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Designer

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wingermage wrote:

Hi Mark

Eidolon spell resistance evolution does not apply to spells cast by the summoner.Is it includes spell-like ability cast by summoner?

It looks like technically it's spells cast. Though it doesn't say the spells have to come from the summoner spell list, like share spells does.

Designer

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swoosh wrote:

So in the most recent Paizo Blog thread you posted that one of the reasons HA has so much stuff is that it doesn't have any new classes in it.

My question is, did the dev team ever think about adding some new horror themed classes?

There was a meeting like that. I floated several ideas, but they were concluded to be more like archetypes than classes, and I think everyone else was correct about that conclusion. I think I was the only one who did so during the meeting. The conclusion was to focus on having awesome corruptions and plenty of awesome for everything else. Like the one poster commented on that blog thread, it seemed like it would have to be a 500 page book to fit all the stuff we were previewing; it's first of all because we were efficient and secondly because classes can take up an incredible amount of space (and still sometimes feel like they want even more space). For example, without looking, try to guess what the last page of the classes chapter is in Occult Adventures. And that doesn't count the pagecount spent on giving each new class extra archetypes and other goodies later on. Even a single class can add up to a fair number of pages (for instance in Intrigue, the vigilante was so far behind other classes in number of archetypes, due to being brand new, that it had a number of pages of archetypes that matched the class size).

Designer

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Luthorne wrote:

1) What are your three favorite races from a design perspective?

2) What are your three favorite races from a lore perspective?

3) What's the silliest character or NPC you've ever played, and why?

Ah, someone's been noticing my answers that I like to separate out what I like from different perspectives!

1) From a design perspective, I'm going to look at just the race when it was released and not any changes due to later expansions of alternate race options (which were likely designed by someone else and not the race's initial designer). So, looking at the CRB release, Half-elves are something of a triumph in Pathfinder; they were mechanically terrible choices in 3.0/3.5 (possibly due to being a god race in 2e, I dunno), but Pathfinder gave them cool things that would make you sometimes really solid to play one without eclipsing humans. Well conceived. Focused study messed that up in a huge way, but we're ignoring those. In the same vein, human is solidly mechanically stable, which is a good thing, especially for a humanocentric setting, though pretty much all the tech for that was there since the 3.0/3.5 days. Elves are another race that show a major improvement in Pathfinder. In 3.0/3.5, they had an informed ability to supposedly be good wizards but were actually the second-worst race at being wizards after half-orcs. In Pathfinder, due to several tweaks, they are actually really solid wizards, neither eclipsed by humans nor eclipsing them.

2) From a lore perspective, skipping humans because they have the most lore and are split into ethnicities for lore anyway, I'm also going to assume we're talking about races presented with the "X as characters" in Bestiaries or as PC races in ARG or elsewhere (while Through Maelstrom Rift has a pyrausta bard, I don't get to pick that little mini dragon as a race, even though I like their flavor/lore). I love the First World take on gnomes in Golarion. It's excellent and one of the best takes on gnomes overall from various settings. Next maybe changelings; just full of so many RP hooks automatically (though on the other hand those hooks are very similar for multiple members of the race, so it could be tiring to be too many of them show up and I admit if I was inundated by them, they would lose the spot) Gathlain are also quite cool, so let's go with them. Honorable mention half-orcs because the different options for half-orcs in Golarion are fascinating, especially the orcs who have half-orc children on purpose to be commanders.

3) Oh gosh, I could go on for hours about some of the silly characters. I'll name the first one that sprung to mind when you asked, even though I later came up with others and started second-guessing. It would be "Mr. Magic Guy", a recurring character from my first campaigns in the 90s. He was based on a list passing around the internet in those days (probably still Googlable) of "You know your GM hates you if..." one entry of which was "Your mage has an argument with a local spice merchant. Finally, annoyed to the breaking point, he casts charm on the merchant. Sadly, the merchant is a retired 22nd level elven mage." So this guy was a magic item merchant who was a retired 22nd level elven mage with a store in Waterdeep who existed through some 2e games and into 3.0/3.5. He actually wound up having some character development and secrets of his own. For instance, players started questioning how he could possibly be gaining the XP he used to make these items (since remember, in 3.0/3.5 you get less, or even 0, XP for fighting things below your level), and they later discovered that he was baiting weak deities from other pantheons into attacking him with their avatars (there's a pantheonic non-interference thing going on that came up in some of the novels which would prevent greater deities from getting involved over the avatar loss of their buddies), which he would kill for the XP.


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Mr. Mark Seifter,

Would channel energy be a reasonable substitution for the summoner's summon monster ability?


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Renkosuke wrote:

Hey Mark, I've come back with another strange idea.

So recently I've been browsing the magical weapons/enhancements sections of various books to see what kinds of enhancements I can give to my Elemental Ascetic, when I came across conductive. After reading through it (and the various forum posts about Kinetic Blast + Conductive) I realized that I can't use it on a melee attack because there's no way to gain a melee kinetic blast without using a form infusion, which would require an action that you're already doing.

So now I have the following questions:

1) In Telekinetic Blast's description, it has this line in it: ** spoiler omitted **

Could a Telekineticist use this ability with Kinetic Blade? For example, could a telekineticist holding a +1 short sword make a melee attack with that short sword for its normal damage (instead of kinetic blast damage), adding CON instead of STR as the damage modifier?

2) Similarly, the wording above implies that the weapon you throw need not be a ranged throwing weapon to deal its normal damage... So could you just throw your +1 short sword with Telekinetic Blast and have it deal damage as a +1 Short Sword (adding CON instead of STR to the damage roll, as per thrown weapon?)

3) Assuming the answer to #2 is...

1) I'd say you could.

2) Yep, so far so good.

3) That appears like it might be kosher, albeit complex, since you've nested an ability in on itself; however, at the very least, the 1/2 Con from the fire blast and the full Con from the ordinary throw I believe would not stack on your damage roll for the attack.

4) I'd say no; elemental annihilator has a specific over general rule with "always", so that particular form infusion overrides the option for the alternate telekinetic blast.

Okay! While rummaging around the forums I did find a thread from a while back where you stated that it was unlikely that you'd be able to use form infusions with conductive, so I imagine you couldn't use a +1 Conductive Short Sword in melee and throw kinetic blast damage on it because an energy kinetic blast is a ranged touch attack (that you can't use kinetic blade on) and a short sword is obviously a melee weapon.

If memory serves, in the same thread you also mentioned that you would probably be allowed to use substance infusions on those blasts, since while the "form" of the attack is determined by the weapon you're using to deliver it, the "substance" is still under your control. Would it also be possible to use metakinesis? What about composite blasts?

Finally, how much, if any, burn would you have to use to apply those options? Would "expend 2 uses" imply "take the burn cost twice" or would the argument "expend != use" apply here? Would it be easier on everyone if I just used the basic blast values for everything? I guess I don't really need an answer for that last one :P

Oh, an extra question: would the fact that an elemental ascetic has, but cannot use, a ranged kinetic blast without melee form infusions lock her out of using them with ranged weapons? And melee weapons too, since you can't use melee infusions with conductive?

Thanks again!


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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The NPC wrote:

Mr. Mark Seifter,

Would channel energy be a reasonable substitution for the summoner's summon monster ability?

Spirit summoner with a life spirit?


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Luthorne wrote:
The NPC wrote:

Mr. Mark Seifter,

Would channel energy be a reasonable substitution for the summoner's summon monster ability?

Spirit summoner with a life spirit?

I had something else in mind.


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More rules questions: I couldn't find an explicit reference to this anywhere, so a bit surprised. Unless I missed it then I'm just dumb.

When an archetype steals a class feature from another class, should references to the original class in that description change to the new class?

Examples:
Can an Exploiter Wizard spend a point from his or her reservoir to increase the caster level or DC of spells because or are they unable to do so because they aren't 'arcanist spells'.

Does a Daring Champion Cavalier add Cavalier level to damage with precise strike or no damage because he lacks a swashbuckler level?

And so on.

Tangential to the first question: Can Eldritch Scion Magi, Blood Arcanist Arcanists and any future archetypes that work in such a way take bloodline mutations? Or do they not qualify because they specifically aren't sorcerers/bloodragers directly?

Totally unrelated third question that I was just reminded of when I brought up Daring Champion:

Does a Daring Champion Cavalier who hits a challenge attack and precise strike (assuming they use their level for precise strike) do double their level to damage?
Likewise, does an Avenger Vigilante using Fist of the Avenger and Lethal Grace do +level to damage at least until they hit level 10?

There's a decent contingent of people I've met that believe "level to X/half-level to X" counts as a 'source' and does not stack with itself in the same way you can't get 'Charisma to X' twice.


Mark Seifter wrote:

And now for another exciting FAQ Friday!

FAQ wrote:

Klars: A traditional klar “counts as a light wooden shield with shield spikes”, and a metal klar “counts as a light steel shield with shield spikes”. What exactly does this mean? Particularly, a klar is a one-handed weapon that deals damage like a heavy spiked shield, and it deals slashing damage instead of piercing damage, so where do the differences end?

A klar counts as a light shield for the purpose of using it as a shield (for instance, it grants a +1 shield bonus to AC, has a –1 armor check penalty, and has a 5% arcane spell failure chance). For the purpose of using it as a weapon, it is a one-handed weapon that deals 1d6 slashing damage, but it is otherwise similar to using a spiked shield (for instance, the damage doesn’t stack with the bashing ability, you lose the shield bonus to AC when attacking with the klar unless you have Improved Shield Bash, and so on). As a side note, anywhere that lists klars as counting as shields with “armor spikes” is a typo that will be handled in the next errata.
With GenCon looming, how many more FAQ Fridays can we do before the con? I'm hoping we can at least do one more Friday, perhaps with two related FAQs, but only time will tell!

Great to see the PDT answer this question. My only problem is I am still confused:

1) Can you shield bash with klar?

2) If so, what is the damage?

3) Bashing doesn't stack with the shield spikes, but does Lead Blades stack with the weapon damage?

Thanks.


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Quote:
Orc Ferocity: Once per day, when a half-orc is brought below 0 hit points but not killed, he can fight on for one more round as if disabled. At the end of his next turn, unless brought to above 0 hit points, he immediately falls unconscious and begins dying.

My half-orc fell to -3 and used Ferocity to fight on for one more round. But after taking the hit that dropped her below zero, she was hit two more times before her initiative came back up.

Does taking additional damage before the end of her next turn affect orc ferocity, or does she still get one more action regardless once the ability is triggered? What if she takes enough damage to kill her before the end of her next turn? Clearly, if she's below negative Con, she'll die after her Ferocity turn, per the ability description, but can piling on damage after the ability is triggered prevent her from getting the benefit by killing her before her one-more-round action?


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N N 959 wrote:


Great to see the PDT answer this question. My only problem is I am still confused:

1) Can you shield bash with klar?

Yes

Quote:
2) If so, what is the damage?

1d6 slashing

Quote:
3) Bashing doesn't stack with the shield spikes, but does Lead Blades stack with the weapon damage?

No. Bashing doesn't work because size increases and effective size increases don't stack. Lead Blades is also an effective size increase, so it runs into the exact same issue.

That all seems to be spelled out pretty clearly in the FAQ you quoted.


swoosh wrote:
N N 959 wrote:


Great to see the PDT answer this question. My only problem is I am still confused:

1) Can you shield bash with klar?

Yes

Quote:
2) If so, what is the damage?

1d6 slashing

Quote:
3) Bashing doesn't stack with the shield spikes, but does Lead Blades stack with the weapon damage?

No. Bashing doesn't work because size increases and effective size increases don't stack. Lead Blades is also an effective size increase, so it runs into the exact same issue.

That all seems to be spelled out pretty clearly in the FAQ you quoted.

The FAQ states

"klar counts as a light shield for the purpose of using it as a shield"

Guess what? You can only shield bash with a shield, not a weapon. In addition, the PDT follow up question said this:

PDT wrote:
It otherwise counts as a light shield, so it would be a light shield two size categories larger (specifically, 1d6 damage for a Medium light shield).

This implies that the shield bash damage is actually calculated as if it were a light shield and it coincidentally matches the 1d6 of the weapon, but would be piercing not slashing.

I'll quote Big Norse Wolf in the thread,

BNW wrote:


You stabby stabby someone with the big sharp spike it's 1d6 slashing damage.

You whap someone with the Pachycephalosaurus skull it's made out of* it's 1d3 bashing.

So no, it's not clearly "spelled out" by the FAQ as other posters clearly disagree with you.


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Would a tiny fox's mouth be considered prehensile considering they can grab their babies without damaging them with it? The reason I ask is overwhelming soul seems tailormade for kitsune.. would be nice if this were the case. And along that line is there any chance we could get a fang covering as a weapon for them to bump their damage up from 1d2 to 1d3 or somewhere along those lines? Hehe.

Silver Crusade

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Mark, would you see anything wrong with a feat for Extra Fervor: Two extra uses of Fervor per day.

Would you see any thing wrong with Gloves of Fervor that counts his fervor power as 5 levels higher [Like the Bane Baldric] for 10000gp


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Hi Mark, more questions! Whee!

How does the Monk's Robe interact with the Elemental Ascetic's AC Bonus? Do you gain a +5 to your levels for that class feature (despite not being a monk), do you just get a +1 as the default for the Monk's Robe, or do you somehow gain the AC Bonus ability as a Monk would have it (so with a slightly faster AC progression) and a +5 on top of that?

Also, can you use Kinetic Blade with Two-Weapon Fighting to make 1) Off-hand attacks with a normal weapon with your Kinetic Blade as the primary and/or 2) Off-hand attacks with the Kinetic Blade, with a normal weapon as your primary?

Finally, a rules argument occurred in a table I was playing at over the mechanics of an Elemental Annihilator. The issue at hand was based on a player who believed he could form a Devastating Infusion to create a light weapon (as per the rules for Kinetic Blade) and then use 2 hands to wield that weapon to deal 1-1/2 Constitution Damage. His reasoning is that there's nothing that says you can't wield a light weapon with two hands, and the Elemental Annihilator's Devastating Infusion simply states that if you use 2 hands to attack with the weapon, then you add 1-1/2 Constitution to the damage roll, without any mention to the weapon having to be 1-Handed in order to do so.

Is this interpretation correct, or is it assumed that you still need to use a 1-Handed Weapon in order to gain the benefits of two-handing the Devastating Infusion (thus being unable to also use Weapon Finesse with it)?

Thanks as always!

Designer

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D-d-d-d-d-double FAQ!

Changing casting type:

FAQ wrote:

Psychic Bloodline Sorcerer: Psychic bloodline’s bloodline arcana changes the psychic bloodline’s spells from arcane spells to psychic spells. Clearly this means that a psychic bloodline sorcerer qualifies for abilities that require the “ability to cast psychic spells” and not abilities that require “the ability to cast arcane spells”, but what about abilities that require an “arcane spellcasting class” like the half-elf’s arcane training, where you might be selecting the class before you even took levels in sorcerer and chose the psychic bloodline? Does this apply generally to abilities that change my spellcasting between arcane, divine, and psychic?

This particular combination leads to a complex interaction; at the time of the half elf ability, the term “arcane spellcasting class” was unambiguous because archetypes were new and we were still years away from any archetypes or bloodlines that changed which type of spells a character casts. Essentially, a half-elf with the arcane training ability that chooses sorcerer is choosing “the arcane spellcasting class sorcerer”. If she then takes levels in psychic bloodline sorcerer, she isn’t taking levels in her favored class. The ability would still have a small effect, though, in that since she had no levels in her favored class, she would still count as a 1st-level “arcane spellcasting sorcerer” and be able to activate arcane scrolls accordingly (whereas normally she would need Use Magic Device to use arcane or divine scrolls even if they were on her spell list).

This is the first time to our knowledge of this principle being necessary, but it would apply in other situations that switch your type of magic and even beyond that, such as if an alternate racial trait restricted your favored class bonus to “a single class that grants proficiency in heavy armor” and you picked fighter but then took levels in fighter with an archetype that traded out proficiency in heavy armor, your chosen archetype of fighter would not be your favored class.

Also, you could use this principle in reverse. If the half-elf ability requested you to choose a psychic spellcasting class instead of arcane, you could pick sorcerer expecting to take the psychic bloodline, but the racial trait in that case wouldn’t do anything until you had actually taken levels in sorcerer with the psychic bloodline, since sorcerer isn’t normally psychic without the psychic bloodline.

And in a rare double whammy decision, the PDT finds Improved Familiars for non arcane casters legal!

FAQ wrote:

Improved Familiars: There are various ways for characters other than arcane spellcasters to gain familiars at this point, and some of those options even grant Improved Familiar as a bonus feat, but technically each Improved Familiar option requires a certain arcane spellcaster level to take it. Does that mean that non-arcane characters with Improved Familiar have a dead feature? How does it work? If it does work, can I take an Improved Familiar as some kind of variant familiar or a temporary familiar like the occultist’s soulbound puppet?

The Improved Familiar description was written back when only arcane spellcasters could have familiars, and it wasn’t sufficiently future-proofed. To that end, you can always substitute your effective wizard level for the purpose of determining your familiar’s abilities for “arcane spellcaster level” to determine the available improved familiars for your character. In general, you can take Improved Familiars for class-granted variant familiars like a shaman’s spirit animal, with a few exceptions: First, temporary familiars like the occultist’s soulbound puppet can’t become Improved Familiars from the Improved Familiar feat, and those class features don’t qualify you to take the Improved Familiar feat. Second, tumor familiars, as lumps of flesh in the shape of animals, can’t become Improved Familiars. In other cases, treat Improved Familiar as if it was an archetype to see if it stacks with other familiar options: since the two things it alters from a regular familiar are that it removes the ability to speak with animals of its kind and it prevents changing the creature type for non-animals, you couldn’t make a familiar that changes the creature type of non-animals or alters or removes speak with animals of its kind an Improved Familiar.

The double FAQ was because the first one sort of referenced Improved Familiar, so we didn't want a week of wondering; it's essentially next week's FAQ. That means the next FAQ Friday will be after GenCon; hope to see some of you guys there!


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Mr. Mark Seifter,

If someone was making a class or alternate class that focused on changing the character into one of the outsider types (Angel, Demon, Daemon, etc.) would the spell casing of that class be divine or arcane in your estimation? Also, which class spell list would it use?


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Thank you, thank you, thank you for the Improved Familiar FAQ!!!

I was pleasantly surprised that a Shaman can use this feat considering this part of the Spirit Animal description.

ACG wrote:
If a spirit animal is lost or dies, it can be replaced after 24 hours through a special ritual that consumes material components worth 500 gp per shaman level. The ritual takes 8 hours to complete. The new spirit animal must be the same kind of creature as the previous one.

So I'm wondering how these rules interact.

(1) At 1st level a Shaman selects a Cat Spirit Familiar.

(2) At 2nd level the Cat is killed. The Shaman replaces his Familiar with another Cat, because that is his only allowed choice. It must be the same kind as the one that was killed.

(3) At 3rd level the Shaman takes the Improved Familiar feat, dismisses the second Cat and selects a Celestial Hawk. Is this possible because the feat overrides the restriction from the Spirit Animal restriction or because dismissing the Cat isn't the same as the Cat being lost or killed?

(4) If the Celestial Hawk was killed at 5th level, would the 'same kind' rule kick in and require that he select another Celestial Hawk or would he be able to choose an a Elemental instead?

(5) At 5th level, if the Celestial Hawk wasn't killed, would he be able to voluntarily replace it with an Elemental the way that he replaced the Cat with the Celestial Hawk?


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so having arcane spellcaster levels still count too though right? IF I have wizard 1 and skald 7 I'm still a 7th level arcane spellcaster for familiars right?


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Mark,
I have found myself in a convoluted mess and my DM and I would appreciate your thoughts.

The questions at hand deal with high level spell interactions.

I was inside another creatures body via Marionette Possession.

I had the following pertinent spell on me at the time:
Akashic Form
Contingency (if dead for more than 6 seconds my body and gear get plane shifted to a demiplane)
Aaron's Spellbane (blocking Mage's Disjunction among other spells)

My actual body was being carried on the back of another PC.

Most of the party, including me but not the PC with my lifeless body, went through a portal.

Once through this portal all planar travel is blocked.

Once through the enemy cast time stop and placed a "wall of suppression" on top of us.

When the time stop ended the "wall of suppression" suppressed all of my spells including the marionette possession.

As best we could tell this killed me (my real body was not within range).

The party (not including the PC holding my real body) was then hit with a disjunction.

As best we can tell, I am currently dead but my spells are not disjoined but still suppressed.

If the PC holding my real (now dead) body goes through the portal what will happen when the suppression ends?

Does Akashic Form then kick in, or do I need to sustain more damage for it to activate?

Or did my body plane shift upon my death because the contingency was tied to my (real) body not my soul (and therefore not hit with the wall of suppression)?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:

D-d-d-d-d-double FAQ!

Changing casting type:

FAQ wrote:

Psychic Bloodline Sorcerer: Psychic bloodline’s bloodline arcana changes the psychic bloodline’s spells from arcane spells to psychic spells. Clearly this means that a psychic bloodline sorcerer qualifies for abilities that require the “ability to cast psychic spells” and not abilities that require “the ability to cast arcane spells”, but what about abilities that require an “arcane spellcasting class” like the half-elf’s arcane training, where you might be selecting the class before you even took levels in sorcerer and chose the psychic bloodline? Does this apply generally to abilities that change my spellcasting between arcane, divine, and psychic?

This particular combination leads to a complex interaction; at the time of the half elf ability, the term “arcane spellcasting class” was unambiguous because archetypes were new and we were still years away from any archetypes or bloodlines that changed which type of spells a character casts. Essentially, a half-elf with the arcane training ability that chooses sorcerer is choosing “the arcane spellcasting class sorcerer”. If she then takes levels in psychic bloodline sorcerer, she isn’t taking levels in her favored class. The ability would still have a small effect, though, in that since she had no levels in her favored class, she would still count as a 1st-level “arcane spellcasting sorcerer” and be able to activate arcane scrolls accordingly (whereas normally she would need Use Magic Device to use arcane or divine scrolls even if they were on her spell list).

This is the first time to our knowledge of this principle being necessary, but it would apply in other situations that switch your type of magic and even beyond that, such as if an alternate racial trait restricted your favored class bonus to “a single class that grants proficiency in heavy armor” and you picked fighter but then took levels in fighter with an

...

So about the familiar, on a semi-unrelated note, would an occultist's soulbound puppet familiar be capable of having a familiar archetype, and if so, could it be changed every time you used the ability?


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To simplify my previous question. As I see it, it really boils down to two questions.

If I cast a contingency spell to plane shift my dead body after death and then posses someone else where is that contingency spell? With my soul in the new body, with my real body (the thing to be plan shifted) or at both locations?

The second question deals with Akashic Form.

Akashic form activates "If at any point within the duration you are reduced to fewer than 0 hit points..."

Is it the action of being reduced or the state of being reduced? That is to say, if the spell is suppressed when one dies but later is not suppressed, are you currently "reduced to fewer than 0 hit points" if you are still dead?

If it is the action of being reduced to below 0 hit points that activates the spell, can further hit point damage (beyond death) give you the chance to activate it if you have not already?


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

What do you think about the caster-martial disparity in Pathfinder?

Do you think it's real? Is it a problem? A case of misunderstanding/miscommunication?


Mark Seifter wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Are we going to be fortunate enough to have a FAQ or a follow up on gauntlets and such?
We were planning on it and even had unusually high early-week activity on FAQ stuff, but then Jason was sick for the last few days, so we couldn't finalize it. Let's wish for him to get well soon, and we should be seeing something next week if he does!

Did this ever get resolved? If not, I hope the cause isn't that Jason is still sick.

Designer

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Gisher wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Are we going to be fortunate enough to have a FAQ or a follow up on gauntlets and such?
We were planning on it and even had unusually high early-week activity on FAQ stuff, but then Jason was sick for the last few days, so we couldn't finalize it. Let's wish for him to get well soon, and we should be seeing something next week if he does!
Did this ever get resolved? If not, I hope the cause isn't that Jason is still sick.

We actually had two FAQs last week and some FAQs in intervening weeks; Jason's fine.

EDIT: Oh, I see where the disconnect is. Chess Pwn asked if there would be a FAQ or a gauntlet follow-up that Friday, and I answered why we wouldn't have either a FAQ or a gauntlet follow-up (the unusual early-week activity was heading towards being the FAQ that came out the following week). The gauntlet follow-up is still on the FAQ queue (and it's expedited), but we're considering deeper options for it, so it hasn't had it's week yet.

Designer

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The NPC wrote:

Mr. Mark Seifter,

Would channel energy be a reasonable substitution for the summoner's summon monster ability?

It's an interesting swap to consider. As Luthorne mentioned, it is possible to do this (with some other swaps too) with the spirit summpner archetype. But that doesn't answer your question as to whether it's a "reasonable swap", especially since in the past, those "switch for anything on list X" archetypes didn't account for a certainty to switch for the most powerful thing on that list (having played a Waves spirit for flavor and worked on a pregen Lore spirit for canon, both of their starting powers are leagues behind life).

So let's look into it agnostic of spirit summoner, as you request in your follow-up post to Luthorne:

Clearly, ignoring the can't have out your eidolon restriction, the summon monster ability is flat-out more powerful than channel, by a lot. However, due to the eidolon restriction, the situation is more nuanced. If you usually have the eidolon out, then the summon ability is mainly for utility (when you really need some weird ability a summon has) or backup (when the eidolon is out of commission or otherwise ill-suited for the situation), but it can't synergize with having your eidolon out. Channel synergizes quite well with having your eidolon out as well, but it doesn't provide the utility and backup; if you build for it, it instead gives you another role to cover while your prebuffed eidolon is taking care of the fighting. So for those builds, it's an increase in the capability of their main setup in exchange for backup options, which is sometimes a concern, but the main thing that could be a concern is that in that default setup, it fills even more roles than the normal summoner. So I think it would vary group by group, as healing itself does; In groups where people generally chafe at the idea of healing, it might be a good addition because it can do that while still doing all its other non-backup activities, but for the exact same reason, in groups that have players that enjoy making healing, it's not a good call because it's another thing the summoner is doing all on the same character (in addition to beatstick with the eidolon and arcane buffs and conjuration spells on the summoner).

Designer

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Renkosuke wrote:
Okay! While rummaging around the forums I did find a thread from a while back where you stated that it was unlikely that you'd be able to use form infusions with conductive, so I imagine you couldn't use a +1 Conductive Short Sword in melee and throw kinetic blast damage on it because an energy kinetic blast is a ranged touch attack (that you can't use kinetic blade on) and a short sword is obviously a melee weapon.

Agreed.

Quote:

If memory serves, in the same thread you also mentioned that you would probably be allowed to use substance infusions on those blasts, since while the "form" of the attack is determined by the weapon you're using to deliver it, the "substance" is still under your control. Would it also be possible to use metakinesis? What about composite blasts?

Finally, how much, if any, burn would you have to use to apply those options? Would "expend 2 uses" imply "take the burn cost twice" or would the argument "expend != use" apply here? Would it be easier on everyone if I just used the basic blast values for everything? I guess I don't really need an answer for that last one :P

Yeah, in theory you might be able to throw a substance (or those other things) on it, but in that case, it's neither unlimited use (because burn prevents unlimited use) nor measured in "uses per day" so you'd have to improvise. Since it doesn't really fall under either category, double burn seems a reasonable improvisation, and I'd say you could apply reductions after that too (so if you had infusion specialization 2, you'd be safe to apply a burn 1 substance every time) if using that ruling.

Quote:

Oh, an extra question: would the fact that an elemental ascetic has, but cannot use, a ranged kinetic blast without melee form infusions lock her out of using them with ranged weapons? And melee weapons too, since you can't use melee infusions with conductive?

Thanks again!

Yup, it would.


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I'm glad to hear that Jason's illness didn't escalate to a long-term issue.

And yes the disconnect occurred because I was reading Chess Pwn's post as "(a FAQ or a follow up) on gauntlets and such" rather than "(a FAQ) or (a follow up on gauntlets and such)."

Designer

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Gisher wrote:

I'm glad to hear that Jason's illness didn't escalate to a long-term issue.

And yes the disconnect occurred because I was reading Chess Pwn's post as "(a FAQ or a follow up) on gauntlets and such" rather than "(a FAQ) or (a follow up on gauntlets and such)."

Yeah, I eventually figured it out, just not right away. Ah attachment. It's such a tricky issue, especially in RPG rules text when it can lead to arguments where someone claims that "Flumph Slayer: You gain a +4 bonus on attack rolls and saving throws against flumphs" gives them the bonus on all attack rolls, even not against flumphs.

Designer

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swoosh wrote:

More rules questions: I couldn't find an explicit reference to this anywhere, so a bit surprised. Unless I missed it then I'm just dumb.

When an archetype steals a class feature from another class, should references to the original class in that description change to the new class?

Examples:
Can an Exploiter Wizard spend a point from his or her reservoir to increase the caster level or DC of spells because or are they unable to do so because they aren't 'arcanist spells'.

Does a Daring Champion Cavalier add Cavalier level to damage with precise strike or no damage because he lacks a swashbuckler level?

And so on.

Tangential to the first question: Can Eldritch Scion Magi, Blood Arcanist Arcanists and any future archetypes that work in such a way take bloodline mutations? Or do they not qualify because they specifically aren't sorcerers/bloodragers directly?

Totally unrelated third question that I was just reminded of when I brought up Daring Champion:

Does a Daring Champion Cavalier who hits a challenge attack and precise strike (assuming they use their level for precise strike) do double their level to damage?
Likewise, does an Avenger Vigilante using Fist of the Avenger and Lethal Grace do +level to damage at least until they hit level 10?

There's a decent contingent of people I've met that believe "level to X/half-level to X" counts as a 'source' and does not stack with itself in the same way you can't get 'Charisma to X' twice.

1) In theory we should tell you what it counts as the other class for. In practice, I would say that in the absence of such a line, any ability that you automatically get with an archetype that literally does nothing otherwise is almost certain to be clarified to not do nothing so you might as well run it that way too (so for instance, exploiter wizard can still spend points on exploit, so it could go one way or the other but precise strike would add +0 damage).

2) Those are a Player Companion mechanic, so I really don't have purview on them at all. I'll admit that I find them a bit confusing myself. However, it looks like it's sorcerers and bloodragers only.

3) In the Charisma to X twice FAQ, I said before that we hadn't ruled on that front for things like level yet either way (though in that particular case, one is precision damage and the other isn't, so even with a stricter ruling, it might slip through in the same way as Deflection bonus equal to Cha stacks with Cha). The two separate abilities that add level (as you describe) are one thing, but I think where it's clear it shouldn't count the same level twice is when you're counting up your levels for progression of the same ability (so for example let's make up an overpowered new feat that gave you wizard spellcasting as a wizard of half your character level. If you were also a wizard, the levels of wizard wouldn't double count for advancing your spellcasting; you'd count the wizard levels as full advancement and the non-wizard levels as half).

Designer

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Joana wrote:
Quote:
Orc Ferocity: Once per day, when a half-orc is brought below 0 hit points but not killed, he can fight on for one more round as if disabled. At the end of his next turn, unless brought to above 0 hit points, he immediately falls unconscious and begins dying.

My half-orc fell to -3 and used Ferocity to fight on for one more round. But after taking the hit that dropped her below zero, she was hit two more times before her initiative came back up.

Does taking additional damage before the end of her next turn affect orc ferocity, or does she still get one more action regardless once the ability is triggered? What if she takes enough damage to kill her before the end of her next turn? Clearly, if she's below negative Con, she'll die after her Ferocity turn, per the ability description, but can piling on damage after the ability is triggered prevent her from getting the benefit by killing her before her one-more-round action?

It depends on how much damage she took. The samurai's resolve (unstoppable) ability specifically states that it puts you in that fragile state where another hit ends you. Since orc ferocity doesn't, I'd say you're fine unless you take enough damage to kill you from those two hits because you otherwise still satisfy "brought below 0 hit points but not killed".

Silver Crusade

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Gisher wrote:

I'm glad to hear that Jason's illness didn't escalate to a long-term issue.

And yes the disconnect occurred because I was reading Chess Pwn's post as "(a FAQ or a follow up) on gauntlets and such" rather than "(a FAQ) or (a follow up on gauntlets and such)."

Yeah, I eventually figured it out, just not right away. Ah attachment. It's such a tricky issue, especially in RPG rules text when it can lead to arguments where someone claims that "Flumph Slayer: You gain a +4 bonus on attack rolls and saving throws against flumphs" gives them the bonus on all attack rolls, even not against flumphs.

... what did Adam ever do to you?


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Gisher wrote:

I'm glad to hear that Jason's illness didn't escalate to a long-term issue.

And yes the disconnect occurred because I was reading Chess Pwn's post as "(a FAQ or a follow up) on gauntlets and such" rather than "(a FAQ) or (a follow up on gauntlets and such)."

Yeah, I eventually figured it out, just not right away. Ah attachment. It's such a tricky issue, especially in RPG rules text when it can lead to arguments where someone claims that "Flumph Slayer: You gain a +4 bonus on attack rolls and saving throws against flumphs" gives them the bonus on all attack rolls, even not against flumphs.

I'm ok as long as I get the bonuses against those %#*$& flumphs!

Designer

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aristalis wrote:
Would a tiny fox's mouth be considered prehensile considering they can grab their babies without damaging them with it? The reason I ask is overwhelming soul seems tailormade for kitsune.. would be nice if this were the case. And along that line is there any chance we could get a fang covering as a weapon for them to bump their damage up from 1d2 to 1d3 or somewhere along those lines? Hehe.

The mouth is definitely not prehensile. Overwhelming soul is still synergistic for kitsune as a whole, though, since they have Dex and Cha. There are a few techniques to make bites count as a size category larger, like Improved Natural Attack, impact, and strong jaw (which ups it by two steps). I wouldn't recommend a mundane weapon that gives that effect for cheap; not because it's a huge deal for the fox, but more so because it doesn't seem like a fox's mouth is different enough from other creatures to prevent it on bigger monsters to up their damage on the cheap (so, while the fox would get .5 extra damage from such a weapon, a cetus, say, could do 28 more damage).

Silver Crusade

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Flumph Slayer wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Gisher wrote:

I'm glad to hear that Jason's illness didn't escalate to a long-term issue.

And yes the disconnect occurred because I was reading Chess Pwn's post as "(a FAQ or a follow up) on gauntlets and such" rather than "(a FAQ) or (a follow up on gauntlets and such)."

Yeah, I eventually figured it out, just not right away. Ah attachment. It's such a tricky issue, especially in RPG rules text when it can lead to arguments where someone claims that "Flumph Slayer: You gain a +4 bonus on attack rolls and saving throws against flumphs" gives them the bonus on all attack rolls, even not against flumphs.
I'm ok as long as I get the bonuses against those %#*$& flumphs!

You.

I don't like you.

Designer

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Lou Diamond wrote:

Mark, would you see anything wrong with a feat for Extra Fervor: Two extra uses of Fervor per day.

Would you see any thing wrong with Gloves of Fervor that counts his fervor power as 5 levels higher [Like the Bane Baldric] for 10000gp

Two extra uses of fervor is roughly on par with other Extra feats in terms of uses granted vs initial uses; fervor is quite a potent ability, but warpriests often need to take other feats too. Could possibly be OK; depends on your group really.

As to the wondrous item idea, the main difference I see is that the baldric is just advancing uses, whereas as worded, you would also advance the healing from fervor by 2d6 (possibly 3rd at weird parity so best to make it +4 levels to avoid that), which seems to warrant adding in the cost of a phylactery of positive channeling as well.

Designer

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Renkosuke wrote:

Hi Mark, more questions! Whee!

How does the Monk's Robe interact with the Elemental Ascetic's AC Bonus? Do you gain a +5 to your levels for that class feature (despite not being a monk), do you just get a +1 as the default for the Monk's Robe, or do you somehow gain the AC Bonus ability as a Monk would have it (so with a slightly faster AC progression) and a +5 on top of that?

You're not a monk, but you do stack that ability with your monk levels, so I think you'd probably add the 5th-level monk default the item grants you to your ascetic levels.

Quote:
Also, can you use Kinetic Blade with Two-Weapon Fighting to make 1) Off-hand attacks with a normal weapon with your Kinetic Blade as the primary and/or 2) Off-hand attacks with the Kinetic Blade, with a normal weapon as your primary?

Seems legit.

Quote:

Finally, a rules argument occurred in a table I was playing at over the mechanics of an Elemental Annihilator. The issue at hand was based on a player who believed he could form a Devastating Infusion to create a light weapon (as per the rules for Kinetic Blade) and then use 2 hands to wield that weapon to deal 1-1/2 Constitution Damage. His reasoning is that there's nothing that says you can't wield a light weapon with two hands, and the Elemental Annihilator's Devastating Infusion simply states that if you use 2 hands to attack with the weapon, then you add 1-1/2 Constitution to the damage roll, without any mention to the weapon having to be 1-Handed in order to do so.

Is this interpretation correct, or is it assumed that you still need to use a 1-Handed Weapon in order to gain the benefits of two-handing the Devastating Infusion (thus being unable to also use Weapon Finesse with it)?

Thanks as always!

I'm with you; the one you can two-hand for more damage is separate from the light weapon, just like for normal weapons where you can't two-hand a light weapon for more damage. That's meant to be the trade-off between finessability and two-handed damage.

Designer

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The NPC wrote:

Mr. Mark Seifter,

If someone was making a class or alternate class that focused on changing the character into one of the outsider types (Angel, Demon, Daemon, etc.) would the spell casing of that class be divine or arcane in your estimation? Also, which class spell list would it use?

I'd say it wouldn't even have to be a spellcaster, per se. If it was one, it could go any number of routes, which would decide the list and whether it was arcane or divine. Becoming a living aspect of your deity seems divine off the cleric or perhaps paladin lists, whereas giving into the outsider blood within you could be arcane off the bloodrager list, and drawing planar entitites into you could be arcane off the summoner list, etc.

Designer

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Gisher wrote:

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the Improved Familiar FAQ!!!

I was pleasantly surprised that a Shaman can use this feat considering this part of the Spirit Animal description.

ACG wrote:
If a spirit animal is lost or dies, it can be replaced after 24 hours through a special ritual that consumes material components worth 500 gp per shaman level. The ritual takes 8 hours to complete. The new spirit animal must be the same kind of creature as the previous one.

So I'm wondering how these rules interact.

(1) At 1st level a Shaman selects a Cat Spirit Familiar.

(2) At 2nd level the Cat is killed. The Shaman replaces his Familiar with another Cat, because that is his only allowed choice. It must be the same kind as the one that was killed.

(3) At 3rd level the Shaman takes the Improved Familiar feat, dismisses the second Cat and selects a Celestial Hawk. Is this possible because the feat overrides the restriction from the Spirit Animal restriction or because dismissing the Cat isn't the same as the Cat being lost or killed?

(4) If the Celestial Hawk was killed at 5th level, would the 'same kind' rule kick in and require that he select another Celestial Hawk or would he be able to choose an a Elemental instead?

(5) At 5th level, if the Celestial Hawk wasn't killed, would he be able to voluntarily replace it with an Elemental the way that he replaced the Cat with the Celestial Hawk?

Hmm, I'd say either you get a one-time kind swap when taking the feat or the restriction of the same kind would prevent spirit animals from using it, despite being acknowledged as another type of familiar. I'd prefer the former, since there are a lot of thematic critters on the Improved Familiar lists that match well with various shaman spirits.

Designer

Chess Pwn wrote:
so having arcane spellcaster levels still count too though right? IF I have wizard 1 and skald 7 I'm still a 7th level arcane spellcaster for familiars right?

The weird thing about how the feat is structured is that it also states in the requirements "sufficiently high level" and seems to refer to "spellcaster level" as class level rather than the separate term "caster level", which would seem to preclude, for instance, using things like orange prism ioun stone to raise caster level or taking levels in a non-familiar-granting class to get a high caster level. Are a lot of people actually dipping like that instead of taking feats to get off-class familiars?

Designer

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MichaelCullen wrote:

Mark,

I have found myself in a convoluted mess and my DM and I would appreciate your thoughts.

The questions at hand deal with high level spell interactions.

I was inside another creatures body via Marionette Possession.

I had the following pertinent spell on me at the time:
Akashic Form
Contingency (if dead for more than 6 seconds my body and gear get plane shifted to a demiplane)
Aaron's Spellbane (blocking Mage's Disjunction among other spells)

My actual body was being carried on the back of another PC.

Most of the party, including me but not the PC with my lifeless body, went through a portal.

Once through this portal all planar travel is blocked.

Once through the enemy cast time stop and placed a "wall of suppression" on top of us.

When the time stop ended the "wall of suppression" suppressed all of my spells including the marionette possession.

As best we could tell this killed me (my real body was not within range).

The party (not including the PC holding my real body) was then hit with a disjunction.

As best we can tell, I am currently dead but my spells are not disjoined but still suppressed.

If the PC holding my real (now dead) body goes through the portal what will happen when the suppression ends?

Does Akashic Form then kick in, or do I need to sustain more damage for it to activate?

Or did my body plane shift upon my death because the contingency was tied to my (real) body not my soul (and therefore not hit with the wall of suppression)?

Yeah, figuring out contingencies and other active buffs when swapping bodies is tricky even beyond what we could clarify in OA vis-a-vis body swaps. I had to make a call on this when running the Karzoug fight I mentioned much earlier in this thread, and since it was shenanigansy anyway, I ruled that I didn't get to keep anything except mind-affecting buffs when swapping bodies. For contingency, one thing (potentially accidentally) lost in spell condensing between 3.5 and Pathfinder was a few important M and F clarifications, one of which is "Focus A statuette of you carved from elephant ivory and decorated with gems (worth at least 1,500 gp). You must carry the focus for the contingency to work." Our group continues with this, so it made it clearer where the contingency lies (though arguably even with the missing line not enforced, the statuette was of the original body, not the possessed creature). Since you actually managed to die from neither a death effect or hp damage, the record seems like it wouldn't trigger, which oddly means it's one of the few ways (beyond mind-affecting kill effects) to get around akashic form. It looks like the possession itself doesn't leave you dead, so that wouldn't trigger the contingency, but dying from the possession's end on another plane would if it stays with your body.

So, while there's probably a dozen different legit ways to rule this complex interaction, I would say that you're dead, akashic form can't help, but at least your body did plane shift safely (if the body had been in the no planar travel zone and the soul had been outside and hit by the wall, you'd have managed to fizzle every last precaution though, it seems, since the contingency would attempt to trigger plane shift, which would fizzle).


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Hmm, I'd say either you get a one-time kind swap when taking the feat or the restriction of the same kind would prevent spirit animals from using it, despite being acknowledged as another type of familiar. I'd prefer the former, since there are a lot of thematic critters on the Improved Familiar lists that match well with various shaman spirits.

Well the FAQ specifically calls out Spirit Familiars as qualifying for Improved Familiar so it can't be your latter option. So it would seem that a Shaman is locked in to one type of familiar until they take Improved Familiar and then is locked in to that one type of Improved Familiar forever. That seems workable. I agree that some Improved Familiars are thematically great for some Shaman builds.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
The NPC wrote:

Mr. Mark Seifter,

If someone was making a class or alternate class that focused on changing the character into one of the outsider types (Angel, Demon, Daemon, etc.) would the spell casing of that class be divine or arcane in your estimation? Also, which class spell list would it use?

I'd say it wouldn't even have to be a spellcaster, per se. If it was one, it could go any number of routes, which would decide the list and whether it was arcane or divine. Becoming a living aspect of your deity seems divine off the cleric or perhaps paladin lists, whereas giving into the outsider blood within you could be arcane off the bloodrager list, and drawing planar entitites into you could be arcane off the summoner list, etc.

Thanks. I just mention spell casting because my initial idea would be to use a combination of the synthesist summoner and the unchained summoner. Then again extrapolating to a full attack bonus martial is doable.

Designer

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Steve Geddes wrote:

What do you think about the caster-martial disparity in Pathfinder?

Do you think it's real? Is it a problem? A case of misunderstanding/miscommunication?

Long Answer:
It's a phenomenon that really happens, contrary to what some people claim, but it also really doesn't happen, contrary to what others claim. Pretty much everyone who posts about it on these boards is correct from their own experience, even if they seem contradictory or mutually exclusive.

To discuss why that is, we have to examine several different factors simultaneously, which is something that I like to do but not everyone does (so readers of this post be warned that it's about to get complex). A lot of the time when thinking about gaming experiences, we like to categorize things along a single axis or division. Narrativist/Gamist/Simulationist, perhaps, or Timmy/Johnny/Spike/Vorthos/Melvin. The trouble is that sometimes these classifications are a single axis of a bigger puzzle, and sometimes they are tangled up among a few axes in such a way that, perhaps, you could have someone who is high on all three of narrativism, gamism, and simulationism without that being a contradiction. So why does this matter for whether you're going to have this problem? It's because it matters where you fall on several axes, and how a particular group answers several questions. I'll try to use examples from real situations that happened in game to illustrate what I mean, and I'll answer for myself (I have seen such disparities causing issues in some Pathfinder games and have also seen many games that avoided those issues).

1) Narrativism vs Gamism Part 1: If someone says their character does something cool that is clearly significantly against the rules, do the GM and rest of the group go with it or not? For example, someone at Paizo told me about a game where one player's rogue would routinely try to take 3 full rounds worth of actions on many rounds, most of which were more for style than power, and the GM would compromise from that vision to something more like 2 full rounds worth of actions. My groups usually would say "No" and don't care as much for "Yes" games in Pathfinder (other systems do it better), though as a counterexample, one year at Paizocon before I worked here I was playing at a non-Paizo lottery table with another friend from my home group, and the way the GM adjudicated the game on his side was a major "Yes" to this question, as the adjudication rarely followed the rules, but he had such amazing panache and fair-mindedness towards the outcomes each PC was trying to pursue that it was a wonderful time. If you answered “No” like I did, that’s a factor that will make you more likely to have issues with the disparity.

2) System Experience Part 1: How experienced and adept is the group in roleplaying games in general? In optimizing characters? Particularly in resource management and pre-planning? My group is extremely adept at optimizing and at resource management and pre-planning, up to the point of the halfling life oracle in Jade Regent creating an intricate list of every PC and NPC member of the caravan and what spells they could provide at what durations and effects. The more you answered that your group is experienced and adept at those aspects, the more likely you are to have issues with the disparity. Is there a disparity between the various players in the group? This can double down on the disparity since, as mentioned, a highly-optimized player is more likely to have experienced a disparity in a past game and thus choose to play a spellcaster in the current game, doubling down the problem this time around.

3) Cooperation Part 1: How much do your players and their characters cooperate with each other? As my example in #2 indicates, in my group the answer is extremely. Many groups, I have found, either lack in the skills of cooperation (particularly if the players don’t know each other well) or contain at least one player personality more focused on individual achievement than on cooperation. The less the players and characters cooperate, the more likely you are to have issues with the disparity. Since the disparity means different things to different people (whether it’s combat or narrative or both), I’ll give examples here of both: In combat, if Martial+All Summoner’s Buffs > Eidolon+All Summoner’s Buffs>Martial w/out Buffs>Eidolon w/out Buffs, the most powerful potential team member is the Martial+All Summoner’s Buffs, but the summoner player might buff the eidolon anyway because it’s his own guy). On the narrative side, one time our group was on an adventure where we needed someone to lower the water level, which only the casters could do. We all discussed together and agreed that one of the other casters needed to lower the water level or we needed to buy an item for it, then we decided which of the casters would handle it and be down one of their best spells, and then we proceeded, with that caster being weaker for the encounters we faced and the martials covered any potential slack from that while giving the caster a high-five for taking care of the water level. In a less cooperative group, there could be issues like the caster player refusing to use their high level slot and thus not getting it down without an item, or of the caster lording it over everyone how they lowered the water level and nobody else could do it or something like that. A matter of framing takes the same situation and makes it either a big issue or a normal part of cooperative play.

4) System Experience Part 2: This one is mainly relevant if your answer for System Experience Part 1 was “very high”. Has your group reached the point in experience where they are experienced even beyond the ability to optimize and find the best options (not that this point in itself isn’t a commendable achievement on its own, as an optimization guide writer myself) to the point that players have enough design fu to sometimes recognize something with a power level that is actually going to be damaging to the group’s playstyle as a whole? Always noticing is too high a bar to set for any group, but sometimes or often noticing is good enough to mean your group’s brand of experience can potentially help avoid problem options, which means you are somewhat less likely to experience a disparity. My home group would say “Yes" (I mean, I suppose we now have a professional designer and developer in it, so that’s to be expected).

5) Narrativism vs Gamism Part 2: Now that I’ve established some things about experience, I can go back to the narrativist/gamist question I asked in #1 and flip it on its head. If someone says their character does something that is legal via published game rules but is clearly abusive, problematic, or degenerate (again assuming as per #4 that your group has noticed the fact that it’s abusive, problematic, or degenerate), do the GM and rest of the group go with it or not? My group answers this with “No” as well; there’s nothing particularly special to us about a rule being published in a book (either ironic or expected depending on your point of view given Linda and I are in the group), but we as a group do try to make sure the houserule not to allow the problem element is consistent. If your group answered “Yes” to this question and had high system experience in #2, you’re all but guaranteed to see weird funky things happen, likely including a disparity, since the percentage of shenanigans you can remove from the game via common-sense group-approved rulings on a few problem (or sometimes simply complex and hard to adjudicate, with some adjudications leading to big issues) spells is substantial. It might seem like an answer of “Yes” would also lead to funky things with martials, and it’s true that it does, but there’s two reasons it leads to more disparity: Firstly, martials might have a funky build with abusive, problematic, and degenerate feats or talents, these are a permanent resource expenditure, whereas a prepared caster might have access to far more potential abusive, problematic, and degenerate spells in their book. Secondly, the level of funky that some of the funky spells could reach is more likely to reach full degeneracy (things like infinite XP/gp/abilities exploits) than feats and talents.

6) Cooperation Part 2: How cooperative are the GM and players with each other towards figuring out how to handle rules elements in #5? While it’s possible for a GM to be an “enlightened philosopher king” like in Plato’s Republic of old, in general a group that cooperates to curtail problem options is less likely to run into issues in pursuing a “No” answer to #5. My group definitely handles things in this way as well (and when a player decides to try a hand at GMing, we try to keep those rulings consistent given that we worked on them together to begin with). This answer doesn’t necessarily determine whether you’re more likely to see a disparity (because of the “philosopher king” possibility), but you’re probably more likely to avoid one simply from the working together group mindset, since if one of the players notices something that will cause a problem that the GM didn’t, they’re more likely to bring it up to the group rather than try to slip it past the radar.

7) Consistency in Ad-hoc Adjudication: Sometimes things fall in a crack in the rules and are neither a situation discussed in #1 (definitely not allowed by the rules) or #5 (allowed by the rules). The question is, how does your GM or group handle those situations? Is it completely impartial? Is there a bias towards that idea that magic breaks the laws of physics so can probably handle it (which would increase a disparity), or is there a bias that spellcasters are too strong and so when in doubt don’t allow them to succeed ad-hoc but do allow martials to do so when they try similar things because they are martials (which would decrease the disparity). A sufficiently biased application can single-handedly form or eliminate such a disparity, and especially if it’s a bias against, it can harm a group’s morale and feel like favoritism. To give an example of a completely non-martial/caster example of ad-hoc adjudication bias, in one game session I played, ad-hoc adjudication favored the evil character over the party paladin (compounded by lower cooperation as expected by the set-up of evil character and paladin), and it made the paladin’s player feel powerless. The evil character's ad-hoc evil actions generally succeeded without a check, even if it required mundane gear the evil character technically hadn’t purchased, while the paladin’s ad-hoc actions to try to compensate typically required a DC 15+ Wisdom check (the paladin’s dump stat), even if they were based on manual labor. Adjudication bias can lead to a feeling of narrative powerlessness, which is one of the biggest possible factors towards a narrative disparity.

8) Level Range: What level games does a group usually play? The lower the level, the less likely that a group encounters the narrative disparity because a lot of the potential for narrative disparity comes at higher levels.

9) Narrativist vs Simulationist / Railroad vs Sandbox: How sandboxy is the game? If the game is heavily railroaded, there is less likely to be a narrative disparity because it was designed to get the PCs from point A to point B based on either any array of capabilities (if published) or the PCs’ particular capabilities (if homebrewed). For instance “The next part is underwater, so Valeros’s old drinking buddy Gnomeric von Gnomingsworth III lends the group his prototype submersible”. This is also the case where a game is serially episodic or based on particular scenes and beats, such as you’d find when running PFS scenarios. A game that is completely sandbox has the potential to have a big narrative disparity or not depending on the party dynamic and what they decide to do in the sandbox. The most likely situation to experience narrative disparity is a game that is loosely railroaded with a particular plot with a group full of players who all want to push and jump the rails a bit whenever possible, each in their own personal way, since spellcasters are more likely to have the tools to do so. If any of the players (martials, casters, or both) don’t want to jump or shake the loose rails, it works out (if martials just want to follow the road, they don’t care that they can’t shake it, and if casters just want to follow the road, they don’t shake it, and there isn’t a disparity).

10) Pacing: Whether you’re sandbox or railroad, the group’s pacing is going to hugely influence if you see a disparity and how big. In fact, there are few influences that lead toward a disparity more than an extremely lax or slow pacing. Railroads are less likely to fall victim here, since they have plot pacing like deadlines, but sandboxes can easily avoid lethargic pacing as well by playing into the simulation of the enemy’s response (a quick small assault leading to resting immediately might cause the enemies to call in more reinforcements and be on alert, so the party actually made negative progress that day, rather than have them pick off each of 40 encounters in the fort over the course of 10-40 days). Our group tends to push for longer days through a combination of those two circumstances (plot time pressure and sandbox reaction time pressure; and the players do so ourselves through worry of hidden consequences for being slower). The more encounters the group has in a day, the more it favors martial characters (including martial casters) over one-and-done save-or-lose spells, for two reasons. First because given healing consumables, martial prowess is a reusable resource but second (and more importantly), it changes the optimal way for the spellcasters to assign their own resources to a way that is more fun for the martial characters (buff spells on the martials that can last the whole fight or especially multiple fights become a more efficient use of spell slots to make it longer through the day).

11) NPCs Part 1 (Simulation): Is Opposition Believably Setting Savvy and Engaged as Consistently as the PCs? Basically, do NPCs take the same narrative precautions that the PCs would obviously take if the situations were reversed? This is important whether in #9 you have a sandbox or a railroad, since if NPCs have a vast disparity in their precautions compared to what the PCs would take or have access to, this is more likely to lead to a narrative disparity because PC casters will be taking measures for which the opposition is not taking appropriate countermeasures. For instance, suppose the charming but evil NPC king is worried about the intel-gathering of a group of PCs. The king might be able to use his sweet words to convince a coven of hags to provide him with mind blank, thus becoming immune to the entire divination school of magic, but not to attempts to gather information. We actually had this happen to our group, and in the end, the king’s downfall came not from our wizard’s divination spells but from my bard using Knowledge, Diplomacy, and gathering info to figure out the king’s source (the hags) and then staking out the location waiting for the enemy king to return to refresh his spell. If the NPCs don’t take reasonable countermeasures and your group answered “Yes” to #5, then a narrative disparity is extremely likely. My group answers “Yes” to this question.

12) NPCs Part 2 (Gamist): How much, if any, do you tweak the power of the opposition in combat? Especially if you answered “lots of experience” in #2 above, if the PCs are that optimized, they are going to be blowing away the expected benchmarks of the game, which are designed for a more average group. You kind of have to ratchet the opposition up if you want a challenge. It’s not different than when I’m playing a video game and set the difficulty rating to “High” when I find that “Normal” is set too low. Our group does tweak the power of opposition (for instance, once Linda turned a fight with an elasmosaurus in an underground lake into a fight with four advanced hydrodaemons and the lake was Styx water that caused negative levels that bypassed death ward if you touched it, which the hydrodaemons ensured with control water). It might be the opposite of what your intuition would say based on the other entries so far, but actually a group that has high-powered characters and doesn’t tweak the power of opposition is much less likely to see a combat disparity just because everyone on the PC team, casters and martials alike, are capable of annihilating most or all encounters solo (in fact, in such games, it’s smartest for the casters to grab spells that help in non-combat situations that might come up and just leave combat to the martials mostly altogether, which can lead to a reverse disparity where the martials shine brightest in battle). When tweaking the power level (which I do recommend), depending on how you do it, you might introduce or emphasize a disparity. For instance, let’s take an enemy “boss” that’s so easy for your group that the fighter can kill it in one full attack for sure and it can’t save against the caster’s Will save or lose except on a 19 or 20. If you give the creature +4 AC, +4 attack rolls, +4 hp per HD, and +4 on all saves, it seems evenhanded since it’s 4 on everything, but doubling down on the hp and AC is more likely to make it so the martial can’t one-round it, whereas it still has a 70% chance to lose in one round to the caster’s spell.

13) Fail Back or Fail Forward: We’re starting to move into questions where the PFRPG (and really 3.0 and 3.5 as well) systems bias you towards a particular answer, which also help reveal how the system can lead to more groups seeing a disparity than in other systems. This question is related in some ways to railroading, but the basic principle has to do with how failure at a particular non-combat challenge affects your group. Is the result of a failed challenge usually hitting up against a brick wall and being unable to continue (in which case you are more likely to have a disparity where one character can continue the game and another can't) or is the result that you move forward but with some consequence or disadvantage? 3.0, 3.5, and PFRPG have at least some element of Fail Back, at least compared to other games like FATE or especially Burning Wheel/Mouseguard. In Mouseguard, it’s essentially impossible to fail back unless you’re in the equivalent of a combat; a failed roll either means you succeed but in a way that leads to a complication or you succeed but gain a negative condition.

14) Cooperation Part 3: Character Creation Separate or Together and Character Niche or “Role”. I saved this one for last because it’s going to lead us to the biggest thing that 3.0 (and thus 3.5 and Pathfinder) did that led to a much-increased instance of caster/martial disparities. The question is, does your group discuss character concepts with each other and think about not only whether you can cover all your bases together but also whether you synergize with each other, clash with each other, or step on each other’s toes? Sometimes you can’t possibly do so, such as in a pickup-game environment like PFS. The reason why this particularly relevant in 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder even compared to older editions of D&D is actually because of the mostly-flat-out-awesome innovations toward increased character personalization and reductions in arbitrary restrictions on what a character can do that allowed so much creativity and exploration beyond the constraints of roles. The problem is that while it definitely makes sense that things like disabling traps or having a keep with followers could be something that anyone interested in doing can do, moving them all out to become available to all characters eroded away the special narrative/out-of-combat options that the non-spellcasters had available in those older editions. It leaves us in a situation where a group that isn’t at a high level of cooperation in building characters can easily wind up with stepping on toes, and not even just toe-stepping by casters to martials. An investigator might wind up stepping on the toes of a variety of skilled characters in the party, without necessarily having more spells than those characters. The one thing in this category that leads to a disparity, however, is that while the gunslinger might step on the zen archer or inquistor’s toes at shooting things (or vice versa) and the investigator might step on the bard’s or rogue's toes (or vice versa) at skills, these are toe-stepping that can happen in any direction (my examples included one with more martial to more caster, and one with more caster to more martial). But nobody can step on the caster’s toes at “spellcasting”, meaning that in a group rife with toe-stepping, the casters are going to have fewer stubbed toes than the others.

All right, so now we’ve seen 14 different factors that could influence whether a group experiences a disparity (either combat or narrative), as well as several ways in which the system itself is complicit towards potentially aggravating some of the factors compared to other systems. But can we make a definitive statement or make a composite picture out of these 14 elements? All in all, not really. However, one thing we can do is create the “perfect storm” scenario by answering all my questions in a way that increases disparity. Ready?

1) You can’t do cool things that break the rules.
2) High level of system knowledge and experience; heavy optimization.
3) Loner / lower teamwork. Group doesn’t know each other as well.
4) See 5 for combined 4&5
5) Either unable to distinguish when an option is harmful or unwilling to do so when it works by the rules, or both. Most likely unwilling because we’re going for extreme system optimization, which tend to be extremely incisive group members who are more likely to be able to distinguish harmful options.
6) N/A because the group is unwilling to eliminate harmful options that work by the rules entirely or otherwise doesn’t distinguish them.
7) Adjudication bias towards casters.
8) High level games.
9) Non-episodic. Loose railroad and both casters and martials want to shake the rails OR sandbox with character goals that emphasize disparity.
10) Group can rest at any time with few or no consequences.
11) NPCs take few narrative precautions.
12) Difficulty tweaked for party’s optimization, but with things like across the board number boosts that handle the martial optimization more than the casters.
13) Fail Back is common (typical for PFRPG/3.X in general).
14) Characters built separately and many niches violated (due to low niche protection in PFRPG/3.X).

Obviously you don’t have to have all of these things be true for you and your group to see a disparity, since this is the extreme. However, in detailing the extreme, we can observe at least a few qualities that correlate towards the media and venues in which we most commonly see the most vociferous responses involving the disparity (forums). Internet discussion forum regulars are likely to be extremely competent, intelligent, and experienced players (more likely to match the profile for #2) who are interested enough in the intricacies, rules, and mechanics of the game to discuss them in their spare time (more likely to match the profile in #1 and #4/5 and stick with “official”). Also, since they are discussing this on the forums instead of at the table with their fellow players, it is somewhat more likely that either they don’t have a regular group (I know my forum posting before I worked here was by far highest when I was in between groups) or have a regular group that usually doesn’t talk about these kinds of things with each other because the poster is the one most interested in these topics, which can lead to #3 and #14.

We can also observe that #4, #13, and #14 each contain elements in which the system itself is complicit.

I guess the main conclusion is that the system is complex and there are numerous variables that alter how any given group plays the game but that the underlying potential for there to be a noticeable disparity does exist within the game’s structure, and there are elements of the game that bias some of the factors towards that disparity more so than other games. Apologies if my discussion here is somewhat haphazard; it’s fairly stream of consciousness (just my stream of consciousness in designer mode is a little more “lawful” than tradition SoC text).

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Have you been working on that text for awhile now?


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

What do you think about the caster-martial disparity in Pathfinder?

Do you think it's real? Is it a problem? A case of misunderstanding/miscommunication?

** spoiler omitted **...

Could you expand upon that?

Designer

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KingOfAnything wrote:
Have you been working on that text for awhile now?

Nope, I just kind of wrote it ad-hoc as it came (hence what I meant by saying it was "stream of consciousness-esque"). That's why it's a bit disorganized.

Liberty's Edge

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Hi Mark,
There are some questions.My friend and I play PFS, so we want arbitration.
Please pardon me as my English isn't very good.

1.I(Humanoid,middle or small size)ride a mount(large size), and weild a Reach Weapon(such as Longspear). May I attack the enemy(middle size) who adjacent to my mount?

2.If a rider has feat Ride-By Attack ,and his mount has Pounce, when they charge, can mount pounce and then move again (continuing the straight line of the charge)?

3.Can animal companion(Int3 or higher) choose feat Additional Traits to get 2 Traits?

4.If I want buy a Adamantine Hide for my animal companion(large size), the price should be 4*15gp+10000gp=10060gp or 4*(15gp+10000gp)=40060gp? And how about +1 Adamantine Hide?

5. May I spand money to make Specific Magic Armor or Weapon upgrade?Such as Magic Armor :Boneless Leather,a +1 Leather, may I buy a +2 one?

THX!:P


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

What do you think about the caster-martial disparity in Pathfinder?

Do you think it's real? Is it a problem? A case of misunderstanding/miscommunication?

** spoiler omitted **...

Thanks.

(To create an axis of my own).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

To move away from PF (and even away from caster-martial):

Would you say that the potential for disparity becomes inevitable in any sufficiently complicated system?

Can you think of any RPGs which give a lot of character building options but where perceptions of disparity are rare?

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