Cruel Instructor

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What's your favorite PF deity, of each alignment?

Seconding PossibleCabbage. Just make me a Warpriest Cleric and I'll be the tank. Lower-level Heals will be reserved for patching up the party after.

So, given the lore about the First Eight... in what sense were Asmodeus and Ihys brothers? That is, was there something more than Pharasma's walk?

I'm in the camp that says the option is Str if Ruffian or Cha if Scoundrel. The rule probably should instead say "from YOUR rogue's racket"

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I don't see anything that says they can take two rackets. Could you cite the appropriate text?

Some of the Firebrands and the entire Bellflower Network jump to mind. I don't know of any others, though.

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Although the high-level feats technically mean I was wrong:
1) that happens so late it doesn't matter for vesatility unless you start at a high level.
2) fireball is just one blast of many.
3) I am not disputing that bards are versatile. It's just that Arcane casters have versatility in spades.

There are some ways for Clerics to get blasts.

1) Sarenrae grants some fire blasts
2) Spiritual Weapon probably doesn't count, and Searing Light at 3 is single-target and meant for fiends/undead (but against them, it rocks!)
3) Gozreh grants Lightning Bolt, Nethys grants Magic Missile.

Those aren't that good, though, except Sarenrae gets a couple goodies to tide her clerics over until they get Divine Wrath and Holy Cascade at 4th spell level / cleric level 7. Then Flame Strike, then Vampiric Exsanguination.

So, they do get some blasts.

Blave wrote:
@james014Aura: You got Black Tentacles in the wrong spell slot. It's actually a 5th level spell now.

Thanks. I'll fix that later (but soon-ish). Probably a heightened Dispel Magic, or Veil.

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Sorry for taking so long, but Wizards are hard to build. I promised this: Adventurous Transmuter.

Do people agree
1) This has a niche that Druids can't poach, thank you certain Wizard class features and feats, and Will save spells
2) This has a niche that Bards can't poach, thank you powerful blasts.
3) This does NOT poach anyone else's niche? Of course Bards have better support powers and of course Druids are better at killing things. Except possibly for having enough Int to poach a Bard's knowledges, but that's more secondary overlap.
4) this is viable? I optimized slightly. I stopped at a point, though, so there's room to make it even stronger.

and 5, most importantly) That this showcases the Niche of the Wizard class.

Hi, this lives. Building Wizards is hard.

Adventurous Transmuter. Half-Elf Transmuter 1, 4, 9, 13, 18. They advance from a fledgling Pathfinder to an experience adventurer, then a powerful adventurer, then to a demigod of battle, a mighty spellslinger. Then they reach 18 and it just gets absurd.

Main Emporium link.

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If they specialize, they still get as many spell slots outside the specialization as others do, but those slots are free for other schools. They can skew towards a school, but specializing does not mean they're exclusively that.

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Even with the school specialization, they're easily built as being more general. But, the Arcane list itself is the jack of all spells list.

Specialization is +1 spell slot, from 3 (from 2 at highest level if you just got it). Yeah, that's 25% of the spells you prepare outside cantrips. But it's still lots of room to be diverse.

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

It is also easier as a bard give you can take a path that gives you all the skills with a bonus equal to your level while focusing skill increases on crafting.

It is good that you enjoy the wizard. They can still be effective, just not as effective in most circumstances as an equally well built bard or druid.

Okay. Now can your Bard use Fireball, or your Druid use Phantasmal Killer (without multiclassing)?

What a Wizard is not is a specialist in a field. What a Wizard is is a specialist in being versatile. It sounds like your previously-mentioned party didn't need more physical magics, so the Bard was a good idea there.

Basically: What Bards are to the game at large (the jacks of all trades), Wizards are to magic specifically (and they get more of it, too). Except for healing, of course.

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It has net +8 modifier to stats, which is what people have before their class bonus. It's also level 0, so it would have no class levels to start.

Going by bonuses, it appears to be Expert in melee, but Trained in thrown. Its saves indicate it gets Fort halfway between Trained and Expert, Ref at Expert, and Will between Untrained and Trained. Going by the other two orcs, it looks like Ancestry HP of 10 and the Brute gets 5 hp from level (and 0 from con b/c that's per level, and level is 0).

Those modifiers appear to be a nerfed Fighter (due to being 0th level instead of 1), penalizing a couple things. Possibly they have racial modifiers for the saves? I doubt that, though.

In order to gain any mechanical benefits as a worshipper, you need to be in the allowed domains.

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That comparison doesn't work. Sarenrae only accepts Good worshippers. Gorum accepts CE.

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1) Paralyze, Daze (sorta, that one's weak but a cantrip), Heightened Sleep, Heightened Charm. On the defense, Blur, Invisibility, Mirror Image, False Life, ...

2) You know you can heighten the blasts, right? And you can place the fireball so the edge doesn't hit the PCs. Just ask your martials to try to not get surrounded, and that's easy enough. Resistances are down, and saves ... to put it bluntly, you can target any save, unlike other casters. Martials are stuck vs AC, while you get to pick one of three, and can hit many enemies at once. That makes a single blast, if done close to correctly, a very strong option.

3) Bards are buffers, too. I don't deny that. The Occult list is more focused on buffs and debuffs than wizards are.

4) I'll gladly take a Wizard in the party over a Bard, if it's one or the other. They get so many better options.

5) Well, at lower levels, that 21 damage ... look. Saves are to magic what AC is to martial attacks. But at that level, a martial with a +1 striking weapon will do maybe 2d12+4 = ~15 damage on a hit, 30 on a crit? You can spam Electric Arc for 3d4+4, or ~11.5 to two people each. Their crit fail is about the same as the martial's critical hit, but you do damage even if they save. More than the Martial can say.


The Wizard buffs the party for tough solo fights and blasts at the hordes and has social spells. Who else can do that?
Bard? Social and buff. Not so many good blasts
Druid? buffs themselves for fights, has some good blasts, passable tanking. Not so social
Cleric? Social and good at tanking, defensive buffs. Some offense, but not much.
Wizard? Sure, the druid out-shapeshifts them. They can't tank. But they can blast and debuff ALL THREE SAVES, unlike every other class. They can also buff.

Wizard = versatile. Just like in 1e.


As soon as my group starts playing in earnest (having some time issues), I will GLADLY stat up a wizard first-thing and play that.

I anticipate my contributions will be immense, more than any other caster could do.

That said, re the title question: yes, there was a nerf. But I think Wizard is still solidly a powerful class. Just not so plausible to play an all-wizard party with the nerfs to summoning.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

Huh, and here everyone said wizards were bad at necromancy this edition...

Deriven Firelion wrote:
I wish they hadn't made wizards so boring while nerfing magic this much. Bard and cleric magic was nerfed as well, but they seem far more fun to play.
Couldn't disagree more. 2e wizards are a lot more fun than 1e wizards, especially at low levels.

What are you doing that is more fun than the bards or clerics?

And at least in 1E, you had access to scrolls, wands, and spells that increased in power without taking up higher level spell slots.

A mid-level feat gives you temporary scrolls that don't take up spell slots. Wands are now a bonus spell prepared per day. Spells that increase in power... okay, that was a nerf, but only to damage, and Cantrips got buffed so you can spam damage all day if you really want to.

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Druids are the shapeshifters. That is their thing. Of course they'd get better stuff there.

If you don't buy the essence thing, that's your problem of expectation. Mental adaptation is no more than bleeding into mind from matter and life. Take a look at the spell lists; it's CLEARLY been set as a Life/Matter hybrid, skewed slightly towards Matter. Besides, it's not mental adaptation. It's reflex adaptation. Adjustment of nerves that aren't the brain is adjustment Life. Also the spells don't affect your mental stats.

As for tactics: said wizard also gets huge int and lots of int skills that other classes ignore. Your niches are intelligence and versatility. That high Str comes at the cost of a lot of survivability, too, since you could have put those points into Dex and Con.

In short, what you want would require Wizards to be better at being Druids than Druids are.

EDIT: if you want, say, Merlin from Sword in the Stone, then that shapeshifter fight would probably be two Primal Sorcerers, with Merlin taking the Wizard MCD and his opponent maybe taking a Witch MCD - assuming Witch is like what it was in PF1.

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Responding to Nemo's response to my longpost

Regarding flight, Transmuter can learn the Fly spell in place of any one I noted. That said, if you want a Shapeshifter, then that's one of the Druid's niches (plural, yes, but they're smaller niches than what other casters have). Expect to be outdone. The design philosophy is that you can't beat someone at their niche at comparable level.

Glitterdust fails if you miss your target - they can move after turning invisible. See Invisibility does not miss.

I don't recall pointing to staffs as something big; I just took that for flavor and a bit more options. That said, they do get a wider selection of staves to use, presently. I just checked, too, and I merely mention some tactics with the staff, not touting it as something they can't do - the indented sections are things a Wizard does but Druid doesn't.

"Using spells for noncombat situations is very problematic because it is not reliable for RP reasons. Sure, you could Charm someone instead of talking, but is it really an option when everyone will see you do it? Or it will be obvious immediately?"
Easy answer: read the description for the spells. It may take a little arranging in larger areas, but enchantment got some buffs to make it less likely someone will tumble to it. Are they sure things? No, but neither is talking a sure thing. It's an option the party wouldn't otherwise have if talking fails. But if you really don't like those spells, swap them out! You can, after all. Snag a flight spell or something.

Anyway, if you're trying to use Physical Boost on yourself, you're bringing disappointment on yourself. That's not what it's for. You are the wizard. Use that buff on the Fighter or the Rogue. Sensory and defensive buffs are what you use on yourself. Physical Boost is neither.

Last complaint I'll address: Druid beating Transmuter Wizard at Transmutation. Fine, 11 more spells (35 to 46). Leaving aside that Druids have matter/life to wizard's matter/mind, and thus are skewed towards physical effects...
cantrip: same list
1st: Druids get Magic Fang and Shillelagh only. Both are basically Magic Weapon effects, one for shapeshifting and one for staves. Shillelagh is slightly stronger, but only works on your own staff instead of on the Fighter's Greatsword.
2nd: Animal Form, Enhance Victuals, Entangle, Shape Wood, Tree Shape. Two shapeshifts, one of which is a pure defense. Two more are obvious nature magic (entangle, shape wood). Enhance Victuals is sorta obsolete because of Create Food at the same level, and they both get it. I grant that Entangle is good, but Wizard gets a lot better set of Illusion spells, and an Enchantment that debuffs instead (Hideous Laughter). The utility of this one spell, though, is reduced by both having Web.
3rd: Wizards get Ghostly Weapons, which can save on a Rune, though not much. Also Shrink Item, utility not so much. Druids win with Insect Form, but that's a shapeshift.
4th: Dinosaur Form and Air Walk. Air Walk is a situationally slightly more useful Fly, but doesn't Heighten. Dinosaur Form is a shapeshift.
5th: Elemental Form and Moon Frenzy. Both are shapeshifts.
6th: I'm not sure why Stone to Flesh isn't arcane when Flesh to Stone is.
7th: same list
8th: Wind Walk.
9th: same list.
10th: Nature Incarnate and Primal Herd. Shapeshifts (one on others).

So, what do we take away from this list? Outside of shapeshifting - a Druid's niche - they don't get many useful Transmutions that wizards don't. I grant that Entangle, Wind Walk, and Stone to Flesh are wins for them. But they're the only true wins.

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NemoNoName wrote:
Why are they the best prepared caster? What makes them best? They literally have second smallest pool of spells to choose from. Sure, Arcane list may have (slightly!) more spells on it, but Wizards only get to use whats in their spellbooks. They prepare same as everyone else (yes, I know they have that one thesis, but you know what, not everyone wants to play that thesis).

Theses: Metamagic feat, trade lower-level spells for higher, swap spells, or get a familiar who can, I think, deliver spells for you. So, there's TWO theses that let them change things up a bit, and they're the only mage who can start with metamgic (outside Human, but then they're the only one who can start with TWO). True, they're limited by the spellbook, but they can add spells to it. A decent chunk of the lists are chaff, though, so they're missing out on a lot less than you're implying.

From the list of passable spells, they have the single GREATEST selection. How many good Reflex spells does a Bard get? How many good Will spells does a Druid get? Not many. The Wizard? Gets most of the good ones, from BOTH. The Wizard also gets a large number of other utility effects.

NemoNoName wrote:
All they have is slightly more spells per day than most casters. And aside from that, they have NOTHING. Few more familiar powers maybe? Extra (useless) metamagic feats?

A 33% increase at odd levels and 50% on their top level at even levels is hardly "slightly". ANd metamagic is not useless. Reach Spell lets you be more safely behind your defenders and use, your Cantrips, such as Produce Flame, at a better range in wider environments. Widen Spell, I admit, would mostly see use for NPCs participating in war.

NemoNoName wrote:
Their spell list has been reduced to be on par with others, which sounds good game balance until your realise Wizards don't have anything else besides their spell list. Even their Focus powers are very bland compared to many options other classes get.

Their spell list is not on par. They are the most powerful utility/attackers. Yes, Druids beat them in shapeshifting because of Wild Shape, better HP and saves, and some more buffs for their shapeshifted forms. But that is not a Wizard. A Wizard specializes in being the absolute most versatile.

NemoNoName wrote:

Sure, they can have some illusion and blasting spells at the same time! Yay, that's the Wizard niche!

There's plenty of spells they don't have, same as every other class, and yet the other classes have other things they do. Wizards either need more range of spells (and not more small situational stuff either!), or they need to get something else. Focus powers would've been awesome if they worked more like Conjuration one, where they enhanced the spells of your school, so you could say, sure, others may have the spells Wizard have, but Wizard can make them better... And yet the answer was no.

No, the Wizard Niche is preparation. Adapting to anything. Illusion and blasting? No, it's a spell or two for EACH OF THE THREE SAVES, as opposed to ANY OTHER SPELL LIST which cannot reasonably do that. And then, they have the travel utility of a druid with their transmutations and the social and stealth utility of a bard with their enchantments and illusions...

You are grossly underselling utility and adaptability in this game. I've seen you complain specifically about the Transmuter before. I've built an Adventurous Transmuter who's DELIBERATELY taking a few sub-optimal options (Wayfinder Resonance Tinkerer, learning more spells for spellbook than they really will use, and more importantly magical crafting). I'm not seeing ANY of your complaints in the level 1, 4, 9, and 13 builds. I've not started the level 18 build, yet, but you know what?

Here's the build thus far. I'll add it to the Wizard Niche thread and my emporium when I've built the level 18 version.
The level 13 build has, with ring of wizardry, 35 spells total. It has a small number of attacks, a large number of combat buffs for the party (like the classic Transmuter), some out of combat utility, etc. It has EVERYTHING magical. No real melee presence, but that's Martial territory. And for a single spell slot, they can ignore wearing armor, saving the gold for a new spell (or for a different potent item... like a Wand).

Find me a Druid that has all this buffing potential. Find me a Bard that has nearly as much attacking power (especially fortitude).

So what if a Druid prepares more things that test Reflex, or Fortitude, or a Bard knows more things that test Will? Against a Cleric, that Bard's will save spells are next to useless. But the Wizard laughs and uses a wand to cast Cone of Cold. Or has some advance warning and prepares a couple fireballs instead. And that Druid will find themself unable to do much to the Rogue, who has better base combat abilities and can shrug off most things the Druid can cast at them. The Wizard just uses True Strike + Disintegrate or uses their good spell attack rolls to spam Produce Flame or something.

Other builds are less versatile because, well, fewer spell levels. But even they can do things. Level 1 can still do a can't-miss bust for heavy damage, can target reflex, can basically double a martial's damage output for two fights (hi, Drain Bonded Item), and can target AC with their crossbow. Level four, targets Will, Ref, and AC. Also buffs the party with Magic Weapon and Enlarge. Level 9 gets can't-miss, Reflex, AC, Will, and Fort, as attacks and/or debuffs. Also effects to buff the party.

Aside from very low levels, I doubt the wizard will run out of spells per day. At 4 round combats + 4 combats per day, ... I'm not doing the math for this. You have enough spells to target most things, and combats aren't supposed to last long enough to really drain you. Arcane Bond + extra buffs prepared + spammable cantrips = you can sustain your power if you conserve a little of it each fight.

THAT, Nemo, is the Wizard power. You don't get shut down. You do the shutting down. Other classes, they can get shut down or weakened before the fight begins. A Wizard, though? Be smart, and you can mitigate that on the rest of the party without ever getting personally countered.

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NemoNoName wrote:

However, they really OVERnerfed Wizards specifically. Wizards only have their spells (not even Bloodline powers like Sorcerers). Yet their spelllist is equal to others (I'm sorry, but Primal can do pretty much everything Arcane can and then some), and their special abilities are distinctly weak. Metamagic currently doesn't really exist (again, nerfed into oblivion), and their school powers are okayish if unimpressive (depends on which one, some have more use than others).

This is wrong on two counts. One, Wizards get School/Universalist powers and Arcane Thesis like Sorcerers get Bloodline powers. Which is to say, they both have to invest feats in it. Two, no, Primal does NOT do everything Arcane does. Arcane gets lots better will save spells, lots better illusions and enchantments.

Am I correct in understanding that, to craft a Wand or Scroll of a spell at a certain level, I need a formula for that specific spell at that specific level? Not just Wand of Fireball formula for ANY fireball level or Wand of Level 7 Spell formula, but specifically Wand of Fireball 7th?

Temple Sword: Monastic Weaponry feat, Monk 1.
Glaive: no, that's common.

Many non-ancestry uncommon weapons appear to be Eastern so people in Tian Xia might treat some of the weapons as common (and our common weapons as Uncommon). Sounds like *shudder* GM has to make calls there. (*has to*. Not *gets to*.) But that's the big other culture beyond the Inner Sea.

Is there one deity or small group from Nocticula's friends/allies that she associates with the most? Which ones?

So, I'm still working on the level 9 wizard to showcase the niche (out of 1, 4, 9, 13, and 18, in order), but something occurs to me: two quotes from the OP, about halfway down the first page.
"Transmuter, yes, blaster, absolutely no. I actually think you can make a good Wizard blaster."
"I just get very jaded when I see Druids and think "this character would work mechanically so much better as a Druid","

Druids don't get very many Will Save spells, do they? And will saves aren't often the mark of blasting...

Is that impression right? A moderate lack of Primal actions that target Will saves?

Reflex DC of 16: 10 Assurance, 2 level, 4 expert.

A level TWO rogue can do it. They can get Expert that low. Or a level 2 Pathfinder Agent who chose Athletics (or future dedications that can boost Athletics instead of free skill rank)

Rogue!Hawke approves of this.

... I'm still working on a Transmuter, but for builds intended for rival adventuring parties, I'm totally going to use the Returning Daggers as a stealth build.


So, a Thrown Weapon still counts as Melee, then? I'm not 100% sure on that reading, but it says thrown adds strength JUST LIKE in melee... which means not at all for a Thief Rogue? I'm a little dubious, but this seems reasonable.

Is the Starstone significantly related to Aeon Stones? By which I mean, would it be accurate to refer to it as a super-powerful Aeon Stone?

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Spells can bleed over into another thing. Doesn't make them really of that Essence instead of the main essences. And shapeshifting is changing a physical, living thing, so it's clearly of those two. The mental landscape, is, AT BEST, bleeding over to a little of Mental.

Hey, the Divine list's changes don't usually have much that changes the basic form, other than bigger and maybe add wings! No mental change there, and it's not an Essence they get. Does Occult, which gets neither relevant Essence, even have much in the way of those shapeshifts?

Arcane, meanwhile, gets Material and Mental, and they get some of the shapeshifts, too. Indeed not as strong in a straight-up melee, though (lower hit points, lower physical saves...). But since when was a classic wizard supposed to be in melee, anyway?

Utility. Wield your spells like a knife, not a bludgeon. I've decided my next build for my emporium will be a Transmuter; I'll try and remember to post it here, too, when it's ready.

Hi everyone. It's come to my attention the Arch-Necromancer had it's sharing settings set poorly. Sorry to everyone in the past half a week or so who asked for access - I didn't see it in my emails until now for some reason. I've set it to link viewing, and have now reviewed the other link sharing settings for the rest of my pages.

Since I'm here, I've added the Noble - a courtier, a minor noble officer, a leader, or some form of monarch? Versatile Human Scoundrel Rogue, 1, 4, 7, 11, 15.

Link again to my Index.

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first, keeping things still on the topic: I just remembered that with overlap between the schools, multiclasses are even harder to decide on. That said, I've seen a general sentiment of blasts in the top and utility in the bottom. I can't fault that plan, aside from noting that I like to have three elemental damages, at least one of which can both be spammed (cantrip, usually) and shuts down some regeneration effects.

I'm not sure if this will get easier or harder with more books. More options to find something decent for any build, but more to sort out every time...


BellyBeard wrote:
I highly disagree. This is one of the major causes of forever GMs and GM-player antagonism IMO.

Zeroth like Rule Zero: You're all on the same team, even though the GM's job is to provide opposition. That needs to be understood before all else. Lack of understanding THAT is what causes antagonism.

First: never said around EVERY combo. Some mild optimization keeps things difficult enough without causing problems.

Second: No, just modify a few encounters. Like, and I actually did this in pf1, making a character who has countermeasures to invisibility but NOT see invis or the like - Scent + Blind Fight. Didn't counter the Duergar martial's power, merely made the power less effective. But aside from being a brute with that power, it lost to another PC using their nova. Don't counter EVERYONE at once, just put some things in that make their really strong combos not walk over everything.

Balancing for more than one OP character is easier than just one: counter one player, and check a second, but the others can run wild. Then change from one fight to the next who's weaker. Everyone gets to shine! Just not any one person all the time.

If the party focuses on melee but has some ranged, then once in a while set them against a flier or two. Maybe give them a little warning once in a while.

If the party likes Fireball and Electric Arc, give some enemies a couple Resist Energy spells. But they don't have enough slots to guard at their most powerful, so they use lower-level slots and get some passable resistance to the attacks, but the effect isn't as destructive as it could be, either.


Which brings me back to spell selection: I like to skew towards utility and debuffs and buffs and just snag a couple damaging cantrips, and maybe a few attacks just in case. It's whiteboarding, though, until I get a chance to try them out. I'm a big fan of magic-as-utility, but we need more books for that not to be meaninfful instead of a hunt to find a diamond or two in the rough.

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First, the topic: Yeah, it's hard. My multiclass sample builds had trouble selecting spells that don't care about heightening because I don't see Signature Spell on the list of things MC Bard/Sorc get. That said, my general method is: for signature spells, try and find something that works at as many levels as possible. Then for everyone, if a spell has a really good effect with heightening, consider it there without any riders on it.

Regardless, it's very difficult to figure out what works, for that. The heighten marks on Archives of Nethys don't really give an indication of what to avoid or go for if you want a certain type of heightening.


Zapp wrote:
For all those groups where players feel entitled to take everything without asking, this is a HUGE boon for the beleaguered Games Master :-)

Better fix: a book for GMs reminding them how powerful they are, that they're in charge, and ways to counter OP strats. (Puffin Forest link: starts at 40s, important bit ends at 52s) "You are the GM. You are literally more powerful than gods." And reminding them that outside organized play, they're free to sometimes swap out something the OP strat counters and instead put something in that checks it.

PF 1 example: Give each powerful spell an opposed spell that makes it unreliable - teleport trap for teleport, a powerful illusion for scrying, etc.

PF 1 example 2: someone can turn invis as an SLA. You have a miniboss fight coming up, and the miniboss has a partial check to invis, so take the opportunity and swap a few things to give the miniboss an ability that lets him hit invis enemies - blind fight, back then.

I don't deny that some things needed reining in. My group never really used Blood Money, but I can see how deadly that would be. Some things need clamping down on.


HOWEVER, what this does is beleaguer many more GMs with players asking for access to something thematic, but not technically in the list. For example, for wizards, some schools (*cough*divination*cough*) have a distinct shortage of decent spells that aren't at least Uncommon.

The issue isn't in how much power the GM has. It's in how the GM perceives that power. The issue is that we need to raise awareness of that... and, yes, rein in a few of the worst abuses, like using a Unique spell as if it were so common..

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Page 279,
If you are
already using a d12, the size is already at its maximum.
You can’t increase your weapon damage die size more
than once.

So you can get 1d12+2, but that's about it. No point in multiclassing for deadly simplicity (also only crossbow deity released yet is Abadar, and he gives the regular one, not the heavy crossbow.)

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Don't forget Zyphus, who refused Pharasma's judgment after an accidental death.

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Zapp wrote:
james014Aura wrote:

If a 10 is just barely enough, then Warrior needs a nat 20 base to do it. But, Warrior has +4 str as opposed to the flat 10 the skill used from assurance and gets +2 effective from Skills doing a disarm. Also +1 Heroism. Instead of nat 20, they need only a 13 to do it. 40% to end the enemy's ability to fight, for 5 actions (disarm 1, heroism was 2, and warrior's disarm was another, then one more action to pick up their weapon so they can't use it). Trip could be a 6th, but that's just a diagnostic to check their defenses (and give them a different debuff).


Again, that's a battle-ender. It's an I-win button. Yes, it takes two people to do it well, but you CAN do it, and it's something you can build to spam, unlike Baleful Polymorph or Phantasmal Killer.

I request you add three items to your analysis, before concluding it's the best thing since sliced bread:

1) opportunity cost - if the team didn't do disarm, what would they have accomplished instead?
2) contingency - if you have worse luck than expected, how do you save the encounter? I mean, if you keep trying until you succeed, chances are you die instead. Why? Because every attempt that isn't a critical does absolutely nothing long-term.
3) evaluation - what kind of enemy do you get a 40% chance for? I mean, is this enemy significant enough to really deserve the epithet "a battle-ender."

"It's an I-win button" only if the enemy is powerful enough.

1) For the minimal optimization (2 people investing in it), a third action aka the weakest part of their turn. If the enemy is too strong, that's ALL they use. If not, they have at least a 35% chance of winning in round one, probably more if the party has more buffs than that. Used: stuff you were going to use anyway, and one more attack. So, a third action and a first attack for a 35% MINIMUM of winning in one round, probably longer.

2) Contingency: I don't deny that it's high-risk, but the reward is an instant win. In just two actions, you do what's expected to take 2-4 ROUNDS. I'm assuming the first part of it, using assurance, works here; if it doesn't, then you just don't keep trying. But, if you roll that badly... you likely weren't much better off using that as an attack roll, unless you JUST BARELY missed.
3) Any humanoid enemy - and some armed monsters - with a Reflex no higher than your level + max proficiency level. I admit, it's not a sure thing. I built a Fighter 5 - strength oriented - that needs a nat 20 (18-20 if someone else got the weaker version first) to disarm another of itself. But that's because Bulwark inflated its effective Dex. Dropping it to levels 3 and 4 (or scale it up to 7-9), a 17-20 does the full disarm without help or a 15-20 with. At 10-Apex and Apex-19 and 20, +5% more each. 20-30% there, so the Assurance strat doesn't work. But then, it's a Fighter. They're one of the three classes with the highest overall defense (alongside Champion and Cleric). It makes sense for them to resist that.

10% at 1-2, 20% at 3-4, 15% at 5-6 (Bulwark is -10% and starts around here, though, so I'll say the Fighter uses that), then 20% at 7-9, 25% at 10-17, get Apex immediately so 25% at 18-19, and 30% at 20.

Not as good as I hoped, but the sure bet option warns you not to try it in the first place, so you only use a third attack to learn that.

But, that's against someone with a good Reflex. You can use it to take a staff away from any Mage (except Bard) or a weapon away from a Champion (watch out for heavy armor, though) or a Barbarian. And then there's a couple bonuses you can stack with magic, to raise the odds to actually rather decent.

I don't purport it as an absolutely guaranteed win. Try fighting severely under-leveled enemies for that. I don't purport it anything other than a high-risk, high-reward option (that, *if successful* is a win) that's better against some enemies than others. It's more skewed towards victory or nothing than most spells are, now, but that appears to be the general design philosophy - the more powerful the option, the less likely it is to work. Attacks, likely to hit but only do HP damage. Disarm, ends fights but requires a crit, and doesn't do much if you don't get that.

Also, there are ways for everyone to target at least two different saves, and you can use Assurance with your third action to check if making the attempt in full is worth your time. If it isn't, then no big loss of action. If it is, you just gained really important information. And you don't lose much by making the investment of skill points, if you're a warrior or skill monkey. And the investment in disarming ALSO makes you able to target Fort, not just Ref.


So, how do I really see it being used? On Humanoids and similar enemies
1) Bosses once you beat their minions. The action tradeoff expected value is generally good.
2) Capture people alive. Champion's best friend there.
3) Against slightly lower-level groups of enemies. A third attack and a warrior's first attack (and third action that wouldn't be very accurate outside certain builds) to disable an entire enemy. Raise it from each guy, say Rogue and Fighter, taking out one enemy per turn each to taking out two together and wounding a third.
4) Against enemies with fast healing / regeneration / ability to spam Heal for ludicrous HP totals (Clerics of Lamashtu, looking at you!)

Again, I acknowledge that some enemies are more resistant to this than others. But it's an option which shuts down a couple types of enemy and has powerful results if it works, and you can check if it's plausible to attempt for the low cost of an already-weak action.

For clarification on that topic, I don't mind the existence of other rules.

PF1E here:
Monsters with racial hit dice had lower CRs than they had hit dice. This meant their effective levels were noted to be weaker than class levels, so they got more to compensate. There were rules for starting as a monster (which one of my campaigns DOES do; monsters with racial HD valid for players, that is). And those rules were mostly consistent with leveling up a monster with class levels, for both player and NPC. That was good, albeit time-consuming.

NPCs with lower CR than level, but only class levels. They had a weaker point buy value and lower gear, and the lower CR represented that. NPCs given PC wealth and 20 point buy got their level as their CR. That the gear losses (and weaker powers from NPC clsses) were worth even less than the rules indicated was a balance issue, not any other sort. I can live with that, and the rest of it is fine by me.

The big thing is, I feel that NPCs with any playable ancestry should, after discounting special plot-based powers, always be buildable by a player (competence of the build at what it tries to do notwithstanding), and always, in the event of a PC death, be able to be picked up and run by a player until next session when they have a new PC (or keep the allied NPC as their new PC).

Its critical effect is, for said Warrior, still a 25% fight-ender, at-will, WITHOUT any other party investment (and 50% of getting the -2 without the fight-ender, for 10% chance on the second attempt). That's a 32.5% chance of, with just two actions + picking up a dropped weapon, ending the fight with JUST a skill investment.

If Assurance works at their level, then the Str Warrior has, at a MINIMUM, almost a 1-in-3 shot per turn of ending it. Still pretty potent, and it only gets stronger if invested in (more str with level, other party members helping).

I agree that the text could stand to call out the "START of THEIR turn" drawback, though.

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Well, I contend it is useful as it is and MORE than ambitious enough. Let's take a classic team. Warrior, Skills, Arcane/Occult, Primal/Divine.

The two casters don't matter... actually, let's say they give a Heroism +1.

Warrior is anything that gets an option for +str at level 1. They take Athletics because that's their thing.
Skills just has lots of skill ranks. They take Athletics and Assurance to help the Warrior.

Skills attacks, then uses Assurance on two more maneuvers. Trip and then Disarm. If the Trip fails, they go for a Grapple instead. Let's assume it works, though. Disarm gets the exact same result, so it gives the +2 to disarm them in full.

If a 10 is just barely enough, then Warrior needs a nat 20 base to do it. But, Warrior has +4 str as opposed to the flat 10 the skill used from assurance and gets +2 effective from Skills doing a disarm. Also +1 Heroism. Instead of nat 20, they need only a 13 to do it. 40% to end the enemy's ability to fight, for 5 actions (disarm 1, heroism was 2, and warrior's disarm was another, then one more action to pick up their weapon so they can't use it). Trip could be a 6th, but that's just a diagnostic to check their defenses (and give them a different debuff).

So, 5 actions. 3 for future enemies. Utterly remove any target martial that uses weapons from the fight, or for just ONE action, realize it's not a good idea. If there's more, the Warrior can chuck the weapon away so a mage can pick it up and keep it away, and repeat with Skills.

Again, that's a battle-ender. It's an I-win button. Yes, it takes two people to do it well, but you CAN do it, and it's something you can build to spam, unlike Baleful Polymorph or Phantasmal Killer.

TL;DR: I posit they didn't make it more ambitious because it's already OP if you invest just a bit into it, with a skill that's not reasonable to invest in in the first place. Yes, it's high-risk that you wasted some of the actions, but it's spammable, and if the odds are bad, then you can just not do it after spending ONE action finding out.

Zapp wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
I think your math is off on when attempting disarming the boss is rational. It’s rational any time the first point is true and the expected value of your alternative action is a smaller fraction of a victory than the likelihood of disarming. (Assuming disarming is functionally victory, of course. Adjust as needed.) If I need a crit for my weak weapon to do more than 5% of the boss’s health past resistances, then why not try to disarm? That means disarming is also a good option when you’re going to TPK; a slim chance of turning things around is better than just dying because you can’t kill the boss in time.

I agree disarming might be an option for, say, a Wizard out of spells, left using a useless dagger that can't get past resistances. Going for disarm means that instead of doing absolutely nothing, at least you'll do real good if you roll a 20!


Well, to me that's great ammo for the opposing argument.

If a game reduces your options to this, why not just stop playing and watch a rerun of Seinfeld or something?

Or, once you use the weak Disarm to give a boost to your allies, a guy with high Str and who also has high athletics joins in with the increased success chance? Meaning Disarm, a full fight-ender, requires some minor investment (a feat from at least one person, and skill ranks from two, but they'll both like the skill, usually).

EDIT: if 10+proficiency gives them a -2, then the next guy needs no more than 18+proficiency to end the fight, and give them +4 str for a natural 14 makes it... or 35% of basically ending the fight, in ONE ROUND. And it gets even better as they get higher Str at 10 and Apex Item.

And no one is making you use Disarm. You can go for Trip instead. Or, for said Wizard, prepare a combat cantrip or two. And maybe put some runes on your staff, so you can fight with that in a pinch.

Tripping the ogre (assuming Assurance here) means that when it stands, AOO means you trade your MAP attack to get an attack without MAP later. If you're a fighter 1 or champion 6, anyway. Or you're basically giving your action to the Fighter.

So, you aren't even spending net actions, if you have the option to punish it for standing. Unless it chooses to remain prone... at -2 hit and flat-footed, in which case you spent an action to give it a HUGE debuff.

Trying to mostly post these at least two at a time, now, so as not to spam this:

Forest Guard, Woodland Elf Flurry Ranger. Levels 2, 8, and 14. A skilled scout or guard, a veteran of all woodlands, or a near-master of ranged combat? Take your pick! Good general-purpose combatant for campaigns involving the Elves.

Storm Rider, a Nomadic Halfling Storm Druid. Levels 6 and 13. They travel the land, following the storms. Communities that honor nature may find relief from their troubles, while despoilers may find their cities and towns drawing further ire, this time from whoever this Druid works with. Also A powerful ally, if befriended.

Oh, right, the FIRST level of each spell level. Yes, I agree this looks like the right interpretation. However, given heightening, there's usually a few spells that would go quite well there instead of a duplicate.

Page 204:
Each time you gain a level, you add two more arcane
spells to your spellbook, of any level of spell you can cast.

level =/= SPELL level


Page 207:
If you specialize in an arcane school, rather than studying
each school equally (as universalists do), you gain an
extra spell slot for each level of spell you can cast. You can
prepare only spells of your chosen arcane school in these
extra slots. In addition, you can prepare an extra cantrip
of your chosen school. You also add another arcane spell
of your chosen school to your spellbook.


Looks like at odd levels, you get 3 spells in your highest and 4 in all else, ONE of which per level must be your specialization. And at even, it's 4 in all, one of which is your spec school. Meanwhile, it looks like you get four spells in your book per level (other than first, which starts with ... 5, plus 1 for specializing, then 2 more at 2nd)

So, outside first level: 4 spells per level without spending resources, 4 spell slots. Is there something that supersedes this?

What about Sudden Charge with a reach weapon? Charge in, attack, retreat. Then AOO them without the MAP as they move up to attack you. The strategy is sorta countered by someone ELSE with both reach and AOO (and weaker against someone with reach, but not AOO), but AOO is rarer now. That way, you get two attacks to their two, and bring them closer for your buddies to kill next round.

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If the person's goal is to make other people leave the hobby, then they aren't a part of the hobby, anyway.

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Exacting Strike is a Press. Example 3 (EDIT: not 2, sorry. Miscounted) doesn't work, because you can't use it for the first attack, and it does nothing for the second. You need it for the third attack.

Also, with the bow example, you don't need to move, unless you're dealing with Volley, which shortbow doesn't have.

(EDIT 2: editing this in to say it looks like the first attack missed line in exacting strike has been edited out.)

Maxwell D'Ahmagge wrote:
Let's assume that for the sake of comparison, the Fighter with Power Attack and his buddy the Fighter with Exacting Strike are both 15' away from an enemy.

Exacting Strike is a Press, only usable after another attack. It cannot be used in this situation to any effect, unless they're hasted (and thus able to make yet another attack).

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So I heard Monks are the most maneuverable of combatants. Yes, these guys know quite a few tricks with maneuvers. I've added the Temple Guard, a human monk at levels 3, 7, and 11.

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