Spoilers, but nothing not stated already in the thread.
The assassin encounter is the poorest designed encounter I have ever seen. Makes no sense, is not fun, and goes beyond unfair into downright cheating. Do not run it as written.
The endless orc waves are hugely problematic as written as well. There is nothing stopping the players from simply walking away from the combat when they are spent. They might even think that it is part of the story that Trunau must fall. Add the fact that some very powerful NPCs does precisely nothing, and you have to stretch suspension of disbelief to the limit.
My friend and I had some churros - those nasty, sweet deep fried thingies. He rather liked the sound of the name, and imagined that it fit the name of a big, strong dusty, nasty hispanic type coming out on the desert on a horse and prepared to be rude, drunk, sweaty, and hit on Antonio Banderas' girlfriend. Think Danny Trejo, Robert Rodriguez, Tarantino, From Dusk Till Dawn, Desperado, etc.
Now he wants to play a type like that in my new campaign. Any suggestions as to how to build this? I was thinking a multiclass mongrel, with perhaps fighter, rogue, ranger and inquisitor.
But let my hear your suggestions :-)
(Spoiler alert if you are from my group Onsdagsholdet)
We are a group of 7 who meet once a week and play through some long campaigns. However, it sometimes happen that a number of us cannot come, and these days we cannot proceed with the main campaign. I have decided to make a loose campaign where the characters can come and go.
I have come up with Sanctuaries. The premise is swiped from this Reddit thread:
"The premise of the campaign is that the world was magicless and monsterless until a cosmic cataclysm merged two planes together. In the ensuing chaos, many many people lost their lives as the world rearranged to become stable and monsters flooded the land. Old nations and rivalries were shattered, and the people began to live in sanctuaries; banding together to withstand the horrors that now stalked through their world. So this game started 100 years later, and now the sanctuaries are mostly secure."
I am too busy to really put work into this, so I planned to wing it (I have a lot of GM experience). But then it came to me: Why not crowdsource this?
Thus, I will ask the Paizo board for help with resources. In return, I will do one of my famed reviews of every gaming night and out it here for your entertainment!
So, building on the campaign premises, the characters will start in one of these sanctuaries. I envision it as a strongly walled town with about 2000 inhabitants. The town is placed on a river, from which a large part of the town's food is gained. The river is also the only link to other sanctuaries - 1 or 2 others are known along the river.
So what I need from you:
A name from the sanctuary.
The characters will be level 1, 15 point buy. The party will be 2 to 3 people strong.
Looking forward to your input :-)
Try approaching the problem the other way round. There clearly is a power mismatch between the player you talk about and the rest of the group. But consider that the problem is not that he is overpowered, but that the rest of you is underpowered. As pointed out, AC 20, dam 2d8+8 is definitely on the weak side for a 5th level fighter. If I were asked to nerf a perfectly ordinary build, I would be annoyed as well.
So, consider the possibility that you might be wrong and he might be right, then sit down and talk it through.
Remember, the goal is to have fun.
Not railroading at all assumes either an amount of time to prepare or an ability to wing it that I, for one, simply do not possess.
Remember what the thread is about. You just advised a new gm against railroading at all. Welcome to the jungle! :-)
In a perfect world, railroading would not be necessary. The world is not perfect, so my advice to a new GM is:
With more experience, this becomes much less of an issue.
After more than 25 years of role playing, I have yet to see a group of players who did not forgive the old Blatant Railroading Trick.The trick is to do it openly. People hate being manipulated, but admitting your own shortcomings (and that is what blatant railroading is) is a different matter entirely.
"As such, I created a quick way for them to get out of there and back to the surface world that they were more comfortable with. That was about 35 hours of content creation down the drain. Sometimes it happens."
Down the drain? Rookie mistake ;-) Reuse it somewhere else, perhaps modified so the stuff the players didn't like are changed.
" guess I'm a purist, because I disagree with telling the party they go somewhere. I find honesty is the best policy in this regard: "Hey guys, I was pretty certain you were going to head this one direction, but you didn't, so I'm not prepared for an adventure. Do you guys want to postpone until next session or do you want to go to the first place?""
Fair enough. However, I will raise the point that the answer to that question is pretty much a given. "Do you want to wander aimlessly around the city or go to the bad guy's castle and kick ass?"
Additionally, I, for one, do not have the time to make new content if the players stray too far from the beaten path. The players understand this, so that is no problem. We all have kids and careers, so Pathfinder time is at a premium.
Don't be afraid to call a 10 minute timeout if the players did something unexpected and you need some time to reorganize.
Subtle railroading is hard, and it is annoying for the players. As a new GM, blatant railroading is OK.
As others have noted, ignore the XP system, and tell the players when it is time to level up.
Don't let the game descend into Lawyers & Accountants. Pathfinder strictly by the book means using a lot of rules which might not add to your game. Feel free to ignore these.
Akinra: Yeah, I considered something similar, but one of the other players played something almost exactly the same in our recently finished Kingmaker game.
Wiggz: Interesting ability scores. I feel str 7 is too low from a roleplaying perspective. The Chosen One is small, not weak. Boosting dex and con and going with cha 16 seems appropriate as well. Not optimal, perhaps, but I think the build is powerful enough to handle a bit of sub-optimal stats.
Going for the improved familiar is both powerful and fun, but I am wary of dragging too large a zoo with me. From lvl 10 or so, I will already cast 2 spells, have my smilodon attack, and possibly a summoned beastie as well. My rounds will end up dragging out, and the is the danger of being too powerful.
Hmm, I might go with Boon Companion and Spell Focus at lvl 1. That way, I can decide if I want to go the familiar way until later levels.
I double checked Share Spells:
"The druid may cast a spell with a target of “You” on her animal companion (as a touch range spell) instead of on herself. A druid may cast spells on her animal companion even if the spells normally do not affect creatures of the companion's type (animal). Spells cast in this way must come from a class that grants an animal companion. This ability does not allow the animal to share abilities that are not spells, even if they function like spells."
Hmm, that might actually read like only spells with a target of "You" are applicable to Share Spells. Does anyone know if there is a FAQ?
I was not aware of the retraining rules. If my gm allows it, starting with conjuration then retraining for evocation, mostly to raise the save dc when applying dazing, seems like the way to go.
Regarding keeping the smilodon medium, couldn't I simply learn Reduce Person? That would do the trick right?
<RANT>Argh, there is both an archetype and a prestige class called called False Priest. Someone get the guys at PAizo a Thesaurus. They do this all the time.</RANT>
The false priest archetype is a very interesting suggestion, and it fits very well with the character concept. I hadn't considered that at all. Thanks for that suggestion.
So, a revised feat list:
1 Toughness, Boon Companion
Hmm, Improved Initiative comes very late. I might take at at 3rd and drop Great Fortitude. However, which bonus feat should I then take at 13th?
From this list:
Bonus Feats: Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Quicken Spell, Skill Focus (Knowledge [nature]).
And, any suggestions for 1st lvl feat for my pet?
I take Spell Specialization early, and it matters a bit more percentage wise at the low levels. A 8D6 vs 6D6 fireball does make a difference. also, it increases to 4D6 with Spell Perfection.
I do see your point though. I plan to use Dazing Spell a lot, so the +1 save DC from Greater Spell Focus seems like a better bet.
That means I can move Spell Focus and, especially, Greater Spell Focus, to later in the list. I will juggle it around when my boss goes away ;-)
Hi andreww. Some very nice points.
1. I use the bonus feat from Sylvan sorc for the Quicken Spell feat. I agree that it will sit unused for 2 levels, but if I wait until level 13 I get it too late. I did consider getting Improved Initiative for the bonus feat at level 7, and use a regular feat for Quicken Spell, but this means that my selection for the level 13 bonus feat is rather poor.
2. Dropping Combat Casting entirely? Hmm, not a bad idea.
3. Craft Wondrous Item is banned for this campaign. You are very right that it is a very powerful feat - too powerful in the GM's opinion, and I rather agree with him. Nice suggestion, though :-)
4. Spell Specialization is best for blasting, you are right, but that is why I take it. I want to be versatile, and blasting needs a boost to be really viable.
5. I mean Spell Perfection, of course. I always confuse the two. Greater Spell focus? I hadn't considered that. Makes sense as an alternative to Spell Specialization.
6. I prefer Piercing Spell rather than Spell Penetration because of Spell Perfection. That one requires 3 metamagic feats, so Piercing Spell is two birds with one stone.
7. Persistent spell is nice. Very nice. But which feat should i drop for it? I think I will craft a rod for it instead. OTOH, I could take it instead of Piercing Spell and make a much cheaper Piercing Spell rod. Hmmm.
8. Agreed, but see 1.
9. Too cheesy for my GM. Paragon Surge is banned :-) Sorry that I forgot to mention the bans.
10. Int 13 is needded for Spell Specialization. If I drop that, your suggestion seems a good way to go.
Hi all, thanks for the input.
More Con, you say? I actually considered starting with Cha 15+2 and Con 14. The consensus here is that this would be a good tradeoff?
I will do a lot of buff and battlefield control, with the occasional summon thrown in. However, a sorcerer can do this by default, and does not really need to boost it with feats. Some of the summoning feats are nice, but I would rather keep versatile by being able to blast a bit, or being better at staying alive. I will tend to summon creatures which cast spells anyway - I already have a tank.
The invisible summoner/buffer: I will definitely be doing this, but not until lvl 4 at the very earliest, and probably later (I will probably be choosing Glitterdust as my lvl 2 spell). This means that I will be very vulnerable until then - hence early Toughness
Eye for Talent replaces my bonus feat. I considered it, but Boon Companion have it beat, hands down.
I was tempted by the Expanded Arcana feat, and I might very well take it if I go the defensive route. I an human, though, and already gains some extra spells known here.
Regarding prerequisites for "Eyes and ears of the city". Good point. Luckily, my GM has stated that we can take any "X becomes class skill" trait if we can provide sufficient flavor. Keeping watch out for mammoth-snatching demons (Yoink!) is all the flavor he needs, I suspect :-)
You know you play a fantasy game when "Get a tail" is a possible solution to your problem :-) I think it is a bit out of character, but a familiar sounds nice. I cannot really see how I should get one, though.
I agree, it is hard to screw up this particular build, but it is fun tweaking it nonetheless.
Hi Sangalor. Thanks for the reply.
I would like Combat Casting earlier in the offensive build, but I cannot see which feat it should replace. I believe I can get away with it since I have a large angry tiger as a bodyguard.
I did not know about magic items with competence bonuses. That helps a lot.
Thanks for the point about Quick Draw. I did not know that.
Int 13 is needed for Spell Specialisation.
Dumped stats are a risk, but worth the risk in 15 point builds, I think.
I asked around before for advice about which character to play. Thanks for your replies everyone, you helped a lot. I have finally decided: The Chosen One it is. The reason? I felt like having an animal companion, and waiting 5 levels for it (the Arcane Druid - a wizard with the Animal Ally feat) was too long. On top of it, my brother made a joke about herding mammoths, and it came to me: Using Smilodons to herd woolly mammoths! Brilliant!
The Chosen One is from the Land of the Mammoth Lords, and comes from a tribe which have tamed smilodons and are using them to herd mammoths. For some yet-to-be-decided reason, he has decided he is The Chosen One. Possibly he went on a trip south, and saw everyone else herding sheep using dogs, and jumped to the logical conclusion. The smilodon will start off as a large kitten, and grow large and powerful.
So, I have decided on a concept. The next step is building the guy. Here goes:
The Chosen One
I want him to mainly do crowd control and buffs, with the occasional blast. The Chosen One has others do the hard work!
Feat choice list, offensive build:
1 Toughness, Boon Companion
Feat choice list, defensive build:
1 Toughness, Combat Casting
A note about Craft Rods: I want to use it to make metamagic rods. Dazing Spell for 7000 gold? Yes, please! I see two problems, however: First, how do I switch easily between them? I might have to fit Quick Draw in my feats. Second, how can I get enough spellcraft to make rods with feats I do not know? The DC is 28, but I can only reach a spellcraft of 13 at level 9 (class skill, 9 ranks, 13 int). How can I scrape together the last 5 skill points needed to take 10?
And, which 1st lvl feat for my sabertooth tiger?
Why would a mage have to stand 15' from an enemy? Couldn't he cast it through his familiar? Is that how "shared spells" work? Please don't flame me, I'm still learning.
No, it definitely is not the way Share spells work:
"Share Spells: The wizard may cast a spell with a target of “You” on his familiar (as a touch spell) instead of on himself. A wizard may cast spells on his familiar even if the spells do not normally affect creatures of the familiar's type (magical beast)."
Don't start down that road. That ruling essentially gives spellcasters a flat +2 bonus to saves vs. magic. Next, the martials get creative and then you go mad.
My group are good optimizers, so we use this system:
As Drachasor suggests: Roll HP as usual, but any roll below half is rerolled. In practice, this is very close to the half HD+1 used by PFS.
To compensate, all mobs have maximum HP.
So, we pump quite a bit of extra HP into the game. This makes it a bit easier to balance encounters with a players who are good optimizers.
Hey, I wanted to narrow down my feats, not add more ;-)
I did consider these three feats, but decided to mostly forgo rays with this character. Kitty is smart enough to avoid a flaming sphere. I might need to get Selective Spell to avoid toasting people with fireballs, but I am already running low on feats.
At the end of the day, there is only one solution: Ban the summoner. There are lots of excuses and theory-crafting, but come on: The summoner is an example of a brilliant idea, but horrible execution.
We tried both the synthesist and he summoner in my group. The synthesist player suggested banning the class himself. My group have played RPGs for 20 years, and are very good optimizers. The guy playing the summoner was the exception - that was his first take on an RPG. His character was still by far the strongest character in the party - after the synth changed class at least.
Or look at it this way:
Take the arguably strongest class in the game: The wizard.
Take one of his strongest abilities: Summon monster.
Remove the main disadvantage: The full-round casting time.
Multiply the duration by 6.
Take what is now the the most powerful ability in the game - probably overpowered, but that doesn't matter, because the summoner still isn't using it: He has an even more powerful option in his eidolon.
OP: Talk to your player. Either you need to hit his character heavily with a nerfbat, or he needs to make another. You not going to be able to challenge him without wiping the party. At the very least, you are going to need to spend a disproportionately large amount of time designing the encounters.
Interesting build, but they way you set it up makes it a bit difficult to grasp. Any chance you can make a per level breakdown like Kazaan did?
Thanks for your replies everyone. I have finally decided: The Chosen One it is. The reason? I felt like having an animal companion, and waiting 5 levels for it (the Arcane Druid) was too long. On top of it, my brother made a joke about herding mammoths, and it came to me: Using Smilodons to herd wooly mammoths! Brilliant!
So, I have decided on a concept. The next step is building the guy. I though I might as well use this thread, so here goes:
The Chosen One
Yeah, that one needs narrowing down :-)
Feat choice list:
1 Toughness, Boon Companion
I want him to mainly buff and summon. The Chosen One has others do the hard work. However, with the exception of superiour summons, most feats first and foremost help blasting, while buff and summons work fine regardless of your feat choice. So many of the feats on my wish list help blasting.
I know you guys love to get into the nuts and bolts, so I am looking forward to your input :-)
Thanks for the cool suggestions. I hadn't considered Eldritch Knight for the dwarf. I thought him as too worn down for armour, and having to rely on spells. He mistrusts magic though, and miss the times when he could fight clad in steel. I would buy him chain mail amd shield, so he could sleep in his armour with his shield as his pillow.