tenletter

[Pathfinder] Spell-Like Abilities FAQ Builds

Posted in character build, pathfinder, rpg by jatori on 27 February 2014

slowpoke_pokemonHas it really been that long since I’ve last posted a build? In June last year, Paizo updated their FAQ, stating that:

Spell-Like Abilities, Casting, and Prerequisites: Does a creature with a spell-like ability count as being able to cast that spell for the purpose of prerequisites or requirements?    

Yes. For example, the Dimensional Agility feat (Ultimate Combat) has “ability to use the abundant step class feature or cast dimension door” as a prerequisite; a barghest has dimension door as a spell-like ability, so the barghest meets the “able to cast dimension door prerequisite for that feat.

Edit 7/12/13: The design team is aware that the above answer means that certain races can gain access to some spellcaster prestige classes earlier than the default minimum (character level 6). Given that prestige classes are usually a sub-optimal character choice (especially for spellcasters), the design team is allowing this FAQ ruling for prestige classes. If there is in-play evidence that this ruling is creating characters that are too powerful, the design team may revisit whether or not to allow spell-like abilities to count for prestige class requirements.

 —Pathfinder Design Team, 06/06/13

The FAQ certainly opens up a lot of build options for the Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight and Mystic Theurge to name a few early access prestige classes. First up, let’s look at a PFS-legal elven EK:

Paladin (Divine Hunter) 2 / Wizard (Admixture) 1 / Eldritch Knight 9

Elf – Dreamspeaker (-elven immunities +dream SLA)
Opposed Schools: Enchantment and Necromancy
Arcane Bond – Composite Longbow
Traits: Magical Knack; Warrior of Old

S 10 D 17 C 12 I 16 W 7 C 15

PA01 – Point-Blank Shot
PA01 – Precise Shot (B)
WZ02 – Spell Focus (Evocation) (B)
PA03 – Rapid Shot
EK04 – Arcane Strike (B)
EK05 – Deadly Aim
EK06 -
EK07 – Clustered Shot
EK08 – Manyshot (B)
EK09 – Spell Penetration
EK10 -
EK11 – Greater Spell Penetration
EK12 – Improved Precise Shot (B)

While not the most optimized build, the selection of race and class speaks to the quirky builds that I like to play, granting a good number of skills, the ability to play the face of the party and maintain some combat presence. Of course, you can delay the wizard level until 3rd level, but I like realizing the character concept as early as possible – arcane casting coupled with a decent martial presence.

In combat, the build allows for full attacks with a bow or single attack with a ray (remember, Deadly Aim and Arcane Strike both work with rays), or a buff/utility spell if needed. The paladin levels also grant access to a selection of divine wands.

Next time, I plan to share a tengu mystic theurge build, because everybody loves tengu.

- Jerall

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[Cape Town] Pathfinder Society – August

Posted in cape town, pathfinder, rpg, south africa by jatori on 2 August 2013

PenumbralDragonfire isn’t your only opportunity to join our Pathfinder Society games this August. Later this month, we’ll be heading back to the Blakros Museum:

Date and time: 24 August 2013 – 10:00 until 15:00

Venue: Fanaticus Hobbies and Games

Cost: 10 ZAR

What to bring: a PFS-legal character (if you have, pregenerated characters will be provided if you don’t) stationery, dice (if you have), a miniature or pawn to represent your character (if you have), imagination

Scenario: #2-11 The Penumbral Accords – A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 5th level characters (Tiers: 1–2, 4–5).

The daughters of Absalom’s mysterious Blakros family have long been among the most pursued maidens in the Inner Sea. Now the family’s matriarch approaches the Pathfinder Society to help her break a centuries-old pact with the denizens of the Plane of Shadow to save her twin daughters from a life of servitude at the hands of the Onyx Alliance. Heading into the fan-favorite adventuring location of Blakros Museum, the PCs have only a short amount of time to break the Penumbral Accords and solidify the Pathfinder Society’s ties to the powerful Blakroses.

Note: Previously, the cost of running our Society events were borne by individuals – the printing, the props and paraphanalia, and the scenario itself. Starting in August, there’ll be a small fee for each player. The 10 ZAR fee goes towards covering the printing costs and allows the store to buy the scenarios. In the long run, we hope to build up a store library of scenarios, allowing visitors the chance to play a scenario they may have missed in the past. Periodically, we’ll also be taking any excess cash to buy more goods for the store – store copies of the rule books, flip mats and miniatures.

First time players do not need to pay the 10 ZAR fee. Friends of Fanaticus (see in store for details) also do not need to pay the 10 ZAR fee.

- Jerall

[Cape Town] Dragonfire PFS Schedule

Posted in cape town, convention, pathfinder, rpg, south africa by jatori on 1 August 2013

Dragonfire is South Africa’s longest running gaming convention. In its 25th year, Dragonfire offers a host of gaming opportunities – role playing game modules, written specifically for the event by CLAWS (our hosts) members, tabletop wargames, cosplay, card games and now Pathfinder Society.

Dates: 9 – 11 August 2013 (the 9th is a public holiday)

Venue: The Kramer Law Building Quad, Middle Campus, University of Cape Town

Cost: 20 ZAR per player per table

What to bring: a PFS-legal character (if you have, pregenerated characters will be provided if you don’t have) stationery, dice (if you have), a miniature or pawn to represent your character (if you have), imagination

Prizes: Paizo has generously provided prize support and unique convention boons for Dragonfire. There’ll be ample opportunity to scoop up Pathfinder RPG books and Pathfinder Tales fiction.

MistsScenario 1 (Friday 09:00): #5 The Mists of Mwangi - A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 5th level characters.

Pathfinder Lugizar Trantos recently returned from the Mwangi Expanse with haunted eyes and a pack full of strange idols. Absalom’s famed Blakros Museum purchased his pieces and Lugizar vanished. The strange monkey idols he pulled from the misty jungles of Mwangi carry with them a fell curse, and now their power has laid claim to the museum. Can the Pathfinder Society uncover the source of the curse in time, or will the Blackros Museum be forever lost to the mists of Mwangi?

Scenario 2 (Friday 14:00): #45 Delirium’s Tangle - A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 5th level characters.

The Pathfinder Society owes Grandmaster Torch a favor and he’s calling it in. It seems he misplaced Nuar Spiritskin, the famous minotaur prince of Absalom, and Torch needs you to find the prince before the city discovers that the minotaur is missing. He sends you deep beneath Absalom into a maddening maze of malign shapes, hideous creatures, and secrets that haven’t seen the light of day for more than a thousand years.

Scenario 3 (Saturday 09:00): #55 The Infernal VaultA Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 7th level characters.

A decade ago, the Decklands family, a house of Chelish nobles, were exiled from Absalom for treason. Their fate made for an interesting story and when a Pathfinder agent in Cheliax studying the family’s long history and exile from the City at the Center of the World ends up murdered, the Society sends you to the recently discovered Deckland Vaults in Absalom to see what connection their old home might have to your murdered colleague.

FrostfurScenario 4 (Saturday 14:00): #3-01 The Frostfur CaptivesA Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 5th level characters.

Tasked with escorting a group of goblin prisoners from their camp to civilization for interrogation by the Pathfinder Society, you must protect them not only from the beasts and hazards of the wilderness, but themselves.

Scenario 5 (Sunday 09:00): #4-18 The Veteran’s Vault - A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 5th level characters.

While many Pathfinders meet unfortunate fates in their ongoing explorations of the dangerous world of Golarion, some retire with decades’ worth of treasure in their coffers, and their lives still intact. When one such Pathfinder approaches the Grand Lodge with the hidden location of her treasure vault, it falls upon a new generation of Pathfinders to retrieve from within a valuable keepsake. That they can keep anything other than the ex-Pathfinder’s locket makes the assignment all the sweeter.

Wait for the Wind-Up

Posted in pathfinder, rpg by trashcondor on 18 July 2013

A while back I posted a feat to add new move-action uses to the game. I’m still playing with that same ball – and currently I think this is a nice addition. It also helps extend the power of the Vital Strike feat chain.

Timed Attack

You take time with the wind-up, striking at the most opportune moment.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +2
Benefit: You may spend a move action to increase the damage of your next attack this round by your weapon damage dice. These extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total.

[Pathfinder] The Expanded Monk and Ninja

Posted in pathfinder, rpg by jatori on 12 June 2013

Expanded Monk and NinjaThere’s just something about melee combat – the flow of it, the countless moves and combinations – that makes it a pleasure to GM and roleplay. Martial artists are simply some of my favourite character concepts to play. I’ve written about the monk, be it Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder, an awful lot and despite my occassional complaint, I still love playing monks and ninjas. I suppose then that it was only a matter of time that I put some concerted effort into producing some serious material. Some time ago, I approached Wolfgang Baur, of Kobold Press, with a pitch to explore Pathfinder style feats in greater detail. As I began producing more of the material, the project goals shifted quite dramatically, from a small article to a full blown, stand alone product: The Expanded Monk and Ninja.

I think that I’ll let the Kobold Press description explain what’s in the PDF:

Let the Ki Flow Through You—So You Can Kick Ass!

Monks and ninjas are characters of hidden depths and mystic power, balancing speed, strength, and a profound understanding of how to master any situation. The Expanded Monk and Ninja expands this field of play for these classes with new options written by Venture Captain Jerall Toi, and refined in the crucible of playtests with PFS players.

The Expanded Monk and Ninja includes:

  • Beast Soul, Clockwork Monk, Peerless Mountain, Paper Drake, and Six Talismans archetypes for monks
  • Elemental Ninja and Mist Stalker archetypes for ninjas
  • 25 new ki-based and style feats including One-Inch Punch, Paper Talisman, Ring the Bell, Polearm Acrobat, and Coiled Strength
  • Five new martial arts styles: Broken Mirror, Death Butterfly, Desert Scorpion, Eagle Talon, and Nightwave
  • New master tricks for the ninja
  • 7 new weapons, from the humble tamo cane and farmer’s hoe to ding pa, the iron flute, and the wind and fire wheels

New styles, new weapons, new archetypes—to master your ki and master your foe, New Paths 5: The Expanded Monk and Ninja is the true path to enlightenment.

You can get the Expanded Monk and Ninja at Paizo, Drivethru RPG, and RPGNow.

- Jerall

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[Cape Town] Pathfinder Society – June and July 2013

Posted in cape town, pathfinder, rpg, south africa by jatori on 11 June 2013

We have several events scheduled for the mid-year school holidays and for the lead up to Dragonfire, Cape Town’s annual gaming convention in August. Perhaps the most exciting, though, we have a brand new batch of volunteer that will try their hand at GMing at these events. Every game day, from now until Dragonfire, we shall be running the First Steps series – perfect for brand new players or veteran players looking to start a new character. I’m sure that we’ll have several memorable sessions as we warm up for Dragonfire.

VoidJune Game 2:

Date and time: 15 June 2013 – 10:00 until 15:00

Venue: Fanaticus Hobbies and Games

Cost: FREE

What to bring: stationery, dice (if you have), a miniature or pawn to represent your character (if you have), imagination

Scenario: #35: Voice in the Void - A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 7th level characters (Tiers: 1–2, 3–4, and 6–7).

Mystery strikes again at the problem-plagued Blackros Museum in Absalom and its curator, Nigel Aldain, needs your help. When a famed Osirian tomb raider returns to Absalom and disappears in the museum’s basement, Aldain fears the worst. When strange sounds echo from below and several of the curator’s night watchmen go missing, he panics and begs the Society to investigate the mystery and save his museum from the darkness that infests it.

OverwatchJune Game 3:

Date and time: 29 June 2013 – 10:00 until 15:00

Venue: Fanaticus Hobbies and Games

Cost: FREE

What to bring: stationery, dice (if you have), a miniature or pawn to represent your character (if you have), imagination

Scenario: #3-07: Echoes of the Overwatched - A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for Levels 1–5.

When a Pathfinder agent working in the famed Blakros Museum in Absalom falls victim to a terrible, ancient evil, if falls to the PCs to hunt down the released terror before it can retrieve a relic of the mad astronomer Ralzeros the Overwatched.

KirinJuly Game 1:

Date and time: 13 2013 – 10:00 until 15:00

Venue: Fanaticus Hobbies and Games

Cost: FREE

What to bring: stationery, dice (if you have), a miniature or pawn to represent your character (if you have), imagination

Scenario: #4–21: Way of the Kirin- A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3–7.

On the eastern continent of Tian Xia, the Pathfinder Society remains a small player in the greater political landscape, but Amara Li, head of the Lantern Lodge in the teeming city of Goka, has plans to change that. In order to secure the Pathfinder Society’s place as an influential organization on the far side of the world from the Grand Lodge in Absalom, she must orchestrate an alliance with the mysterious Way of the Kirin. But the longtime rival of the Pathfinder Society, the Aspis Consortium, has plans to form an alliance of its own, and if the consortium succeeds, the Pathfinder Society’s hopes of cementing their place in the Dragon Empires could be dashed forever.

July Game 2:

Date and time: 27 2013 – 10:00 until 15:00

Venue: Fanaticus Hobbies and Games

Cost: FREE

What to bring: stationery, dice (if you have), a miniature or pawn to represent your character (if you have), imagination

Scenario: #4–23: Rivalry’s End - A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3–7.

The Pathfinder Society’s conflict with the Aspis Consortium in the frontier region of Varisia has come to a head, and the time to secure dominance of the ancient land is now. But despite mounting victories on the Society’s part, the Aspis Consortium still has a few tricks up its sleeves, including several powerful agents from the Pathfinders’ past who could prove too challenging an obstacle to surmount. Can the PCs end the ongoing struggle for control of the flow of ancient Thassilonian artifacts out of Varisia’s ports, or will the Aspis Consortium succeed in keeping the Pathfinder Society ever in its shadow as it profits on the exploitation of the millennia?

And August?

Stay tuned for more news about Dragonfire, happening on 9 to 11 August 2013.

- Jerall

Review: Queen of Thorns

Posted in pathfinder, rpg by trashcondor on 6 May 2013

Queen of Thorns is the third book featuring the adventures of Count Jegarre and his partner and bodyguard the hell-spawned Radovan. The first (Prince of Wolves) and second (Master of Devils) each could be considered quasi-parallel stories to help flesh-out the setting of a corresponding adventure path – Prince of Wolves takes place in Ustalav alongside Carrion Crown; while Master of Devils is loosely paired up with the Jade Regent campaign. Queen of Thorns, on the other hand, could be considered a stand-alone piece of fiction in the sense that author Dave Gross is not obviously tied to an ulterior motive, but gets to enjoy telling a story for the sake of the story.

In a way there is a parallel to his other books: not only do the titles form the same Title-of-Noun structure, but again Jegarre and Radovan explore a land alien to them. And, it must be said, alien to the reader: the story takes place in the homeland of the elves, Kyonin. Elves in the Pathfinder setting are quite different to the way they have become mainstream in popular culture (thanks to the Lord of the Rings movies) – where the Tolkienesque elf is akin to Nietsche’s Übermensch, the Pathfinder elves are a lot less human and a lot more fey. Unlike gnomes they do not share an actual fey lineage, but they do have a natural propensity to capricious chaotic-neutralness, much like humans naturally lean toward lawful-neutralness.

Dave Gross is, to me, a master at crafting foreign lands in a way that is both believable and understandable. In the same way that Ustalav and Quain in the previous books come to life with a wealth of cultural and historical details, so too does the land of the elves become a colourful and richly detailed setting as the words tumble through the novel. What makes this outstanding is the subtlety that Dave Gross employs in his work – at no point is the cultural dissemination obvious or like a lecture. But after a while, the reader naturally begins to think and see along the lines of the natives.

This is particularly true when it comes to understanding and appreciating the ways that are natural for the “true” elves: that is to say, ones that are born and raised in Kyonin. Elves from the outside, and particularly half-breed elves like Count Jegarre, are generally treated with considerable disdain – the best a non-Kyonin purebred elf can hope for is to be permitted to stay in an isolated town within Kyonin. On the one hand it can seem cruel and arbitrary, but there are many reasons that become evident – other than just raw discrimination: as a rule, foreign elves are entirely differently acclimatized and even to them the culture and ways of Kyonin elves can be daunting and strange. For example, whereas the nobility in Ustalav is marked by protocol and intrigue, the opening act of Queen of Thorns depicts a frolicking and playful mass orgy that even the queen partakes in disguised as a servant girl.

The story and particularly the people in it are strongly characterized, with opportunity for everybody to shine in their own way. The intensity and difference of Kyonin elves when compared to foreigners (including foreign elves) stands-out in the interaction of characters. The story starts with Jegarre’s desire to have his only parental keepsake, a stately red carriage, repaired. The original fate of the vehicle was told in the first book, Prince of Wolves, where the carriage suffered an unfortunate destruction. The nature of the vehicle is such that only its creator would be capable of restoring it – hence Jegarre’s efforts to track down this man in Kyonin. The difficulty in locating the creator is the impetus in the story for visiting many locations; which allows the story to make the nation of elves come to life in all its wild, untamed splendor and strangeness.

Pathfinder fiction has, by and large, been purposefully limited in terms of the scope – meaning that the caretakers of the setting do not want it to get too out-of-hand with events that require the world itself to change and adapt. The first customer for the setting is the Player, and he should be able to be the change in the world, rather than the Reader, who can read about the changes in the world. That said, Dave Gross uses various tricks to stretch the limits of what can and cannot be done – and in doing so expands the depth of the world in ways that aren’t necessarily obvious. But, in Queen of Thorns, I think he created the most obvious and the most prominent and meaningful impact to the Pathfinder setting, Golarion. I can only assume that Dave Gross beat and James Jacobs in a no-holds-barred game of knivesies and earned the right to stretch the setting a bit.

In closing, Queen of Thorns is the triumphant return of Jegarre and Radovan. The reader is in the fortunate position to enjoy remarkable revelations on both characters – and I suspect that the next book (that Dave Gross hinted will take place in the demon-infested Worldwound) will shed even more light on Radovan’s mysterious existence. Queen of Thorns is thoroughly enjoyable, consistent in style and narration to its predecessors and equally engrossing. I encourage prospective readers to start sooner, rather than later!

In Combat! Hee-Hah!

Posted in pathfinder, rpg by trashcondor on 2 May 2013

In Pathfinder it has – for a while now – been a gripe of mine that there aren’t really many good Move Actions to do in combat. Sure… there is actually moving, which is pretty important, but as a rule getting that full-round attack with all the trimmings (possibly haste or/and two-weapon fighting) is the way to go. The primary go-to for useful other move actions would be Improved Feint, that allows feinting to be done as a move action. Not bad, but rather rarely used. I figure this is the realm for custom feats, so I present Combat Intuition. Let me know what you think:

Combat Intuition

You’re good at making the most out of combat situations.
Prerequisites: Wis 13
Benefit: After you hit with a melee attack you may, as a move action, perform any combat maneuver against that target. The maneuver provokes as normal.

[Pathfinder] 1000 bird style magus

Posted in anime, pathfinder, rpg by jatori on 30 April 2013

ChidoriI first presented the 1000 bird style magus last year (almost to the day). Since then, a few errors were pointed out in the build, which I have had a chance to correct and even play.

Human Magus (Hexcrafter/Staff Magus) (Chidori build)

S 18 D 12 C 14 I 14 W 10 C 8

Traits: Magical Lineage (shocking grasp); Reactionary

L01: Quarterstaff Master (B); Spell Focus (Evocation); Spell Specialization (shocking grasp)
L03: Arcana (Concentrate); Weapon Focus (Quarterstaff)
L04: Hex Magus (Slumber Hex)
L05: Elemental Spell (Acid); Intensify Spell (B)
L06: Arcana (Flight Hex)
L07: Heighten Spell
L09: Arcana (Hasted Assault); Preferred Spell (shocking grasp)
L11: Empower Spell (B); Weapon Specialization (Quarterstaff)
L12: Arcana (Ice Tomb Hex)

Of course, dropping the Staff Magus archetype allows for a selection of weapons with a greater critical threat range. However, I found that Ultimate Equipment introduced a number of good, low-cost staff options (starting at 8 000 gp) that serve as good weapons at level 10 (Staff Weapon) and offer extra flexibility through Use Magic Device. I made a number of the choices in this build to suit my particular taste. Dropping the quarterstaff feats, for example, allows for earlier metamagic feats. As a result, I marked those that I consider critical to build in bold.

- Jerall

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[Cape Town] Pathfinder Society – May and June 2013

Posted in cape town, pathfinder, rpg, south africa by jatori on 29 April 2013

May and June, one of my favourite times of year in Cape Town, has a healthy dose of Pathfinder Society:

Night MarchMay Game 1:

Date and time: 04 May 2013 – 10:00 until 15:00

Venue: Fanaticus Hobbies and Games

Cost: FREE

What to bring: stationery, dice (if you have), a miniature or pawn to represent your character (if you have), imagination

Scenario: #4–19: The Night March of Kalkamedes – A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1–5.

A veteran Pathfinder exploring the Fenwall Mountains of Varisia has begun sleepwalking, traveling through the dead of night in the same direction each time. The following mornings, however, he awakens injured and lost in the wilderness, never reaching the mysterious destination that drew him from his bed in the night. Something is calling Kalkamedes, something powerful, but unless he can make it safely to the source of his somnambulism, that power will remain a mystery. It falls to a team of Pathfinders to escort the sleepwalker to his destination and uncover the true nature of the strange phenomenon overtaking Kalkamedes’s dreams.

Shadow 1May Game 2:

Date and time: 18 May 2013 – 10:00 until 15:00

Venue: Fanaticus Hobbies and Games

Cost: FREE

What to bring: stationery, dice (if you have), a miniature or pawn to represent your character (if you have), imagination

Scenario: #2-23: Shadow’s Last Stand—Part I: At Shadow’s Door - A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 7th level characters (Tiers: 1-2, 3-4 and 6-7).

The Shadow Lodge’s assault on the Pathfinder Society has come to a head in the Andoren city of Almas, where renegade Shadow Pathfinders have taken over the Grand Cathedral of Aroden, holding the Pathfinders and Venture-Captain stationed there hostage. You must gain entry into the overrun Pathfinder lodge and put an end to the open warfare within the Society.

Shadow 2June Game 1:

Date and time: 01 June 2013 – 10:00 until 15:00

Venue: Fanaticus Hobbies and Games

Cost: FREE

What to bring: stationery, dice (if you have), a miniature or pawn to represent your character (if you have), imagination

Scenario: #2-24: Shadow’s Last Stand—Part II: Web of Corruption - A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 7th level characters (Tiers: 1-2, 3-4 and 6-7).

The mastermind behind the Shadow Lodge incursion on the Pathfinder Society has been revealed—a mysterious figure known only as The Spider. Your journey to discover the traitor’s whereabouts and identities will take you throughout the streets and underground of Almas, even to the floor of the People’s Council itself.

June Game 2: Free RPG Day!

Date and time: 15 June 2013 – 10:00 until 15:00

Venue: Fanaticus Hobbies and Games

Info: Stay tuned for more information!

- Jerall

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