Guide ranger with skirmisher tricks to avoid spellcasting. You pick an enemy as your target and duel with him. You might even be able to stack the wild stalker to get rage instead of an animal companion. Elven curve blade is a great path to go, and you can stack power attack and other feats that drop accuracy against your guide target because accuracy and damage will increase. Favored terrains would be urban, and that could help social skills in cities, etc.
Feeblemind! Permanent int and cha of 1. Then lock her up. She'll even have a -4 to the save, and without those cloaks of resistance, wizards don't tend to have the will that clerics do. Wisdom is a typical dumpstat even if base will is high.
Target creature's Intelligence and Charisma scores each drop to 1. The affected creature is unable to use Intelligence- or Charisma-based skills, cast spells, understand language, or communicate coherently. Still, it knows who its friends are and can follow them and even protect them. The subject remains in this state until a heal, limited wish, miracle, or wish spell is used to cancel the effect of the feeblemind. A creature that can cast arcane spells, such as a sorcerer or a wizard, takes a –4 penalty on its saving throw.
School enchantment (compulsion) [mind-affecting]; Level sorcerer/wizard 5
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a handful of clay, crystal, or glass spheres)
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Target one creature
Saving Throw Will negates; see text; Spell Resistance yes
Wow, that's really awesome! Even that 1 feat dip into Monkey Style is a great way to represent ducking and tumbling across gun fights and such.
(Free action drop, shoot, weather the barrage of gunfire if he gets spotted, swift action acro check and back on his feet without missing a beat!) Maybe have him make potions of protection from arrows as added insurance.
Preparing a character concept that for story purposes has to be an elf, and the class build will be a combined vivisectionist/internal alchemist dual archetype (for sneak attack, poison, holding breath for a long time, ki pool discoveries, extracts such as touch of the sea, true strike, etc).
The game will take place in a higher tech level D&D style world (think Ghost in the Shell, Deus Ex, Shadowrun, etc).
The idea is for a two-weapon fighting, two weapon feinting(getting the bluff skill up with traits and such) dagger/shortsword/martial arts fighting style reminiscent of Filipino/Malay styles: Kali/Arnis/Silat/Panantukan.
His ranged weapon will be a repeating crossbow and some pistols for back-up(in this game crossbows that add strength to damage are approved as a house rule item).
The game will involve a lot of disabling devices, infiltration, assassination, recovering data, and getting away clean.
What I am really looking for here, is equipment to help this concept really shine. He can kinda do it all: potions, poisons, extracts, alchemical gear, use magic device for scrolls on his extract list, etc.
Keep in mind a focus on aquatic combat rules, weather conditions, and tight movement(prone crawl spaces, etc).
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
I use Bluff as a skill to convince someone of the truth of a proposition, regardless of whether that proposition is true or false.
Diplomacy I use for getting people to like you. I like plenty of people that I think are grandiose and full of crap. By contrast, low diplomacy and high bluff would be: "I think you're a complete jackass, but you have a point here."
Popularity and effective debate are quite different ball games.
Stated way better than I ever could. Also, as an aside, here is one planar example of how neutral evil fiends (daemons) use high level economies. I even added a wish token if you will, whereby a concentration of magical energy equating to a wish and limited wish have their own token of economy, such as a crystal.
Herein also explains how you could have entities with mountains of gold, but higher level people and monsters stop caring about some soft yellow metal. Magic Battery or GTFO.
Mindless Spirits (10 gp): While it’s possible to capture the vital essences of vermin, basic oozes, and other such unthinking creatures, these paltry spirits are worth very little.
Animal Spirits (25 gp): This category contains creatures of animal-level intelligence, whose spirits—while presumably worth something to some deities, as reflected by the value of animal sacrifice—are rarely traded in the soul markets. In fact, though the existence of animal spirits is undeniably real, there’s rampant debate in many societies over whether such things truly count as “souls.”
Basic Soul (100 gp): This is the soul of a standard intelligent creature—a commoner, a low-level adventurer, a sentient monster of low CR, or any of the other hordes of weak or mundane folk who live out their lives with a normal amount of pomp and excitement. This is the lowest category of souls which interests daemons, who see animals and other nonsentient creatures as hardly worth the time to destroy.
Noteworthy Soul (500 gp): The souls of mid-level characters, rulers, famous or influential people, and other powerful, accomplished, and otherwise important people draw greater attention than basic souls, and drive bidding higher accordingly.
Grand Soul (1000–5000 gp): High-level characters, great heroes, dragons, powerful aberrations, and other such spirits of fabulous power and forceful personalities offer equally significant rewards to those who manage to contain their essences.
Unique Soul (priceless): For the truly unique souls—those of legendary figures, epic heroes, and other massive presences—there can be no going price. The unique sparks that live within these creatures are valuable beyond compare, and the frantic bidding (and backstabbing) that arises when one of these trapped spirits comes up for sale is the sort of thing fiends and undead wait thousands of years for, paying nigh-unimaginable prices for the right to consume or display such an artifact.
In addition to consuming them for the sheer joy of destruction, daemons use souls to empower themselves, conduct strange experiments, construct their hideous domains, and more—and mortal spellcasters have followed their lead. Of these varied uses, the most common is the creation or recharging of magic items, using the life force contained in soul gems and other such vessels—or drawn out of the victim directly at the moment of casting—to empower the magic being worked. In these cases, souls should be assigned values based on the categories presented here and then treated as material components, reducing the gold expenditure necessary to cast the spell according to the souls’ value. (Thus a spell that requires 400 gp to cast might instead cost 300 gp and a basic-level soul.) Souls used in this manner are consumed and destroyed utterly.
Souls are especially useful in the creation of intelligent items. In these cases, usually only one soul crystallizes as the intelligence embedded into the item, though other souls may be cannibalized in the item’s creation. Item alignment, item ability scores, and languages spoken by the item mirror those of the soul used to provide the item’s intelligence. Scholars have long debated whether the intelligence in such an item is the soul used, or if the soul is destroyed and the intelligence is only patterned on it—the implication being that recovered intelligent objects (especially of daemonic origin) might be destroyed in order to liberate the souls used in their construction. As instances of both have been reported over the centuries, the question remains open, though few adventurers are willing to destroy their prized weapons based on conjecture.
Beyond the means described above, daemons have myriad additional means of trapping, keeping, and subsequently using souls for constructing permanent objects and effects, such as a liquid form of soul-stuff mixing multiple souls, a crystalline dust formed from soul gems, and even ink created from souls and used to write down the names of the doomed, imprisoning them in elaborate poems penned on the daemons’ own flesh. Something intrinsic in daemonic nature allows for this flexibility, as some of the same methods they routinely use fail spectacularly when attempted by non-daemons, including such creatures as night hags, devourers, liches, and followers of some fiendish lords, who themselves possess a vested interest in exploiting some or all of these methods.
So I loved the concept for the NPC Codex, but in all honesty, I was hoping for something that I could have a new player point to, play, and be on par with a decently built character of that level. As it stands they are decent chump NPCs of their level, but you couldn't be caught dead comparing those builds to any custom-made PC (and the 15 pt buy assumption is fair for MAD classes, but even the SAD builds in there are somewhat paltry).
I don't intend to start an argument about whether or not NPC codex classes are good enough, or what constitutes playable or optimized. Without reading too heavily into it, is there a supplement out there for more hardcore built NPCs that could hope to stand toe to toe with my PCs?
I am not asking for rage-lance-pounce mammoth-riding DPS Olympics or God wizards galore, but is there anywhere I might find a supplement that has Pathfinder PC classes statted out? I would even be happy with like a low, medium, and high version, rather than a levels 1-20.
Lemmy, I love this rogue fix, and request permission to use for my own games. This makes it actually viable to play a rogue over say, a ninja, or a vivisectionist alchemist.
As to the original thread, as stated before, the problem with rogues is that the skill system (while a vast improvement over 3.5), becomes obsolete beyond level 5 or so. Unfortunately, homebrew is required, or just accepting that skills are for mundane mooks.
One 3pp take I love are the 101 New Skill Uses by Rite Publishing. They do an amazing job at putting numbers behind things we've all wanted to do, but didn't quite have rules or DCs for.
Also, a task my GM and I have implemented, is to offset things like jump, glibness, moment of prescience, spider climb, bloodhound, and countless other spell buffs entirely over-riding and invalidating skill ranks, we created a swath of skill uses that only unlock to someone with x number of ranks.
This to a degree allows non-magical fantastic tasks for supernatural characters, such as running on walls or leaping from building to building, sensing a cursed item with appraise ranks, without the casting of magic. It matches up better with fantasy literature, and it makes the lower tier classes more viable at higher levels.
Fix the skills, save the rogue. Fix the feats, save the fighter.
Also, the rogue talents are pretty damn weaksauce. Lemmy did a great job over-hauling them. One further fix we implemented was giving the trap sense feature a general bonus to armor class and calling it danger sense. This way the barbarian and rogue don't lag behind as heavily in armor class despite being supposedly highly mobile combatants.
The distribution of power and skill in your world should match the ecology.
A good setting is made by a sensible ecosystem. If flame drakes are a common threat, why does the village still have thatch roofs and the local castle still have vertical stone walls?
For that matter, in a setting where trolls, ogres, magical beasts, and the like are common enough to be frequent random encounters, how do typical medieval settlements survive at all? Is it the 'our soldiers are Sparta's walls' approach, where a highly trained, round the clock military force defends everything? Or is it that the town wizard decided that he had better things to do than juice up a murder-hobo's sword, and magically enchanted town walls and set up evocation turrets for invaders?
My point here is that if you want a game world where wild dangers far exceed the possibilities of earth, consider what implications that has on settlement expansion, communication, transportation, architecture, engineering, population size, life expectancy, the spread of ideas, and yes, the skill level distribution it takes just to make it in your environment.
Rather than just whine about the complexity of the issue, i'm going to offer some tools and hope that they help. Feel free to use: (condense the links the forum likes to space them for some reason)
Treating deadly wounds isn't a bad start if he can hit DC 20s. But heal skill really benefits in providing long-term care, and treating poisons, diseases, and the like(without having to have the specific 3rd level spell slots prepped). Our party is level 7 with low magic in the campaign. We typically skirmish whenever we can, ambush, and pepper with range at every opportunity before closing. When there are injuries, my rogue does a treat deadly wounds heal check first, and if people are in bad straits after that, they resort to what potions they have. If that's not enough, pull back for recovering.
Without that magical healing or 750 gp clw wand, you'll have to pull back and recuperate from time to time. If you're going to have extended time in the wilderness, invest in effective defensive camps. Set stakes or wires, dig fox-holes, pits, snares, and other traps, buy a few 25 gp guard dogs for the scent and help on guard duty, or build tucked away treetop platforms or the like to try and secure a safe-zone for recovering from hp, ability damage, and the like. Go adventure, leave the dogs, clear the site before resting, and post characters on watch. If the site is disturbed before you return, there's a sign that you need to be on your toes through the night.
I would say adding another character, even weaker level, especially with healing, is definitely worth a feat. The economy of action boost is always welcome.
While there is somewhat of a hiccup translating the mid level PCs fighting against small formations of troops, on a larger scale or with high level individual PCs (CR 10+), it works beautifully.
In the course of a 2 hour portion of a session with rich narrative, we had a battle between 35,000 orcs, 5,000 hobgoblins, and 3 ancient black dragons against about 14,000 human troops with a combination of shieldwalls, cavalry, archers, and lots of defensive walls. It played beautifully, and felt very smooth. With numbers that can represent even the grandest of historical battles, I was very very pleased with the flow of it...even when the dragons were scaring off entire regiments!
I think the answers provided are all right, depending on the circumstance of the game.
I'd like to offer a little solution for helping things along as perception, sense motive, diplomacy, intimidate, and bluff go. Jot down the modifiers of each player, roll it behind the scenes. Certain skills are more suspenseful to not let them know exactly how well they did. And instead of them asking to roll a check to solve a problem, they can approach it in character and you can pick the most relevant check for them.
I will not argue what is and isn't sandbox, but i'll share some tips and tricks for motivating an otherwise sleepy party.
To get a player more deeply seething and involved than even you as a GM might ever expect...Offend them.
1. Steal something
If somebody steals something from the more item-possessive PC for example, and then escaped into said dungeon...No force in d20 can keep that player character from hunting them down.
I had a GM have what he intended to be a short-term side-plot about someone marking my level 1 character for death. The group survived the assassination plot while stripped of gear. Well, let's just say that while it was meant to be an early introduction into the dangers of that city, by level 7 my guy was gleefully hunting down assassins for an offense committed 6 levels ago, actually causing unforeseen ripples in buckling a faction well beyond intended.
Don't over use it, but there is always that 1 player who will stalk an enemy to the ends of Golarion to exact revenge for even the pettiest of offenses. If you find a party lacking gusto, giving them someone to hate will stir the ole fires. Just don't follow up by denying them some sweet satisfaction early on, as it'll make them feel disempowered and their efforts at initiative seem futile.
And don't think this doesn't work on altruistic characters. If you have your altruistic cleric or paladin stumble upon an orcish slave-raid aftermath with the dropped teddy bear of a likely shackled child, just watch the rage boil and the creative aggression pour out of the party as it puts a stop to the faction of offense.
Another method is to create an NPC for the group to universally despise that can't be solved by swinging a sword or spell right after introduction.
We have a trope for this now in our games. We call him a 'Prescott,' so named after the first named NPC of this trope. Whenever you want to get the player involved, or deter a player from acting, this 'Prescott' always serves as a combat-ineffective, yet bureaucratically connected gadfly which attempts to thwart a plan in such a way that direct and violent retaliation rarely works. Typically he's a politician, noble, merchant, slanderous chronicler, or the like, and he has powerful friends which would overwhelm or seriously harm the group if they just cut him down in the street.
And we make him universally petty in gloating over any small victory or trip up he achieves in fouling up the party's plan. This is the wormy NPC hindrance which always raises at least 1 set of hackles and burns the party into a drooling fervor to do whatever it takes to make him pay.
On a softer side of GMing, I like to go with the early payout for a first impression.
If you indulge a character whim for an entire session, suddenly they feel as if they have meaningful choice, and are usually much more satisfied in returning to whatever over-arching goals or problems exist. There is something about knowing the GM will roll a random generator if they cross that unexpected boundary to accommodate them, which makes them far less likely to want to constantly poke and push the borders at ill-advised times.
The blame lies with design, not with the players, sadly. Why willfully choose sucky options when there are a few solid choices that really get the job done?
(TWF rogues with full sneak attack, 2 handed power attacking 2hand ftr/savage barbarian?the one with the extra attack, barbarian with come and get me and beast totem, machine gun archer with a mighty bow and arcane strike, super-buffed out gish classes, etc)
That being said, if you find people multiclassing into weird combination dips, or pouring over obscure books for an ever more powerful option, it might be a sign that they are deliberately trying to break the system.
I know you weren't asking for any solutions, but what i've done in my games is to shore up the weaker core options to be worth taking(by having them scale), at least with feats and the use of shields.
I know the formatting could be cleaner, but I can never seem to post links on these forums. But here ya go!
HP: 8d6+36 (70hp) (toughness, endurance, diehard, alcohol(temporary con boost)
Speed: 30 ft (x5 run)
F: +5, R: +3, W: +2
Damage Reduction: 0
Swarm: 3d6 (clubs, staves, pitchforks/tools, etc)
Volley: 3d6 Reflex DC: 14 for 1/2. Catch on fire on failed save (Rocks and Tar/Oil Pots)
Endurance, Toughness, Diehard, Run, Volley
Build Points: 1/2
Barbarian War Party(Heavy Melee Weapons, Low Defense)
HP: 11d10+44 (140 HP) (Endurance, Diehard, Toughness, Drugged)
Speed: 30 ft
F: +9, R: +4, W: +7(drugged)
Damage Reduction: 4 (Agile breastplate, power attack penalty)
Swarm: 6d6+6 (Greatswords, power attack)
Skills: Athletics +10, Intimidate: +10, HandleAnimal +5, Perception: +14
Toughness, Endurance, Diehard, Drugged, Power Attack, Improved Overrun, Trackers
Equipped: Greatswords/Greataxes, Agile Breastplate, Guard Dogs
Build Points: 2
Scout Sniper Unit(Wilderness Archers)
F: +4, R: +10, W:+5
Damage Reduction: 2(Leather armor)
Volley: 4d6+8 Reflex 1/2 DC: 20 (ability focus) + poison(ability focus+2 base DC)
Stealth+17, Perception+16, Survival+16, Craft:Alchemy +14, Craft:Trapmaking(+14)
Feats: Ability Focus(x2), Sacrificed swarm melee for volley, Point Blank Shot, Deadly Aim, Poisoners, Trappers
Equipped: Shortbows, leather armor, poison, entrenching and survival gear
Build Points: 2
Field Archers (English Longbowmen. Agincourt motha f!@&a!)
F: +4, R: +10, W:+5
Damage Reduction: 2(Leather armor)
Volley: 3d6+2d8+4 Reflex 1/2 DC: 20 (ability focus)
Stealth+17, Perception+16, Survival+16, Knowledge(Geography) +14, Craft:Trapmaking(+14)
Feats: Ability Focus:Volley, Sacrificed swarm melee for volley, Point Blank Shot, Far Shot, precise shot, improved precise shot, rapid shot (+1 die)
Equipped: Longbows, leather armor, entrenching and survival gear
Build Points: 3
Infantry Legion (Tower Shields/Shortsword/Pilum) [Tactical]
HP: 11d10+22 (100HP)
F: +9, R: +6(tower shields), W: +5
Damage Reduction: 9 (Scale Mail+Tower Shields)
Volley: 4d6 (Pilums. Embed in shields)
Athletics:+5, Intimidate:+10, Disable Device: +17, CraftBlacksmithing)+10
Shield-Wall, Tortoise Formation, Volley, Set Stakes, Sappers, Endurance(forced marches), Missile Shield
Equipped: Tower Shields, ScaleMail, Pilums, shortswords, mw tools
Build Points: 3
Heavy Infantry Company (Tower Shields/Bastard Swords)
HP: 11d10+22 (100hp)
F: +9, R: +4, W: +5
Damage Reduction: 15(Field Plate/Tower Shield/Shield Focus)
Swarm: 3d6+1d10+8 Weapon Focus, Improved, Weapon Spec: Improved)
Athletics: +5, Intimidate: +15, KnowledgeLocal, Nobility)+5
Shield Focus, Power Attack, Pushing Assault, Weapon Focus, Improved, Weapon Spec: Improved, Set Stakes
Equipped: Field plate, tower shield, bastard sword
Build Points: 4
Polearm Phalanx (This is Sparta!)
HP: 11d10+22 (100hp)
F: +9, R: +4, W: +5
Damage Reduction: 8 (Heavy Shield+Breastplate)
Swarm: 3d6+1d8 (shortspears, lunge feat, monkey lunge, patrol guard)Reach: 10 ft normal 20ft if stationary. Brace feature (spear damage double +8 on a brace vs. charge)
Athletics:+7, Intimidate:+10, Bluff: +10(Hide their readiness)
Feats: Quickdraw, lunge, monkey lunge, patrol guard, shield-wall, tortoise formation, phalanx
Equipped: Shortspears + longspears, heavy shields, breastplate)
Build Points: 2
Lancers: (Heavy horse cavaliers, European cavalry)
Hp: 11d10+22 (100hp)
F:+9, R:+6, W:+4
Speed: 50 ft
Damage Reduction: 10 (Light shield/fullplate)
Swarm: 3d6+1d8+Trample 3d4(Spirited charge w/ heavy lance and trample: 3d6+3d8+3d4+ Fort DC: 19 vs. stun 1 rd)
Handle Animal:+15, Diplomacy:+8, Knowledge: Religion, Nobility,History, +5
Mounted combat(avoid 1 aoo per round), Ride-by atk, Spirited Charge, Trample, Wedge, Run(from the mounts), Wheeling Charge(90 degree turn mounted charge)
Equipped: Heavy lances, field plate, light shields, heavy horses
CR:9 (+1 for mounts)
Build Points: 5
Mounted Archers: (Mongolian/Seljuk Style Horseback marksmen)
HP: 11d8+11 (80hp)
F:+8, Refl:+7, W:+3
Speed: 60 ft
Damage Reduction: 4 (hide armor)
Swarm: 4d6+8 (Shortbows+Deadly Aim)
Handle Animal:+15, Survival:+8, Know:Nature, Geography, local: +5
Mounted combat (avoid 1 aoo per round), ride by attack, mounted archery, point blank shot, Deadly Aim, Run(from the mounts)
Equipped: Shortbows, light horses, hide armor
CR:9 (+1 for mounts)
Build Points: 4
Militia Unit: (Sneaky Wilderness)
F:+4, R: +10, W: +5
DamageReduction: 2 (Chainshirt Armor, reduced by power attack)
Volley: Reflex for 1/2 DC: 10+1/2 level+Dex mod+ability focus DC: 20
5d6+4(Bolt Action Rifles or muskets) (represents either bigger guns firing in columns or lighter guns firing every round)
Stealth:+17, Perception: +16, Survival: +16, Craft: Trapmaking:+14,
Deadly Aim, Blindfight, Ability Focus: Volley, Improved Initiative,
Quickdraw:(smokesticks-Concealment,20% miss chance)
(2 build points)
Considering that my issue with martials tends to pop up at higher levels, I have designed some higher level feats for them. Feel free to use them however you wish. The idea is that they enhance options and maneuverability, rather than raw damage power, of physical combatants or skill monkeys.
Leap of the Grasshopper:
Leap of the Flea:
Hand of Midas:
Okay, now for my idea of how I would fix some of the offenders:
*Dodge: Gain mobility as a part of this feat, and add another +1 to armor class at level 8.
*Point Blank Shot: Precise shot is merged into this feat. Additionally, at 8th level, gain another +1 to attack and damage and it applies within the first range increment of the weapon if greater than 30 feet.
*Great Fortitude/Lightning Reflexes/Iron Will: At level 10, increase the save bonuses added by +2 more.
I like giving options that will make a typically weak saved class a strong one, much like skill focus makes a non class skill effectively a class skill and then some.
*Improved unarmed strike I will fix by counting it as part of any weapon group where it is included: close, monk, natural, etc.
*Weapon Proficiency, martial or exotic, will give the whole weapon group.
*Extra rounds of a class feature will add another 1/5 levels not including the initial, so at 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th. And if they want to take it again, so be it.
I can't think of any existing class feature other than spells which would become broken by allowing more rounds of duration.
*Weapon Focus will include greater weapon focus and include its entire weapon group.
*Weapon Specialization will include greater weapon specialization and any weapons covered by weapon focus. This way never requiring a second spend.
*Spell focus will include greater spell focus.
*Spell penetration will include greater spell penetration.
*Augment summoning will provide an additional +4 strength/con and +2 natural armor at caster level 10.
By no means is this an exhaustive list. My hope is that basic fixes will make it to where feats that didn't meet the needs of the concept now do so. Feedback and your own take on some feats would be appreciated. If there is an issue with perceived overpowering as a result of the change, please show a level-based progression and a comparison to an existing scaling feat and how you'd change it.
Edit: Typo fixes, and changed point blank shot to eventually scale to 1st range increment of the weapon. A minor balance difference that in my opinion cuts down on calculation by not having different stats for within 30 feet in addition to each range increment. Now if it's within your range increment after a certain level, you don't have to calculate it after the fact.
So anyone who has even a slight head for optimization can tell you that there are certain feats that are almost not even optional for many concepts, and many that are completely avoidable and/or only taken as a tax to reach stuff worth taking, even when conceptually relevant.
So my intent here is to either scale and/or condense non-progressive, low-level feats which are often indispensable to builds of a certain concept, while keeping them balanced in line with the other feats and ensuring that even a scaled contribution doesn't break the end-game balance numbers by very much.
It's long been a thing that the vast majority of core feats are pretty much crap, and that they start to get interesting again at levels 11+ which few even reach anyway.
So I am going to first list some of the worthwhile basic feats, and why I think so.
Blindfight: Based off of a percentage rating, which stays relevant no matter the base numbers.
Endurance: Given that sleeping in a category of armor better is always going to stay relevant, and that +4 is to an almost unscaling number such as a constitution check, the fact that it does not increase as you level doesn't bother me.
Improved initiative: +4 initiative is amazing in a game where base initiative doesn't scale by level, and winning initiative in a game with expectedly short combats is often the difference between a god wizard and a pouncing barbarian coming out on top.
Combat Casting: The DC to cast defensively is rather static in relation to level, so any small bonus helps.
Combat Expertise: It gives 1 AC, takes 1 to accuracy. It keeps doing so every 4 base attack bonus. By bab 20, that feat gives you comparably scaling options. Maybe that enemy has a low AC but hits like a truck, or your hp is so low you want to stay in the game for longer. If it were +1 from levels 1-20, it would feel like a drop in the bucket.
Power attack/deadly aim: Same reasoning. Nobody needs a lecture on why these feats are good.
Combat reflexes: Attacks already scale, so getting more of them is valuable from start to finish. The fact that you don't progressively get more stuff is okay because things it is attached to do scale.
Two weapon fighting, rapid shot, etc. Obviously, an extra attack is always useful because the accuracy and damages of them go up in level through assorted means.
Now for some examples of Bad Feats:
Improved Unarmed Strike(Worse than any weapon in the game because it is a lack of a weapon, and its benefit of not being disarmed could be mimicked with a 5 gold gauntlet. At least make it as good as a gauntlet, and count it with a weapon group proficiency feat). Proficiency in boxing and wrestling was a basic tenet of many Eastern and Western military forces alike even to the most basic trooper.
Weapon Proficiency Anything(Would be worth it if applied to entire weapon group.)
Okay, the majority of these feats suck in my opinion because they either do not scale and/or could be crammed together to make a feat on par with the better ones.
I know what the typical excuse is here: Feats aren't supposed to be that good. Fighters get a ton of them, so if they packed them together they equate to class features. How many of these basic feats really do that much impact when pushed together? Yeah, not many. And the significant effect tends to come in when merging 2 of the already good feats for a desired end. An example may be packing in good damage by splicing arcane strike and power attack or deadly aim. How much bang would tripling the feat sink matter beyond that? Let's say weapon focus and specialization greater? For 6 feats you now have 2 more accuracy and 4 more damage than a 3rd the investment before. Clear disparity.
Now, enough whining on my end. I am going to post my solutions when I reply. I encourage input as to how you would improve these subpar feats to be as good as some of the better ones, but of course still balanced.
On a separate note, i'd like to add that I change rules to add better verisimilitude and/or ease and fun of play.
Having a shield add to flatfooted defense rips the suspension of belief apart to me. Ditto with that idiotic concealment stops sneak attack rule. (it's dark, and i'm sneaking, can't stab you anywhere squishy now. Shucks).
Shields are held in someone's field of vision for the purpose of holding it up when swung at. When the arm is at rest the shield drops to the side, meaning that only 1 of the 4 cardinal directions of a combatant's body is even remotely benefiting from it. If the shield is resting on someone's back, then by the rules it's not even equipped to begin with and still provides nothing.
I thought about the attack of opportunity, rain. The issue there is someone with combat reflexes could block all day long til their shield breaks, in which case, enchanted adamantine becomes a no-brainer.
By forcing the immediate action, it limits a shield block to once per round by costing that precious swift.
I have been playtesting it, and it comes out very well. It also suits very well as a counter to the typical big ass sword, massive 2-hand power attack swing.
The increase to the shield AC bonuses were an arbitrary move we did to make shields more tempting. In 3.5 light armor and high dex was the way to go, so to slightly tempt more armors into use, mediums and heavys got a +1 bump in pathfinder. I followed the same logic with shields, hoping to see stuff other than bucklers get use.
I think the block and touch aspects are what matter there, and they have made shields much much more fun to use. It also gives warriors an incentive to shield up against those pesky spellcasters. I found that before, nobody and I mean nobody, would pick shield and sword over two weapon fighting or two handed fighting.
Which if you look at most of medieval history, sword and board was the far more effective typical route to go. I still find that the 2 handed power attacking greatsword folks still get rolled up as frequently if not more so still, but the gap is closing!
Y U B Trippin' (That is literally the worst title for a thread I've ever seen and I apologize for it)
There are ways, but they are awfully designer. Reach weapons and the flowing monk for example.
Immediate action trip as flowing monk.
Reach weapon +combat reflexes, especially whips, are awful for this.
Basic tripping though, yeah you can pretty much do it to them once a turn without some fancy aoo circumstantial footwork.
I must admit I am slightly disappointed this wasn't a thread about hallucinogenic astral projection...
The first thing to remember, is that Pathfinder itself is a home-brew, a much improved one but still, of 3.5.
It holds no magical authority over your game. So long as a GM and a player are willing to agree to the same things, they can post a million dictates which can be happily ignored.
In my case, Pathfinder rules are simply suggestions. I make sure that when I change something, it is done after extensive play-testing, that it enhances fun, and flows more smoothly into a narrative more fitting actual combat.
As a result, I am grateful to Paizo and hand them my money because they have done great work making the majority of a system I love, saving me the work of having to do any design short of house-ruling things into what my gaming group feels to be a better game.
And because of it, my games are smooth from low to high levels, the mechanics sink smoothly both with a sense of systemic balance as well as feeling more like a real medieval combat would, excepting what happens when magic is thrown in.
What does it really matter if you convince people of your point? Just accept that a GM's version of a game is just as legitimate as any publisher's, and that everyone will have fun with the setting, narrative, and tactical elements you put before them.
My biggest point here I guess is to be willing to gleefully change anything to enhance the fun and/or immersion of your encounters, and make it a standard rule for your game.
If left to my own, I never would have figured out a vehicle system or combat maneuvers or any number of wonderful changes that make Pathfinder so much better than 3.5 D&D.
All that being said with GM styles, I think that if a GM is new or not dedicated to mastering systems, his or her best bet is to stick with the core rule book for character options. There is a reason the future books have 'advanced' and 'ultimate' as adjectives.
But yeah, if you open Pandora's Box, accept that you have a group more interested in complex, detailed, evolving combats, and act accordingly.
Everyone likes to whine about one trick ponies in character design, but I think the crane wing and deflect arrows feats highlight a way to exploit the same flaws in monsters and NPCs. Enemies shouldn't have a protected right to succeed at the same trick in every situation any more than a character should.
If someone dumps 3 feats into crane wing, good for them. They can dodge a T-Rex with a brain the size of a grapefruit. If an archer is trying to pepper a monk with deflect arrows and can't outdo the output, then he had better draw his backup sword and get close, or toss an alchemist fire.
If it is acceptable for spider climb or fly of equal level spell-casters to entirely invalidate particular enemies, then martial builds should have similar options.
Until deflect arrows is changed, I will not be utilizing this change. The fact that they can be stacked is not at issue, unless both feats are being changed in tandem. Let's not forget that with the 2 feat dip to get deflect arrows, flying targets pretty much negate any martial chance of hurting them. Someone resistant to melee could be hit from 5 feet away to hundreds of feet away by a ranged attack.
Saying that one is balanced and the other is not is tantamount to admitting that one type of fighting is superior to the other. The fact that melee is used more frequently is handled by the extra feat requirement, and the requirement to be fighting defensively, while having a spare hand.
A ranged attack is a 2 feat dip to negate once per round. To get crane wing is 3 more feats. So if you spend 5 feats, you can enjoy negating one ranged and one melee per round if you are aware of it. So the option then is to play a fighter with maybe a single feat left to work with? And sure, one could always take power attack as the obvious choice, but enjoy eating a -4 combined penalty at level 4-5.
The feat dip is so large that it is highly unlikely a character will have that combination by the time a second iterative attack is reached.
And even if they do, the damage they deal is definitely not going to be on par with a character who sank even half that feat dip into offensive power.
So in the meantime, if an enemy is a 1 trick pony, they deserve to feel that vulnerability. Even level 1 minion NPCs can have slings. They're free for crying out loud. Javelins are all of a gold piece? Heck, both options even allow for strength bonus to damage. At worst those mooks lose power attack, a smidge of accuracy shifting from strength to dexterity for accuracy, and use a lower base die of damage.
No worthwhile force in classical combat or warfare lacked a combination of melee and ranged weapons, especially on small-scale skirmisher levels. A GM crying about being unable to challenge a character immune to a single melee attack per round while aware is just laziness or not being even remotely imaginative.
And if the type of creatures or enemies facing the PCs are dim-witted or lacking in resources, and show up ill-prepared for diverse tactics, then it only makes sense that they would fall prey to a nimble specialist.
As for monsters who often lack ranged options at low level, they also tend to have multiple natural attacks.
So if I am to take this seriously for use, I would want to see deflect arrows changed to reflect a similar concept.
Because I tend to run the lower spectrum of levels, rarely above level 10, which I believe is a common situation, I make a change that instead of that number being the highest spell level that can be purchased, I say that is the highest level random spellcaster to be found without making it an ordeal. And that tends to slash the higher level spells down quite a bit while making lower level stuff nearly as plentiful.
Additionally, I made rules for enchanting civic structures assuming that mages work for the local authorities or enterprises and try to use their spells to do more than kill monsters or sell things with which to better kill monsters. Here is a link of some example city enchantments and their prices:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxt7mtj_p8SlWDZVX3FBTHF6ak0/edit?usp=shari ng (close the space btwn ri and ng to make the link work)
Since this is the house rule forum, let me propose what we use at our table:
First off, we treat shields as counting against touch(because some energies they block, others they at least conceal some of the body to confound ethereal type folks), but not flatfooted. Whether totally unaware or not, flatfooted implies that the enemy got to move before the target could. And the only logical way a shield could be useful is if it was the front or a single side of the body, and none of that seems like a logical place for a backstabbing type.
Just as medium and heavy armors got a boost, we did the same for shields excepting bucklers(always hated that there was literally no use to a light shield other than slightly cheaper when compared to a buckler).
So bucklers are +1, lights are +2, heavies are +3, and towers are +5(not bad considering that if GMs would properly enforce the -2 to attacks, they'd be less appealing).
To add an active element to shields, we stole the parry ability of certain things like the duelist to represent a shield block.
As an immediate action(thus absorbing the swift action for the round), when you would be struck, you may make an attack roll against the attackers AC, adding the shield's enhancement bonus. If it is equal or greater, you deflect the attack but the shield takes the damage instead. If an attack destroys the shield, the excess transfers to the wielder. We ruled that feats that add to shield AC such as shield focus and snapping turtle style also add to the deflect attempt.
After some play-testing, we have found that typically the shield blocking becomes more useful after the first few levels(since a heavily armored and shielded character has a higher AC than his level can hope to attack), and we now see a more balanced spread of defender types vs power attacker and two weapon fighter types. Before our games were dominated by 2-handers and heavy damage dealers because as written, shield builds are rarely anywhere near as good.
These rules have helped turn shields into a viable option from low levels all the way into higher levels. And I am glad to see them get more use.
EDIT: For some reason it spaces out my link. I will just post what I have in the forum, even though it may be a messier format.
Leap of the Grasshopper:
Leap of the Flea:
Hand of Midas:
I am looking to create feats for level 11+ characters which put martials and skill monkeys back on the map as extraordinary abilities. As I see it now, non casters do not suffer in their ability to deal damage so much as they suffer in their ability to keep up with movement rates, skill utility, and unique options as compared to their caster counterparts.
I have been working on some custom feats which will allow expanded options, and have added the Epic Level Handbook conversion from jessejackjones.com to reference high level skill uses.
I am not as much looking for opinions on balance. I will playtest them as I get the chance. I am looking for ideas for more feats of a similar vein.
In my games I use a swarm template to represent roughly a platoon of men acting in unison, much like the troop templates rolling around the boards, though I make mine a little weaker, ranging from CR 5 for peasant riots, to 9 or so for mounted lancers. They give up weapon damage immunity and instead gain the base weapon die of the majority of users added to their swarm damage dice.
A swarm of marksmen shoot a volley that I treat as a reflex save for half damage.
For your particular tactic, you could have them ready an action, loose a volley, and then go right after as per the rules, loosing two volleys in a single round(you can say they do the 2 row shoot, drop and load while second row shoots tactic for crossbows, or for archers have them just reload and fire again).
It makes for a good CR 8 or so threat, and it is a good overall way to turn large numbers of organized minions into a problem that can challenge PCs in open combat but rarely have the means to chase them down if they turn tail and run away.
I have statted out some basic sample formation swarms, and hopefully you can enjoy making use of them:
For an interesting change in flavor, while these are thematically Hindu, Asura and Rakshasa make great and unique foes that are alien and often worshipped in forgotten jungle temples. They provide a good range of mid to high level threats, and asura and rakshasa are known to be antagonistic towards "true gods."
One of any d20 type game's biggest flaws to me is the item dependency of defense versus the relative item independence towards accuracy by comparison.
If you change out AC for damage reduction, you end up with absurdly easy to hit characters. At low level they become tough to hurt, at high level DR negligible compared to the average swing of a beast at that CR that can always hit.
If you are going to trade out armor bonus to AC for DR, you need a way to effectively bolster the defense of a character, hopefully not in an item dependent way, and hopefully it counts as an armor type bonus still to keep the rest of the complex item and spell-buff type system from breaking apart.
Also of concern, if armor class stays roughly similar in totals to the normal system, a level 20, and a +5 full plate suit can equate to DR 9 base + 4 level + 5 enhancement = 18/armor DR, balance will be swayed heavily, fights will last longer, defense will become better than it is now, etc etc etc.
I say good. In Pathfinder, rocket tag is the order of the day, quick spike damage ends fights, and things rarely outlast a round or two even at 20th level.
That being said, one thing few DMs force, for sake of balancing AC scales, is to actually force the penalties of armor to their fullest extent. And i'm not talking about movement, weight, and check penalty.
I'm talking about fatigue for sleeping in it, ringworm for wearing it too long without taking a bath, penalties to saving throws for traversing intense terrains for climate, and most importantly, donning time and presence of assistants. You start truly enforcing that, and suddenly there will be entire sessions where fighters will opt out of their tank-plate in favor of temporary mobility.
Also with an ambush, roughly relative CR fights won't seem like auto hits because the PCs aren't geared up. The disadvantage will exist, but not be altogether end of game.
Rather than simply complaining however, I do offer you a possible homebrew solution!
XI: Parry Rules for Trained Defense
The Item Dependency Problem:
In D20 games, there becomes an expectation that to stay on par with unequipped monsters, a character is expected to possess certain items by a certain level or become woefully inadequate. While this by no means stops every issue at hand, it hits what we feel to be the biggest issue, the abysmally low defense of an unequipped character in relation to his offense.
The hope is that this fix does not negate the value of being equipped, as it does not stack with armor, but it makes the penalty of being unequipped somewhat less severe.
Proficiencies: No armor: +1, light: +2, medium: +3, heavy: +4.
Overlap, not stack: If armor provides a better bonus, use it, do not stack. If armor is worn, apply it to flatfooted, but parry to normal.
Light armor or no armor-wielding classes may seem to be making out well here, except that monks and mage types typically find work arounds via low level buff spells or items anyway.
High dex types with heavy armor proficiency might seem to be making out well also, except that fighters would have reason for a high dexterity with armor training anyway, and other classes with heavy armor tend to not be able to afford high dex in the point buy system. But yes, if you have a high dex character with heavy armor proficiency who would not be able to benefit from a high dex in armor anyway, that character would experience a slight advantage in this system.
What will be encouraged and justified, is to truly incur the penalties for strapping on armor: check penalties, donning times, assistance, social issues (full plate at a court ball), terrain/climate save penalties, etc.
Also, the thematic ambush scene will make a party’s life a little harder, but not prove to be a game-ender with a comparable threat when geared. The expectation is that at end of system cap, a heavy armor proficient person will be 5 below his typical AC when suited up in +5 full plate, which represents a disadvantage compared to being un-armored, or is made up for by the presence of damage reduction in the Armor as Damage Reduction variant.
Perfect. I'm glad to hear that everyone has a pretty good consensus about applying the displacement and/or lightning stance first, and the mirror images last.
And yeah, you're right about the lightning stance. Paired with his mythic swift movements, that's a nasty combination.
It's these little combos that run through high levels that we don't always see coming.
Thanks again for the feedback.
Hey, that actually makes very good sense. I don't worry about tweaking the rules to make life harder on the players. If they find a brutal combo, good for them!
But yes, closing eyes and area of effect spells(at least against the wizard) are viable. Blindfight and true seeing will be common enough, but this does do a great deal for negating ranged attack threats. But then again, seeking is a +1 enhancement to a ranged weapon.
So I am running a level 12 tier 2 mythic game set in Eberron, and navigating the higher level insanity challenges pretty well.
But one area of particular concern (which will be less an issue with this caliber of bossfight given true seeing), is the stacking of illusions.
I had a wizard and a monk PC enjoying double-stacked miss chance methods.
One argument was that the 50% from displacement or lightning stance would be counted before any rolls against the figments, and another possibility is that the mirror images get attacked before the displacement is checked.
This makes a rather considerable difference as to how long those buffs combine, as if to even approach one of the images requires a 50% miss and then the hit within 5 of their target AC.
If mirror images are removed first, the protection is still quite valuable but with reduced longevity.
Is their any kind of official or recommended ruling for that? I am inclined to follow the example of protection from energy and resist energy, where the higher level spell overlaps first(but in the example case wouldn't stack of course, unlike displacement+mirror image).
My mistake! This is a rough amalgram of tips in list form for encounter design. Combination of playtesting, gathered mutual tips for dealing with stuff the party throws at a GM and how to handle it.
I can say i've gotten very good at having the rocket tag effect of encounters go away, even in my CR 12 or so Eberron game.