Posts by Neal F. Litherland

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The Swashbuckling Brute

Precision over power is the credo of the swashbuckler. Daring swordfighters who rely on skill and speed, most people picture swashbucklers as swaggering bravos with dueling capes over their shoulders. However, while a duelist in a feathered hat or a pirate captain storming the deck of a ship may be swashbucklers, it’s important to remember …

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Martial Flexibility: The True Power of the Brawler

Among all the new hybrid classes in the Advanced Class Guide, few of them got as big a cheer as the brawler. “Finally,” the cry went up, “we can play unarmed fighters without having to take even a single level of monk!” That probably would have been enough, but the brawler gave us even more …

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What’s in a Name? The Swashbuckler vs. the Duelist

Fighters come in all shapes and sizes, but for the longest time any player who wanted to really capture the flash of steel and the swagger of characters like Inigo Montoya or d’Artagnan had to make do with the duelist prestige class. Then the Advanced Class Guide came out, and it brought the swashbuckler to …

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Heavy Metal Bards: The Pros and Cons of the Skald

Bards have a long and storied history of being the butt of a party’s jokes. Fighters and barbarians fight, rogues and rangers skulk, wizards and sorcerers fling spells, and clerics make sure no one dies. What does the bard do? All of that, but none of it very well. While it’s possible for bards to …

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Has the Slayer Killed the Rogue and the Ranger?

When the Advanced Class Guide was released by Paizo, every Pathfinder player who could get his or her hands on the book went absolutely nuts over it. It was like the new toy at Christmas you’d been hoping and praying you’d get, and when you did you couldn’t think of anything else. Now that the …

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Loaded Dice: The Magic Vampire

How to Build a Spell-Siphoning, Counterspelling Arcanist An eternal debate has raged between players who love arcane spellcasters; sorcerer or wizard? The sorcerer has more flexibility, but tends to be a lot narrower in which spells the character can cast, while the wizard knows more spells but has to try and guess which ones will …

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Good Versus Evil

How Alignments Can Lead to Better Roleplaying and Deeper Characterization We’ve all had that conversation with a DM. You know the one. You have a really great concept, the character has motivation to join the party, and by and large you feel that you’d be able to push the game forward and heighten the drama …

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Loaded Dice: What’s My Motivation?

We’ve all been part of one of those games. The kind where characters come together during the goblin raid, where they watch each other’s backs through the tense nights sneaking into the ogre’s cave outside of town, but when it comes time for the next part of the adventure, the party shatters. The rogue steals …

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Loaded Dice: Called Shots

The Advantages, Disadvantages, and What You Can Expect in Pathfinder Dealing damage in Pathfinder can take a lot of different forms, flavor-wise. A good storyteller will look at the weapon a player’s character is using, the spell that was cast, the creature being attacked, and weave together a complete image of what that attack looked …

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The Faces of Rage: Adding Character to Barbarians

I don’t always play barbarians, but when I do, I prefer huge, hulking characters with terrifying battle cries and a frenzied look in their eyes. Anyone who has ever sat at a table with a barbarian has likely noticed, though, that they’re sort of a one-trick pony: it’s all about the Rage, capital “R.” And …

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