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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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Stop me if you've heard this one...

Just this past Wednesday, my gaming group started play-testing a high-level party consisting entirely of the new Advanced Players' Guide base classes. All six characters are 14th level.

Welcome to my stress! ;p

There's a character for each class. In fact, we're actually doubled up on Witches, with a (sometimes) 7th player. More on that later. The players are only allowed to use the play-test classes, and the races, spells, and items from the Pathfinder rule-book (Interestingly, everyone's human, save the Summoner, a half-elf.) As soon as we get everyone's characters digitized, we (or I) will post them here. For the nonce, I'll share the first playing session's events.

Prep Time

The Cavalier's player was concerned that there's no item specifically for increasing Will saves. We eventually resolved with him getting a cloak of resistance +4, but he wonders if such an item might be in the offing.

One of the Witch players had her heart set on a Fox familiar. We improvised with a slightly tweaked dog from the Bestiary.

The Alchemist player is frustrated by the crafting system. Even with the +14 for level and a highly boosted intelligence, crafting the better poisons takes a great deal of IC downtime not inherent in most games we play.

When Dire Animals Attack, AKA Taking the Rukh Approach. (EL 14, XP 38,400)

Creatures:

Rukh advanced to CR 12 at 19 HD (19,200) (AP #21 Bestiary)

3 Mastodons CR 9 Each (19,200) (PF Bestiary)

The Fight

Called to the City of Brass with word that legendary heroes are needed, the party barely has time to greet the efreet diplomat before encountering a stampede of escaped, exotic, menagerie animals! Rampaging through the courtyards, three mastodons send azer scattering and trample any in their way, while an immense and terrible rukh chases and harasses them.

The Cavalier wins initiative and charges the lead elephant. Riding on a warhorse mount, wielding a lance, he deals good damage, but is completely upstaged by the Summoner's eidolon.

A centipede-thing, it makes use of charging and Pounce to roll eleven d20s for ten claws and a bite! The mastodon drops like hamburger. The Summoner casts Haste, unfortunately unable to get the Cavalier in the effect.

Everyone else primarily moves into position, the Oracle, Alchemist and Inquisitor rushing the stampede. Even with haste, no-one else can really get to the mastodons and attack.

The rukh swoops in at last and tries to snap up the Cavalier, fortunately missing, while kicking up a dust cloud with its hover feat.

A Mastodon gores the eidolon, but the other attacks the deaf, stone-focus Oracle and misses a lot (the oracle has the Heavy Armor Prof feat, a hammer of defending, and my rolls have bad luck.) Note, the hovering placement of the rukh kept the mastodons from trampling through the PCs.

In the rounds that follow, things continue much at this same pace. The eidolon seems unstoppable. It gnaws through a second mastodon in round two, and in round three, with fly cast on it by the Summoner, it charges the rukh... only to be foiled by a beak-bite AoO that grabs and interrupts the charge.

The Oracle and Alchemist focus on the last mastodon. It's a fairly standard fight, though much of the damage is dealt by the alchemist's high-focused fire-bombs from behind the oracle-tank.

Everyone else unloads on the rukh. The Witch slams it with a Hex of retribution, but due to terrible attack rolls on my part, the Hex spends most of its time not working. With a shield of flight and an AC of 39, the Cavalier flies up to the rukh while avoiding AoO and, one round later, shows it what a filled out Two-Weapon Fighting tree, combined with Improved Shield Bash, and a 5D6 per-hit challenge can do.

A lightning bolt from the Witch and a couple solid shots from the Inquisitor using the destruction judgement and the greater bane ability take their toll, but what really finishes off the rukh is when it takes a full attack against the grabbed eidolon and does enough damage to kill itself when the retribution hex pays off, (though it drops the super-summon to 1 hp.)

Thoughts Thus Far

I feel like the Oracle and Alchemist underperformed compared to the Eidolon. The Oracle in particular, didn't show off her class abilities, though she served as an anti-elephant meat shield because of her Heavy Armor Feat and Defending weapon.

It took the two of them three solid rounds of actions to reach and take down a CR 9 brute boy with hammer and fire-bomb, and the Eidolon ate two Mastodons in a deuce of rounds. Quadruped Form+Pounce+10 Evolutions of Limb & Claws=Oh My *Censored!*

The only thing that shut down the Eidolon was 15' reach and grab.

The Witch was an interesting case. Mostly she hung back and cast a hex, and took simple pot shots while she waited for the hex to take effect. When it did, it really paid off in a big way, but she spent most of the time hanging back and waiting.

Still... effective. Dunno about how exciting for her.

The Inquisitor's judgements are mean, when they lever into play after a few rounds of waiting, but I don't really feel like I've gotten a chance to see him really show off yet.

With his fleshed out Two-Weapon Fighting tree, the Cavalier hit like a freight train, but even with his equine charger, it took him a while to deal that kind of bloody havoc... partly because he knew he needed to choose the right foe. This is a mitigating factor to be sure. His player pointed out that a Rogue properly tricked out for TWF can be just as brutal or more-so.

At any rate, this is just the first fight. More will come later.


Are you running a one shot adventure or a regular one?


Appreciate this. Hope to see an update.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Nate will explain that he's running the City of Brass adventure path plus a few modifications I believe. Here's my contribution to the playtest.

Sir Montgomery Ortis. Cavalier 14 LN
HP 137/ (converts the first four damage of any attack into non-lethal)
Str 14 Dex 20 Con 16 Int 10 Wis 10 Cha 10
AC 33 (Celestial Armor +8, Winged Shield of Bashing [traded +1 AC for Bashing quality] +4, Dex +5, Amulet of Natural Armor +3, Ring of Protection +3) Up to +5 from Defender. No AC penalty while charging.
Touch 18 Flat Footed 25
Initiative +5

Fortitude +16 (Base +9, Con +3, Cloak of Resistance +4)
Reflex +13 (Base +4, Dex +5, Cloak of Resistance +4)
Will +10 (Base +4, Cloak of Resistance +4, Iron Will +2)
Conditional Saving Throw Modifiers (+3 vs Charm [Oath of Chastity], +3 vs Curse/Disease/Poison [Oath of Purity])

CMB +16 (Base +14, Str +2)
CMD 31 (10+ Base +14, Str +2, Dex +5)

Weapons
Longsword, Defender +5
Attack Bonus +21 Full Attack (+14/+9/+4) assumes used as main hand while attacking with shield and all of attack bonus shifted towards AC
Damage 1d8+2 Crit 19-20 x2 (or 1d8+7 if desperate or if foe can't hit)

Winged Shield of Bashing
Attack Bonus +21 Full Attack (+21/+16/+11) factors in Shield Mastery feat which removes off-hand penalty and adds shields AC bonus to hit and damage. Also accounts for Greater Two Weapon Fighting feat.
Damage 1d8+6 (Str +1, Bashing +1, AC +4)

Lance, Adamantine +1
Attack Bonus +21 (Includes +4 bonus from charge, only time it gets used)
Damage 3d8+9 (includes x3 damage from Spirited Charge feat) Crit 19-20 x2. On hit make a free bullrush, disarm, sunder or trip without provoking.

Feats (in no particular order)
Improved Shield Bash, Improved Two Weapon Fighting, Two-Weapon Fighting, Mounted Combat, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Shield Slam, Shield Mastery, Iron Will, Improved Iron Will, Ride-by Attack, Spirited Charge.

Skills (In Alphabetical Order)
Climb +12, Handle Animal +10 (+17 vs mountable animals), Heal +10 (+17 if used on someone else), Intimidate +17, Knowledge Local +10, Ride +22, Sense Motive +17

Special Abilities
Challenge +5d6 (once per combat choose a target as a swift action, gain the listed bonus to damage against that foe, count as flanked against all other enemies) Order of the Shield gives me +4 to hit my target if they do not attack me on their turn.

Banner: allies in 60' that can see me gain +4 saves vs fear and +3 to hit while charging (+5 to hit total while charging)

Superior Standstill: if an opponent provokes an Attack of Opportunity while moving make an attack at highest base. If successful they stop moving as if you made your CMB as per the Standstill feat.

Equipment (what hasn't been mentioned already)
Backpack, 4 days of rations for self and mount, Boots of Flying.

Steadfast, Warhorse Mount
N Large animal
Init +2; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +6
Defense
AC 35 touch 13, flat-footed 32 (+4 Dex, –1 size +17 nat Chainmail Barding +5)
hp 126 (12d8+60) +12 feat
Fort +13, Ref +12, Will +5 (+4 vs enchantment)
Speed 50 ft.
Melee base +9 Primary Bite +15 1d4+7 2 hooves +13 (1d6+3)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Statistics
Str 24, Dex 18, Con 20, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 7
Base Atk +9; CMB +18; CMD 32 (36 vs. trip)
Feats Blindfight, Combat Reflexes, Improved Natural Armor x3, Toughness
Skills Perception +13
SQ evasion

Choices made and Why.

Oaths: I chose Purity and Chastity because they are the easiest to get and maintain. The other Oaths, while interesting and flavorful, are a pain to set up. This mechanic needs very little work before being perfected. I honestly believe that Paladins should have this mechanic incorporated into them and that levels in both classes should stack for the purposes of Oath bonus'.

Order: I chose the Shield because the damage conversion ability is just like a mechanic we use in my personal campaign (Tough as Nails is a class ability for the Brawler base class and it works nearly the same as this). So I already know that mechanic is sound and because I thought the Superior Standstill ability might be too good. No CMB check, just an attack roll that also gets to deal damage normally seems ridiculous in some situations, but in the two heavy combats we've been in I've never even had the opportunity to use it.

Feats: The two-weapon fighting tree along with the challenge bonus damage meant I could try to maximize my Damage Per Round (dpm). Other than the Summoners Eidolon completely overshadowing me damage-wise I find the mechanic surprisingly balanced. It's an inverted sneak attack and it just shows how desperately the paladin needed a boost as bonus damage dice are far superior to "bonus damage equal to class level". Many of the qualities between both classes could (should?) blend together. After reading Shield Mastery I had to give this feat tree a try and so far I am utterly amazed. The Iron Golem was the only creature thus far that could consistently hit me and that was all thanks to the shield.
NOTE: Just realized I gypped myself a feat. It would've been picked by level three (so options are limited). Luckily I have till Wednesday to figure it out.

Equipment
Celestial Armor, Winged Shield, Boots of Flying. From previous games I've discovered that flight is paramount. It allows for charges in the damnedest of situations and prevents a wizard/dragon from outright pwning an adventurer. Sadly, there are no rules for enchanting items for mounts/companions, so I had to stick with standard barding.

Assessment: I really do like this class. It could make a solid villain, but mostly works as a player character. My first read through of Challenge made me think the class a potential Glass Cannon, but has proven to be otherwise. Oddly enough a Fighter or Barbarian of equal level can't do nearly as much damage, but they'll be better equipment to handle the battle field.

Just like Sneak Attack, the Challenge ability really shines if you have multiple attacks, but after it's used up or if you face multiple enemies you can't hurt (damage reduction) you become a very sub-par fighter.

If the goal was to make a boss fighter character then this has been a roaring success. However, the class might still be under-balanced depending on your view. By 14th level I am only 4 feats behind a Fighter. My Oaths make up for losing bravery, my challenge is a potent class feature and my Order more than makes up for the loss of feats.

The only problem with the class is its weakness to Will save based abilities. If not for the Cloak of Resistance +4 and Iron Will/Improved Iron Will feats I'd have a 50/50 shot of failing most 1st level spells. Currently Sir Ortis has pretty much the same build a rogue or fighter of equal level would have and having 10 levels in rogue with 4 levels in fighter would be dangerously close to a cavalier.

This class should focus more on mounted combat. It seems like the Challenge is so powerful I have to focus on making that good every round as opposed to better utilization of the mount. Steadfast charges me into combat, I quick dismount the following turn and go for a full round of attacks while the horse gets away. If challenge could be used multiple times in a combat, but against only one foe at a time then you could probably get away with restricting the bonus damage to the first successful attack each round. This might allow me to focus more on the mounted aspect of the class as opposed to gunning for DPR feats like two-weapon fighting.

Assessment of other Classes
Oracle: I agree with Nate, our oracle hasn't truly shined yet. She chose deafness as her curse and some fun has been had by this, but it's also gotten in the way of other peoples fun by making her non-responsive to what many players try to say to her. The class is cool and fun from what I've observed, but we would've been better off with a cleric. I would like to add though, spontaneous divine casting instead of prepared spells is much better for the parties health. All of my clerics have Remove Paralysis, but only ever have one memorized. If you need one remove paralysis, then you'll need at least two more. If you think about it being able to cast multiple's of one spell as opposed to dumping it for healing can be more advantageous in the long run.

Witch: this one truly does just hang back. Part of that I blame on the player, she isn't much for role playing, but her characters are always someone you want to have around. I didn't like the Witch class at first, now I find myself trying to tweak it.

Summoner: I can't believe my group is the only one posting how broken this class is. It's insane. The 14th level summoners Eidolon does more damage than I against a much wider range of foes.

Inquisitor: This class feels patched together. The tactics ability looks more like a Cavalier ability and the spells make no sense. This should be a combat class like the Cavalier. The Justices are a great mechanic that could easily be expanded upon. I say drop spellcasting and add hunting abilities. On the surface this looks like I'm ranger-ifying the class, but I have the Justicar prestige class more in mind for this. The Inquisitor should be a combat CSI class. I'd like to hear what other people think.

Alchemist: horrible PC class, but fantastic villain class. Alchemist need a "focused explosion" ability that prevents the splash damage or inverts it on the primary target. Our alchemist did nothing during the last encounter except almost die. All the clay golem's were engaged and by the time he was in position to start dropping bombs the splash damage would have nearly killed us. Also, drop the mutagen ability. It's pretty pointless. I'd like to see a Jekyll and Hyde kind of mechanic, but that kind of transformation is more on par with Wild Shape (which would be insanely cool).

Closing Statements: I will be incorporating Alchemist into my campaign world, even without my suggested tweaks. Though the Witch has grown on me it still isn't in line with how I want a witch class to work (think Druid, but with arcane spells and no combat prowess). Cavalier is just a paladin with a less restricted alignment and Summoner is way too powerful to move onto the next step. Inquisitor needs some more work (like dropping spells, transferring tactical feats to Cavalier and expanding Justices), while Oracles make a fine spontaneous divine caster (only because there's no one else, which is kind of depressing).

Advanced Players Guide 2
Swashbuckler: If not a class then multiple feat trees that make this possible and enjoyable.
Guardian: Can take attacks for members of the party and remove status effects. Another non-spellcaster class.
Mentalist: Think the show Mentalist or Sherlock Holmes. A class which uses Intelligence in place of just about all other stats when making checks. A non-spellcaster whose extraordinary abilities mimic some spells.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading!


Now that Shane is up in the playtest digitalization process, here is mine

Kara Tinroof, Oracle of Stone 14, LG
HP 80, Deaf
Str 14, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 14, Wis 20, Cha 10
AC 29 (Dwarven Full Plate +4, Heavy Mithril Shield[ w/ Shield Focus], Ring of Protection +1, Dodge
- Ranged attacks have a 20% miss chance against me if I move
- DR 3/-
- Warhammer of Defending +5 is not calculated in this, but is used in defense more often than not.
Initiative +2
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Fort +9 (Base +4, Con +0, Cloak of Resistance +5)
Reflex +11 (Base +4, Dex +2, Cloak of Resistance +5)
Will + 19 (Base +9, Wis +5, Cloak of Resistance +5)
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
CMB +12 (Base +10, Str +2)
+4 if attempting a trip
CMD 24 (Base 10, CMB +12, Dex +2)
+4 if resisting a trip
+4 if Resisting a trip or bull rush while standing on solid ground
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Weapons
Warhammer of Defending +5
Attack Bonus +17/+12
Damage 1d8+7, Crit x3
- Weapon may remove up to a +5 enhancement bonus to add the same amount to AC

Rock
Attack Bonus +13/+8
Damage 2d4+3, Crit x2, 20 ft Range increments[Max 5]
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Feats
Medium Armor Prof
Heavy Armor Prof
Combat Casting
Dodge
Wind Stance
Warhammer Prof
Quick Draw
Shield Focus
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Skills
Craft(Armor) +12
Craft(Weapon) +12
Craft(Gemcutting) +19
Diplomacy +17
Knowledge(Religion) +12
Knowledge(History) +12
Perception +22
Sense Motive +22
Spellcraft +19
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Special Abilities
Scent (Gained from being a Deaf Oracle)

Foci - Stone
- Crystal Sight - This was grabbed because as a power, I can see this use in dungeons, caverns and other places to just see thru walls. Yes, potentially being misused, but meh. All is good in my book.
- Earth Glide - I took this for my escape plan. Seriously, if it can follow me into the earth, it at least gives me time to run. And It won't provoke either...it is still normal movement
- Mighty Pebble - Making rocks into magical weapons, that deal a decent bit of damage. Only usable a few times a day, but even then, it could be very nasty seeing as I can do that on my way into combat.
- Rock throwing - A quick, easy and endlessly supplied range weapon. Sure, only 100 ft max, but whoop de doo. Still a nice thing, a pretty nifty combination with Mighty Pebble and Touch of Acid
- Steelbreaker Skin - This I took to counter other classes, like Cavalier and Rogue. If the weapon is broke, where are they? My big concern is what happens to 'natural' weapons when I have this active?
- Stone Stability - Granting a +4 to CMD against bull rushes or trip attempts while on solid ground. Just nasty. Upper levels grant improved and greater trip as well..So why not?
- Touch of Acid - Add acid damage to any weapon I wield, and that could be added on top of the Mighty Pebble ability...this power is abit on the broken side, seeing as it goes to EVERY weapon I wield...but no turn-off for this ability either.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Spells
0 Level
Create Water, Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Light, Read Magic, Resistance, Stabilize, Guidance, Mending
1st Level
Cure Light Wounds, Bless, Bless Water, Cause Fear, Endure Elements, Shield*
2nd Level
Cure Moderate Wounds, Remove Paralysis, Enthrall, Make Whole, Shatter, Acid Arrow*
3rd Level
Cure Serious Wounds, Dispel Magic, Remove Curse, Remove Blindness/Deafness, Meld into Stone*
4th Level
Cure Critical Wounds, Restoration, Air Walk, Divine Power, Stone Skin*
5th Level
Breath of Life, Flame Strike, True Seeing, Wall of Stone*
6th Level
Animate Objects, Heal, Stone Tell*
7th Level
Resurrection

* Denotes spells gained from Stone Foci
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Equipment
Warhammer of Defending +5
Dwarven Full Plate +4
Heavy Mithril Shield
Ring of Sustenance
Ring of Protection +1
Cloak of Resistance +5
Smith's Outfit (Heavy leather apron over the full plate, embossed with a large cut diamond-looking symbol)
Spell Component Pouch
Handy Haversack
- 10,000 gp Diamond x2
- Dust of Dryness x10
- Sundrod x10
- Oil, Pint x9
- Silk rope, 100 ft
- Crowbar
- Potion of Light x4
- trail Ration x10
- Bedroll
- Smith Tools, MW
- Potion of True Strike x4
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Notes on Everything
- First off, yes this build could have been made ALOT more nasty by being a dwarf. But my big deal with that was the loss of speed from the heavy armor, combined with the loss of speed for a dwarf would have been nasty. Plus, I went the route of Foci of Stone to be very dwarf-like, while not being dwarven. - Next, is the combinations within the Foci itself. A great many of the Stone Foci needs to be looked at carefully, for the granted abilities sometimes affect one another in weird ways. Take for example Touch of Acid with Mighty Pebble - would the acid damage get added to the Mighty Pebble? I believe a good number of these abilities need some more precise wording to be truly worked out - Take Mighty Pebble for example. Does the pebble get thrown as part of that standard action, like Produce Flame, or does it have to be charged before hand? If the second choice, what is the duration of the charge?
- The spell list seemed kind of bare, but at the same point, the character is designed to outlast others, and heal after the combat is over. Honestly, the Stone Foci gives me more passive abilities than anything else, or constant abilities. the Rock Throwing/Acid Touch combination is pretty durable, for at time the rocks are doing 2d4+3+1d6[acid] damage per rock. And with two of those a round at +13/+8 to hit, that is decent enough. And the ammunition can be pretty much anything on the ground really.
- The curses seem a little off. The Deaf curse is kind of rough for a player - the group I am with is getting a little irate over it, but at the same point I dislike the meta-game. Finding that balance might not be easy for alot of folk. Now look at the vision, and it gets a little confusing. Lame means that there is some minor issues, but they get pretty nice later on.
- At first glance, some of my equipment might seem a little out of place. Please notice that I did take the Light spell, but carry four potions of Light. This is mostly for handing off the light and not using an Orison. While I get unlimited use of them, I think it would be better suited for my weapon or shield. The potion is to put on an enemy or an item that I am leaving behind. Another questionable part was the choice between taking the Dwarven Full Plate, or making a more powerful shield. In the end I opted for the Dwarven, just so I have some means of soaking damage.


Now that there has been some dramatic buildup, enter the Eidolon...er...Summoner...

Queael (Kale) the "Milliclaw"
STR 28
DEX 18
CON 18
INT 7
WIS 10
CHA 11
12D10+48 (118HP)
SPEED 70

10 CLAWS +20 1D6+4+1D6 ACID
BITE+21 1D8+9
CMB +26 (30 GRAPPLE)
CMD 36
AC 26, 14 TOUCH (30 WITH MAGE ARMOR)
FORT+12, REF+12, WILL+6
DARKVISION, LINK, SHARESPELLS, EVASION, DEVOTION, MULTIATTACK, IRON WILL, IMPROVED IRON WILL, DODGE, POWERATTACK, WEAPON FOCUS CLAW, IMPROVED CRITICAL CLAW.
PERCEPTION +15
SURVIVAL +15
STEALTH +15
CLIMB +24

EVOLUTIONS-> BITE (FREE), LEGS->PAIRS x5 (2 FREE), CLAW x5, GRAB, POUNCE, ENERGY DAMAGE (ACID), LARGE.

ANTON ENALO (SUMMONER 14)
STR 10, DEX 16, CON 12, INT 16, WIS 10, CHA 19.
FORT 11, REF 13, WILL 15
AC 24 14 TOUCH, 108HP
ICY LONGBOW+3 (15/15/10) 1D8+3+1D6 COLD
DAGGER+1 (10) 1D4+1
NATURE +17
ARCANE +17
DUNGEONEERING +16
PLANES +16
SPELLCRAFT +20
SURVIVAL +20 (NOT CLASS)

SR 20 (SCARAB OF PROTECTION)
GEAR: CLOAK OF RESISTANCE +5, GOGGLES OF NIGHT, HEADBAND CHA+6, LUCKSTONE, +5 MITHRIL BREASTPLATE, BELT OF PHYSICAL MIGHT +2 DEX/CON,
FEATS- SPELL FOCUS CONJURATION, AUGMENT SUMMONING, IMPROVED INITATIVE, POINT BLANK SHOT, PRECISE SHOT, RAPID SHOT, TOUGHNESS, SKILL FOCUS SURVIVAL.

SPELLS:
0: ACID SPLASH, DETECT MAGIC, READ MAGIC, MESSAGE, OPEN/CLOSE
1: MAGE ARMOR, UNSEEN SERVANT, FEATHER FALL, ENDURE ELEMENTS, ALARM, MAGIC MOUTH,
2: HASTE, BARKSKIN, BULL STRENGTH, SPIDER CLIMB, GLITTERDUST, WIND WALL,
3: FLY,GREATER MAGIC FANG, WATER BREATHING, DISPEL MAGIC, DIMENSION DOOR
4:DISMISSAL, OVERLAND FLIGHT, TELEPORT, MASS BEARS ENDURANCE
5: TRUE SEEING, PLANE SHIFT, SEQUESTER, CREEPING DOOM

MAKER'S CALL 4/DAY,
SUMMON MONSTER 7/DAY
GREATER SHIELD ALLY
ASPECT
TRANSPOSITION

Ok so there they are.

Reason for build:
The fact that one can choose unlimited limbs and claws made me choose a build maxing out these options. The energy attacks evolution is ridiculous with this many attacks, and is definitely worth the 2 pts. The large evolution was initially chosen because I wanted to use Grab. Additionally, +8 strength and an increase in all the damage dice were too good to pass up. Pounce is the part that makes this build absolutely broken, especially since Queael can charge 140 ft. Power attack is a must for this build, despite the fact that the penalty equals the damage bonus. I like feats that give me an additional 44 damage a round. Feats were of limited use after augment summoning. There is also little gear of use to spontaneous casters.

This Eidolon deals 20d6+1d8+113 damage if it hits on all attacks while power attacking, assuming no critical hits (19-20/X2) (Greater magic fang lasting 14 hours and bull strength active) Haste increases this to 22d6+1d8+123.

There have actually been a couple build mistakes here that I would like to point out. Grab is useless, so I would replace it with improved damage (1 point!!!) for the claw attack form. Additionally, I failed to recognize the improved natural attack feat. This would increase half of those d6s to d10s....

The only weaknesses with Queael are foes with DR and/or acid resist, and those with reach/grab. When fighting the clay golems, I sent him after the other foe (retriever) then had him stand in front of a golem as a meat shield. He could do damage to them, but it would have been too time consuming for a marginal benefit. As far as reach goes, share spells and Dimension Door fixes that problem for a summoner who isn’t too cocky.
Summoner needs to be fixed before it can be released due to these following points:

1) There needs to be a limit on the number of natural attacks an Eidolon can have. Limbs/Claws isn't even the most efficient way to gain damage. Tentacle yields 1 attack for 1 point, where limb/claw yields 2 attacks for 3 points.

2) There is usually a limit to the number of things a player can do in any given turn. Standard, move, swift, and some number of free actions. Summoner casually walks past this rule and steals all the cookies. On one turn, without trying too hard, I could summon 1d4+1 monsters enhanced by augment summoning and have all of them attack, make 12 attacks with my eidolon, and attack with all the monsters I summoned on a previous turn. Alternately, I just fly around shooting things while my army of summoned monsters devours all the enemies.


So, with the errata which I read on the first page of summoner posts, the problem of an army is reduced. With full round casting and a max of 1 summon monster at a time, the summoner is less crazy in a fight. However, I still have yet to see a significant change in the eidolon. There are hundreds of posts to read through...is there a consolidated official rulings post? Additionally I have a correction, Anton does not have skill focus ( I discovered this when double checking my build) and he is in fact an elf, not a half elf.


The player asked me to post her witch and hag…
Magda lvl 14 human Witch
STR 10, DEX 16, CON 10, INT 19 (25), WIS 14, CHA 14
FORT 10, REF 11, WILL 13
23 AC 65 HP
DIPLOMACY 19, HEAL 19, INTIMIDATE 19, ARCANA 24, NATURE 24, HISTORY 24, SPELLCRAFT 24
SPELLS CURRENTLY PREPARED
1- BURNING HANDS, OBSCURING MIST, GREASE, ANIMATE ROPE
2- CURE MODERATE WOUNDS, DAZE MONSTER, DELAY POISON, SEE INVISIBILITY, WEB, MIRROR IMAGE
3- DISPEL MAGIC, LIGHTNING BOLT, MAJOR IMAGE,
4- BLACK TENTACLES, ICE STORM
5- BALEFUL POLYMORPH HOLD MONSTER, TELEPORT
6- CONE OF COLD, CURE LIGHT MASS, GREATER HEROISM,
7- CURE MODERATE MASS, HARM

HEXES
CHARM, EVIL EYE, MAJOR HEALING, COVEN, MISFORTUNE, TONGUES, WARD, CACKLE, RETRIBUTION
GEAR-> HEADBAND OF INT+6, PEARL OF POWER x3 1,3,5, RING OF WIZARDRY 2ND LVL, CLOAK OF PROTECTION +2, RING OF PROTECTION +4, BRACERS OF ARMOR +6
FEATS-> ESHEW MATERIALS, IMPROVED INITATIVE, GREAT FORTITUDE, LEADERSHIP, SPELL PENETRATION, GREATER SPELL PENETRATION, SPELL FOCUS ILLUSION, COMBAT CASTING

HAG COHORT
STR 26, DEX 14, CON 16, INT 15, WIS 13, CHA 14
FORT 12 REF 9 WILL 8 AC 32 133HP
BATTLEAXE +1 (23/18) 1D8+10 AND CLAW (19) 1D4+4+WEAKNESS DC 19 FORT
LONGBOW+17 1D8
FEATS-> WEAPON FOCUS BATTLEAXE, WEAPON SPECIALIZATION BATTLEAXE, MULTIATTACK, DODGE, COMBAT CASSTING, DECEITFUL, GREAT FORTITUDE, TOUGHNESS
GEAR-> +1 FULLPLATE, +1 BATTLEAXE, BELT OF STRENGTH+2

AT WILL-> DANCING LIGHTS, DISGUISE SELF, GHOST SOUND, INVISIBILITY, PYROTECHNICS, TREE SHAPE, WHISPERING WING
CONSTANT-> PASS W/O TRACE, TONGUES, WATER BREATHING

Initially, we were hoping to have the extra witch around to use the coven ability (yay leadership for a hag). This character has her own gypsy caravan courtesy of leadership. We have yet to use coven, though it seems to be of limited use in combat. Retribution hex is great when the DM doesn’t roll poorly ( :P) Sadly, the second encounter was against golems which are immune to magic (hence the hanging back in that encounter, see Shane). This character hasn’t had an opportunity to shine yet. Hopefully fights with real humanoids will come up soon, as well as an opportunity to do things outside of combat.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

====

Your Captain has switched on the Exposition Sign, please put your posts in the full upright position.

This adventure is going to be, essentially, a regular adventure. I intend to run it until the end of the playtest, and then, if my players still want to keep playing in it, we'll keep going. Since we meet once (or occasionally twice) a week for this, I don't know how far we'll get before the test is done. The idea is that they've come to the City of Brass to hold a meeting with a major world figure, but when they arrive, things go horribly wrong. There's chaos in the street.

Now for Encounter 2:

Golems Rampage Through the Market CR 16, XP 76,800

Iron Golem CR 13 (25,600)

4 Clay Golems CR 10 each (38400)

"Brass" Retriever CR 11 (uses the stats for an ordinary Retriever)(12,800)

===
===

Arriving in the marketplace, our heroes discover madness reigns as every construct in the area seems to have gone berserk AT THE SAME TIME. Surely, this cannot be a coincidence. Four clay golems resembling a Jann, Djinn, Marid, and Shaitan genie wreak their fury on scrambling azer and mephits, while an iron golem fashioned after an Efreet stomps the hell out a platform presumably used to display exotic animals or slaves for sale. A brass construct designed to replicate a retriever clambers on a tall wall with auditorium-style seating at the top, (where efreet could fly up and watch auctions from on high.)

Every adventure has a few encounters with a CR higher than the party. Puts hair on your chest.

I learned quite a few things from this encounter. Thing one is Clay Golems make nasty brute mooks. Even at a CR 4 less than the party level their DR was unassailable. Although there were plenty of high-plus weapons (to bust through adamantine) in the party, none of them were also bludgeons. Haste gave the golems three attacks a round at +20 each, and cursed wounds meant that many spells were wasted on nonfunctional curing. And of course, not a man-jack or woman-jill of our group prepares move earth, etc.

At the start of the encounter, all the heroes could see for combatants were the clay golems, so the first order of business was to give the constructs something to focus on other than civilians.

For the Cavalier, this meant charging a golem on horseback and swift-dismounting so the charger could withdraw. For the Oracle, this meant quad or triple moving up to a golem. For the Summoner, this meant swift-summoning 3 large elementals to occupy the last two clay golems. Because the golems were spread out and rampaging through the crowd, the party had to split up on them as well, rather than staying together. Plans changed when the iron golem was spotted, and the Cavalier decided he needed to challenge the hell out of that thing. ...Pity the Witch had moved up to stand right behind the Cavalier to buff him. She was the next logical target for the clay golem when he ran off.

"Why am I alone?!" she wailed.

I thought this encounter would stymie the Summoner.  I thought it would show the weakness highly specialized eidolon builds introduce into the class.  This eidolon relies on ten (individually less overwhelming) claw attacks and a bite to rack up massive damage by bits with use of pounce or a simple full attack option.  Because of the nature of the golems' DR, and the fact that they heal from acid, (which all of the eidolon's attacks add,) it needed to crit to do any real damage.

Then the Summoner handily solved this problem by swift-summoning three large earth elementals, and when they wore out, a tyrannosaurus.  He was soley responsible for killing two of the four clay golems and helped finish off a third.  In addition, his eidolon (still under the fly spell) made short work of the retriever.  Although he needs to remember not to charge things with reach in case they have grab, once the eidolon was in combat range it dismantled the construct in one round with damage left over.  So far, in combat, when the eidolon could handle it, it could handle it, and when it couldn't, he had a summon for that.

The Cavalier continues to prove highly effective in a focused manner.  He went toe to toe with the iron golem, challenged it, and beat it down, with a solid assist from the Witch.  Honestly, the fact that his combat challenge aims at one specific target makes him highly manageable as a party-member.  I can count on him laying down the boom on one big bad guy (which is good,) but not to steal the show with the rest of the encounter.  So far, I like what this class does, though I'm concerned other build choices might not compare to the Two-Weapon style Cavalier.  Anyone else able to offer thoughts on, say, a two-handed weapon Cavalier, etc?

The Inquisitor is an archery fighter inspired by his iconic in the book, and thus, this fight was tough on him (bludgeoning & adamantine and all that jazz.)  Further, his judgements have a sort of "warm-up" period, which means he has a while before he really gets his groove going.  Still, he did cause one of the highlights of the fight when he turned his shovel effectively adamantine and started pummeling the face flat of the clay golem fighting the Witch's cohort (more on that soon, I promise.)  Hilarious and effective!

The Cavalier and Inquisitor players have been talking, and think they might have picked the wrong classes between the two of them, because the Cavalier player is more of a tactical thinker than the other... then, they pondered why the tactical feats don't belong to the Cavalier in the first place, since he's a battler out in the brink.  Food for thought.

The Witch has a cohort, a green hag with fighter levels.  The reason for this is-oh. Someone's already explained that. -.-   When there's in-character downtime, or when all players are present, they'll get their coven on and we'll see how that goes.  As it is, the hag fighter did a good job running inteference for the Witch, who inadvertantly found herself standing alone in front of a clay golem, (remember folks, blame the Cavalier suddenly charging off at the iron golem.)

The Witch cast greater heroism on the Cavalier, but her greatest contribution was hexing the bruiser iron golem with retribution.  It doesn't say the hex is mind-affecting, so we assume it works on everything.  She really helped out on that fight.  The hag cohort was handy as a damage sink for the mindlessly aggressive clay golem.

Afterthoughts

So, in encounter two, fighting berserk golems in a crowded azer marketplace:

Solid contributors were Cavalier, Oracle, and Witch.  I had reservations on putting the Oracle here because she spent quite a few rounds just being golem bait, but between mighty pebble and primary healer duties, she was indispensable.  It's just a shame she did most of her stuff after the encounter.

Strugglers were Alchemist and Inquisitor.  Big Props to the Inquisitor player for thinking outside the box with a shovel, though.

Show-stealer was Summoner.  Again.  Two clay golems died exclusively to his summons and cold arrows, and he assisted with the other two.  A single full attack from his eidolon put the retriever down dead at about -20 hp.  Previously, the retriever had only taken 9 points of damage from the Inquisitor's arrows.  I think swift summoning is too brutal, particularly for a character with a pet that's already too brutal.

Scarab Sages

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

This is a great thread...I recently ran a 15th level playtest of the all the character types and found the Summoners 'pet' to be the most effective. The player pointed out that it wasn't anymore powerful than the druid's animal companion at that level in terms of damage, which is definately correct (he built in with bite, claw, claw and rend), but it had acid immunity and a ac of 38...which is not in line with the animal companion.

I really don't get why the summoner has the light armour profiency and the higher hit dice...it just seems to make him more powerful than the wizard, yet with a huge advantage in the "pet" bodyguard.

I am going to write up the observations of the playtest, but I am not sure how much of the perceieved power of the classes were player driven, as we have players of differing ability at the table.

Scarab Sages

jon bourque wrote:
So, with the errata which I read on the first page of summoner posts, the problem of an army is reduced. With full round casting and a max of 1 summon monster at a time, the summoner is less crazy in a fight.

actually to correct you the summoner can only have one summon monster spell up at one time from his spell like ability (SLA) - this does not stop him from using the ability to summon more than one monster if he chooses to summon lesser level monsters.

It also does not prevent him from summoning using mulitple spells from his list which any sorceror/wizard or druid can do - the only one affected is his SLA

Scarab Sages

sanwah68 wrote:

This is a great thread...I recently ran a 15th level playtest of the all the character types and found the Summoners 'pet' to be the most effective. The player pointed out that it wasn't anymore powerful than the druid's animal companion at that level in terms of damage, which is definately correct (he built in with bite, claw, claw and rend), but it had acid immunity and a ac of 38...which is not in line with the animal companion.

I really don't get why the summoner has the light armour profiency and the higher hit dice...it just seems to make him more powerful than the wizard, yet with a huge advantage in the "pet" bodyguard.

I was the player that ran the summoner - the AC was actually only 34 but had mage armour on 15 hrs a day totalling 38 - when I did a basic comparison to the druid I had a tiger with AC 28 without barding which it could easily take & then enhance with magic - something that the current playtest does not allow the eidolon to do - which I am in favour of btw.

as for armour & hps for the summoner - I was thinking about this after we left & came to the conclusion that although 100' is a large distance the fact that the summoner must stay within that range or the eidolon loses 1/2 its hitpoints means it may need the extra hps & armour whereas the druid does not have that limitation - not that it mattered in most of the playtest.

with my build (which I will post later if people want) had similar attack levels as a druid pet. This was driven by concept rather than intention to make it on par. I could have easily broken the eidolon with many attacks & this needs to be limited to a certain amount - say a number of limbs that can attack to maybe 6, tentacles to four or even limiting the eidlon to a max 6-7 attacks of any type


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Something else to consider with the Eidolon. Each level you can completely rebuild it. Makes calling them evolution points a little silly.

If that never gets changed then I suggest compounding cost for the Eidolon. In other words, each time they purchase an ability they already have then it would cost an additional 1 EVP. So the first set of limbs cost 2, the second set cost 3, the third set 4 and so forth. The first set of claws would cost 1, the second set 2, the third set 3 and so on. This would promote a diversified build as opposed to a direct build.

Encouraging players to utilize a wide variety of Eidolon options would also be more fun and dynamic then the current sketch. It's just like my concern with the Challenge ability for the Cavalier. I HAVE to focus on it otherwise I'm not utilizing my abilities and I risk being underpowered (which can get a party killed, and no one respects the A-hole who wants to RP an underpowered character who gets the party killed - I repeated myself on purpose there).

A minor hiccup we had in the game. The cursed wounds of the Clay Golems were insane! A CR 10 creature which requires a caster level check DC 26 to heal the wounds it inflicts? A 10th level caster would waste 3 cures on average before sneaking one heal in. As a 14th level group our healers still needed a 12+ to overcome. That's a 45% chance of success! Yes, it was at least 2 to one on the Heals, as in the 6th level spell Heal, as in 2 6th level slots spent to Heal my character. Holy crap! Never mind the DR of 10/bludgeoning and adamantine. I had an easier time fighting the Iron Golem!

Our suggestion is to allow Remove Curse to make the damage healable as per the Assassin ability that makes you permanently dead. The after battle healing/curing fest has made us ill-prepared for the Dragon we spotted in the distance. I am not looking forward to Wednesday.


For Kara/Paradox,

If you're a Dwarf (and I may be wrong here), but you don't get the penalty for heavy armor to your speed... you take the dwarf penalty and ignore the armor speed penalty. Just so you know.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Dag-Nabbit, I hate it when this happens.

I wrote this past post in two parts on notepad programs two different computers, and when I went to combine the two and post them online, I somehow lost the info I wrote on how the Alchemist & Oracle did. Fortunately, I had a backup on a USB stick.

Sorry about that.

Here's how the Alchemist & Oracle faced the fight.

Once again, the Alchemist had problems. Because mixing a fire-bomb is a move action, and the explosive must be used on the round it is mixed, and it requires a standard action to throw, it is effectively a full round action to do the whole thing. This means the Alchemist must be in position to throw beforehand. He moved up and got ready to hurl a firebomb at the clay golem fighting the Oracle. Unfortunately, he was not eager to throw it, for she was standing right next to the golem, and would have taken splash damage. With his intelligence bonus (enhanced by items,) that comes to 17 fire damage. I think he might also have been concerned about splashing a civvie, (but he really shouldn't have, considering they were all azer and fire mephits, immune to fire.)

As in the last encounter, the Oracle played the shield-maiden role, bearing an armor-class too high for the brute to hit. Unfortunately, none of her attacks did enough to breach the damage reduction. Because it fought two or three full-attacks worth of rounds without any effect on either side at all, I decided the golem was fooled into thinking the Oracle was a wall or a rock or thin air. It turned something more lively, the Alchemist. (The game paused for a few minutes of laughter and banter, where everyone quipped with the Oracle player, "You bored a golem. You actually managed to bore a golem.")

The Alchemist managed to slip away with only a couple of clay bruises, but spent the rest of the fight sticking and moving, and he didn't find a chance to throw a bomb that wouldn't have caught allies or attracted aggression from an unoccupied golem.

Jumping back to the stone-focus Oracle again, once the golem turned away from her, she used mighty pebble to deal some serious damage to it. After the eidolon moved in to block, she was able to hurl the rest of her mighty pebbles and took the golem down. In addition to that, she was the primary healer who managed to patch everyone together again. Thus, she was useful in the standard medic role of a divine healer, and she took out a golem with the eidolon serving soley as a blocker, though it expended her entire mighty pebble resource.

Input from an Outside Source

My roommate pointed out to me last night, while I was going over the highlights of the battle, that I may have accidentally made the fight harder on the Alchemist by a simple decision on how the golems behaved. In my head, I imagined them as charging forward in a straight line to their targets, only stopping when they couldn't move any further, kind of like an angry wind-up toy faced with a wall. If I'd had them move only as far as necessary to reach the stimulation of an opponent to slam with their fists, the Alchemist might have been able to sneak a couple of bombs because of their reach. I wasn't trying to be cunning with mindless creatures, honest. I tell you, sometimes, the unwitting decisions you make as a DM... sorry, guys.

Then again, people did move in to engage them pretty quick too, so dunno.


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


Our suggestion is to allow Remove Curse to make the damage healable as per the Assassin ability that makes you permanently dead. The after battle healing/curing fest has made us ill-prepared for the Dragon we spotted in the distance. I am not looking forward to Wednesday.

I might actually still throw down with that idea now, mind you. I promised I'd look over Remove Curse and think hard about it. After all, they are called Cursed Wounds.

That means you guys probably only wasted the cure spells used in combat, and... ta-dah, we have a use for the Coven ability! I'll get back to you on Wednesday, but try and stay optimistic!


jon bourque wrote:

The player asked me to post her witch and hag…

Magda lvl 14 human Witch
STR 10, DEX 16, CON 10, INT 19 (25), WIS 14, CHA 14
FORT 10, REF 11, WILL 13
23 AC 65 HP
DIPLOMACY 19, HEAL 19, INTIMIDATE 19, ARCANA 24, NATURE 24, HISTORY 24, SPELLCRAFT 24
SPELLS CURRENTLY PREPARED
1- BURNING HANDS, OBSCURING MIST, GREASE, ANIMATE ROPE
2- CURE MODERATE WOUNDS, DAZE MONSTER, DELAY POISON, SEE INVISIBILITY, WEB, MIRROR IMAGE
3- DISPEL MAGIC, LIGHTNING BOLT, MAJOR IMAGE,
4- BLACK TENTACLES, ICE STORM
5- BALEFUL POLYMORPH HOLD MONSTER, TELEPORT
6- CONE OF COLD, CURE LIGHT MASS, GREATER HEROISM,
7- CURE MODERATE MASS, HARM

HEXES
CHARM, EVIL EYE, MAJOR HEALING, COVEN, MISFORTUNE, TONGUES, WARD, CACKLE, RETRIBUTION
GEAR-> HEADBAND OF INT+6, PEARL OF POWER x3 1,3,5, RING OF WIZARDRY 2ND LVL, CLOAK OF PROTECTION +2, RING OF PROTECTION +4, BRACERS OF ARMOR +6
FEATS-> ESHEW MATERIALS, IMPROVED INITATIVE, GREAT FORTITUDE, LEADERSHIP, SPELL PENETRATION, GREATER SPELL PENETRATION, SPELL FOCUS ILLUSION, COMBAT CASTING

HAG COHORT
STR 26, DEX 14, CON 16, INT 15, WIS 13, CHA 14
FORT 12 REF 9 WILL 8 AC 32 133HP
BATTLEAXE +1 (23/18) 1D8+10 AND CLAW (19) 1D4+4+WEAKNESS DC 19 FORT
LONGBOW+17 1D8
FEATS-> WEAPON FOCUS BATTLEAXE, WEAPON SPECIALIZATION BATTLEAXE, MULTIATTACK, DODGE, COMBAT CASSTING, DECEITFUL, GREAT FORTITUDE, TOUGHNESS
GEAR-> +1 FULLPLATE, +1 BATTLEAXE, BELT OF STRENGTH+2

AT WILL-> DANCING LIGHTS, DISGUISE SELF, GHOST SOUND, INVISIBILITY, PYROTECHNICS, TREE SHAPE, WHISPERING WING
CONSTANT-> PASS W/O TRACE, TONGUES, WATER BREATHING

Initially, we were hoping to have the extra witch around to use the coven ability (yay leadership for a hag). This character has her own gypsy caravan courtesy of leadership. We have yet to use coven, though it seems to be of limited use in combat. Retribution hex is great when the DM doesn’t roll poorly ( :P) Sadly, the second encounter was against golems which are immune to magic (hence the hanging back in that encounter, see Shane). This character hasn’t had...

I think the witch player is not really playing the class to its full potential, which might be coloring your playtest a bit. Looking at her spell picks, she could do a lot better - Harm and mass cure mod as 7th level memorizations? She could have taken reverse gravity (with fox familiar), waves of exhaustion, and/or SM VII - all much better spells. The strengths of the witch spell list are battlefield control, summoning, and divination. With a few exceptions she seems to ignored this. For the golem encounter reverse gravity would have been auto-win.

Also, on hexes, evil eye (to saves) + agony + cackle = single target lockdown at range. She can't do this with her hex picks.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

Great feedback and thoughts here. Keep em coming.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Dark Archive

jon bourque wrote:
However, I still have yet to see a significant change in the eidolon. There are hundreds of posts to read through...is there a consolidated official rulings post?

Kapow. Pretty useful. Summoner is on that site as well, in full all clickable and sh*t.

As a fellow Summoner player, I have a few design philosophy questions for you. You write that you decided to rack up the claws once you saw that the number was unlimited. But why then act surprised when the damage is through the roof? That's practically all you spent points and feats on.

Anything with sufficient flexibility can be broken and it looks like you went out of your way to break it. I'm not placing a value judgment on that decision, I'm just trying to figure out why there's an uproar.


Shane LeRose wrote:

Something else to consider with the Eidolon. Each level you can completely rebuild it. Makes calling them evolution points a little silly.

The thing is, as long as the maximum number of evolutions the summoner can gain by leveling is 2, rebuilding is the only way to obtain the higher cost evolutions. Something like this should be left up to the player and the DM.

The flavor portion said that the summoner calls an aspect of his eidolon, meaning that whatever shows up should resemble the eidolon at full power floating around in the AEther. I don't think it would be unreasonable for a character to explain or write down the high level concept, and try to make the evolutions work given the number of points you have at a given level. I would make this a suggestion, though, and not a hard-fast rule because no other class is required to show their DM a complete build 19 levels early...


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Thanks, Jason! Glad to be of help, we are.

Also, thanks everyone else who's contributed, commented and/or read along!

About the Witch...

For my buck, the Witch's actually been an effective character. She dealt a heavy (and final) blow to the rukh, and would have helped wipe it out even sooner, (retribution) had I been able to roll attacks worth a darn. I don't think my D20s like birds. She also did a solid for the Cavalier against the iron golem. My point is the character contributed tangibly to both encounters.

I think Quael the eidolon would be seriously borked (sorry, Jon,) if she successfully cast the retribution hex on it. Ouch.

The thing is, I haven't told my players what they're going to deal with, other than to say that I intend to have them deal with a variety of different adversaries and situations (time permitting.) So far, with the city in chaos, they've dealt with escaped dire animals and golems. Now it looks as if a dragon is tearing things apart. It's hard for them to be fully prepared. Purposefully.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
YuenglingDragon wrote:


You write that you decided to rack up the claws once you saw that the number was unlimited. But why then act surprised when the damage is through the roof? That's practically all you spent points and feats on.

Anything with sufficient flexibility can be broken and it looks like you went out of your way to break it. I'm not placing a value judgment on that decision, I'm just trying to figure out why there's an uproar.

Why is there an uproar? Really? Are you kidding me? Name another class that deals as much damage that consistently.

This playtest is to showcase both the best they can be and how much fun they are to play. For all classes involved. We're not paid to do this so we are not professionals. Two of us fully tweaked our characters and everyone else made something they'd enjoy playing. Ratio-wise most play groups are laid out just like this, but to attack Jon for giving Paizo this information (and no other playtest I've seen comes even close to a full break on any of the other classes) is more than a little asinine.

So yeah, of course points got spent appropriately, to better break the class, in the hopes that Paizo would notice and fix this issue before the class became canon. Otherwise what would be the point of playing anything except a Summoner?

"Durh, because I wants to RPs a wizards!"

The first time someone plays an inferior class they will covet the fun and excitement of the other players. This is why we balance the classes between themselves.

It's why the seven (occasionally 8) of us do what we do here. We want an enjoyable game across the board. It's hard to please the tweak players along with the concept players, but it isn't impossible.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Shane LeRose wrote:
YuenglingDragon wrote:


You write that you decided to rack up the claws once you saw that the number was unlimited. But why then act surprised when the damage is through the roof? That's practically all you spent points and feats on.

Anything with sufficient flexibility can be broken and it looks like you went out of your way to break it. I'm not placing a value judgment on that decision, I'm just trying to figure out why there's an uproar.

Why is there an uproar? Really? Are you kidding me? Name another class that deals as much damage that consistently.

You decide to push a rule to its breaking point then complain that there's a breaking point, and suddenly this is a design flaw?

Easy solution: set a maximum of 4 claws for a Medium or Small Eidolon, 6 for a large Eidolon, and 8 for a Huge. The size evolutions don't give you the claws automatically, they just give you more capacity for them.


Kvantum wrote:
Shane LeRose wrote:
YuenglingDragon wrote:


You write that you decided to rack up the claws once you saw that the number was unlimited. But why then act surprised when the damage is through the roof? That's practically all you spent points and feats on.

Anything with sufficient flexibility can be broken and it looks like you went out of your way to break it. I'm not placing a value judgment on that decision, I'm just trying to figure out why there's an uproar.

Why is there an uproar? Really? Are you kidding me? Name another class that deals as much damage that consistently.

You decide to push a rule to its breaking point then complain that there's a breaking point, and suddenly this is a design flaw?

Easy solution: set a maximum of 4 claws for a Medium or Small Eidolon, 6 for a large Eidolon, and 8 for a Huge. The size evolutions don't give you the claws automatically, they just give you more capacity for them.

This is exactly the sort of thing he's suggesting is in the actual class description, so you know, DMs who aren't familiar with the class don't suddenly have a many-tentacled monstrosity screwing up their games and requiring rebuilding. Not all players can control their character's power level well.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Kvantum wrote:
You decide to push a rule to its breaking point then complain that there's a breaking point, and suddenly this is a design flaw?

"Smacks forehead"

Yes, yes I do. We are playtesting. The breaking point has been pushed and it goes father than it should. Hence, design flaw. Hence, constructive suggestions to remedy design flaws.

Kvantum wrote:


Easy solution: set a maximum of 4 claws for a Medium or Small Eidolon, 6 for a large Eidolon, and 8 for a Huge. The size evolutions don't give you the claws automatically, they just give you more capacity for them.

I agree.

I also like the idea of making redundant abilities cost more each time they're purchased, but your way is simpler. So I grant the nod to you.

The rest is up to Paizo.


Kvantum wrote:
Easy solution: set a maximum of 4 claws for a Medium or Small Eidolon, 6 for a large Eidolon, and 8 for a Huge. The size evolutions don't give you the claws automatically, they just give you more capacity for them.

Hey, sounds great to me. They just needs to put that easy solution in the book.

And really, just ditto a lot of what Shane has said. I agree with redundancy costing more, too. Though it might lead to a (interesting?) trend of 2-tentacled, 2-clawed, winged, tailed, biting creatures. (I doubt this, but it's an amusing idea).

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Tim4488 wrote:
Though it might lead to a (interesting?) trend of 2-tentacled, 2-clawed, winged, tailed, biting creatures. (I doubt this, but it's an amusing idea).

You could always just roll all natural attack forms into a "natural attack" evolution. The more natural attacks of any sort you pick, the more expensive all additional natural attacks of any sort become.

Dark Archive

Shane LeRose wrote:


Why is there an uproar? Really? Are you kidding me? Name another class that deals as much damage that consistently.

With the right number of splat's you can do it with a lot of classes. How about a Malckonvoker or an Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil (Good gods, a prismatic wall as an interrupt!?!)?

Shane LeRose wrote:
This playtest is to showcase both the best they can be and how much fun they are to play. For all classes involved. We're not paid to do this so we are not professionals. Two of us fully tweaked our characters and everyone else made something they'd enjoy playing. Ratio-wise most play groups are laid out just like this, but to attack Jon for giving Paizo this information (and no other playtest I've seen comes even close to a full break on any of the other classes) is more than a little asinine.

Slow down, Shane. No attack was intended. I specifically say that I'm not placing a value judgement on the decision to utilize ten claw attacks, I was just wondering why anyone was surprised that ten claw attacks do a lot of damage. It didn't seem like anyone else in the group made an effort to make their character as ridiculously powerful in combat as the Summoner.

Shane LeRose wrote:

So yeah, of course points got spent appropriately, to better break the class, in the hopes that Paizo would notice and fix this issue before the class became canon. Otherwise what would be the point of playing anything except a Summoner?

"Durh, because I wants to RPs a wizards!"

You're far from the first person to point out that Eidolons can do a lot of damage. As I think someone up-thread pointed out already, you can break it a lot harder with tentacles instead.

Shane LeRose wrote:
The first time someone plays an inferior class they will covet the fun and excitement of the other players. This is why we balance the classes between themselves.

That has not been my experience in Pathfinder or other RP games. In Dark Heresy, the player that might have had the most fun was our Adept who was absolutely crap in combat but great outside of it. Do you seriously know not a single person that has fun playing a Bard or Barbarian? A melee character at higher levels? Classes aren't balanced now. The only way to balance these things is to homogenize the classes like 4th edition did.

Shane LeRose wrote:
It's why the seven (occasionally 8) of us do what we do here. We want an enjoyable game across the board. It's hard to please the tweak players along with the concept players, but it isn't impossible.

Taking away the customization of the Eidolon just because a minority or players will make it into something broken isn't about pleasing concept or tweak players, its about pleasing the players who don't want to play with a broken party member. That's not a design flaw, its a player flaw. There's another thread concerning a DM who wasn't happy with the amount of damage the Eidolon was handing out at lvl 1 or 2. He asked the player to tone it down a bit and the player, as he should, happily complied. I asked my DM last night if he felt like my Summoner was breaking his game and he said, "not at all".


So you established the damage is off the chart. Why not come up with a fix like charging 2x for extra attacks. Make tentacles/claws/bite cost 2 points when you try the next encounter.


YuenglingDragon wrote:
Shane LeRose wrote:


Why is there an uproar? Really? Are you kidding me? Name another class that deals as much damage that consistently.

With the right number of splat's you can do it with a lot of classes. How about a Malckonvoker or an Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil (Good gods, a prismatic wall as an interrupt!?!)?

Shane LeRose wrote:
This playtest is to showcase both the best they can be and how much fun they are to play. For all classes involved. We're not paid to do this so we are not professionals. Two of us fully tweaked our characters and everyone else made something they'd enjoy playing. Ratio-wise most play groups are laid out just like this, but to attack Jon for giving Paizo this information (and no other playtest I've seen comes even close to a full break on any of the other classes) is more than a little asinine.

Slow down, Shane. No attack was intended. I specifically say that I'm not placing a value judgement on the decision to utilize ten claw attacks, I was just wondering why anyone was surprised that ten claw attacks do a lot of damage. It didn't seem like anyone else in the group made an effort to make their character as ridiculously powerful in combat as the Summoner.

Shane LeRose wrote:

So yeah, of course points got spent appropriately, to better break the class, in the hopes that Paizo would notice and fix this issue before the class became canon. Otherwise what would be the point of playing anything except a Summoner?

"Durh, because I wants to RPs a wizards!"

You're far from the first person to point out that Eidolons can do a lot of damage. As I think someone up-thread pointed out already, you can break it a lot harder with tentacles instead.

Shane LeRose wrote:
The first time someone plays an inferior class they will covet the fun and excitement of the other players. This is why we balance the classes between themselves.
That has not been my experience in Pathfinder or other RP games. In Dark Heresy,...

I agree all classes should not be created equal. DnD was never about balance or PvP. I know plenty of people who play bards and even couple witches now that do almost no damage but have lots of fun. That being said something could be grossly overpowered and everybody and their grandmother would want to play it making the game silly.


Here's a question after looking over the eidolon stats. Can claws be added to the Limbs (leg) evolution, from the sounds of it, legs give speed increase, not additional attacks based on the initial stat block of a quadraped eidolon. If so that means the eidolon would lose 4 attacks. The player would get back 2 points for not using the claw evolution which could then be placed into rake, difference of that is the eidolon has to grapple the opponent in order to use the attacks.

Something to consider clarifying in the rules.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Please stay frosty, everyone. We're all trying to help here. Even if we disagree :)

My thoughts on Jon's eidolon are as follows:

1) Part of playtesting is seeing what options put the game's structural integrity at undue stress. Point-based character games like Mutants & Masterminds need careful judgement, to make sure something reasonable at 1 rank doesn't become overly scary at 4, particularly if you only need to pay 1 point per rank. And make no mistake, the eidolon is a point based character class... er, class feature.

2) Really, this is not a hard evolution to think of; I'm not a hardcore optimizer, but all I need to do is decide, "I want my Summoner to have a big nasty vermin-like thing, like a giant centipede eidolon!" Then, I go, "Well... if I'm giving it lots of legs already, why don't I give them lots of claws?" That's why I think it's very important to test this evolution path, whether or not the eidolon in question can be stymied and what happens to the summoner when the eidolon finds itself successfully blocked.

I do rather like the idea being batted around to make the claw/tentacle/what-have-you-attack more expensive per evolution the more you duplicate it, and making multiplying natural attacks more expensive in general sounds like a nice approach to keep the number of dice the Summoner slings per turn maneagable. It needs some limiter or budget escalation.

... my opinions on game balance is complex. Perhaps I should say diplomatic. I know people who believe game balance is the Holy Grail of gaming, and others who think it's a cup of poop.

Mostly, I'm here to report on what I see in play, and what I think that means.

Next game is this evening. I hope you look forward to it. :)

Dark Archive

Mahrdol wrote:
I agree all classes should not be created equal. DnD was never about balance or PvP. I know plenty of people who play bards and even couple witches now that do almost no damage but have lots of fun. That being said something could be grossly overpowered and everybody and their grandmother would want to play it making the game silly.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that there aren't fixes to be made to the Eidolon. I'm saying that changes based on the breakages that a minority of players would choose are reactionary and detrimental to the class for people who want to play it without going out of their way to break it.

Drakli wrote:
Please stay frosty, everyone. We're all trying to help here. Even if we disagree :)

Agreed.

Drakli wrote:

1) Part of playtesting is seeing what options put the game's structural integrity at undue stress. Point-based character games like Mutants & Masterminds need careful judgement, to make sure something reasonable at 1 rank doesn't become overly scary at 4, particularly if you only need to pay 1 point per rank. And make no mistake, the eidolon is a point based character class... er, class feature.

2) Really, this is not a hard evolution to think of; I'm not a hardcore optimizer, but all I need to do is decide, "I want my Summoner to have a big nasty vermin-like thing, like a giant centipede eidolon!" Then, I go, "Well... if I'm giving it lots of legs already, why don't I give them lots of claws?" That's why I think it's very important to test this evolution path, whether or not the eidolon in question can be stymied and what happens to the summoner when the eidolon finds itself successfully blocked.

However, someone who wanted to make a balanced Eidolon could still make a centipede type, give it claws on only half its legs and spend points on more utilitarian abilities like skill focus, scent or flight.

Drakli wrote:
I do rather like the idea being batted around to make the claw/tentacle/what-have-you-attack more expensive per evolution the more you duplicate it, and making multiplying natural attacks more expensive in general sounds like a nice approach to keep the number of dice the Summoner slings per turn maneagable. It needs some limiter or budget escalation.

I also think this a good idea. Rather than something more reactionary like increasing the cost of limbs or claws or limiting total EP, this kind of change has no effect on more balanced Eidolons while preventing abuse.

Drakli wrote:
Next game is this evening. I hope you look forward to it. :)

And I do. I'm really hoping to see the Oracle come into her own. I think every focus other than Battle seems a little on the weak side but the Oracle has some interesting ideas on synergistic uses of some of the revelations. Also, I'd be interested to hear a bit more on what you guys mean about the problems with her deafness (pun unintended).


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Just a crazy last minute idea before game:

Give the Alchemist a sling.

Let him use his firebombs with it.

Any arguement on whether the flasks would unbalance the sling are counterbalanced by how awesome the image is in my head. (But then, one of my favorite anime/manga characters is Ussop from One Piece.)

I think the added range could give him that extra boost he needs.

Thoughts?

Dark Archive

Well, it definitely doesn't make much sense sim wise. It just wouldn't work. It is a great image, though.

Lantern Lodge

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..


Kevin Murphy 340 wrote:

Here's a question after looking over the eidolon stats. Can claws be added to the Limbs (leg) evolution, from the sounds of it, legs give speed increase, not additional attacks based on the initial stat block of a quadraped eidolon. If so that means the eidolon would lose 4 attacks. The player would get back 2 points for not using the claw evolution which could then be placed into rake, difference of that is the eidolon has to grapple the opponent in order to use the attacks.

Something to consider clarifying in the rules.

Note, I had limbs (legs) twice for free and bought 3 times, and claws 5 times (hence 10 attacks)

This cost a total of 11 evolution points

That aside, the game is about to start, and I am using a different eidolon because the current one is too lame. And now for something slightly different...

STR 28, DEX 18 CON 18 INT 7 WIS 10 CHA 11
SPEED 40 AC 35 (MAGE ARMOR)

BITE+26 2D6+8+POISON(23 FORT 1D4 CON 3 RDS)+GRAB+TRIP
2 CLAWS +24 1D6+44
2 RAKES +26 1D6+8
STING +26 1D6+8
CMB +22 (+26 GRAPPLE)
CMD 36

EVOLUTION COST TIMES TAKEN TOTAL
grab 2 1 2
rake 2 1 2
POISON 2 2 4
CLAWS 1 1 1
TAIL 1 1 1
STING 1 1 1
scent 1 1 1
Improved natural armor 1 2 2
trip 1 1 1
large 3 1 3
pounce 1 1 1
19
feats
ability focus poison
combat reflexes
power attack
nimble moves
Improved natural attack bite
acrobatic steps

That being said, we have devoted a ton of time in this thread to the summoner. I will post a "post-game analysis" of the new eidolon, but we should move our focus elsewhere. Thanks all, I've liked the discussion!


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Here here. The Eidolon horse is dead, beating it will only make it angry and vampiric.

Do people think the Battle Oracle overshadows other foci? How about their weakness'? Deafness is quickly getting annoying to have to deal with in game. It almost makes the character have to do things alone since no one can communicate with her.

Alchemist is an awesome class that needs more work. An excellent NPC villain, but limited PC class. Either needs more discoveries or equal time spent on both bombs and Mutagen. This way the Alc can HUlk out when its bombs would be dangerous to the party.

Cavalier: I'm going to retract my previous suggestions. Class is fine as is. Probably the most well put together class offered so far. I would still like to feel encouraged to focus on mounted combat, maybe a horse rider Order (or Dragonrider prestige class).

Witch is another class that people are undervaluing. Those Hexes are really useful, especially retribution.

Inquisitor: This is a "busy" class. Too much is going on here. Justices should be better streamlined. Keeping track of how many rounds its been active is flavorful, but if a PC forgets to activate it the first round they're taking a huge hit. Classes with a built in way to punish players are not always fun. I see the Justices' being a +2 bonus from round 1 and up. I also see feats or abilities, or heck spells if the class keeps them, being altered by the active Justices'. Maybe a justice the gives you a series of feats based on your level. The trip feat tree or automatic extend/enlarge spells, but only against the group you're condemning. I see the Inquisitor as being like the Cavalier. With the Cavalier you challenge a person, gaining a substantial bonus against them. While the Inquisitor condemns a group of enemies, granting themselves and allies a substantial bonus against them. Food for thought.

Oh I just had a great idea on how to balance out the Summoner without nerfing , , , oh no! Vampire horse is biting my neck!

Glurb!

Sczarni

Shane LeRose wrote:


Do people think the Battle Oracle overshadows other foci?

Yes. Nothing else even approachs making me want to play. Stone or Fire have intriguing abilities, but not enough

Quote:


How about their weakness'? Deafness is quickly getting annoying to have to deal with in game. It almost makes the character have to do things alone since no one can communicate with her.

Hand Sign can be a single point language. Sure, its a Skill Point tax for the whole party, and she needs to stay on the lookout, but it gives you silent communication even under normal talking time.

Quote:


Alchemist is an awesome class that needs more work. An excellent NPC villain, but limited PC class. Either needs more discoveries or equal time spent on both bombs and Mutagen. This way the Alc can HUlk out when its bombs would be dangerous to the party.

More discoveries, I think (like rogue talents, perhaps?) and perhaps trapfinding. As it stands, delay bomb is a necessity; with sleight of hand, decent cover, and a few rounds, I could have blown any of the PC's to kingdom come twice over. Bombs need to be faster or last a bit longer, maybe you can make em in the morning and they last a day?

I never touched the Mutagen in my NPC alchemist, so I can't say what that was like.

Quote:


Cavaier: I'm going to retract my previous suggestions. Class is fine as is. Probably the most well put together class offered so far. I would still like to feel encouraged to focus on mounted combat, maybe a horse rider Order (or Dragonrider prestige class).

Witch is another class that people are undervaluing. Those Hexes are really useful, especially retribution.

The one witch I played was kind of "meh", didn't do much beyond summon and hex, but the player kept her way back, too...

Quote:


Inquisitor: This is a "busy" class. Too much is going on here. Justices should be better streamlined. Keeping track of how many rounds its been active is flavorful, but if a PC forgets to activate it the first round they're taking a huge hit. Classes with a built in way to punish players are not always fun. I see the Justices' being a +2 bonus from round 1 and up. I also see feats or abilities, or heck spells if the class keeps them, being altered by the active Justices'. Maybe a justice the gives you a series of feats based on your level. The trip feat tree or automatic extend/enlarge spells, but only against the group you're condemning. I see the Inquisitor as being like the Cavalier. With the Cavalier you challenge a person, gaining a substantial bonus against them. While the Inquisitor condemns a group of enemies, granting themselves and allies a substantial bonus against them. Food for thought.

Oh I just had a great idea on how to balance out the Summoner without nerfing , , , oh no! Vampire horse is biting my neck!...

Will have better insight into the Inquisitor next weekend. Until then, it does seem like it's trying to do too many things at once. I was quite pleased at the spell list, though. Those make it really easy to go out solo-bounty-hunting and come back to get paid.

Looking forward to seeing more play-by-play, keep it up guys!

-t


Yar!

I'm looking forwards to the next game post. Good stuff.

Just a thought... I find it odd and a bit humorous that some people criticize others for posting: their personal feedback and suggesting tweaks to what they found to be issues; then suggest the same tweak to them or telling them to not worry about a obscure exploit.

But... isn't that the purpose of playtesting? Discovering any exploits that the designers may have overlooked before the product gets finalized and sent to print? (and get positive feedback as well, of course) Why else would Paizo have such an extensive playtest period with such a large community if not to discover, test and tweak any / all small, individual concerns, issues, and exploits a new class may provide? Although other people may have noted some of the same things in other threads, doesn't mean it can't be said again.

Just a thought. *whistle innocently while walking casually into the sunset*

...On the plus side, this thread is organized, entertaining, and actually provides in game examples of how these things played out and were brought to the foreground. Jason B. himself has complimented it. Keep up the good work!


Alrighty, After looking over the Foci again and again, I think I have discussed this topic to death with Shane as well, here goes.

In the Battle Foci, you can a *BUNCH* of things that people take for granted. one Revelation for Medium and Heavy Armor, and tack on martial weapons? A solid and powerful oracle can then go toe to toe with pretty much anything a cleric could, and resoundingly, the spont. casting is pretty amazing as well. Add in that even more revelations come down the line, like Battlecry, and you have a reason it is considered the end all of Foci. To solve at least the weapon/armor bonus from the Foci, I would suggest scaling the gains by level - Martial weapons at the start, then medium at 5th level, Heavy Armor at 7th or 10th. This would be more in line with the rest of the Oracle class, and also less front-heavy. Honestly, as is, why not take the Skill at Arms Revelation first? Full plate, healing and ailment removal as spontaneous casting? That is your cleric, with a lot more versatility. The other revelations then build up and farther to that, bringing it to do even more than the cleric does. But the Skill at Arms revelation is the only one to me that seems overly "broken".

Bones has some nifty abilities, but again, the Oracle class does not HAVE to have a God set to base off. In my character, instead of a god, I have been thinking that I am an avatar of Stone. Power from the earth, and I think more dwarven-like. No god represented, just the ideal of stone shaped by my will. Similiar to a monk without a god - you work for what you believe, not what someone else says to you. A code of ethics might constrain you, but it might not be words from god that created that code of ethics.

Now with regards to the witch - there are a number of things overlooked, and the Coven hex has some power that we have yet to actually tap into as of yet. I do look forward to seeing that go into play.

The Cavalier is very much playable as is. The two weapon fighting tree does turn the Cavalier into a brutal combat persona - just because those extra dice help him overcome damage reductions as well. A Two-Handed weapon might not work as well, because the multiple weapons give alot more dice than just one would. Maximizing the dice from the Challenge ability should be the first thing to fcus on - once the challenge is over, you can still go toe to toe in close combat with other things as well. Just like the ranger does.

Inquisitor I have yet to see much on, the warm-up of his Justices I can understand working, but honestly, instead of the warm-up, maybe make them level-based like the Oracle Revelations are in some cases. Honestly, what need will a character have for an adamantine weapon after three rounds?

Summoner - This horse is now vampiric? Seriously folks, I just cast Heal on it and get this thing over with already? Great class, but the evolution points need work. I won't go into it, because Shane and Jon have already done so in ways I believe work very well.

Oracle - wording on the revelation abilities all around. Some of them are very ambiguous in their wording, and it can get very weird when combining the different revelations. Even in the Foci of Stone, Mighty Pebble and Rock Throwing - does that mean I deal the Mighty Pebble damage AND the basic rock throwing damage as well?

Alchemist - This class does have a few problems inherent. The splash damage, maybe have the ability to change the shape of the splash? OR just not have a splash damage? In addition, bringing up the whole fact that the Alchemist gets so few discoveries, and they go to either the bomb OR the mutagen? Allow them one in each table, or give alot more discoveries so the alchemist can do different things. Just a couple of discoveries more, because honestly the alchemist has a few nifty tricks, but if even one party member is in combat, they would be worried about killing a PC - and unless your character is rightfully a d***e-bag, that doesn't happen.

That is my opinions, as of this time in the post. Yes, I know now that the Dwarf gets no speed penalty from armor. But lacking the encumbrance also comes into play - who needs a bag of holding with the Lame curse? :D

Also - Hand Sign might get around the deaf, but maybe instead of Deaf you are hard of hearing? The deafness is proving a major issue, although honestly it should give a bonus to Sense Motive, or maybe a Read Lips ability?

Dark Archive

I agree with everything you're saying about the Battle Oracle (Battlecle?) but maybe not with your conclusion. I thought the Battle focus made the Oracle an interesting class balanced with Fighter and Cleric. Though the focus is powerful, the limited spellcasting and curse balance it against the Cleric. The BAB and lack of Armor Training or Weapon Training (not to mention feat trees) balance well against the Fighter.

I think rather than apply the nerf bat liberally to this focus, a healing shiv needs to be applied to the others to perk them up a bit. Bones is definitely another cool focus. But lets look at some of its revelations. Why is armor of Bones such crap? Adding DR5 is great when it comes but its duration is pretty terrible when compared to something like Mage Armor or Barkskin. Other abilities are interesting but fairly situational. The elemental Foci I think are worse. Most of those abilities are markedly less effective that similar spell effects a Cleric or Wizard could do.


*waves hand* Witch#2 here. I thought I'd share my character.

Kettericken lvl 14 Elf Witch
STR 10, DEX 18, CON 10, INT 18, WIS 14, CHA 14 FORT 4, REF 10, WILL 11
AC 34 HP 59
Skills:
Fly: 21 Intimidate 12, Arcana 21, History 14, Nature 14, Planes 14, Perception Spellcraft 23, Use Magic Device 21

SPELLS CURRENTLY PREPARED
1- Reduce person, obscuring mist Comprehend Languages, Ray of Enfeeblement (Animate Rope)
2- Summon Swarm, Summon Monster II, Fog Cloud, Touch of Idiocy, (Mirror Image)
3- Summon Monster III, Dispel Magic, Bestow Curse, Vampiric Touch, (Major Image)
4- Summon Monster IV, Ennervation, Dimension Door, Solid Fog, (Phantasmal Killer)
5- Summon Monster V, Cloud Kill, Feeble Mind (Mirage Arcana)
6- Summon Monster VI, Dispel Magic Greater, Slay Living (Mislead)
7- Summon Monster VII, Waves of Exhaustion (Reverse Gravity)
HEXES
m:Cackle, Coven, Evil Eye, Slumber. M:Agony, Retribution, Vision

GEAR/WEAPONS->
Ring of Protection +5, Ring of Force Shield +2, Amulet of Nat. Armor +5, Bracers of Armor +8, MW Rapier, MW Long Sword, MW Long Bow.
FEATS->
Combat Casting, Eschew Materials, Spell Penetration, Magical Aptitude, Skill Focus, Spell Focus (Conj.) Augment Summon.

Most things were done to see how they work and what combinations. And just to see. The familiar Fox wasn't in the bestiary so we took stats from a Large dog and augmented it to fit.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Ahhhh! We've got Enounter sign! Ahhhh!

First of all, please welcome our 7th player, running Witch Two, (why do I think of the Cat in the Hat?) able to join the playtest for the first time tonight. Build-wise, she's a bit different from Witch One (though both are mad for foxes,) and I see she's posted stats. Thank you! She seems more interested in casting spells than hexes, but this was her first night, so we'll see.

The Short Film: Changes

As was mentioned by Jon, who turned his Eidolon into something my brain keeps imagining as a wingless, arthropod manticore (and which I nickname "The Lyger,") I've allowed players to change some aspects of their characters. At first, I was reluctant, but they convinced me that (a) it would be a good idea to playtest different things, and (b) because it was a playtest, not all of the class feature interactions were originally understood when picked. I said that as long as they weren't switching to the dragonslayer oath, hex, etc. because they saw a dragon in the distance last week, it was okay.

In the end, very few things were actually changed other than the eidolon. The Oracle switched a skill around, and almost changed her focus to battle, but decided to stick with stone and see about trying out more of the abilities there. Witch One swapped out the Greater Healing hex for something I can't remember because she didn't use it this encounter. I think that's about it.

Your feature film for tonight will be a real clunker (clanker?) called...

The Brass Bronze Dragon of the City of Brass (CR 14 38,400 XP)

Creatures:

Mature Adult Bronze Dragon CR 14 38,400 XP

Special note from the director: This was actually the second dragon I cast for this part. Originally, I'd statted up an old brass dragon. Then, I realized the Alchemist only uses firebombs and he already had a terrible time last session. I recast the dragon, because I'm generally not a jerk. Besides, the point was already realized... the Alchemist can't deal with fire immunity or varied resistances unless he spends discoveries on alternate energy types. The problem is, he gets precious few discoveries to spend as is, and if he dumps them into alternate energies, he doesn't have them to spend on cool things like additional useful bomb qualities, using his infusions on fellow party-mates, and mutagens. Personally, I believe the Alchemist would be best served by starting out with an energy type for his bombs, then automatically giving him a choice of new ones at various levels without decreasing his discovery count. Perhaps force would stay a discovery.

Moving right along...

When last we regarded our intrepid heroes, they just reclaimed the marketplace from rampaging golems. Off in the distance, they espied a brazen, clockwork dragon laying waste to another district. Wisely, they chose to take a few minutes rest to remove their curses (Yay coven!) and heal before taking on this challenge. While they rested, several grateful azer and mephit cityfolks thanked them and brought news... throughout the city constructs went berserk all at once, destroying buildings, freeing animals, killing citizens. That's why no efreet, fire giant, or salamander guards showed up to help the PCs... everyone was spread thin, trying to quell the robot rebellion. The party must go it alone.

Arriving in a section of the city modeled after Classical Fantasy Greece, with a set of free-standing pillars, the party makes use of some massive knowledge arcana checks to discover it isn't a brass dragon, but a bronze dragon cast in brass; it wasn't a construct, but a living dragon encased in plates of magic clockwork barding (henseforth, it was called "The Bionic Dragon.") On its forehead, branded into a brass faceplate in blackened script was a sigil none could read (because the party can't speak Ignan.) Then, they commenced to fightin!'

I'm not going to mince words. The Witches won this battle. Because it was on a crazed rampage, the dragon had all its buffs up. That meant heroism, blur, mirror image (5,) shield, and mage armor. It had a frankly unassailable AC of 39. It could afford to pick and choose targets as it liked, disregarding attacks of opportunity and all but ignoring charges. When Witch One, the Oracle, and the hag cohort obligingly all lined up in a row, it overconfidently landed in a disadvantagous position amidst a series of tall brass pillars just to get them all in its lightning-breath. (Dear readers, please remind me for Saterday game to make Witch One roll a DC 24 reflex save for her fox familiar, to see if it takes 34 points of lightning damage. She has a tendency to wear her familiars in her cleavage, and I've declared by GM edict we simply must not forget the presence of familiars anymore.)

The first brass nail in its coffin came when it failed its save against the Retribution Hex. After critting on the eidolon and taking a big chunk of that itself, it unwisely passed on a full attack (or improved vital strike) it should have taken to finish the nearly dead super-summon off, because it seemed the only way the heroes could hurt it was if it attacked them. Instead, it used slow to remove haste from most of the party around it, and slow the two huge air elementals Witch Two created to help the fighter types hem it into the pillars. Then, the Witches systematically used dispel magic and greater dispel to peel the poor dragon out of its buffs. Suddenly, the fighter types had a much more valid target.

(... hours after the fight, I realized I'd forgotten a couple of the Spell Resistence checks, but if my players'll forgive me, I hope you will. The Witches' caster-levels were 14, and one of them had spell penetration too, so it isn't too bad. Still embarrassing.)

Surprisingly, apart from casting haste at the start, the Summoner didn't have much influence on this battle. I don't know if this eidolon build is just less brutal than the last, or if a battle eidolon just doesn't have as much oomph in general against a target with as much hit denial as an old bronze dragon fully buffed up. The Summoner kept missing with dispel magic too. Besides, there's a vampire horse wandering around, so let's move on.

The primary damage dealers this encounter were the Cavalier (of course) and the Alchemist (!) As it turns out, an Alchemist is pretty awesome at blasting Huge monsters. For one thing, a touch attack of 8 is hard to miss, and even with blur and mirror image, he can still deals 17 points of splash damage. By aiming the bomb at specific squares of the monster, he can also minimize the chance an ally might soak splash. If the Witches are the heroes who won this fight, the Alchemist is the one who kept the dragon from fleeing with its life. The Cavalier dealt the last blow, but it wouldn't have been enough damage without the Alchemist's sticky bomb discovery. Its next action would have been to breathe a cone of repulsion gas, hoped a not unreasonable hope that someone would have gotten out of the way, and flown the *censored* away. Alternatively, it could have made a caster check to try and use dimension door. I'm not sure which I would have chosen... DD is a gamble, but it would have garuanteed an escape if it made the caster check. Still, if I'd used a brass dragon as originally intended...

While truly, the dragon was the only combatant tonight, the Cavalier player did note, a bit sourly, that what he does to one guy, a rogue could do what a rogue does to every opponent the it faces as long as it can get a flank. Personally, I still love having a class I can expect to do awesome against that one big guy and not steal the show against anyone else.

That leaves the Oracle and the Inquisitor.

I know it's really cliche to say this, but I'm starting to wonder what the Inquisitor is for in combat. To be sure, the Inquisitor saved the eidolon and the Alchemist from being shaken due to the dragon's frightful presence with a timely remove fear. And because of his seeking arrows, he ignored the heck out of the concealment defensive buffs. Unfortunately, between the prohibitively high AC and relatively low damage output (even with giving himself bane vs dragons,) the dragon didn't really care except for the loss of a few mirror images. Once again, the judgements didn't really last long enough for me to notice they were being used.

The Oracle didn't really didn't do much, though what she did saved the eidolon from an untimely demise by a combo of dragon crit and incidental sticky firebomb splash. Heal is their friend. Since the dragon wasn't trying to murder her with melee, even her aspect as the heavy armor class aggro soak didn't kick in this time around.

... so... the dragon reeled, spitting sparks and puffs of repulsion gas from its gaped maw. As it collapsed, the brass-clockwork armor fell away from it, landing in a scattering of cleanly seperated, still functional mechanical parts (handy that most items in the City of Brass are resistant to fire.) The great brass faceplate rolled to a stop by the Alchemist's feet, and the good Doctor, determined never to leave a mystery unturned, picked it up with intent to find a native to interpret the mysterious sigil. Fueled by still-clinging flame, the dragon corpse burned.

Something positive about the encounter and something negative. (Ram-chip, please!)

Solid Contributers: Alchemist, Cavalier, Summoner, Witch One and Witch Two (Now I'm back to the Cat in the Hat again!)

I'm almost tempted to call the Witches the show stealers, but really, they enabled others... just superlatively well. I admit I was a wee bit frustrated with Retribution. It's not quite so bad with dumb monsters, who don't know any better than to keep attacking, but with smart creatures who know what's going on, it makes me reluctant to... you know, attack. And if that's your only monster. Ah well. Like I said, I should've soaked the damage and run with it. There are nastier situations. I think part of what bugs me is that I don't know what a hex is. It's a supernatural ability, but beyond that, is it a curse or a condition? Just some thing that happens? I can't dispel it. Can I use break enchantment or remove curse? I feel like I should be able to treat it like a curse, because in traditional lore, that's what a hex is. Maybe I need to go back over the Witch rules. I might have missed something.

The Summoner threw a solid haste and his monster did some damage and blocked escape, so... I feel like he sat at a midpoint between struggling and contributing.

Strugglers: Oracle & Inquisitor.

The big drawback to a deaf Oracle is not that she can't hear invisible monsters sneaking up on her... it's that she can't talk with the rest of the party. Since read lips isn't in the rules anymore, you have to improvise your way through this problem. I'm tempted to suggest sense motive checks, or maybe Lip Reading as a feat. Beyond that, a telepathy effect would solve the problem. The real question is whether or not the Oracle is getting enough out of this to soak deafness as a class feature instead of leaving it as, say, an optional anti-feat for interesting roleplaying.

What do you think, Sirs?

Sczarni

sounds like a good fight, especially with 7 characters...

the Alchemist, more and more, is reading like a rogue/spy character. take your time, set up your attack, then hit with overwhelming, unstoppable force and fade away. let the damage over the next couple of rounds or your melee friends finish it off. also seems like it could replace the classic Rogue, if only they get stealth as a class skill.
I agree that more discoveries are needed. Perhaps every 2nd or 3rd lvl, similar to rogue talents.

Cavalier: i really like this class. feels and plays like the PHB2 Knight (which i also really liked)..can take a beating, and can really dish it out, under the right circumstances. BTW, with Power Attack, Sprited Charge, and the like, the Cav is really only doing significant damage on his challenges? that's like 15 dmg / hit extra, but hardly seems like a win/lose condition. maybe its just me.

Witch i am really starting to take a shine to. plays like a wizard with healing potential, almost like my Mage from WoW...very interesting. Add in the Summons (and fogs and walls like #2 above) and you have a rocking good caster.

Summoner, nuff said. He rocks as is, perhaps too much so...

Inquisitor...again, I am struck by the "wants to do everything" feel. Heals, stealth, ranged combat, party buff, etc...seems like a bard, almost, but more geared towards archery (by default). Perhaps making a beastly archer who buffs/heals/tracks as secondary tricks would suit the class better...

-t


Drakli wrote:
I think part of what bugs me is that I don't know what a hex is. It's a supernatural ability, but beyond that, is it a curse or a condition? Just some thing that happens? I can't dispel it. Can I use break enchantment or remove curse? I feel like I should be able to treat it like a curse, because in traditional lore, that's what a hex is. Maybe I need to go back over the Witch rules. I might have missed something.

Part of the problem is that none of the classes are really in a finished state. Evil Eye's a good example here: It's described as 'doubt creeps into the minds' but when all is said and done it's not yet been given any descriptors. Part of the point of the playtest might be to give these abilities as few limitations as possible to figure out what limits might be needed. So the fact that Hexes are currently not any known status condition MAY be entirely intentional.

...or maybe not, it's late for me.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
psionichamster wrote:


Cavalier: i really like this class. feels and plays like the PHB2 Knight (which i also really liked)..can take a beating, and can really dish it out, under the right circumstances. BTW, with Power Attack, Sprited Charge, and the like, the Cav is really only doing significant damage on his challenges? that's like 15 dmg / hit extra, but hardly seems like a win/lose condition. maybe its just me.

Stray thoughts while I'm at it. The Cavalier does decent damage on his charge. I seem to remember him dealing a good 25 damage with his charging warhorse and a lance to a mastodon. By the way, if that's not an awesome image to you, I'm authorized to revoke your membership to the awesomeness review board. He just got totally upstaged when the eidolon pounced in and did like 123 damage.

Other charges have been problematic. He charged the rukh, but since his horse couldn't fly at that time, he couldn't lance it. A clay-golem soaked a lance with goopy clay DR. The dragon said, "Yeah, whatever," when neither charge even got close enough to its 39 AC to break a mirror image.

As for hexes, I think... until someone gives me a really compelling reason not to do, I'm going to treat hexes as a sub-set of curses that don't work like the standard PF curse mechanic.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

A Cavalier, an Oracle, a Summoner, a Witch, an Inquisitor, and an Alchemist Walk into a Bar.

I ran another session of our Advanced Players' Guide play test this past Saturday, and I think it went rather well. Because this is a play-test, I found a temptation to just focus on combat encounters, to really put the classes through their paces. But... two things stopped me. One, I don't think that would be as fun for my players or me, and two, I believe it's useful to see how the classes run in different circumstances than a fight.

I did prepare a potential combat situation or two, but my players didn't bite (perhaps fortunately.) Mostly, they went to a bar.

Fun with Diplomats

Fresh from slaying the brass-plated bronze dragon, the heroes reunited with their Efreeti diplomat, a temperamental princess/amirah low enough on the birth-line to relegate to babysitting mortal guests. Between the party and guard squads throughout the city, the robot rebellion was quelled, it was time for answers.

Here the Inquisitor shone, largely based on the player buying well into the class flavor. During the various battles, the player kept a notebook where he jotted down various questions about the situation that didn't make sense, detective-style. Every golem in the city, gone mad all at once for no good reason? Inconceivable! Armed thusly, they grilled the irritable princess. High sense motive checks on the part of the Cavalier and Inquisitor told them she was flustered and frightened about what was going on and knew no more than they. They also learned more about the construct-armor the dragon wore, which controlled it... and which went mad as well when every construct in the city went berserk. The city-wide golem attack was a big inconvenience, they determined, but not enough to actually cripple the city. It could only be a distraction, but from what? What major event or treasure was there to secretly attack while the city guards were otherwise occupied? Apart from the famous sage visiting at the palace, the very person the heroes arrived to see! They all rushed to the palace.

... 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. This was one of the encounters that could have become a fight, but didn't. Instead, they gave a message to the captain, who sent it in by mephit courier, and retired to a fancy hostel reserved for visiting diplomats, ambassadors, and other important foreign guests. It helped that the Summoner spoke Terran, as the acting guard captain was an oath-bound import from the plane of Earth, and was glad to meet someone who spoke her language. It defused a lot of tension.

At the diplomat's plaza, the party found a bar with three foreign emissaries from which they could try and win information, using such skills as Bluff, Diplomacy, Know (history) etc. Instead... as usual, my players forged their own route. I'm not surprised... they're fun that way. They decided to attract attention and see who came to visit them! Using his massive Craft (alchemy) checks, the Alchemist offered to mix drinks at the bar. Theoretically, I should have made this be Craft (drinks) or something, but it's a lot of fun letting players find new and interesting uses for skills. He mixed an incredibly powerful beverage and presented it to the Cavalier, who managed to kept his head above water, barely.

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. She suggested the Cavalier, who'd backed down from the Alchemists superior mixing skills, take another drink. When he resisted, barely, she laughed and taunted him playfully, before challenging the Alchemist to take his time and see if he could brew a drink to knock her off her feet. She put 1,000 gp on the line that said he couldn't do it, and even let him take as long as he needed to brew it (take 20.)

The Inquisitor's Know (planes) allowed him to figure out this was a set-up, a contest his ally couldn't win, because succubi are immune to poison. His player asked me if there was something they could do to doctor the drink to get around this impossible-to-beat-advantage. With monster lore aiding and inflating his check, and my desire to offer a situation where they might succeed, I allowed that an infusion of holy water might do something to intoxicating effect. However, I noted that only a master Alchemist could mix a drink that would accept the blessed liquid that way, and only if he did it really well. (In other words, don't start mixing holy water into poisons hoping they'll affect demons. Not gonna fly.)

The Inquisitor managed to distract her with an Intimidate check that beat her Sense-Motive check (no one else made a successful check,) while the Oracle cast bless water on the drink the Alchemist was prepping.

Not suspecting anything, she took the drink and spent the rest of the night failing her saves, getting drunk off her butt for the first time ever, and adoringly hanging on the Alchemist's shoulder. The Inquisitor, who bet against her, got 1,000 gold richer. She eventually passed out on the bar, and the Alchemist, being a gentleman, dropped her off at her room with an anti-toxin vial.

This actually attracted the attention of diplomat 1, a jolly Shaitan merchant, who invited everyone to his table for dinner as thanks for showing him the most hilarious sight in his life, a drunk succubus. Already wooed by the spectacle, and the anticipation of seeing the stuck up, glorified harlot hung-over in the morning, he required no diplomacy checks. Happily, he told the heroes a lot more info about the sultan, the current climate of the city, and what he knows of the prisoner golem suit the dragon wore. (Between the merchant and the princess, if the PCs run into a similar situation to the dragon, I'll give them a Knowledge check that might help.)

The heroes got a return note from the sage, delivered by palace mephit messenger, which informed them that the palace was under siege from within by assassins. The only thing to do of course, was, first thing in the morning, find a way into the locked down and dimensionally blocked palace, and save the sage and the sultan.

I'll give the details of how they did it after next game, because this report went on long enough.

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.

At this point, I'd like to point out that my players are so awesome that I was able to run this part openly at the table, and no one meta-gamed about how he's wrapped around a succubus's finger now. Which is good, because it would be hard to report on the playtest otherwise.

Afterthoughts

Out of combat, the Inquisitor finally really shone, and dang but he shone well brightly. His skill-set, with monster lore (and intimidate) helped the party gather information and bypass a lose-lose situation. Further, the flavor-drive of the class guided the player into looking for those answers.

Just as elegantly and cleverly, the Alchemist's player found a fully stocked bar of fun messing around with his chemist mixing mastery. Getting info from the diplomats was perhaps secondary compared to how much fun he had cleverly messing around with drinks... but he really provided the idea... getting the diplomats interested in them... that achieved the goal. With a little help from his friends, of course.

I'm not talking down the other players, for they played their characters well, pitched in, and it was quite fun all around. However, this was really the Inquisitor's and Alchemist's night to show off, as they could fairly smoothly hit the high DC checks the party needed and had fun abilities that took advantage of unorthodox approaches.

Post Script

Since I run this game twice a week, I nick a lot of NPC stat-blocks from my Paizo adventure path collection. Saves a lof of time. See if you can spot the characters I nicked this session and from where, but watch out for spoilering at people!

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