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Somewhat appropriately, it's possible to rules-lawyer the rules lawyer feat to utterly break the game:

1) Take the rules lawyer feat. Then wait until you gain a level where you get another bonus feat, making sure not to use the rules lawyer feat on any day when you might conceivably gain that level up.
2) When choosing your new feat, use rules lawyer to ignore the restriction against taking the same feat twice. Take Rules Lawyer again.
3) The next day, you now have two uses of rules lawyer. On your turn, spend an immediate (ie swift) action to use one instance to ignore the restriction against using rules lawyer to gain new power you don't already possess.
4) As soon as your turn is over, spend your immediate action (which you regained at the end of your turn) to use your second instance of rules lawyer to, as the feat says, "gain a bonus to a roll, create an artifact, deal cold damage with a fire spell", or to do literally anything else you want.

Apologies if this turns out to be a duplicate; there was some sort of hiccup with the forum the first time I tried to post this.

I've been trying to work out whether Lonjiku's wife was Tian or Varisian, and there seem to be contradictions in the timelines. She has a clearly Minkaian/Japanese name, and the fan-run wikis seem to think she was Tian. Originally I assumed that they had met and married before coming to Varisia; but according to the RotR appendix (and the backstory in Jade Regent) Lonjiku was born in Varisia and never went to Tian at all. So...what? Was it just a strange coincidence that Atsuii was also from Minkai? Did he (or his father) deliberately seek out another Minkaian out of some bizarre wish to preserve their bloodline's purity (an odd decision when you're specifically trying to *conceal* your identity)? Or did she change her name when they married for some reason?

Pixie Rogue, I believe we're starting at level 6.

brvheart wrote:
pi4t wrote:

I decided to make my character using Myth-weavers. I can always move her to some other format if that's preferred.

Ariane Wald, archer-cleric of Freya.

I technically spent slightly more than half my WBL on my bow, so I've given it a name and tied it into my backstory to acknowledge its significance.

It looks good, go ahead and join discussion when ready:)


Should I make the character in the Paizo forums in some way, in order to post properly as my character? How do I do that? Sorry for the newb-ish question: I haven't played a PbP game on the Paizo forum before and can't seem to figure out how to get it to work.

Ariane's HP: 5d8 ⇒ (5, 2, 2, 4, 8) = 21
Fregi's HP: 6d8 ⇒ (6, 2, 8, 7, 3, 4) = 30

I decided to make my character using Myth-weavers. I can always move her to some other format if that's preferred.

Ariane Wald, archer-cleric of Freya.

I technically spent slightly more than half my WBL on my bow, so I've given it a name and tied it into my backstory to acknowledge its significance.

Ah, right. I've read through the introductions of SoF (so I'm aware of the premise) and at one point was vaguely aware of what the different modules in the path involved, but I haven't read through the individual adventures in much more detail than that. I was specifically trying to avoid spoilers when I looked at them, as I was intending to play them solo...Speaking of which, this character is largely a merger of two character concepts for solo characters that I tried with FGG modules.

I've never actually made a character on the Paizo forums before; all my previous pbp roleplaying has been on giantitp/myth weavers. How does one do it?

Edit: Also, is Nordic/Norse/whatever a distinct language from Common in the Lost Lands? If so, is that remotely likely to come up? For flavour/backstory reasons, I think I ought to know the language if it does exist. If it's not likely to come up in the actual game and would just be flavour, perhaps I could persuade you to let me have it for free?

Edit 2: How are HP being done? Max first level then average rounded down after that?

Hmm. Count me interested. I own some of the FGG materials and have looked through them a bit, but not enough for it to be likely to be a problem. I'm aware of the general layout of RA and I can vaguely remember the first two parts of Stoneheart Valley, but that's all. I am, of course, prepared to keep my limited amount of OOC knowledge separated from my IC decisions.

Given the current party composition, maybe a cleric of Thyr? Provided that doesn't mean I'm expected to be a healbot, of course.

Edit: Or possibly an archer cleric of Freya. (Although OOC I'd like to ignore the "sexuality and procreation" part of her description if I do that.)

I'm planning on starting to run Rise of the Runelords, and am planning on making some adjustments to the plot. Based on a previous conversation with James Jacobs, I'm concerned that some of the things I'm thinking of may conflict with things in Return, which I'm interested in running at some future point.

I can't really afford to buy Return at this point; at least, not just for the sake of checking whether my changes will be cause issues if I ever end up running the AP. Of course, I'll buy the path if and when I start running it, but in the meantime, would someone mind explaining the plot of the path to me in detail? With particular emphasis on what Alaznist gets up to (and has been doing before the path began) and on the time travel elements? Many thanks.

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Dire Ursus wrote:
Can I ask people that are for wands of CLW a question. Is the reason you want the wands because of difficulty? So far I'm at chapter 3 and a cleric wasn't "obligatory." We haven't had any TPKs. If you use good tactics and teamwork you can get through combats that are quite difficult and still come out with health to spare.

Speaking for myself (and I believe most people who are in favour of the mechanic feel the same way), it's not exactly because of difficulty. I'm quite in favour of difficult games and gritty settings myself. But having access to reliable healing (either through wands, or a dedicated healbot) makes the game far, far easier.

If every group has access to reliable healing, that's fine, and challenges can be balanced with that in mind. If no one has access to reliable healing, that's also fine (if a bit unusual for d&d systems). Any given GM, or writer of a module, will tone down the power of the encounters they send against the group.

However, if both modes of play are possible, and if which mode you go for depends not on the GM's choices about his setting, or the players' telling the GM how hard they want the game to be, but on whether anyone has a character concept that involves being a cleric and/or wants to play a "healbot", that's a problem. Particularly if the game is being balanced assuming you're playing one mode or the other, and incorporates that assumption into its guidance on how dangerous an enemy will be for the group. And particularly if that game is known for its modules and adventure paths, with prewritten encounters designed to save the GM having to design the encounters himself.

I congratulate you on getting through to chapter 3 without a cleric. As, unfortunately, I've not yet been able to play the playtest modules I can't comment on how much of an achievement that is. But it seems like however easy the modules may or may not be without a cleric, they'll be a good deal easier with one. Indeed, your group (who appreciate a harder challenge, and perhaps put more thought than most groups into your tactics) might have found it too easy.

If it was possible to play through the game without a cleric BUT you had to spend money and resonance on healing potions would you still not like it because you want to have inexpensive unlimited healing and start combat full hp every time to make the game easier?

If it was properly balanced, sure. That is to say, if the amount the group was losing out on in terms of extra money for gear, and extra magic item "slots" from resonance, was equal to the power gained from a character changing from a cleric who focussed their abilities on healing to a more offensive class and build. However, I don't think that's possible, at least without coming up with some radically different limiting mechanic - the amount of healing a group will need is just too variable depending on player skill, the nature of the encounters the GM likes to throw at them, etc.

And if Paizo doesn't get the balance right for your group, it becomes either inexpensive unlimited healing - but worse, inexpensive unlimited healing that the premade modules aren't balanced for - or either a TPK (if resonance stops the group healing and their hp runs out in an adventure) or a long, drawn out death spiral (if money is the limit and the group starts falling more and more behind the wealth the modules expect). This can be partly dealt with by a skilled GM who isn't running a premade module (or is willing to do substantial tweaks), of course. But "Pathfinder 2: Ignore our GMing advice and make sure you're an experienced GM before you start playing! Oh, and don't buy the modules as they won't be properly balanced for your group!" is not a very good tagline :)

And anyway, it's certainly not possible to play without a caster who can heal you at present. Unless you play a human, you can't even use mundane methods to heal hp at all until level 2, and even then medicine is almost as likely to harm you as heal you.

Maybe I'm just a different type of gamer. I like difficulty. I don't play games on easy mode because it's too boring. Or maybe it's not a difficulty thing idk. I just can't really understand the complaints because from my games a cleric hasn't been required, and our party got through fine.

I also like difficulty. That's why, in the game I'm playing in at the moment, my level 3 halfling earned the emnity of a level 20 lich wizard-king in backstory. In a game where the PCs we're using spheres of power, which is considerably less powerful at high levels. It's also why I'm running an old school megadungeon, and have added a number of house rules (to 5e, as it happens) to make things more difficult.

If Paizo would offer optional variants to the rules to make things harder for the players, I'd be rather interested. 5e has done a little bit of that - the DMG contains options for tweaking the resting mechanics, and so on.

But I don't want the difficulty to be determined by whether someone's playing a cleric or not.

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GM Rednal wrote:
Well, the traditional four-character party is a Damage Dealer/Tank, a Damage Dealer/Skill Monkey, a Healer/Buffer, and a Battlefield Controller/Debuffer. Truth is, if you don't have any of these roles, you're probably going to notice the difference (if you're an experienced player that knows what could be done, anyway). Most adventures are written with the assumption that you have some way of accessing the abilities of the traditional party, even if that means hiring an NPC back in town.

Well, I question why that should have to be the case, just because "it's always been done this way before". If we're not willing to change anything about the game, we might as well just go back to PF1 and forget the new edition entirely.

But even assuming we want to keep enforcing those roles...the four-character party from PF doesn't have a healer/buffer, it has a buffer. And a wand of CLW. And a trap option of trying to use the buffer as a healer.

Conversely, PF2 has a healer, who can also do a bit of buffing. But not a great deal of it, since buffs have been severely nerfed in this edition. And based on the frequency of threads like these, it seems like while there are plenty of people willing to play a battlefield controller/debuffer, and plenty who enjoy playing a damager dealer/skill monkey, and plenty of enjoy the damage dealer/tank role, significantly less than a quarter of the player base wants to play a primary healer. Which would mean that if the game required every group to have a primary healer, then obviously people are going to be forced to fill that role when they want to do something else, which can't be healthy for the game.

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Dire Ursus wrote:
But I still think out of combat healing should be a premium and not something every party can have unlimited access to.

Trouble is that in a system where out of combat healing is at a premium, a group with a healer (whether that means someone who heals in combat, or just someone who heals out of combat, in this hypothetical system) will enter every combat on full hp, while a group without a healer will have their hp whittled away and have a far lower hp for the later battles (in the same day, or before downtime lets them heal naturally, depending on whether you use resonance or gold cost to limit the healing).

This is a major difference in power, particularly since Pathfinder expects you to have several encounters per day and end with the hardest ones. Theoretically there should be a sweet spot where you can make non-healer healing just rare enough that parties without a healer enter their last battles down [whatever fraction of their hp you think is balanced]. But in practice, I think there are far too many variables that differ between groups, and between adventures, to be able to pull it off that effectively - how many encounters do we have, how well did the PCs play them, were the dice favourable towards them, etc - which will mean that the amount of healing a group needs will vary quite a lot from game to game and from day to day, even among characters who are the same level. So one day one group, may find that the healing you've allotted them is more than sufficient to let them encounter the boss on full hp (the wand of CLW scenario) while the next day another group may find they run out of healing and TPK before reaching the boss.

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Vidmaster7 wrote:
neaven wrote:

Should you have some form of healing in your party? Yes. Should a player have to spend some of the relatively limited choices they get each level up on healing? Very much no in my opinion - it's not healthy for a game to mandate a particular role in that way. It makes people less likely to enjoy playing, because either they have to stick someone else with the role or they get stuck with it themselves. It should be a "nice to have if someone wants to bring it, but not mandatory to proceed" type situation.

If only there was some sort of... reliable out of combat healing. Perhaps some sort of cheap reusable item? One that could be carried easily, but wouldn't be so efficient as to make it powerful in combat. Perhaps it replicates a low level healing spell?

Nah, that can't be right. Resonance knocks that one on it's head. Oh well.


What you suggest removes the healer class and healing skill from the game entirely. Additionally its literally the games job to set roles for party member heck its a role playing game.

Sorry that this is going to sound blunt, but no, it doesn't remove the possibility of a healer role. In 1e, even the optimisation community considers Dreamscarred Press's vitalist a solid tier 3 class, and that's all about healing. But unlike the 1e cleric, it's capable of doing competitive amounts of healing in combat. And someone capable of doing that is a very useful addition to the party, even in a setting that has wands of CLW for cheap out of combat healing.

If you mean that a wand of CLW means you can't have a "healer" whose healing is too slow to work in combat, then yes. But is "guy who contributes nothing much in combat, but then tells the party to restore their hit points to full after the battle" really a party role we want? Frankly, it sounds really boring to play.

Also, I've always interpreted the "role-playing" in "RPG" to refer to pretending to be your character, not to the somewhat nebulous party roles of healer, arcane caster, etc. So I'm not playing the role of a healer, I'm playing the role of a halfling who was freed from slavery by a dragon and has a curse preventing her from attacking people, but has access to certain magic powers she uses to heal the party. My character fits into the healer role within the party as it currently stands, but could theoretically switch to some other role if the party's composition changes, or she breaks her curse.

Dire Ursus wrote:
I think healers shouldn't be "mandatory" but I feel like the party should be punished for not having one. A few hundred gold (or silver in this edition) wand shouldn't completely replace the role of a character. Imagine if a wand of burning hands was the most "efficient" way to deal damage. People would hate it instantly because then all we would have is character with a ton of AC and health running around with explody wands. That's how clerics and healers feel in 1e. You HAVE to build for damage if you want to be efficient because otherwise you're not pulling your weight.

Strictly speaking, a wand of burning hands is the most efficient way to deal damage, calculated on a hp-for-gp ratio. Or it's some other level 1 spell, depending on whether you need the AoE. The "punishment" for relying on wands is that you can't do damage quickly, making the strategy useless in combat. If you had to, say, melt your way through a wall of ice, though, then a wand of burning hands would probably be your best option.

And the situation is similar here. The "punishment" for not having a healer is that you can't heal in combat. Bring along a healer, and you should be able to heal much more quickly, in a way that's actually worth doing in combat. Unfortunately, the "healing" Paizo classes in PF1e (and, to be fair, their counterparts in 3.5 and 3e) aren't able to do that, which has led to this idea that strong healing in combat is OP and that having a healer who just heals outside combat is somehow the default.

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magnuskn wrote:
Yeah, I actually agree. Getting heavy armor proficiency is as easy as starting down the Fighter multiclass path, or you invest three general feats into it. But at the start, Mage Armor will get you through the lower levels.

I think you've misunderstood my point. Yes, getting full armour proficiencies with a single feat is also probably not great design, but even if Paizo removed that option, your best choice would still be to use heavy armour without proficiency, rather than using mage armour. Because there's no penalty for using armour you're not proficient in, other than it being slightly less effective.

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magnuskn wrote:
There are a few worthwhile things left to put on yourself, like Mage Armor, False Life and Mirror Image.

Actually, no, Mage Armour is abysmal because of the way armour proficiencies work in PF2. All you lose for wearing armour you're not proficient in is 2 points of AC; until the very high levels a wizard gets a better AC by just wearing the heaviest armour he can afford and not casting mage armour. Even if he didn't bother to get proficiency. And that way he can also dump dexterity to no higher than 12, rather than raising it at every possible opportunity to maybe be competitive with the armour-wizard's AC. And he doesn't have to spend one of his highest level spell slots.

I also find mundane healing to be far too weak. I wrote up my thoughts in this thread.

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TL;DR: Currently, mundane healing is unable to stand in for a magic healer, even suboptimally. And if you have a magic healer, it's so weak in comparison that it's not worth investing in. To solve this, allow medicine to heal hp without Battle Medic as a 10 minute activity, let each creature benefit from mundane healing once per hd per day rather than the current limit; and reduce the DC and/or remove the critical failure effect.

For various reasons, it looked like the playtest game I'm participating in was going to be without a class that could use healing magic. Initially we thought this would be fine. Perhaps suboptimal, but we could always rely on the medicine skill, and perhaps later someone could multiclass into cleric.

But we then realised that the equivalent of Treat Deadly Wounds from PF1 is locked behind a skill feat. Without that feat (battle medic) there is no way to use medicine to heal hit point damage (other than bringing people from 0hp to 1hp). This is a serious problem, since nonhumans can't get their first skill feat at level 2. Thus, at level 1 a party without a caster with healing will have no way to recover hp other than bed rest, or items/NPCs the GM plants in the adventure. Obviously, this is a problem, as it means that every game starting at first level will need a divine/primal caster.

The obvious solution to this is to shift the action that Battle Medic offers into an activity under the medicine skill, that takes a long time to do - perhaps an hour, like Treat Deadly Wounds in PF1, or perhaps ten minutes like Natural Medicine's option. Battle Medic would then turn that into a single action, allowing it to be used in combat.

In a separate but related complaint, the amount healed by Battle Medic doesn't scale properly with level. Since at each level everyone gains an extra hit die, your healing should also increase by about a hit die's worth of hp to remain effective. The Heal spell does this; it starts with (a little more than) 1d8hp, and each level it's heightened increases it by 2d8. On the other hand, Battle Medic just remains fixed. Unless you make the skill master/legendary and get a high enough bonus to meet the greater DCs, but even then it can only do a maximum of 4 dice of healing which is worse than a third level Heal spell.

This could be solved by simply allowing each creature to benefit from mundane healing once per day per hit die of the creature. Battle Medic would still be of limited value mid-battle, but at least it would be possible to play the game without someone being stuck playing a healbot caster.

This also solves another exploit/problem: since Bolstered only prevents you getting healing again from the same person, you can get more healing if you go round asking lots of different people to heal you one after the other.

A cleric would still be the best healer, since they a) have magic to augment their medicine, and b) they'll have a high wisdom naturally.

Oh, and either lower the DC for Battle Medic, or ditch the critical failure effect. Preferably both, at least for the ten minute option I suggested above. Currently Nature is better than Medicine for healing people outside combat!

Ryan Freire wrote:
These hobbies are going to cost you money, there are plenty of free systems out there, and is blatantly obvious that they're free because they're much worse systems.

Erm...you realise that Pathfinder 1e is free, right?

(Also the various retroclones of old school versions of the game, which do have enough to recommend them besides nostalgia that I have difficulty saying they're "much worse" than modern systems. Just a different style of game.)

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I think one major problem with Resonance is that it costs the same to activate a magic item once, for a single instantaneous effect, and to invest in an item that will continue giving you bonuses for the whole day. But the latter type of item is almost invariably better: Would you like a +1 weapon you can use all day, or a single casting of a 1st level heal spell? I foresee a situation where people just load up with as many invested magic items as they can afford, and just use consumables for anything left over. Perhaps it might be worth reserving one or two points so you can pull out a scroll if a spell you didn't prepare is suddenly needed, but essentially I think people will just ignore consumables except when they can't afford enough permanent magic items to fill all their resonance "slots".

This could be solved by making it a lot cheaper to use resonance for activating magic items. Maybe Paizo could borrow an idea used by 5e and by the OSR, and base it on a dice roll. The proficiency system would extend very nicely to this, as well, if we let the roll be variable. Something like the following:


Every character has a level of proficiency in magic items, which gives them a specific size of resonance die (see below). Whenever you activate a magic item you must roll your resonance die; if you roll a 1 then you lose a point of resonance. If you have no resonance remaining, you can no longer activate magic items (the rule about making a d20 flat check is replaced by this system). If you invest resonance in a magic item, don't roll the resonance die - you always spend a point of resonance when investing.

If you are Untrained in magic items (which should be reserved for specific character options that deliberately eschew magic, like that barbarian totem) then you don't get a resonance die at all. Every time you activate a magic item you lose 1 resonance.
If you're Trained (most characters), your resonance die is a d4.
If you're an Expert (alchemists, perhaps high level characters of certain other classes), your resonance die is a d6.
If you're a Master (higher level alchemists) it's a d8.
If you're Legendary (extremely high level alchemists) it's a d12.


This system makes it hard to predict exactly how much more you can activate items (which I think was something Paizo was aiming for with their flat-checks-to-activate-after-you-run-out-of-resonance rules). It makes activated items worth using instead of invested ones, particularly if you're a class which "should" be using consumables more, like an alchemist. It even gives a way to do the "refusing magic" trope which isn't horribly crippling if the character is in a group with magic users, and/or horribly overpowered if the character is solo/in a group without magic users. It can also replace the rather ugly fake-resonance-only-usable-for-consumables ability that the alchemist gets at level 9.

Obviously, the formula to calculate your resonance might need to be adjusted in this system, since a point of resonance does now stretch a lot further when using it for consumables.

I don't see what the reasoning for changing this was, other than perhaps "we have too many +cha races" (in which case, could we get at least *one* race that gives a strength bonus, please?). It's been fairly consistent throughout d&d's history that halflings are friendly and have a habit of fitting themselves in comfortably wherever they show up, and getting along well with people. To me, at least, that's a fairly important part of what a halfling is, and is very much in the heading of charisma. On the other hand, common sense and deep theological insight are traits I associate less with them.

And the race's description in the playtest agrees with this: they have a "jovial and friendly nature" and are known for "performing deeds of daring mischief or heroism." The only thing that suggests wisdom is that their "curiosity is tempered with caution, often leading to narrow escapes.". Which is very dubious, since their curiosity and lack of forethought is what gets them into those situations in the first place; it reads more like a justification for them not taking a penalty to wisdom, rather than justifying a bonus. They do also have a habit of living simple lives rather than pursuing great power, which can certainly be described as "wisdom" in general terms, but doesn't fit with Pathfinder's definition of the ability score at all. Catharsis, since you said this was the result of a "grassroots campaign", perhaps you would care to explain your reasoning?

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
As much as I hate to say it, my ideal would be just make Golarian sign language it's own language. Just one. Or if you really wanted to, diversify it with the regional dialects rather than racial, as many of them are optional as it is.

Well, Golarion already has a "common" which is spoken more widely than any single language was in real medieval times, as far as I'm aware. (Yes, I know that e.g. French was used among the nobility, but most people still didn't know it.) Why shouldn't the same apply to sign language?

Vidmaster7 wrote:
pi4t wrote:
AC, with non-proficiency penalties. At second level (when full plate becomes available), it's impossible for a wizard to get a high enough Dex for him to be better off going without armour, rather than wearing heavy armour. Even if he's prepared to spend a spell slot on mage armour. Technically there are costs to this: slower movement speed, higher check penalty, etc. However, they're very minor compared with getting a higher AC.
I think someone said that Arcane spell failure chance is still going to be a thing but was accidentally left out of the play test. I'm not sure if that is rumor or fact however.

I haven't heard that rumour. Fairly major thing to leave out, particularly when it's presented in the armour stat blocks in PF1. The point probably still stands in regards to monks, though. They might have a slightly easier time of it (is Dex their key ability score, or is it wisdom? I don't have the book available to me at the moment) but they'll still end up with essentially the same AC with heavy armour vs going unarmoured, and suffer no other penalty for wearing armour they're not proficient with.

As a somewhat off topic side point, I think this is a major problem in the proficiency system as it stands. In most cases (weapons are an exception) when you have a choice between using something you're proficient in and something which you aren't, the only penalty for using the latter is that the bonus it gives is slightly reduced. So if the latter thing is stronger inherently more useful than the former, it's often better to use it even though you're not proficient. In PF1, the penalties for using something you're not proficient in apply to other stats. A weapon you aren't proficient with may do more damage, but you take a big to-hit penalty and to-hit is more important than weapon damage. Armour you aren't proficient in gives a penalty to lots of different rolls, which are collectively more important than AC. And so forth.

AC, with non-proficiency penalties. At second level (when full plate becomes available), it's impossible for a wizard to get a high enough Dex for him to be better off going without armour, rather than wearing heavy armour. Even if he's prepared to spend a spell slot on mage armour. Technically there are costs to this: slower movement speed, higher check penalty, etc. However, they're very minor compared with getting a higher AC.

Unicore wrote:
I think it is the -10 to speed that is going to be the thing that ends up pushing wizards towards Dex and away from armor, but it is interesting that bumbling around in Heavy Armor is even a somewhat viable option.

Why would that push wizards towards Dex, but not push fighters towards it?



as a wizard, you probably don't want to be spending money on Armor you are not proficient in, that is also knocking your speed down and capping your reflex saves so low, while making yourself the easiest target for any kind of grappling monster.

If your Dex is higher than your armour's dexterity cap, then you should be able to get the same AC with a lighter armour anyway. The cap being applied to reflex saves is thus irrelevant.

The trouble is, even if wizards are trained in unarmoured (as they are intended to be) they're still better off wearing heavy armour. Unless they invest very strongly in dexterity. A second level wizard who has at least one dexterity boost can get +7 AC if he wears full plate (+6 armour +1 dex +0 untrained second level), and suffers no penalty for doing so other than the usual armour check penalty. If he wears robes, his AC is 2+dex modifier, or one higher than that if he burns one of his four spell slots on a mage armour. He needs an 18 in dex and one of his spell slots for this to even equal the full plate, and it's not actually possible for him to get that 18 dex at his level even if he tried.

At higher levels, with ability boosts and the burning of a high level spell slot on mage armour, he may be able to do better than the full plate. But then full plate can be enchanted, and mage armour can't, which slows things down. If I haven't missed anything, it's at level 8 or 9 that it will start being better to go unarmoured: [level]+5 dex + 4 mage armour vs [level] + 6 full plate + 4 enchantment -2. But even then, that's only true if you've been boosting your dexterity for your whole career, with little to show for it until that point. If you decide not to bother raising dex above 12 and to use the boosts one more immediately useful stats, then even a level 9 mage armour won't outweigh a fully enchanted full plate, even without proficiency.

Fundamentally, the trouble is that there's no significant penalty for using an armour you're not proficient in. You take the -2 AC penalty, but if the difference in AC bonus between the armours is great enough, it's still worth using the heavy armour you aren't trained with. In fact this happens quite easily as -2AC is quite a small penalty compared to the differences in armour bonuses, but even if the penalty was greater this system will still lead to issues. Namely that the only way to get people to stick with the type of armour you want them to use is to give them a better AC than they could normally get, as a reward for sticking to that armour. And thus you lose the squishy wizards trope, and end up with either wizards wearing armour, or wizards in robes who have a better AC than they would in armour.

No optimised character can never have an AC that's more than two lower than that of a trained heavy armour user like the fighter. Or four less if the penalty gets doubled after playtesting. The point is, there's a hard cap on how bad your class's optimal AC can be, and it's not too far below that of a trained combatant.

In PF1, by contrast, there are very strong incentives to stick with armour you're proficient in, besides AC. If you're not proficient (and the armour has any ACP) then you take a penalty to basically all your d20 rolls. And that penalty increases for heavier armours, as a general rule. Moreover, wizards also suffer from a spell failure rate, forcing them to stay unarmoured or have their key abilities weakened. Thus wizards will go unarmoured even though their AC would be higher in full plate.

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chibikami wrote:
It does not say -2, +0, +1, +2, or +3, it simply gives us a pip. At first glance this reminded me of WoD, but under analysis it's D&D2e's Weapon Mastery system applied to every skill as well as weapons and armor.

Now, be fair. I've spent some time looking at D&D2e's weapon mastery system in the past, and the situation there was completely different. That system had several different bonuses from each level of mastery, some of which varied depending on the weapon, so it was totally reasonable to have names for the different levels of skill. Of course, that doesn't mean that having those complicated sets of bonuses was necessarily a good idea, but if you're going to do that then it's very sensible to use named levels of mastery.

On the other hand, if you're just giving a +1 bonus per level...not so much.

Humans are blatantly underpowered compared to literally every other Ancestry. Not only are they at -2 to one ability score, they don't even get their traditional bonus feat.

Well, they don't have a -2 penalty to one of their other ability scores, for what that's worth. Also, they can turn their ancestry feats into class/general feats, albeit only 1st level ones. Since a lot of ancestry feat choices are, shall we say, particularly disappointing even for PF2e, this may be quite a good option. The only trouble is that there aren't that many good general or class feats either.

Other than that, I agree with most of your assessments.

I'm afraid I don't have anything to suggest to you, as my experiences were rather similar to yours. Vast numbers of abilities seem to have been nerfed until they're so weak or situational that you could easily forget you have them when they actually do apply. I don't look forward to levelling or have any interest in the feats or class abilities available. They're just to weak, or too situational, or both. Turn undead, for instance, an iconic ability from previous editions. Triggers only if you channel energy/cast heal, and manage to crit. And then it only lasts for a round. I realise that crits are more common against weaker enemies now, but that's supposed to be your big exciting new ability at the level you take it. I wouldn't even count on being able to use that in an adventure that was all about undead, and nor would I particularly mind if I didn't. Depriving a weak undead of a single round of actions once or twice in an adventure is just not worth worrying about.

Frankly, I'm fairly sure I could ignore all the feats, class abilities (other than spellcasting) and proficiencies of a character, even a high level one, and still end up only marginally less powerful.

More constructively for you, I've noticed that this means gishes are more powerful. There are no arcane spell failures as far as I can see, and non-proficiency in armour just gives you a -2 penalty to your AC, and touch AC. Which weirdly means that even if you're not proficient in armours at all, it's still probably better to wear heavy armour rather than the classical robes-and-hat. Weapons are a similar story (the penalty is only -2); or you can get a proficiency from your first ancestry feat. And at level 2, you can spend a class feat to multiclass into fighter and get all the proficiencies for free if you want to do a more focussed gish. This also allows you to start making AoOs at level 6, if you feel like spending another class feat; since the only wizard feat at these levels that actually looks worth taking is Quick Study, this shouldn't be a difficult decision.

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Edymnion wrote:

Rethink the guidance. Instead of having clear goals for where you want players to go, refocus on creating ways to help people navigate a more complex path.

New people in 1e were overwhelmed by choices and options because there was nothing there to shield them from the excess. Having a million choices is not a bad thing, if there is a way to filter them down to a dozen or two that would be right for what you were wanting to make.

Do I have an easy answer on how to do that? No, I don't. But I do fully believe that you need both an easy entry for new people, AND the full complexity for the older people, or you will fail. New people are fickle and will come and go, who will buy one or two books in large numbers and then vanish. Old players will buy damned near everything, but are fewer in numbers.

The goal should be "How do we make it easier to transition newbs into vets", not "How do we sell as many books as possible to the newbs before they wander off?".

Possibly Paizo could draw inspiration from how Spheres of Power and Spheres of Might handle things. They have a very large number of feats (or "talents" that can be bought for a feat, if you want to be technical) but they're divided into the eponymous spheres. Each sphere is grouped around a specific theme; and whenever you get a talent, you can either spend it to unlock a new sphere along with getting its base ability, or choose a talent from one of the spheres you've unlocked.

This means that you're not overwhelmed with options that aren't going to be relevant to you. Want to play a sneaky sort of character who likes to sneak up on people and stab them where it hurts? Take the fencing and scoundrel spheres, and then just choose from talents in those two spheres. Hoping to remake Drizzt? Take most of your talents from the dual wielding sphere, dabbling in the beastmastery sphere just enough to get an animal companion.

Since there aren't too many spheres to choose from, and they all have very clear themes, it's generally fairly easy to decide which spheres you want. And there are then only about as many talents in each sphere as there are class feats for a PF2 class, which is far more manageable. Yet because you can mix and match different spheres, it's possible - and, in fact, surprisingly easy - to make almost any combat style you like.

PF2, on the other hand, forces you to pick just one class, and (other than the limited options for multiclassing) you're then stuck with just the feats associated with that class, limiting your options. Worse, though, since the classes don't represent just one specific combat style, each class has to provide the feats to allow for several different styles. So the fighter has a bunch of its feats dedicated to dual wielding, and another bunch dedicated to fighting with a single 1h weapon, and so on. Since each class only has limited feats available, this means that once you've chosen your combat style you have very few actual choices about which feats to take - since most of them are obviously irrelevant to you. With better organisation, dividing up feats by combat style rather than class, there could be a lot more interesting options for builds, without making things any more complicated.

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Igor Horvat wrote:

They nerfed everything except +1 per level power creep.

And they added it to AC. hahaha!!

Actually, adding it to AC, and making everything +1 per level rather than varying with class and ability is a good thing. Makes it far easier to strip that rule out entirely as a house rule.

James Jacobs wrote:

Since the first volume of this Adventure Path, and thus the campaign as a whole, isn't launching until later this month, detailed replies will have to wait. But here's what I can say for now:

** spoiler omitted **...

Ah, well. Thanks for the reply. I guess I'll have to think again about how I want to handle things...

Based on the blurbs for the chapters, it looks like Return will have a fairly heavy focus on defeating Runelord Alaznist? And time travel is involved in some way?

I'm going to start GMing a Rise of the Runelords campaign in the near future. (With just one PC, which should be...interesting. I have plans on how to handle that, though). I was intending to have Alaznist rise during that, at the same time as Karzoug, with a homebrewed seventh chapter about defeating her. (Whether that chapter would come before or after Spires of Xin-Shalast, I hadn't decided). It seems to make narrative sense, given that Sandpoint sits at the border of their domains, and both of them had a big role in the Thassilonian background of the campaign. And hey, it is called Rise of the Runelords.

To avoid just having a seventh chapter with a boss that's really the same power as the first, I was considering having the player emerge from battle with the first (partially awake) runelord only to discover that several years have passed because of Reasons, and the other runelord has fully awoken and conquered large parts of Varisia, including Sandpoint. The final chapter would then involve making contact with a resistance movement led, of course, by various friends from earlier in the path, and eventually bringing the fight to the runelord. (Credit where it's due, a fair amount of that is adapted from ideas I found on these boards.)

The announcement of Return of the Runelords makes things both easier and harder for me to set this up. Easier because suddenly there's going to be a whole adventure all about defeating Alaznist while time travel stuff is happening, which is weirdly close to what I was thinking about anyway. But also harder, because it would be nice to play through the whole trilogy eventually, and it rather sounds like Alaznist needs to still be alive for Return or everything falls apart. With this in mind, James, I have a number of questions.

1) How easy would it be to adapt Return of the Runelords to a world where Alaznist was already as dead as Karzoug? Could one of the other runelords easily stand in for her throughout the AP? (And if so, which one would you recommend, just out of curiosity?)
2) Would Rise of New Thassilon adapt well to being a second ending for Rise of the Runelords, in the way I described? And if so, would you put it before or after Spires? Obviously either way some encounters would need a little adjusting, but narratively would it work better to have Alaznist conquer the area and then be confronted in Rise of New Thassilon, or to have Karzoug do so and be confronted in Spires? Or would it perhaps be better to simply allow the PC to decide where to go first?
3) Time manipulation spells have traditionally been put in the transmutation school. Why is Alaznist messing with time magic? Out of character, is it just because you'd already killed off Karzoug? In my position, would it make more sense to give Karzoug the time manipulation stuff, and give Alaznist something else instead?
4) Presumably the seat of Alaznist's (former) power is now underwater. Is Rise of New Thassilon set underwater, or has she moved?
5) I was also thinking of replacing a large portion of Sins of the Saviours with something else, probably something involving Alaznist. I'm not a huge fan of how the module works. And my PC is thinking of being a summoner (build, not the class), meaning the runeforged weapons wouldn't work so well either. Would chapter 5 (or even chapter 4) of Return work well in that slot? And would that then lead to the rest of Return becoming even more unplayable?

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Anzyr wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:

Looked shady, told us just to go away when we talked to them, then attacked our scout when we tried to investigate

this stops them from being "innocent".
If they are innocent then a group of nice people should be easily able to talk with them and get the info they need.

That looks shady, Hey person here guarding this, may we lodge here? No you may not. What is the reason for this inhospitality? We are refugees and don't have supplies and don't feel safe letting strangers in.

Not buying it. Refugees fleeing an oppressive regime or other enemy may have very good reasons for keeping a low profile. They should trust a random group that shows up at their door just because they seem nice? i wonder how many other refugees fell for that ruse and got slaughtered by the people they were trying to flee...
Understandable motives does not an innocent make. If they attack random groups that seem nice, they are monsters and putting them down gets you an A+ on your Paladin exam.

And if a handful of civilians tells a group of dangerous warriors they're not welcome and asks them to leave, and said warriors respond by sending one of their number to spy on the civilians and scout out the area in preparation for an attack? Do these warriors still seem nice to the civilians? Aren't they more likely to be a group of bandits or looters? In which case, won't putting them down earn the civilians an A+ on their own Paladin exams?

Remember to think about the story and flavour, not just optimising your build mechanically; this is particularly important with something that has as big an effect on the game as introducing a new familiar should. In universe, they don't just pop into existence because your character took a feat, you know!

What part has* the original familiar played up to this point? Why is your sorcerer willing to destroy that bond and form a connection to some new being? Did the previous familiar get killed, perhaps? Or fail your sorcerer one too many times? Or is it still the same familiar, only now with its true form revealed (as in the Chosen One paladin archetype)? There are lots of interesting ways you can take the concept of a familiar, either improved or not, but if you're just looking for some extra mechanical power I'd advise you to skip the familiar and spend your feats on something which doesn't come bundled with a bunch of extra rp flavour. On the other hand, if you can see a way to make your character more interesting or fun to roleplay as by using a familiar, do so! And you'll probably find that exactly what your idea is will help you decide whether Improved Familiar is suitable for you or not.

*or will, if you're planning ahead in your build; I'm not entirely sure from your post.

Ergon bloodline's devour magic - "When using this ability, you restore a number of uses of unnatural healing or rounds of ocular growths equal to
1/2 the level of the spell continued within the item" contradicts "If used on a staff, it loses 1 charge and you gain a number of uses of unnatural healing or rounds of ocular growths equal to the level of the highest-level spell the staff can cast using only 1 charge"

Alexander Augunas wrote:
pi4t wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
pi4t wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
pi4t wrote:
Does the performance involve singing and/or orating? The skill requirements would imply that, but it doesn't explicitly say so, and obviously whether you have to make a noise or not is kind of important for an invisibility effect.
Its creepy singing / orating, but it doesn't interfere with the invisibility. Think of it as "ominous background music."
Would it be good to say that the targets of the ability who fail their save don't notice the music? Otherwise it rather reduces the utility of making yourself invisible to them...
Nope. They hear it, but just because they hear it doesn't mean its any easier to pinpoint your location with a Perception check. (Which you could always do with invisible creatures anyway.)
Ah, ok, so they know something weird's happening, and will be alerted, but don't necessarily know what it is? That's still significantly less useful than a normal invisibility spell, and it might be worth pointing out that you have to keep making the music to stay invisible, if there's enough space?

I'm just ending this confusion and changing the masterpiece's effects to the following:

You perform an ancient lyric that distorts the senses of those who hear it, filling their ears with a confusing melody that makes the performer undetectable by sight. Upon completing the performance, you turn invisible (as per the invisibility spell) for as long as you maintain the performance, you choose one or more creatures that you can see. You may choose up to one creature for every 3 binder levels you possess. Chosen creatures can still see you as though you were not invisible, and you can attack those creatures without ending the invisibility effect on you. However, if you attack any other creature, this spell ends. Creatures that cannot see you also cannot hear your rendition of the Ballod of the Tall Man, though they can be alerted to your presence...

Much better, thanks. I think that the middle of it would be a bit clearer as follows, though:

"Upon completing the performance, you turn invisible (as per the invisibility spell) for as long as you maintain the performance. When you start the performance, you may choose one or more creatures that you can see, up to one creature for every 3 binder levels you possess."

If that makes it take up too much room, then I think it would be better to delete "you choose one or more creatures that you can see" from the original text - the grammar of that sentence doesn't quite work as it is.

Pact Maladies:
Inscribed Skin: Should the fortitude penalty be -1, rather than -2? The penalties increase by -2 cha, -1 fort every week, to a maximum of -14/-7. For those maxima to be reached on the same week, and for the ratio of the penalties to be constant, the fortitude penalty should start off at half the charisma penalty.
Stolen Identity: "While afflicted with stolen identity, you unable to speak your name."
Called by the Grave: "If you are a Venerable adult who is afflicted by called by the grave, you reach your maximum age the next time that your age category would be reduced," - should "reduced" be "increased"?
Gender Bending: "your become asexual"
Return to the Womb: If the effect goes so far that you disappear and a spirit birth effect is triggered, are you the baby who is born from that effect? If so, what does the bit about not being able to be returned to life except by divine intervention mean?

Legend of Mishpo: "“Oh,” Mishpo said. Was this the end? The cage looked a wee bit too large to fit the cage into it, so the devil would have to release him, providing an opportunity to escape."

Alexander Augunas wrote:
pi4t wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
pi4t wrote:
Does the performance involve singing and/or orating? The skill requirements would imply that, but it doesn't explicitly say so, and obviously whether you have to make a noise or not is kind of important for an invisibility effect.
Its creepy singing / orating, but it doesn't interfere with the invisibility. Think of it as "ominous background music."
Would it be good to say that the targets of the ability who fail their save don't notice the music? Otherwise it rather reduces the utility of making yourself invisible to them...
Nope. They hear it, but just because they hear it doesn't mean its any easier to pinpoint your location with a Perception check. (Which you could always do with invisible creatures anyway.)

Ah, ok, so they know something weird's happening, and will be alerted, but don't necessarily know what it is? That's still significantly less useful than a normal invisibility spell, and it might be worth pointing out that you have to keep making the music to stay invisible, if there's enough space?

Solar Orchid: The duration is 1 day/level for spells of 4th level or lower, but only spells of third level or lower can be Extended?

Astute Binder trait: Does this also apply to Constellation Aspects? How about the abilities the Prophet gets (the only Pactmaker archetype I can see that explicitly uses charisma)?

Alexander Augunas wrote:
pi4t wrote:
Does the performance involve singing and/or orating? The skill requirements would imply that, but it doesn't explicitly say so, and obviously whether you have to make a noise or not is kind of important for an invisibility effect.
Its creepy singing / orating, but it doesn't interfere with the invisibility. Think of it as "ominous background music."

Would it be good to say that the targets of the ability who fail their save don't notice the music? Otherwise it rather reduces the utility of making yourself invisible to them...

Page 362: Pactmaker is listed above Oracle when it should be below. Presumably this is left over from when it was called the Occultist.

Seal Edged Pactmaker: "At 11th level, she can either increase the bonus one pact augmentation provided by +2 or increase the bonus that two pact augmentations provide by +1." Provided should be provides?
"At 17th level, she can either increase the bonus one pact augmentation provides by +3, increase the bonus that three pact augmentations provides by..." The second provides should be provide.

Also, I feel that there should be a quicker way to explain this rule. And would it be better to double, triple, etc the normal bonus? Otherwise it ends up rather imbalanced between the pact augmentations, giving anything from half a trait (if applies to initiative) to an entire feat equivalent (if applied to the dodge bonus to AC) and more. Fortification and Fleet are even worse off, getting a +1% chance to negate a critical and +1 foot of speed.

On the other hand, doubling will cause issues for things like Invulnerability, or if you take certain augmentations multiple times. Hmm...

Unbound Pactmaker: Loses the ability to select Compression at 4th level, and scent and swim at 16th. Or a lot of options are unnecessarily included in multiple lists, if the higher level selections are intended to be additional choices.

Also, you're told to select a type of animal when making the pact, but this seems to be unnecessary as the only thing you do with it is choose one of the abilities from the list (which the animal possesses). Since the appearance of the mutation is up to the player, your choice of animal makes no difference whatsoever to your character, provided the animal has the ability you're taking. All the rule means is that you have to comb through the bestiary trying to find an animal with the ability you're looking for.

Rogue: Disrupting Offensive doesn't specify how much the DC is increased by.

Demon Eye Exemplar feat: Misshapen Arm is formatted incorrectly.

Occult Infusion feat: "If you prepare spells in advanced"

Totemic Sage: Bind Spirit and Totemic Alignment both replace your 4th level rage power.

Ballad of the Tall Man: Five things:
There's a weird spacing error between "within" and "30 feet", presumably caused by the picture.
The flavour text says you cause one target to be unable to see you, but in fact it's one per bard level. It would be good to clarify whether you become visible if you attack, etc, like with Invisibility. Just adding "(as Invisibility)" or "(as Greater Invisibility)" should do. Granted, it takes a full round action so you'll have some trouble attacking but AoOs could still trigger, for instance.
Does the performance involve singing and/or orating? The skill requirements would imply that, but it doesn't explicitly say so, and obviously whether you have to make a noise or not is kind of important for an invisibility effect.
Finally, the power seems kind of weak: you have to spend your full round action every round to use it, right? Or have I misunderstood the rules for masterpieces?

Occult Avenger: Avenger's Grit refers to Panache

Page 374: Ceremony Gone Awry has the wrong formatting.

Rednal wrote:
Page 287 - The Mental Regression spell says "You" can't cast spells whose minimum caster level is greater than 1. I feel like this is a debuff for the caster...? It should probably be updated for clarity. Also, that is a NASTY spell.

It's not actually all that nasty; remember it's competing against the likes of Overwhelming Grief and Forgetful Slumber, both of which will make the creature completely unable to act and will harm their defences, and don't require the enemy to be in touch range.

Alexander Augunas wrote:
pi4t wrote:
Edit 3(!): Is it intentional that Gnostic Tomes aren't lost in the process of being read, and can thus be given to all the binders in the party and then sold for half the price you paid for them? If so, cool.
Yes. You can do the same for pages of spell knowledge.

While I don't object to having the Tomes work that way, as a point of rules accuracy that's not how pages of spell knowledge work: you need to have the page in your possession to cast the spell on it.

Another typo: In the legend of Mare Loviatha, Tomith should apparently have been more "cautions".

The Nightfang Weald has the following introduction:
"A nightmarish forest cast in perpetual twilight, the Nightfang Weald is believed to be a long-forgotten prototype of the Faerie Realm that was cast aside by the gods and used as a prison for unruly fey. The Nightfang Weald is well-suited to those looking to conspire against the gods or perform deeds that those of faith would fine taboo, especially pact magic."
"Fine" should presumably be "find". Also, the space between the two sentences doesn't show up in the pdf, even though it does when copy-pasting into the forum.

At the bottom of the same page: "where mortals may be devour"

The Apocryphal Desert: "Rather, each oasis on the Apocryphal Desert is linked to a single, fixed location on another planes via its apex, and as such the terrain within each oases contorts to mirror its cosmic counterpart": planes should be plane, and oases should be oasis. Similarly in DC 20 entry of the knowledge check sidebar for the desert, we have "each oases".

Also, "and their influence is great enough that travellers to the Apocryphal Desert tare met with hassles at every turn without the guild’s blessings" tare should be are?

In the information on the Atlan Graveyard, in the Byways:
"By answering the summons of binders and teaching them to wild his power, Prime Ravager slowly paved the way for the formation of the Ravage Binders..." Firstly, wild should probably be wield. Secondly, shouldn't that be "the Prime Ravager"?

In the Path of Black Leaves:
"None who have ventured to the Path of Black Leaves have returned with their sanity fully intact, and most who go their at all are never seen again." Their should be there.

The edit window has timed out, but I've spotted another typo, on page 326:
"the binder retains most of her autonomously when she makes a possession pact"

Edit: page 328: "Those who agreed were given the secret knowledge to bind the shards of the fragments of the Atlan gods and those who declined or were reduced in societal standing to menial peasantry." "Or" should be deleted, I think.

Edit 2: Also page 328: "As countless frehmin souls streamed into the afterlife, it is said that the gods could turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed by the Atlans, for the gods feared that soon the Atlans would seek to conquer them just as they had utterly conquered the mortal world." Should there be a negative somewhere in the first part of the sentence?

Edit 3: Also page 328: "Without the means to control those that they taught pact magic too": Too should be to.

Edit 4: Page 329: Something seems to have gone wrong with the following sentence: "Perhaps reality is fictitious and spirits are reality’s storytellers and listeners, or maybe their constant presence in an unchanging state throughout history they are the writers of reality’s tale, with binders acting as the leading characters of reality’s tale."

Edit 5: Page 330: "ravager spirits have the power to self-bind themselves to mortal souls when in close approximation to a host". Is this some obscure use of the word "approximation", or should the word be "proximity"?

Edit 6: Page 330: "How Can a Spirit Be in Two Pacts at Once?" should probably be a title? And either the "how", or the "Yes, undeniably so" on the next line, should be deleted.

Edit 7: Page 331: "Some go further, suggesting that the Spirit Realm and its inhabits are actually a “more real reality” then the multiverse and its denizens." "Then" should be "than".

The Devotee's Sacrificial Brand says that you can take it again to make "activating" the brand a move/swift action. Should this also apply to deactivating the brand, ie the standard action to stop the bleed damage?

Edit: Also, the Ring of Reincarnation says that 1 minute after dying, you automatically reincarnate 1 day later. Which is correct?

Edit 2: The dedicated vest has a typo: "While wearing a dedicated vest, the wearer automatically gain the capstone empowerments of any spirits that she is bound to." Gain should be gains.

Edit 3(!): Is it intentional that Gnostic Tomes aren't lost in the process of being read, and can thus be given to all the binders in the party and then sold for half the price you paid for them? If so, cool.

Edit 4: The Teeth of Lehran-Darv entry has a grammatical error: "A creature that is implanted with a tooth of Lehran-Darv and bound to that tooth’s associated spirit simultaneously, it gains a +4 bonus to its binder level when determining the effects of that spirit’s granted abilities." Presumably we want "If a creature is implanted...", or perhaps "Lehran-Darv, and bound ... simultaneously, gains a..."

Edit 5: The Vaduvian Sphere is probably supposed to be violet-tinted, not "violent-tint". Also, it's not explicitly stated that you get one charge per age category drained.


I've noticed one typo so far: Pactsworn Magus's Occult Training ability says you count your Magus levels as Fighter levels for binder secrets and pact feats. Should this be Pactmaker, rather than Fighter?

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