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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 10:52 am 
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So I figured I'd start a little thread to give me a place to rant about the little things in RPG's that have always gotten on my nerves. This is nothing major of course - little bits of odd fluff and the like that just rub me the wrong way. Figure it's better then starting X threads just to make a single point each time. With that said let's get started with todays subject.

Why is the name of Asmodeus' third nipple are healing spells Conjuration effects?!
So this one has annoyed me ever since AD&D was supplanted. For those of you unfamiliar with the fluff and mechanics of Dungeons and Dragons/Pathfinder allow me to give a brief introduction to the school of conjuration.

One of the nine classic schools of magic Conjuration deals with a wide variety of effect and is indeed usually broken down into five distinct sub-schools; Calling, Creation, Healing, Summoning and Teleportation. Now those of you with more than a few ranks in Perception will notice that one of these things is not like the others (well technically two but that's a rant for another time). Calling, Summoning and Teleportation all fit nicely under the same banner - while there are little variances in the exact methods you are using you magic to take something that exists somewhere in the multi-verse and move it to a new places. Likewise it can be argued that Creation allows you to summon and then assemble raw materials into a form that you desire. It should be relatively easy to understand why these effects were lumped together.

Now we get to Healing. Looking at how the other effects of this school work you have to question what exactly are you doing when you cast Cure Light Wounds. Am I summoning 'good health' from another part of the multi-verse? No that's just silly and metaphorical even for a system with magic. I think one of the better arguments I've heard for healing as conjuration is that it allows you to summon energy from the Positive Energy Plane to infuse with the intended target. That's actually not a terrible answer but if all we are doing is summoning and manipulating energy isn't there already a school for that (spoiler: there is!). This whole concept is particularly troublesome as healing has not always been a conjuration effect. Remember before when I mentioned AD&D? Back then healing was a part of a far more appropriate school; necromancy. Makes you wonder why it was changed eh?

Now I'm not one to just point out a issue without at least giving some ideas of how it could be improved upon. Healing certainly needs to tied to one of the schools of magic after all (every spell is) so let's take a look at some of the more viable options.

Evocation: When I mentioned that a school already existed that dealt with the manipulation and creation of raw energy this is the school I was talking about. While it may seem odd to give a school more commonly associated with roiling fireballs and arcs of lightning the keys to the domain of healing it does make a certain sense. If healing is little more then the manipulation of positive energy (as seen in a pathfinder cleric's channel energy ability) then a school that excels in creating raw energy out of nothing would certainly fit the bill. If they can create fire and ice out of thin air then why not positive energy?

Necromancy: Ah necromancy. You poor mistrusted school. As mentioned above necromancy is the previous holder of the domain of healing and putting aside the usual knee-jerk reaction of 'necromancers is evil' it makes perfect sense that healing would be a necromancy spell. "Necromancy spells manipulate the power of death, unlife, and the life force." See? Right there in the schools description! If an necromancer can already channel extraplaner energies to bolster his own health and imbue a corpse with life then why should they falls at the final hurdle of true healing? It's an image issue isn't it? People just can't accept necromancy as anything other then an ultimate force of evil. What a shame.

Transmutation: The school of change. This one should be a given. Are you telling me a skilled transmuter can alter his flesh to become a fire-breathing dragon but he can't use the same basic powers to heal a cut? This school deals with the alteration of the physical and ability to staunch blood-flow or close a wound fall easily within that curfew. If a transmuter can transform into a troll why exactly can't he cast regeneration? If people aren't going to accept necromancy as the home for healing then transmutation should be the obvious second choice.

So yeah that's my little rant for the day. If you have any comments please feel free to shout them at me below. Or perhaps you too have niggling issues about RPG's that you would like to air? Feel free to speak up!

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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 11:12 am 
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It was changed from Necormancy because necromancy is icky. No, really. I forget which designer has said so, but that was why; they wanted necromancy to be the "bad guy" school with undead creation, life-stealing, etc.

If I were picking one and I wasn't allowed to use Necromancy, I'd go Transmutation.

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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 1:47 pm 
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I'd just make a new one over Transmutation =P

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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 5:04 pm 
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Zherog wrote:
It was changed from Necormancy because necromancy is icky. No, really. I forget which designer has said so, but that was why; they wanted necromancy to be the "bad guy" school with undead creation, life-stealing, etc.


Ya see that's exactly what I'm talking about! Why is necromancy more evil and icky then any other school of magic? I will hold my hands up and admit to being a die-hard necromantic apologist but does nobody else get annoyed at how this one school is singled out as evil? There are entire schools whose sole function is an evil icky mess; diviners are living invasions of privacy, enchanters and illusionists strip away free will, transmuters reshape the world in their own vision and evokers just want to watch the world burn. I guess what I'm saying is magic as a whole is probably evil.

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 2:24 am 
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Or as evil as the one that weilds it.

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 6:16 am 
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Which brings you right back to "Why can't Necromancy have a good aspect?"

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 9:29 am 
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Garren and I had a whole conversation about this while he was joining my Sandbox world the first time. I still stand by necromancy being evil because no matter how it is used, there is an evil aspect to it. All other schools of magic can be used for either good or evil, but I can't find a way for necromancy to be used in a way that is entirely good. No matter what you're doing, you're taking a body and desecrating it, even if you're using it to fight a good fight, you're abusing the body.

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 9:34 am 
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I'd assume it's because it's manipulating negative energy, without knowing too much of the specifics to be a reliable source on this.
And the D&Dverse has tagged that as a universally evil act.

Squinty: Blasting someone with a fireball or the negative energy equivalent isn't really any different from a moral perspective. Necromancy isn't just raise dead spells. Necromancy even has a host of spells that are only dedicated to harming undead.

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 10:44 am 
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Garren and I had a whole conversation about this while he was joining my Sandbox world the first time. I still stand by necromancy being evil because no matter how it is used, there is an evil aspect to it. All other schools of magic can be used for either good or evil, but I can't find a way for necromancy to be used in a way that is entirely good. No matter what you're doing, you're taking a body and desecrating it, even if you're using it to fight a good fight, you're abusing the body.

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The following spells (as a sample) are in the necromancy school (Pathfinder rules, if it matters, and links to the PRD for non-core spells):

Absorb Toxicity (Ultimate Combat)
Astral Projection (huh?)
Black Mark (Advanced Race Guide)
Clone
Disrupt Undead
Gentle Repose
Touch of Fatigue
Undeath to Death


And the following spells are not necromancy:

Accelerate Poison (Transmutation) (Advanced Players Guide)
Agonize (Evocation) (Ultimate Magic)
Agonizing Rebuke (Illusion :confused: ) (Advanced Race Guide)
Blood Blaze (Transmutation) (Advanced Race Guide)
Blood Transcription (Divination) (Ultimate Magic)

And... I'm out of time and need to go to a meeting. There are plenty of necromancy spells that aren't "icky" and there are plenty of "icky" spells that aren't necromancy.

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 11:45 am 
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To clarify: I was talking about Necromancy as the act of raising undead.

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 12:52 pm 
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While I think it would be possible to paint a picture of raising zombies and skeletons as a neutral or good act, point taken. But that's sort of my point, I guess. "Necromancy" as it relates to D&D and it's offshoot games is more than just raising dead. It's combating undead, or preserving a corpse (and even preventing it from becoming undead), it's (apparently) traveiling through the astral plane, it's the act of putting a curse on somebody. And more - I spent less than 5 minutes digging, to be honest.

Going purely by descriptions, healing spells probably belong in the necromancy school. The only reason they're not is because a designer decided necromancy (the school, not the act of raising undead) = icky and evil. But there are plenty of icky and evil spells in other schools. (Aside from the ones I posted, just look at any spell with the [evil] descriptor, really; you'll find a high ick factor in that list.) The necormancy school has plenty of non-icky spells, and even downright useful ones like disrupt undead and gentle repose

PRD wrote:
Necromancy
Necromancy spells manipulate the power of death, unlife, and the life force. Spells involving undead creatures make up a large part of this school.


That is the entire description granted to the necromancy school. Two sentences. I think it's really hard to read that description and say cure light wounds, raise dead and remove disease belong somewhere else. the only reason somebody can say they belong in Conjuration is because a designer thought necromancy was icky and so made up a new subschool. The only other place that makes any sense, in my opinion, is Transmutation.

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 4:31 pm 
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Huh. Did some digging and apparently you *can* can Animate Dead without it having the Evil descriptor - on the condition that your dancing a jig at the time. Seriously look up the Dirge Bard class archetype. That just boggles the mind. Shame you have to be level ten to do it. I just had a really cool idea for a character. Ah well.

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 6:12 pm 
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Zherog wrote:
While I think it would be possible to paint a picture of raising zombies and skeletons as a neutral or good act, point taken. But that's sort of my point, I guess. "Necromancy" as it relates to D&D and it's offshoot games is more than just raising dead. It's combating undead, or preserving a corpse (and even preventing it from becoming undead), it's (apparently) traveiling through the astral plane, it's the act of putting a curse on somebody. And more - I spent less than 5 minutes digging, to be honest.

Ever since mancy moved on from being divination to just describing a caster of a specific element or school of magic, there's no reason that it shouldn't, either. While necromancers are usually related to people raising the dead (or people who raise the dead are usually called necromancer), the term now effectively means one who specializes in death magic. I think manipulating the life force of another being falls into that quite nicely, alive or not. I don't know what this astral travel is, however, although I assume it's somehow related to how ghost exist on the etheral plane or somesuch.

As an aside, I've yet to figure out why Sauron in called a necromancer in the hobbit movies. Not that I've read any of the books.

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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 12:20 am 
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Copy and pasted from Wikipedia:

Quote:
Third Age[edit]
The traumatic loss of the Ring greatly weakened Sauron; he spent the first thousand years of the Third Age as a shapeless, dormant evil. Nonetheless, his servants were involved in several events that gradually weakened the Númenórean exile kingdoms, although it is unclear if Sauron was actively involved in directing them.

A few years after the War of the Last Alliance, Isildur's army, marching to Rivendell, was ambushed and overwhelmed by a band of Orcs in what became known as the Disaster of the Gladden Fields. Isildur put on the Ring and attempted to escape by swimming across Anduin, but the Ring—which had a will of its own and a desire to return to Sauron—slipped from his finger. He was spotted and killed by Orc archers. The Ring would remain lost beneath the water for thousands of years, with many believing there was no way Sauron could return, or that so long as the Ring was lost Middle-earth was safe.

The Necromancer of Dol Guldur[edit]
Around the year 1050,[38] a shadow of fear fell on the forest later called Mirkwood. As would later become known, this was the first sign of Sauron's remanifestation, but for many years he was not recognized. He was known (as in The Hobbit) as the Necromancer. He established a stronghold called Dol Guldur, "Hill of Sorcery", in the southern part of the forest not far from Lórien.

Shortly after the shadow fell upon the forest, the Valar sent five Maiar to oppose this growing power. They took the form of Wizards, the most prominent being Gandalf and Saruman. By about 1100, "the Wise" (the Wizards and the chief Elves) became aware that an evil power had made a stronghold at Dol Guldur. Initially it was assumed that this was one of the Nazgûl rather than Sauron himself. About the year 1300, the Nazgûl did indeed reappear. In the ensuing centuries, the chief of the Nazgûl, the Witch-king of Angmar, repeatedly attacked the northern realm of Arnor, first in 1409 and finally overrunning and effectively destroying the realm in 1974. Though driven from the north in the following year by the Elves and forces from Gondor, the Witch-king retreated to Mordor and gathered the Nazgûl there. In 2000, the Nazgûl issued from Mordor to besiege the city of Minas Ithil in the mountains bordering Mordor. The city fell in 2002, and became known as Minas Morgul. With the city the Nazgûl also captured the palantír of Minas Ithil, one of the seven seeing stones that Elendil's people had brought with them from Númenor at the eve of the Downfall.

In this same period, the Dwarf kingdom in Moria was destroyed by a Balrog, who slew King Durin VI and his son Náin I and drove the dwarves away. In the centuries that followed dragons attacked other settlements of dwarves in the north. (Whether Sauron had any part in these attacks on the Dwarves is unknown.) In this time many of the surviving Noldorin Elves became weary of Middle-earth and departed for Valinor.

As the power of Dol Guldur grew, the Wise came to suspect that the controlling force behind the Witch-king and the other Nazgûl was indeed their original master, Sauron. In 2063, Gandalf went to Dol Guldur and made the first attempt to learn the truth, but Sauron retreated and hid in the East. It would be almost 400 years before he returned to his stronghold in Mirkwood, and his identity remained undetermined.

Sauron finally reappeared with increased strength in 2460. About the same time, the long-lost Ruling Ring was finally recovered from the River Anduin, found by a Stoor Hobbit[39] named Déagol. Déagol's friend and relative[40] Sméagol coveted the Ring and killed Déagol to get it, and was eventually corrupted by it, becoming the creature Gollum. Banished by his family, he took the Ring, which he called his "Precious", and hid in the Misty Mountains.

In 2850, Gandalf made a second attempt to spy out Dol Guldur. Stealing into the stronghold, he was finally able to confirm the identity of its lord.[41] He reported this to the White Council of Elves and Wizards, but Saruman, hoping to acquire the One Ring for himself, dissuaded the Council from acting against Sauron.

Eventually, the Wise put forth their might and drove Sauron from Mirkwood in 2941. During the White Council's delay he had, however, prepared his next move, and was willing to abandon Dol Guldur.

Just before Sauron fled Dol Guldur, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, on an improbable adventure with a party of Dwarves, stumbled across the Ring deep within the Misty Mountains. After his quest was over, Bilbo brought the Ring back to Hobbiton in the Shire. Decades later, he passed it on to his heir, Frodo.

By then, Sauron's power had recovered to the point that he was able to extend his will over Middle-earth. The Eye of Sauron, as his attention and force of will was perceived, became a symbol of oppression and fear. Following his expulsion from Dol Guldur, he returned to Mordor in 2942, openly declared himself nine years later, and started raising Barad-dûr anew. In preparation for a final war against Men and Elves, he bred armies of monstrous orcs, known as Uruks.[42]


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 4:41 am 
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So, why did he receive the name again? Did he do any necromancy? Does self-resurrection even count?

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 5:15 am 
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Well that was fun. Let's have another stupid topic then.

Whats the deal with Monks anyway?
Okay so why exactly is Monk a core class in all the books anyway? I, personally, always treated the core classes as a sort of 'you can play any of these classes without having to consult the DM first' list. I mean that's what differentiates them from your standard base classes right (stuff like Cavaliers, Warlocks, Witches etc). This of course brings up the issue I've always had - why are Monk on the list of core classes when they are entirely against the fluff of most average D&D worlds.

I mean I may be wrong here but I always assumed D&D was your standard Swords & Sorcerery, Knights & Dragons, Dark Ages Europe sort of setting. So why is monk in that list? The monk as presented in D&D/Pathfinder is very clearly of eastern inspiration - in the vein of Shaolin monks and the like. To stay in line with the fluff presented by every other class shouldn't the monk be a guy in a big robe living in an abbey somewhere writing scripture and getting wasted on home-brewed alcohol. Yes I appreciate that wouldn't make for a good class (or alternatively the best class ever) it would at the very least ensure that your party does not consist of a big dumb guy with an axe, a skinny guy with a bow, an old guy with a robe and staff and a kung-fu master who can sucker-punch a dragon to death with his pinky.

Just seems odd is what I'm saying.

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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 2:50 pm 
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Yeah, monks as written are the red-headed step child, for sure. It's a shame, because there's room in a Euro-centric flavored game for a martial artists - a class that relies on the body as a weapon - that didn't require going all East Asian in the flavor. Whether you named the class "the pugilist" or whether somebody went and did some research on hand-to-hand combat in Middle Ages Europe, there was room for that concept.

That said...

PF SRD wrote:
For the truly exemplary, martial skill transcends the battlefield—it is a lifestyle, a doctrine, a state of mind. These warrior-artists search out methods of battle beyond swords and shields, finding weapons within themselves just as capable of crippling or killing as any blade. These monks (so called since they adhere to ancient philosophies and strict martial disciplines) elevate their bodies to become weapons of war, from battle-minded ascetics to self-taught brawlers. Monks tread the path of discipline, and those with the will to endure that path discover within themselves not what they are, but what they are meant to be.

Role: Monks excel at overcoming even the most daunting perils, striking where it's least expected, and taking advantage of enemy vulnerabilities. Fleet of foot and skilled in combat, monks can navigate any battlefield with ease, aiding allies wherever they are needed most.


That's the basic flavor text for the class. I believe it's almost the same - if not the same - as the 3.5 SRD, but I can't access any versions of that here at work to verify. So from that flavor, we get a guy who knows how to throw a punch or kick, who has good movement, and should aid allies where needed. That right there isn't a bad class concept. Having a characer who has incredible movement abilities, doesn't need a weapon to be effective, and has great skill at making allies better is a pretty awesome class concept, really.

How do we make this work? Well, we have fast movement. That makes sense, right? And we get ever-improving unarmed strike damage, and we get to overcome certain types of DR with our fists. That's pretty awesome, and fits in. And um...

We get flurry of blows! Heck, yeah! We can punch more often than you can swing your sword! Take that! Wait, what was that you said? Have fun only having a standard action if we take advantage of that great movement speed, thereby making flurry of blows useless? *shakes fist* I'll get you! Just wait! Stand still so I can punch you in the face more than once!

Fine, you wanna go there! Whatevs! We get our Wisdom bonus to AC, plus a sweet untyped bonus that advances as we advance! Ha! Take that, sucker! Huh? What did you say? We already need high Dex for the AC, initiative, skills, and such; and we need high Str to punch harder and do more damage, and for some other skills? And we need high Con because we only have a d8 HD and need bonus hit points in order to survive? So what! I might get lucky and roll four good stats that I can use! Or... or I can spend a limited resource - a feat - and take Weapon Finesse! Yeah, take that! I can blow a feat so that I don't care about Str to make attacks, though it'll still suck away my damage potential if I totally dump the stat. Yeah, I'm totally rocking an awesome pose right now, because that makes me feel better about myself.

Fine! I also get... *flips through book* I also get evasion! And slow fall! And immunity to poison - ha, take that drow and assassins! And... and... and a whole pile of stuff that just doesn't seem to make sense given my flavor. *sobs*

But! Hey, screw you! If I stick through all that for 20 levels, I become an outsider! Ha! That's totally freakin' awesome, man! I'm no longer subject to charm person or dominate person or whatever-person spell you sucky ass wizards want to cast. Wait, what's that spell you're casting? Banishment? What's that do?


Or the TL;DR version: The monk's biggest problem isn't the shaolin monk flavor in a world that's clearly Euro-centric otherwise. No, the monk's biggest problem is that it's abilities don't work for what it wants to be, some just plain don't work, and others are neat but don't make sense. It's like the 3e designers had all these cool abilities left over and no place to put them, so they threw them all into the monk class.

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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 5:20 pm 
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I can make three attacker per round! *proceeds to miss with every attack*

I was mostly thinking fluff wise but yeah monks are pretty much screwed mechanically as well. I could kinda at least respect them if they were at least proficient at what they did but they can't even do that right.

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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 6:11 pm 
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Yeah, that's another issue for monks. It's not quite as bad in Pathfinder, given that they effectively have full BAB when using flurry thanks to a small change in the ability. It helps, a little. But there's still plenty of mechanics issues plus mechanics "bwa? What do they have that for?" issues.

The three biggest mechanical issue for monks, in no particular order:

  1. they can't use their movement and attack stuff in the one round - pick one.
  2. It's a MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD world (Multple Attribute Dependency, for those who have never seen that acronym, meaning they need good scores in too many attributes to be effective at anything)
  3. Weird, "bolted on" abilities that don't really fit the theme.

They should be able to move and still make a full attack (maybe not at first level). Flurry as written is fine. Somewhere around +6 BAB (8th level, assuming no multi-classing), bring online an ability to move up to half movement speed and still take a full attack. Somewhere around BAB +11 (15th level, assuming no multi-classing), allow full movement speed plus full attack. So at 8th level, assuming a base speed of 30 feet (human, elf, etc) we can now move up to 25 ft. and still take a full attack. That's more movement than a dwarf, halfling, or gnome; and almost as much as the other races. Hey, that's not too shabby! And at 15th level, he can now go 80 feet and do the same thing. You could even have a feat available somewhere between the two that let him do a "flurry on the run" so he could make his attacks throughout his movement if he wanted to. That solves the "fast, skirmisher" issue.

They should require fewer ability scores. Give them Weapon Finesse for free. Or let them use Wisdom for attacks along with AC. Or... something. Right now, they really need four ability scores. That needs to get cut down to two, with one other needing to be good but not great (+1 bonus territory). So, take attacks, damage, and AC and drive them all off Wisdom; Dex is still everything it does, Str is everything it does other than attacks. Con is still bonus hit points. Now your monk only needs a good Wisdom, sort of like a cleric or druid, but also benefits from good Dex or Con. He doesn't give a dire rat's hairy ass about Cha, so he dumps that. Since he gets 4 skill points per level already, he can survive with as low as an 8 there and not be too crippled. Str becomes "how much can I carry?" plus his bonus to Climb and Swim. There, MAD solved.

They should have fewer "Bwa?" abilities and more things that actually aid their teammates. Take away stuff like high jump (woo-dee-doo!), purity of body, wholeness of body (it's like a paladin's "lay on hands" ability but weaker, comes online later, and doesn't have all the awesome "I touch myself" jokes to go with it), diamond body, diamond soul (though not a terrible ability, really, he already has good saves, evasion, improved evasion, and stillness of mind; so screw that - we don't need SR too), tongue of the sun and moon (woohoo! I can do something the wizard could do 12 levels ago!), and timeless body. All of those suck, or don't fit our theme, or such and don't fit our theme. Actually, no. We'll keep them. But they'll become ki powers the monk chooses similar to rage powers or rogue tricks. And we'll add some new ones, too, to flesh out the list and give the monk some real choices.

In their place, in addition to the ability to pick a ki power, we're going to add some more class features. We're going to allow the monk to grant bigger bonuses to aid another. We're going to let the monk have an ability to take a hit - from a spell or weapon - in place of a teammate. We're going to let the monk count as a flanking partner even when he's not directly across from us. (rogues now love monks!) We're going to make quivering palm - arguably their coolest ability! - happen sooner, and we'll find ways to build onto it as the monk gains levels. We're going to move abundant step a little earlier, and we're going to make that improve as the monk gains levels too.

Bam! Now he no longer has a hodge-podge of "bwa?" abilities. He has cool, "I'm the skirmisher, and I help my teammates" abilities. You know, all those things the flavor text says he can do.

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John Ling
Lead Pathfinder Developer, Frog God Games

Note: unless specified otherwise, the opinions and ideas in my posts are my own and not those of Frog God Games.


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 3:54 am 
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Preferred Pronoun Set: SE / squinty / squints
On the plus side, we'll be getting an actual Brawler class in Pathfinder soon!

Brawler info from PDF


(I assume since they put the PDF up for free and that this was part of a public test packet that reposting it all is okay)

~SE++

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[D&D 5E] Princes of the Apocalypse | Set-up | In Character | Out of Character | Map: Lance Rock

[Johnny's Quest] October 12 - 18: Cloudstone Curio


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