Pathfinder House Rules
These house rules amend some of Pathfinder's normal rules to correct some perceived problems. The philosophy behind these changes is to make minimal, targetted changes that preserve the core mechanics and feel of Pathfinder and that don't have many far-reaching consequences. Influences include Dungeons and Dragons Online, World of Darkness, and Mouse Guard.
See also my clarifications to canon rules.
- The 15-minute adventuring day
- Attacks of Opportunity
- Skill points
- Extra attacks
- Creatures with high racial BAB
- Channelled energy
- Resizing magic items
- Metamagic feats
- Racial skills when shape-shifting
- Racial hit dice
- Social combat
- Item creation
- Adding Dexterity to damage
- Combat maneuvers
- Racial and Class abilities
- Tower shields
- Miscellaneous home-brew feats
The 15-minute adventuring day
Problem: Once things start happening, PCs start running out of resources very quickly. After about 15 minutes of activity, primary spell-casters are out of spells, barbarians are out of rage rounds, and bards are out of songs. While fighters, rangers, and rogues can continue to use their abilities all day, their lack of support and declining hit points will force them to end their adventuring day soon after their supporting characters run out of ability uses. This frequently results in the party entering the dungeon at 10:00, clearing the first few chambers, then having to fall back at 10:15 to rest until the next day. And somehow the inhabitants of the deeper chambers are supposed to not notice that the gatehouse is full of corpses. This is frustrating for players and violates realism.
Fix: Use-per-day abilities, such as spell slots and rage or song rounds, can be recovered by spending one hour doing something thematically appropriate (praying for clerics, studying for wizards, napping for barbarians, etc) rather than requiring a full 8 hours rest. This does not apply to special abilities that can only be used once per day, saves that can be made once per day, or benefits that can be applied once per day.
Consequences: Parties that are low on resources no longer need to retreat; they just need to hide in a corner somewhere for a while. And there are spells for this, which will become much more useful. However, the standard 8-hour adventuring day still applies; the rest is to be spent sleeping, preparing and eating food, repairing equipment, studying new spells, gathering spell components, practising skills, etc. That rule can be violated from time to time, but violating it too often may have consequences (for example, fatigue, lack of spell components, or inability to level until a training deficit is restored).
Attacks of Opportunity
Problem: Attacks of opportunity disrupt the flow of combat and turn Acrobatics into a skill point tax for any character likely to be engaged in melee, much like Concentration was a skill point tax on casters in 3.5. Also, having time in the combat round to make extra free attacks violates realism. Removing attacks of opportunity altogether would have far-reaching consequences since being able to make attacks of opportunity is an important defensive ability and many feats and other abilities are built around them.
Fix: Making an attack of opportunity takes an attack from your next turn, similar to an immediate action. All attacks of opportunity have a +2 circumstance bonus to hit due to the target not being able to defend itself properly. Your next turn is accordingly constrained to something that allows you at least one attack. Attacks that require a full round action or more cannot be used as attacks of opportunity. Making an attack of opportunity cancels any readied actions.
Furthermore, Combat Reflexes is replaced with the following:
Prerequisites: Dex 13
Benefit: Making an attack of opportunity does not consume an attack from your next turn. You may also make attacks of opportunity while flat-footed.
Normal: Without this feat, making an attack of opportunity consumes an attack from your next turn and constrains you to an action that allows that attack, and attacks of opportunity cannot be made while flat-footed.
Consequences: There are now consequences to making attacks of opportunity; creatures will only make them if they think that they gain an advantage from doing so. A creature that makes an attack of opportunity may not have any attacks left to perform on its turn, or may be constrained to a full-round attack. Even with Combat Reflexes, no creature ever gains more than one attack of opportunity or more than one extra attack in a round by making attacks of opportunity.
Problem: PCs are squishy. They take a lot of damage in fights. Their ability to keep on fighting depends on their ability to recover hit points. Since it's next to impossible for PCs to gain any sort of fast healing before high levels, every party requires a healer. This is normally a cleric, oracle, or druid, since they get the best healing spells. However, they frequently end up spending half of their combat time, or at least half of their spell slots, healing people, and no one likes being a heal-bot. Potions are weak and expensive, and the Heal skill is mostly useless past low levels.
Fix: With a full 8 hours of rest, an injured character recovers up to its CON mod times its total hit dice in hit points, with a minimum of 1 hit point per hit die. Also, the following magic items are available to aid out-of-combat healing:
Aura: weak conjuration; CL: 4th
Slot: Hands; Price: 300 gp; Weight --
These gloves are made from fine moleskin and are infused with positive energy. The wearer of these gloves can make a DC 10 Heal check to restore hit points to an injured character; the character recovers up to two hit points for every one by which the check exceeds the DC. This action takes ten minutes plus one minute for every hit point recovered. A character can only benefit from this effect once per day.
Undead and other creatures that are healed by negative energy cannot benefit from this item. These creatures must make a DC 10 Fortitude save every round that they are in contact with Gloves of the Healer; on a failed save, the creature takes one point of damage.
Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, Cure Light Wounds; Cost: 150 gp
Aura: weak conjuration; CL: 5th
Slot: Chest; Price: 2500 gp; Weight --
When worn, this vest allows its wearer to heal 1 point of damage every 15 minutes through positive energy. Only damage taken while wearing the vest is regenerated. Undead and other creatures that are healed by negative energy are harmed rather than healed by this item.
Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, Cure Moderate Wounds; Cost: 1250 gp
Aura: weak conjuration; CL: 10th
Slot: Chest; Price: 10000 gp; Weight --
When worn, this vest allows its wearer to heal 1 point of damage every minute through positive energy. Only damage taken while wearing the vest is regenerated. Undead and other creatures that are healed by negative energy are harmed rather than healed by this item.
Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, Cure Critical Wounds; Cost: 5000 gp
Consequences: Parties still need access to a character with full healing abilities to deal with things like poison, disease, and ability damage, and squishy or unlucky characters will still need in-combat healing (though maybe players of squishy characters will learn after dying a few times?). But proper use of these abilities and items should reduce the need for out-of-combat healing.
Problem: Most classes get too few skill points. Players focus their handful of skill points in a few things that they can use to avoid getting killed (perception, acrobatics, some knowledges) and ignore everything else. There is no mechanism for gaining extra skill ranks; Skill Focus feats require many skill ranks to reach their full effectiveness and it's difficult (and expensive) for characters to keep magic items that give bonuses to multiple skills in line with their level.
Fix: All PC classes gain an additional two skill ranks per class level, regardless of INT mod. So, for instance, a cleric gains 4 + INT skill points per level, minimum 3. The following spell can temporarily grant skill ranks:
School: transmutation; Level: bard 1; sorcerer/wizard 1
Casting time: 1 standard action
Target: creature touched
Duration: 24 hours
Saving Throw: Will negates; Spell Resistance: yes
Touch of Mastery temporarily replaces any ranks that the target creature has in any one skill with one rank per class level of the caster.
Consequences: Touch of Mastery might be OP with respect to knowledge skills. Its offensive use might be interesting.
Problem: The Appraise skill is often seen as useless. All items and commodities have listed prices which are presumed to be well known and published by the relevant guilds, so why waste precious skill points on it? (Other than for determining the value of gems and miscellaneous relics with valuations different than that of their base materials, that is.)
Fix: In addition to determining the value of stuff, Appraise can be used to determine if a proposition is in your best interests. For instance, if a village leader asks you to drive off a tribe of goblins in return for 100 gp and the right to sack their village, a successful Appraise check might reveal that it's unlikely that the goblin village contains anything of value. Also, determining the value of commodities can still be important. While listed prices reflect the going rates in major commercial centres (eg, Katapesh and Absalom), items and commodities have different values in different places. Perhaps someone looted a cache of +1 swords from an ancient Serpentfolk citadel in the Darklands and is trying to sell them off, driving the price down. Or perhaps some wealthy wizardling desperately wants that Headband of Vast Intelligence that that old rogue gave you for busting him out of the clink. Maybe wheat is cheap in Druma this season but Nidal experienced a crop failure, so escorting that convoy through hobgoblin-infested mountains could prove quite lucrative.
Consequences: More contention for scarce skill points.
Problem: All characters get extra attacks for free as their BAB increases. This allows all melee characters to specialize in making lots of attacks, but melee characters who want to specialize in other combat forms, such as hitting single targets really hard (eg, using Vital Strike), need to spend feats to do so. Also, casters rarely have any use for the extra attacks.
Fix: Instead of granting extra attacks, creatures gain bonus combat feats when their BAB reaches 6, 11, and 16. Extra combat feats are added to that grant extra attacks at BAB-5, BAB-10, and BAB-15 to mimic the standard rules:
Your skill with weapons allows you to strike more swiftly.
Prerequisites: BAB +6
Benefit: Gain an extra attack with a primary weapon or primary natural weapon as part of a full-round attack action at BAB-5.
Your skill with weapons allows you to strike more swiftly.
Prerequisites: BAB +11, Swift Attack
Benefit: Gain an extra attack with a primary weapon or primary natural weapon as part of a full-round attack action at BAB-10.
Your skill with weapons allows you to strike more swiftly.
Prerequisites: BAB +16, Improved Swift Attack
Benefit: Gain an extra attack with a primary weapon or primary natural weapon as part of a full-round attack action at BAB-15.
Swift Attack becomes a prerequisite for Improved Two-weapon Fighting and Improved Multi-weapon Fighting. Improved Swift Attack becomes a prerequisite for Greater Two-weapon Fighting and Greater Multi-weapon Fighting.
Consequences: Many creatures gain feats instead of extra attacks. For simplicity, assume that everything that normally uses manufactured weapons takes the Swift Attack tree and that everything else takes the Vital Strike tree unless there is a reason to do othewise.
Creatures with high racial BAB
Problem: Creatures with high racial BAB that use manufactured weapons gain extra attacks according to their BAB. However, creatures with equally high racial BAB that use natural weapons don't gain these extra attacks. Most monsters are balanced for the current system, but it doesn't make sense in a few special cases, such as for a humanoid-ish earth elemental that wields a greatclub.
Fix: All creatures gain bonus combat feats, as above, when their BAB reaches 6, 11, and 16.
Consequences: Many creatures gain extra feats. Some of them gain extra attacks due to these additional feats. Maybe some creatures' CR increases by one.
Problem: Requiring that channelled energy affect either living or undead is inconsistent with with the Mass Cure/Inflict spells, which are described as being based on channeled energy but affect both living and undead equally. It also doesn't make sense: channelling energy is basically dumping energy out there and letting nearby creatures absorb it; why should there be two different types of positive and negative energy? .
Fix: Channelled positive energy both hurts undead and heals hit points in living creatures. Channelled negative energy both heals undead and heals hit points in undead.
Consequences: Characters that channel energy offensively become slightly more powerful.
Resizing magic items
Problem: Magic hats, gloves, rings, etc. all automatically resize to fit the wearer. However, magic weapons and armour do not. This violates realism.
Fix: Magic items do not automatically resize unless they have the Resizing property. The following spell can be used to permanently resize any item:
School: transmutation; Level: cleric/oracle 3; sorc/wiz 3
Casting time: 1 round per cu. ft. of the target object
Components: V,S,M (A masterwork item of the same type and material, of the desired size, and 100 GP of magic dust)
Target: one object of up to 1 cu. ft./level
Saving Throw: Will negates (object); Spell Resistance: yes (object)
Resize changes the size of a target item to a different size. If the target item is magical, the caster's level must be at least that required to create the item. The material component is consumed by casting the spell.
The Resizing property can be applied to any magic item to cause it to automatically shrink itself to suit its wearer or wielder (as appropriate). When not worn or wielded, or if destroyed, a Resizing item reverts to its original form. Resizing armour always fits its wearer perfectly; it never needs to be fitted. This effect cannot be used to make items larger than their original forms. Faint transmutation; CL 7th; Craft Wondrous Item, Resize; Price: +500 gp.
Consequences: Making use of looted magic items becomes slightly more expensive on average (since items may need to be resized), but use can be found for more looted magic items (since inconveniently-sized items can be re-sized). Creatures that get reincarnated as creatures of different sizes no longer necessarily need to buy new armour and weapons.
Problem: Metamagic feats are overpriced, so they're rarely used.
Fix: Spells modified by metamagic feats do not consume higher-level spell slots. Instead, in order to cast a spell modified by a metamagic feat, the caster must make a concentration check with a DC of 5 + the modified spell level. Any other concentration checks that the caster is required to make (for instance, if the caster takes damage while casting) also use the modified spell level and are increased by 5. If more than one metamagic feat is applied to a spell, all of their modifiers are added to the spell level. In order to cast a metamagic-modified spell, the total modified level of a spell must be less than or equal to the maximum spell level that the caster can cast.
The following feat reduces the modified caster level of metamagic-modified spells for the purposes of determining if you are capable of casting it:
Prerequisites: Any metamagic feat, ability to cast 1st-level spells with the chosen metamagic feat.
Benefits: The chosen metamagic feat has its adjustment reduced by -1 (to a minimum of +0) when determining whether you are capable of casting it. This does not reduce its adjustment for any other purposes, including (but not limited to) concentration checks.
Special: This feat can be taken multiple times. Each time it applies to a new metamagic feat. Its effects do not stack with respect to a single metamagic feat, but do stack with respect to a single spell cast.
Racial skills when shape-shifting
|Spell||Maximum racial skill bonus|
|Beast Shape I||+3|
|Beast Shape II||+6|
|Beast Shape III||+9|
|Beast Shape IV||+12|
|Elemental Body I||+3|
|Elemental Body II||+6|
|Elemental Body III||+9|
|Elemental Body IV||+12|
|Form of the Dragon I||+6|
|Form of the Dragon II||+9|
|Form of the Dragon III||+12|
|Giant Form I||+6|
|Giant Form II||+12|
|Monstrous Physique I||+3|
|Monstrous Physique II||+6|
|Monstrous Physique III||+9|
|Monstrous Physique IV||+12|
|Plant Shape I||+4|
|Plant Shape II||+8|
|Plant Shape III||+12|
Problem: Shape-shifting spells and abilities such as Wild Shape, Beast Shape, Elemental Body, etc. do not grant racial skill bonuses. This violates realism, leading to silly situations like a druid with no ranks in Stealth who shapeshifts into an owl somehow being a very noisy flyer despite having a body designed for stealthy flight.
Fix: When a creature shapeshifts into another creature type, it loses any racial bonuses that it has to skills from the following list: Acrobatics, Climb, Escape Artist, Fly, Intimidate, Perception, Perform, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Survival, Swim. Instead, it gains the new creature's racial skill bonuses up to the limits in Table: Racial Skill Bonus Limits.
Consequences: More work for DMs since the bestiaries don't always separate racial skill bonuses from skill ranks due to hit dice, size bonuses, and other skill bonuses. Druids and other characters built around shapeshifting get slightly more powerful. This might be OP with respect to Form of the Dragon.
Racial hit dice
Problem: Most "monster" races have at least one racial hit die. Most "PC" races do not. This leads to issues determining the stats of children of "PC" races and of adults who have not yet started their adventuring careers. Are they considered (young) commoners? If so, what happens to their commoner level when they take their first PC level? Are they considered as having a level in a PC class despite not training in it yet?
The standard rules are for humanoids with one racial hit die to replace it and their other stats with a class hit die and its associated stats when they gain a class level. In my opinion, everything that is alive should have at least one hit die and that nothing should have a class level until it trains in it; under these assumptions, the hit die swapping rule always applies to humans, elves, and other "PC" races. There are no humanoids with one racial hit die in any of Pathfinder's bestiaries; everything has at least two racial hit dice or one class hit die. d20pfsrd.com, which lists humanoids from various third-party sources as well only lists one humanoid with one racial hit (the Nilbog), but that appears to be a transcription error because it's also described has having no racial hit dice. This also suggests that Paizo intends the hit die swapping rule to apply to "PC" races. Since humanoids with one hit die are supposed to have one good save, a bunch of racial class skills, a feat, and the hit die is a d8, then most creatures will lose something (hit points, saves, class skills) when they gain a class level. This makes no sense and would be unfair to players. Nothing else has this hit die-swapping trait and I don't see any reason why humanoids should be special in this regard; many fey and monstrous humanoids aren't much different than many humanoids, but they have no such rule. There don't seem to be any official rules for "PC" native ousiders (tieflings, aasimars, sylphs, etc.), but one can assume that they're supposed to be treated as humanoids for most purposes. The retraining rules don't help either, because creatures aren't born with a class level to trade out.
Fix: The rules for humanoid racial hit dice are broken and I can find no easy way to fix them. Removing the swapping rule would give all PCs a bunch of extra class skills and a feat in addition to a few more hit and skill points and +2 to one save. It would also nerf spells whose effects are based on their targets' hit dice (although I can live with that; there aren't many of them). Not granting the save bonus, class skills, or feat to humanoids with one racial hit die just creates a new special rule for humanoids that doesn't apply to anything else. Making all creatures swap a racial hit die for their first class hit die still leaves creatures losing stats when they take class levels.
For now, assume that "PC" creatures with no class levels have one d6 hit die, 2 + Int skill ranks (minimum 1), and nothing else, and that every "PC" creature gains a real class level soon after reaching adulthood, if not earlier.
Consequences: Note that some builds don't make much sense: for instance, a middle-aged human wizard 1 would imply a person who did something really cool at some point, but did absolutely nothing else for 20 years (or more). Even begging or subsistence farming would easily be enough for a level of commoner after 20 years, and 20 years of ordering servants around would be enough for a level of aristocrat. The only way that this could work would be for the wizard to have spent all 20 years studying magic (while someone else supplied food) before finally managing to cast a spell; this would probably imply unusually low INT for a wizard, and do you really want someone like that in your party? A middle-aged human wizard 1 / commoner 3, on the other hand, makes perfect sense.
Problem: While Pathfinder has a rich system for combat, it has little for social situations like debates or arguments. Any social situation in Pathfinder comes down to a single roll of a single skill, which is boring.
Fix: Use the following system for social combat:
For each racial hit die that a creature possesses, it gains a Social Hit Die (SHD) of the same size. For each class level that it possesses, it gains a social die of 18 less the hit die size (eg, a Barbarian gets a d6 social die and a Rogue gets a d10 social die). For each total social die, the creature gains social hit points (SHP) of the rolled die plus its CHA mod, with a minimum of one.
At the beginning of social combat, each party chooses a representative (unless the situation is directed at a specific character). Each party's representative rolls initiative using a Social Initiative modifier calculated from the representative's INT mod plus relevant bonuses (such as Improved Initiative).
Attacks and defence are based on skills, using the following maneuvers. Like normal attacks, social attacks always fail on a roll of 1 and threaten a critical hit (for double damage) on a roll of 20.
You make a point.
Attack: d20 + Diplomacy
Defence: 10 + Appraise
Effect: Target loses d10 + CHA SHP.
You counter your opponent's position.
Attack: d20 + Appraise
Defence: 10 + Diplomacy
Effect: Target loses d6 + CHA SHP and you gain +2 to social defense in the next round.
You attempt to distract your opponent by introducing irrelevant points.
DC: 10 + half your SHD + CHA
Save: Will negates
Effect: Target loses its next d3 actions.
You attempt to draw your opponent into a trap.
Attack: d20 + Bluff
Defence: 10 + Sense Motive
Effect: Target loses d6 + CHA SHP and you gain +2 to social attacks in the next round.
You try to incite your opponent to anger.
DC: 10 + half your SHD + CHA
Save: Will negates
Effect: Target bleeds d6 SHP and takes -2 to social attacks for the next d4 rounds.
You threaten your opponent.
Attack: d20 + Intimidate
Defence: 10 + SHD + WIS mod
Effect: Target loses 2d6 + CHA SHP. You lose d4 + half CHA SHP, even if your attack fails.
If your SHP drop to 0, you are forced to concede defeat. While awake, SHP regenerate at a rate of 1 per hour. With a full 8 hours of rest, a character recovers up to its WIS mod times it total social hit dice in social hit points, with a minimum of 1 SHP per SHD.
Only intelligent creatures can participate in social combat.
Consequences: This system is not very well developed. If we use it a lot, it could use some feats.
Problem: The standard item creation feats make little sense. Craft Wondrous Item is used to create all sorts of unrelated items -- but the base item cannot be a ring, as that requires a different feat. Magical enchantments on weapons or armour require Craft Magic Weapons and Armour -- but putting the same enchantment on something else requires a different feat. Investigators create alchemical extracts like Alchemists, but can't take Brew Potion. Potions are limited to 3rd-level spells, but functionally-similar "elixirs" can be created using Craft Wondrous Item with no spell level limit. Et cetera.
Fix: The standard feats Brew Potion, Craft Wand, Craft Magic Arms and Armour, Craft Wondrous Item, and Forge Ring are replaced with the following:
Prerequisites: Caster level 2nd. Characters with the Alchemy class feature may treat their levels in classes that grant this feature as caster levels for the purposes of this feat and can use Craft: Alchemy in place of Spellcraft.
Benefit: You can create a single-use potion or oil of any 6th-level or lower spell or alchemical formula that you know and that targets one or more creatures or objects, except those with a range of Personal. Brewing a potion takes 2 hours if its base price is 250 gp or less, otherwise brewing a potion takes 1 day for each 1,000 gp in its base price. When you create a potion, you set the caster level, which must be sufficient to cast the spell in question and no higher than your own level. To brew a potion, you must use up raw materials costing one half this base price.
When you create a potion, you make any choices that you would normally make when casting the spell. Whoever drinks the potion is the target of the spell.
See the magic item creation rules for more information.
Prerequisites: Caster level 4th
Benefit: You can create a limited-use spell-completion or spell-trigger item, such as a scroll or wand, of any spell that you know. Crafting a spell-completion item takes 2 hours of its base price is 250 gp or less; otherwise it takes 1 day for each 1,000 gp in its base price. Crafting a spell-trigger item takes 1 day for each 1,000 gp in its base price. To craft either type of item, you must use up raw materials costing half of this base price.
See the magic item creation rules for more information.
Prerequisites: Caster level 3rd
Benefit: You can add any of the following permanent magic effects to any masterwork base item:
- Ability bonus (enhancement)
- Armour bonus
- Armour bonus (enhancement)
- AC bonus (deflection)
- Natural armour bonus (enhancement)
- Save bonus (resistance)
- Shield bonus (enhancement)
- Skill bonus (competence)
- Spell resistance
- Weapon bonus (enhancement)
Enhancements to Armour, Shield, or Weapon bonuses must be placed on Armour, Shields, or Weapons, respectively. Armour bonuses may only be placed on items that are not armour. Creating a magic item takes 1 day for each 1,000 gp in its base price. To create a magic item, you must use up raw materials costing half of its base price.
You can also mend a broken magic item if it is one that you could make. Doing so costs half of the raw materials time that it would take to craft that item.
See the magic item creation rules for more information.
Prerequisites: Caster level 5th, Craft Magic Item
Benefit: You can create a permanent continuous, use-activated, or command-word magic item based on any spell or combination of spells that you know (including enhancement bonus-equivalent effects on armour, shields, or weapons). The base item must be masterwork.
Creating a wondrous item takes 1 day for each 1,000 gp in its base price. To create a wondrous item, you must use up raw materials costing half of its base price.
You can also mend a broken wondrous item if it is one that you could make. Doing so costs half of the raw materials time that it would take to craft that item.
See the magic item creation rules for more information.
Any class that grants Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat instead gains Craft Spell Container. Any class that grants Craft Magic Arms and Armor or Craft Wondrous Item as a bonus feat instead gains Craft Magic Item; any class that grants both as bonus feats instead gains Craft Magic Item first and Craft Wondrous Item second. Craft Magic Arms and Armor is no longer required as a prerequisite for Craft Construct.
Characters with the Alchemy class feature may create certain of dusts, oils, and other slotless, consumable wondrous items that fit within the theme of alchemy without needing Craft Wondrous Item and may use Craft: Alchemy in place of Spellcraft, though the DC to create an item in this manner is increased by 10.
Consequences: This scheme has two fewer magic item feats than the standard rules. There is still unresolved overlap between Craft Wondrous Item and Craft Rod. The name "Craft Spell Container" is lame.
Problem: It's hard for a character to be built around making constructs in Pathfinder. Constructs are very expensive, fragile, and don't level with their creators. The rules for creating constructs generally assume that they're created as servants or guards by wealthy, high-level NPC casters; they don't work well for PCs who are trying to use them as weapons while gaining levels.
Fix: The following feat (based on Leadership) gives some more options for characters who want to build constructs:
You have an unusually large and lively soul, enabling you to split shards of your soul into otherwise inanimate vessels to give them life as an extension of your own.
Prerequisites: Character level 7th, Craft Construct, at least one mental ability score of 17 or higher.
Benefits: You can create a limited number of constructs to serve you as an assistant and helpers. An assistant is generally a powerful construct, while helpers are weaker constructs or animated objects. See Table: Animation for the maximum CR of cohort and number of followers that you can recruit.
|Animation Score||Assistant CR||Number of Helpers by CR|
|1 or lower||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|25 or higher||16||110||11||6||3||2||1|
Animation score: Your animation score has a base value equal to your highest caster level plus your highest mental ability score bonus. This score takes a -2 penalty for each familiar, animal companion, special mount, or similar class feature that you possess. Regardless of your animation score, you cannot have an assistant with a CR higher than your caster level minus 3.
Upgrading: Assistants and helpers do not gain XP, even if they are intelligent. Whenever the maximum CR of assistant that you can support increases, you may either disassemble the existing assistant and make a new one, or if the assistant is intelligent, grant it one class level per point of CR increase. When the maximum number of helpers that you can create increases, your existing helpers do not change; you can simply make new ones.
Construction: In order to make an assistant or helper, you must meet its construction requirements and make any required skill checks. You may ignore any minimum caster level requirement to create the assistant or helper. You do not need to pay the normal magical material component cost but must still pay any mundane cost, such as the clockwork gears needed for a clockwork construct. Construction takes 1 day per hit die instead of the normal time. If the construct is not normally intelligent, you can grant it an intelligence score of 11 at the cost of increasing its CR by +1 for the purposes of this feat. An intelligent assistant or helper must share one language in common with its creator, but may have other languages that the creator knows as bonus languages if the construct starts with an intelligence bonus. If an assistant or helper is destroyed, you may make a new one to replace it. You can disassemble an existing assistant or helper at any time and replace it with a new one at the same or lower CR.
Drawback: Should you die, all assistants and helpers animated using this feat immediately become objects. They must be reanimated from scratch, though their mundane components may be recoverable.
Special: Certain construct modifications can also be added to cohort or follower constructs, but their CR increase applies. If a modification does not have a CR increase, then it must be paid for normally.
Special: This feat is a replacement for Leadership. You cannot take both this feat and Leadership. However, you can retrain this feat into Leadership without needing to learn from someone else who possesses that feat, as well as the reverse. If you retrain this feat, all assistants and helpers become inanimate as though you had died.
Adding Dexterity to damage
Problem: Pathfinder makes it hard for creatures to apply their Dexterity bonuses to damage. There are three different feats that allow it, which apply to different weapons under different circumstances: Fencing Grace, Slashing Grace, and Dervish Dance. Between them, it is possible to apply Dexterity to damage using a bastard sword, but not a dagger.
Fix: The theme that Paizo seems to be aiming for is to allow Dexterity to be applied to damage when wielding a single one-handed slashing or piercing weapon with no shield. These new or modified feats simplify the standard feats in this area:
Prerequisites: Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus with any finessable weapon or the Weapon Training class feature in a weapon group that contains at least one finessable weapon.
Benefits: When wielding any finessable weapon for which you have Weapon Focus or Weapon Training, you can add your Dexterity modifier to that weapon's damage instead of your Strength modifier. You do not multiply your Dexterity modifier by 1.5 if the weapon is wielded in two hands.
Limitations: You cannot use the benefits of this feat in conjunction with Two-Weapon Fighting, Multi-Weapon Fighting, Flurry of Blows, or any feature that emulates these abilities, and you cannot use this feat while using a shield other than a buckler.
Note: This feat replaces Fencing Grace, Slashing Grace, and Dervish Dance
Prerequisites: Dex 13, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus or the Weapon Training class feature.
Benefit: Any one-handed or light slashing weapon for which you have Weapon Focus or Weapon Training, when wielded in one hand, may be treated as a one-handed piercing melee weapon for all feats and class abilities that require such a weapon (such as a Swashbuckler's or a Duelist's Precise Strike). The weapon must be appropriate for your size.
Prerequisites: Weapon Finesse, BAB +1.
Benefit: When wielding a finessable weapon, you can choose to take a -1 penalty on all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +2 bonus on all melee damage rolls. This bonus to damage is halved (-50%) if you are making an attack with an off-hand weapon or secondary natural weapon. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and for every 4 points thereafter, the penalty increases by -1 and the bonus on damage rolls increases by +2. You must choose to use this feat before the attack roll, and its effects last until your next turn. The bonus damage does not apply to touch attacks or effects that do not deal hit point damage. This feat cannot be used in conjunction with the Power Attack feat.
The Demoralize action
Problem: The Demoralize action is flavoured as a fear effect and causes a fear condition. However, as written, mindless creatures can be demoralized and creatures that are resistant to fear gain no bonus versus Demoralize. The same applies to the Ominous weapon property.
Fix: The Demoralize action is a mind-affecting fear effect. Bonuses to saves against fear also apply to Wisdom checks against demoralization. Creatures that are immune to fear cannot be demoralized.
Problem: Some combat maneuvers (Reposition, Grapple) allow you to move an opponent, but have exceptions for attempts to move an opponent into a hazardous position (such as throwing the opponent off a cliff or pushing it into a fire). Other combat maneuvers (Bull Rush, Awesome Blow) also allow you to move opponents, but have no such restriction. This is inconsistent.
Fix: Reposition can be used to move an opponent to any location, regardless of how disadvantagous it would be to the opponent to be there. Grappled creatures do not get any extra checks to resist being moved to hazardous locations.
Problem: The rules for making armour from dragonhide have various deficiencies. A price for dragonhide is given, suggesting that it's relatively easy to obtain (ie, no harder to find than mithral or adamantine). It can be used to make hide armour, banded mail, half-plate, breastplates, or full plate, but not the most obvious type of armour to make from a scaly creature: scale armour. It's not clear if armour can be made from the hide of any creatures of dragon type, or only that of true dragons. And there are no social penalties to wearing the skin of a sentient creature.
Fix: Dragonhide is not readily available, even in major cities. If you want dragonhide armour, you'll probably need to get the raw materials yourself. If you have dragonhide surplus to needs, the intact hide of a medium-sized dragon sells for 250 gp; the price quadruples for every size category larger than medium and quarters for every size category smaller. The additional cost of making dragonhide armour represents the difficulty of working with it (after all, most smiths don't use it very often), not its price. Like most unusual goods, finding a buyer may take some work.
In addition to the types of armour that can be made from dragonhide in the core rules, a dragon's hide can be used to make a suit of scale armour suitable for a creature two size categories smaller than the dragon.
The skins of most, but not all, creatures of dragon type are suitable for making armour. For instance, dragon turtles, taninivers, and wyvarans are not suitable.
The size of a dragonhide required to make dragon-hide armour is primarily due to the size of scales required for that type of armour. For instance, only colossal dragons have single scales large enough to make a breastplate. A dragonhide can be used to create a single suit of armour of any type for a creature one size category smaller, two suits for creatures two sizes smaller, four suits for creatures three sizes smaller, etc.
Dragons don't like it when humanoids wear the skins of their kin. Any dragon that observes you wearing dragonhide armour or carrying a dragonhide shield will have an attitude one step worse towards you, and dragons aren't known for forgetting things.
Racial and class abilities
Problem: Paizo has apparently ruled that having a racial or class ability that is identical to some feat (such as a weapon proficiency) it not equivalent to having that feat. This makes no sense.
Fix: If you have a racial or class ability that is equivalent to some feat (such as a weapon proficiency), then you are considered to have that feat for the purposes of anything that requires that feat as a prerequisite. If you somehow lose that racial or class ability, you can no longer use any other abilities that depend on it until you either regain the ability or take the feat.
You cannot re-train any specific feat that is automatically granted due to your race (although you may lose it if your race changes). You cannot re-train any specific feat that is automatically granted due to a class level unless you retrain that class level.
Problem: The rules for Reincarnate state that a reincarnated character replaces its racial bonuses to physical ability scores with those of its new creature type (but not its racial bonuses to mental ability scores) and that it "gains all abilities associated with its new form" except for racial languages. This suggests that the reincarnated character would gain racial abilities that are granted due to typical upbringing of that race (such as elven weapon proficiencies or gnomish defensive training) rather than intrinsic abilities of the creature type. The reincarnation rules also aren't clear on whether the target of a Reincarnate spell knows the creature type of its new body when deciding whether to accept reincarnation.
Fix: A reincarnated creature loses all racial abilities from its old form that were due to its physical form, such as senses and bonuses to perception and physical skills, and instead gains those of its new creature type. It keeps any racial abilities of its old form that are purely mental (such as languages and spell-like abilities) or are due to training (such as weapon proficiencies and defensive training).
The target of a Reincarnate spell can tell what its new body will be before accepting reincarnation. It can also tell who is casting the spell. It cannot tell why that creature is casting the spell or if they are willing or able to try again if reincarnation is refused. Even if a creature refuses reincarnation, the spell is still counted as having been cast and the material components are consumed. A lifeless body created by a failed Reincarnate spell is not treated as a body of the creature that refused reincarnation (or of any other specific creature), but does count as a dead body for any other purpose that requires a dead body. A creature that refused reincarnation may be targetted with a Reincarnate spell again, as long as the preconditions are met.
Consequences: Letting creatures keep some of their racial abilities may make some reincarnated creatures more unbalanced than Paizo would prefer. But reincarnation still has plenty of ways to break characters, so it roughly balances out. Characters may refuse disadvantageous reincarnations, but risk their friends running out of time, materials, or spell-casting services and having to stay dead.
Problem: The rules for tower shields are basically to treat them as ordinary shields, only moreso. That's lame. If you look at how tower shields were used in real-world history, they can be so much more.
Fix: The following apply in addition to the standard rules for tower shields:
- A tower shield may be equipped with a stand; such a shield is know as a pavaise. As a standard action, a pavaise may be deployed on its stand to provide cover from one direction. Picking up a pavaise that has been deployed is a move action. A creature that is adjacent to a deployed pavaise may take a standard action to gain total cover, instead of normal cover, from that direction.
- Any tower shield or pavaise that is being used to grant cover also grants partial cover to other creatures in front of or behind it.
Miscellaneous home-brew feats
These feats were created to scratch itches that players in my groups have had, such as the Cleric built around channelling negative energy and the Investigator who wanted ghoul claws.
You can control the direction where your channelled energy spreads.
Prerequisites: CHA 15, Selective Channelling
Benefit: Your channelled energy spreads in a 60-foot cone. You can choose whether to include yourself in the cone.
Normal: Your channelled energy spreads in a 30-foot burst.
Prerequisites: Int 15, Craft (Alchemy) 5 ranks or the Alchemy class feature, Skill Focus in the bloodline skill.
Special Requirement: Must have encountered at least one creature relevant to the bloodline in question and experimented on its corpse (or portions thereof).
Benefits: Select one sorcerer bloodline. You must have Skill Focus in the class skill that bloodline grants to a sorcerer at 1st level (for example, Heal for the Celestial bloodline). This bloodline cannot be a bloodline you already have. You gain the first-level bloodline power for the selected bloodline. For the purposes of using that power, treat your sorcerer level as equal to your character level - 2, even if you have levels in sorcerer, and it becomes Intelligence-based rather than Charisma-based. You do not gain any of the other bloodline abilities.
Special: You cannot take both this feat and Eldritch Heritage.
Note: Some bloodlines may be difficult to get with this feat, e.g. Destined. Also, some bloodlines have a poor skill choice thematically due to Sorcerer already getting the most appropriate skill as a class skill. Feel free to switch to a more thematic skill choice for such bloodlines (with DM approval).
Prerequisites: Int 17, Alchemical Experimentation, Craft (Alchemy) 11 ranks or the ability to create 4th-level alchemical extracts.
Benefits: You gain either the 3rd-level or the 9th-level power (your choice) of the bloodline you selected with the Alchemical Experimentation feat. For the purposes of using that power, treat your sorcerer level as equal to your character level - 2, even if you have levels in sorcerer, and it becomes Intelligence-based rather than Charisma-based. You do not gain any of the other bloodline abilities.
Special: You may select this feat multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you select the feat, it applies to a different bloodline power for that bloodline available at sorcerer level 3 or 9.
Prerequisites: Int 19, Improved Alchemical Experimentation, Craft (Alchemy) 17 ranks or the ability to create 6th-level alchemical extracts.
Benefits: You gain an additional 15th-level (or lower) power from the sorcerer bloodline you selected with the Alchemical Experimentation feat. For the purposes of using all powers granted by this feat, Alchemical Experimentation, and Improved Alchemical Experimentation, treat your character level as your sorcerer level, and they become Intelligence-based rather than Charisma-based.
- Spellbook ink costs are stupid. Distribute spells as spellbook pages, not as scrolls that get consumed when transcribed.
- Limits to Aid Another bonuses.
- Treat any spell slots at half of a caster's maximum spell level or lower as cantrips.
- Replace arcane spell failure with mandatory concentration checks
- Why is the Vouivre a monstrous humanoid? It's *way* OP wrt Monstrous Physique.
- Other polymorph spells: Vermin Shape, Undead Anatomy