Sound Striker - Weird Words


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Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, lashing out with 1 potent sound per bard level (maximum 10), each sound affecting one target within 30 feet. These are ranged touch attacks. Each weird word deals 1d8 points of damage plus the bard’s Charisma bonus (Fortitude half ), and the bard chooses whether it deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage for each word. This performance replaces suggestion.

A couple of questions:

1) Even though each word can only affect 1 creature, couldn't you have all of them target a single creature? That is, make a maximum 10 words strike against a single target? Or do all of them have to affect separate targets (please don't be the case!)?

2) Can this performance be maintained, or is it just a standard action, 1 round deal?

I really hope question 1) works as I hope it does, playing as a damage dealing bard sounds really appealing.


There is no language that says he can't target the same guy with all of them. That's averaging out to 45 damage at level 10, which isn't so bad. More effective than any Bard sonic spells at least.

Since it replaces Suggestion, I think it's non-maintainable.


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Ellington wrote:

Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, lashing out with 1 potent sound per bard level (maximum 10), each sound affecting one target within 30 feet. These are ranged touch attacks. Each weird word deals 1d8 points of damage plus the bard’s Charisma bonus (Fortitude half ), and the bard chooses whether it deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage for each word. This performance replaces suggestion.

A couple of questions:

1) Even though each word can only affect 1 creature, couldn't you have all of them target a single creature? That is, make a maximum 10 words strike against a single target? Or do all of them have to affect separate targets (please don't be the case!)?

2) Can this performance be maintained, or is it just a standard action, 1 round deal?

I really hope question 1) works as I hope it does, playing as a damage dealing bard sounds really appealing.

Why does Dune come readily to mind?


Cheapy wrote:

There is no language that says he can't target the same guy with all of them. That's averaging out to 45 damage at level 10, which isn't so bad. More effective than any Bard sonic spells at least.

Since it replaces Suggestion, I think it's non-maintainable.

Yeah, it's a bit better than 45 damage though since you get your charisma modifier on top. So if you have a modifier of +6 (easy to get by level 10) you'll be looking at 105 damage before fort saves.


Ellington wrote:
Cheapy wrote:

There is no language that says he can't target the same guy with all of them. That's averaging out to 45 damage at level 10, which isn't so bad. More effective than any Bard sonic spells at least.

Since it replaces Suggestion, I think it's non-maintainable.

Yeah, it's a bit better than 45 damage though since you get your charisma modifier on top. So if you have a modifier of +6 (easy to get by level 10) you'll be looking at 105 damage before fort saves.

Oh damn! I forgot about that!

Scarab Sages

2) You have to use a standard action each round to deal the damage.

Hadn't thought about focusing them all on 1 creature before. I think that goes against RAI, but RAW I can't see a reason not to.


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This is a Rules Question that needs to be answered, in PFS I had a bard player doing around 90 damage a round with this ability. Since it is organized play I dont feel I can tell him it is terribly over powered. I agree with RAI, affecting multiply creature.


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MultiClassClown wrote:
Ellington wrote:

Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, lashing out with 1 potent sound per bard level (maximum 10), each sound affecting one target within 30 feet. These are ranged touch attacks. Each weird word deals 1d8 points of damage plus the bard’s Charisma bonus (Fortitude half ), and the bard chooses whether it deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage for each word. This performance replaces suggestion.

A couple of questions:

1) Even though each word can only affect 1 creature, couldn't you have all of them target a single creature? That is, make a maximum 10 words strike against a single target? Or do all of them have to affect separate targets (please don't be the case!)?

2) Can this performance be maintained, or is it just a standard action, 1 round deal?

I really hope question 1) works as I hope it does, playing as a damage dealing bard sounds really appealing.

Why does Dune come readily to mind?

The David Lynch movie?

"My name is a killing word."


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Apparently no reply is required to this question. What does that mean? Can we get some official clarification on whether multiple Weird Words can be used against against a single target or not please?


Jezza wrote:
Apparently no reply is required to this question. What does that mean? Can we get some official clarification on whether multiple Weird Words can be used against against a single target or not please?

It means it works as asked. You can hit same guy and deal decent damage; there is no limit that each must be a seperate creature.

And the Staff believes no reply needed because they agree.


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It's not really that good of an ability, in hindsight.

It requires a touch attack, so there's one way to fail.

It requires a fort save, which is a more likely way to fail.

And they come in small spurts, so DR will eat this thing up.

Plus, you can't be Inspiring Courage.


Cheapy wrote:

It's not really that good of an ability, in hindsight.

It requires a touch attack, so there's one way to fail.

It requires a fort save, which is a more likely way to fail.

And they come in small spurts, so DR will eat this thing up.

Plus, you can't be Inspiring Courage.

DR doesn't apply to supernatural damage.

At level 6, you deal 1d8+Cha x6, yes you need Ranged Touch (easy), and a Fort save 1/2 (not as easy).
Granted no DC listed, Presumely Suggestions DC is used: DC 10 + 1/2 bard’s level + bard’s Cha modifier.
So DC 13 + Cha.

Likely you'll max Cha to 16 or 18.
So 6x1d8+3/4, DC 16/17.
Dealing average (Cha 16) 45, 22 on a save (DC 16).
Or
Dealing average (Cha 18) 68, 34 on a save (DC 17).
Yes, the damage will be lower or higher than listed because they get to save vs each of them.

Now Ability focus raises the DC to 18/19 but you don't get the next feat till 7th level.


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Starbuck_II wrote:
Cheapy wrote:

It's not really that good of an ability, in hindsight.

It requires a touch attack, so there's one way to fail.

It requires a fort save, which is a more likely way to fail.

And they come in small spurts, so DR will eat this thing up.

Plus, you can't be Inspiring Courage.

DR doesn't apply to supernatural damage.

Actually, I'm pretty sure it does. Energy damage ignores DR. This isn't energy damage, it's physical damage. At the very least, the section of Damage Reduction in the PRD doesn't mention supernatural abilities, other than that DR can be one.


Cheapy wrote:
Starbuck_II wrote:
Cheapy wrote:

It's not really that good of an ability, in hindsight.

It requires a touch attack, so there's one way to fail.

It requires a fort save, which is a more likely way to fail.

And they come in small spurts, so DR will eat this thing up.

Plus, you can't be Inspiring Courage.

DR doesn't apply to supernatural damage.

Actually, I'm pretty sure it does. Energy damage ignores DR. This isn't energy damage, it's physical damage. At the very least, the section of Damage Reduction in the PRD doesn't mention supernatural abilities, other than that DR can be one.

DR only applies to weapon damage (improvised and Natural are weapons).

The numerical part of a creature's damage reduction (or DR) is the amount of damage the creature ignores from normal attacks. Usually, a certain type of weapon can overcome this reduction (see Overcoming DR). This information is separated from the damage reduction number by a slash. For example, DR 5/magic means that a creature takes 5 less points of damage from all weapons that are not magic. If a dash follows the slash, then the damage reduction is effective against any attack that does not ignore damage reduction.

This is why falling damage has no DR to go against: it isn't a weapon. Neither is Weird Words.

Dark Archive

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Damage Reduction (Ex or Su) A creature with this special quality ignores damage from most weapons and natural attacks. Wounds heal immediately, or the weapon bounces off harmlessly (in either case, the opponent knows the attack was ineffective). The creature takes normal damage from energy attacks (even nonmagical ones), spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities.

Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, lashing out with 1 potent sound per bard level (maximum 10), each sound affecting one target within 30 feet. These are ranged touch attacks. Each weird word deals 1d8 points of damage plus the bard's Charisma bonus (Fortitude half), and the bard chooses whether it deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage for each word. This performance replaces suggestion.

EDIT:
http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/additionalMonsters/universalMonsterRules .html


Starbuck_II wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
Starbuck_II wrote:
Cheapy wrote:

It's not really that good of an ability, in hindsight.

It requires a touch attack, so there's one way to fail.

It requires a fort save, which is a more likely way to fail.

And they come in small spurts, so DR will eat this thing up.

Plus, you can't be Inspiring Courage.

DR doesn't apply to supernatural damage.

Actually, I'm pretty sure it does. Energy damage ignores DR. This isn't energy damage, it's physical damage. At the very least, the section of Damage Reduction in the PRD doesn't mention supernatural abilities, other than that DR can be one.

DR only applies to weapon damage (improvised and Natural are weapons).

The numerical part of a creature's damage reduction (or DR) is the amount of damage the creature ignores from normal attacks. Usually, a certain type of weapon can overcome this reduction (see Overcoming DR). This information is separated from the damage reduction number by a slash. For example, DR 5/magic means that a creature takes 5 less points of damage from all weapons that are not magic. If a dash follows the slash, then the damage reduction is effective against any attack that does not ignore damage reduction.

This is why falling damage has no DR to go against: it isn't a weapon. Neither is Weird Words.

I would think that DR still applies, since you have the choice of making the damage bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing. The only rules difference among those types of damage is the type of DR that they bypass.


Blah.

My thinking is that : if they wanted to ignore DR, they would've used sonic damage. They didn't though, even though sonic damage really really fits.


I figure it basically acts as weapon damage (either piecing, slashing or bludgeoning) which can be divided in any way you want (so yes, multiple shots per enemy if you want). So DR should apply, otherwise they wouldn't have mentioned piecing, slashing, etc.
I am also pretty sure that it can't be maintained in subsequent rounds, because in the "bardic performance" section of the sound striker, it states "A sound striker gains the following type of bardic performance. Neither performance can be performed more quickly than a standard action." So basically, each round you want to use it, you have to spend a standard action and a round of bardic performance. It also says that "a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, lashing out..." suggesting that it qualifies as your performance for the round, and cannot be combined with other performances.
But still, even with DR this ability is badass! at 10th level you shoot 10 1d8+CHA (by level 10 my gnome had 23 CHA + 4 Enhancement = +8) damage. All range touch attacks with 30ft range! Lets see a two-weapon fighting specialist compare with that...

Dark Archive

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Err..I'm not sure why people are still talking about DR.

> Weird sounds is an Su.(Supernatural Ability).

Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action...

>Thus the damage it deals are damage from supernatural abilities. Yes they are B/P/S damage but still, they are damage from a supernatural ability which is called Weird Words.

>Creatures with DR take normal damage from supernatural abilities.

Damage Reduction (Ex or Su) A creature with this special quality ignores damage from most weapons and natural attacks. Wounds heal immediately, or the weapon bounces off harmlessly (in either case, the opponent knows the attack was ineffective). The creature takes normal damage from energy attacks (even nonmagical ones), spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities. (Universal Monster Rules from B2)

>Therefore DR does not apply to Weird Words.

It seems very clear imo


Starbuck_II wrote:


This is why falling damage has no DR to go against: it isn't a weapon. Neither is Weird Words.

Are you saying here that DR doesn't apply to falling damage, or that there is no DR that is 10/falling damage DR?

Because I rather like monsters with DR being able to drop from tall places without falling prone, such as vampires, dragons and the tarrasque.

Dark Archive

Cheapy wrote:

It's not really that good of an ability, in hindsight.

It requires a touch attack, so there's one way to fail.

It requires a fort save, which is a more likely way to fail.

And they come in small spurts, so DR will eat this thing up.

Plus, you can't be Inspiring Courage.

Suggestion is damn good though, and doing only damage for subbing it out is pretty bad.

Still, this is a reliable way to do damage that bypasses DR. The Fort save DC should be really high since it's a bardic performance.

I'll be taking a look at this archetype more closely however.


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MadAmazone wrote:

Err..I'm not sure why people are still talking about DR.

> Weird sounds is an Su.(Supernatural Ability).

Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action...

>Thus the damage it deals are damage from supernatural abilities. Yes they are B/P/S damage but still, they are damage from a supernatural ability which is called Weird Words.

>Creatures with DR take normal damage from supernatural abilities.

Damage Reduction (Ex or Su) A creature with this special quality ignores damage from most weapons and natural attacks. Wounds heal immediately, or the weapon bounces off harmlessly (in either case, the opponent knows the attack was ineffective). The creature takes normal damage from energy attacks (even nonmagical ones), spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities. (Universal Monster Rules from B2)

>Therefore DR does not apply to Weird Words.

It seems very clear imo

I definitely agree that Weird words is a supernatural ability, and that supernatural abilities bypass DR. But in this instance I feel that the rule-makers intended for DR to apply because otherwise mentioning S/P/B has no relevance since their only application is in the bypassing of DR. Also, if DR does not apply this ability is quite abusive. Almost no warrior can compare to this kind of damage unless they are incredibly strong and massive.

Also, suggestion as a bardic ability isn't that useful; the spell is much more effective. The fact that you have to fascinate creatures first (under non-combative conditions) before attempting to suggest makes the application of suggestion very rare.


cdogg makes a very good point. What use is damage type if it automatically bypasses DR?


CasMat wrote:
cdogg makes a very good point. What use is damage type if it automatically bypasses DR?

Oozes, for one thing.


If you do anything but fight, you will come up with many situations where suggestion is nice.

Someone should make a rules question post about supernatural physical damage.


The first thing I do as a GM to address whether an ability is too strong or not is to test it against my players.

In my 8th level party, an archer bard is going to use the soundstriker archetype, so I did some math.
He has 19 dex and 16 charisma as natural scores. Especially charisma can be boosted via eagle's splendor to a +5 modifier, or at very least +4 with a headband. Going with a +5 cha bonus for clarity. +6 BAB +4 dex +1 point blank shot = +11 ranged bonus to hit within 30 ft. That's a guaranteed hit against anyone with a ranged touch AC of 13 or less with a 2+ on the d20, and I'm not counting inspire courage, haste or other things that can raise the bonus. The bard has precise shot and since weird words is a standard action, he can move to negate most cover boni. I assume that any 1's is effectively countered by any 20's (critical hit x2) damage wise, so I'll assume every word hits.
8x(1d8+5) equals an average of 76 points of damage if all fort saves fail, 38 if all fort saves are successful. Given my players' hit points (about 50 to 70 at level 8), touch AC scores and fortitude scores and averaging out successes and failures based on those, three out of six characters are in immediate life danger, the other three surviving with less than a dozen hp, and I'm just using the average. Just a bit of bad luck (like, above average damage rolls or one more failed save) and even the other three could collapse to concentrated weird words in a single standard action.

That's enough for me to ban the "concentrated" use. It's far more powerful than any damage spell of comparable level, more difficult to counter, and would kill one character per round by level 6 to about level 12.


CasMat wrote:
cdogg makes a very good point. What use is damage type if it automatically bypasses DR?

Supernatural abilities don't automatically bypass regeneration, which can in some cases be bypassed by b/s/p type (the tendriculos, for example.)

Scarab Sages

Point 1) A bard dedicated to the use of Weird Words will likely only need precise shot (and, of course, point-blank shot) feat-wise, and probably won't have above a 14 starting dexterity, with an 18+ in Charisma. By level 7, if there are any enemies in range of you at the start of your turn, you can use weird words followed by a move action inspire courage. Bards attempting this tactic might want to take one or two Extra Bardic Music feats.

Point 2) Most damage-oriented classes are dealing roughly equal damage on average, and many of them can deal more damage if everything goes their way. The biggest problem is that Sound Striker stops scaling after level 10, which keeps the damage from being relevant at higher levels. At the mid levels it shines, which I think is fair if you want to specialize in it.

Also: NECROMANCY!


This is the only thread that was talking about weird words and whether they can/should be concentrated on a single target. Either I add to this thread or start a new one, so I'm no necromancer, I just felt this thread was relevant to my doubts.

Thing is, Weird Words is harder to counter than any other damage dealing stuff, since touch AC is very rarely high enough to bother by level 6 up, especially with precise shot: 1 misses, 2+ hits usually.
Anything that could outright kill an equal level character with a single standard action at level 6-10 with not much hope for salvation is overpowered in my book.

1) My friend will play a bard archer who happens to be a soundstriker, so he favors dexterity over charisma. I'm fully aware that a bard focused to weird words use can crank up even higher numbers, I've been conservative with my calculations and the outcome is still quite disturbing on a single target scenario.
I don't have problems if the soundstriker uses no more than one word per target, the problem lies if he concentrates all of them on a single target, that's almost a guaranteed kill.

2) At mid levels it outright kills a single foe in one standard action, single handedly, most of the times. If that's not within the definition of overpowered, I don't know what is. If I were to use an equal level npc with that tactic, I'd kill one character per round. For me, it's gamebreaker either way and I'd like to hear arguments about this.

I'm not going to let the bard use weird words in a concentrated manner, because I think that's overpowered for the reasons I explained. Is there anything I oversaw about this ability that would make it appear less powerful?


Can you use Point-Blank Shot and Precise Shot with Weird Words? I've been assuming that these feats would not modify Weird Words in any way, specifically because they only work on attacks with "ranged weapons".


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http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz1l20?Point-Blank-Shot-Precise-Shot-for-Ranged-T ouch
http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz32vr?Point-Blank-and-Nonray-Ranged-Touch-attack s

There does not seem to be a reason why those feats wouldn't work with any ranged attack, otherwise you'd have the weird case when you can hit normal AC more easily than touch AC (think a human commoner with no armor in melee with an ally...)

Scarab Sages

Krinn wrote:

http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz1l20?Point-Blank-Shot-Precise-Shot-for-Ranged-T ouch

There does not seem to be a reason why those feats wouldn't work with any ranged attack, otherwise you'd have the weird case when you can hit normal AC more easily than touch AC (think a human commoner with no armor in melee with an ally...)

Actually, I never realized it, but RAW, those feats don't work with Word Striker. The attacks with Weird Words are bizarre in that they require attack rolls, but are not rays, and therefore aren't weapons. Interesting...

The necromancy thing was a joke. Don't take me too seriously :P

There are plenty of weapon-based characters that have the capacity to defeat equal CR targets in a single round of attacks. Just search the DPR Olympics in the forums and you'll see plenty of character builds that can equal or exceed the Sound Striker Bard. Remember, the numbers you posted are average... IF every ray hits, and IF the enemy makes no successful saves. There are much, MUCH worse things out there than Weird Words.

If the rest of your group is having trouble keeping up, they probably aren't optimized for damage. The Sound Striker bard is an easy way to make a relevant damage-dealing bard without a lot of work.


Davor wrote:
Krinn wrote:

http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz1l20?Point-Blank-Shot-Precise-Shot-for-Ranged-T ouch

There does not seem to be a reason why those feats wouldn't work with any ranged attack, otherwise you'd have the weird case when you can hit normal AC more easily than touch AC (think a human commoner with no armor in melee with an ally...)

Actually, I never realized it, but RAW, those feats don't work with Word Striker. The attacks with Weird Words are bizarre in that they require attack rolls, but are not rays, and therefore aren't weapons. Interesting...

The necromancy thing was a joke. Don't take me too seriously :P

There are plenty of weapon-based characters that have the capacity to defeat equal CR targets in a single round of attacks. Just search the DPR Olympics in the forums and you'll see plenty of character builds that can equal or exceed the Sound Striker Bard. Remember, the numbers you posted are average... IF every ray hits, and IF the enemy makes no successful saves. There are much, MUCH worse things out there than Weird Words.

RAW they don't work, RAI I'm not much sure, since Complete Arcane stated back in 3.5 that pretty much any ranged attack can benefit from those feats, and everybody I know wouldn't rule that precise shot doesn't work with ranged attacks. Would you? They should probably put a FAQ over the issue, but that's kind of a separate one.

The average is assuming the miss chances as well:
- The 5% chance to miss on a 1 is negated by the double damage on a 20, and 2+ is a hit most of the times, if not just sing inspire courage as move/swift actions. Unless you're fighting monks or air elementals, touch AC is really easy to hit.
- The enemy save is put into consideration: let's say the DC is 20 and the enemy has a +6 fortitude: that's a 35% chance to make the save and 65% chance to fail the save for each word, my calculation actually keeps this in mind.
- Most of DPR olympics builds are optimized and in a full attack routine in melee (harder to do than ranged), possibly in peak performance with a quickened spell. My calculations are hardly for an optimized character, and for a lvl 8 one anyway, just a single standard action instead of a full round attack routine but are higher still. I just looked at the first page of the thread so I don't know if there actually is a soundstriker in the olympics but for what I've seen so far I'm pretty sure an optimized level 10 soundstriker would beat them all...

EDIT
In my group there is a werepanther rogue with the scout archetype = pounce sneak attacks, but the to-hit is lowish and even if the damage potential is very high, she rarely scores more than 1 or 2 hits.
There is also a weaponmaster whose to-hit is pretty high and dishes out a steady amount of damage, less potential than the werepanther but the two are similar.
Both are pretty powerful and rather optimized for damage, the bard isn't optimized either, yet he'd overshine both of them with the concentrated weird words.
The bard isn't in the group yet (the previous character from the same player was a ranger with favored enemies human who could keep up nicely with the other two against his favored enemy, but died last session and he can't be raised), but it seems that even when not built for it, weird words will out-dps the other two.
Neither of the characters could kill another character in one round (well, maybe the werepanther could if all stars were aligned), let alone in one standard action, the bard could.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I do not even like bards, but the mention of Dune, and the idea of playing a character named Muad'Dib, who kills with his voice, is just too cool.


You make a good point Krinn and 'weird words' may seem abusive, but you are generalizing too much. First of all, if you limit 'weird words' to one attack per opponent the ability becomes completely useless because it pretty much never occurs that there are ten enemies within 30 ft.

That fact aside, 'weird words' can be very devastating but it is not ideal in many situations. When fighting a rogue or a monk (characters with high touch AC), the odds of missing the ranged touch attacks can be very high. This is aside from magic bonuses, such as deflection.

Secondly, even if the characters are hit, against warrior types, which pretty much always have excellent FORT saves, damage from each attack is likely to be divided in half. Furthermore, magical bonuses to saving throws (which are quite cheap) further augment FORT saves. Not to mention the fact that DR severely reduces the effectiveness of this ability.

Another drawback is that, although warriors use weapons and must take full attack actions to land several strikes, as well as the fact that they are targeting a higher AC, weapons can be made magical. This means that weapons can be made to bypass various DRs, can obtain enhancement bonuses and can be given other special magical properties whereas 'weird words' cannot be upgraded. At high levels the effectiveness of 'weird words' becomes severely diminished comparatively.

Aside from these details, there are many other character builds which are equally devastating. If a strong warrior type wins initiative and grapples the bard, the bard will most likely lose the combat. If the grappled bard attempts to use 'weird words' while grappled, he will provoke an attack of opportunity and be pinned. Another example is if a sorcerer wins initiative, he can cast various enchantment spells which can end the match right there. Also, like in your description, a rogue with sneak attack can pour on the damage as well. In fact, I made a rogue which had the archetype "Knife master", which basically allows the swap of d6 sneak attack damage with d8s when using daggers, who can do way more damage in a shorter period of time.

I admit, that between levels 6 and 10 'weird words' is quite powerful in terms of potential damage output, but it is not foolproof. A character who builds his bard specifically to be a master at using this ability will have a lot of drawbacks.


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Inspire courage (as a move/swift action) and a moderate BAB effectively negates any high-ish touch AC. 7 bab +3 dexterity (counting a +2 item at 10th level) +2 inspire courage is +12. +2 from the d20 roll and it's a 14+, 15+ if you're small sized (likely since both small sized races also have a +2 cha bonus). Monks may afford a higher than 15 touch AC, but most monsters and most characters, even rogues, won't.

The DC is high since Charisma is high and the DC scales with the bard's level just like saves scale with level, but it's much more common for a bard to raise charisma at levelups than for a warrior-type to raise constitution because strength is more important for them. Even if you halve 6 words out of 10, the average damage is still pretty big, just do the math, I did and true, the group fighter is the one who behaves best against such an ability, but goes from full to about 10 hp on average, just a little fluctiation on the damage rolls and he's still in immediate life danger.

Damage reduction doesn't work against supernatural abilities.

I'm not worried about high level play, I'm worried about the levels at which the words are more powerful: 6-10 and maybe up to 12 too. At the level you get the words, they're pretty much the most powerful direct damage ability I've seen so far. I'd really like you to prove me wrong.

Weird Words is a supernatural ability and as such they don't provoke attack of opportunities and can be used while grappled without any concentration check. Maybe the bard will provoke one attack of opportunity from the fighter because there is a ranged attack involved, but once unleashed, the words pretty much slaughter that fighter.

Sneak attacking rogues need a full attack action, have to hit normal AC (normally way higher than touch AC so misses are much more frequent than just on a 1) and either they find some sort of greater invisibility for ranged or they put themselves in danger in melee. Weird words is a standard action and doesn't need anything of the above.

It's way easier to counter an enchantment than this ability and no spell outright kills an enemy at 12th level or earlier (ok, phantasmal killer does but you have to fail two saves in a row, not going to happen often)

I fail to see how those drawbacks can actually be important for a bard, since most of them are exceedingly rare (high touch AC), just a minor inconvenience (you need BOTH high fort and high hp to survive a single blast, and two blasts pretty much guarantee your death anyway) or do not apply (grapple and damage reduction).
You're right that it pretty much never occurs that there are ten enemies within 30 ft, so such a limit is pretty hindering, but as written, it's TOO powerful at levels 6-12, both in player's hands and in enemy hands.

As a house rule, I might slow the words advancement to 1 per 2 bard levels, so max is still 10 words at 20th level but it's not utter annihilation at levels 6-12 when you concentrate them on a single target.


Since these are performances, inspire courage will end the moment you start using Weird Words.


Nice catch!
There are of course many other ways to boost attack rolls but at least that one won't work.


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Kung Fu Hustle!


As a quick note, if anyone wants a look at what a semi-optimized Weird Words build might look like...

http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz446e?The-DPR-Summer-Olympics-or-What-are-we-sup posed#30

The thread it's in includes a variety of DPR calculations for those looking at balance.


I think my main issue with Weird Words is that if you aim all the blasts on one target you have to, theoretically, make 10 to hit rolls, and (up to) ten Fort saves. Maybe you can streamline it, but that just seems bonkers.

To me, that's the strongest hint that this effect isn't RAI (which I think it should be. Doing pitiful damage to ten different targets doesn't seem very attractive).


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Sound Striker is a lousy archetype. It gains two new types of bardic performance, Wordstrike and Weird Words, but Weird Words makes Wordstrike completely obsolete as soon as you get it, even against inanimate objects. They should have just given it Weird Words at 3rd level and made it scales in a more elegant way, like 1 ranged touch attack per 2 levels, like a previous poster proposed. Or they could have given to the Sound Striker an ability that deals significant damage against objects. That would have allowed you to make a big stone explode only with the sound of your voice, just like Muad'Dib. :)


Ya, the one word/two levels is a pretty reasonable modification, I may include it myself. As a side note though, Weird Words is a bardic performance so it can't be used with inspire courage. By that I mean, previous Bardic performances must be ended before a new one begins. Therefore, using inspire courage as a move/free action before using weird words is a waste. It is nice to use Inspire Courage after weird words though, to boost your allies. Finally, although Weird Words is a supernatural ability, I always apply DR because it states that it does piercing/slashing/bludgeoning damage. So I basically apply it as nonmagical weapon damage of one of these types.


I'm sorry for bringing this back from the dead, but a bard was able to help win the Gen Con special using this ability, managing to do 90+ minimum damage (if creatures made all their Fort saves), and 190 minimum if they failed all of their Fort saves, every round.

Im trying to figure out how to maximize the ability at level 11, and if this should even be possible.

You have 10 ranged touch attacks. Each one deals-

1d8 (4.5 damage on average)
+8 damage (from 26 Charisma)
+3 damage (arcane strike)
+1 damage (point blank shot)
+2 damage (good hope)

By that level, only a 1 will miss on a ranged touch attacks vs. 95% of enemies (16 DEX, point blank shot, good hope, +8 BAB)

So that would be 150 minimum damage (75 if they make all Fort saves), 220 maximum damage (110 if they make all Fort saves). It's a supernatural attack and thus not subject to any spell resistance or DR. The fact that the archetype says you can choose to make the words piercing, slashing, or bludgeoning only showcases the fact that the writer of the archetype had no idea how supernatural attacks worked and thus the archetype deserves a rewrite. I like the flavor of the ability, but it's clearly overpowered.

After speaking to GMs at GenCon, I heard that the Sound Striker archetype wasn't even under consideration for being banned, so I don't think people know what some players are getting away with with this. That would be 30+ rounds a day of 100+ damage not subject to DR or SR. Only a well placed Silence spell would kill it.

Scarab Sages

Well, a couple of things right off the bat:

That Weird Words does not work with Arcane Strike, nor does it work with Point Blank Shot or part of Good Hope. Despite dealing slashing, piercing, or bludgeoning damage, Weird Words is not a ray effect, and thus does not qualify for any feats or spells that only apply to weapons, which negates 6 of the above damage per word. Now, the attack bonus from Good Hope still applies to accuracy, but the words, again, aren't weapons (because the aren't rays), which makes them really tricky to modify.

Without the above bonuses to damage, you're looking at 1d8+8, or a minimum of 45 damage IF they hit with every attack, and IF the enemy makes every save, with a maximum of 150 assuming all failed saves and hits.


I agree with point blank shot and good hope, but arcane strike would not apply - these are not weapons.

The DR issue is very hazy (I believe most bludg/pierce/slash damage is intended to be affected by DR... but that seems counter to the flavor of this ability).

Scarab Sages

Majuba wrote:

I agree with point blank shot and good hope, but arcane strike would not apply - these are not weapons.

The DR issue is very hazy (I believe most bludg/pierce/slash damage is intended to be affected by DR... but that seems counter to the flavor of this ability).

PFSRD wrote:

Point-Blank Shot (Combat)

You are especially accurate when making ranged attacks against close targets.

Benefit: You get a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at ranges of up to 30 feet.

PFSRD wrote:

Good Hope (Spell)

This spell instills powerful hope in the subjects. Each affected creature gains a +2 morale bonus on saving throws, attack rolls, ability checks, skill checks, and weapon damage rolls.


So ONLY ray attacks count as weapon attacks as far as ranged touch attacks go?

I have sat with the player with other GMs who were more experienced than myself and they let him use it with all of those modifiers, as he argued that they could be used with all ranged touch attacks.

I need to find where in the rules it states that specifically.


He argued that by RAW, the weird words count as weapons since they are a supernatural attack and required an attack roll. We have argued each of these points before with him and he was able to counter argue each point. The fact that they can be bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing also seems to confirm that they are indeed weapons.

Even in the description of Sound Striker, it says that a sound striker can use his words "as a weapon." I think it sounds obviously squirrelly, but in PFS, you can't ban a character's ability if it technically works by RAW.

Scarab Sages

PFSRD wrote:
Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, lashing out with 1 potent sound per bard level (maximum 10), each sound affecting one target within 30 feet. These are ranged touch attacks. Each weird word deals 1d8 points of damage plus the bard’s Charisma bonus (Fortitude half ), and the bard chooses whether it deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage for each word.

Flavor text and an ability description are two very different beasts. Nothing in the ability description says anything about it being a weapon.

And yes, a ranged touch attack and a ray are two separate things. For example: A spell requiring a ranged touch attack requires a target. A ray can be fire blindly, and does not need a target creature in order for the effect to be created.

Also from the PFSRD:

PFSRD wrote:

Ray

Some effects are rays. You aim a ray as if using a ranged weapon, though typically you make a ranged touch attack rather than a normal ranged attack. As with a ranged weapon, you can fire into the dark or at an invisible creature and hope you hit something. You don't have to see the creature you're trying to hit, as you do with a targeted spell. Intervening creatures and obstacles, however, can block your line of sight or provide cover for the creature at which you're aiming.

If a ray spell has a duration, it's the duration of the effect that the ray causes, not the length of time the ray itself persists.

If a ray spell deals damage, you can score a critical hit just as if it were a weapon. A ray spell threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a successful critical hit.

Think of rays and ranged attack rolls as squares and rectangles. All rays are ranged attack rolls, but not all ranged attack rolls are rays.

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