The Dark Side of RAI


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Sovereign Court

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This is something that's been on my mind for some time, but now that I've about finished an index of every Paizo feat, trait, and spell (the ones on places like d20pfsrd are actually missing a few, even from books I'd consider somewhat core-ish), it's really been bugging me.

One of the things that really sparked my love for tabletop roleplaying was when I first got the 3.5e Dungeon Master's Guide and was reading through it (I just might be one of the few people to have read that thing cover-to-cover, simply because it was my introduction to tabletop and I didn't know anything about it before). Somewhere in there, relatively early on was an attempt to describe how tabletop roleplaying let you do anything you can imagine by describing how you might adjudicate something ridiculous like a monk jumping over a banister, grabbing a chandelier, and swinging across to kick someone in the face. (IIRC, I believe it suggested a Jump check to reach the chandelier, a touch attack to grab it, possibly with a Reflex save in there somewhere, followed by a charge attack). After reading that, I was sold. I could go on about how much that one paragraph shaped me as a GM and my preferences and opinions on various systems, but let's go ahead and fast-forward to now.

It was something I started to notice in 3.5e, but either it wasn't as pronounced, or I simply didn't have as large a sample of splatbooks, but there are a lot of feats, spells, quite a few class features, and I think one or two traits that - thanks, if nothing else, to RAI, severely limit that sort of freedom. Normally, RAI seems to me to be something that allows things beyond the written rules. For example, if you can regularly chuck balls of fire, then being able to create a lighter-sized flame to light a candle or perhaps even a torch seems like it would be a negligible use of your ability that you could do any time.

First off, let me say that in general I kind of love rule bloat (with only mild exaggeration). I love having more spells, classes, and feats to pick between since it gives me more ideas and more accurate ways of representing the characters in my head. But sometimes, these new rules actually end up limiting what a player can do rather than expand their capabilities. Prime examples for me are things like the feats Antagonize, Call Out, Warning Shot, especially Blinding Flash, and perhaps even Kinetic Leap and Kinetic Counter. These are all actions that had there not been these feats, I would have considered perfectly reasonable actions for characters to attempt. I may not have used the exact same rules, but it would have been close enough to render the feat useless. For example, the basic effect of Xenoglossy - being able to communicate without a shared language - is something I would have thought would practically be the main purpose of the Linguistics skill (along with deciphering ancient text or coded messages). The actions of Dazzling Display I would have allowed, but probably to provide a bonus to the usual Intimidate check instead. By the way, this is not an extensive list, just the ones I was able to remember easily.

But since there are these explicit rules, it strongly implies that characters without these feats are not able to do these things at all. For example, I used a house rule for years that if you're proficient with a weapon, you can take a non-proficiency penalty for an attack to deal different damage with it. Using a spear like a quarterstaff to deal bludgeoning damage, or stabbing with a longsword to deal piercing damage. It seemed reasonable to me, having taken fencing and a few other weapon-focused martial arts to expect someone who actually used weapons on a daily basis to be able to do these sorts of things with minimal effort, and the non-proficiency penalty was really just a token attempt at maintaining the game's original balance. But Weapon Versatility has a very similar effect, implicitly locking that ability away.

Dark Archive

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I agree, and in my games I give a large amount of traits and feats are gotten for free if your character would qualify for them otherwise. This allows the cool stuff to still be done, but there are rules for it now and it doesn't cost resources.

Grand Lodge

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Lawrence DuBois wrote:
But since there are these explicit rules, it strongly implies that characters without these feats are not able to do these things at all. For example, I used a house rule for years that if you're proficient with a weapon, you can take a non-proficiency penalty for an attack to deal different damage with it. Using a spear like a quarterstaff to deal bludgeoning damage, or stabbing with a longsword to deal piercing damage. It seemed reasonable to me, having taken fencing and a few other weapon-focused martial arts to expect someone who actually used weapons on a daily basis to be able to do these sorts of things with minimal effort, and the non-proficiency penalty was really just a token attempt at maintaining the game's original balance. But Weapon Versatility has a very similar effect, implicitly locking that ability away
FAQ wrote:

Can I use my longspear to attack at both 10 feet and 5 feet? I know that the rules for reach weapons don't allow them to attack adjacent foes, but can I use the improvised weapon rules to say that the blunt end of my longspear resembles a club and use it to attack adjacent foes? I know that the improvised weapon rules say they are for objects not designed to be weapons, but the blunt end of my longspear was not designed to be a weapon, right?

You could choose to wield your longspear as an improvised blunt weapon. In this case, it threatens only your adjacent squares, and not the further squares. If you are wielding it as a longspear, though, to threaten the further squares, then your grip precludes the use as an improvised blunt weapon. The rules are silent on how long it would take to shift between the two, but switching between a one-handed and a two-handed grip with a one-handed weapon like a longsword is a free action (and can thus be only taken on your turn), so it should take at least as long as that, thus preventing you from simultaneously threatening all of the squares at once. Incidentally, using the longspear as an improvised weapon in this way would not allow you to benefit from any magical enhancements it may possess, nor would you add benefits that apply when attacking with a longspear (such as Weapon Focus (longspear), but you would apply any benefits from using an improvised weapon (such as Catch Off-Guard).

Weapon Versatility just lets you do it without a penalty (though is still slightly different from the FAQ, but the FAQ goes specifically with your example).

Sovereign Court

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Now I wonder about the relationship between that FAQ and Weapon Versatility. The two overlap quite a bit to the extent that I'd say it requires a judgment call. Either the FAQ is valid, which implies that no special training is required to deal alternate damage with a weapon, rendering useless a feat that can only be used with weapons for which you have Weapon Focus, or you can take the feat as the valid ruling (due to it being published in a book), negating what the FAQ says...

Incidentally, now that Weapon Versatility exists, I actually prefer how it handles the ability over what I had come up with, but then that brings back to the original problem of feats that grant abilities that should probably be doable without them.

Liberty's Edge

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Yes, I've noticed the same thing, especially in 3.5, but there is usually a way to handle it.

claudekennilol already noted that weapon versatility has no non-proficiency penalty... so there is no reason you couldn't have both your original house rule AND the feat. The feat just provides a better bonus for those who take it. Similarly, xenoglossy makes the target creature think you are actually speaking its language clearly... whereas I would think a linguistics check would be to get the general idea across but it would take longer and the creature obviously knows you don't actually speak it's language.

In other cases if the difference between a special option and my generic house rule is small I will remove the special option entirely or replace it with something better than the generic option. Basically, players should still always be able to try to do anything they can think of... these very specific feats should just be ways of doing those things more automatically. Characters with the feat have actually trained to do the odd maneuver and thus are better at it than those just attempting it on the fly.


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Part of the problem are the sheer number of badly-written or simply bad feats and archetypes that have been published over the years. Many of these are so terrible as to be functionally useless and never see the light of day in an actual game, but their mere existence sets a precedent in every case.

Heck, I flipped through the nearest sourcebook I had on hand and only had to flip one page to find a feat that shouldn't exist:

Pass for Human wrote:

You’re easily mistaken for a human rather than a member of your own race.

Prerequisite: Half-elf, half-orc, or halfling (see Special).

Benefit: You receive a +10 bonus on Disguise checks to disguise yourself as a human, and do not receive the penalty for disguising yourself as a member of another race when you do so. In areas largely populated or settled by humans, you can take 10 on your Disguise check, meaning most people tend to assume you are human unless given a reason to think otherwise.

Special: A halfling may take this feat, but must have the Childlike feat as a prerequisite. The benefits of the two feats stack.

Let's start with the problem that the author apparently doesn't understand the rules for take 10:

Take 10 wrote:
When your character is not in immediate danger or distracted, you may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them automatically successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible for a character to take 10.

In other words, you can already take 10 on a disguise check anyways. Let's move on to the disguise rules:

Disguise wrote:

Your Disguise check result determines how good the disguise is, and it is opposed by others’ Perception check results. If you don’t draw any attention to yourself, others do not get to make Perception checks. If you come to the attention of people who are suspicious (such as a guard who is watching commoners walking through a city gate), it can be assumed that such observers are taking 10 on their Perception checks.

You get only one Disguise check per use of the skill, even if several people are making Perception checks against it. The Disguise check is made secretly, so that you can’t be sure how good the result is.

So this establishes a few things. First of all, since the Disguise check is made at the time you create the Disguise you most certainly can always take 10, even if the Disguise is being tested under more strenuous circumstances.

Second, against casual observers a disguise is automatically successful. In other words, even if you're a gelatinous cube most people will just presume you're human if you put on a disguise (lovely mental image, isn't it?).

Finally, even against those who do get to make a perception check against you, it's not a conventional opposed check. This is important because in the context of this skill you're probably going to have to pass by more than one observer so you'd have to presume a take 20 result to disguise yourself effectively. Thanks to this rule, you can get away with a skill check that's 10 points lower than you might otherwise need. In fact, you just need to get your Disguise modifier above the Perception modifier of the people you're slipping past to be 100% effective.

Chances are you aren't going to be sneaking past high-level Rangers that hate all non-humans who just happen to be posted at every city gate. No, you're probably sneaking past 1st or 2nd level warriors with 10 wisdom and who don't get perception as a class skill. This isn't a very high bar at all. And what if you really need that +10 because your GM did put a high-level Ranger who hates all non-humans in your path? Well, you should probably have a chat with him about that, but a potion of Disguise Self is 50 GP and if you're really doing it often a Hat of Disguise is a very cost-effective item.

The feat presupposes a frankly contrived scenario, and isn't particularly useful even in that scenario since it's already pretty easy to succeed at the required checks. All it does is establish a precedent that half-humans receive no circumstance bonus for disguising themselves as a full-blooded human, and have to make the exact same check as a gelatinous cube would.

And to be clear, I literally just did crack upon the nearest sourcebook and flipped one page before I found a terribly written feat to rant about. They're everywhere, and each one implicitly sets yet another precedent.


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Lawrence, you gave voice (or text) to the exact thoughts that have been forming in my mind over the past 6 months or so. I also enjoy new mechanics to look over to an extent, but it's gotten to the point where there are just a ridiculous amount of time and mechanics spread over who knows how many books. Too many GMs take those precedents you mention to restrict later actions just because they haven't taken "etc etc" feat/trait/class. I learned on 3.0, so I don't have as much experience as some. The weapon versatility example is one that has really stood out to me.

Sovereign Court

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Great point, Dasrak. I've always been of the mind that Disguise checks have a sort of gradient of difficult that's more nuanced than they seem to be treated. For example, it would take negligible effort for a half-elf to look human or vice-versa, and it almost certainly be easier for an elf to look like a human of similar ethnicity than for a Garundi to look Chelaxian. A short enough Ulfen should be easier to disguise as a dwarf, and an androgynous woman should have no trouble disguising herself as a man. But you couldn't possibly expect to balance all of those possibilities with a finite number of traits and feats that the player would have to choose between and sacrifice other more useful abilities for the sake of more accurately representing their character. Basically, I think that Disguise should have explicitly advocated for more GM arbitration. I mean, that sort of thing probably is the single strongest advantage that tabletop games have over computer games, after all.

At the very least, the devs could have included that Normal entry at the end of the feat describing how the activity works if you try doing it without the feat rather than just leaving it out thereby strongly implying that without the feat the action is completely impossible. I mean at this point, it would seem like pole vaulting or diving would be completely impossible to attempt without a feat.

I mean, I would like to reiterate that I really love Pathfinder as a whole and by-and-large think that everyone at Paizo does a great job, but... I guess that's what makes me want to voice my criticisms all the more. Being so close to greatness makes the flaws stand out all the more, I suppose.

Dark Archive

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Then again, there's GMs letting you do things that RAW and RAI may not have even crossed their minds... such as using an aerokinetic's basic aerokinesis to help a sail boat travel faster on a low wind day. Or using a hydrokinetic's basic hydrokinesis for the same purpose. Or both at once going on.

Sovereign Court

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Well yeah. As I ...implied in my original post, doing things that the rules don't even mention is the biggest advantage that tabeltop games have. The trouble is when supplements come in and add feats and what-not that do end up covering these uncovered areas. Like imagine if, in your example, Paizo puts out a new Occult supplement that adds a feat or class feature for aerokinetics that explicitly says "Kineticists with this ability may use their aerokinesis to grant a ship an enhancement bonus to its speed equal to... blah blah blah. This ability is usable for 10 minutes per point of Constitution bonus." or something. Previously, you'd have said that this ability is something that any aerokineticist can attempt, but now the rules say that you have to have this feat, or archetype, etc. before you can do this.


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The main reason why those things exist is to sell books. They take up space, and are useless, so they have no effect on any games.

It is similar to why bad magic cards exist. They are low effort to make, and pad out the books to be much more expensive for the one or two useful things in there.


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This is the problem with rules bloat. I'm starting to understand why some people dislike it so much.

I guess this is one reason why game systems eventually move on to new editions, for a fresh start.

Dark Archive

Another reason is that as more and more books come out chances of a class being made that turns out to be excessively powerful increase exponentially. The Alchemist class for example seems... a tad overly powerful. I mean, a strong AOE at level 1 (1d6 initially, rather powerful for lvl 1) that only gets stronger quickly? Even an average alchemist can make the rest of the party feel superfluous at level 1, and down right unneeded at level 6. Magus also seem a wee bit too powerful.

Or maybe that's just a given player who likes to bend the rules into unnatural shapes with the knowledge the GM knows nothing of the class or ability he's using. Such as relying on the GM not having read the crafting rules thus not knowing you can't make a +3 Living Steel heavy steel shield at level 3 or a +2 amulet of natural armor at level 5. Let alone knowing what the DC to make anything is, or that you DO need to make a skill check.

I'm still not sure he's playing his magus correctly, but I'm dang sure he wasn't playing his alchemist right in Serpent's Skull.


Doesn't seem to require any or much adjustment. Passing like 5 checks in the example in the OP using organic adjudication is generally very far from guaranteed. So just keep allowing that, and the benefit of a feat is to bump it up to guaranteed.


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If only all GMs ran it that way. :(

Sovereign Court

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CWheezy, I don't think that it's that necessary, though. Most of the feats aren't like that so cutting out the one or two in a book that has them isn't really losing much, even from a word/dollar standpoint. And certainly, even if an extra feat or two feels necessary, it could be padded out even more with that Normal entry explaining how the action would work without the feat, which would still be fairly easy since it would usually just amount to saying something like "A character without this feat takes a -4 penalty on this check."

Paulicus, that is very likely the biggest reason. At least for deciding [u]when[/u] to make a new edition.

Daniel Myhre, I'd have to disagree, at least with looking at the bombs. I'd consider it a hard sell to say that bombs are much more powerful than a rogue's sneak attack. The AoE is pretty small to begin with - you'd be hard pressed to hit more than two or three creatures with a single bomb at low levels, especially if you don't want to accidentally hit your group's fighter or something - not to mention that the splash damage is the minimum amount of damage the bomb can deal, which can be further halved if the target makes the - at low levels - relatively easy save. And on top of all that, default bombs deal fire damage which is the #1 most commonly resisted energy type in the game. Not to mention that you can only throw so many bombs per day, which can very easily lead to the player hoarding their bombs, hoping for more ideal times to use them (usually when there's more than one or two creatures they can hit). Of course, these are limitations that I'm sure would be fairly easy for a munchkin to overcome, as seems to be implied with the rest of your post, but reigning in power-gamers is kind of also the duty of the GM. It's sort of like the gunslinger, I suppose. In ideal circumstances, it can be devastating, but due to its specialization and certain not-immediately-apparent limitations, it manages to be kept in check in practice.

Although, I should probably throw in a disclaimer here that most of the games I run tend not to get beyond 6th to 12th level or so, and I had a very role-play focused group. Perhaps the biggest headache I ever had to deal with among my players was one who wanted to play a packmaster with all 1st-level companions. Certainly not an over-powered build by any stretch, but I just was NOT going to deal with that many combatants so I limited them to two (it was already a fairly large group, and two other players chose pet classes).

Crimeo, that example was just an extreme example of how the rules in the book could be used to handle things that the authors couldn't possibly account for. In actuality, most of the sorts of situations are things closer to the Weapon Versatility thing we were just talking about. I don't expect any feat to be added that covers chandelier swinging, but it represents the uncharted "here there be dragons" areas that I would argue are beneficial for the rules to not actually cover, and how that contrasts with all these additional feats and class features that end up charting those waters.

Silver Crusade

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I thoroughly enjoy the Pathfinder game. I enjoy pawing through my newest book Races of the Inner Sea and soaking up all of the fluff, as well as the crunch.

But I agree, ironically the more options (rules) you create the less your character can do.

I have a character modeled after Indiana Jones. I have had this character in one incarnation or another for a very long time. My screen name is the name of this character and my avatar image is a illustration of Eando Kline to help describe Elyas Ravenwood. I had at one point in time thought this was the name of Indiana Jones's mentor. At least I got the last name right.

I think I first made this character 20 years ago in second edition game as a ½ elf multi class ranger / Bard with the kits Explorer / Lore master. I re created this character for a 3.5 Age of Worms game where he was a human multi class Bard /Rogue.
Most recently I made this character for Pathfinder Society. I made a human male Bard with the Archeologist archetype. All things considered, I am happiest with this iteration of the character.

Back in 2nd edition, I do not think there weren’t any rules governing my characters use of a whip to trip, disarm, and use as a climbing tool. The GM had me do an attack roll and a Dex check to resolve all of these things.

When I made the character for 3.5 there were the feats Improved trip and Improved disarm.

Now for the PFS game there is the trait prehensile whip for climbing with a whip, there was Improved Trip, Improved Disarm and Improved Steal. In one PFS game, I was informed that my character could not use his whip to snag an evil cleric's holy symbol which the cleric was presenting forth in out stretched hand with out the improved steal feat.... so I picked it up at the next available level.

So Ironically I feel with the expansion of the rules, and definition of actions, there is less room for “free form” playing where the GM adjudicates things with a house rule.

Sovereign Court

I feel your pain, but I do think it would take some dedicated training to pull off some of those whip tricks. Consider the lengthy montage of teaching Zorro how to extinguish candles with his whip. My personal opinion is that that's where a feat would be fitting. You have to seriously practice to snag something with a whip. Anyone could angle a shiny shield so that it blinds their enemy.

That said, to each their own. If a GM thinks that grabbing things with a whip is a reasonable trick, more power to you (pun intended).


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Lawrence DuBois wrote:

I feel your pain, but I do think it would take some dedicated training to pull off some of those whip tricks. Consider the lengthy montage of teaching Zorro how to extinguish candles with his whip. My personal opinion is that that's where a feat would be fitting. You have to seriously practice to snag something with a whip. Anyone could angle a shiny shield so that it blinds their enemy.

That said, to each their own. If a GM thinks that grabbing things with a whip is a reasonable trick, more power to you (pun intended).

The problem is when you could not even try that kind of stuff withut the relevant feat.


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ElyasRavenwood wrote:


Now for the PFS game there is the trait prehensile whip for climbing with a whip, there was Improved Trip, Improved Disarm and Improved Steal. In one PFS game, I was informed that my character could not use his whip to snag an evil cleric's holy symbol which the cleric was presenting forth in out stretched hand with out the improved steal feat.... so I picked it up at the next available level.

That seems to be a bad call. The action you describe is a disarm maneuver, and you most definitely can try the maneuver with a whip. You could not have grabbed it in the same action though.


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Weapon Versatility doesn't in any way indicate that you can't use the pommel of a dagger to do bludgeoning damage, for example. However, without the feat, you're using it as an improvised weapon, so you take -4 unless you have Catch Off Guard, and the damage is decided by the GM by comparing similar items, and always has a 20/x2 critical range/modifier, as well as not benefiting from any of the weapon's special properties. Weapon versatility allows all of that to remain the same as the original weapon.

As for stealing with a whip, that PFS GM was completely, utterly, entirely in the wrong. It says explicitly in the APG that you can use the steal maneuver from range with a whip, taking a -4 penalty. Improved steal just allows you to avoid provoking an AoO if attempting this in a threatened square. And that's only if the item isn't being held in hand. If held in hand, it's explicitly a disarm maneuver, rather than a steal, and can be done with a whip with no penalty.

Disarm combat maneuver

Steal combat maneuver

The only way a PFS GM should be allowed to tell you that you can't attempt to steal an object with a whip is if you're playing Core, because Steal is in the APG. I'm not even sure if that's actually the case, in fact, but it would be the only reason that's even potentially valid.

Sovereign Court

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What? No. That interpretation of Weapon Versatility makes even less sense. Use the pommel of a dagger as an improvised sap, sure. That's more-or-less what I'd been doing already. But without some supernatural voodoo, how could you possibly deal bludgeoning damage with a dagger's blade? The flat of a dagger's blade would be hard pressed to even do 1 damage, let alone 1d4. Or if you're still using the pommel, why would you suddenly get a 19-20 threat range? Why would the weapon's flaming enchantment or whatever suddenly be able to affect the pommel without affecting before? Yes, this is a fantasy game with supernatural elements, but that sort of thing would be more the purview of a spell. Feats - especially combat feats that require no supernatural prerequisite - are for things that are at least cinematically possible with mundane skill and dedicated practice.


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Quote:
When wielding a weapon with which you have Weapon Focus, you can shift your grip as a swift action so that your weapon deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage instead of the damage type normally dealt by that weapon. You may switch back to the weapon's normal damage type or another damage type as a swift action.

How can you interpret that other than keeping all the same statistics as the regular weapon other than the damage type? Eliminating the -4 on a single weapon when used in an improvised manner isn't worth a feat, especially when there's Catch Off Guard which does it for ALL improvised weapons.

Silver Crusade

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Lawrence,
I agree I can see how it would require a feat or two to pull off some of those stunts. One trait (prehensile whip) and four feats.... (Combat expertise, Improved Disarm, Improved trip, Improved steal) well I guess I would most likely need to add weapon focus whip, and whip mastery.......thats allot of feats.

I was just trying to point out that over the years from one edition to another, I have taken a character concept, Indiana Jones, and expressed the character concept differently with the rules over three editions, and I have noticed your freedom to imagine what your character is doing, I think has been hampered by a proliferation of rules. I think this was what you were also expressing. All things considered I am quite happy with pathfinder.

Elyas

Sovereign Court

Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
How can you interpret that other than keeping all the same statistics as the regular weapon other than the damage type?

With anything other than a very strict RAW interpretation. And if it isn't apparent from this thread, I'm rather more in favour of RAI. And I suppose RWNLA (Rules With Narrative Logic Applied). In the game world, the fluff I suppose, how would you explain that working? How would a 1st-level human fighter (the quickest you can get that feat) possibly deal 1d6 bludgeoning damage, threatening a critical on a 18-20, with a rapier? Or 1d8 slashing damage, tripled on a critical, with a warhammer?


The instance of this that I've had trouble with in Pathfinder is ranger traps. Without a feat (or archetype) I can't set tripwires? Wha!?

One feat I noticed but has never come up in play is "Body Bludgeon" Back in 3.5 one of our Barbs picked up a orphan and did just that, with the GM ruling on the fly. Nowadays he'd need a feat...

Sovereign Court

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ElyasRavenwood, it is rather disappointing to see that sort of idea require so many feats that they start seriously biting into the character's combat effectiveness. I tend to favour taking flavour-based choices over mechanics-based ones, but I still want my character to not be a liability in combat. Personally, I might consider this sort of thing on a special basis with my player, and probably come up with a homebrew feat that only requires ...probably Combat Expertise and Weapon Focus (whip) that essentially grants you Improved Disarm/Trip/Steal, etc. and perhaps a few other effects while wielding a whip. Of course, I'd also understand if other GMs wouldn't even consider that since I could see it going terribly wrong in a power-gamer's hands.

Combat Monster, I think if I was running a more serious game then I'd require a feat, since that sort of thing actually would be fairly difficult if you didn't have phenomenal strength, but if it was a more laid-back or casual game, then I wouldn't require it - perhaps allowing the feat to let you do it with one hand or something - since that sort of thing does crop up fairly often in certain types of fiction (the Hulk, Astaroth from Soul Calibur, several large anime characters, and the occasional smaller one for comedic effect...).


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In some cases I have found the opposite to be true. Captain America was never a viable build until the shield-focused archetype of the brawler came out.

Liberty's Edge

Lawrence DuBois wrote:

Now I wonder about the relationship between that FAQ and Weapon Versatility. The two overlap quite a bit to the extent that I'd say it requires a judgment call. Either the FAQ is valid, which implies that no special training is required to deal alternate damage with a weapon, rendering useless a feat that can only be used with weapons for which you have Weapon Focus, or you can take the feat as the valid ruling (due to it being published in a book), negating what the FAQ says...

Incidentally, now that Weapon Versatility exists, I actually prefer how it handles the ability over what I had come up with, but then that brings back to the original problem of feats that grant abilities that should probably be doable without them.

Staying a second with weapon versatility, it give you a lot that you don't get using your weapon as an improvised weapon, so I don't see how you can call that it and the FAQ overlap.

FAQ: you can sue your weapon as an improvised weapon with a -4 to hit and damage based on his size and maybe magical bonuses.

Weapon with Weapon Versatility feat: No, 4 to hit, full benefit for the weapon damage, weapon focus, weapon specialization, fighter weapon training, magical bonuses, possibly weapon finesse. Probably there are other bonuses that I am forgetting.

Sovereign Court

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CampinCarl9127, I should clarify that generally, I see this to be the case, too. It always annoyed me that I could never make this guy until the brawler came out, because gauntlets aren't a monk weapon. And come on, that guy is clearly a monk. The things that I'm taking issue with in this thread I consider to definitely be the exception far more than the rule.

Diego Rossi, Catch-Off Guard removes that penalty as well. And for games I'm GMing, I'd probably let Catch-Off Guard allow you to use feats and abilities like Weapon Focus and fighter weapon training apply to the weapon when being improvised to deal alternate damage. As for magical bonuses and weapon damage... I'm kind of in a discussion about that with Paladin of Baha-who? right now. This post sums up my thoughts on the subject.


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CampinCarl9127 wrote:

In some cases I have found the opposite to be true. Captain America was never a viable build until the shield-focused archetype of the brawler came out.

You mean the one that was not proficient in shields when it was released?

Sovereign Court

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...The Shield Champion archetype specifically says that it is "proficient with light armor, and with bucklers, light shields, and heavy shields". I'm reading it straight out of the book.
My only question is why did it write it that way rather than the standard "and with shields (except tower shields)"? I guess that means it isn't proficient with the madu and klar, but that's oddly specific... Perhaps because those are already also weapons, as I recall? But light and heavy shields are on the weapon table as well, so I don't really know how you'd differentiate... I'm kind of talking to myself at this point, so I'll just stop.


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As armor, not weapons

Sovereign Court

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It took me a moment to understand what you were saying, but I guess your point is that shields are martial weapons while the shield champion is only proficient with simple weapons. To which my reply becomes how would you make the distinction? By writing shields twice in the proficiencies?
"A shield champion is proficient with all simple weapons, light shields, and heavy shields. She is also proficient with light armor, and with bucklers, light shields, and heavy shields."?
That would just strike me as weird and needlessly pedantic. I'd consider the weapon half of that proficiency pretty strongly implied already. Any GM that would actually rule otherwise is just trolling. May I be a bit contentious and ask if you're one of those people who corrects others when they say 'less' instead of 'fewer'?


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CWheezy wrote:
CampinCarl9127 wrote:

In some cases I have found the opposite to be true. Captain America was never a viable build until the shield-focused archetype of the brawler came out.

You mean the one that was not proficient in shields when it was released?

Yeah, heh.


Lawrence DuBois wrote:
It took me a moment to understand what you were saying, but I guess your point is that shields are martial weapons while the shield champion is only proficient with simple weapons. To which my reply becomes how would you make the distinction? By writing shields twice in the proficiencies?

I would probably write it like this

Quote:

A shield champion is proficient with all simple weapons and with shields as weapons. She is also proficient with light armor, and with bucklers, light shields, and heavy shields.

This replaces the brawler's weapon and armor proficiencies.

Oh wait this is what the errata said. As a fun fact, you play in PFS; that is how the shield champion worked in pfs until the errata.

Good false dichotomy at the end of your post, really classy


The problem is in creating new Feats when what Paizo is really doing is creating new mechanics.

That is, when they finally get around to defining how X, Y, or Z should work so that players now have an "official" rule for something that otherwise has been getting house-ruled, they make it a "Feat" that you have to invest in so that your character can do it. That helps pad out their new book, but leaves players frustrated and GM's more restricted in what they should allow players to do.

(I got burned by this when I allowed a player to do something that - unbeknownst to me - another player had spent a Feat on in order to be able to do. Rather than point this out to me, the player who spent the Feat sulked and got pissy until another player at the table informed me that there was a Feat for this and what the official Pathfinder mechanics were.)


Otherwhere wrote:


(I got burned by this when I allowed a player to do something that - unbeknownst to me - another player had spent a Feat on in order to be able to do. Rather than point this out to me, the player who spent the Feat sulked and got pissy until another player at the table informed me that there was a Feat for this and what the official Pathfinder mechanics were.)

Can you say what feat was that?


Nicos wrote:
Otherwhere wrote:


(I got burned by this when I allowed a player to do something that - unbeknownst to me - another player had spent a Feat on in order to be able to do. Rather than point this out to me, the player who spent the Feat sulked and got pissy until another player at the table informed me that there was a Feat for this and what the official Pathfinder mechanics were.)

Can you say what feat was that?

Honestly, I don't recall. This was over a year ago, and it was one of those "Dang it!" kind of moments where I realized that I simply don't know the Pathfinder system as well as I'd like to. There are just too many Feats, and new ones being added all the time, to keep up with. I'd have to comb through my HeroLab Feats section to try and remember what it was.


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I still can't believe they worded it like that. It kind of implies that all other martial classes with shield proficiency are not proficient with them as weapons. It was probably bad rules lawyers that forced them to do that.

Silver Crusade

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Lawrence,

Well while I have enjoyed that character, unlike Indianna Jones who can do everything, I did have to make some choices. I had to choose where he would be effective...

:

and I chose knowledge and spells. so on a 20 point build, I put his high scores in intelligence and Charisma. He didn't have a very high Str score, I think a 12. I think I chose traits like vagabond child to give him access to disable device, and prehensile whip so he could use his whip to climb with. I chose to give this character an 18 in intelligence. I wanted the bonus to knowledge checks and the extra skills. I also chose the feats Noble Scion (of lore) and Dilettante. So at 8th level my skills looked like this

+2 ranks
+3 Class Skill
+5 Int Mod
+4 Bardic Knowledge
+2 Dilettante
+1 Noble Scion: Lore

17 ranks in a knowledge skill.

I spent his other skill ranks in Disable Device, Perception, Acrobatics, Linguistics etc....

The rest of his feats were spent in combat expertise improved disarm, improved steal....and My character just picked up Amateur Investigator.


I have pretty much "retired" this PFS character because he wasn't very effective combat wise and I am not sure how he would fare in the 7-11 level scenarios. With this character I finished three linked scenarios which involved delving into Dwarven Ruins and making a significant archeological discovery. With a boon that says
:
his characters discoveries are published in the Pathfinder Chronicles
, I feel I can retire him at 8th level.

I apologize for rambling on,

Elyas

Sovereign Court

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CWheezy, what false dichotomy? At worst, maybe you could say the last sentence was a bit strawman-y, or perhaps ad absurdum, but even those claims I'd dispute as it was pretty clearly a hyperbolic statement for effect and not meant to be taken seriously. As CampinCarl9127 said, it had to just be rules lawyers that were giving people a hard time over it. I don't really pay much attention to PFS since - while a cool idea - the need for a uniform experience hamstrings GM arbitration, which as I've said many times now is the heart and soul of tabletop RPGs. Regardless of how my profile may be filled out, I haven't been active since Season 1 or 2. So I obviously can't confirm or deny your claim about PFS inflicting a non-proficiency penalty on shield champion brawlers, but if that really is the case then it certainly doesn't win the format any favour or respect in my eyes.

Anyway, this is getting off topic. We're not here to talk about editting flubs, particularly for mechanics that actually do expand on what a character can do rather than restrict.


CampinCarl9127 wrote:
I still can't believe they worded it like that. It kind of implies that all other martial classes with shield proficiency are not proficient with them as weapons. It was probably bad rules lawyers that forced them to do that.

You mean the ones with martial weapon proficiency as a catch all.


Combat Monster wrote:

The instance of this that I've had trouble with in Pathfinder is ranger traps. Without a feat (or archetype) I can't set tripwires? Wha!?

One feat I noticed but has never come up in play is "Body Bludgeon" Back in 3.5 one of our Barbs picked up a orphan and did just that, with the GM ruling on the fly. Nowadays he'd need a feat...

Well, you couldn't set a tripewire as a Full round Action. You could set a trap though normally.. And actually probally even have a better DC for it.

Back in 3.5 there were actually feats specifically to use other people as weapons (Throw Ally, Throw Enemy for example)

Regardless of if there is a feat or not, its the same issue. GM won't allow you to do something because you don't have a feat that says you do. Either you don't have it, cause it doesn't exist, or you don't have it and your GM knows it exists.

One of the things I try to do a lot for my GMs is annouce what I do have, and what I don't have. and What I'm going to be going for. Helps from spooking the gm. Sometimes they're skitterish, and will ban entire sets of books because they heard rumors about rumors that something might be a little more powerful than something else.

As for the shield thing, Alchemists have that too with bombs. The VMC however doesn't give bomb prof, nor does any of the other archtypes and abilities that grant bombs to the user.


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CWheezy wrote:
CampinCarl9127 wrote:
I still can't believe they worded it like that. It kind of implies that all other martial classes with shield proficiency are not proficient with them as weapons. It was probably bad rules lawyers that forced them to do that.
You mean the ones with martial weapon proficiency as a catch all.

Bards, clerics, druids, inquisitors and oracles get hit with lack of martial proficiency here.

Gungslingers, magi and swashbucklers are in the amusing position of being proficient with the shields as weapons, but not as shields.

Dark Archive

I think the real complaint here (and one I share) is that too many cool things that martial classes should just be able to do are gated behind feats. If I have 25+ Strength, I should be able to slap someone and send them flying without needing Awesome Blow, and no character should need special training to be able to Power Attack - you're swinging wildly at the expense of precision. If I'm dextrous, I shouldn't need special training (Weapon Finesse) to use my agility with a dagger or rapier, that's just how those weapons are designed. Lunge shouldn't require a feat either and there are plenty of other examples.

If there were to be a Pathfinder 2.0, I would make a lot of these baseline things you could do in the combat system - maybe in an Advanced Combat book to avoid overwhelming newcomers, but definitely not requiring feats from them.


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I definitely see what youre saying, but keep in mind it is your game and you can choose if the feats are necessary. I honestly think the feats are less intended to disallow creative players from doing these things, and more to allow players to do them in groups with more rules hard DMs. I know some DMs for example who let finessable weapons be always finessed.


Eh. I don't see martials gaining particularly much more power thru free feats, if any at all. They'll only get to the higher feats quicker, only meaning that their already strong point will get stronger quicker (damage out-put).

Dark Archive

Baval wrote:
I definitely see what youre saying, but keep in mind it is your game and you can choose if the feats are necessary. I honestly think the feats are less intended to disallow creative players from doing these things, and more to allow players to do them in groups with more rules hard DMs. I know some DMs for example who let finessable weapons be always finessed.

I agree and in fact, all of my GMs have been happy to give away some of these actions for free without the feats (or at least to give martial classes these feats for free.) I have even done so myself.

But I wouldn't mind a new edition of the game simply giving these away, or another optional "Unchained"-style supplement saying "You should consider making some of these free." Something a player can point to and have a little cover from the designers when going to their GM tribunal.

Sovereign Court

...I've gotten so used to those feats that I almost started to counter your argument, but then after thinking about it, Power Attack would almost seem "easier" to perform than a regular attack, since it's just a wild, careless swing. I could see an argument for Weapon Finesse requiring more training, but then most weapons that can be finessed (most notably, the rapier) would have finesse be part of the proper training for that weapon, implying that if you actually are proficient in its use, you'd know to use agility to strike rather than force. Really, it almost makes more sense for a feat that does the opposite - allowing Strength to be used for finesse weapons instead of Dexterity. Or perhaps a rules modification that makes it so that without a feat, you can't add Strength to damage for finesse weapons, since without further training, you could conceivably break a rapier or other swift, slender weapons by forcing them too hard or in the wrong way. Although, probably the simplest thing (and what I'd probably do) is to just allow Weapon Finesse for free for applicable weapons with which you are proficient.

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