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Board Business / Re: Handbook Discussion, what to do?
« on: Yesterday at 08:54:45 PM »
Probably for the best, yes. Sometimes I find myself expanding the handbooks I've written. I know I have some I wrote years ago where I keep adding bits to them here and there and then it becomes another new post and so on. And I know sometimes people expect a handbook to have a discussion thread and take the lack of a discussion thread for an indicator there is none (but that is easily remedied by mentioning in the handbook post itself that comments can be posted directly to the thread).

Previously the system was that you had to be a member of the DnD Handbook Writers group in order to be able to post in the Handbook forum, but now it's gotten mixed up with the (Continued) system that no longer works. May as well go back to the old way of doing things. Looks like making some kind of thread-lock so that only OP and moderators can post into it isn't an option unless someone is willing to modify the forum code a bit.

Board Business / Re: Handbook Discussion, what to do?
« on: Yesterday at 04:36:21 PM »
At present, it is no longer possible to start new threads in the Handbook Discussion forum (that was removed when the new method of Continued posts jumping to top was instated), and it's not possible to lock your own thread so only you can post into it either (although presumably such posts could be reported).

New feat courtesy of Planar Adventures!
Source Planar Adventures pg. 31
The blissful peace of Nirvana is never more than a thought away from your mind.

Prerequisites: Knowledge (planes) 3 ranks.

Benefit: As an immediate action when you fail a saving throw against an emotion, fear, or pain effect, you can ignore the effect and instead become dazed for an amount of time equal to twice the duration of the original effect. Any nonlethal damage you would have taken from the original effect is reduced to its minimum value (as though a 1 had been rolled on all dice). You cannot activate this ability if you are currently dazed.

You can use this feat’s benefit once per day, plus an additional time per day for every 5 ranks you have in Knowledge (planes).

I think the only good use of this is against spells with instantaneous durations or if you somehow develop daze immunity. There might be a few cases where the regular condition is worse than daze (confusion?), but even then the doubled duration makes it a dubious proposition. For the most part this feat's effect is much worse than what that spell or effect was going to do to you.
I actually found a legitimately compelling use for this deranged feat. If you have a Padma Blossom (may want to hold it with a locked gauntlet and weapon cord, to be safe), you are not affected by the dazed condition, so this can actually be useful for psychic spellcasters who are totally screwed when under any emotion effect.

And I have a lovely new feat to share:
Source Weapon Master's Handbook pg. 22
You can use your weapon attacks to set up a foe for an unarmed strike.

Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike, base attack bonus +5, weapon training class feature with a melee weapon.

Benefit:  When you make a full attack with an appropriate melee weapon and your first attack misses or is blocked, deflected, parried, or otherwise caused to not hit the target, you can immediately make an unarmed attack against the same target with the same attack bonus. You then cannot make any more attacks as part of that full attack.
Yep! If you are full attacking and your first attack (and ONLY your first attack) fails to hit, you can trade all your subsequent attacks for a single unarmed attack with the same attack bonus. Exceptionally useless when you are hasted, which at higher levels is pretty much always because either a spellcaster will Haste you or you have Boots of Speed. The only vaguely useful thing I can think of here is that lets you retain the benefits of True Strike for a second attempt at an attack. Definitely the result of a zealous editor nerfing it into the ground. Likely the original version was written to let you have your full attack and let you perform a retributive kick with any attack that missed (which would make this legitimately useful for monks, at least).

Incidentally, you can use a Martial Focus feat to qualify for this without a weapon training class feature, if for some reason you want to.

Board Business / Handbook Discussion, what to do?
« on: Yesterday at 10:39:15 AM »
We've gone back and forth on this situation a bit, and right now everyone can post in the Handbooks forum without a Handbook Discussion thread, but that was based on people being able to post (Continued) into thread titles and having those posts be moved to the top of the thread. But that functionality (if it wasn't done manually) is no longer present. So where do we go from here? Do we try to ensure OPs can add new posts to the top of a handbook or do we move back to dedicated handbook discussion threads? It seems like we may as well go back to the dedicated discussion thread system, which a lot of people have come to expect by now.

I'm asking because I'm contemplating writing some new handbooks.

That's preserving a guideline that was instated for reasons you do not know at a time when forum activity was very different from today (ie. you wouldn't find such old threads populating the first page of a board) even though right now the standard is for everyone to ignore the guideline if they have any interest in posting in existing threads. Making new threads is only really useful if it actually warrants a separate topic rather than being more relevant and useful as part of a preexisting one, and "consider making new threads instead of just posting into existing ones if it works better as a new topic" is a guideline that's different from "you shouldn't post in 120+ days old threads if you can help it."

I also gave some thoughts on why I consider this rule to be unproductive here but I'll directly quote the relevant bits:
There's no problem at all with necroing threads. If you want to liven up an old thread with new feedback, be my guest. I honestly don't understand why some forums have rules against thread necro, since many old threads are good ones and there's nothing wrong with the conversation picking up again where it left off, and I feel like those forums tend to have moderators who feel obligated to create rules and enforce them just so they can feel like they're moderators. Not to mention it's just a pain when you're websearching for information on some topic and you find a forum thread that's useful but just old enough to be missing a lot of newer material or insights and no one was willing to post the newer stuff to that thread because that would be "thread necro" so now you have less helpful threads to look through and get to hope that maybe there is another thread that does have the information you want.

Anyway, I reckon I've just about said my piece on it now.

Frankly, why do we even have the warning in the first place and what makes you so unwilling to remove it?

D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder / [PF] Evergreen Seed Pouch
« on: March 14, 2023, 02:27:38 PM »
So, there is an under-the-radar item for Druids, Hunters, and Rangers in Pathfinder:
Price 16,000 gp; Slot none; CL 9th; Weight ½ lb; Aura moderate conjuration
Source Daughters of Fury pg. 59

This leather pouch is decorated with fresh mistletoe and sprigs of holly that are shaped to resemble the druidic symbol of the Green Faith. The pouch contains seeds of various small plants and grasses. When the pouch is used as a divine focus component for a spell that affects or creates plant matter—such as entangle or spike growth—its magic manifests as the pouch opens and the seeds float out. The seeds plant themselves in the ground and instantly grow to create any vegetation or grass that the spell requires to function inside of the spell’s area of effect. The vegetation created by the pouch grows regardless of the terrain, and lasts the full duration of the spell, allowing the user to cast plant-altering or plant-creating spells in deserts, badlands, and other harsh terrains.

Cost 8,000 gp
Craft Wondrous Item, wall of thorns
The original design call is here. It's pretty much identical, but also mentions it can be embroidered with holy symbols of nature gods while this one mentions it just represents the symbol of the green faith. The main thing that is suggested is that this does specifically act as a Druid's divine focus. It doesn't seem to act like a Cleric's divine focus, but there is an open question whether you can use it as an additional divine focus. It is very clear that you can use it with arcane spells if you have the False Focus feat, which is relevant for Skalds and Magaambyan Arcanists, at least. The feat's "Normal: A divine focus has no effect when used as a component in arcane spells." clause also suggests that you can always use a divine focus as part of casting; it just typically doesn't do anything. This is relevant, because not all Druid plant-based spells require a divine focus and the Evergreen Seed Pouch is a useful item for some such spells. But you may want to run that by your GM to be safe.

While Entangle and Spike Growth are already mentioned (and you can enable Entangle with the use of Create Water and Lily Pad Stride easily enough), Plant Growth also stands out as a really good spell to use with this. Pathfinder nerfed Solid Fog from its 3.5 era version but Plant Growth has actually been buffed compared to its 3.5E counterpart, if anything (it now grants +4 to DCs of plant-based spell effects in the area for 1 day).

Anyway, thoughts and ideas?

However I still don't agree that it's an issue and don't see a purpose in changing the setting that we've had enabled for over a decade.
Well, the issue here is that there does not seem to be a constructive purpose to having the warning in the first place. All it does is discourage certain posts, and it's not clear what the benefit is. As it stands the overwhelming majority of threads are over 120 days old.

If nothing else the warning says "please consider starting a new topic" so if it was stopping people from responding to old threads they would be starting new topics (and that pretty clearly doesn't happen very often).
Sadly, it doesn't quite work like that. If you discourage people from doing one thing, there will be some percentage of people who will avoid doing that one thing but not do the other thing you recommend in its place. This is especially the case for new posters, who are generally less certain what about what to do and how to behave on a new forum (and the easiest thing to do, of course, is to do nothing at all and not post), In conversion rate optimization, A/B testing, etc., you notice that these are ways you lose people. Hell, just having people click one more link to do something is a way to lose people.

Just to be clear, I don't exactly expect this to make a major difference in forum activity,* but it does seem like an unnecessary discouragement to present this guideline that we do not really follow ourselves. The balance of a lack of positive effect and tendency for negative effects is why I say we're better off just removing it.

*But who knows. The forum is so low activity that just one more active poster would constitute a major difference in forum activity.

Actually you just need to go to Administration Center > Posts and Topics > Topic Center and disable Time before topic is warned as old on reply. See here. If you want a board-specific option, there is a package here that offers that. It seems close enough in forum software version to be compatible.

That's why I think it's better if it's removed. Ultimately, I expect this can be a bit of a discouraging factor. I don't know how much it affects posting patterns, but I suspect it does have at least some effect and that it's better to remove it if that is possible. I know there was a PF thread that got bumped with an apology for necroing that suggested to me that some people do feel like they shouldn't be posting in old threads as a consequence of this warning and the forums are low activity enough as is.

There is an automatic warning against posting in threads that haven't been posted in for 120 days. I'm pretty sure we don't have any such actual rule and all it's going to do is discourage people from posting on what is already a low activity forum. Does anyone disagree?

D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder / Re: [PF] Ways to acquire Stalwart
« on: March 10, 2023, 09:36:04 AM »
Well, not likely you'll end up with this, but the Knucklebone of Fickle Fortune minor artifact will cause you to avoid all damage and effects on any successful save vs a harmful effect for the next 24 hours if you manage to roll 18. Works best with Cyclopean Seer Oracle.

D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder / Re: Sneak Attack on a Cleric (no multiclass)
« on: February 21, 2023, 03:52:00 PM »
Odds are you will have to use a race with LA if GM permits LA buyoff. Other than that, there is the Critical Strike spell but it does not technically grant Sneak Attack. You could try equipping a Rogue's Vest with UMD, but strictly speaking it only gives +1d6 damage when making sneak attacks (ie. it does not grant the ability to make sneak attacks itself), so you will have to run that by your GM as well.

A shame ToB is banned though.

D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder / Re: Sneak Attack on a Cleric (no multiclass)
« on: February 21, 2023, 09:17:52 AM »
I'm inclined to recommend Assassin's Stance as well. That path also opens you up to the Shadow Trickster feat, which should be quite handy, and you can get it with a Shadow Hands (novice) gloves item (3k gp). (Shadow Hands is the name of the Shadow Hand discipline variant of the Crown of White Ravens.) You'll still need a Martial Adept feat, but that should be no trouble.

May as well mention that Silver Spindle Ioun Stones give the use of any 1st level Cleric, Sorcerer, Wizard, or Druid spell as a cha-based SLA 3 times per day, scaling with caster level. (And of course you should slot in a Wayfinder so it doesn't orbit around your head.) One of the silly things that's possible with this, for instance, is to get Magic Missile as a SLA 3 times per day and combine it with Smite Evil to do a ton of bonus damage. If you wear a Corset of Delicate Moves, it is possible to, in a single round, cast Litany of Righteousness on someone, activate Smite Evil as a move action, and cast Magic Missile for 5 missiles as a standard action, each of which will do a ton of bonus damage from Smite Evil (especially if you add Bracers of the Avenging Knight) and even more damage thanks to your litany. A level 10 Paladin would do (1d4+1+14)x2 5 times, so easily over 170 damage with Magic Missile, more if the enemy is one of those types that receives double the bonus damage from smite on the first blow.

It's also possible to gain SLAs like Charm Person, Grease, etc.

D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder / Updated tiers a bit
« on: February 03, 2023, 04:39:00 PM »
Moved Cavalier and Samurai to red T4. I'd underrated the challenge ability and order boons. Also, with Chain Challenge and/or Monstrous Mount the class becomes more potent (the same goes for Unconquerable Resolve for Samurais). Honestly, with a 1 level Sohei Monk dip for Mounted Skirmisher as a Monk bonus feat (which ignores all prereqs), the class is pretty strong.

D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder / Re: weird kalamar spell
« on: February 03, 2023, 03:22:59 PM »
Seems like an absurd spell. I'd probably just invert what negative levels do.

Negative level: "An affected opponent takes a –1 penalty on all skill checks and ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws, and loses 5 hit points and and one effective level or Hit Die (whenever level is used in a die roll or calculation) for each negative level. A spellcaster loses one spell slot of the highest level of spells she can cast and (if applicable) one prepared spell of that level. If she has more than one spell at her highest level, she chooses which she loses.."

Positive level interpretation: +1 bonus on all skill checks and ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws. Gain 5 hit points (and max hit points). Gain 1 effective level and HD for calculation purposes. A spellcaster gains one empty spell slot of the highest level of spells she can cast and (if she is a prepared spellcaster) can utilize partial spell preparation or other such capability to fill the empty spell slot with a prepared spell to cast. A spellcaster still does not obtain spell slots of a higher spell level than normal.

But then I'd probably houserule to pare it down a bit, or just ban the spell. This spell is highly abusable, especially with a Persistent Spell metamagic or similar, but even without that and even with Nanashi's interpretation there are ways to just get a giant bag of chickens, quick draw them and drop them as free actions, lifesap them, gain like 100 temporary HD, and leverage some HD scaling ability for absurd effect before the spell runs out. This is just a very badly designed spell with major balance issues.

D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder / Re: [PF] Kitsune Star Gems
« on: January 28, 2023, 05:52:08 PM »
I have a fun item to mention, even if it's expensive. The Silver Spindle Ioun Stone (24k gp, 16k if you want 1d3 cha damage per use) gives a 1st level Cleric, Druid, or Wizard spell as a 3/day cha-based SLA cast at character level. Requires 11 cha to use the SLA. Not sure if you'll need the extra uses that a Kitsune Star Gem offers but good to make note of. Also looks like you can just pass this ioun stone around and have everyone with 11+ Cha use the SLA for 3 uses? It's not an item with limited uses, after all, but an item that grants the wielder a SLA that he can use 3 times per day.

The Kitsune Star Gems also improves the Faith Singer Bard archetype for the first 3 SLAs anyway.

Min/Max 3.x / Re: Fun Pathfinds
« on: January 13, 2023, 10:03:57 PM »
Shared Stash is extremely dubious. You need to be sharing a square with an ally for that to work and if your ally is sharing a square with you I'd probably let you take items out of their pack without any teamwork feat. Really, the "retrieve a stored item" action never specifies that it needs to be your own storage and neither does the Quick Draw feat, so if you're drawing items from the storage of a friendly PC sharing the same square as you, I'd probably let you just do it without any ridiculous teamwork feat. This is starting to look like the Strike Back or Cleave Through feats which allow you to do stuff that sensibly you should be allowed to do anyway. Probably belongs in the bad PF feats/etc. thread.

Sly Draw is handy. Always Threatening seems largely pointless, as any weapon you are drawing out of a bag of holding is effectively already concealed. Mythic Quick Draw is a ridiculous way to reobtain the ability to draw anything like 3.5's Quick Draw feat. But on that note the Underground Chemist rogue can also quick draw alchemical weapons without needing a casting of the Quick Throwing spell. Really, Jason Bulmahn's moronic Quick Draw nerf in PF core only served to make alchemical weapons largely trash, but that was pretty much his intention, Paizo being Paizo and all that.

You Break it You Buy it / Re: [PF] Infinite Time Stop
« on: January 13, 2023, 09:51:33 PM »
Seems like you can, as Time Stop's duration would be counted as a condition. And you can also activate Temporal Regression with a casting of Shades (which is obtainable on any 9th level spellcaster with a level of Veiled Illusionist). But it will cost you a standard action (or swift with a greater metamagic rod of quicken spell) and another standard action, Still very potent for chicanery like using a greater metamagic rod of Extend Spell and casting Temporal Regressions to keep resetting the Time Stop duration. if you really want to get crazy duration, you can use a Magical Lineage magic trait or a level of Runeguard PrC for the Zeal rune and apply Blissful Spell to a Wizard with preferably 10 levels of Magaambyan Arcanist PrC. The Blissful spell gives it the good descriptor, the Magaambyan Arcanist PrC adds 10 rounds of duration to your good descriptor spell, and the extend spell metamagic doubles it up, so you have at least 24 rounds of duration, but at this stage you really don't need Temporal Regressions as you have enough duration already.

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