Patching some Holes in the Party


Advice

Sovereign Court

I'll be joining a PFS "campaign" through a series of Season 4 scenarios as an Arcanist focused on crowd-control and utility (he falls back to plinking with some low level magic once things are set up).

This is the party I'm joining:

Arcanist 1/uRogue 3 (into Arcane Trickster)
Oracle of Lore 4 (into Loremaster)
Investigator 5 (generalist)
Unchained Summonr 4 (quadruped eidolon)
Alchemist 4 (ranged bomber)

As far as I can tell...

Strengths: We have knowledge, trap finding/handling, utility, UMD, and general magic availability in spades. (I've never actually been part of a party with so much magical potential!)

In the Middle: Face skills, damage dealing (no single big hitter, but multiple sources of respectable damage), saving throws (several classes with one good save, but about half of us haven't invested in the stat that makes that save better)

Weaknesses: Our frontliner is an eidolon (I've heard they start to fall off near the end of PFS play) and the highest strength stat among PC's is 14. Collectively, we have low HP (not for the classes we are playing, but we are all playing classes that are on the lower end). Status removal is our least available type of magic (only one divine caster and I doubt they're going burn many of their precious spells known on "fix me" spells).

Questions:
What can I do as a level 5 Arcanist in PFS play to help round out some of these weaknesses?

I can't (and won't even try) to dictate how the party should play their characters, but how could a level 5 Arcanist in a party like this prepare/plan to go up against...

...a single dragon that decides to go toe to toe with us (or any other tanky, 1 v the party fight)?

...a foe with AoE save or lose abilities/spells?

Note: I am very excited to play with this group. The players are all playing builds/characters they are happy playing and I've no intention of trying to sway their build choices. I know we are not an optimal party.


If you get into debuffing (rime spell perhaps) then 1vParty will be even less of a problem than usual. Or, you could summon ablative meatshields if you have time.

With 6 PCs and a pet the fix to AoE is to not bunch up. Tactics, not any particular spell. It'd be different in a 3 character party...but you certainly don't have that.

If you want to help out on the status removal side then you might make sure you're good at UMD and have the odd scroll. If you're making a character then the Magaambyan initiate archetype would help, but I guess that's not an option if you're coming in with a character who's been played for a while.

Sovereign Court

The debuff that my Arcanist is already building into is Slow, but a rod of rime spell and packing a single cold spell (Frost Fall comes to mind) is a great tool to have, thanks! Slow + being entangled sounds like enemies are going to have a bad time >:D

Tactics will be important for AoE's, that's true. We have scouting options too, so that could help us position/buff appropriately.


Actually, one thought. The most dangerous AoEs to this party are going to be the ones which do damage. Losing actions is less of a concern. Communal resist energy is something someone should pick up - the oracle if not you.


If you're looking at debuffing, About the nastiest debuffing I've found is going with -

Exploit: School Understanding (Advanced Class Guide)
The arcanist can select one arcane school from any of the schools available to a character with the arcane school wizard class feature, but does not have to select any opposition schools. The arcanist gains one ability of that arcane school as though she were a 1st-level wizard, using her Charisma modifier in place of her Intelligence modifier for this ability. The ability must be one gained at 1st level and is limited in its use per day to 3 + the arcanist’s Charisma modifier. As a swift action, the arcanist can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to bolster her understanding, allowing her to treat her arcanist level as her wizard level for the purpose of using this ability for a number of rounds equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 1). During this time, she also gains use of the other ability gained at 1st level for her selected school. She does not gain any other abilities when using this exploit in this way, such as those gained at 8th level.

Arane School: Void (Elemental School - Dragon Empires Primer)
Void Awareness (Su): Your ability to recognize the void allows your body to react to magical manifestations before you’re even aware of them. You gain a +2 insight bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities. This bonus increases by +1 for every five wizard levels you possess. At 20th level, whenever you would be affected by a spell or spell-like ability that allows a saving throw, you can roll twice to save against the effect and take the better result.

Reveal Weakness (Su): When you activate this school power as a standard action, you select a foe within 30 feet. That creature takes a penalty to its AC and on saving throws equal to 1/2 your caster level (minimum –1) for 1 round. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence bonus.

Aura of Prescience (Su): At 8th level, you can emit a 30-foot aura of void energy for a number of rounds per day equal to your wizard level. Allies within this aura gain a +2 insight bonus on ability checks, attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and skill checks. These rounds do not need to be consecutive.

Using Reveal Weakness and 1 Arcane Point you can apply a debuff of half your level to both AC and Saves.
...or if you're worried about your saves, pick up the Void Awareness.

Something to think about as I've heard it's really good and that's going with the Brown-Fur Transmuter Archetype for the Arcanist. From my understanding, it plays very similar to a transforming druid but with arcane spells to back you up.
Have no idea on how those play or what type of build to suggest (or gear).


It sounds like your tragically short of meat shields. I recommend a homunculus, undead, iron cobra, and or war dogs + barding and maybe a few hirelings.


I agree with Zot. You need a tank. It seems your focus should be on surviveability first, Damage 2nd.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I agree with Zot. You need a tank.

No no no. You never need a tank in Pathfinder. A tank doesn't make sense to play in Pathfinder, because with no threat system, you can't usually force the enemies to attack the tank.

Zotpox wrote:
It sounds like your tragically short of meat shields.

You say tragically, I say wonderfully. No characters that need to be carried by the party!

Zotpox wrote:
I recommend a homunculus, undead, iron cobra, and or war dogs + barding and maybe a few hirelings.

In a group with 6 PCs and an Eidolon, with presumably 3 melees, additional pets or hirelings are literally the last thing I would recommend.

Gummy Bear wrote:
Weaknesses: Our frontliner is an eidolon (I've heard they start to fall off near the end of PFS play) and the highest strength stat among PC's is 14.

I'm still waiting for you to start listing weaknesses...

Seriously though, an Eidolon is fine as a melee - the defenses aren't the best, admittedly, but the cost of dying is very small for it (and if it's dead, the Summon Monster SLA can take over). I don't see why it should fall off at later levels. Sure, the equipment slot thing is a problem, but not an insurmountable one. If anything, you haven't seen the Eidolon's real power yet, seeing as it gets pounce at 7th level.
I don't see what you might need a high strength PC for. And again, when push comes to shove, the Summon Monster SLA can take over.

Gummy Bear wrote:
Status removal is our least available type of magic (only one divine caster and I doubt they're going burn many of their precious spells known on "fix me" spells).

That's what scrolls are for. Scrolls are an Oracle's best friend, and if the party pools money together, the monetary investment shouldn't be a problem.

Gummy Bear wrote:
The debuff that my Arcanist is already building into is Slow, but a rod of rime spell and packing a single cold spell (Frost Fall comes to mind) is a great tool to have, thanks! Slow + being entangled sounds like enemies are going to have a bad time >:D

The Alchemist is likely applying some debuff, too. You should coordinate with the player a bit to avoid doubling up.


yeah im not sure that a party with a summoner needs a tank. When the eidolon stops cutting it the summon monster generally takes over. Spend a minimal amount of effort improving your numbers summoned and potential options and you're probably good.

Frankly you have three full casters and three 6th level casters. This party's round one should decide the combat more often than not.


Derklord wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I agree with Zot. You need a tank.
No no no. You never need a tank in Pathfinder. A tank doesn't make sense to play in Pathfinder, because with no threat system, you can't usually force the enemies to attack the tank.

We are probably using the same words to mean different things.

I know that Pathfinder characters don't have that aggro thing that some computer games have.

And I'm sure you don't mean to say that a character that has a high DPR and survivability in Melee situations has no use in any Pathfinder party.

Because that would be dumb.

Meanwhile, I stand by my advice.


Derklord wrote:


Gummy Bear wrote:
Status removal is our least available type of magic (only one divine caster and I doubt they're going burn many of their precious spells known on "fix me" spells).

That's what scrolls are for. Scrolls are an Oracle's best friend, and if the party pools money together, the monetary investment shouldn't be a problem.

The main problem I see with this party is the downside that Derklord is ignoring, endurance.

Typically when you run into a monster that throws around drain, or blindness, or other long term conditions that don't go away by themselves they don't conveniently limit themselves to one party member. Lots of them do so in an aura or other AoE effect, or the GM has them spread around their attacks so they don't zero any one PCs stat.

And then if you have one scroll...you can help one person. You're solution becomes teleport, not scrolls. Because you have to buy remedies and live services are cheaper than scrolls or wands.

The other endurance issue is how well does this party perform when it doesn't consume spell resources in an encounter? Adventures are generally made to have 6 encounters in a day. Is this party going to be able to do that? What consequence is there for backing out before 6 encounters? That has a lot to do with the GM. If the GM is fine with that party adventuring for 15 min a day and not punishing them for leaving a dungeon and returning without clearing all of the encounters...he's very lenient.

Personally I'd probably replenish some monsters that make sense to be replenished without adding treasure to the encounter. It will be easier the second time through, but if you burn spells for every encounter it could turn a normal 6 encounter per day into 3 days of clearing the same dungeon because 2 of the encounters partially repopulated.

Again, it is dependent on the GM. If the GM likes the idea of a 'living world' rather than running things like a video game, warning the BBG by wiping out half his minions might get the BBG to cause consequences. Like attacking the party when they rest, leaving the dungeon, or triggering whatever bad things brought the party to the dungeon in the first place.


Occultist Arcanist would slow down the game with extra summons but would give some combat versatility and also give some battlefield control since you're dropping summons in advantageous locations. It's definitely a class I'd like to play in the future.


The normal PF assumption is 4 encounters/day not 6 Meirril, dunno if PFS is different there - but I have heard that PFS is pretty easy. To allow for 4 people showing up with non-synergising characters and no experience working with each other I guess. To be clear, the OP is in PFS, though the consistent party implies they're doing something slightly unusual.

Sovereign Court

Yes, while PFS is typically drop in and play, a group of us have organized ourselves in such a way that we will have the same PC's go through a specific subset of scenarios (rotating GM, so the party will change slightly each time).

I could keep a summoning spell prepared daily too. Then we'd have expendable meatshields for when it becomes strategically beneficial to have one.

I've only seen one summoner around the level 9-11 range and they were terrible, but that was 100% the player and I don't hold it against the class. When I say I've heard eidolons fall off, I mean exactly that: that's what I've heard. I've no real experience with the class. I forgot about their summon sla, so if the eidolon does get KO'd for whatever reason, we still have something to stand between us and our frail caster bones ;)

Scrolls and spell/debuff coordination will definitely happen. In PFS, the former is very easy to do since you can burn prestige (a non-gold currency) on things like that.

Endurance: This will likely be a challenge for us, I agree. I don't think it'll be a daily issue, but I've played plenty of scenarios were one of the non-boss encounters ends up draining more resources than it was "supposed to" for myriad reasons. Those situations might get rough for us, since most of our shticks are battery powered. Hopefully with the aforementioned scrolls (and other consumables), we'll be able to power through/minimize the frequency of those situations.

The void school power is certainly powerful, I'll see if I've space in my build for it! Stripping something of half my level's worth of AC and ST's would be brutal in this party.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
We are probably using the same words to mean different things.

Probably. A tank is a character who's primary focus is on defense. Most groups don't have anyone like that, and no group ever needs a character like that. Stainging in front, or having d10/d12 HD, or wearign ehavy armor, is not enough to be a tank, not even close.

Have the Investigator use an elixir of Aid and they go into combat with more HP than a d10 class. Add in something like a mutagen's NA bonus, Blur, or Barkskin, and you can easily have a character with all around better defense.

Seriously, the term "tank" should not be used when talking about Pathfinder.

Gummy Bear wrote:
I've only seen one summoner around the level 9-11 range and they were terrible, but that was 100% the player and I don't hold it against the class.

Well, yeah - while it's pretty easy to build a well made Eidolon (you don't need to look through a bunch of books or something), it's of course still very much possible to build a bad one. Quadruped is the by far best base form, though, and evolutions can be freely changed every level, so the tools are there.

To give some idea, I have a bunch of 12th level sample characters for DPR comparison, and the Eidolon sits almost at the top (without spell help form the Summoner). The main problem, as I've said, is defense, although you could say that the real issue is that it's tempting to put all evolution points into improving offense. The Improved Natural Armor evolution (I'd suggest taking it as often as possible) and the Immunity evolution help a lot, as do feats like Iron Will, and the subtype's inherent abilities.

Regarding the SM SLA, remember (/remind the player) that you can summon multiple monsters from lower lists. For pure blocking (and sometimes damage), that's often better than a single, stronger monster.

All in all, what I want to make clear is that the party looks perfectly fine as it is. Not a single glaring hole in sight.


Derklord wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I agree with Zot. You need a tank.
No no no. You never need a tank in Pathfinder. A tank doesn't make sense to play in Pathfinder, because with no threat system, you can't usually force the enemies to attack the tank.

Sry but i don´t get it

|.......M.M......|
|..M.M.M.M..|
|____......_____|
.........|T|.........
.........|P|.........
|------- P --------|
|.......P.P.P........|

T = Tank
P = Partymember
M = Monster

This is the situation in 80% of all Dungeons. In Pathfinder you have no aggro system but you have space to move. Ofc it is more complex like the example above but it shows how tanking in pathfinder works. In the remaining 20% you have a wizard that creates that situation.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You just walk over the "tank".

Short of early levels where bottlenecking silly low CR opponents is a valid tactic, enemies will just fly/burrow/teleport/incorporeal/walk over you thanks to their silly high CMB and there being no mechanic for stopping an opponent, short of a very specialised build 90% of people aren't even aware of. If your party will insist on this tactic, the GM will start using opponents that can mitigate/wreck it.

90% of time, "monster goes after the heaviest armoured party member" is GM being nice and playing into conventions of the genre.


Tarock wrote:
In Pathfinder you have no aggro system
Gorbacz wrote:
You just walk over the "tank".

With no aggro system per se, an effective tank needs to be a character that the monsters can't bypass or at least can't ignore.

There are some efficient ways in Pathfinder that you can make sure your character is highly survivable.

There are some efficient way you can pull off 1 or 2 powerful tactical tricks. Some of them actually directly protect other party members. Some of them are just effective enough to make you difficult to ignore. That last + Tarocks strategy of interposition is usually good enough to keep the party alive long enough for blasters of the party to ravish the monsters with eldritch power.

Derklord wrote:
Seriously, the term "tank" should not be used when talking about Pathfinder.

I'm not surrendering my tanks to you.

But it is legit to bear in mind that if Gummy plays a Tank, he will be the only tank, and that involves more than usual consideration like playing playing a Reach Fighter or an Archer with SnapShot Feats and Stand Still, Bodyguard, and Stuff.

Or maybe he shouldn't. Leave the party with no front-liner at all, committing the whole party to strategies of skirmishing, sniping, and blasting, relying on Summoned creatures to occupy the monsters. And if all you're using for melee is your Summoned Creatures, who cares if you catch them in your fireballs or exploding arrows or whatever?

avr wrote:
The normal PF assumption is 4 encounters/day not 6 Meirril, dunno if PFS is different there - but I have heard that PFS is pretty easy.

My experience of PFS adventures is that the norm is more like 2 encounters/session. And that means that powers that are usable 1-3/day are very viable. Endurance is not a problem, and encounters almost never happen in your sleep. So go ahead and campaign in the field in your Heavy Armor. just assume it's magically on you in battle and you don't have to worry about sleeping in it. You don't usually even need to have a backpack, but it is gauche to be without one.

But that's metagaming. I actually take getting in and out of armor seriously even when I am playing PFS.


Tarock wrote:
This is the situation in 80% of all Dungeons.

Maybe in your games, but not in anyone else's. My experience with both homebrew and official material is that such situations are rare.

Also, in that situation, I'd want the Eidolon to be in the bottleneck. That means in such situations, having an "tank" in addition to the existing party will have said tank be useless most of the time, according to your situation probability. I'd say that is a pretty good support in favor of my argument!

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
But it is legit to bear in mind that if Gummy plays a Tank, he will be the only tank, and that involves more than usual consideration like playing playing a Reach Fighter or an Archer with SnapShot Feats and Stand Still, Bodyguard, and Stuff.

Did you even read the opening post? This isn't a "before the game" situation, the OP is already a 5th level Arcanist.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Or maybe he shouldn't. Leave the party with no front-liner at all
Gummy Bear wrote:
Our frontliner is an eidolon

I don't need to comment this, right?


Cover the ranges

120' Long: party scouts,
60' Medium: undead, constructs, eidolon, summons
30' Short: party members, hirelings
6' Immediate: homunclous, familiar, iron cobra, dogs

Managing the resources available by range will increase your options greatly.

Edit: don't forget to adjust the ranges with the party's spell ranges in mind.


Derklord wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
But it is legit to bear in mind that if Gummy plays a Tank, he will be the only tank, and that involves more than usual consideration like playing playing a Reach Fighter or an Archer with SnapShot Feats and Stand Still, Bodyguard, and Stuff.

Did you even read the opening post? This isn't a "before the game" situation, the OP is already a 5th level Arcanist.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Or maybe he shouldn't. Leave the party with no front-liner at all
Gummy Bear wrote:
Our frontliner is an eidolon
I don't need to comment this, right?

It is fair to say that I was responding to the title of the thread more than the original post, but you are saying no party ever needs a tank in Pathfinder, and that just can't stand.

Meanwhile, if your real goal was to serve the OP, then that is the argument you should have led with.

Your rhetorical style convinces no one!


In my experience, "tank" is mostly just an alpha sponge. The tank takes the first round of attacks by being in front. It's not like the enemies should know who's the biggest threat in the party, until a few rounds into the fight. And if every enemy immediately goes after your biggest damage dealer/controller and ignores the guy in front every time, then your GM is just being bad about meta-gaming every fight.


To Gummy's Arcanist,

If your worry is a lack of Front-liners, then well, Wizards and Sorcerers have summoning spells, too.

There is that Arcane Exploit that gives you a Miss Chance because shadows, and I always like Dimensional Slide. Those are to keep you away from melee.

Lots of party members have some healing, maybe you should too. pack a Wand of Infernal Healing.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
you are saying no party ever needs a tank in Pathfinder, and that just can't stand.

Based on what definition of "tank"? Unlike me, you didn't present one, but in any case, either the party already has a tank (the Eidolon), or indeed no party ever needs a tank.

I have played, very successfully, in a party with no d10/d12 HD melee class, where indeed my Summoner's Eidolon (albeit cSummoner) was the most "tanky" of the melees (the others were a WS Druid and a str-based Magus).

How about you put your money where your mouth is and give us 1) your definition of tank, and 2) a reason why my statement "just can't stand". Although I want to point out that despite protesting against my statement that "no party ever needs a tank in Pathfinder", you yourself posted a suggestion to "Leave the party with no front-liner at all".

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Meanwhile, if your real goal was to serve the OP, then that is the argument you should have led with.

Prioritisation. I consider your statement to be potentially harmful, and thus I led with an objection to that. I believe people should play what they want, not what is some alleged need that may not even exist. The core concept of the game is overcoming challenges; you don't 'win' by walking the most beaten path and having the easiest time possible with those challenges.

Also, it's funny how you talk about "serv[ing] the OP", when you self-admittedly didn't even bother to respond to what the OP actual wrote. You seem to like glass shards.


Melkiador wrote:
In my experience, "tank" is mostly just an alpha sponge. The tank takes the first round of attacks by being in front. It's not like the enemies should know who's the biggest threat in the party, until a few rounds into the fight. And if every enemy immediately goes after your biggest damage dealer/controller and ignores the guy in front every time, then your GM is just being bad about meta-gaming every fight.

Attacking the guys wearing clothes instead of metal armor is absolutely realistic, at least for intelligent enemies. That goes double if they see them casting spells. An animal shouldn't take long to switch from the food-in-a-can up front that doesn't do much but stand there, to the guy roasting it's fur. That's all presuming the melees have even acted before the animals did, because attacking the only enemies who did anything in that combat doesn't even require Int 2.

So every fight? No, but not rare, either.


Derklord wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
you are saying no party ever needs a tank in Pathfinder, and that just can't stand.

Based on what definition of "tank"? Unlike me, you didn't present one, but in any case, either the party already has a tank (the Eidolon), or indeed no party ever needs a tank.

I have played, very successfully, in a party with no d10/d12 HD melee class, where indeed my Summoner's Eidolon (albeit cSummoner) was the most "tanky" of the melees (the others were a WS Druid and a str-based Magus).

How about you put your money where your mouth is and give us 1) your definition of tank, and 2) a reason why my statement "just can't stand". Although I want to point out that despite protesting against my statement that "no party ever needs a tank in Pathfinder", you yourself posted a suggestion to "Leave the party with no front-liner at all".

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Meanwhile, if your real goal was to serve the OP, then that is the argument you should have led with.

Prioritisation. I consider your statement to be potentially harmful, and thus I led with an objection to that. I believe people should play what they want, not what is some alleged need that may not even exist. The core concept of the game is overcoming challenges; you don't 'win' by walking the most beaten path and having the easiest time possible with those challenges.

Also, it's funny how you talk about "serv[ing] the OP", when you self-admittedly didn't even bother to respond to what the OP actual wrote. You seem to like glass shards.

Dude, stop trying to derail the thread.


Derklord wrote:
Attacking the guys wearing clothes instead of metal armor is absolutely realistic, at least for intelligent enemies.

Why is it realistic to attack someone who isn't threatening over someone who is? Unless the monster is just looking for someone to grab and run away with, I just don't see the logic in an enemy force worrying about the accountant over focusing on the soldier.

Quote:
That goes double if they see them casting spells. An animal shouldn't take long to switch from the food-in-a-can up front that doesn't do much but stand there, to the guy roasting it's fur.

Hence, why I said tank is an alpha strike sponge. The tank is just there to take the first round or two of attacks to give everyone else time to get their spells up. But in the case of the animal getting roasted, it'd make way more sense for it to run away from the roasting rather than charge closer to it.

Grand Lodge

It shouldn't even need to be repeated that everybody has a different playing style and there's respecting that even if disagreeing. If someone can't, don't post as however valid or not is the base argument, being rude demolishes it de facto.

Being opinionated doesn't preclude from having to accept someone thinks otherwise. Won't name but there's some specific users who should be pointed out over that.


Melkiador wrote:
Why is it realistic to attack someone who isn't threatening over someone who is?

In real life, those in fancy clothes would very likely be the people in charge, taking them out might win the entire battle. Attacking the enemy from their rear has been a good battle strategy for millenia. You don't need a Ph.D. to figure out that the soldiers in front are the ones the enemy []wants[/i] you to attack first, and that doing so is not necessarily in your best interest. "You may advance and be absolutely irresistible, if you make for the enemy's weak points" -Sun Tzu

In Pathfinder, people in clothes are likely casters. Seriously, the concept of arcane casters is not a secret. The power of magic is not a secret. The people in the back waving their glowing hands around are not harmless bystanders.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Dude, stop trying to derail the thread.

I'm not trying to derail the thread, you manage that that all on your own, with your "the OP is playing an Arcanist but I'm gonna start talking about tanks" nonsense. It's funny how apparently your own off-topic posts were totally fine, including about non-game-related stuff like the order of adressing in my posts, and the posts that you had to admit weren't even adressed at the OP's post, but when I expose your self-contradictions, it's suddenly an evil derail.

Philippe Lam wrote:
It shouldn't even need to be repeated that everybody has a different playing style and there's respecting that even if disagreeing.

For exactly this reason I stepped in when Scott Wilhelm said that "You need a tank.", because while he may think that's true with his playstyle, telling others that they need to do the same is harmful.


It's not a secret that arcane casters exist, but they are still rather rare in the populace. The rules for spell casting services suggest that casters of any kind are somewhere between 1 in 200 to 1 in 2000 of the general populace. And then consider that most casters wear armor too. Assuming that any guy not wearing armor is a caster is obvious meta-gaming.

And it's not like the whole party wouldn't be "fancy". Assuming the guy with the shiny armor is the leader makes more sense than the guy in the frilly nightgown.

That said, attacks from the rear do happen. That's just an ambush. They happen and they use a lot of resources up. The tank is there to take the alpha strike in the majority of combats, so you don't use up as many resources.


Derklord wrote:

Attacking the guys wearing clothes instead of metal armor is absolutely realistic, at least for intelligent enemies. That goes double if they see them casting spells. An animal shouldn't take long to switch from the food-in-a-can up front that doesn't do much but stand there, to the guy roasting it's fur. That's all presuming the melees have even acted before the animals did, because attacking the only enemies who did anything in that combat doesn't even require Int 2.

So every fight? No, but not rare, either.

Not taking issue with all your points, but you have lot more respect for Int 2 than I do. Animal intelligence means it doesn't understand that the guy in the back with the glowy hands has anything to do with forces trying to push at it's mind or the creatures popping out of nowhere...


Derklord wrote:
I'm not trying to derail the thread, you manage that that all on your own

No sir.

I gave my advice on what the next character to join the party should be, because

the title of the thread wrote:
Patching some Holes in the Party

And my advice speaks directly to the title of the thread, and there's nothing wrong with that. To your point that it would be better to couch my counsel with the understanding that the OP already has his character and intends not to be bringing in another is legit. But in that matter, I said my piece and did not further develop it, and indeed my further advice was centered on how the OP, as an Arcanist can address the problems

the OP wrote:
Weaknesses: Our frontliner is an eidolon (I've heard they start to fall off near the end of PFS play) and the highest strength stat among PC's is 14. Collectively, we have low HP... What can I do as a level 5 Arcanist in PFS play to help round out some of these weaknesses?

And that's exactly what I started doing.

Derklord's thesis wrote:
You never need a tank in Pathfinder.

has NOTHING to do with the OP's request, but it's what you keep harping on!

Derklord wrote:
I stepped in when Scott Wilhelm

Stop making this all about me, Derklord. I'm flattered, but I will be yours.


Melkiador wrote:
It's not a secret that arcane casters exist, but they are still rather rare in the populace.

An adventuring party is clearly not an intersection of your average populace. When you have a group in some dungeon, or checking out a bandits' hideout, or just investigating a crime in a city, it's common sense to presume they're all combatants, and a combatant in robes standing in the back is just highly likely to be a caster. The way I understand it, the concept of the Pathfinder Society and its adventuring groups is relatively well known in the Inner Sea Region ("Its history, fraught with the daring exploits of brave heroes, has long enchanted the populace of the Inner Sea."). Tales, poems, songs and even stage plays of groups just like the party's are probably widespread.

Seriously, we're talking about how, naturally, you want the sturdy guys up front to take the first hits, in order to protect the squishies in the back. It's possibly the most widespread concept of the entire game, why should it be something totally unknown in-game? PCs act accordingly all the time (targetting the enemies' 'backline'), why shouldn't intelligent enemies? That's basically all I'm saying.

It's not mainly tied to armor/clothes, though, I just used that as an easy example - it's just natural to presume that the guys standing back are easiest targets, or at least ill-equiped for melee. That's true not only in the game (due to hit dice etc.), but also in real life (archers are best fought close on).
Casters usually have lower HP and AC, including the casters wearing armor; and if they have additional defense spells like Blur or Mirror Image, you can probably see that.

Melkiador wrote:
That said, attacks from the rear do happen. That's just an ambush.

I'm not talking about attacks from the rear, but against the rear, i.e. attacking the enemies 'backline'. That is something that's done (in RL as well) independent from ambushs.

pad300 wrote:
Not taking issue with all your points, but you have lot more respect for Int 2 than I do. Animal intelligence means it doesn't understand that the guy in the back with the glowy hands has anything to do with forces trying to push at it's mind or the creatures popping out of nowhere...

I meant spells like Fireball of Burning Hands, where there's a clear indication of where the fire came from. Probably wasn't the clearest example, sorry. Of course, animals don't normally attack people in the first place, there is likely something unusual at work anyway, that override the normal flight response, but that's a topic for another thread.

@Scott: I'm not gonna reply to most of your post, because honestly, if your think "there's nothing wrong with" replying to the thread title alone and not the actual post, I really can't help you, but one thing I can't let stand:

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Derklord's thesis wrote:
You never need a tank in Pathfinder.
has NOTHING to do with the OP's request, but it's what you keep harping on!

If "you never need a tank" has nothing to do with the OP's request, than the same must also be true for your statement of "you need a tank". If your statement is acceptable "advice on what the next character to join the party should be", then so is mine.


Derklord wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
It's not a secret that arcane casters exist, but they are still rather rare in the populace.
An adventuring party is clearly not an intersection of your average populace.

That’s basically my point. Adventurers are rare and a lot of monsters that meet them don’t live to tell the tale. Cloth spell casters are just a subset of a subset of a subset. When a monster comes across the average “human”, it’s going to be a commoner or maybe a warrior. The average commoner doesn’t wear armor and isn’t much of a threat. Only a monster that has somehow fought and survived against multiple parties of adventurers would be worried about cloth wearers. If every monster you meet is ignoring the armor wearer to go after the casters, then your GM has a bad metagaming problem.


Tucker's Kobold's rear there ugly head once again.


Gummy Bear wrote:

I'll be joining a PFS "campaign" through a series of Season 4 scenarios as an Arcanist focused on crowd-control and utility (he falls back to plinking with some low level magic once things are set up).

This is the party I'm joining:

Arcanist 1/uRogue 3 (into Arcane Trickster)

You're the Arcanist/Rogue, right?

What is your Arcane Exploit?


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Gummy Bear wrote:

I'll be joining a PFS "campaign" through a series of Season 4 scenarios as an Arcanist focused on crowd-control and utility (he falls back to plinking with some low level magic once things are set up).

This is the party I'm joining:

Arcanist 1/uRogue 3 (into Arcane Trickster)

You're the Arcanist/Rogue, right?

What is your Arcane Exploit?

OP is an arcanist 5


Derklord wrote:
Gummy Bear wrote:
I've only seen one summoner around the level 9-11 range and they were terrible, but that was 100% the player and I don't hold it against the class.
Well, yeah - while it's pretty easy to build a well made Eidolon (you don't need to look through a bunch of books or something), it's of course still very much possible to build a bad one. Quadruped is the by far best base form, though, and evolutions can be freely changed every level, so the tools are there.

Eidolons can be focused, like almost anything else. The usual idea is to make a pouncing monster with as many attacks as you can squeeze in. This gives the most damage, but makes you a bit of a glass canon. You could easily go for a more defensive grapple build though, that could serve better as a tank.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Gummy Bear wrote:

I'll be joining a PFS "campaign" through a series of Season 4 scenarios as an Arcanist focused on crowd-control and utility (he falls back to plinking with some low level magic once things are set up).

This is the party I'm joining:

Arcanist 1/uRogue 3 (into Arcane Trickster)

You're the Arcanist/Rogue, right?

What is your Arcane Exploit?

OP is an arcanist 5

Ok, I see, the Arcanist1/Rogue3 is someone else.

So, still want to know what his exploits are.

Grand Lodge

Derklord wrote:
For exactly this reason I stepped in when Scott Wilhelm said that "You need a tank.", because while he may think that's true with his playstyle, telling others that they need to do the same is harmful.

You fail to acknowledge your response wasn't exactly sterling either, that's why I targeted both sides on this. Only doing bashful in response to an already bashful sentence doesn't make it better.

Sovereign Court

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Gummy Bear wrote:

I'll be joining a PFS "campaign" through a series of Season 4 scenarios as an Arcanist focused on crowd-control and utility (he falls back to plinking with some low level magic once things are set up).

This is the party I'm joining:

Arcanist 1/uRogue 3 (into Arcane Trickster)

You're the Arcanist/Rogue, right?

What is your Arcane Exploit?

OP is an arcanist 5

Ok, I see, the Arcanist1/Rogue3 is someone else.

So, still want to know what his exploits are.

Their exploit is "See Magic."

The eidolon looks like it is going to be of the pouncing variety! Using spells to funnel foes (or otherwise make it so the eidolon has a series of 1v1's) should go well for us.


Gummy Bear wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Gummy Bear wrote:

I'll be joining a PFS "campaign" through a series of Season 4 scenarios as an Arcanist focused on crowd-control and utility (he falls back to plinking with some low level magic once things are set up).

This is the party I'm joining:

Arcanist 1/uRogue 3 (into Arcane Trickster)

You're the Arcanist/Rogue, right?

What is your Arcane Exploit?

OP is an arcanist 5

Ok, I see, the Arcanist1/Rogue3 is someone else.

So, still want to know what his exploits are.

Their exploit is "See Magic."

The eidolon looks like it is going to be of the pouncing variety! Using spells to funnel foes (or otherwise make it so the eidolon has a series of 1v1's) should go well for us.

I'm sorry, Gummy, I meant yours. What are your level 5 Arcanist Arcane Exploits?


I suggest this build

Cant throw save or lose abilities if the arcanist dispels that s~~~ as an immediate action.


With a party that has low melee capability, I guess I find myself liking Flaming Sphere, Web, and Cloud of Seasickness for battlefield control.

For your next level, you're going to have access to level 3 spells. Go for the big stuff, dude: FIREBALL!

I might change my mind depending on what your Exploits are. If you have lots of those Ranged Touch Attacks that have linear effects, maybe Hydraulic push to get them lined up?

And of course, Monster Summoning spells come at every level. If you're worried that the party doesn't have enough meat shield in the form of your Eidelon, summon more.


Gummy Bear wrote:

a level 5 Arcanist in a party like this prepare/plan to go up against...

...a single dragon that decides to go toe to toe with us (or any other tanky, 1 v the party fight)?

...a foe with AoE save or lose abilities/spells?

Against both kinds of opponents, I think my general strategy for a party like yours would be disperse across the battlefield and shut the monster down by ravishing it with powerful attack spells, and hopefully, the Fireball, Lighting Bolt, or Breath Weapon will only take out 1 party member at a time and it will run out of hit points before the party runs out of members.

Someone in the party should make sure the Eidolon will survive the fight by buffing it: make sure it can fly, swim, burrow, or whatever at least. It would make sense to coordinate your efforts: maybe make sure the Eidolon has ER against whatever kind of energy you are using while you pick the Energy type the Dragon is most vulnerable to, and stuff like that.


Honestly, what your party needs is meat shields. Support your eidolon with more creatures from summon monster and stick them between you and your enemies.


I guess the OP's next Arcane Exploit could be to get a Mauler Familiar, maybe take Improved Familiar, then the Eidolon would have a meatshield friend. I don't really know how that would work though. I eschew Animal Companions, and I have never committed a Familiar to a combat.

Sovereign Court

HA! Sorry Scott, my bad, that makes way more sense XD

As a Blood Arcanist (Arcane Bloodline), I only have two: Metamagic Knowledge (persistent) and Quick Study. He is going towards the ugliest slow spell he can manage with his build, but that doesn't mean I can't branch out a little, the majority of the optimization around it has already occurred. For the counter savant, I could grab the exploit, but I also have a character built around that mechanic. Not that I can't have two, I just try not to have too much over lap.

Seeing as damage is something we're lacking and need everyone to contribute something towards, I plan on having a couple options across spell levels. As spell slots open up, summons will be on there too, that's a great idea as well. As far as buffs, I'm hoping spell coordination between PC's will have that handled. One person with all the defensive spells can suck (not always!), but having everyone take one or two means we can all focus on what we want without sacrificing the survivability of our eidolon (I think 'our' is justified here since we all are going to be leaning on that thing to keep us alive! :P)


Gummy Bear wrote:
Metamagic Knowledge (persistent)

Dude, you're a Level 5 Arcanist. You're limited to level 2 Spells. Persistent Spells are cast as if they were 2 levels higher. So you're using this on Cantrips? Which ones?

Sovereign Court

I'm not using it at all, I wanted to have all my ducks in line when I get slow at level 6. My traits make it free on slow. I figured I'd rather have a dead level with one exploit than have to wait to have persistent become applicable to my slow spell later on.

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