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I asked a specific question -- one that would take a good deal of work to answer well. I quickly got a few reasonable answers but none had quite the detail I was hoping for (in particular about good spells for a ratling familiar to use while the PC does other things). Knowing that the kind of answer I was hoping for would take some real time to write (and wanting to create an incentive / show appreciation for detailed answers) I decided to add a +100 bounty.

Never having offered one before, I was surprised that the period came and went without any new answers being offered (except one dubious one questioning the premise of my question) or any edits to existing answers.

I just awarded the bounty anyway to one of the folks who'd answered before I offered the bounty...but it makes me wonder...

  1. if bounties actually function as incentives here? and
  2. if there are things I could have done to improve my odds of getting more detailed answers?
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Bounties help, but they're not magical. In this case, I don't think it's a very well focused question. I play a witch in a Pathfinder game right now and I didn't want to answer it.

"Big scroll loadout," like "big spell loadout," has infinite combinations and any "in depth" answer is going to be more like a class guide and less like a good RPG.SE answer. The two answers you have already are pretty substantial; if you are waiting for a 5 page essay on spell choice you are probably not looking in the right venue.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with this answer. The short answer to the question could be "any spell you've ever found yourself wishing you had prepared but didn't is a good candidate", but trying to spell them out is just such a massive undertaking that a bounty doesn't help make it more worthwhile. \$\endgroup\$ – Tridus Nov 1 '13 at 13:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ I like answering big questions about options and best choices, that require pulling material from all over and synergizing it to maximum (or at least good) effect. Several of the answers I’ve put the most time into, as well as several of the answers that have earned me the most rep, have fallen in this category. Jeff’s question is still way too much work for me to attempt to answer it the way he wants it answered. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 1 '13 at 13:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan , Tridus and mxyzplk, thanks for the valuable feedback. I'm still not sure how I would pull a more focused question out of this. Perhaps if I asked only (or separately) about spells for the ratling to use as extra actions? I'll think it over -- and am very open to suggestions of an improved version. KRyan calls out in particular that "Jeff’s question is still way too much work for me to attempt to answer it the way he wants it answered" and I'd happily hear more about that. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff Fry Nov 3 '13 at 4:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ You'd go read a class guide. "A ratling is casting it" doesn't meaningfully limit scope by much at all. It's like "what spells are good to quicken?" Well, anything you want to cast in combat and not have it take an action. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Nov 3 '13 at 4:12
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Sometimes, there's someone who knows an answer but isn't willing to detail it for lack of time or good will. That's when a bounty could be useful, provided that someone cares about reputation.

My vision is that in your case, there's either no one on this site that has a really good answer to your question (rpg.se is quite small compared to, say, stackoverflow.se, and it's entirely possible no pathfinder player here has a clear idea of one of the widest, most DM-depending aspects -- namely, spells -- especially when applied to an unusual case) or those few who know are not interested in spending much time to answer, either because they don't care about reputation or because they already have lots of.


Since you also asked for what makes your answer hard to reply to, I'll detail my thoughts on the matter; they're by no way the one and only truth.

In D&D 3.PF, spells are really powerful things that could make or break a plot. Which ones are best for the same specific situation heavily depends on how your DM DMs. Which spells are good depends on which enemies your DM likes to make you face and the spells those NPCs use, but mostly getting a hold of every good spell that's ever been written for any class is a gargantuan task. I know, because I played a Chameleon for D&D 3.5 and just getting all the divine spells up to level 3 down took me lots of free time in the course of a whole year.

Still, I was not sure my choice of spells was the best one. I specialized in buffing, so knowing which spells would be better for, say, debuffing, would have required me to spend another whole bunch of time on the books, reading and comparing options. Until you find whatever the definitive list seems to be, and discover a 5th level spell from another class makes your whole debuffing irrelevant, because D&D and PF are written that way. (I had this while planning enemies for a D&D 3.0 campaign when the cleric began casting Iron Body. Days wasted planning unuseful strategies, oh-the-rage.)

I don't think there's any reputation bounty that could convince me to start a whole dissertation on such a complicate argument, while I'd be more than happy to spend entire afternoons telling you why each single spell is or is not a good idea to me (in D&D 3.x, not in PF, since I don't know its options well enough).

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