Besmara

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RPG Superstar 8 Season Marathon Voter. 5,367 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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The Stalker is extremely interesting and appears fun. Mystic Bolt is cool (though, weak). I found nothing compelling in the Zealot or Avenger whatsoever, and even the Warlock feels kind of "eh" because of the weird casting progression/talent tax.

The Stalker is awesome, but has a few talents that kind of don't actually do anything despite sounding really great (for example, the one where you move and drag the guy), and ultimately, has too many talent taxes, because the good talents are necessary to be competitive, but eat up "fun" slots.

An "Extra Talent" feat is necessary. "The Talents are stronger than feats" is no excuse because Magus Arcana, Barbarian Rage Powers, Oracle Revelations, Alchemist's Discoveries, Witch Hexes, even Ninja Talents are stronger than feats, too.

You can't try and balance a class against Fighters, Cavaliers, Monks, and Rogues. I'm not saying you should balance against the full 9-level casters or anything, but at least try to match the general strength of the 4 and 6 level casters. Even though I like the Stalker, it's no where even near the strength of those classes. It's basically just a more interesting Rogue at this point.


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Further, things like Excalibur and Mjolnir are class features--they're items, technically, but nobody else can use them. They're as close to intrinsic as you can get. Just look at, oh, I don't know, every point buy super hero RPG ever to see how that works in a game.


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Is "magic is ok the way it is because magic can stop magic" a serious argument? Is your heart even in this one anymore?


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Crusader's Flurry with a deity that favors rapiers could work, but the actual best way to do this is to visual your "hits" as the aggregate result of several rapid strikes.


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I feel like Detonate already has this covered.


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Irranshalee wrote:
One of the problems I have had in PF is the difficulty of having characters of differing level. If someone is 4th or 5th and the rest of the party is 7th, you can definitely tell. Through some of your comments, it seems that 5e would shorten this gap considerably. Am I correct?

Please, don't do that. It's horrible for lower level characters to group with more powerful ones. Why inflict that on people?


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So, I am not even going to try and parse the text here. What I can do, however, is say that SKR doesn't even work for Paizo anymore, and the current Development Team has a track record of opposing your reading.

I can say with probably 95% confidence that the RAI of Precise Strike is that the bonus damage applies only if you make attacks with a single weapon and don't carry a shield other than a buckler. The phrase "free hand" was poorly chosen, but yeah, disallowing twf and/or additional natural attacks is almost certainly what they intend.


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And just to be nitpicky, summoners get 3rd level spells at 7th, just like every other 2/3 caster.


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It wasn't originally how Masterpieces worked. Or at least, it was never clarified that way, and people, like myself, assumed the development team actually wanted Bards to use Masterpieces. My group and I decided that Masterpieces were something separate from Bardic Music, so you could have one Masterpiece and Performance up at the same time. It was a lot more fun to play that way. But no performance is, in combat, better than Inspire Courage, except maybe AoE Freedom of Movement or the one that blinds evil targets.

With the new rulings, you're basically stuck with just the long duration utility effects, like Triple Time, Pageant of the Peacock (which is ridiculous), or Legato Piece on the Infernal Bargain.


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Kthulhu wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
Letric wrote:
but honestly, who can remember all the rules about Pathfinder?
Uh, er, me? Pretty much everyone I've ever enjoyed having as a GM? You need to know the rules of the game--it's practically required to run things.

I call BS.

Excluding the Bestiaries, Monster Codex,l and NPC Codex (as well as the Strategy Guide, which adds no new rules), Pathfinder is 3,466 pages. The Bestiaries and Codices add another 1,852 pages, for a total of 5,318 pages.

** spoiler omitted **

How many of those pages are rules? Stat blocks aren't rules. Magic item descriptions aren't rules. Fluffy text about "how to GM" isn't rules. It's easier than you think.

Kthulhu wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
Letric wrote:
I feel like PF and games like such, put way too much weight on how a character does something at a rule level, instead of just saying "I freaking hit the enemy with a barrel, and that is my ability".

Stop playing D&D derivative games. 90% of non-D&D games work more like this. Really, only D&D style games even use levels.

Letric wrote:
On the other hand, class are the problem. Class is a restrictive way of thinking.
I think level is more of a problem, but yeah, very, very few RPGs other than D&D clones have hard-classes, either (though most feature a "soft" class system that gives you some sub-package of abilities or makes you better at some task everyone can do).
And these have me doubting that you have much RPG experience outside of "D&D derivative games". There are SOME games that don't use levels or classes, but you sound like you're trying to say that they are rare outside of D&D. They aren't.

Yes, they are rare outside of D&D. The only RPG I can think of with levels that isn't d&d derivative is RIFTS, and that's got palladium's house system which started with a d&d derivative fantasy game. We're not counting stuff like tunnels and trolls or MERP as being not d&d derivative, right?

Classes are more difficult because you can make an argument for things like vampire clans in masquerade/requiem being classes, though I would call them very "soft" classes. The only things I can think of approaching a hard class system like in d&d are RIFTS again, Feng Shui, The One Ring, Warhammer (which is pretty d&d derivative anyway) uh maybe Legend of the Five Rings, sort of could be argued to have class and level (school and rank)...

Edit: oh, the Dragon Age rpg as both, too

But seriously, the vast, vast majority of non-d&d derivative games have no classes or levels and generally rely on just spending xp directly on increasing stats/skills or gain abilities. I feel silly doing this, but a short list of the first bunch of rpgs I know that have neither:
World of Darkness/Exalted/Trinity, Savage Worlds, Shadowrun, Legend of the Five Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, Mechwarrior, FATE, FUDGE, Castle Falkenstein, Dogs in the Vineyard, The Queen's Cavaliers, BRP (like runequest or call of cthulhu), Traveller, d6, Children of the Sun, Godlike/Wild Talents/Reign/ORE, Burning Wheel, FASERIP, Tri-Stat, Starchildren, Artesia, FUSION, Chtulhutech, GURPS, HERO, jeez, I could keep going for hours. Class/level is a d&d thing. It doesn't show up much in modern rpg design, and was hardly universal even in its heyday.


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Letric wrote:
I don't understand why the focus has to be on the system. Yes, having a complete system with rules is nice, but honestly, who can remember all the rules about Pathfinder?

Uh, er, me? Pretty much everyone I've ever enjoyed having as a GM? You need to know the rules of the game--it's practically required to run things.

Letric wrote:
I feel like PF and games like such, put way too much weight on how a character does something at a rule level, instead of just saying "I freaking hit the enemy with a barrel, and that is my ability".

Stop playing D&D derivative games. 90% of non-D&D games work more like this. Really, only D&D style games even use levels.

Letric wrote:
On the other hand, class are the problem. Class is a restrictive way of thinking.

I think level is more of a problem, but yeah, very, very few RPGs other than D&D clones have hard-classes, either (though most feature a "soft" class system that gives you some sub-package of abilities or makes you better at some task everyone can do).


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Letric wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
Snorb wrote:
MPL: The fighter is most definitely not useless, as my fifth-level "can attack twice in a round, or four times in a round once per encounter" wood elf archer fighter can attest to. =p

I hate to do this here, but the Warlock shooting two Eldritch Blasts every round for the same (or is it more?) damage plus an unresistable knockback and then can also throw around powerful spells a few times per encounter if they like begs to differ. And don't get me started on trying to compete with Ranger archers...

I don't think "useless" was what I was intending though. It's less useless and more obsolete. The Fighter doesn't really bring anything to the table that's worth having over other classes. They're good--probably better in context than a Pathfinder Fighter is, but there's never a time when, mechanically speaking, Fighter is the best choice. Which is a shame, because Fighters were easily one of the strongest classes in 4e.

Unless magic is brought to the levels of Lord of the Rings books, it will always be better.

I always wanted to make a Character that uses Trip/Disarm and the like, but it's impossible.

The easy answers, that will never happen in D&D (again) are:

1) Give martials and magic users the exact same abilities and just say they are different sources, like "I can stun you because I'm awesome at swinging hammers" vs. "I can stun you because I invade your mind with magic." But this won't happen because 4e did it and failed, and everyone assumes nothing like it will ever work again instead of realizing it might have failed for other reasons.

2) Give everyone magic--i.e., make it something anyone can do, exactly like fighting, feats, or skills, and just make wizards the best at it, just the way fighters are (supposed to be) the best at feats (Rangers and Monks are better because they ignore pre-reqs) and rogues are (supposed to be) the best at having skills (Bards and Rangers are better).

3) Make the magic with extreme narrative power into rituals everyone can do with proper training, while the "quick and dirty" stuff is still the realm of wizards et all.

4) Give pure martial type characters like fighters nigh immunity to magic, so, magic is what you use against massed mooks, but Conan types can just punch through your enchantments.

5) Make magic hard, so you can actually fail at doing it. This goes really well with #2.

But this is getting way off track. 5e is a good game. Pathfinder is a good game. Neither game is great. 5e is better for playing, Pathfinder is better for building.


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The best parts of 5e:

1) "Bounded Accuracy" where in numbers only go so high. It means that everything is always a threat. Level 1 monsters can still work against level 11 PCs.

2) Every class is awesome and useful except the Fighter (which is an improvement over "every class is awesome and useful except the ones without magic").

3) Powerful magic is extremely limited. Specifically, there are vastly fewer spell slots per day across the board and the Concentration mechanic means spellcasters usually have to choose between powerful buffs (and which powerful buff) and powerful CC effects--they also can't just take hits in the face like it's nothing because they might lose the ongoing spell.

4) More "mundane magic" is significantly more powerful and useful. Specifically, those 3+stat/per damage abilities and 1d3 damage cantrips Pathfinder classes get that are a joke after the first 3-4 levels become actually powerful bread and butter attack spells that casters can rely on rather than shooting a crossbow or wasting their turns. They can contribute meaningfully without blowing their extremely limited powerful spells for the day.

5) The idea of each stat being a save is brilliant.

The biggest downsides:

1) I still don't like 5e's monster design and feel like it's totally backwards (just like 4e--ew, worst part of that game, in my mind).

2) Powerful magic still exists, and some of it is really stupidly powerful. They tried to limit it, but it's still "I swing a sword!" vs. "I reshape reality!" Summoning is especially BS.

3) The idea of each stat being a save is brilliant, but it is executed horrendously to the degree that you essentially still have Fort, Ref, and Will, then randomly you might roll Str to avoid a magic grapple, Int to escape Maze, or Cha when there's some alingment effect, instead of, you know, actually utilizing the stats for what they should do (the very idea that Charisma doesn't defend against charms, Con is usually used for forced movement, and Int counters illusions rather than Wis is beyond absurd to me).

4) There are very, very few customization options. I can't decide, yet, if this is because the game is designed to be simpler with fewer decision points, or because it's just super new and doesn't have a lot of options available. Either way, going from Pathfinder, you leave a game with 30+ classes (with at least a half dozen archetypes each--usually more), a couple dozen races (each with multiple optional abilities), hundreds of feats, and thousands of spells to a game with, I believe a dozen classes (with two archetypes each, except for cleric/wizard that I think get 8), less than 10 races (with two options each), less than 20 feats, and maybe 100 spells or so. There's just so much less there for a player that wants to build and tweak characters. I think there's a lot more for players that don't care about that and just want to get down to play, but, well, I'm not one of those :(


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Even for those who might take issue with magical items being a valid rebuttal, why not brush up on your folklore and mythology? Gilgamesh, Heracles, Beowulf, Ali Baba, Robin Hood, Pecos Bill, Conan, Bilbo, Wolverine, The Tick...not knowing magic doesn't stop them from achieving great deeds, even when they fight enemies and/or fight alongside allies who do.

Gilgamesh physically fought concepts (Humbaba). The 12 labors of Heracles included several non-combat problems he was able to solve with his super strength, such as rerouting a river. Beowulf was also a supreme swimmer, able to fend off sea serpents while in a race or something. Conan probably had 20 in every stat, because he does stuff like totally shrug off enchantment spells thrown at him before ripping arms off evil sorcerers--at the very least he had all good saves. Wolverine has super regeneration. Bilbo contributed mostly non-combat stuff to a world without any real non-deity spellcasters that capped at 6th level at most. The Tick is a comedy super hero. The others all lived (or supposedly lived) in the real world, and so, like everyone here, were limited to real world stuff, and also contributed mostly out of combat stuff with an absolute cap of maybe 6th level tops.

So, uh, the last half of those guys basically don't count because martials are perfectly fine for the first 5-6 levels, easy. The first half, well--where's my Fighter's ability to chop up concepts? Why can't my Fighter reroute a river? You can't win this. It doesn't work. Martials do something everyone can do (fight/have feats/have skills) better. Spellcasters do something not everyone else can do (cast spells). There's no contest.


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You can cast more spells per day with a higher casting stat, but you never know more based on a stat.


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Can we just all agree that the stealth system in Pathfinder is ridiculous? The biggest problem, in my opinion, is the assumption that everyone has 360' vision all the time. If you just run the game logically, instead of using the stealth system as is, everything works out fine. Just make sure you tell your PCs ahead of time, so they're not disappointed when the corner cases in the core rules they're trying to manipulate don't work anymore.

In my game, yes, the guy could Stealth. That's the point of HiPS. You can already make a stealth check if you get behind something and block line of sight, so the ability would do nothing otherwise. Is it awesome? Eh, kind of? It's no greater invisibility. At best, it gives one of the weakest classes in the game access to their weak damage bonus one time per round at high levels assuming their Stealth rolls are high enough. Sorry, I am not impressed. Give him what he worked for--I promise, he's still probably doing less damage than the NPC Warrior with high strength, power attack, and a Greatsword.


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It would be some tiny fraction of that, actually, since it's only useful for disguising yourself as one specific identity.

Further, while, yes, a skill bonus costs X, you are kidding yourself if you think a bonus to disguise is actually as valuable as a skill bonus to something like perception, diplomacy, umd, etc.

Note that a +10 disguise should cost 10k, but a hat of disguise actually just costs 1800, less than a +5 skill item.


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My character churns out gaming articles, then creates discussion threads tangentially related to my articles to generate traffic. ;P

My oracle, though, is a con artist that only adventures because his haunting entity harasses him and ruins his cons unless he is making progress on saving the world.


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3 levels of Rogue isn't a bad idea, at least, so you can deal Dex damage with your fists.


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Oly wrote:
Would a feat that allowed you to cast Alter Self, with unlimited duration, on demand, but without changing ability scores or gaining special attacks and the like be overpowered or not?

Not. Without the stat adjustments or special abilities, it does nothing except give a bonus to a skill. A skill that's mostly ignored anyway--in four years of playing Pathfinder, I've never seen Disguise rolled once, and in all the time I've played 3rd edition, it was one of the least rolled skills in the book. I think we rolled Use Rope more often.

Oly wrote:
With a campaign involving intrigue, which is what the book is about, being able to be two seemingly-different people is quite potent. It isn't potent enough to be the point of a whole class, but it's more potent than any feat that isn't often banned.

I don't think so. It is entirely designed to make it possible at all to have two identities. It is a useless ability unless you want to have two identities, and if you want two, you just about need it (or a whole bunch of spells), but there's nothing actually super useful or beneficial about having two identities--it's a totally fluff desire. Why charge more than one feat for something that's pretty much non-mechanical anyway? I would never take this feat unless I specifically wanted to be a dual-identity masked vigilante type, but even if I did want that, I'd just be frustrated at the feat tax I had to pay for such a thing to be viable.


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Oly wrote:
Doomed Hero wrote:
Oly wrote:
I agree it shouldn't be a whole class, but I'd make it a feat chain to get all the abilities of the dual identity in the class (Dual Identity, Improved Dual Identity...

Just say no to Feat Chains.

It either needs to be a scaleable feat, or just be a Skill Unlock for Disguise.

I guess that's redundant considering that Skill Unlocks are all scaleable feats.

I think, if all aspects of dual identity were to be incorporated into feats, it would have to be a chain because, while it's not an ability worthy of a whole class, giving all its benefits in one feat would make that feat OP.

I don't like "feat taxes," as if Dual Identity were one feat but required the Deceitful feat as a prerequisite. But the full version of Dual Identity, with all the features of it in the class, would IMO be OP to get (even scaled) in one feat.

If they do an "Amateur Vigilante" feat, I'm certain Dual Identity will be much more limited than in Vigilante.

Why is it better than a single feat? What does it really give you? Honestly, I don't even think it's strong enough to be worth a whole feat. It barely does anything, so, it'd be far more like a feat tax than anything else. I'd almost rather it just be a function of high Disguise checks, or a trait that scales as you level. Or just an alternate Disguise unlock. Or a toggle the GM flips for a campaign, so all PCs get the ability or don't.


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Divination's usefulness is limited mostly by the GM in question. Some GMs are very helpful with divinations--enjoy them even--but most hate them with a passion. In fact, I'd say you're less likely to hit a GM that deliberately sabotages your Divinations with trickery and other nonsense like that than you to hit a GM who just has no idea how to answer or what to say for a Divination. It's a very delicate balance--give to much information, and the upcoming encounter(s) is spoiled. Don't give enough and the PC wasted 10 minutes and a 4th level spell.

In any case, while it could, with the best kind of GM (as far as divinations are concerned--good gming is not in any way connected to someone's ability to facilitate good divinations) be worth a feat, I think the overwhelming likelihood is that no, it's not worth a feat for because the GM is so likely to be unequipped to properly handle it.


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Anonymous Visitor 163 576 wrote:

So, I'm going to assume that Ultimate Intrigue is about the same size as Ultimate Combat. Which means that Vigilante isn't enough to fill the whole book.

I'd have to guess that the rest of the book will be filled with ways to add Intrigue to your game. Where you need to make an argument to the Emperor's guards that they should allow you in for an audience, and 'I attack them' will be answered with 'they kill you'

If this sounds like your thing, if you enjoyed reading the Goblin Emperor, or the Amber series, maybe vigilante is a great class. If you can't imagine why anyone would trade combat power for social power, well, you're probably looking for a different style of game.

And it's not right or wrong, it's just different. I'm willing to at least give the rest of the book a look. Maybe that's needed to fully understand.

I don't really see how the dual identity thing really gives you much of anything in the way of social power. Vigilante seem weaker, socially, than even core classes like the Bard. Their only unique social ability is that they have a dual identity at all, which is almost duplicated already with disguise checks and certain spells.

I'm all for a book adding social/intrigue options. I think the weakest part of D&D 3rd (and up) has always been the skill system (before 3rd, they didn't really even have one and it somehow felt like it worked better), so, shoring that up could be cool if done well. But giving me a class like the Vigilante doesn't give me a ton of hope. They don't appear to interact in any special way with the "social combat" or whatever other subsystems they're introducing. They aren't really better at any social skills than existing classes (they're probably worse, in fact, than several, since they can't afford to waste point buy on Charisma).

All they have is the existence of a dual identity, and it's just not looking like enough to hang a whole class on (never mind four classes--and I think we can all see this is four classes that just share a single line of class features: the dual identity stuff). I'd much rather hang it on ALL of the classes, and have dual identity Fighters, Shamans, Sorcerers, Paladins, whatever.

I mean, can a character like that even fit in a normal adventuring party? It looks like the whole group would have to be vigilantes for it to work at all.


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I have primarily GMed for the past 20 years--I think I've PCed in less than a dozen games that lasted more than 2 or 3 sessions, and of those, only two so far has lasted more than 10. So, I haven't really experienced this phenomenon as a player.

In fact, in the game I PCed in the longest, I was an unbelievably untouchable tank-gish. It was 3rd edition, so, I was a Monk/Sorcerer/Paladin/Spellthief/Abjurant Champion/Swiftblade, which gave me Charisma to saves and AC (Ascetic Mage, how I miss thee), evasion, and I had a spell list full of extremely long duration buffs adding to my AC, Saves, miss chance, speed, etc., which, thanks to a Spellthief trick had an extremely high caster level, so they also couldn't be realistically dispelled.

I was no slouch landing blows, but that wasn't my focus--I left damage mostly to the Divine Metamagic Cleric and the absolute buzzsaw of a Jade Phoenix Blade and focused more on drawing the attention of as many bad guys as possible (ideally, they'd surround me, giving my allies a flank from any position) and either picking on the spellcasters with my magebane blade or Wings of Flurrying to appear threatening and worth hitting.

The GM actually considered it a challenge to hit me--he'd throw wave after wave at me, just trying to land a blow. Rarely, he'd get a high attack, get through the layers of miss chance and mirror images, and finally land a blow...only to hear my favorite words and his most frustrating: "Wings of Cover." I wasn't hit once from level 12 to 16 when the campaign ended, and it was awesome. Everyone actually had lots of fun with it, too--nobody cared that, realistically, if any of these guys turned to hit them, they'd be an instant smear...

The other game is ongoing (and Pathfinder, so a bit more relevant), and I just became immune to charm/compulsions and will be immune to all mind affecting effects at 15th (Shattered Psyche Oracle Curse). I fully intend to take Oracle's Vessel by that point, too, so, I should have some very nice trials for your theory. Targeting the caster with will saves isn't usually smart anyway, but I'll get to see if the bad guys specifically avoid targeting whoever I share my immunity with, too.

Meanwhile, when I GM, the NPCs act within their knowledge and ideally, I've created their abilities before I even know what the party is or will be capable of (it helps that I prefer running E6/E8 sandboxes, so, I can make everything ahead of time and it will always work).

Case in point, in my current game, there have been now three occasions where the Bard's ability to Countersong has completely shut down the enemies threat level (and weirdly once even where Distraction saved the day), and when I conceived of these potential encounters, I didn't know there would even be a Bard.

In other words, I value fidelity first, when it comes to GMing--NPCs should act the way they would act--even before making the game a specific amount of challenging.


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As per the subject, I don't really understand why this is even a class. Why is the vigilante your choice of "weak slayer with a social identity," "weak rogue with a social identity," weak wizard with a social identiy," and "weak inquisitor with a social identity?"

Why isn't the whole social identity thing just an add on option? Why not have a Slayer, Wizard, Rogue, Inquisitor, or frankly, every class, archetype that adds the social identity? Or, let's be honest, this isn't super strong; maybe it could just be a feat? Or even a function of the disguise skill?

I am just not seeing a compelling reason this is a class at all. Most of the class talents that are legitimately cool and new ideas (Mystic Bolt, Penance Gaze, etc.) could be added as options/talents/archetypes/whatever for other classes instead.


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Greater Command seems better than Greater Forbid Action. I guess they get a new save every round, but it's dictating what they actually do, rather than what they can't (leaving all other actions open).

Hunter's Blessing is probably the best buff at that level, if you know what you're facing and where you're going that day.

Wall of Stone is great, but requires stone to anchor it to, so, not always a good choice (in a jungle or sea game, for example).

You shouldn't be focusing on damage, but for my money, Boneshatter is a nasty damage/debuff combo, if you hit a guy with weak Fortitude.

If you want both utility and/or damage and you don't mind dropping 25gp per casting, Holy Ice is the best of both worlds. Choose between excellent damage or a wall of ice every time you cast it.


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I love Oracle because I love the cleric chassis but I hate...

1) ...Prepared casting. It's tedious, and it's either way too powerful or incredibly frustratingly weak depending on your skill level and your willingness to put the effort into picking right. Prepared Casters are more self-sufficient in downtime and can adapt better to adventures they can see coming at least a day in advance. Spontaneous casters are more efficient with their slots. They are less likely to have exactly the right spell, but they are far less likely to ever waste a spell slot, either.

2) ...religion in Golarion and just about every fantasy setting I've ever played in other than my own (where I don't get to PC, obviously). Oracles get to sidestep that nicely, getting the same powers without the fluff restrictions.

3) ...having 2 skill points and a tiny class list.

4) ...Wisdom as a stat. I could rant for quite some time, but the short version is that I don't think it should even exist, never mind do the things it does. I do like Charisma, though, so, that's another plus.

So, basically, I like Oracle because it's a cleric that has none of the cleric's baggage.


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You have a Cleric and a Wizard. The other two party members don't really matter at that point. They'll be fine.


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James Jacobs wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
You misunderstand. I allow players to do things with their characters that they can't do. I allow weaklings to play STR 20 barbarians. I allow anyone to play wizards and thus cast spells. And I allow dumb players to play INT 20 characters who would be, as a virtue of their superhuman intellect, able to solve riddles that the player himself would barely be able to comprehend.

I understand the sentiment here, but do you allow people who are bad with money to have their characters automate their magic item shopping? Do you let people who are terrible at tactics to let their super experienced battle-hardened warrior to move to the best position without their input? Do you let players of super smart wizards make Int or spellcraft checks to choose the best spells for their books instead of relying on their (potentially) dumb players who don't realize the implications of what they were chosen?

The game is full of things the actual players must do that their characters would be better (or worse) at. I don't really get why the line is drawn at puzzles, rather than some of this other stuff.

The whole point of an RPG in my opinion is to play someone you aren't.

If you want to sit around and challenge each other with riddles... that's fine... but that's a different game than one where you take on a persona who ISN'T you to act out a storyline. You can certainly challenge your players with riddles as a GM... I'm not saying don't. I'm just saying don't forget that if the player can't solve it or if waiting for the player to solve it is making the game drag... the character should step in to help.

That's a much different sentiment than I thought you were expressing, and I agree that if the players can't solve it, you need ways around it. It seemed like you were suggesting riddles should never be solved by players, you should just roll dice based on character stats, and well, I found that strange, because the players have to "solve" combat/tactical/resource conserving/shopping/character building riddles all the time. This makes a lot more sense. :)


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Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution values are also difficult to roleplay accurately because most people without those scores have no idea what certain people are capable of.

All of roleplaying is a give and take of verisimilitude. If the other players believe your portrayal, you've succeeded. It doesn't matter how actually accurate that portrayal is.

Relax and solve your puzzles, make your tactical moves, be as charming or abrasive as you like, and let the group's general reaction guide you in the future.


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James Jacobs wrote:
You misunderstand. I allow players to do things with their characters that they can't do. I allow weaklings to play STR 20 barbarians. I allow anyone to play wizards and thus cast spells. And I allow dumb players to play INT 20 characters who would be, as a virtue of their superhuman intellect, able to solve riddles that the player himself would barely be able to comprehend.

I understand the sentiment here, but do you allow people who are bad with money to have their characters automate their magic item shopping? Do you let people who are terrible at tactics to let their super experienced battle-hardened warrior to move to the best position without their input? Do you let players of super smart wizards make Int or spellcraft checks to choose the best spells for their books instead of relying on their (potentially) dumb players who don't realize the implications of what they were chosen?

The game is full of things the actual players must do that their characters would be better (or worse) at. I don't really get why the line is drawn at puzzles, rather than some of this other stuff.


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Night_Shade wrote:
Since dampen prescense specifically calls out to blind sense and blind sight, but not other forms of detection (Tremor sence, scent, vision) I would not think that it would help against life sense.

Lifesense explicitly works exactly as blindsight, whereas Scent and Tremorsense have totally different rules.


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Nathanael Love wrote:

In an upcoming session of a game we know already that there is an arena combat tournament that myself and the other players will be taking part in that (if we win) will require us to take part in 24 separate combats over the course of a singe day.

Presumably the time between combats will be long enough that all round per level, minutes per level, and even 10 minutes per level buffs/spells will have worn off in between, leaving only hours per level buffs as lasting through multiple combats.

This is actually impossible.

There are 24 hours in a day, so, assuming equal spacing between combats, there can be, at most, 1 hour between fights. 10 min/level buffs last 80 minutes at 8th level, so, those buffs will last at least two fights.

Anyway, I don't know, this either sounds like these fights will just be a boring attempt at attrition via lucky 20s until you get to the serious stuff at the end, or you are totally doomed.

The only ways I could conceive of these working at all are:

1) If there's free healing in between fights and maybe an 8 hour sleep break halfway through the day for spells and stuff (meaning the fights are really only a half hour or so apart).

2) If the GM builds a legitimate tournament and (hopefully behind the scenes before the session starts) runs through the NPC fights as well, so you're not the only ones starting fights with fewer resources. Of course, that would require more than 16.5 million NPCs involved (to get a 24 round tournament), so, probably not that.

Is there cover in the Arena? Can you just summon ALL THE LANTERN ARCHONS, one spell each fight after the first few, and let them handle it?


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Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
Deciding to fight an evil that is out of your league is tantamount to killing yourself in some other silly way.

The problem is, if I was a good character, regardless of whether or not I was a Paladin, I wouldn't want to deal with a lich. Heck, I just played through Book 3 of Rise of the Runelords as a Neutral character, and I still wouldn't:

RotRL spoilers:
make any kind of deal with the pit fiend in the dam. The party was super hyped to get some wishes and stuff--I had to use my Charmed ogre buddy to set off the machine while I fascinated the rest of my party that was trying to set it free.

They thanked me later, though. The GM mentioned that if we had made a deal with the pit fiend, it would have returned in a year of in-game time and murdered us as punishment for having seen it in a weakened state. And, he showed us that was not him being sadistic, it was written in the module itself. They realized pretty quickly, you don't make deals with evil, even if you're evil yourself.

Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
If they fail, he will know that he'll have to attempt a surgical strike against his apprentice or hire devils to do the job the next time he is in Dis.

Why do any of this nonsense? A lich could just Planar Ally (which only costs money, which is no object apparently) an outsider that would wipe the floor with the party, so, if the party is able to beat the apprentice, this hypothetical Planar Ally could wipe the floor with the apprentice. Why is he even bothering with the PCs?

Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
He is a plot device.

And that is my objection. He's a plot device that would be problematic for me, and instead of recognizing that and shifting tactics, you're acting as if it's the PC's problem and that they have to go along with what you're doing or else.

Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
If some of the PCs want to throw their lives away, they are welcome to do so. You don't get an audience with Asmodeus, walk into his palace and declare, "Now, villain, you shall die," and expect to survive.

No, but you know what? My good character wouldn't want an audience with Asmodeus. You're framing this like the PCs should feel privileged to have tea with this Lich, rather than not wanting any part of this. What the heck?

I wouldn't attack the lich over tea, I'd refuse to go in the first place.

Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
Someone might be stupid, but that is normal. When he casts a 9th level instant death spell to deal with the offending person, the rest will realize that putting their weapons away and being courteous is the best possible decision.

I would be very frustrated with your railroading, at this point--I would think you need me to talk to this NPC of yours for some story you're trying to tell and I don't roleplay to hear someone tell me a story.

Cap. Darling wrote:
To me it sounds like the lich is a GM pet, that is Best left out of the story.

So this.

Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
Cool, and your character would rise as a skeletal champion. A quick will save vs his channel energy save DC would decide if you're his agent or actually free willed to do as you wish.

No, I'd either make another character, probably an evil one that would actually work in this context, or you'd have one less player, because that's BS.

Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
"Hey, welcome, I'm glad my friend here *fist bumps hound archon* brought you here like I asked.

"Nope, no way. Now I can't even trust Hound Archons." (leave in a hurry)

Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
"With my magic I can obscure you from the worst of what exists in the Darklands, but it just so happens that my agents have traced his minions path.

Nope, never make deals with evil. Their help is always too costly.

The problem is not, "They might attack an unbeatable foe," the problem is that you are forcing them to meet an unbeatable foe they had no option to avoid in the first place.


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Corrik wrote:
If I can only do things the rules state then my character just exploded from all the biological waste he can't expel.

Nope, because the rules don't state you can explode from unexpelled biological waste. ;)


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Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
There is a Lawful Good Outsider, in the form of the Hound Archon, who is more or less saying, "Its cool, you can trust this guy at least this far. I'll be here, waiting for you to get back."

And I don't believe for a second that a lawful good outsider would be cool trusting a lich.

Basically, I object to the fact that you are hanging your entire game on the notion of dealing politely with pure evil just because the evil guy wants the same thing as you this one time. I'd far rather the PCs encounter the lich's agents helping them in the field or whatever and deal with it there, rather than relying on an LG outsider acting out of character to convince the Paladin.

Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
He also has no interest in actually fighting the PCs or harming their kingdom. Well, until the Whispering Tyrant wakes back up, at which point all bets are off.

That doesn't matter. Evil is evil! If you're a hero, you don't only care about evil that's coming directly for you and the ones you love, you care about evil in general. You don't say, "Oh, no, it's cool, lich, you can slaughter the next town over, that's cool, just not my village, ok?"


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Magus doesn't work because I think what is desired is the 3.5 Hexblade (and I agree that this would be a great idea). Basically, a full BAB class with a small number of arcane spells (mostly buffs and utility, not blasting) that smites other arcane casters the way paladins smite undead and demons and stuff.

I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
The warrior-sorcerer hybrid I've always wanted is the Archer from the Might & Magic games. I've always kind of found it amusing how D&D floundered and floundered and floundered looking for a working warrior-mage hybrid (and doing an amazingly uninspired job in some cases), while Might & Magic had their Archer from the get-go.

Isn't that just the original D&D "Elf" class?


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Chess Pwn wrote:
You get it at whatever the highest spell level you can cast at the time. So a Witch can get a lv2 spell as a lv1 spell from her patron. Then take it as a lv2 spell and fill all the slots with it.

So, if I take 5 levels of Oracle, 10 levels of a full casting prestige class, then come back for my 6th Oracle level, does that mean I get Fireball as an 8th level spell?

I think the best answer is that your bonus spells are just in order. So, the first bonus spell is a 1st level, the second is 2nd, etc. Someone mentioned that in another thread and I think it's the best one. That said, I guess we need a dev to say the same thing officially, so, FAQ.


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Uh, so, how about you don't expect PCs to deal nicely with a super evil lich bad guy under any circumstances?


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That's the way Fortitude, Reflex, and Will were calculated in 4e. AC was also the better of Int or Dex, actually. They were all static defenses, though, like AC, not saves. Spells all had attack rolls that had to hit your defenses, rather than you rolling them against the spell's DC.

I prefer that system because I like Charisma and HATE Wisdom as a stat, but it created a lot of weird problems. For example:

-Strong people were only rarely tough because it was wasteful to have both good Con and Strength (though this was less severe than the others, since Hit Points/Health Surges still mattered). But yeah, you'd end up with situations where Rogues, Wizards, and other fragile casters/dps characters would be tougher than the tanks because the tanks needed Strength while the others could dump it for Con.

-The only people that didn't dump Intelligence were people whose class used it, because Dex added to the same number of skills but also did Initiative, so, it was an easy choice if you didn't need one of them. This is less of a problem in Pathfinder where Intelligence gives you extra skill points.

-Agile quick people were always dumb as posts. There were no smart rogues, no smart archers...there were almost no smart people, actually. Again, it was wasteful to focus on both.

-You got to be Perceptive or Social. There was no middle ground. Same reasons as above.

Basically, this system is good to a degree because it stops certain classes from being "stealth MAD," like say the Rogue who seems to only need Dex, but actually still needs Wisdom for Perception and Will, Con for Fort/HP, etc., etc.

However, it also builds in 3 dump stats into every build and sort of teaches you to make characters that are only half functional.


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Cyrad wrote:
If it's not an action (5-foot step, delay), you can do it.

...is this a joke? You actually believe that's the right way to run things? You're not just being pedantic and trying to prove some point about what happens when you don't use legal-precise rules language?


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I FAQ'd this, but it makes me sad that people would feel like they need an official answer to a ridiculous question like this. I miss the days when common sense and table variation was assumed and considered good.


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If we're talking about "stealth" offensive spells, Aboleth's Lung shouldn't be on the table. It's save is not designated as Harmless. It's definitely offensive.

No, you want to talk about Marid's Mastery. It's a level 1 Harmless spell that, unless you and your foe are in water (or flying, I guess), gives the guy you cast it on a cripplingly brutal -4 to hit and damage! As a level one spell? Yes, please. That's like half of what Bestow Curse is for.


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Bodzilla wrote:

I've been DMing Adventure Paths for a while now and I've always been interested in running my own campaign. I come up with crazy fun ideas but putting it to the test with the math usually discourages me.

My question is, has anyone built their own campaign from start to about 15th level and had fun? How did you make those XP decisions in regard to "filling up" that 10,000 point budget for your five level-1 PC's? What were the percentages spent on monsters, traps, and story awards?

Just, what do I do?

I completely ignore CR and XP and all that noise. I build npcs the way that makes sense, then, they interact with the PCs that make sense. If the scene would have 5 Ogres in it, there are 5 Ogres and it doesn't matter that the PCs are level 15 or 2 or anything in between. If they're 2, I sure hope they run or try and talk.

I pretty much just run sandboxes, so, fidelity to the setting is more important than getting the "correct" level of challenge.


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Technically, it would discharge into your weapon. It is only the Spellstrike Magus ability that lets you hold a charge with your hand full.

But, I do not think many GMs would really run it that way. I certainly wouldn't.


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Kineticist, from Occult Adventures.


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I think most GMs are willing to treat it as "-1 spell known per level (minimum 1)."

You also tend to get better mileage out of Crossblooded Sorcerer if you only take a single level of sorcerer and otherwise jump to another casting class for the other 19 levels.

But yeah, I've only seen really two builds go for it:

1a) Focused Blasting, using Draconic + Orc or Draconic + Primal (if your GM bends the rules)
1b) General Blasting, using Elemental + Orc

2) Using Impossible, Plague, Verdant, Serpentine, Undead, etc., to let your mind affecting spells land on as many different enemy types as possible. Bonus points if you also dip two levels of Dirge Bard (to get undead) and then the rest of the way with Heavens Oracle for horrendous Color Spray brutality.


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I find the difference between all point buy values is number of dumps and class selection. You get a lot more boring characters (mechanically) with lower point buy and the actual power level is basically the same, since people dump stats into the dirt to get their 16-18s anyway.

Low point buy also helps casters and hurts martials, which is the last thing that needs to be done. Martials require at least two stats (str or dex and con) plus probably a mental if they want to contribute outside of combat. Casters like dex/con, but can easily do with only their casting stat.

With low point buy, casters still get their 18s and high dcs, but nobody can afford to shore up three saves to defend against those same casters. With stats all around, saves are higher and magic loses power.


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Yeah, I like Charisma. The stat I hate and think is pointless is Wisdom.

Literally no other RPG I've seen has a Wisdom stat (ok, well, one--Artesia--but it's different and they have like 15 attributes).

The origins of Wisdom bug the hell out of me. Way back, in development, there were 5 stats. Intelligence covered all magic. Then someone decided they wanted it to be possible to create the (completely modern) trope of a dumb guy with strong faith, so, you wouldn't necessary be super smart to be super pious. Ignoring thousands of years of human history where priests were universally the smartest people on the planet, or that without clergy there would basically be no modern scholarship, they added a sixth stat, which was basically just Piety. However, that's too narrow in focus. All the other stats did something in a general sense, not just for specific mechanics, so, they kind of came up with Wisdom as the common-sense-street-smarts version of intelligence. I find that utterly ridiculous--I feel like common sense should just be the player's anyway.

This is getting ranty, so, the point is this:
Don't get rid of Charisma. Get rid of Wisdom. Give the willpower stuff to Charisma. Give the perception stuff to Intelligence. Problem solved. This is how 90% of other games handle it already.

Savage Worlds, for example, has Strength, Agility, Vigor, Smarts, and Spirit. The first three are basically directly Str, Dex, and Con. Smarts is Intelligence and covers perception. Spirit is the social and willpower stat.

World of Darkness has 9 stats, and Perception is a function of Wits+Composure while willpower is Composure+Resolve, both of which are kind of like part of Int + part of Cha.

Even in SKR's upcoming game, Five Moons, he drops the stats to 5: Str, Dex, Con, Int, and Psyche, which covers social+willpower, and I only assume Int gets the perception stuff (his blogs haven't covered that yet).

So, basically everyone but D&D itself understands that Wisdom is dumb and should go away.

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