A Cavalier, an Oracle, a Summoner, a Witch, an Inquisitor, and an Alchemist walk into the City of Brass...


Advanced Player's Guide Playtest General Discussion

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Dark Archive

Here's a guess...but...

Quote:
.. where they were blocked. The palace was warded against teleports and sealed off by order of the Grand Vizer, and the exotic, diamond-skinned, guard captain with her exotic troops politely rebuffed them.

Spoiler:
This would have to be the Shaitan Genie from The final book of the Second Darkness AP Path.
Quote:
This attracted the attention of diplomat 3, a saucy succubus priestess (is there any other kind?) who came over to watch and delight in the amusement.

Spoiler:
Giving a guess, but the succubus priestess in the Rune Vault of Lust from RotRL Book 5.

As for the others, no clue.

But otherwise...a fun filled play test and one I found amusing to say the least. especially getting a demon drunk.


That was absolutely hilarious. Thank you.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Drakli wrote:


One last footnote, though... being such a gentleman, the next morning before setting out, the Alchemist visited the succubus-priestess to see if she was alright. She was fine, and surprisingly, delighted to have met a mortal clever enough to put something over on her. So she promptly charm monster'd him, seduced him, and bestowed a profane blessing. He is now even smarter than before, but no wiser in matters of the heart and succubi.

And 9 months later she hits him up for child support. :)

sounds like a fun game.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

About Last Game

Sir Montgomery Ortis, Cavalier

For the first time ever I regretted putting ranks in Intimidate over Diplomacy, however this did allow me to step back a bit from the spotlight and allow normally passive players to take a more active RP role. Of this I am most glad. I share DMing of this group with Nate and will be starting my campaign back up next month. He's right. They are a fun group who regularly challenge their DM's. Nate tends to run pre-writs (plus modifications) and I'm often baffled as to how he can, since the group can be so unorthodox at times. It just seems like running a homebrew is easier. Guess it's my way of copping out.

As a non-combat session things went remarkably well. Our Summoner took time out to practice Ignan (so he could take it next level). There was a round of dispells when the succubus openly charmed the Alchemist, our Inquisitor stole the show with that one and earned even more of the Demon Harlot's ire.

On a game mechanic note. So far, the Alchemist is only a sub-par replacement for a rogue. They lack the ability to use disable device on magical traps (kinda funny since they have the skill, , , and magic). This could probably be made into a discovery. They also only get 4 skill points per level. With Intelligence as a key score this shouldn't be a problem, but our Alchemist didn't take a single rank in Sleight of Hand and it would've come in handy during our previous session.

I propose renaming the Alchemist to Inventor (Nate's idea) and adding mad mechanical discoveries to their list (probably not an option this late in the game, but if this was an Alpha test I'd be pushing for this even more).

Again, Nate is correct. The Inquisitor really shined here. I have a Telepathic Inquisitive (Investigator prestige class in Eberron) and I'd love to remake him with Inquisitor in mind, even at the cost of my vast psionic powers. I would like to suggest changing the tactical feats into bonus feats for the Cavalier and adding the Cavaliers Oaths to the Inquisitor. One for game balance reasons (the Inquisitor could gain rogue talents in place of tactical feats for example to spice up the class) and two for flavor reasons (Cavaliers, though a strong loner class play off as a party leader type). For these reasons I offer this proposal. This way the Cavalier's bonus feats wouldn't just be fighter bonus feats (which, at 14th level, makes me only 4 feats away from being equal to a Fighter). Everyone talks about how much they love the class as is. No one talks about the fact it nearly obsoletes the Fighter. I say nearly because of feats like Disruptive, but even that isn't always necessary to cope with high level casters.

Even though our oracle couldn't hear, she could still talk. Nate allowed her to make Sense Motive checks to follow conversations (which, for these purposes, took away the deafness penalty). Being a moderately skilled class she was able to banter with the best of them, our stars of the show that night still kept her out of the limelight, but at least she could participate at greater lengths than before.

The Summoner showed great potential at researching (accessing the library for a Dummies Guide to Ignan), but struck out on the skill challenges. A charisma based castre with no charisma skills? Very tricky of this classes creator. A nicely built in weakness that no one caught on to until last game. Our Summoner also noted that he believed the class would be just fine if the Summoner turned into their Eidolon instead of summoning one. This way a player wouldn't be running two characters plus summons at the game table. There's no built in way to discourage a player from playing a Summoner in large groups. Heck, with all the boost spells he gets and a free fighter he's seems an adequate member at any party number. From 1 to 100. Something to consider when the final touches of the class are put in.

Witches: they need Sense Motive. I guess if Hansel and Gretal were your inspiration for the Witch then it would make sense, but come on. Intimidate as their only social skill? What are they, Fighters?

I'd like to thank Paizo for allowing us and everyone else to participate in this playtest. It has been a wonderful experience and I'll be sad to see it end, but I will be first in line to pick up APG when it comes out.

Grazie


Shane LeRose wrote:
Witches: they need Sense Motive. I guess if Hansel and Gretal were your inspiration for the Witch then it would make sense, but come on. Intimidate as their only social skill? What are they, Fighters?

Agreed. My PFS Witch used the Additional Traits feat (plus the two freebies) to buy up the full suite of social skills just because of this issue, but it probably shouldn't take an entire optional system just to do this. Still, the 'cross-classing' will at least allow me to playtest with those abilities added to the repertoire.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
Shane LeRose wrote:

About Last Game

As a non-combat session things went remarkably well. Our Summoner took time out to practice Ignan (so he could take it next level). There was a round of dispells when the succubus openly charmed the Alchemist, our Inquisitor stole the show with that one and earned even more of the Demon Harlot's ire.

In her defense, she was roaringly drunk at the time. When she wasn't happily counting pink maelephants, she was much more discreet. ;)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Game night didn't happen this past Wednesday, unfortunately. Spontaneous appointments and all that. Still, game night is scheduled to be good for today. Please look forward to it.

Dark Archive

So how did I do in naming the NPCS?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Some Fights are Tougher Than Others.

Our heroes sallied forth into a battle today that we did not have time to finish. The map is marked for location, peoples' hit points, initiative, etc. are saved; and we will pick up again next Saturday. This being the case, I can't spell out the encounter in all details yet.

Both Witch players took ill and needed to take the night off. Fortunately, we have an additional player, who joined us with Cavalier Two! She's a regular and darn fun player in our usual Saturday games, so we're glad to have her join in, even so late in the play-test!

When last we left our heroes, they brainstormed over how to invade the sealed palace and rescue the Efreet Sultan and his guest, the Esteemed Sage, from an assault of assassins. With entry by dimensional travel or teleportation blocked, the heroes decided they needed to be clever to get in while avoiding a nasty fight against the wrong people (the city guards or another dragon guarding the roof.)

Really, multiple answers existed to this question, including the inappropriately violent one if they saw fit. I liked the one they thought of, though.

Their best resource, they found, was the Efreeti princess assigned to them as a guide. Only members of the royal family could enter the sealed palace, by using magical items keyed to them. The items only allowed personal transportation with gear. Cleverly, the players routed around this issue by volunteering to have themselves shrunk down in size and stuffed into a bag of holding, which the Princess carried as she teleported into the brazen castle. Using a bag of holding this way, naturally, voided the warranty.

She left them in the domed penthouse bedchambers (with a spare diamond for emergency resurrections,) where they met up with Cavalier Two and her equine mount (A strange sight in a sultan's bedchambers, but desperate times.)

Searching the chambers, they located an Iron Flask in a bucket of ice by the sultan's bed, something like an ironic joke. Not desiring to risk finding out what might be trapped inside, they took it with them unopened. The summoner applied buff spells to everyone before proceeding to explore the castle, but discovering the secret door leading out of the guardhouse at the bottom of the stairs took so long (a take 20,) that they expired, demonstrating the need for careful buff-timing. The alchemist did have a clever idea for using a Water Elemental Body spell to seep through the cracks and find doors more easily... but his take 20 was high enough either way.

The secret door led them into the back of the kitchen. Soon, they stepped out into the banquet hall and triggered the Symbol of Stunning.

Through horrible coincidence, most of the people with the highest will saves failed theirs and the worst aced them.

The Alchemist was stunned.
The Inquisitor was stunned.
The Summoner and Eidelon were both stunned.
Cavalier Two's horse was stunned.

The Oracle and both Cavaliers valiantly fought off the effect (though Cavalier One used his Imp Iron Will reroll.) The worst part about this situation is that the effect hit everyone who could identify the Symbol and explain what to do about it.

An unseen presence entered the feast hall and silently dropped Darkness over everyone. A very nasty combo tactic, remarked Cavalier One's player.

Bereft of knowledge about what to do with a symbol, the Cavaliers dragged the Alchemist and Inquisitor further back into the kitchen and out of the darkness. It didn't help. With fearsome roars, four man-sized, but hulking humanoids with ruddy red skin and fearsomely grimacing devil masks charged onto the scene and attacked, two engaging the Oracle, and the others surrounding the Summoner. To make matters worse, an ornate obsidian giant rumbled into the darkness, a stone golem stylized to resemble a gorgeous, multi-armed, drow woman wielding two maces.

This brought on the question of whether or not the Oracle could pass through it with Earth Glide. I gave it some thought, and figured I'd allow it... until I realized Earth-Glide doesn't function on worked stone. Still, it makes you wonder, could an Oracle pass through an earth elemental?

The ambush, thus engaged, was brutal. Between the savage warriors, the stone golem, and a silent cone of cold from an unseen source (which also caught the mount and eidolon,) the stunned Summoner dropped in a messy heap. Only the shared hit point power between himself and the Eidolon kept him from dying outright.

The Oracle managed to dispel the darkness, but the press of brutish warriors backed her into the kitchen, and they blocked her and the Cavaliers inside. The brutes did a fair amount of damage to the Oracle and Cavalier One, but a startlingly solid full attack really wrecked Cavalier Two.

Thus ended the session.

Afterthoughts

Like the title says, this was a rough fight, and it's not over yet. So far, the Oracle is doing well, dispelling the darkness, serving as a shield wall, and standing ready to heal the Cavaliers. Since she's fighting humanoid foes with actual weapons, she's looking forward to using stone-breaker skin.

The Cavaliers find going is a bit rough when you don't have a good target for Challenging in reach, and you don't want to waste it on what may only be rank and file. Cavalier Two might be in trouble if she has to soak another full attack.

Dissinger wrote:
So how did I do in naming the NPCS?

Gosh, those were good guesses!

I'm afraid you didn't nail either of the NPCs whose stat blocks I'd nicked... but on the other hand, you reminded me of a couple good NPCs and books I hadn't thought to look at for stats to loot yet. Thanks!

Here's the ones I borrowed. Beware, there are Adventure Path spoilers here.

Spoiler:
From Legacy of Fire: The Final Wish, I grabbed the stats for Rajali, the female diamond-skinned human fighter 1/abjurer 6/eldritch knight 6; to use as an elemental tinged emissary from the plane of Earth.

Spoiler:
From Council of Thieves: The Infernal Syndrome, I used the Female succubus cleric 3 (Nocticula); as a stand in for the succubus priestess they met in the foreign embassy.


Wow! Great stuff, this is really interesting and fun to read. I can't wait to hear the outcome on this encounter.

Keep up the great work! I recently finished a campaign with four PCs at 15th level, and let me tell you, combat sure got swingy around then... you should be proud of yourself for keeping things going like this! It takes a lot of skill to DM successfully at higher levels.

Best of luck to you and your players!


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

And the Drow in the Back Said "Everyone Attack!"

I'm going to be brutally honest about this fight. It was harsh, much harsher than it should have been, and highlighted just how nasty high-level encounters can get. It was demoralizing to the players, even.

A player of mine pointed out earlier, that I often use prefabricated adventures. That wasn't the case this time, and hasn't been since I ran Burnt Offerings maybe a year ago (though I used to use them extensively for quite a while.) For this play-test adventure, I've been vigorously stealing maps and NPC stat blocks from various Pathfinder and repurposing them to build my own encounters, characters, and story.

That being the case, I have no one to blame but myself.

All that said, here's the encounter.

The Banquet-Hall Blitz - CR 17, XP 102,400

1 Stone Golem (Shield Guardian) CR 13 (XP 25,600)

1 Drow Noble Wizard 11, CR 10 (XP 12,800)

4 Orc Barbarians 11, CR 10 each (XP 38,400)

1 Symbol of Stunning trap, CR 8 (XP 4,800 - though this doesn't even add up another CR, it still affects the situation, so I call it Unfavorable Terrain for a +1 to the overall Encounter CR.)

Six 14th level PCs add up to an EL of 15, so last session, this was EL+2, a Hard encounter. This session, when the other two players showed up, it brought the party to eight members, making it EL+1, "merely" Challenging.

I figured since the players were all started off the encounter at full health and complement of resources, they could deal with a higher than average encounter. It might have worked out that way, if half the party hadn't failed their save vs stunning. And then, I rolled six on a d6. As in, six rounds duration.

What happened next was... well, you can read my last entry, so I shouldn't repeat myself.

This session, Witch One, Witch Two, and the hag cohort came running downstairs, having been delayed by... um... stuff. In the rounds that followed, they stayed in the kitchen and out of sight of the Symbol, casting supportive spells and hexes.

Much of the fight got pushed into the kitchen anyway, as two of the masked orcs pressed their attack and cut down Cavalier Two before she could drink a potion. This was the Oracle's big chance, and she stepped into the fallen Cavalier's square and used steel-breaker skin! Our first chance to see how this ability worked... and... yeah. It didn't. It couldn't.

As per the rules for magic weapons, "An attacker cannot damage a magic weapon that has an enhancement bonus unless his weapon has at least as high an enhancement bonus as the weapon struck." Since steel-breaker doesn't confer an enhancement bonus, it automatically fails against foes with magical weapons, let alone +2 great-swords. Once foes with magic weapons become the rule rather than the exception (say 6th level or higher,) there's not much point to the ability. Steel-breaker skin needs a scaling ability to affect weapons with enhancement bonuses to remain functional, particularly at this stage of the game.

Cavalier One challenged the stone golem and broke the heck out of it, but to do so, had to channel most of his defender's pluses into busting the golem's DR. This dropped his AC low enough for the two barbarians who turned on him to hit regularly... and hard. He dropped too, after crushing the construct.

Despite her steel-breaker ability flopping, the Oracle really took center stage in this fight by using her spells to keep everyone alive and smite the hell out of enemies. She used Breath of Life to revive Cavalier Two (who'd actually died) and Heal to get Oracle One back on his feet, and Flame Strikes to burn two barbarians to ashes. An ogre-thrall decided to slip past the others and take down the Witches, but reverse gravity combined with a couple of hexes made short work of him. Retribution combined with being forced to attack himself with the waxen image is just... evil. When the Symbol of Stunning wore off, the Alchemist finished the guy off by releasing a fire-bomb up into the reversed gravity and... boom!

Meanwhile, the flying invisible caster made a general nuisance of herself mostly by eating dispel magics like candy. When she cast enervation at Cavalier One, she rolled a natural one to hit. When she tried to baleful polymorph the Oracle, the player natural 20'd her save. But when the evil wizard cast darkness again, it took two tries by the Witches not to roll a natural one on their caster level check. And when the symbol wore off, and the battle obviously swung back to the favor of the party, she dropped a web in the kitchen doorway... a web entangled and severely impeded anyone from catching her and took two dispel magics and a greater dispel magic to actually remove. Luck favored not the counter-spellers. Using dimension door, the wizard got away, but not before the Oracle used true seeing to note the spell-slinging foe was a drow woman wearing a kimono and a fox mask.

They managed to heal the Summoner one round before he bled out the last drop. The final barbarian surrendered and battle ended, our heroes triumphant but severely battered and in dread of an enemy getting away to warn her cronies. I did skip a couple of minor events, such as an orc beating a stunned horse for a while, but that was mostly the shape of it.

Afterthought

Solid Performers this session were the Oracle and the Cavalier One. The Oracle was a heal-o-maniac and still found time to cast flame strikes of doom. She shone like mad this encounter. It's too bad none of her class specific features actually... you know... went anywhere here. She mostly ended up being a spontaneous casting cleric who just happened to be deaf.

As always, between incredible AC (Cavalier One) and damage output (Both), the Cavaliers did well... though interestingly, because barbarians have such low ACs, the Cavaliers did gobs of damage to them without needing to Challenge. It's just too bad Cavalier Two hasn't had a chance to use her class features yet.

The Witches were useful in tying up a thug and running dispel duty, but truly horrendous luck on caster checks rendered that a grueling duty indeed.

Everyone else... got overwhelmed by stunning and death. It's like one of my players said, actually.... "Sometimes it doesn't matter what class you are."

A thought worth thinking is this fight was a pain and a half for three of our players. Two of them spent six rounds stunned, and one of them was stunned and then knocked to -3 out of reach of healing. They (especially the guy bleeding out) spent two whole sessions unable to take any actions... just showing up to watch other players do stuff. I'll admit, I threw down a Symbol of Stunning to give the mook melee brawlers a few good chances to hit the oft-times astronomical ACs many of our players. However, I never expected it to last 6 rounds, and my players couldn't find a way in the Pathfinder Rule book (and believe me, they looked,) to lift the stunned condition. Perhaps we understand the rules governing symbols wrong and a successful dispel magic cast upon victims the effect, but it didn't seem that way to our reading. Frankly. the text doesn't get explicit on how to un-stun people other than to outlast the duration.

Frankly, our group finds no end to frustration with 'skip your turn' effects in general. Perhaps that's why I seldom run games this high in level. I know one friend who would be happiest if all such effects worked like hold person, allowing you a save every turn. Short of re-re-hauling the power-ratings in the spell section of the PF rule book, I don't think that's a solution which works.

It would be nice if the Advanced Players' Guide included some accessible ways to deal with stunning effects... or 'miss your turn' effects as a whole. Something kind of like a version of Hero Points or Action Points which can only be spent on retaking saves might be a good start.

Well, since the play-test ends on the 27th and we don't meet on Wednesdays anymore, we're all out of sessions. More notes from my friends should follow this post... but after that, I'm not entirely sure where we're going from here. I'll throw together a campaign journal thread if we decide to take this much further, but I need to discuss it with my friends. I know some of them have burgeoning plans.

Thank you all for following along!

Scarab Sages

there is a simple way to remove the stunned condition - 6th level cleric spell or 7th level druid spell Heal

core rulebook wrote:

It immediately ends any and all of the following adverse conditions affecting the target: ability damage, blinded, confused, dazed, dazzled, deafened, diseased, exhausted, fatigued, feebleminded, insanity, nauseated, poisoned, sickened, and stunned.

and since the symbol of stunning makes characters stunned & and the spell links to the stunned condition I would have to assume this works

although if noone had that spell memorized then that won't work but at least there is a way to remove it


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I would like to apologize to Paizo for failing to handle this playtest as well as we could of. Symbol of Stunning only affects 150 hp total amongst all targets affected. That would have only been one of us, not every single party member. Those who made their spellcraft checks were stunned, and the two witches who showed up didn't even bother to read Symbol of Stunning. It just never occurred to them or any of us. Never mind the faux pas of not knowing that Heal would've removed the stunned condition. Our oracle player deeply apologizes for that. It also shows just how useful a spontaneous divine caster is.

In our defense, high level characters have a lot going on. For casters in particular there is so much information to absorb it can be both daunting and difficult to retain. I myself have never played a spellcaster above 10th level nor have I run many NPC casters above that level as well. If a character is played from at least 3rd level until higher levels a player has ample time to understand all their abilities and apply them strategically over many encounters. We kind of bit off more than we could chew and it has tainted our final results.

Looking over the encounter I can say with full confidence if only one person was stunned and they had received a timely Heal we could have overcome that encounter with minimal effort. Nate did a great job putting this encounter together, but two minor details missed by all people involved led to this grueling duo of sessions.

Final final thoughts

Just about everything I've written in previous post about all the classes still applies. Other than some rules clarifications for the Oracles abilities and some possible streamlining for the Inquisitor the classes are fine as is and I look forward to purchasing the APG whenever it gets released. Our own Summoner redid his Eidolon and now it isn't some obnoxious time taker with turns lasting nearly five minutes. I will say that as a DM I am reluctant to allow a player to play a Summoner in a group of more than 4 players. I also posses the same reluctance for the Leadership feat and casters who summon monster/natures ally every round. They are a part of the game, but we need combat to go smoothly not drag the night out.

Thank you Paizo for allowing us this opportunity. I guarantee we'll do a much better job next time :)


Bang-up job on the playtest, guys. This format works really great, what with running a party to playtest it and upload session notes. I think I'll use this same format for my own group for when Paizo throws down more playtests. In fact, I think I would recommend it for just about every group!

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I agree, I have been watching this thread with great interest...it has made interesting reading. If there is ever another playtest I will have to make more notes during the play to do the same thing.


Dang, it is amazing how many rules a GM has to know in order for everything to happen perfectly at such a high level. I was thinking that trap seemed a little OP, lol. So, is that going to be the last playtest session from your group? It would be too bad if it was, I was watching with great interest :D

Shane LeRose wrote:
Our own Summoner redid his Eidolon and now it isn't some obnoxious time taker with turns lasting nearly five minutes.

Just out of curiosity, have you tried having your summoner roll his pet's attack dice all at the same time? One of my players (a centaur) has a character with a mix of weapon attacks and natural attacks, and I had him simply assign a different color D20 to each attack type and roll them in one bunch. Then he had another set of colored dice for each attack, and he would pick out the appropriate ones and roll those all at once. It cut the time his turns took in half. If you did that, I think the summoner's turn would be no different from one done by druid or ranger with a pet.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

I would like to thank everyone for being very forgiving of my error on the 150 hit point total bit as well. It was text in the Symbol of Death that I should have caught as well. When we bounced back and forth between that passage and the Stunning Symbol, that's part I missed.

Thanks for the support, everyone!

As for whether or not this will be the last adventure... the play-test ends on the 27th, but we still need to discuss what we want to do from here. I'd planned more of an exploration of the besieged palace, but we need at least one more session if we want to give the story closure. Other than that, I'm not sure.

Dark Archive

I'd be tempted to ignore the rule regarding enhancement bonuses and sunders in the case of Steelbreaker Skin. That line assumes that you're using a weapon to Sunder. Take a look at the caryatid column's shatter weapons ability. Magical or non magical, the weapons striking the caryatid column take damage.


Hrm, well, the forums will remain open until the 31st, so I demand some closure on this plot, dear sir!

I reckon that Paizo might have another round of playtests after they've rebalanced the classes (especially Summoner). I mean, the rumored release date for the APG is sometime in August. That could give a ton of time for another round of balance testing. Or maybe we'll test something else! That sounds tasty! Nom nom nom!


I agree with Yuengling, the rules you quoted "An attacker cannot damage a magic weapon that has an enhancement bonus unless his weapon has at least as high an enhancement bonus as the weapon struck." are assuming either a Sunder attempt or an attack against an un-wielded object. Stone-breaker skin isn't an ATTACK anymore than Shatter or Blade Barrier are.

This isn't really even something that needs an Errata, the RAW is clearly only relevant to ATTACKERS using WEAPONS (I would say Touch Spells, as opposed to weapon-like spells like Flame Blade, would also not count as an 'attack' for this purpose)

I think your playtests ARE useful for the process, warts and all. Obviously, if you make a bad call here or there, Jason will notice that fact and take the consequences after that point with a grain of salt.
...Here's looking forward to the next "Beta" update!


Quandary wrote:
This isn't really even something that needs an Errata, the RAW is clearly only relevant to ATTACKERS using WEAPONS (I would say Touch Spells, as opposed to weapon-like spells like Flame Blade, would also not count as an 'attack' for this purpose)

It would still be nice to explain it in the class description, yup yup.


I've looked at the text for Symbol of Death and Symbol of Stunning, and by my reading, only Symbol of Death has the 150 hp total limitation.

Symbol of Stunning wrote:
This spell functions like symbol of death, except that all creatures within 60 feet of a symbol of stunning instead become stunned for 1d6 rounds.
Symbol of Death wrote:
When triggered, a symbol of death kills one or more creatures within 60 feet of the symbol (treat as a burst) whose combined total current hit points do not exceed 150. The symbol of death affects the closest creatures first, skipping creatures with too many hit points to affect.

Symbol of Stunning says all, whereas Symbol of Death has much more specific limitations on who is targeted and when.


Matrixryu wrote:


Shane LeRose wrote:
Our own Summoner redid his Eidolon and now it isn't some obnoxious time taker with turns lasting nearly five minutes.
Just out of curiosity, have you tried having your summoner roll his pet's attack dice all at the same time?

Actually, I did roll all 11/12 attacks for the eidolon at the same time, it was the earth elementals attacking 3 different targets, and my 4 shots from the longbow (elf) that added time. Time seems to be an inevitable cost for any character though, as in this last fight it took 3 hours to run 5 rounds of combat (36minutes/rd or an average of 6min/active participant), for which I was stunned, the alchemist was stunned, and the inquisitor was stunned.

As Shane said, the main thing was we jumped into high level characters with spells none of us had really used before and brand new class abilities. Again thanks for the playtest!


jon bourque wrote:
Matrixryu wrote:


Shane LeRose wrote:
Our own Summoner redid his Eidolon and now it isn't some obnoxious time taker with turns lasting nearly five minutes.
Just out of curiosity, have you tried having your summoner roll his pet's attack dice all at the same time?

Actually, I did roll all 11/12 attacks for the eidolon at the same time, it was the earth elementals attacking 3 different targets, and my 4 shots from the longbow (elf) that added time. Time seems to be an inevitable cost for any character though, as in this last fight it took 3 hours to run 5 rounds of combat (36minutes/rd or an average of 6min/active participant), for which I was stunned, the alchemist was stunned, and the inquisitor was stunned.

As Shane said, the main thing was we jumped into high level characters with spells none of us had really used before and brand new class abilities. Again thanks for the playtest!

Ahh, wasn't sure since he made it sound like changing the eidolon's abilities sped things up. It sounds like it is more likely limiting the number of creatures summoned by your summon monster ability is what really did it, lol.


Yeah, when I rebuilt the Eidolon, he had a max of 6 attacks (rake), which I felt was much less ridiculous. Those elementals came from a LvL minus 2 summon for 1d4+1 critters, so the potential to control 2-5 additional creatures is present, not counting summon monster spells. Rolling all the claw attacks at once, then all the slams than all the longbow shots did help a turn which would have taken significantly longer had I not done so...

As I have said before, the summoner has a lot going on. The removal of standard action summon abilities did help a lot, as did the limit of 1 summon-spell-like-ability at a time. Summoning is an integral part of fantasy lore, but it does tend to take longer to play a turn than the average evoker...

As we have heard a million times, something needs to be done to bring the Eidolon in line. I am *not* a fan of the fix whereby a summoner spends his action to "control" the eidolon, because that would both be too much of a penalty, and presuppose a lack of intelligence (or wisdom) on the part of the summoned.

I prefer the escalating cost change to eidoolon whereby each subsequent purchase of an evolution costs additional points, but again this would encourage the monster with every different attack form. Limiting the number of natural attacks which the eidolon can make in a turn, sadly, would encourage a phenomenon which I call Mr-Biceps, or Multi-tail syndrome (because sting and slam are primary attacks and thus are prime choices if # is the limiting factor). Perhaps some combination of the two would be in line...? Again, this isn't just to fix the power-gamer, it is entirely possible for the average player to create an entirely too powerful class ability!

Summoner has a cool feel to it. I knew it would be enjoyable upon first glance. Nothing can be done about rolling a 1 on a will save vs stun (aside from perhaps improved iron will), so my lack of fun with the last encounter was due to the cold-hearted entity probability, and not the class itself.


Me'mori wrote:
Why wouldn't it work? While Vials and Flasks are the more common type of shape that tends to be used, there's no reason to say that the Alchemist can't acquire specialized containers to be used to facilitate sling usage..

A simple glass ball would do the trick.


jon bourque wrote:

As we have heard a million times, something needs to be done to bring the Eidolon in line. I am *not* a fan of the fix whereby a summoner spends his action to "control" the eidolon, because that would both be too much of a penalty, and presuppose a lack of intelligence (or wisdom) on the part of the summoned.

Yea, doing it that way would take all the fun out of being a summoner, I hope they don't use that sort of fix. Honestly, if a druid can control his pet through the link ability as a free action I don't see why the summoner would have to control his that way. If the Eidolon is that powerful then it just needs a little bit of a nerf.

jon bourque wrote:


I prefer the escalating cost change to eidoolon whereby each subsequent purchase of an evolution costs additional points, but again this would encourage the monster with every different attack form. Limiting the number of natural attacks which the eidolon can make in a turn, sadly, would encourage a phenomenon which I call Mr-Biceps, or Multi-tail syndrome (because sting and slam are primary attacks and thus are prime choices if # is the limiting factor). Perhaps some combination of the two would be in line...? Again, this isn't just to fix the power-gamer, it is entirely possible for the average player to create an entirely too powerful class ability!

This really is just a flaw in the 3.5 system itself unfortionately. Dragons shouldn't be able to use a bite, two claws, two wings, and a tail slam in a single round for example. I don't know how they're going to fix that one.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Quick snapshot for the final fight of the playtest...

Mercenary Battle at the Ziggurat, (CR 16.5, 76,800… but really 83,200)
Rune Giant (CR 14)
Drider Fighter 1/Eldritch Knight 3 (CR 11)
Beatific One Monk 1/Rogue 1 (CR 11)
Imp Rogue 7/Assassin 3 (CR 12) (But we’re pretending he’s CR 11)

(Special outside-the-budget encounter guest, Noble Drow Wizard 11 from the previous fight. She is not figured into the above total.)

The final fight of the playtest takes a bit of explanation. For a couple of reasons, it deviates slightly from the XP budget. Reason the first, the PCs failed to stop the noble drow wizard from escaping the previous battle, and therefore, she joined in this encounter. It’s a harsh reality of adventuring, that this happens and PCs have to deal when they can’t staunch encounter bleed.

Second, due to real life concerns, I found myself with less time and chance to prepare for this fight than I should have had. I knew I wanted another mercenary/assassin, and I wanted him to be an imp, but I didn’t have the time to build him up with the levels of rogue it would take to make him CR 11. So I searched my Adventure paths for high level rogues, found a rogue7/assassin3 that fit the bill, removed his human traits, and added imp hit dice and traits in their place. Unfortunately, I forgot that a human takes a -1 to their CR, but something with racial hit-dice does not. Therefore, instead of adding the CR 9 to the CR 2, I should have added CR 10 to CR 2. By the time I realized this, it was too late to tinker him down a level, and I just had to run with it. Please, forgive me the extra, as it didn’t quite make it to CR 17 (even with the extra wizard,) and we did have 9 players to boot.

I'm very tired, so I'll go to bed now and talk about the fight later. Thank you for reading along.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

What's a Rune Giant?
What's a Beatific One?

I can't wait to hear about the fight!


SmiloDan wrote:
What's a Rune Giant?

A rune giant is a different type of giant, from what I can tell first listed in PFAP #6, "Spires of Xin-Shalast." It's a CR 14 monster.

Don't know about Beatific One, though.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Put simply, a Rune Giant is a flippin' Gargantuan giant with both samurai and Übermensch tendencies. It's big, incredibly strong and tough, immune or highly resistant to a bunch of crap, and has some nasty abilities in addition to the raw hurt it can do with a full attack.

The Beatific One first appeared in the bestiary of Pathfinder #9, Escape from Old Korvosa. It is an Asura fiend, (the first in a Paizo book I think,) resembling a woman of peak physical perfection if you don't mind that she has three heads, six arms, pretty little tusks, and stands about seven feet tall. A Beatific One is basically the paragon of monkhood, bearing most abilities a monk of her hit dice would possess, in addition to being an outsider with special powers.

The final battle to save the Sultan and the Sage took place in an enormous chamber so gigantic it fit an entire mountainous Ziggurat inside it. The party passed in through the great doors to spot a beatific one wearing two oni masks and one fox mask, guarding a tiny figure working at the doors to a chamber in the top tier of the pyramid. She called out to summon the giant, who stomped over with ominous, floor-shaking steps, and loomed before the party, face painted like a red oni.

He grinned down at them, hefted his massive tetsubo, and said, "My cute-little older brother said this would be an interesting mission. Perhaps he was right."

The battle engaged!

With true seeing still active, only the Oracle saw the drow wizard flying above the pyramid, and only she saw the imp wearing a fox-mask, which turned invisible and flew out over the battlefield, hefting a tiny crossbow. Unfortunately, her perception was not high enough to notice the invisible and hidden drider lurking above the ornate statue-crusted entablature of the doorframe. As the drow wizard cast haste upon the giant, herself, and the imp (the beatific one, regrettably, was just out of the frustrating no-target-over-30 feet-apart range. Bad on me,) the Oracle moved forward and blasted her with a Fire Strike.

The Alchemist drank a potion of invisibility and moved forward.

Cavalier One held action to charge the giant when it moved into range, and did. The Inquisitor delivered a rather impressive line, "Your brother shall weep after this mission." and did a striking amount of damage to the giant with his arrows.

The Summoner started summoning a t-rex.

Witch One cast Haste and Witch Two started summoning stone giants.

Cavalier Two and the beatific one decided they were each other's foes, this fight, and charged each other.

With greater invisibility still active, the drider blasted Witch Two and the Oracle with scorching ray and levitated down to engage the casters.

This more or less, set the pattern for the battle, as far as who engaged whom. Summoner, Cavalier One, Inquisitor, and Oracle took on the rune giant (the drow wizard flew away to heal, so the giant became the Oracle's concern.) while Cavalier Two and the beatific one dueled it out, the casters frantically fought to deal with a great-sword wielding drider threshing through their ranks, and the Alchemist decided to pursue the drow "inviso-*censored,*" as my players dubbed her. The imp flitted around the battle-field, seeking opportunities for 6d6 sneak attack damage, namely, the Cavaliers.

There was no question, the rune giant was going down. With so much fire focused on you, even hit points in excess of 200 and a remarkably good AC cannot keep you going. Still, it managed to catch Cavalier One, the Alchemist, and the Oracle in a decent spark shower and murder the hell out of the Cavalier with a series of attacks that dropped him to -31 (An invisible imp sneak-attack snipe-shot helped.), then bashed the dinosaur to within an inch of its summoned life. From giantish attacks of opportunity and the blasting she took, the Oracle almost dropped as well, but she managed to keep it real by blasting the giant with a mighty pebble (which was imbued with acid, because all of her weapons become acid-infused and nothing in the text suggested a thrown rock isn't a weapon,) and rushing up to breath of life Cavalier One back to life. I really wish I knew what it was, but the Inquisitor was on fire with his arrows this combat, and racked up a tons of damage with full-attacks on the massive bushi. With the Summoner throwing a t-rex (hasted by Witch One) against the giant, and then, a creeping doom spell... yeah, he was pretty much done for. The final blow from the prone Cavalier One knocked him down, and I managed to give him a last badass line, "Count how many it took to bring me low."

Cavalier Two overrun-trampled the beatific one with her mount, knocking her over, dealing no damage (DR) but smashing her center mask (the fox.) There then proceeded a mighty battle of prowess between horsewoman and outsider. A mere one level in monk, and a jacked up wisdom and dex, and a few magic items gave the beatific one an AC of 40, and she dodged many blows.. but Cavalier Two, with the challenge active, had the edge, even if her attacks were diminished by the damage reduction. Her own considerable defensive abilities kept the asura from landing many blows at all. The real damage dealer was the imp assassin. Deciding "Screw this" to dealing with a battle involving a t-rex, he abandoned the rune giant and Cavalier One to do fly-by sneak-attacks on Cavalier Two. He dealt her some serious pain, since she was flanked to him at all times, though she toughed out his poison without fail.

The invisible drider, (who wore an oni mask,) cut Witch One down where she stood with two great-sword crits, and did enough damage to almost slay Witch Two as well. Her spell resistance prevented Witch One from blasting her with a spell that would have wrecked her. Only when someone hit her with a greater dispel, taking out greater invisibility and levitate, but not bull-strength, the fight turned. Suddenly, the summoned stone giant targeted her with ease, and so did the green hag fighter cohort. She soaked attacks of opportunity to scramble up the wall.

The Alchemist. Oh, the poor, poor Alchemist. I'm so sorry, buddy. He chased after the invisible wizard, buffing himself up with see invisibility, fly, and other infusions I can't remember along the way. However, the tactic I always use with invisible casters (especially flying ones,) moving constantly to keep people from pinpointing them, foiled him every time. (When she used the repulsion spell, she locked him and the battlefield down quite nicely too, until it was dispelled by the Summoner.) Because an Alchemist cannot move and throw a bomb in the same round, she was never in a place where he could target her, and any miss would just have landed on the floor forty feet below. Really... more than anything else about the class, this needs to be addressed somehow. Against mobile opponents, life is harsh for a firebomb-focused Alchemist. Against stationary foes (unless they're really big,) things are still tough because his allies are often in blast radius. In the end, (partly because it got really late and people needed sleep,) the drow wizard, possessed of remarkable filial loyalty to her badly wounded drider sister, swooped in and dimension door'd the two of them to safe retreat, (cue head-desk from the Alchemist player. Once again, I'm really, really sorry, buddy.)

This kind of cued the beginning of the end for the fight, and I declared that the imp and beatific one joined the others in retreat, conceding the battle to our heroes... so everyone could go to bed.

Wow. That's a lot of text. I need a break. I'll post afterthoughts for the play-test as a whole later.


Just a quick note, since Drakli was tired he forgot the summoner cast haste, not the witch since it is not in fact a witch spell unless you have a cat...


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Thanks John!

Now,

The Classes in Review, Part 1.

Ooookay, let's talk a little bit about the Cavalier. I tend to think of him a little bit like the Mario of the party. He doesn't jump as high as the monk, or shiv as hard as the rogue, or float like the princess, but... er... that didn't really work. The point is, a cavalier fit into every scene and performed well without ever overshadowing the other characters. Simply point one at the biggest or nastiest enemy in the fight, and he (or she) instantly finds their place, where everyone else occasionally struggles to get into the scene. From a DM's perspective, he's one of the best members of the party, because no matter what, his performance is as manageable as it is consistent. Plus, it's fun watching one try and guess which bad guy is the load-bearing boss. There are just two things that worry me about a cavalier... a solo boss-monster, where the built-in limitations don't matter... or a party full of cavaliers. Yikes. The player of Cavalier One has concerns that anything but sinking full bore into two weapon fighting is a waste of time, but I'm sure there's a counter-argument... such as increased efficiency when you choose the wrong guy to challenge and have to pitch in against the real guy afterwards.

The Oracle, in my opinion, took some time to get rolling, but once things started getting rough, she became indispensable. The "problem" is, she was indispensable in the same way that a cleric is, mostly. She healed. A lot. On the other hand, there's something good to say for the very idea of a spontaneous divine caster. It gives the sorcerer a symmetry, and let's face it... sometimes, you just need a handful of Heals you never expected you would. As for the Stone Foci, I must admit sometimes I wondered if I was a jerk DM, setting the adventure in the City of Brass, where everything's made of Brass instead of unworked stone. On the other hand, we got to see the power of acidic rock throwing and mighty pebble... and we discovered that steelbreaker (we kept calling it stonebreaker for some reason) skin might need to be a bit specific in what it can affect, magic-weapon-wise. I think maybe a scaling bonus might be best, though there's something to be said (brevity, at least) for just saying it works on magic weapons. It was hilarious watching everyone convincing her not to draw aggro from the rune-giant just to try it on his gargantuan weapon. Her deafness limitation gummed up a lot of communications between the party members, and made me realize how much you need to adjudicate on the fly when read lips isn't a skill anymore and sign language isn't in the book. Honestly, as much as I love the idea of playing a haunted oracle, the oracular elements to this class seem... tacked on. It's as if "Oracle" was the name that came to mind for alternative holy-folk, (and it is a good name!) but then, the class needed ways itself to mythic-lore oracles. The problem is, oracles are soothsayers, fortune tellers, and seers. That's kind of the definition, and this oracle at the least, wasn't prone to divination.

The Inquisitor is still tough to place.... I'm not entirely sure what he was intended to do other than conquer my skill "challenges" and rule them with an iron fist. Most APG characters ran high in a few specific skills here and there, but he triumphed most consistently of all, resulting in me spilling the beans on almost anything, especially if it was monster-related. He stood tall in the social scene, and shone like a star, when the group stood to gather assistance from a variety of knowledgeable diplomats. The group got the scoop largely because of him and the Alchemist. He seems to be a utility class and a skill-monkey, perhaps like a rogue with paladin spells, but unlike a rogue, he gets lost in a fight. I'm still puzzling over how he did so well against the giant in the final scuffle, because his combat abilities seemed scattershot in the rest of the battles. I can't even really tell what went poorly, just that the class generally underperformed. When a cavalier challenged, or an oracle mightily pebbled, you knew about it... but the inquisitor's judgements were low key and we sometimes had to double-check whether or not he used which ones because we didn't spot the impact. The exceptions were where his player's inspiration took hold and made up for it with crazy awesome ideas like an adamantine shovel.

===

That's a lot of text for the evening... I'll write up part two tomorrow, I think.


The Inquisitor had an Oathbow. He first used it against the brass bronze dragon, but never hit the stupid thing. Against the Runegiant though, it was super effective.

As one of the Cavalier players I'll state for the record I could've made a two hander character and done more consistant damage, but 2 weapon sword and board is actually a very effective strategy at high levels. Also, challenge is like sneak attack. It's always better with multiple attacks. Having it be once per encounter has a 4th edition feel that I don't like, but other than a total rework it's what we got.

Incidentaly I would gladly give up bonus feats if I got a victory power. In other words when I drop a challenged foe I get a bonus to something for a few rounds or maybe an aura of fear. Perhaps that could be feat. Just saying.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

The Classes in Review, Part 2.

The Summoner... ah, the summoner. We liked to joke that his player was running the eidolon, who had a pet summoner, but in truth, the character was useful in every fight (where he wasn't stunned,) with an eidolon or not. After slaying the super-summon in the second to the last battle, I thought for sure we'd get the chance to see the class at his weakest in the final fight, without his big monster pet. Then the summoner summoned a tyrannosaurus, then hasted it. No-one is at their weakest when they can summon a hasted t-rex! We hashed the class back and forth earlier in the thread, and we're not the first, so I'll just sum it up. The summoner kicked a lot of butts. His eidolon kicked early, it kicked often, and when it kicked the bucket (or just didn't apply to the situation,) he just summoned something else. He was always useful, always, and hard to stymie. It's possible to be too awesome, you know?

The Witch is an arcane casters, albeit one with a limited and focused spell list, and running a game with two of them was not unlike running a game with a sorcerer or a wizard whose player has a few favorite tricks. They did well overall during the play-test, and never really had moments where they couldn't contribute. In fact, their limited spell choices actually helped me as a GM, simply because they remained reasonably vulnerable in instances where a wizard, or even a sorcerer might access a much wider array of "keep-away" spells. Not that I'm a killer DM by trade... it's just important to harass the casters sometimes, and prevent them from feeling safe. It restores the sense that the tougher party members need to protect them and serve as buffers, which is hard to need to do when they can easily abjure or illusion themselves off the battlefield. The one problem I have with the Witches is the undefined nature of their Hexes. What is a Hex, other than a supernatural ability? It isn't a spell. Is it a curse? An enchantment? Are some of them mind affecting, or is that just flavor-text? How do you counter it? As written, for the most part you can't. Because they don't count as anything the rules currently recognize, there aren't any ways to cease them. Apart from reminding me uncomfortably of psionics when run with the no-transparancy-to-magic option, it runs counter to what you expect of magical hexes. In folklore, people came up with lots of rituals, signs, and methods to ward off witch's hexes. You would think protection from evil would help against the evil eye... but nope. Also, and maybe it's the games I'm in... but I wish people kept better track of their familiars. I think next time I run a game with familiars, I'm forcing people to place pet-tokens or pennies on the board at all times, so I know when I should force reflex saves on the little critters.

There's a tremendous lot going for the Alchemist in potential, at least, in flavor... but in play, nothing ever worked out for the character other than starring in social interactions. His bomb blasts packed tons of damage, but in practice, he could never really get in position to use them. The move action to prep a bomb, the standard action to throw, and the inability to hold a charge for more than the round meant any foe with a decent amount of mobility either stayed out of reach or rushed him. A lot of the time, casters and rogues hide behind or rely upon allies to flank or serve as barricades against foes... but it doesn't work as well for the alchemist who doesn't want to splash his friends. Another problem arises when the alchemist fights opponents immune to fire... despite being in the City of Brass, I was careful to avoid too many fire-immune foes. The real issue here is the alchemist has a very limited number of discoveries to choose from, and it isn't immediately clear which ones lead to ruin. Our alchemist decided to focus on making awesome bombs, and when he did run into fire resistance, didn't have access to other energy types, and when we found bombs just plain didn't work, he couldn't enhance his fellow party members because he didn't have that discovery. The Alchemist player also had a bit of an issue playing a class so tied to Craft (Alchemy) when crafting is so frustrating in play.


Drakli wrote:


There's a tremendous lot going for the Alchemist in potential, at least, in flavor... but in play, nothing ever worked out for the character other than starring in social interactions. His bomb blasts packed tons of damage, but in practice, he could never really get in position to use them. The move action to prep a bomb, the standard action to throw, and the inability to hold a charge for more than the round meant any foe with a decent amount of mobility either stayed out of reach or rushed him. A lot of the time, casters and rogues hide behind or rely upon allies to flank or serve as barricades against foes... but it doesn't work as well for the alchemist who doesn't want to splash his friends. Another problem arises when the alchemist fights opponents immune to fire... despite being in the City of Brass, I was careful to avoid too many fire-immune foes. The real issue here is the alchemist has a very limited number of discoveries to choose from, and it isn't immediately clear which ones lead to ruin. Our alchemist decided to focus on making awesome bombs, and when he did run into fire resistance, didn't have access to other energy types, and when we found bombs just plain didn't work, he couldn't enhance his fellow party members because he didn't have that discovery. The Alchemist player also had a bit of an issue playing a class so tied to Craft (Alchemy) when crafting is so frustrating in play.

Luckily, I'm pretty sure that the 'final playtest' update fixed the alchemist so that it takes only a standard action to arm and throw a bomb. Also, I think they added a discovery which allows you to control the splash radius of your bomb...

I'm worried that certain discoveries like that last one I mentioned are going to become 'must haves' for players though.


Out of curiosity, after the playtest, what are your thoughts on the changes made to the classes?


So sorry about none of us getting back to you on the question. We're all pretty happy about all the changes, especially with the Alchemist. We've started up a new campaign for Saturdays and our inquisitor player liked the class so much he made another one. Sadly he missed his Fort save by 2 and got assassinated in the first round of combat. He forgot to cast see invisibility before entering the area, if he'd remembered then he would have seen it coming. One player who played a warlock before changed his character to a witch and he's loving that. He already had a dog as a pet so that became his familiar. It's an underground stealth adventure so things like alchemist and cavalier don't fit so well. Otherwise I thunk more of us would've jumped at the chance to play the new and improved classes.

Great job to the creators. We really feel like our playtest meant something and we approve of the changes. Thank you.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

I don't know... if my long running character in that campaign wasn't so popular, I'd enjoy making an alchemist with the controlled blast type discovery! Firebomb the vampires!

Er... the stealth bit might be a problem, I admit. Maybe if we house-ruled a Quiet Bomb discovery.

The buffs would come in handy, you have to admit. I'm of the opinion that the infusion extract discovery is a must-have.


Guess I'm late to the party! But a fantastic play test and journal guys. Thanks a ton!

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