the spells change the game so I don't know what this thread is about.
Granted, all spells change the game, but they don't all change the game in the same way. As a GM who writes his own adventures, I don't really need to look ahead and familiarize myself with the impact and rules minutia of a spell like chain lightning, hold monster, or even haste. Most combat spells are just variations on the same themes that a GM has to contend with at every level: save or suck, save or die, battlefield control, blasting, healing, debuff, offense buff, defense buff, etc. All these things tend to do, what I generally count on the party eventually doing: ie- kill the badguys after I say "roll initiative". Many non combat spells, also don't have a wide ranging impact on the game: knock/find traps doesn't do much a rogue can't with a skill check. Warp wood, doesn't do much that a barbarian can't do with an axe and 20 minutes. The rules text for Speak with Plants is basically just a list of things the spell can't do.
Other spells significantly impact what I can and can't include in an adventure as a fun and challenging encounter, what kind of mcguffins and plot hooks I can use, what double-crosses and betrayals I can pull, what environmental challenges I can use to create atmosphere, and in general what stories I can tell with the rules. If I want to run a murder mystery, and I forget to account for Speak to Dead, then I'm screwed. If I want to channel Heart of Darkness and take the party on a trek through the Jungle to get somewhere, I need to make sure they can't just teleport to the end point, my encounters need to have some way of challenging and drawing in flying characters, and I can't expect to be able to drive home how nasty and grimy they all feel at the end of their epic jungle odyssey, because they'll just cast Prestidigitation and clean themselves up instantly as soon as I mention it.
I'm not saying these spells are good or bad, underpowered or overpowered, etc. and I'm not saying that they can't be countered or worked around, I'm just saying that GMs who write their own adventures risk disappointment and frustration if they aren't familiar with this kind of spell before they put pen to paper.
I'm trying to bone up what I like to call "game-changing spells" that the PCs get access to. By this, I mean spells that vastly change the kind of encounters and even plot points I can plan for the party as the GM. I don't just mean awesome or powerful combat spells, but rather the predominantly non-combat spells have the potential to prevent specific role-playing experiences, especially if the GM doesn't take them into consideration when writing the adventure.
Anyone care to help me put together a list? The first few that come to mind:
-Speak with dead- Can easily kill a murder mystery plot, if not prepared for.
-Transportation/Transp, Greater- Can easily skip right past travel based encounters.
-Fly/Overland Flight- Can bypass travel based encounters, and pit-styled dungeon barriers,
-Stone Shape- Can bypass dungeon areas, prisons, doors, etc.
-Rope Trip- Pretty much cancels all ambushed-while-camping scenarios.
Andrew Betts wrote:
Thanks, could you tell me where I can find the Core Rules errata thread? I've looked around on several sections of the forum and haven't come across it.
I'm not sure if this is the right section to post this, as its and error in the PD but also in the core rule book, but...
The spell Crushing Despair list VSM under its component details, but lists no Material component. In the 3.5 SRD, the listed component was a vial of tears, so I'm assuming that's what is intended.
I know it's a pedantic thing to point out, but I thought if someone is still paying attention and updating the PRD, it would be an easy fix.
As a GM who's wants to allow a Magus into is games because it sounds cool, but is hesitant to do so after a cursory reading, I whole-heartedly disagree with the sentiment 'gms get ideas in there head, and its useless to talk them out of them'. I haven't done my homework on the Magus yet, but my initial reaction is that it's already too easy to make a Gish that will out-combat the combat focused classes by upper low-level without the magus making it easy; that the magus's ability descriptions are vaguely and sloppily written; and that allowing the magus might result in me having to allow other things from that hap-hazardly assembled book.
If a player comes to me with sincere points about why my concerns aren't valid, I will be eager to entertain them and if called for let go of my concerns. If on the other hand a player comes to me with the attitude that I'm a bad GM if I don't allow everything printed in every non-core supplement Paizo churns out for a quick profit hence forth, or simply thinks the class sounds cool (it does) and I should therefore not worry about any of the balance issues it may introduce into the game, then I will be less easily dissuaded from my knee-jerk reaction to the class.
This is actually something I brought up in the rules thread several months ago. As far as I can tell, and was told, there is no magical paragraph in the rules that makes this clear. It states in the core rulebook the usual face/reach for creatures by size, but only as general guidelines, not as hard & fast rules, unless it has been recently erataed.
Of course the companions that are listed in the bestiary have monster versions that they are based on, but clearly these aren't intended to indicate the abilities of the creature, as they separately list a different set of abilities for the companion version, often with a different size. So as far as i can tell, this is one of those frustratingly frequent points where the GM has to pull a ruling out of thin air.
Middle Earth. Had like 10 wizards in the entire world througout all of history, but it seemed that you couldn't go through a single troll encounter without picking up 10 specific magic weapons forged by elven or dwarven smiths.
Since most people agree that spellcasting is already an unsurmountably broken advantage that non-casters will never be able to make up for, I wish that they hadn't also made casting classes, the undisputed magic item manufacturers. I wish the master craftsman feat was on steroids. In fact I don't even think it should be a feat. I just think crafts people who also have a few ranks in spellcraft should be able to make magic items. In a world of magic, craftspeople should be better at crafting things... even magic ones, than blastercasters. As it is, they can barely craft mundane items with any efficiency, and casters still do it way better with Fabricate. By the time most casters are a high enough level to make magic items, they have enough spells to break the entire world's economy as it is, there is very little incentive for them to make and sell magic items. They don't even need money, they can cast spells that give them magical mansions, and food, and whatever else they need. So where do all of our magic shops get their goodies? Lame NPC crafts people, that's where.
Kind of a side thing, but I thought I'd post it here and the caster lovers would eagerly flame me to death if I was wrong:
Isn't the most reliable debuff in the game until around level 10 or so, a Fighter with a net? Do casters have any kind of save-or-suck type spells that can compete in terms of simple reliability? Full base attack class with feats and what-not making a touch attack is almost an auto-confirm. It has 10 foot range, that can become 10 foot reach if you really want to spend a feat on it, so from the front row you can access just about everybody on the first turn, unless they're flying. The debuff's effects impede offense, defense, movement, and spellcasting, so almost any BBEG that isn't bigger than large, will suffer from it. And as a side perk, BBEG is softened up against reflex saves. So about the only folks that this near-auto-confirming debuff isn't useful against are flying casters outdoors, and creatures that are bigger than large. And there's no duration on the damn thing, so either he learns to live with the penalties indefinitely, or BBEG loses a turn attacking a net. This seems like an almost a sure fire way to lower an encounter's difficulty by about 1 to 2 CRs.
Now, I haven't seen a big Net fan-club on the boards, so I'm sure I'm just wrong about how useful it is. So please tell me why this isn't the first thing people bring up to counter the argument "the only meaningful way fighters have of solving problems is by dealing damage".
Some good points, and others I may disagree with. As a courtesy to forum browsers, I do wish you had chosen a title that let me know what this was about without clicking it (IE: "What I'd Change About Spells"). But I guess that's just a pet peeve of mine.
My main reaction is that I don't think any spells should be gotten rid of entirely, just reworked. If Paizo can make Polymorph work, they should be able to fix just about anything.
I like your views on summons, and think that they just got too lazy with the spell, rolling to much into 1 spell. This gives way too much versatility to spellcasting classes who already have way too much versatility. Separate summon spells for separate monsters is the way to go. In fact, I wouldn't mind them splitting conjuration and creation off into separate schools, and just filling the conjuration school up with lots and lots of specific summoning spells. As it is, conjuration is already the uberschool, so you could take a lot away from them before they started to feel it.
I also sort of agree with you about the flavor of sleep. It is a spell that almost guarantees less than heroic behavior from your heroic characters. I'm not sure what the solution is, but I would like it if they changed these spells to be just as effective without incentivezing the old throat slit thing. I probably wouldn't bother with it in my game, but if you wanted to fix this mechanically instead of just by laying down the ground rules with the players, you could add a line saying something like "Any creatures affected by the sleep spell have a mystical connection with the caster as long as they are under the spell's effect, which causes the caster to take 1d4 CON damage each time one of them is damaged or successfully attacked." Players would then be better off just tying up the sleeping beauties and taking their stuff. Sleep would become more than just an inconvenient death spell (or less depending on how you look at it.)
GMs are rare and beautiful creatures, and are to be encouraged.
We all have to start somewhere, and that start is going to be akward for him. Not only should you give him a chance, but you should do your very damnedest not to correct him, or try to establish yourself as a rules resource during play. New GMs suck. Always. The game might wind up being fun, but it will be fun in spite of a whole lot of things the GM does wrong. That's an inevitability. What isn't an inevitability is whether or not he enjoys himself enough to keep doing it and get better. And very few GMing experiences are less enjoyable than trying to learn how to do it with someone aggressively looking over your shoulder quoting rules at you. Plus, if the GM doesn't have experience, or full command of the rules, he doesn't have much besides the authority of being GM. Undermine that and the session will surely suck for EVERYONE.
Also I disagree with the consensus. If he's trying to learn Pathfinder, he's better off running a small party, because that's what the rules best support. Trying to learn a party-oriented system with a solo adventure isn't particularly useful GM experience, and vastly increases his odds of TPKing you on his first step out of the gate.
Once he gets a session or two in and learns how to take charge, you might consider making yourself available as an adviser between or during sessions, but only if he wants it.
It might be a little different if this was just some random gaming acquaintance, but you started the thread out by saying he was a friend. Be a friend and help him discover the singular pleasure of GMing. Besides, running a player character every now and then will help YOU become a better GM.
I agree with Treant Monk in theory... just like I believe all sorts of politically correct things about men and women... in theory. I know some men that like to watch emotional dramas (myself included), and some women who don't. But time and again, I've found that if I want to watch an emotional drama, usually my guy friends aren't going to enjoy it. Men get sports, multiple choice, and commitment issues. Women get shoes, Elton John, and maternal instincts. Obviously these are just crude generalizations, with enough exceptions to them that the rule should probably just be thrown out, but it's difficult to give up these biases when they are so frequently reinforced by experience.
Sadly, a lot of us have found by experience that MOST players who exhibit a strong inclination toward min/maxing are less inclined toward several different traits that some people describe with the phrase 'role-playing' focused, for lack of a better word, whether you define that as story-driven, cinematicly inclined, psycho-dramatic characterization focused, social-interaction focused, etc. etc. I personally have even found that some players who are skilled and enthusiastic power-gamers, are among the best roleplayers in these other ways as well. However, I've also observed that those player's power gaming instincts are often at odds with their role-playing motives. The most imaginative and dramatic roleplayer in my group, often seems to be torn between what he wants his character to do in the story, and what he knows the mathmatical odds of success dictate he should do. Some sessions it gets the best of him, and his role playing seems to take a hit as he uses immersion-breaking tactics or character building options to maximize his odds of success. In fact it seems rare for him to be a good role-player and a good power-gamer on the same day. Which is fine with me because there's room for all kinds.
So does all this mean that my hardcore feminist friends shouldn't chide me for calling my emotional dramas 'chick flicks'? No, they're probably right to chide me. And Treeant Monk is probably right to chide us for talking about 'roleplaying' versus 'power gaming'. However, when folks like myself slip up, and refer to the observable dichotomy in our games, it's a little naive for others to just shout "Stormwind Fallacy!" and act like they don't know where we're coming from.
Firstly, I'd just like to say, I'm pleased to have started a thread that got people passionately citing 1st/2nd edition rules at one another. You don't see enough of that.
I think main reason that armor vs. weapon rules were not used more universally was just their placement in the book. When me and my friends were teaching ourselves the system, if we wanted to know what a longsword did, we flipped to the equipment chapter, not the combat chapter. By the time we noticed the armor vs. weapon rules, we were already used to doing it without so it seemed like too much trouble for too little pay off. Plus we were coming off of the non-advanced old school D&D, which I don't believe used these rules, so we thought we already knew how combat worked. Add to it that the D&D computer games seldom if ever mentioned these rules, and it was pretty easy to just not know about them or pretend they weren't there.
If you want to check out a system with a hardcore commitment to weapon/armor simulation, I recommend finding an old copy or PDF of the Rolemaster book called Arms Law. They gave each weapon its own 150 line table with a separate column for each weapon type. Once you determined the initial result of an attak, if it was a critical, you were referred to a separate critical table (slashing/piercing/crushing/etc.) which was a 100 line table with 5 columns for 5 different levels of crit severity. Each result on this table specifically described the result of your attack, extra damage, wounding, auto-kills, bleeding, stun, etc.
All I want is a vague nod to simulation for all of the pathfinder weapons, and for all of them to have a meaningful niche in the game. And for it to be perfectly balanced. And for my favorite weapons to be super awesome. Hmmm. Maybe I have unreasonable expectations. Still... I want what I want.
Yeah, my thing with the traits is that my players wanted to be good, but can't help but be bad when they are amply incentivized. This would remove that.
Question though: Do you really think:
My knee-jerk reaction is that the extra class skill sounds a little better than the extra +1 to a skill, but I haven't thought it through much. I mean, assuming that the character wasn't going to ever multiclass, isn't it just a question of +1/+1/+1 vs. +1/+4
A few things immediately come to mind:
-Houserule the Heal skill to be able to do a lot more. Heal skill on steroids. Pulling something out of my wazu: maybe using basic medical supplies, as a standard action, dc 10 to heal 1d6 damage +1d6 for each 5 points you beat the dc by. Then a longer version of the check that requires an hour, but heals d10s, and can target up to 4 people. Then versions of the check to deal with special conditions, poison, etc more effectively. Basically look through the cleric's spell list for every healing capability they have, and make up some fairly easy way for a character to replicate it with the heal skill.
-Make all of the basic +1/2/3/4/5,keen, and fortification magic item abilities available, just say they aren't magic, but the result of expert craftmanship.
-Use lower CRs that give more xp, and use a lot of humanoid enemies that follow the same rules as your pcs. Save dragons and vampires and mummies and such for special occasions, the way they are often used in fantasy literature.
-Don't allow wizards and other real spellcasters, or gimp the living crap out of them(ie change spells per day to spells per week, and give them 0 opportunities to pick up new scrolls, etc). If you just make it harder for your fighters and rogues to get magic items, but then let your wizards and clerics cast as well as ever, you are really just making your magic users more superior, and giving your players even less incentive to play fighters and rogues than they have in the core rules (which aint much).
My suggestion was to have ability point boosts to Str/Dex/Con at appropriate levels to get around the MAD issue (I also think this thematically fits the best of any "fix" when you consider the basic concept is physical perfection)
That's actually not a terrible idea. Thanks for sharing.
Wow, that's the second thing you've said on the forums in the last few days that may wind up in all of my future games. (The other was the full BAB D10hp Monk).
I was really excited about introducing traits to my games. Then I did and it sucked. Instead of picking something that made richer characters, my casters all felt obligated to pump up their concentration and initiative. Some of them even really wanted the fluffy traits but just couldn't justify the chance to patch up some of their character's only weakness. My super high AC fighter scrounged up some weird trait I'd never heard of which is just like dodge, except it doesn't go away when you lose your dex, and he has to be wearing the only kind of armor he'd ever be wearing (half a feat.. srsly?). My multiclass caster took the one that kept his caster-level going up as he dip-classed. And then the guy in the group who isn't a minmaxer chose some virtually useless thing and fell even further behind the party.
I stepped in and cleaned the situation up, by houseruling some of the traits to work differently, but felt like bad guy while I did it, because I just gave the group new toys and then took them away. I suppose that's what I get for thinking 'Paizo are professional game designers.... if they introduce a new mechanic to the game, I should just go ahead and use it, without spending a few hours reading through all of the possible choices and reflecting on how they will unbalance my game." So instead of creating any fun, it just left me with more paperwork and a slightly less balanced game. Yippee!
My random idea: Goblin Cavalier/Samurai with a wolf mount. The worg-riding goblin is kind of already a trope, but not one you see played much. And the extra baggage that comes along with having an order and edicts to follow would be fun if a little silly to combine with a monstrous background. Plus Wolves are small enough that you could ride them into most dungeons, so you could probably get a little more use out of the mount than the typical human horseman.
Yeah I can see 2 arguments for that one: 3 Prongs = X3 and its basically the only spear/pole-arm type piercing weapon without the X3 crit.
Falcatas which aren't better than every other possible weapon option.
Yeah, they should have at least had the decency to lower the base damage on these to 1d6. Not that that would have glossed over the fact that they broke one of the core design taboos that even Wizards of the Coast had the restraint to stay away from... but at least a d6 would have been an empty gesture to toward game balance.
There are several weapons that I either just really like, or have done a little research on, and think that the rules present them as underwhelming options. I'd be curious to know what weapons other people would like to see get a power bump. Of course I appreciate the extremely difficult balance issues that would make it silly to just start randomly pumping up items in the game, so I'm hoping this thread can be more about wishful thinking, than game balance.
Weapons I'd like to see gain some power are:
Slings- These should be a lot more lethal. The Romans developed a special set of medical calipers just for removing sling stones that had become deeply embedded in their soldiers' bodies. I'd take a chop from a shortsword, way before I'd catch a sling stone. If nothing else they should have a X3 crit.
Butterfly Swords- I mainly just like these, and think they are way too big and heavy and awesome to be dealing 1d4 damage.
Trident- I have a player doing a Retiarus style gladiator (ie net and trident), and after they put out a feat called, Net and Trident, there is still very little mechanical reward for him to choose the trident over his other 1 handed weapon options. Despite his best efforts to make use of them, the tiny range increment and the brace feature have done nothing for him after dozens of encounters some of which intentionally designed with his weaponry in mind, and he would have been getting tons of use out a higher crit range or bigger multiplier. Plus similarly shaped weapons like the sai and ranseur get the Disarm feature. I say give it disarm and increase its range increment a little.
So does anyone else have pet-weapons that they think should be more awesome?
I generally agree with Cartigan, that if a 6 person party with some casters in it is even using low level team tactics and smart casting, the odds of consistently challenging them are stacked against you. That said, I'll throw in my two cents on some methods that may work:
Audit their character sheets and abilities. Sometimes with the purest of intentions, players will fudge their math on accident and give them selves phantom abilities. While its perfectly possible they are legitimately as formidable as they seem, it doesn't hurt to look here first. Make sure that they have calculated the right number of spells per day and spells known. Make sure the Save DCs for their spells look right and echo what their telling you in battle. AC especially can be a complicated thing to calculate, so make sure that you review it carefully. Make sure their HP, makes sense. Make sure their initiative, saves, and attack bonuses make sense. While you're doing this keep your eyes open for the limitations of your PCs. Make notes like 'wow, I didn't know Bob had such a shabby Fort save... RE necromancers'.
Once you have torn through the character sheets, go and look at the top 5 spells and effects that are really chewing up your encounters. Read the spell descriptions carefully, looking for errors in the way your group has been interpreting the effects, and also looking for weakness and dependencies for these effects to work. Then flip through the bestiary or generate npcs to exploit the shortcomings of these spells. There's very rarely a single effect that can't be countered several ways by the rules. As long as you know in advance what tricks your party is going to spam, it should be fairly simple to stack the cards against them.
Also spam the same stuff at them. Throw some encounters at them where there are as many casters as the group has with a fair amount of meat shields, and build your casters with high initiative. Then just out-debuff, out battlefield control, and out-buff them. Don't worry too much about spells like Dispel that are reactive to what they do, but focus on spells that will mess them up proactively, and buff up your meatshields. If you feel like they are just picking better magic than you, I'd google Treantmonk's guide to playing a wizard.
Also it sounds like you're rewarding metagaming a little. If they assume that something that looks big scary and armored must have bad will saves, throw them up against some evil clerics who burn some feats to wear Heavy Plate and Greatswords, and let them waste some will save spells on them, before busting out their effects. Use illusions to eat their spells. Don't advertise the stat blocks of your enemies by the way you describe them. Try to play with their heads and bait the wrong spells out of them at the wrong times. Just try to do it without stepping outside the mechanics of the rules.
Also, it doesn't sound like your group is properly exploiting fly spells, which is a time honored cheap caster tactic, so maybe you need to teach it to them. Have some casters with fly bombard them with spells from above, moving into and out of spell/archery range to frequently blip in and out danger. Don't let up on this until the Players find away around it. If your enemies run out of Fly spell and things to bombard on them, and the party still hasn't died, come up with an effective counter, or fled for safety, let the NPC casters do what the PC's would do and retreat, recharge, and repeat. This obviously can also work with scary flying creatures like dragons. If you get the party really well with a mean trick like this, they won't feel so bored the next time the mow-down an easy encounter because they know it isn't a given.
Consider setting up some battles in waves. Plan encounters where only a limited number of the enemies are originally visible or target-able. Let the party burn a bunch of spells on hoards of flunkies, while their leader gets buffed in a back room with some better flunkies, then when they've already gotten several rounds into their haste spell and used some of their crowd control magic, out comes BBEG on steroids with some backup, casting and clobbering. Then when they land some debuffs on wave 2, use some good summoning magic to bring in some fresh, un-debuffed monsters.
One thing to be grateful for, is either your cleric isn't quite as clever as the others, or you're actually damaging the party with enough consistency that it makes sense for your cleric to spend turns on healing people instead of buffing/striking. Anytime your monsters get the cleric to throw away a turn on healing instead of actually tipping the scales of the battle, consider it a success.
If you do decide to fudge any rules, the one I would fudge is how much XP you have to hand out per encounter. The rules are basically set up where a 6 person party gets half the XP as a 3 person party, but the difficulty of encounters vs. party size don't really scale that way when you make use of effective team tactics and you have ample casters coordinating spells. If you think you're not going to be able to adequately challenge the group on a regular basis without giving them an experience orgy, I'd talk to them and let them know that your going to houserule some of the experience awards to more accurately reflect the realities of your game.
Because the monk would have the same BAB as non-spellcaster classes.
Actually it's even harsher than that, because he has a crappier BAB and HP than some other characters who DO get spells like the Ranger and the Pal.
EDIT: Here's a novel idea that comes from the long defunct RPG known as Rolemaster: give the monk some spells. Monks are religious/philosophical little bastards, why shouldn't they get some divine magic at higher levels like a ranger does?
Mike Schneider wrote:
Assuming Keen or ImpCrit with both, approximately 95% of the time (i.e., anytime you roll a 15 or 16 -- the only numbers that make a difference between the two -- then roughly halving odds for nonconfirms or vs. non-critabls) you're forfeiting a steady 1.5 extra damage with the d10 vs. the 2d6.
Woah, preachin' to the choir man. I personally think the mantra "bigger crit range is more important than bigger damage dice" is overblown and over simplified, for a lot of the reasons you just listed. However, I don't think that means we have to be anti-big-crit-range. The truth is that measuring the value of say a Falchion over a Greatsword involves a large and hugely situational number of variables that can't be compared in absolute terms. The difficulty is a testament to how well this particular aspect of the game is balanced. Since the importance of a big crit range varies by character build/campaign/encounter, and the OP is just asking what new goodies does UC have for 2-handers, I think its fair to bring up the No-Dachi as something some 2-hand builds may want to consider.
My problem with giving Monks a full BAB is that it pushes them into being grouped with Fighters, Paladins, Barbarians, and Rangers. Monks shouldn't be grouped with those classes. Monks should sit between Rangers and Rogues. I like the fact that their CMB is equivalent to that of the full BAB classes, but that's about as far as I think they should go with regards to raising their BAB.
Thanks for clearing up my flying question, point conceded. I haven't really seen everything some of these spell casting classes can do.
As for the rest, I wasn't saying that these are great abilities, I was just saying that counter to Gatfomki's point the monk has some magic-like abilities. Spells can be defensive and situational like the monk's abilities. I would say that none of them are like just another version of hitting things. Ki pool is sort of like a haste spell in that it lets you do more on your turn than you are supposed to and buffs your AC. Stunning fist is like a decent low to mid level debuffing spell, and quivering palm is like a high level death spell. Hitting things typically just does damage to them, which is one of the reason casters are generally better than fighters.
Firstly I think I didn't present my initial standpoint in the best way, because I assumed that I would come in and have people arguing the point that Ninjas aren't better than Rogues. Since no one really seems to hold that standpoint I probably should have focused more on why they shouldn't have made a new class that is a better version of a core class. I see 2 possibilities: Paizo thinks the Rogue isn't gimped, or Paizo thinks the Rogue is gimped. If Paizo thinks the Rogue isn't gimped, then making a new version of the rogue that is more powerful than the rogue is clearly unbalanced nonsense. If Paizo thinks the Rogue is gimped they should fix the Rogue class. If their idea of fixing the rogue class is to replace it with a better version of the Rogue class, then they should do that without forcibly inserting an Eastern element in my game.
@Shadow and Maxximilius- The fluff implied by the Ninja's abilities doesn't reflect the fluff of a Rogue. It implies very well the fluff of a ninja (eastern weapons, mystical vanish powers, flashes of extra Ki attack, etc.) If I just replaced the rogue class in my campaign with the abilities of a ninja, it wouldn't feel much like a classic D&D rogue. If we just look at the ninja as the fix for rogue, then we won't see many actual vanilla rogues until next edition, just a bunch of katana wielding ki users. Which I understand some people will find just dandy, but it is an unwelcome fluff disruption for some of us who want our pathfinder games to still feel like D&D.
Also if we are supposed to use this to replace the rogue, I wish they hadn't added insult to injury with this introduction:
Ultimate Combat wrote:
@Kais86- I think there's some confusion. I wasn't referencing Forgotten Trick anywhere in my class match up. I was referencing the ninja trick called "Rogue Talent" that let's a ninja burgle any rogue talent.
How do Bards, Clerics(except for 2 domains), Druids, Inquisitors, and Oracles get to fly? Isn't that one 6.5 out of 19.
I think the OP initially asked that this not become a 'do monks suck?' thread (they do) but instead asked this to be a 'to the extent that monks are useful, what are their uses' thread.
In addition to walking and hitting things a core monk (to say nothing of archetypes) gets the following psuedo magic abilities:-Stunning fist and Ki pool, if you want to count em.
-Wholeness of Body
-Tongue of Son and Moon
@Adastragames- Wow, I really like number 1. It's so obvious that I can't believe its not already RAW.
Maybe I haven't gotten around to making that thread yet, maybe I don't use monks in my games because they are so weak that they are unusable even with the archetypes, maybe I think Monks are a super broken uber-class and archetypes make them worse; whatever the case I see it as not relevant to the ninja thread. If you wanted to argue the point that the rogue needed fixing and the ninja is that fix, then I'm happy to contend with that point. But I'd rather not follow breadcrumbs down a tangential path.
I agree with you that Rogues are too weak (a little). I think that there are multiple game styles that the rules are properly designed to indulge and there are game styles that the game system shouldn't need to indulge based on how far they are from mainstream. I think that lots of people play a similar gamestyle to my group, which embraces traditional RPG tropes like the rogue, and wants good mechanics to go along with their fluff. For people like us, a ninja isn't a rogue and doesn't give the same play experience by virtue of not being a rogue. I also think that lots of people play a style where fluff isn't entirely important, but good mechanics are. These folks will find that the shiny new ninja is an adequate replacement for the broken rogue. I think both of these play styles are mainstream enough for the rules to accommodate them, but they only chose to accommodate one. If the problem is indeed that the rogue was broken, then the solution is not to replace the rogue, but to fix it. How might this be done? Well I'm not a professional game designer but I humbly offered some ideas in my post:
] Since it may be a valid argument that in the core rules rogues are already too weak compared to other classes, I would also submit that in future editions Rogues get 10 skill points per level, and for Paizo to greatly expand upon the number of useful things each skill can accomplish, as well as giving level-scaling class-skill bonuses and special uses of a skill that can only be done if it is a class skill. [/QUOTE wrote:
I agree that that this little beta experiment isn't the best time to re-examine the lighting rules, but before these new rules show up in an officially printed form, I think it makes sense for them to reexamine how they interact with darkness the same way they are examining how they interact with cover and concealment.
Right. Just because you think the Monk is a sub-optimal class(as I do), doesn't mean you can deny the things that he can do better than a lot of other classes. He is more mobile than most fighters. He can sneak better than most clerics. He can sense motive better than most wizards. He can do more damage than most bards. He can survive spells better than just about anyone, except a wizard who has anticipated what kind of spells he's going to have cast against him. If an enemy is great at sundering or disarming, the the monk is better equipped to take him out than most fighters. And so on.
Stephane's analogy is faulty, in that the commoner really doesn't have anything it can do better than anyone else.
Sadly, I think there's some truth in that. To the extent that he is useful, the majority of his usefulness comes from being able to survive a lot of different kinds of situations, not really his ability to actively solve problems.
@Atarlost: I largely agree with you. I tend to think of the party as a whole in terms of what can it accomplish and what can it survive. That's probably because I GM 90% more often than I PC. When someone's making a PC, its generally helpful for them to try to figure out what holes are there to be filled in the Party's repertoire and step into those holes. Often this can be difficult to see with detail for a given player who doesn't have access to everyone else's character sheets, so its helpful to view characters in terms of broad class roles. That said, I think its more fun for everyone to just roll up whatever character they want to play, and then organically try to meld them all into a functional party.
I think the short answer is as much as possible adapt a GMing style that creates a spontaneous story instead of a predetermined one. If you know that the King is looking for adventurers to explore the dungeon, that doesn't have to mean that your planning on making that the partys goal. If the party instead meets the king and thinks "wow this guys got a lot of stuff... we should plan a grand heist and rob the king!!!"... well that sounds like an exciting adventure too, maybe even more so. If you started out with the assumption that your characters and plots were there for the players to play with, not there to for the players to follow, then you should enjoy this as much as they do. And you actually get to ROLEPLAY your NPCs instead of just reading pre-written script.
That said, I think most good campaigns have some loose ideas of what the big moments and catalysts are going to be, and if you spent 8 hours building a dungeon that the king is going to send the party into, and you don't give them many reasons to do anything else, and you come up with several alternate contingencies for getting them into the damn dungeon, but the party only wants to hang out in the bordello or go wandering around in the wilderness that you didn't really map out very well, then I'd say the parties being a little obstinate.
Pathfinder especially isn't a system that's easy on the GM's free time, and so material that you put blood sweat and tears into should be something the party is trying to help you bring in, not something they are actively working to avoid. Often if it seems like this is happening, I find its not because of an obstructionist player, as much as someone trying to play a character who isn't a good fit for the campaign I had in mind. A good approach to take in this instance is to talk to the player and tell him something like "I don't think I did a very good job letting you know what kind of campaign I was planning on running during character gen. I've got a pretty cool adventure planned, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the character you've created. Could we work to adjust the character concept a little, or create a new character?"
And the other big thing is a business term: you have to be willing to "Kill your babies". If you find that the story as its being played just isn't going to lead to the big moment you had planned, the more you can teach yourself to let that moment die, and find the right moment for THIS story to replace it, the better GM and storyteller you'll be.
I'm a pretty treacherous GM with my NPCs so I have some experience here. First off, by default, players naturally distrust NPC's because they are being controlled by the GM, and they know intrinsically that there is a line of separation between this character and the other characters in the party. If you really want this kind of thing to work you, need patience. Expect the party to distrust them from the start, and then work to gain their trust. Throw some combats out there and let the new NPC take some risks to help the party. Let him come to the rescue. Then in another encounter put him in danger and let the party come to his rescue. If someone in the party is particularly vocal about distrusting him, have him strive to impress that character. Make the player feel like his character's being a D-bag and the NPC is kindly and patiently turning the other cheek. Build up a history where the party doesn't just trust him, they WANT to trust him. Once he's been around a little while if you can casually win a few gestures of trust from the party you'll know your on the right track: for example, when camping ask the party if they're setting up watches. Have the npc offer to take the watch with the most vulnerable character or if possible a watch by himself, and then either have him faithfully help out in an encounter on that watch, or let the night pass smoothly without him trying anything. Once you've laid down some ground work, the betrayal isn't just more of a surprise, its more of a betrayal.
That said, if you spam this, it becomes more and more impossible to get the party to trust any NPCs. That's where you make it a point to pick a bunch of NPC's that you don't ever plan on betraying the party. If 1/3 of the friendly NPCs a party meets are traitors, then expect lots of dead NPCs who never even got the chance to lie. But if 1/10 of the helpful NPC's are traitors, then its not really worth it for the party to be overly suspicious.
Also, if you find that you've broken the party's NPC trust beyond a point where you are satisfied, just use more tricks. Come up with some situations that turn their mistrust against them. Make an NPC look really suspicious, then when the party turns against him, produce incontrovertible proof that his intentions were good, and create consequences for their aggression on him. Make it a world where PC's learn that they have to judge each NPC individually, and treachery is neither precluded or guaranteed.
Finally, make your traitors believable. If someone is hired by the enemy to specifically infiltrate their group, determine in advance what his intentions are and have him act on those intentions. If he has been instructed to lead the party into an ambush, then that's why he's hanging out with them, and that's why he doesn't just kill them in their sleep. If however, he is operating on his own and is simply waiting for an ideal time to attack the party when their guard is down, killing them in their sleep would make perfect sense, and it would be stupid for him to reveal his true nature when everyone was fully equipped and ready to go. If he intends to infiltrate and betray the party, but he seems to form real attachment to one of the characters, then make it possible for him to change his mind. Think about who he is, why he's doing what he's doing and how he feels about the situation he's in. If the party feels that the treachery itself doesn't make sense, then they don't just start to mistrust the character, they mistrust the plot. And once your in that boat don't be surprised when the party starts attacking the plot with swords.
Stéphane Le Roux wrote:
Seems like we got our wires crossed. I seemed to have interpreted your original comment to mean that the Bard could fill a fighter's role better than a fighter. It seems what you are saying is that a bard is overall more effective in a fight than a fighter. I don't have an opinion one way or the other about that assertion, but I do think that the picture of the bard you paint in your comment would still rather not be the only thing standing between the party's god-wizard and BBEG, whereas that is exactly where the fighter should be at all times.
EDIT: I'd also like to throw out into the general conversation, that atleast one monk archetype changes his role entirely: Zen Archer. It basically makes him one of the better Striker builds in the game.
Yip, that's what I said in the forum, but people seemed to read right past it. Not that I particularly blame them for only giving the thread a cursory scan after it had become so unnecessarily mean-spirited.
So detect magic isn't unduly useful in rooting out illusion spells, unless the illusion spell is something like invisibility that completely masks the existence of something, and in that case the spell still requires 3 rounds of the invisible creature to stay in your cone before you suspect that the magical aura is illusion based. Detect magic doesn't gimp illusion; the fact that illusion isn't conjuration or transmutation gimps illusion. Illusionists are still better off than abjurers, evokers, and diviners. In fact by gimping detect magic, I'd say your really just punishing the weakest school, divination.
EDIT: The thing I posted in the other thread was your main point, that only auras that are 'born' by an item or creature get the full detect magical school treatment. Reading more into this thread, I see that it resulted in people also noticing that line of sight is required for the creature or item of an invisibility spell, and depending on your definition of line of sight, that should pretty much be impossible anyway. So my paragraph above is inaccurate in that not even invisibility should have its school of magic revealed. All the more reason that illusionists don't need house rules to protect them from this spell.