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GM_Jacob wrote:
nexusphere wrote:

You might also be interested in this.

Guidelines for giving experience for treasure only in pathfinder.

Absolutely. That entire blog rocks. I don't agree with everything, but you can't argue that it's very well-though out and written. Plus, I've played a game with the author on Google hangouts and it was sweet.


(I am ostensibly -C)

You might also be interested in this.

Guidelines for giving experience for treasure only in pathfinder.

MagiMaster wrote:

Now, as Discworld might say, you never know if you're in the story about the heroes that destroy the vampire, the story about the guys that die and become part of the undead army before the real heroes show up, or the vampire story about the guy that held his empire against the best the humans could muster.

Or the players may ignore that entirely (though a good enough GM should know what to expect from their players, at least some of the time).

If you would say it could also be the story of how they became students of the vampire and became lords of death or the story of how they said "this country is screwed, let's head south", we agree.

MagiMaster wrote:

And yes, I try to incorporate a story I've made up just for that game. And yes, it's not a story that's worthy of a novel, but you know what, it's a game and it doesn't need that deep of a story. (Also, my group seems to prefer a story to a sandbox. Both methods have their merits.)

Now even in a wide-open-sandbox game, I'm sure there are places that have been established as too-high-level-to-visit-for-now. There are reasonable paths through a sandbox that could lead to the GM feeling the players are underleveled for what they intend to do next.

I'm also fairly confident that a bunch of completely random encounters is less fun than if the GM invested a bit of time and effort in those encounters. (I still agree that a GM getting too attached to one encounter is bad, BTW.)

We are so close to communicating here!

I see from what you've written, that you seem to assume that because I let them make the choices over what their characters do, that I don't have an "outside world, plot, or consistency".

I would say the founding principle of player choice having value is that their choices matter.
Their choices can only matter if they have consequences.
Consequences can only exist in a consistent cohesive comprehensive environment!

I am defining story as something that a DM determines must happen in a game.

Whereas my story-less games contain numerous NPC's, Monsters, Towns, Rulers all with their own agendas, plans and problems.

I don't know what's going to happen. The players decide to do what they want. The rest of the world will continue trying to accomplish their goals. There's no 'story' because I have not the first clue what the players are going to do. They can do whatever they want. Their choices when they play the game will have consequences and new things will happen.

And it is awesome. And I don't need a story, because it doesn't matter what I think should happen. It's not storytime because we are playing a game.

However, it is possible to look back upon the sequence of events and see foreshadowing (because consequences result from actions), drama (because conflict), morality (because choices in a cohesive world) and conclusion (because during the game conflicts are resolved). You may call this a story. In hindsight.

I have a couple of things to say in response.

Players cannot get 'behind' in XP because their is no predetermined outcome in my game - no threshold that they must meet by a certain point - no sub-par non-professional "story" that I'm shoving down their throats.

Players are playing a game. Players tell me what they are doing.

As far as what Mykull is talking about; Why would anyone play a game where we don't get to decide what we get to do on our turn?

I've walked away from other human beings that have been that rude to me before, but it never happens right away.

You see, I'm going to continue to make choices in play that seem intelligent. A great many of those choices will be things that won't fit with what the DM has decided must happen. I may not notice the first time things are rearranged, but it won't take long for me to figure out that what choices i make don't matter. I can't change whatever the DM has already decided, so if nothing I do matters, why am I going to waste my time?

I'm not.

MagiMaster wrote:

I was sure I read that in one of the comments on your blog, but I can't find it now, so maybe not.

Anyway, how does laying things out explicitly prevent the players from getting a lucky guess and getting the macguffin with almost no effort?

Why would it?

Why would waxing your car increase your gas mileage? It won't, because that's not what it's designed to do.

MagiMaster wrote:
Also, on a much larger scale than just one encounter, quantum details can save a huge amount of time. Imagine your game starts in the capital city and your players have expressed no major plans to leave. Rather than drawing up the whole kingdom, you make a half dozen interesting quantum locations. If the players ask what's to the west, you pull one out. The chances of them going through all 6 in one game is tiny and you didn't have to make a whole map to pull that off (especially if you're like me and get bogged down in details).

Note that this technique is explicitly different then deciding that no matter what the players do they are going to encounter all your encounters in the order you demand they should.

MagiMaster wrote:

- Player agency is king, and it's wrong for a GM to undermine that even if they never know, and it's impossible that they'll never know.

- Quantum stuff always undermines player agency (or if it doesn't it actually wastes more GM time than it saves)

MagiMaster wrote:
I've looked over the Quantum Ogre series several times now, and I'm having a hard time finding these explicit points (or finding anything that contradicts my summarization, though it may be a bit exaggerated).

Don't take this the way it comes across, but you won't find those explicit points because you made them up.

The "Quantum Ogre" is a specific example of a specific situation.

MagiMaster wrote:
Simple question: do you think that quantum encounters or locations are a good GM tool?

I think it is a very complicated tool, that can be used for an explicit specific purpose.

In my personal experience, due to years of published terrible terrible advice, it is often used poorly. I also think it is universally overused with good intentions to the detriment of many games - often by DM's who assume that by disregarding the autonomy of human beings that they are somehow improving their experience of life.

I also think that it is trivially easy to accidentally move from using non-specified events to destroying player agency.

As to the answer to your question, I would request what metric you wish to judge the goodness of the tool by.

MagiMaster wrote:
On How an Illusion Can Rob Your Game of Fun wrote:
The flaw of the Quantum Ogre is that, if you have a party who plays smart, he won't be quantum long before you enter the woods, and then you've wasted time by not assigning him to a location already or you become the jerk DM where ESP doesn't work, the ground doesn't hold tracks, and if you try and teleport - suddenly anti-magic fields everywhere.
My argument is that this isn't true. It does still save prep time, and it shouldn't waste more time than it saved, assuming the DM has a bit of experience filling in details on the fly. The second possibility you listed is a completely separate problem.

I do agree that the 'prep time' difference is probably minimal with a skilled DM. I still think taking a monster or a mcguffin and deciding their location before the game is objectively quicker then doing it during the game. Because if it's done before it literally doesn't have to be done during, and the 0 seconds I don't spend doing it is shorter then the time I spend doing it while I'm playing.

MagiMaster wrote:
Also, I disagree that it's fun to simply walk up and take the macguffin on a lucky guess (I can't find where you said this ATM), which would happen quite often in the example scenario if things were all set in stone. (If the players invest some time and energy into it, it's fine of course.)

As I said, you didn't find this, because I didn't say it. I also think players just getting something for nothing is not very fun, and indeed is destructive to games.

MagiMaster wrote:

- Player agency is king, and it's wrong for a GM to undermine that even if they never know, and it's impossible that they'll never know.

- Quantum stuff always undermines player agency (or if it doesn't it actually wastes more GM time than it saves)

My points are laid out explicitly on my blog. I didn't say the above because they are not what I think.

MagiMaster wrote:
I feel like either I'm not making myself clear, or I've misread your posts yet again. I've gone over them a couple more times, and while I can't find many passages to quote to argue against specifically,

I think you're only allow to argue against something I actually typed, instead of something that I never actually said.

I wrote what I wrote because it is what I think. Not something almost like what I said, but somehow meaning something different. If you have a question about something I said specifically, I'd be glad to address it.

Defending an argument that I didn't actually make doesn't seem like a reasonable position to be expected to take.

MagiMaster wrote:
Actually, I did read them in order. And I still didn't like your argument style. What you're arguing against is "My Precious Encounter" which I agree is bad (it's basically heavy-handed railroading). What you keep writing about is the "Quantum Ogre" which is a separate issue.

I have to wonder if you're just messing with me now.

Those three linked articles are parts 2, 3, and an addendum.

There is another post that is the first post in the series.

That is why it seems presented badly.

You can find the original post by clicking on the 'quantum ogre' tag. You can read extensively about agency by clicking on the 'player agency' tag.

MagiMaster wrote:
With "My Precious Encounter," the GM has an encounter planned and is determined that the players will encounter it, no matter what. . . I see it as mainly a GM-prep-time saver. I have three places and two encounters (the ogre and the macguffin). I don't need to decide up front where they'll be. Assuming the players walk in blindly, I'll just run them in a specific order. If they don't go in blindly, I might have to nail down some details. Once nailed down, those details shouldn't change unless in makes in-game sense that they should have changed. . . See, the thing is, the GM does lie to the players, or at least hide things from them. It's part of the job, and every player I've played with expects it. You don't tell them how much HP the enemies have left (though you might hint at it). You don't tell them there's a thief hiding in the shadows (or even that they just failed a hidden perception roll). You don't tell them that there's an ogre in the first glade (unless they scout ahead). . .

A casual perusal of the blog will show I agree with you 100%.

MagiMaster wrote:
You can lie to the whole room 100% of the time if you're the GM since their willing suspension of disbelief permits that. This has nothing to do with them being stupid.

This isn't lying. Telling them "You don't know" or "Your character doesn't see anyone." or "You don't know how many hit points are left, but he looks ok." are in fact honest representations of the game world.

MagiMaster wrote:

Your arguments make way too many assumptions about the kind of games I'm playing and the kind of people I'm playing with. Me and the people I play with enjoy the story and an internally-consistent world (verisimilitude) as much as we enjoy killing stuff and getting loot. GM actions that break verisimilitude bother me much more than the GM hiding things from me.

What matters most is fun. Second to that is that players feel they're having an effect on the story or world. Actually having an effect on the world is not that important as long as the first two are there. (It does take a good GM to really pull off major stuff, but the Quantum Ogre is minor.)

Again, I question if you actually read the text of the posts in question. The statement I make above is exactly the thrust of the article. The entire series begins with the quote "You think you're saving effort. You're not. You think you're making things more 'fun' for the players, but really, you're ruining their fun." because the whole series is about maximizing whatever is fun for your group

MagiMaster wrote:
If the GM is failing to maintain that illusion, they're doing something wrong and should stick to writing the details down ahead of time until they get better at it. Any quantum anything should only stay unspecified until the players interact with it, which includes scouting, scrying, clairvoyance, etc. Arbitrary measures to prevent non-physical interaction is a separate problem.

I say exactly this identical point in the series. In fact, the statement you made is the whole point of why I wrote the thing.

I think if you'll peruse the tens of thousands of words on the subject I've written on the blog, you'll discover that you are arguing against a stance I am not taking. If you wish to take one piece out of context then that is your right as a reader, but it is not an accurate assessment of my position.

DeathQuaker wrote:
Wow, this is very well said.

Thanks Deathquaker!

blue_the_wolf wrote:

/shrug/ in my games I do the best I can but I think there is a balance.

I didnt like the quantum ogre deal because it, like you, was way too preachy. its also the extreme side of the order/chaos spectrum. on one side you have basically a rail road game while on the other you have 'do what ever you like and the GM will make it work out some how.'

I cant stand either extreme.

to me freedom is not sacred, fun is.

Hi Blue!

I'd like to take a moment and address a bit of a strawman. No one is suggesting 'do whatever you like and your GM will make it work out somehow.'

What is being suggested is that railroading is an intrinsically disrespectful activity.

Now, you make a very valid point about fun being more important then freedom. And I agree with you. But while exceptions exist, people in general do not enjoy being punched in the nose. It is fairly safe to assume that if you walk up and hit someone in the center of their face, they will be upset.

If you look at the meaning of the phrases "Non-interactive cut scene" and "Railroad" and the other things being discussed in the thread, you will see that they are, without question, related to activities that marginalize the importance and worth of other human beings.

Now, if you just read the above and don't read the following, you'll be wasting your time as well as mine.

This does not mean that games do not contain compromise, boundaries or limits. It is perfectly acceptable for actions to be triggered when players arrive places, to discuss where you're going to be adventuring next week, or what shape the next campaign will be.

blue_the_wolf wrote:
so while my use of the railroad will be rare and as light as possible I am also not going to let a player say "oh.. you have a whole story line about us going to that castle over yonder on kings orders but I would rather kill the king and own this castle instead now make it happen"

Well, see that's the great thing about not limiting play that's so fun. In this example, let him try.

Three things can happen. 1) He will succeed, 2) He will fail and live, or 3) He will fail and die. All of these results are good for you.

If he succeeds, he has just given you one million plot hooks that he is intimately involved with.
If he fails, he is dead or spends the rest of his short life in bonds and rolls up a new character, thus learning a lesson about consequences.

blue_the_wolf wrote:
not because i feel that I am the GM and the players should all bow to my will... but because I think that the players should to some degree respect that I spent hours out of game building a story for them so YES they have some obligation to at least try to go with it.

I would say that it is a reasonable expectation to think that others will treat us with respect. However, the behavior of other people is outside our control. You don't decide what other human beings do, and sometimes they do things we wouldn't like. I agree that it's frustrating when people don't treat us with respect, but I think preemptively not treating them with respect is a bad move that leads to bigger problems.

I think the solution above, while not addressing the disrespect issue directly, does in fact resolve the problem, earning you the respect you seek.

blue_the_wolf wrote:

I once had a game in which the players entered a tomb and what amounts to a deathknight approached them and raised its arm to point at them. one player jumps in and says I smite and charge, another said I cast a lightning bolt before the charge and another started unloading arrows...

however the whole reason they were in the dungeon was to get information which the deathknight was going to give them along with a special boon in exchange for a task which would free his soul. (a series of clues had pointed them to the tomb but not the source of the information or even the full understanding of what information they would recieve)

I could have said... ok you attack him, he defends himself, you kill him... then you stand around the tomb looking for information that is now gone... or i could have said "ok guys minor cut sceen, 'as you enter the tomb a skeletal knight in old but functional armor rises from a kind of throne and spoints at you... you see its jaw moving as if to speak and after a few moment an echoing voice echoes in your mind...."

I dont think I took anything from the characters but most of the time the characters are going to want to charge the enemy for xp or loot or simply out of fear. in this kind of case which is being used to set up the next several sessions of sand box story i dont think its too much to ask or mind blowingly torturous to the players to suffer through 3 mins of GM storytime.

The characters want to charge the enemy for xp or loot or simply out of fear because you taught them to do exactly that by using cutscenes!

If you let the players attack the death knight, and he devastates the party killing some members and gives his advice to the remaining living, they learn. If they kill him and don't find the information they seek they learn.

Do your players ever fail? If they don't experience consequences for their choices, then you are training them to make choices without considering consequences. That is what running an agency rich game gets you! Players who think twice before killing kings and attacking death knights.

My players think long and hard before fighting, creatively attempt to solve problems and actively engage with my game and world because what they do matters.

You don't get respect from players by taking away their freedom. You get it by showing them anything they want to do in your game is earned.

MagiMaster wrote:

The best time to use a cut scene to avoid breaking the flow would be at the beginning or end of a session (or as mentioned, between sessions). Spending 20 minutes expounding on the history of the big bad (preferably with some way to tie this back into your characters) could do a good job setting the mood for some people (or a good job losing their attention for others). Another case of "know your players."

Lochmonster wrote:

I've found the following blog in general and the three articles very helpful about how to handle players choices and there effects on the game in general and the DMs plans specifically:

Slaying the Quantum Ogre.

Having the Quantum Ogre for tea.

Ways you are ruining your game.

Err... I just read through those, and that guy has some serious issues with his writing style (or really more his argument style).

The example used in all those is the three groves with the ogre wherever the players go first and the macguffin wherever they go last. He goes on and on about how bad this is, except that isn't actually what he's arguing against. What he's actually arguing against is when the GM starts pulling weird reasons out to prevent the players from nailing things down before visiting those groves. You have to carefully sift through the comments to figure this out.

Overall, I'm not sure I could recommend those articles. There's some good ideas there, but they're badly presented.

Hi. I'm the author of Hack & Slash.

The "example" I used is not an example. It was part of an ongoing discussion about Illusionism started at Beedo's Death in the Liche House blog in the post The shell game in the sandbox. He was talking about a similar situation to the original poster. Is it ok to move things around to get the players to experience the plot? Do you have a responsibility to force something interesting is happening?

Since the post is part of a discussion, the careful reader will note that they are tagged "series (Quantum Ogre)". If you were to select this tag, you would see the first post in the series, which makes this explicit, with a link to the originating article.

Since I did not post those links in this thread, I had nothing to do with the first post being not included.

I am unsurprised that you found reading parts 2 and 3 of a series a bad presentation of good ideas. Being the internet and a blog, I have minimal control over the method by which people peruse my blog.

In regards to the point of "If players don't know their agency is compromised, then it isn't actually compromised", this was brought up in the discussion. The general assessment is that this statement essentially assumes that your players are stupid. If a DM comes to the table with the stance that he can keep the lack of their agency hidden from the players, then it is likely he is going to treat them inappropriately in other ways. In fact, it is somewhat ignorant to assume that a DM can lie well enough to fool one person 100% of the time, much less a room full of people. Statistically speaking that is. Due to the absurd wealth of games available currently, I would, and have, walked straight away from a DM running a game like this. I don't wish to spend my hobby time around people who assume I am too dumb to know that they are lying. The thread discussing this particular argument is carried over here at Monsters and Manuals, another excellent blog.

I would say that it isn't necessary to be able to replay the tabletop RPG to find out your choices don't affect outcomes.

In regards to your final edit, I do not suggest "Telling players everything about everything". What I do suggest is. . .

  • When you have limited time to play
  • Your players lead busy lives
  • They wish to spend their time in the game doing things that they enjoy.
  • You should enable them to do that
  • Even if it means breaking verisimilitude
  • Because breaking verisimilitude is better then having them doing something unfun for six hours.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:
A player shows up to play but his character isn't around. Don't make him sit for hours until it is 'logical' for his character to show up. Get him playing in five minutes.

The group is deciding what to do. The players tell you they've had a stressful week and just want to kill some things. Take the time to guide them to those options and not the ones that involve problem solving, domain management, or mysteries.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I've written a document to assist dungeon masters with interesting treasure placement.

It is system neutral, but I'm using it in my Hackmaster game.

It can be found under the Resources list at the right on my blog,
Hack & Slash

or at this post,
Hack & Slash: Treasure

I hope it is of some use. :-)

Spes Magna Mark wrote:

Noticing the recent mini-trend of folks posting their house rules made me feel as if I'd not been asked to dance at the party. Consequently, I offer this link to the house rules for Man Day's "We're Not In Arkansas Anymore!" campaign.


The monks get a bonus on their bad save?

What save is that?

Kolokotroni wrote:

What about the fighter, what are his abilities? In my experience and optimized fighter can easily match the output of an eidolon like the one you discribed.

At level 9 sword and board with imrpoved sheild bash and 2 weapon fighting over sized 2 weapon fighting for the heavy shield and full plate. Add in power attack and a bastard sword and you can easily surpass the eidolon's output.

also, the fighter can't be banished, has better saves, can't have damage to his unarmored friend take him out of the fight, doesn't have to split his magic items, can wear (enchanted) armor, has options on how to be effective in combat (besides tentacle spam or pounce), more hit points *and* on top of being better by default can then be buffed.

Also the summoner can pay hp to keep the eidolon from being banished which happens at -con at which point the eidolon is unconsious. So that isn't as nice as it sounds.

Fatespinner wrote:
Kain Darkwind wrote:
Does Still Spell allow you to cast with a reduced or with no Concentration check if you are grappled? It seems that it SHOULD, but I don't see that it DOES.
Still Spell only makes it possible to cast spells in a grapple (and even then you must be able to have any components at hand... unless you also have Eschew Materials). You must still succeed at the Concentration check as normal. Without Still Spell, it is impossible to cast a spell with somatic components in a grapple. No check allowed.

it's pretty clear from raw that it only takes one hand to cast a spell. The text does seem to indicate that although you can cast you need the components in hand.

Eyolf The Wild Commoner wrote:

So what do we need to do in order to modify the E6 variant for Pathfinder.

I've begun changing up the E6 feats for Pathfinder, and removing obsolete ones. The only problem is, I need help.

Aside from feat changes for the E6 3.5 feats. What else do you think we need to change?

Here are the E6 feats


I'm currently running a gestalt gestalt e6 game. I have a slightly different set of feats, also I'm doing magic item replacement. ("boons" gained every level instead of crafting/magic items)

I'm not sure what it is you're asking. I would point out several things. Pathfinder characters can take on a much higher cr than ten, especially if it's only one opponent and there are no terrain issues. E6 makes melée more relevant.

I don't know if this is the right place for this.

So, I let my players use expanded 3.5 material. Player comes to the table with a psion/warblade. This is fine but I've never had either of these (or any character from xpsi or book of 9 swords) in play.

Round one: expands focus, Linked power Synchronicity[synchronicity] takes his readied action.
Round two: Two actions.

Clearly you can also quicken it and such for the extra standard. My question is, is this what this first level power is supposed to do? Give you extra actions?

I searched the internet and was unable to find anything regarding this power at all. Any ideas?

Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:

Except this isn't about how many rats. Again it's about hit dice. The sleep spell could affect an infinite number of creatures so long has its hit dice limit isn't reached. The rats in the swarm don't have hit dice -- the swarm does. Therefore the limit of what the sleep spell can put to sleep (the HD limit) is the only one that matters.

A swarm is not 300 individual rats -- it's a swarm with x hit dice.

IF you want to fight 300 rats, then put the part up against 300 rats. If you choose the swarm then you get a finite hit dice swarm and if that hit dice is 4 or lower it is subject to the sleep spell.

I'm not arguing that, like I said, the case can be made that, by the rules, sleep should work.

I'm saying, regardless of how the rules treat those 300 rats, they're still 300 freaking rats. The swarm rules are an abstraction, they don't always function in a way that makes sense. This is one of those cases. Four rats on one hand, 300 on the other, complete logical disconnect.

clearly it's a swarm of mice.

Seriously though, I think the swarm are normal-sized rats (say the size of a soda can) and the 1 HD rats are closer to cat-sized.

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Assuming Strict RAW,

Each character gets a Standard, move, and swift action. They declare what their actions for the turn are, (one at a time) and attempt to resolve each.

What happens in each of these cases?

A) Character moves any value less than 30' (half his 'fly spell' fly speed) and fails his fly check?

B) Character declares no movement in the air (say casting a full round action or making a full attack) and fails his hover check?

C) Character attempts to turn more than 45 degrees and fails his fly check.

D) Character attempts to fly straight up.

My understanding per RAW, is that the character falls out of the air, takes falling damage and lands prone in each of these cases. Possibly in case C) and D) The characters movement ends, possibly making him make another fly check per A).

Is this correct? Yes? No?

Nazard wrote:
brent norton wrote:
OK, I am palying a halfing Summoner with a Bipedal Eidolon I gave him reach, bite and improved natural damage. The two spells I took were enlarge and mage armor. My gm is having some problems with him. What are the best arguements that this not unbalanced.

I don't really have an argument to offer you, other than that it's not unbalanced, it's just intelligent. Poo-poo on GMs who like their players stupid.

Of course, you are a fairly one-trick pony, so when your GM gets around to giving you dungeons with close quarters, spider swarms, and other challenges that this combination won't work for, you might be wishing for a bit more versatility.

I would add that the low X save, and the fact that you as the summoner are made out of little white porcelain mice is a pretty big drawback in and of itself. (Then a 1HD 15' reach, one attack eidolon)

brent norton wrote:
OK, I am palying a halfing Summoner with a Bipedal Eidolon I gave him reach, bite and improved natural damage. The two spells I took were enlarge and mage armor. My gm is having some problems with him. What are the best arguements that this not unbalanced.

what problem is your dm having with it?

IronDesk wrote:

2 questions:

1)Swarms are immune to spells that target a specific # of creatures, but a spell that effects a specific # of HD, like sleep, should still work, right?

2) Party is facing two rat swarms, one immediately behind the other. Wizard casts, and puts the first one to sleep. 2nd swarm moves through the first and into party. Does the movement of the 2nd swarm wake up the first?

Two ways to handle number two.

A) no, because they did not take an action to wake them from magical sleep.


2) allow a perception check to the swarm?

Thazar wrote:

Using a swift action is not directly tied to concentration. So I will assume you are talking about casting a spell with a swift action and not using a swift action for a non-spell related activity. And if that is the case the answer is yes.

Any time you cast a spell you need to have concentration. If that spell is a swift, immediate, standard, or full round action you still need to maintain your concentration to work the magic. In some cases something will cause distraction requiring you to make a concentration CHECK.

To your point about grapple. You can never cast a spell while grappled with a somatic component. Only spells with verbal only... or with a verbal and your material components are in your hand already. You still then need to make a concentration check or fail. The advantage to using quicken is that you do not also have to suffer an attack of opportunity.

Think of it this way. When ridding on the back of a horse think about trying to clearly say the words Superbowl Sunday without any distortion. Saying those words in combat would be a free action. A swift action takes more effort then that... and if you say it wrong the magic does not work.

Quicken spell also removes the need for somatic and material components of a spell.

You still sure about grapple? I agree with your statement, but since this is the rules forum, I was looking for where I could find proof of it in RAW. I can't find anything that says one way or another. (It's 'not addressed' as my player says).

Help is appreceated.

Does using a swift action require concentration?

If you're subject to motion (vigorous, violent, or extreme) and you cast a quickened spell do you have to make a concentration check?

How about in a grapple?

Some questions:

if I cast fly do I have to move half my movement or make the DC 15 hover check?
In combat can I take ten on the hover check?
Is half my movement (if my base is 60') 30'? 5' if I'm gaining altitude? 60' if I'm decending? Or just 30' in all cases.

Kyle Schmaing wrote:

Your encounters sound truly epic but also make me ask what levels are your players and what typr of resources do they have that alow jumping and grappling flying opponents over lava? Or surviving falling from what must be an enormous height while still fighting demons.

That being said, one of my favorite encounters was a stationary tornado over the only rope bridge between two tall cliffs. While a sorcerer and his wyvern friend (imuune to this magic) attack from above.

it's a modified e6 game. There is a certain force that will grant them investments to assist.

It's not about having to make a bunch of checks to move. It's about a dynamic shifting battlefield. One that affects the combatants in different ways, or possibly one where the goal isn't just kill a bunch of mooks.

More please.

So is everyone fighting hundreds of combats over the weekend and they are all on normal terrain? 10x10 rooms?

Players better not read this. Here is some of what I have planned.

A combat against a red dragon on floating stone platforms in a sea of lava.
Ghoul and ghast monks in a stone maze
a fight on an airship that is falling out of the sky
a fight against a giant construct that has men on it and a charging cannon with two arms, one that heals and one that attacks a'la final fantasy
a trap filled multi-level room with constructs and convayer belts
a fight against mounted opponents on a road in the middle of a forest
escaping a lava flow by grappling and jumping flying opponents
a combat against waves of demons while the players are falling miles
and two seperate three form/stage boss battles.

Someone please tell me they have more interesting encounters than dungeon corridors and the occasional patch of rough terrain.

Are wrote:

In games where I've been a player or DM, the light spell is typically cast on one of the fighter's swords :)

If light was cast on a helmet, it would likely not blind the user. After all, miners often have a light attached to their helmet. As do cyclists, skiers and others that need light at night, but also need both hands.

so the intent is a hands free torch. Thanks.

Starting a new game. I have a design goal of having combats, battlefields, and encounter spaces being dynamic as possible for this campaign. I already have many ideas (which I will share later in these posts because I am sure at least one of my players is reading this) but was wondering what the most complex and dynamic encounters or combats you've played or ran was? Any ideas for battlefield secrets?

So, we're playing a lower level human only game. So light is a bigger deal than normal. The "plan" to avoid having to weild a torch in an actual hand is to cast light on a helmet. Is this a valid plan? Would it blind the user? Could they cast light on something else like a gauntlet? Is the intent of the spell a hands-free torch?

In this vein, can you weild a torch, a one handed weapon, and a small shield at the same time?

If you are grappled and you attempt to cast a quickened spell do you have to make the concentration check to successfully cast the spell?


The barbarian does not get any extra hitpoints. He gets the ability at higher levels to continue to fight after he would be long dead without rage. Note that he still dies.

The hit points aren't an increase in total hp. They are bezerker rage that allows someone to fight past death.

Abraham spalding wrote:
LazarX wrote:

If you lose a prerequiste to the feat, then you lose access to the feat but are not refunded it. This also applies to class abilities, PrC's that require that feat etc.

So anything that reduces an ability score, such as drain and cursed items, or Feeblemind, etc. invokes this penalty.

You specified ability damage. Ability damage does not reduce the ability score. Therefore it doesn't cause a loss. Only ability drain does, as per the rules like I just referenced.

the original poster And laserx specified neither. Congratulations on being aggressive and wrong.

Yes, if you fail to meet the prerequisites of the feat, you do lose access to it.

Rezdave wrote:
A Fighter doesn't have enough Feats available to Focus (much less Specialize) in all of the weapons needed to cover his bases in a world of DR.

Well, this is just the thing, in that they do. A human fighter ends up with *21* feats. And the difference in spell focus is that the wizard can only do those spells on a limited number of attacks. In most campaigns, the vast majority of the time, the fighter is going to be using his weapon of choice to hit on nearly every attack roll he makes. If he, in some magical way decides to specialize (note the meaning of the word) in 2 weapons, then the benefit for those 8 feats is that he will never be without a focused weapon that will be useful against an enemy on any attack roll he makes the entire game.

My initial thought was that doing this was dumb. It's just like handing out 40 points of damage for free - even if you don't min/max.

Then I thought, why nerf melee? I mean letting people hit harder isn't going to break anything.

Then I remembered that appropriately specced fightan types usually do average hit point damage equal to murder a appropriate CR encounter in one round of full attacks. Then I thought it was dumb again.

Remember, you get a feat every 2 levels. A feat prerequisite that provides a benefit (especailly to power attacking fightan types) throughout their whole career as well as opening up feat chains is plenty powerful - if the feat is so good that there is no build that will not take it, then it should not be a feat but a class feature.

Brodiggan Gale wrote:
northbrb wrote:
i just read both of those and neither one directly states retro active skill points but imply that you gain more skill points for that level.

I'd suggest looking up the Headband of Vast Intellect, as after 24 hours it's bonuses change from temporary to permanent, and it specifically adds 1 skill rank per HD for each +2 Int it confers.

Also, the line "This might cause you to gain skill points" pretty clearly indicates that you gain skill points retroactively, as there would be no need to note the potential for gaining skill points otherwise as it would simply be handled using the normal rules the next time you leveled. It's worth noting that this phrase was specifically added in the change from 3.5 to Pathfinder.

You do indeed gain skill points on a level up.

Just noting that the skill rank per HD for each +2 Int it confers is set upon creation of the item. When creating this item, you have to decide what skill it will boost, you don't get to pick every time you put it on.

Enjoy your bonus skill points.

I am a fan of enlarge person, Mage armor, and shield. The first two have long enough durations, and shield is a gear buff that puts the ac of the eidolon in range of the average fighter making up for the hp deficit.

This also might be relevant to the discussion, from: PG/rules/archives/grappleYupAgain&page=1

Jason Bulmahn wrote:


The RAW do allow the grappled to make a full attack action, assuming they can do so with only one hand. Since flurry does not require two hands to perform, a monk could flurry.

Grappling is not always the best idea. Grappling a monk is one such example. I think folks need to remember that the grappled condition is not as severe as it once was. You are no longer draped all over the target. It is more like you got a hold on them, typically an arm (hence the restriction). The pinned condition is more of your greco-roman wrestling hold.

Hope that clears it up..

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


This: PG/rules/archives/defenderInGrappleWhichFlowchartIsCorrect&page=1&s ource=search#0

clearly indicates by RAW that you, as a defender in a grapple, do NOT need to make a CMB check in order to make an attack.

These two threads seem to indicate that if my ediolon (or anything with rake) gets grappled that they can indeed make a full attack + rake.

Mauril wrote:
Rake wrote:
Rake (Ex) A creature with this special attack gains extra natural attacks under certain conditions, typically when it grapples its foe. In addition to the options available to all grapplers, a monster with the rake ability gains two additional claw attacks that it can use only against a grappled foe. The bonus and damage caused by these attacks is included in the creature's description. A monster with the rake ability must begin its turn already grappling to use its rake—it can't begin a grapple and rake in the same turn.

Emphasis mine.

This is a strict RAW reading. The wording says that you must be grappling your foe, not merely having the grappled condition. Yes, it's a very strict reading of the rules, but that's what RAW rulings are. If you want to rule otherwise, that's fine. But in a forum, strict RAW is what has to be debated since that's the only common ground we have.

I'm confused, isn't grappling a foe defined as having the grappled condition? If it's not, where is grappling a foe defined.

Mauril wrote:
Think of it this way, if you must. When you initiate the grapple, you sort of have the grapplee at your mercy. If you are grappling something with hind claws (the rake ability), you have grappled it in such a way that it can't bring those claws to bear. It has to gain a dominant position to regain use of them, that is it has to reverse the grapple - becoming the grappler - and hold it that way for a round before being able to use its rake attack.

Yes, this was my DM's argument. I understand it. What I can't find is where the book supports "sort of have the grapplee at your mercy" and "Grappled in a specific way". The 'dominant position' is defined only as +5 to continued grapple checks and the ability to release grapples as a free action.

I have all the rule sections up and have been reading them and re-reading them. What I can't find is a definition of "Begin it's turn grappling" as anything other than starting it's initiative count with the grappled condition.

Mauril wrote:

Being the grappler and being the grapplee (as it were) are defined positions, in that their actions are specifically listed as different. You have to be the grappler to rake. Simple as that.

Regarding your second question:
Umm...then you are wasting your time? If you cannot release the grapple (for whatever reason) and you choose not to use one of the actions available to you, then you don't get to use your actions that round. The same as if, for a round, I choose not to move or attack or cast a spell or activate an item or pull something out of my bag or make some sort of skill check. I just do nothing and my turn ends.

I've been sort of debating whether the rules read as if there were those two defined positions, or if you just get the one ability (+5 and can release the grapple as a free action) if you initiate or reverse the grapple.

If there are those two defined positions as you say (initiator of the grapple or Grappler versus one who is being grappled or graplee), then if I am the grapplee, under the section "If you are grappled", I have three options.

A)CMB to Reverse
B)CMB to escape
C)Take any action with one hand. (This does not require a check)

If they are *not* two defined positions, then when you have the grappled condition, no matter if you started it or not your options are as listed under "Grapple". Only. With the special exception of If you started the grapple, or if you won a check to reverse it, you get +5 and have the ability to release the grapple as a free action. In this case you would need to succeed on a CMB to damage your opponent. The 'if you are grappled' section in this case outline in this case only the circumstances how you can get that special exception and the text following "You can take any action. . ." is referring to the previous section.

"Grappling a foe" and "Start the turn grappling your opponent" have different meanings depending on your interpretation of the two above styles - If they are two defined positions, then you clearly need to be the grappler to use a rake. Also, "Grappling a foe" means you're only considered grappling a foe if you are the controller of the grapple.
If they are not two defined positions, just one with the special exception, then anytime you do damage you get your rakes cause you'd need to succeed at a grapple check to do the damage.

I appreciate the responses. It sounds like there are well thought out opinions. What there isn't is any clear linguistic reference in the book that makes the above explicit. I have not perused all the monster abilities or such to glean any inferences they may give us. I'm going to look and see if I can find any verbiage that gives me information on exactly how these rules work.

Mauril wrote:
Again, it requires the raker to "begin its turn grappling" its opponent, not merely having the grappled condition. So, I'd rule that, at minimum, the creature with rake needs to have started or reversed the grapple.

Beginning it's turn grappling isn't every defined as anything other than starting it's initiative count with the grappled condition. You say it's 'not merely' that, but there's no text anywhere in the book that says otherwise.

Mauril wrote:

To answer nexusphere's direct questions to me:

1) As far as I can tell, you have to make the CMB vs CMD check each round that you want to maintain a grapple. Options when maintaining a grapple include dealing damage equal to a natural attack or one-handed/light weapon. Casting a spell requires a further concentration check. So, for your big cat to rake an opponent (outside of a pounce attack), he has to maintain the grapple (CMB vs CMD check) to deal the damage of his natural attack plus the rake damage.

And if you lack the ability to release the grapple and you don't wish to maintain, reverse or escape it?

Mauril wrote:
2)The benefit of maintaining the grapple, instead of releasing and full attacking, has to come with the penalties of the grappled condition. Losing dexterity bonuses and being immobile suck for lots of creatures. Having to make concentration checks to to cast spells is very detrimental for spellcasters. Getting more than just one natural attack is a bonus of having rake. Grappling is a powerful tactic, having rake makes is a better option.

Mauril wrote:

From the Combat section on grapple:

Once you are grappling an opponent, a successful check allows you to continue grappling the foe, and also allows you to perform one of the following actions (as part of the standard action spent to maintain the grapple).

After that follows the list of actions you can do, which includes the option to deal damage.

Yes, if you grapple your opponent or succeed on a grapple check. That is not the section I am questioning.

If you are grappled, it gives the specific option to escape or reverse, or an option to decline those two, and then lists actions you have the option of doing without rolling anything.

Mauril wrote:
As I also stated in the original reply, you have to be the grappler, not simply have the grappled condition. So, if the bebilith (or any other creature for that matter) grapples your "cat", here is how things have to go, if you want your "cat" to use his rake attack.

You original response was accurate. It *seems* this way from the wording to my DM. It *seems* the other way to me.

There is a grappled condition. There is a statement about starting a grapple with a penalty to avoid having a grappled condition.

The fact is, I can not find in the rules anywhere it's explicit that there is a 'grappler/grapplee' distinction. If there is not, then anyone with the grappled condition is a grappler, and will get torn up by a rake, which is the point. Yes, you can succeed at a CMB check to gain the option to release the grapple as a free action, OR escape the grapple - this doesn't introduce some undefined sub-condition such as 'grappler/grapplee'

If you have to succeed at a grapple check to control the grapple, and then you can release the grapple as a free action if you do, then I do not understand the benefit of rake.
If I can release the grapple and full attack, then why would I want to penalize myself and stay in the grapple for the chance to *not* get my rake attacks? (Since I am the 'controller' or 'grappler' or whatever, I have to make a CMB to do damage - which differs from the text under 'if you are grappled') I am aware that they trigger on pounce - is that really their only use?

I don't mean to be difficult, but it does not say under 'you're being grappled' that you have to make that CMB check to do the one hand thing, it's unclear everywhere about this "I started/am in control of the grapple bit"

To rephrase the 2 things I'd like to know.
1) If you are grappled is or is it not necessary to roll CMB vs. CMD to get your one hand action.
2) What is the benefit of rake in a grapple when you can just release the grapple and get the same number of attacks. In your example Mauril, why does the cat not just release the grapple and full attack? what advantage does the rake give?

My contention is that if the cat is grappled, then . . .

PRD bestiary wrote:
In addition to the options available to all grapplers, a monster with the rake ability gains two additional claw attacks that it can use only against a grappled foe. The bonus and damage caused by these attacks is included in the creature's description. A monster with the rake ability must begin its turn already grappling to use its rake—it can't begin a grapple and rake in the same turn.

A) It's been grappling (i.e. has the grappled condition) since the start of it's turn.

B) The person that it is involved in the grapple with is a grappled foe.

so, since it can take any action requiring one hand INSTEAD of rolling to control or escape the grapple, it can use a natural attack. Since it has rake, and it is attacking, it "gains two additional claw attacks" that it is using against a grappled foe. Seems to grant the advantage to having someone grapple him - which I was denied in game.

I don't want to house rule these rules, or change them, I just want to be able to understand them.

Tanis wrote:

First line of p.201 says: "If you are grappled, you can attempt

to break the grapple as a standard action by making a
combat maneuver check or Escape Artist check... Alternatively, if you succeed, you can become the grappler, grappling the other creature"

It goes on to say that "Instead of attempting to
break or reverse the grapple, you can take any action that requires only one hand to perform, such as cast a spell or MAKE AN ATTACK with a light or one-handed weapon against any creature within your reach, including the creature that is grappling you".

That's pretty clear that with a CMB check you can do any of the above.

Thank you for responding.

I don't mean to sound unappreciative, but this is the point in contention. It is not clear - in fact there is nowhere that it's stated as the grapplee that you need to make a CMB to attack. The phrase "Instead of attempting X, You can Y." indicates to me that you *don't* need the roll.

Is there any reason ever why the Eidolon would not take all of it's armor bonus as natural armor?

Tanis wrote:

So you're the target of a grapple; you make a CMB check with a DC of the CMD of the creature that grappled you. If successful you can either: break the grapple; reverse the grapple; or attack with a light weapon (your natural attack). Once you've attacked with your natural weapon you apply rake attacks and damage.

So it's very useful for damaging grappling opponents, in your example the human wrestling specialist would be ripped to shreds.

The only problem I have with this, is that in referencing the combat section regarding grapple, the grappled condition, and the rake ability is that the above is never stated.

There is no indication from the 'things you can do while you are grappled' that you need to make a CMB check to do something with one hand (though my DM seems to agree with you), and it is totally and wholly unclear that you get to apply your rake attacks and damage when you make that natural attack.

Tanis wrote:

It says (Core p.200) a CMB check allows you to continue the grapple and do one of the following: move; damage; pin; tie up. If you choose damage then rake kicks in (so to speak). If you don't have two hands free, then you take -4 to the check.

What do you mean you can't use natural attacks as that one-hand action?

Well, I'm in a grapple, and I have rake.

The book says, as a grappled creature, I have three options. I can A) CMB to escape the grapple, B) CMB to control the grapple or INSTEAD of those two options I can do anything requiring one hand.

I have the grappled condition, My opponent has the grappled condition, and he is in the nebulous state of having started the grapple. Since I'm grappled I don't have to 'continue the grapple'.

I can do anything requiring one hand. I don't have any limbs involved in maintaining the grapple. I don't want to end the grapple, and I don't want to control it. I just want to damage the opponent, which, since I'm an ediolon and have natural attacks seems to be something I should be able to do. Do they mean I can do anything with one hand except make a natural attack?

I do not understand why something that choose to grapple me is suddenly immune to my rake attacks. I have to make a check to use those - they aren't just bonus attacks.

So for instance, I, as human wrestling specialist, could grapple jaguars all day, and since they are the ones being grappled, they are pretty much unable to use their rake attacks unless they use their turn to control the grapple, and then on their next turn if they can maintain the grapple, then they get what is the equivalent of a full attack - note that once they were in charge of the grapple they could release it as a free action and get *the* *same* *number* of attacks.

So, excepting pounce, what is the point of rake?

Tanis wrote:

You can't use your AoO to grapple anymore unfortunately, it's now a standard action.

Regardless, you can't start a grapple and rake in the same round, you have to start your round grappling.

What does it matter if the target is a Bebilith?

No. You need to make a CMB check; you then inflict damage equal to your natural attack (or unarmed strike, or light weapon). If you have rake you get 2 additional attacks.


Damn! Ninja'd!

so when it says "if you are grappled you may breake the grapple or take control of the grapple or instead of these options you may do anything requiring one hand", I have to succeed at a cmb check to do anything requiring one hand? I can't use natural attacks as that "one hand" action?

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