This article is a little different from the other posts on this blog. Firstly, it’s written by my brother. Secondly, it is specifically tailored to Pathfinder Society Organized Play (PFS).
Too often you see people with huge stacks of Prestige Points (PP). There are reasons to save up some PP, but how can you make it work for you? This article looks at efficient ways to spend your prestige for the benefit of your character, and ultimately your party.
For a baseline I’ll take 2pp to be worth a maximum of 375gp/PP*. No purchase listed here will fall below the threshold of 300gp/PP. The guide will make no mention of vanities/boons that are PP purchasable, as they cannot be readily valuated in terms of gold. A post on that subject may grace this hallowed blog in the near future.
*2 PP can be spent to purchase any single item worth 750 gp or less. Therefore each PP is worth 375 gold. Technically a single PP can be spent to buy any single item worth 150 gp or less, but that is clearly worse (cutting your purchasing power by 60%). I can think of no better method of valuating prestige in terms of gold. Keep in mind that items bought with these methods cannot be resold to redeem actual gold.
Raise Dead (16 pp) – 340.625 gp/PP
At some point gold might be a better resource to spend, but that’s at fairly high level. Also, members of the Scarab Sage faction (Osirion) have a great option here to become Risen Guard members for 8pp instead, raising their valuations to 681.25gp/PP. This utterly blows our cap out of the water.
Resurrection (32 PP) – 340.9375 gp/PP
I never save enough up for this spell service, as the circumstances that necessitate it are so rare. That said, they can occur. Dying from death effects or being made undead prevent the spell raise dead from working, and require resurrection instead. True resurrection costs more PP than one can gain during an 11 level character career, so don’t bother worrying about what happens if your body is completely obliterated.
Restoration to dispel a permanent negative level (4PP) – 320gp/PP
Not too bad. Again mix and match in gold if you so choose. Restorations for other purposes are much cheaper gold-wise and PP wise, but the ratio drops to 190 gp/PP. That really isn’t worth our precious prestige.
Body Recovery (5PP) – Infinite, there’s absolutely no other way to do this.
You’re calling in a favor to get your body and gear back. Cool. You don’t need to purchase this if other party members can lug your corpse back to town, but party wipes or situations that your comrades had to flee post-haste happen.
TOTAL: The most PP a death can cost (without death effects or being made undead, which necessitate a resurrection) is 29 PP. That will raise you, get rid of your negative levels, and recover your body. If you ever have 31+ PP, you should buy something with 2 PP every session from then on. There is no benefit to having more than 29. Even that is a very conservative spending strategy, I’ll often just have enough gold on hand to raise and restore myself, keeping a minimum of 5 PP for body recovery. Casters in particular should spend more aggressively, as scrolls can turn just about anyone into a utility/support caster without filling a single spell per day.
Items (all 2PP)
Wands of 1st Level Spells – 375gp/PP
Obviously cure light wounds and infernal healing lead the way here, but there are some other useful ones out there. Some of my favorites include endure elements, mage armor, feather step, shield, comprehend languages, and shield of faith.
Scrolls of 2nd to 4th Level Spells – up to 375gp/PP
Casters get the advantage on PP expenditures purely due to scrolls. In PFS you can’t have various spells on one scroll. You can, however, get multiple copies of a spell on a scroll. Assuming you’re grabbing something off the cleric/wizard/druid lists you can get a scroll with 5 copies of a 2nd level spell, 2 copies of a 3rd level spell, or a one-shot 4th level spell. Increase your utility for PP? Yes, please! Typically I purchase scrolls for spells that are great/necessary in certain specific circumstances, but a waste of a spell slot if I don’t run into those particular situations (locate object, make whole, align weapon; communal, etc.).
Potions of 3rd level Spells – 375gp/PP
A list of the best potions would be a bit long here, so I’ve made a separate article to list them. Obviously if something is on your spell list, you’re usually better getting a two use scroll of a third level spell than a one-shot potion, but these are mostly intended for non-casters.
Oil of Daylight – 375gp/PP
Why an Oil? Well, it’s not really worth a spell slot, and if it’s dark you won’t be able to read a scroll. (You might be able to get a riffle scroll instead, but I’ve never been quite sure if they work in darkness/deeper darkness, though they do in silence.)
NOW 7K GP – Vial of Efficacious Medicine – 350gp/PP
Healing and bonuses to alchemical remedies? Yes, I’ll take it. Someday their price may change (since their construction cost suggest they probably are 7000 gp items rather than 700), but until then my god are these good. NOTE: A note has now been made in the Additional Resources document that the Vial costs 7,000 gp, and is thus not available as a PP purchase.
24 hours of glamered Armor, which realistically is a hugely situational need. Kinda nifty back-up plan for when you need to look unassuming.
Break in case of emergency – i.e. death due to a save or an attack. Roll it again, and deal with the consequences of the second result. Nice effect, but it barely meets our GP/PP criterion. Also, it’s from an AP so many people won’t have the resource to ‘legally’ purchase it, and it’s a one shot effect. Not the worst way to use PP, but not the best either.
If you have an archer, this might be the one case where you buy an item before a cure light/infernal healing wand. Otherwise, it’s a free ranged weapon for a lot of martial characters. A Darkwood Composite Longbow (+3 STR) comes out to 730gp, +2 STR is still above our 300gp/PP threshold at 630 gp total (315 gp/PP) – On a +2 STR bow you could substitute Greenwood instead of Darkwood.
A monk’s spade is one of the few purchasable weapons that counts as Piercing, Slashing, and Bludgeoning. One side is a shovel (slashing/bludgeoning) and the other a pike (piercing/slashing). By making the shovel side alchemical silver (bludgeoning weapons don’t get their damage reduced by alchemical silver) and the pike cold iron, you can basically ignore DR until you hit alignment, adamantine, or magic. Enchant the silver end to avoid the extra 2,000 gold cost of enchanting cold iron.
Any other MW Double Weapon – 300+gp/PP
Masterworking a double weapon costs 600 gold. Using PP instead isn’t a bad way to save some gold in early levels if you plan to use one.
Gets you a masterwork weapon with a flavorful (if mechanically mediocre) special ability. I can’t think of a weapon (that isn’t a double weapon) that doesn’t qualify for the 2PP cost. There are worse ways to go.
Chainmail, Do-maru, Breastplate, and Splintmail all qualify (maybe Lamellar too, but those specify a material already). Druids can get their armor before their fame would typically allow. Very nice.
Master of Trade Vanity – up to 3,000gp/PP (special update from Le Petite Mort)
Okay, I lied earlier. I’ll include 1 vanity, but only because it can be valuated in terms of gold, and only because you were good little boys and girls and read all the way to the end.
If you are a member of the Exchange faction and have 20 Fame (level 4.1 at the earliest) you can purchase this boon for 4 PP. It allows you to make one purchase per session with a 10% discount. By doing some math on my character that has reached level 12, I calculated that he could have saved as much as 12,000 gp if he had used this vanity every session, and had bought nothing without using it. I would guess most who use it don’t save beyond 10,000 gp, because they’ll be buying odds and ends in addition to their big purchases in many sessions. Still, that is the best value I think attainable using prestige.
While there are a ton of ways to use Prestige, what I find works best for basically any character is as follows: spend you first 2 PP immediately on a wand of cure light wounds, and buy another whenever yours is getting close to exhausted. You might spend your second 2 PP on something like a weapon, depending on your build. From there, you save up 21-29 PP (either raise dead and a body recovery, or you save for the restorations to get rid of your negative levels as well). That takes you to level 6 or so. At this point, I spend my 2 PP every session on the options listed above. It’s mostly wands, scrolls, and potions. Even if you can’t use a scroll or wand, if it is of significant benefit to you (and the duration is longer than rounds/level) a utility wand can always be handed off to your friendly caster. They make good purchases, even if you can’t rely on always having it usable.