Greetings from the playtest laboratory! We are one week in to the Advanced Class Guide Playtest, and we are already getting a lot of great feedback and playtest data. Every week from now until the playtest's end on December 17th, we are going to be giving you our thoughts on the state of the playtest and give you some hints of the direction we are taking some of these classes.
This being the first week, we are only just starting to adjust some class mechanics and look at making some shifts in how things work. Most of these will take a bit longer to make it to your table, but sometime in the next few weeks we are hoping to rerelease the playtest PDFs with all of our revisions incorporated into the classes. It is our hope to get some feedback on these revisions before the playtest window comes to a close.
So, without further delay, here are some of the changes we are considering or are in the process of implementing. Feel free to comment on these changes in the thread attached to this post, but any serious discussion should occur in the class thread for each individual class (located in the Class forum).
As mentioned on the boards, the arcanist is going through a serious round of redesign. While the core casting mechanic of this class is going to remain pretty much as it currently stands, the blood focus ability is being replaced by an arcane reservoir that the arcanist to call upon to create magical effects and tinker with the spells and effects of others. They can refuel this pool by consuming spell slots or even other magic items and spell effects. In essence, the arcanist is becoming the "hacker" of magic, capable of pulling it apart and putting it back together to accomplish their goals. We are hoping to rerelease the arcanist in the next few days.
We are generally happy with the direction of this class, but it needs some tweaks. We are seriously contemplating giving the class its own spell list to help it better fulfill its role in the game. In addition, we are looking at pulling some of the more direct barbarian abilities to replace them with something a bit more in tune with the class. Refinement of the various bloodlines will be much of our focus, making sure they are in tune with the overall balance of the class.
The brawler is getting a few revisions and tweaks in the coming weeks. The capstone ability of the class is going to be replaced with something far more interesting than the current ability (although we are not quite ready to show that off just yet). The knockout ability will gain a number of uses per day, scaling with level. We are also going to change up the brawlers weapon list, giving it all simple weapons, plus any weapon on the "close" weapon group from the fighter. Of course, you will be able to use all those weapons with the brawler's flurry ability.
We are looking at a lot of different options for the hunter, the biggest of which is giving a boost to the hunter's animal companion. We really want to see the class working in tandem with its companion in a way that we just have not done with any other class. We are looking at buffing up the hunter's ranged capabilities as well. Expect to see a number of teamwork feats in the final book that work specifically with an animal companion as well. Of course we are looking at a few other issues as well, such as the restrictions on armor and shields and increasing the duration and use of the animal focus ability.
The design team is looking to move this class a little bit away from the rogue, possibly by replacing sneak attack with an ability that is more in line with the theme of the class. We are also looking into changing the poison use ability to make it something that allows the investigator to identify poisons, their effects, and neutralize them. Finally, there are going to be more talents allowing them to use more of their skills as well as some new effects we are not quite ready to talk about just yet.
Overall, we are pretty happy with the direction the shaman is taking, but there are some adjustments we are investigating. The first of which is changing the class to work off the druid spell list, as this fits the theme better than the witch or cleric list. In addition, we are looking into adding a bit more the hexes for each spirit and possibly adjusting how those hexes are used.
The biggest change on the horizon with the skald involves how the raging song is used in play, allowing characters to drop out of participating if they want. We are also looking at making the raging song work in tandem with other rage abilities in a limited way. In addition, we are thinking about adding a number of weapon proficiencies to the class to bring it a bit closer to its theme.
We are looking at ways to make favored target a bit easier to use and a bit more versatile. We are also looking at bringing the class up to 6 skill ranks per level (it currently has 4 per level). Other than that, most of our upcoming revisions involve greatly expanding the number of talents that you can choose from, allowing you to build the slayer you want to play.
We are investigating ways for the class to get Weapon Finesse at an appropriate level and to work with Combat Expertise. In addition, we are looking at adding some deeds and increase the swashbucklers mobility during battle, allowing them to stand up without provoking an attack and charge without having to move in a straight line. We are still working on how those play with existing deeds and what changes would need to happen to get them to fit into the advancement scheme.
Finally we get to the warpriest. We are looking at strengthening the role of this class by taking it a bit away from the cleric's position. While we want the class to be among the best at healing and casting spells on itself and we are investigating a mechanic to let it do just that (probably in place of channel energy). We are also looking into a new class feature that allows the warpriest to be an effective combatant with the favored weapon of its deity, regardless of what weapon is favored by their deity. Look for increased damage and additional effects depending on the type of weapon and its role in the game.
Well, that about wraps up the playtest review for this week. We want to thank everyone who has taken the time to give us their thoughts and playtest reports. You are helping us make these classes great and we appreciate all the time you are spending giving us your feedback. Look for the revised arcanist in a blog post later this week and expect to see a revised version of the playtest document soon.