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You know, there is someone else on the forums looking to put an MtG setting in Pathfinder. Here's the link to the topic in Homebrew.
170. Word has been spreading of the mighty dragonslayer for hire, who has been roaming the rural villages in pursuit of dragons to slay. Luckily for him (and the PC's), there have been numerous dragon attacks over the last several weeks, far more than usual, and many villages have paid for the dragonslayer's services. Truth is, it's the same dragon attacking each village, just in different disguises, and it's working a two-person con with the "dragonslayer" in exchange for half the pay. Any PC's helping to defend against one of the dragon attacks may realize that something is amiss...
170a. As 170, but the dragon is voiced by Sean Connery, in case some players don't get the reference.
171. As 170, but replace "dragon" with "big scary monster". Could be a wildshaped druid, or a polymorphed wizard, or even a heavily disguised familiar.
172. As 170, but the hunter/monster bond is more than just a business partnership; it's a summoner and his/her eidolon. The powerful conjuration spell the "hunter" casts to "banish the beast" is, in fact, simply unsummoning the eidolon, combined with a variation on Magic Aura (and/or disguised spellcasting) to make it look like an actual spell.
173. Run as a variation on 170, or as a sequel: Hearing of the monster attacks, actual adventurers/monster-slayers get involved to hunt down and kill the beast. Both the "hunter" and the "monster" risk losing the con, and possibly their lives! For more mercenary PC's, they're willing to part with some of their saved wealth if the PC's can help them get away from the real monster-hunters, preferably without giving away the con. On the other hand, more straightforward PC's may want to see them brought to justice, which would mean facing off against an unusual pair of con artists and disguise experts.
Let me see if I can shine some light on this:
The "Linear vs Quadratic", as others have said, refers to the overall power of each class as they level up. Fighters get more powerful linearly (flat damage bonuses, more feats), whereas spellcasters get more powerful quadratically (each spell level is far more powerful than the last).
Basically, starting at about 6th level, spellcasters make fighters completely obsolete. There is nothing a fighter can do that a spellcaster can also do, and much more.
For example, there are many low-level spells that make entire skills completely useless.
The 1st-level spell Disguise Self, and especially its 2nd-level version, Alter Self, make the Disguise skill completely useless. Who needs lots of makeup and a wardrobe when you can snap your fingers and look like anyone?
On the Cleric side of things, it's kind of odd that Clerics get Heal as a class skill, since they basically don't need it at all once they get 2nd, and especially 3rd, level spells. Even the first-level Cure Light Wounds can heal far faster and more effectively than several days of bed rest, and Remove Disease uses a caster level check, not a Heal check.
So, that's... *counts up on fingers*... 4 skills rendered completely useless so far, and I haven't even gotten into the 4th-level spells and up. Please note that, since fighters don't have spellcasting, they either need to put some ranks into those 4 skills if they want to be even half as good as a spellcaster, or they need to ask their spellcaster friends for some buffs.
The best summary I've heard of the problem comes from Jiggy. It was originally posted in this other thread.
So, I've spent more time going through the whole thread so far, and here are more questions/comments.
1) Ah, and NOW I find the old post about firearms. Sorry I missed it earlier!
2) What playable races are there? There are the big five, obviously: Krodanoi, Syldanar, Myrdanar, Rhuz, and Humans. I've heard you mention a few others: Gnostra, Chirops, Fabricants, Forgecursed, Ghouls, Vampires, Harpies... anyone else so far? And are those minor races playable out of the box, or only with GM permission? (Ghouls, Vampires, Fabricants, and Forgecursed sound pretty GM-permission-only, or at least "warn your GM first... and hide your cheeses".)
3) The big one: Why e6?
Umbral Reaver wrote:
That being said, Wounds/Vigor and especially SoP remove most of the quadratic power from a campaign. So while a level 15 or even 20 character is definitely powerful, they're not plane-shatteringly powerful in the way that a Vancian caster is, especially if you leave out the Advanced Talents. With Wounds/Vigor, even high-level characters have to worry about unlucky crits, since your Wounds pool rarely increases. And if you have AC partially scale off of BAB, which is linear, then even high-level characters with Low BAB still have to worry about being caught in melee. And without Vancian magic, they can't just drop 2 walls, 3 summons, and a fly/teleport spell to get out of range... at least, not without burning through most of their spell points for the day.
Confession: I've never played an e6 campaign in my life, but I find the concept odd. Most character builds don't really hit their stride until level 5 or so, and are usually gaining core features all the way up to level 15. In fact, when I GM, I usually just blitz the first 5 levels; frankly, I find them kinda boring. Maybe I've just never run with the right kind of group. So, in my personal "If I took over Deutero" fantasy (A fantasy fantasy, if you will), I'd run the full level-20 spread, but ban all Advanced Talents in SoP; or at least only make them available through costly, complicated, and usually dangerous rituals.
In Summary: From my point of view, it seems redundant to use the e6 rules on top of the SoP magic system; SoP already smooths out the power curve dramatically, so high-level play doesn't turn into Rocket Tag. Why would you then also remove high-level play itself, at least as an option? I'm sorry if my above criticisms sound discouraging; they're meant to be quite the opposite. Your worldbuilding is amazing, and I love how the different races and societies work. I'm just a little confused and curious about some of your design decisions.
P.S. I know this is from over a year ago, but nobody else mentioned it, so I will.
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Edit: Ooh, another idea for a ghoul talent: Cloak of flesh. Instead of devouring a body, you incorporate its flesh directly into your own, taking on the appearance of that person!
Did anyone else suddenly get the idea for a ghoul antagonist that kidnaps people just to use this ability... perhaps imprisoning them in an underground pit first, and requiring some alchemical substance to be applied to the still-living victim's skin first.
P.P.S. Continuing my If I Took Over Deutero fantasy, I would definitely make a reptilian race. Probably two races; one based on kobolds (more underground, intelligent and creative), one based on lizardfolk (more aboveground, strong and industrious). Because reasons. But that's just me; I know you're not looking for more things to add to the setting, and I don't want to disrupt the awesome stuff you've already got going.
Thank you! I'm trying to figure out why there wasn't an archetype like this in Ultimate Combat. I mean, the Cavalier seems to be based on the Knight from D&D 3.5 (from Player's Handbook 2, in case you were wondering), and the Knight didn't get a mount as a class feature.
A few minor details/questions:
Spearhead Charge: I'm a little confused on when the +4 to attack rolls would apply. Is that "any enemy not threatened by the cavalier or any of their allies at the beginning of the turn", AND "the target of the cavalier's Challenge, whether they were threatened at the beginning of the turn or not"? If so, you may want to reword the ability to clarify that.
Supreme Charge: The double damage. I assume, like a critical hit, this does not double precision-based damage, like from a flaming weapon? (Also, if I'm not mistaken, the ability name is misspelled.)
Other than those issues, this looks great. Once again, thanks for putting this together!
Hmm... now that I've had time to think this over, here are my thoughts.
As always, this is just my personal opinion about what you've said so far, so take it as you will.
Firstly, the main question on my mind: Which classes are you going to allow/disallow? The SoP system, as I see it, chucks out most spellcasting classes, since the SoP classes replace them almost completely. So, which Pathfinder casting classes are in (using their SoP archetypes), and which SoP casters are in? And are there any non-spellcasting classes you're not allowing? I'm guessing Gunslinger, but what about Bolt Ace?
Vitality/Wounds and Armor as DR together make low-level combat much more survivable, so the PC's don't have to run back to town to sleep after every single random encounter. It is a little more paperwork to keep track of (with two kinds of health and two kinds of defences), but that can just take the place of all the paperwork that SoP gets rid of, so no problems there. Mind you, from a minmaxing perspective, this makes Enhancement(Versatile Weapon) almost mandatory; if I played an Arcane character, that would be one of my first talents.
As for the half-DR thing: I understand you want to rein in heavy armor, especially at low levels, but most characters in vanilla Pathfinder don't use more than one weapon, in my experience. Maybe your groups play differently than most that I've seen, but I don't see a whole lot of "walking armory"/"swiss army weapon" characters these days. Then again, just dealing with the full DR isn't a huge issue, so characters going the Weapon Focus chain could just deal with the full DR against most enemies.
About weapon damage types: Again, half DR against full DR isn't a huge deal, but this does make natural attacks a lot stronger. Very few natural attacks deal only one damage type; claws deal two (piercing and slashing), and bite attacks deal all three, which means bite attacks have guaranteed half-DR! It also gives further benefit to that strangely powerful simple weapon, the humble morningstar. It's still a great backup weapon in most campaigns, but with the half-DR rule, it may actually be a better weapon than most martial weapons!
Again, these are just my thoughts on your ideas so far.
Okay, now that I've bought and read through SoP, all I can say is:
Whoa. That definitely redoes the entire Fantasy part of Pathfinder.
Don't get me wrong, I like the concept, but using SoP means a whole different flavor of fantasy RPG. Less tables and rulebooks and more making stuff up on the fly, and responding on the fly. Overall, as I see it, SoP spellcasters are far less powerful than Vancian, but far more versatile, and can last much longer in an adventuring day.
Hmm, has an array of general abilities, can burn resources to make them temporarily more awesome, can pick alternate effects for those general abilities, GM can limit their power and add drawbacks in exchange for useful benefits... anyone else reminded of Mutants and Masterminds?
In fact, chuck out hit points and replace them with a Toughness save, and you've basically got Mutants and Masterminds wearing Pathfinder's clothes.
Mind you, I like the SoP idea; it certainly brings magic and martial much closer in line with each other, especially if you ban or severely restrict the Advanced Talents. No more of this:
Overall, I'm interested, but if you run a game using SoP rules, you'd have to make clear to the players, especially anyone who wants to play a spellcaster, that this isn't Vancian-Kansas anymore. If nothing else, though, now I want to rewrite parts of some of the published AP's with the SoP system, just to see how much they change.
(P.P.S. Just a guess, but I would suspect that the flavor text at the beginning of Chapter 6 (Magic Items) is something you were more interested in than I was. Not that there's anything wrong with that. My sincerest apologies if I am incorrect, but I feel I had to comment about it somewhere.)
Spheres of Power? Never heard of it. One sec...
Huh. Interesting! I'll take a closer look at it.
This is definitely going to be a major overhaul, then. Messing with the magic system... mind you, Vancian magic isn't my favorite, but redoing that is going to mean rewriting almost all of the "fantasy" parts of Pathfinder.
That reminds me... what about non-spellcasters? In your setting, are there any PC classes who don't command any magic at all? And if so, how do they compete with spellcasters, especially at higher levels? (I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but in vanilla Pathfinder past level 10 or so, casters beat noncasters. Maybe not in a 1v1 duel, but definitely in the scope of the world they can effect. A high-level fighter may be able to destroy a city in a day, but a high level cleric/wizard can BUILD one in a day.)
Wow. This is incredible! You've already put so much work into describing the setting!
I have two thoughts on this:
2) I know I've already undermined myself with the above post, but here's my point of view: Your game system is interesting, I'd love to playtest it at some point, but... these are the Pathfinder forums. Personally, I'd be more interested to hear how you'd bring this setting into the Pathfinder rules. How would you redo the Cleric and Wizard? Harder healing is pretty easy, just modify the Wound/Vigor system in Ultimate Combat. Maybe only have one main spellcasting class, kind of a scaled-up Adept, and have the five schools of magic be archetypes/features of that class? Just a few thoughts.
Overall, you're doing great! I'd love to hear more about this!
EDIT: I do have to admit some personal bias towards this setting; I haven't played a ton of MTG, but the idea of 5 main factions and the 10 minor dual-color factions is something I find very interesting.
Wow. Great work so far! I haven't read everything yet, but I'm impressed, especially with the Scion!
Just wondering, have you ever heard of a 3.5 class called a Factotum? It was an odd base class in a niche book (Dungeonscape, if you were wondering), but it had a similar really-jack-of-all-trades feel about it, where a factotum could basically gain temporary class features on the fly. Mind you, they use a resource that regenerates per encounter, which makes it feel like a prototype for 4th edition. Still, it has some ideas worth considering.
Interesting! The original Bolt Ace did have some holes in it, and this patches them nicely! I like how Sharp Shoot is nerfed to only the first range increment (not really a problem with crossbows, since that's at least 80 ft.), especially once Signature Deed becomes available.
The one thing I'd personally change: Move Crossbow Training up a few levels. Getting Dex to damage on a ranged weapon is insanely rare; to my knowledge, only the Gunslinger gets access to that. The relative lack of damage bonuses on ranged weapons is what balances them against melee weapons, since archers have to constantly choose between Dex for accuracy and Str for damage. On melee weapons, I have less of a problem with easy Dex to damage (like Unchained Rogue, or even just putting it in Weapon Finesse), but ranged weapons already have the benefit of being ranged.
Put it this way: A one-level dip for Dex to damage with any one crossbow? Any Ranger, Hunter, or even Alchemist build I make would almost automatically go for that, and I don't like level-dipping. The regular Gunslinger and Bolt Ace both get it all the way up at 5th level for a reason.
This is mostly off-topic, but I just had to add: Jared (from MGDMT) has already tried making an elephantfolk rogue.
The two relevant comics:
Note: MGDMT stands for Manly Guys Doing Manly Things. It's a webcomic.
Back on topic...
Okay, updated the Point Buy table to the following. I'll update the Google Doc in another few days, because I don't want to have to keep relinking it every day or two, especially if there are other parts that need rewriting/explaining.
Level Point Buy
Amanuensis - So, for example, your 91-point wizard is 91 points total, which is 76 points on top of the OPB. In YANYG, a 15th-level wizard has 70 points on top of their OPB to spend, making the point buy 85 points total. So it is a nerf to a SAD character (the wizard would have to probably drop Con down to 16, or Int down to 25), but not a severe one. On the other hand, the monk gets buffed from 80 points to 70+15 = 85 points total.
Oh, and a note I should put into the Google doc: Characters may save these points between levels. So if you don't want to spend that one point at level 2, just save it until level 3 or 4. It does mean you have to write it down somewhere on your character sheet; I'd suggest just underneath the ability scores.
Amanuensis - I did some number-crunching of my own on this one. I have at least 5 pages of notes on this (double-sided), detailing various builds at different levels and which point buys would be appropriate for each. That's not to say that I'm right on this one, but these numbers have not just been pulled out of a hat. Yes, most completely SAD characters are somewhat nerfed with the point buy system; less so if they actually increase their secondary stats (like Dex and Con for wizards).
I will freely admit some bias on my part, as I don't like the idea of a character focusing completely on one stat; even my witches and wizards don't put everything they have into Int. And yes, this is also to help the caster-martial class disparity (aka, Operation: Nerf Da Squishies), so that martial characters, and especially monks, don't feel as ability-score starved as their caster companions.
As for the actual amount of points to spend at any given level: Like I said before, I've done a bit of homework on it, but that doesn't mean it's perfect. The main way the final numbers were arrived at was using a hypothetical character build that increased 5 ability scores evenly, leaving the 6th at 10 until the late levels. I then used levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 as benchmarks, rounding the numbers (usually up a little), and smoothing out the power curves between those benchmarks.
I really like this Extended Point Buy system a lot, so I'd like to keep it in. The question is, do I increase the points available, giving MAD characters a definite buff from vanilla Pathfinder? Or do I keep the points where they are, giving SAD characters a definite debuff from vanilla Pathfinder?
See, in vanilla Pathfinder, ability score costs are mostly linear: The stat-boosting gear has exponential costs, but the +1/4 levels and inherent bonuses are completely linear, favoring putting all of them into a single stat. Point buy, on the other hand, is completely exponential, so the ability scores always get more costly as they go higher. I know this is a serious departure from vanilla Pathfinder, but I personally like it, so I'd rather not remove it if I don't have to. That being said, how would you change the numbers? I'll have to go over this with a hypothetical wizard build, and see how the numbers compare.
EDIT: P.S. Are you including the Original Point Buy in the above math? The points everyone starts with to create their level 1 ability scores? The table in YANYG doesn't include those points, so the total points you have to work with at any given level equals the table, plus your Original Point Buy amount, which is usually 15, 20, or 25 points.
Shadrayl - Weak? I wasn't expecting to hear that. I did spend a while comparing it to regular stat boosts at different levels to see how it added up, and this actually comes out ahead of stat boosts and the increase every 4 levels, at least for characters who don't just boost one ability score at every opportunity. But yes, the numbers may need adjusting; I just wasn't expecting to hear that I might need to adjust them to be higher!
Also, standard spells: Are you talking about the rewrite on the animal buff spells, Wish, and Greater Magic Weapon? I tried to make it as little work as possible, but maybe I should simplify the wording. The goal of those rewrites is simply: "Almost every spell that duplicated gear bonuses, even temporarily, doesn't do that anymore."
Hence the no-inherent Wish, the buffed Greater Magic Weapon, and the actually-useful animal buffs. I'm sorry if it seems like a lot of work, but it's just to modify some of the spells to work with this houserule without changing their entire function.
Well, with Pathfinder Unchained coming out with its own version of automatic character bonuses, I figured it was time to update my own houserule and clean it up a little. Without further ado, I present...
Why the different version names? Well, it's currently Version 5 of the houserule, but this is Version 2 of the thread. I figured I'd start a new thread, rather than necro the old one, especially since now I can put a link to the Google Doc right in the first post. (Of course, if/when I ever make a Version 6, this will all become outdated, but that won't be for a while, right?)
There are three main changes from Version 4:
Several people on the forums inspired me and gave good advice for this houserule already, but I have to especially credit Charender for suggesting the Extended Point Buy system; thank you!
I should mention that I still haven't had time to playtest any of this (I've been rather busy with school and work for the last several months), so this is still all conceptual; I'd appreciate any constructive feedback on these rules.
So, what do you think? Is the Extended Point Buy system too much extra number-crunching to be worth it? Is this too overpowered in an otherwise regular Pathfinder game? How does it compare to the Pathfinder Unchained rules? Please let me know in your replies!
P.S. This is my insecurity talking, but that Google Docs link is anonymous, right? I'd rather not just show my Google account and email address to everyone on the Internet.
I really, really like this idea!
At least, I like this idea as I'm picturing it. And it sounds like almost everyone has a different idea of how "Pokemon-based Pathfinder setting" would play out. Let me see if I can clarify this with a question:
Which part(s) of Pokemon would you put into Pathfinder?
-Is it the combat mechanics? (Fighting mainly with familiars and summoned creatures, possibly with a "capturing" mechanic)
-Is it the ecology/natural world? (Very few "normal" animals, mostly magical beasts/outsiders/elementals, each with at least one supernatural ability)
-Is it the society/cities? (Few cities, spaced far apart, separated by terrain that is difficult to traverse, monster-infested, or usually both, yet still maintain vibrant and thriving economies)
-Is it some mix of the above?
There are a lot of parts to Pokemon, and a lot of parts to Pathfinder. Which parts do you want to replace with which?
This is an awesome idea! Combining tabletop turn-based Pathfinder goodness with some Civilization-esque kingdom-building and technological rediscovery, with a bit of Rogue Legacy with passing character stats/gear/progress from generation to generation... this is pushing a lot of my "like" buttons.
I don't think I'd ever run this system; not sure if I'd even play in it. I just don't have the time to devote to a system this complicated; definitely not during school. Still, this sounds great!
Oh, right, how to improve it. Well... it'll take some time for me to run the numbers to see how fast/slow the game progresses. The "NPC classes only, almost no gear, almost no bonuses" start seems painfully slow, but I'm more used to mid-level play. Besides, anyone rebuilding civilization has got to start somewhere, right? Other than that, no real problems I can think of!
Whew! I'm back. Thanks to everyone for posting their thoughts and suggestions here!
First up, I have not been idle over the last week. I now present... You Are Not Your Gear, Version 4! Now on Google Docs! Yay! The link is here:
You Are Not Your Gear - Version 4
And now, on to the replies:
@Mythic Evil Lincoln - Yes, I know, everyone has their own ideas about how to balance and tweak the game, but that's part of the fun of Pathfinder homebrew; you get to see some of the wild and wacky ideas people have come up with. I just figured I'd share my take on the whole mandatory-magic-item thing, and see what parts other people like and what parts they don't. I did rip off your "2 Ability Scores/4 Ability Scores" choice players can make; let me know if you want credit for it.
@Artemis Moonstar and @Larkspire - I still haven't figured out how to do NPC gear properly, and I'm not sure if I'll get around to it. I generally don't allow the Leadership feat in my campaign anyway, so player cohorts aren't an issue for me. As for NPC's the characters interact/fight with... most of them should just use the bonuses for a PC of their level/CR.
@Charender - Doh! Why didn't I think of dropping the duration?! 1 Hour/CL for a buff like that does seem pretty lengthy. I'll make a note. Thanks!
@Dragon78 and @Charender - Your ideas both sound cool, but that's more of an overhaul than I'm comfortable doing. Again, I'm at least trying to keep this near default Pathfinder/PFS levels, so it's hard for me to do major reworks. Both of those ideas sound great, though! I hadn't even considered extending Point Buy past first level, and use that to balance the ability score boosts. I guess it's because Point Buy is still "optional" in the default rules, I hadn't thought about putting it more firmly into the game.
Okay, redid the wording on how the Armor and Deflection bonuses work, and added some notes on how Familiars/Animal Companions/Eidolons/Cohorts might work. The redid parts are below.
Heroic Armor (Ex): Starting at 5th level, armor bonus to AC equal to +1, approx. +2/3 level after 5, to a maximum of +10 at level 19. (See the below table for a breakdown of how it works.) This does stack with the nonmagical armor bonus from armor, but not with Mage Armor, nor with any enhancement bonus to armor. A character using a shield in one hand (but not shields that are not carried in hand, such as the Shield spell) gets an additional bonus to AC equal to 1/2 of this bonus, rounded down, as a shield bonus that stacks with nonmagical shields. (So an extra +1 at 5th level, then +1/3 levels after that, to a max of an extra +5 at level 17.)
So the table has now been changed as follows.
Cohorts have bonuses as a PC of a level equal to 2/3rds of its own level. (Since it's an NPC, not a PC, it's a few levels behind on the gear. Also, it uses 2/3rds of its level, not the Leadership character's level.)
Familiars and Animal Companions gain the Weapons bonuses, but not the AC, Saves, or Ability Score bonuses.
Summoners may choose how to split the bonuses between themselves and their eidolon. If they have multiple eidolons, and bonuses the summoner gives up applies to all of their eidolons. If the summoner is a Synthesist: While fused with their eidolon, the summoner loses the Ability Score bonuses and the Armor bonus to AC (but not the Deflection bonus).
EDIT: Reworded part of the Cohort description.
@StabbittyDoom - Wait, 5 AC behind how? I'm seeing +5 from magic armor, +5 from natural armor, +5 from deflection, +5 to regular AC with a magic shield. What am I missing? Also, I forgot about deflection applying to CMD; man, deflection bonuses are awesome!
As for magic weapons and DR... hm, I'll have to consider that. Instantly bypassing DR at certain levels does seem kinda silly, but that's actually how the regular game works, except that most of my characters have a +5 weapon by level 15, not 17. It does make Penetrating Strike almost completely useless, but I like the amount of extra work it saves, trying to track who can penetrate what. Plus, it prevents martial characters from having to buy a Swiss Army Polearm just to deal with all the different kinds of DR out there. Still, your idea of keeping it on the weapon-enhancing spells/class abilities has merit. I knew I was making Arcane Pool and Divine Bond(weapon) almost completely useless, and I was trying to figure out a way to keep them relevant. Maybe I'll use your idea!
As for Mage Armor... I personally don't have a problem with it becoming completely useless at level 8. Armorless characters generally have other ways of getting their AC up (or just avoid getting attacked in the first place), and it's not the only 1st-level spell to be awesome in early levels and useless by mid levels (I'm looking at you, Color Spray and Sleep). I figure keeping Shield relevant is a nice compromise for the major casters.
P.S. This is completely off-topic, but the rest of my post is, so...
@DMKumoGekkou - Thanks! I'd love to see what you think of it after you runs some numbers. Again, my goal is to keep this in line with regular Pathfinder, more or less.
@Dragonsbane777 - Cool idea, but that's changing things a little too much for my taste. I'd love to see how it works out, though!
@Arrius - I thought about that, but there's one issue: How do you make a Google Doc "anonymous"? I have a Google account, but I can't figure out how to make only the doc accessible without linking the rest of my drive. How do most of the Pathfinder guide writers accomplish it?
EDIT: Wait, you can't edit posts older than a day or two?! Great; I was hoping to find some easy way to guide people to this post, instead of my old Version 1 post, without having to make a whole new thread. Should I just ditch this thread and make a new one, or should I trust people to be able to find this one, so I don't get feedback about stuff I already addressed?
Okay, now on to the fun stuff! I've spent the last two days refining and polishing this houserule, as well as slightly expanding its scope to include weapons, armor, and the normal ability score increases every 4 levels. Introducing... Version 2!
I've been thinking over what a few people on this thread have mentioned, and after working on it some more, I have now made Version 2 of this houserule. It includes what I did before, but modified and smoothed out a bit, as well as including weapon and armor enhancements in here. Here is the new houserule.
You Are Not Your Gear, Version 2
Drawbacks (Any campaign using this houserule has these drawbacks.)
Clarifications (Not actual rule changes, but just to put several important rules here)
Modifications (Minor rule changes to help this houserule.)
Right, with all of that red tape out of the way, on to the fun part...
Heroic Saves (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, bonus to all saving throws equal to 1/3 level, to a max of +5 at level 15.
To help make things clearer, here is the 20-level progression for these bonuses. For the sake of brevity, bonuses will only be shown when they increase; any bonus not listed at a given level is whatever it was at the previous level. Also, when bonuses increase, the TOTAL bonus is shown, not the increase.
-In case anyone was wondering, here is the wealth a character should have left after getting the above bonuses, using WBL for their level.
-This does nerf Mage Armor and Shield a bit, though by the time the armor bonus ties with Mage Armor at character level 8, the major spellcasters are going to be on 4th level spells, which is about the time most 1st-level spells become much less useful. The Shield spell remains a great buff, though.
-Technically, this gives all characters infinite +5 weapons, but I don't think that unbalances the game; most martial characters don't usually have more than 2 halfway-decent weapons anyway. As for adding to all natural attacks... that may need playtesting; I feel uncomfortable giving effectively 5 or 6 magic weapons to some characters (Shapeshifting casters and Summoners, mostly). Still, I'll leave it in for now, but it may need tweaking later.
-The weapons bonus means all characters can bypass magic DR at level 5, cold iron/silver DR at level 11, adamantine DR at level 14, and all alignment DR at level 17. They still can't bypass hardness with a regular weapon. (See page 562 of the Core Rulebook for more on automatically bypassing DR.) This does cheapen several feats and class features; monks and brawlers now have redundant class features, but I figure the bonuses balance out. Again, needs playtesting to make sure it's polished.
-As a side effect, I think I wound up balancing the overall game a bit. SAD characters, being forced to split up some of their ability score bonuses, now can't just crank one stat through the roof as soon as they can, putting MAD characters on more even footing. Also, the free weapons and armor, as well as slotless bonuses, should help the gear-hungry martial characters quite a bit, so even at 2/5ths WBL, they can still afford better wondrous items (Cloak of Flying, etc) to give them some more options without relying on caster buffs.
-The magic items needed to replicate the above buffs are as follows:
-The double-cost and only-masterwork rules for weapons and armor are mainly because no PC is ever going to enchant their items up to even +1, using these rules, since all their weapons and armor are magic starting as low as 4th level. So now they don't even need +1 to start adding enchantments; however, to balance for the fact that, for example, Major Fortification armor is now only priced as +5 armor but functions as +10 armor, the enchantment costs are doubled. It still makes effectively +10 weapons and armor basically half-cost (50k for armor, as opposed to 100k normally), but that's more balanced than quarter-cost.
P.S. Yes, the idea for trading wealth for bonuses, as well as scaling ability scores like this, came from 3.5's (in)famous Vow of Poverty (from Book of Exalted Deeds). However, in my opinion, I modified it so far from the original that I didn't feel the need to credit it. (Also, I didn't want to scare people away from reading this houserule; I know how broken Vow of Poverty can get in a 3.5 build.)
P.P.S. If you know why I named the ability score boosts the way I did, you get an invisible bonus. (NV is still way better than 3, though.)
P.P.P.S. For all the talk about needing playtesting, I'm not actually asking to put together a group to playtest this; at least, not right now. However, if anyone does use this houserule, please give me feedback as to how it went, what needs improving, and what's already good.
Wow, looks like a lot has happened while I was gone! I haven't been idle; I just finished polishing up Version 2 of this houserule, and I'm excited to share it, but a few things first; there are a few points a few people have brought up that I should address.
One, as to the martial/caster class balance issue: I agree it exists; martial characters have less interesting mechanics and take more work to make more powerful than casters. However, my two counterpoints:
Also, as to the balance of this houserule itself:
@Firstbourne - What?! Just ignore the WBL! But... but... that's not following the INSTRUCTIONS!
Edit: Fixed a typo.
@Arrius - Thanks! I haven't heard of the Numen system or Scaling Items... I'll have to look into those. As for the oddities with the Inherent bonus at the endgame levels, that was to keep the bonuses close to WBL.
@Mykull - Hm, I hadn't thought of that. Have the players pick their own bonuses, then have level-based prerequisites to solve people getting powerful magic-item effects too early. Your "all your weapons/armor are now magic" is something I really want to try; I tried putting something like that into my system, but I couldn't figure out how to "price" it by reducing the WBL. Have you considered making your own thread for your idea? Otherwise, some of the comments may get jumbled together here.
@DMKumoGekkou - Hey, someone else ran the numbers, and better than I did! I did a level-by-level WBL-comparison the way you did, but with an emphasis on the Nat/Def/Res bonuses scaling at a linear, easy-to-track rate. My earlier version of this houserule put things much closer to the WBL, but then players have to refer to that 20-level table for everything, since nothing was gained at a flat "+1/X level" rate. Any time I had a choice to go under WBL or over, I always went under, for two reasons:
Overview: A minor houserule: remove four of the mandatory magic items, give those bonuses to all characters passively, adjust WBL as needed. Still perfectly balanced for gameplay, assuming your table doesn't see Mage's Disjunction cast on a regular basis.
Background: I really hate the idea of "mandatory" magic items that give nothing but more +1's, with encounters and CR's basically assuming characters have this gear. With that in mind, I'm proposing a fairly minor houserule. I've heard variations on this before, but I can't find any place on the forums where anyone actually spelled out how it would work, so here's my version, where I deal with four of these magic items: Amulet of Natural Armor, Ring of Deflection, Headband/Belt of Stat Bonuses, and the so-good-it's-required Cloak of Resistance.
If the previous sentence didn't cause you to run screaming from the forums: Still here? Good. Let's get to the bonuses. All characters gain the following five extra features over the course of their 20-level careers. These are in addition to any class or race features they would normally gain at those levels.
Heroic Resistance (Ex): At 3rd level, the character gains a +1 Resistance bonus on all saving throws. This increases by +1 every three levels thereafter, capping out at +5 at 15th level.
Heroic Deflection (Ex): At 5rd level, the character gains a +1 Deflection bonus to their AC. This increases by +1 every three levels thereafter, capping out at +5 at 17th level.
Heroic Armor (Ex): At 7rd level, the character gains a +1 Enhancement bonus to their Natural Armor bonus to their AC (Just like an Amulet of Natural Armor, this can change a +0 Natural Armor bonus into a +1). This increases by +1 every three levels thereafter, capping out at +5 at 19th level.
Heroic Attributes (Ex): All characters gain an Enhancement bonus to one or more ability scores of their choice, as laid out in the table below.
Almost Perfect (Ex): At 18th level, one ability score of the character's choice gains a +1 Inherent bonus. At 20th level, that bonus increases by 4, to a total of a +5 Inherent bonus.
To help make things clearer, I've outlined the 20-level progression below.
Bonuses Gained By Level:
Game Balance: The above bonuses, when duplicated by magic items, work out to just a hair over 1/2 of a 20th-level player's expected WBL. The cost breakdown:
Conclusion:I haven't actually playtested this in a campaign, but since the overall WBL works out to exactly the same as regular Pathfinder, I don't see how it could break anything too badly. I think it could free up a lot of slots for more eye-catching magic items, as well as stop the table from screeching to a halt every time someone casts Greater Dispel Magic (as everyone tries to figure out which magic items were hit), and preventing the classic newbie player casualty, Death By "What's a Resistance bonus?"
Feedback: So, what do you think? Is this balanced? Is this a great idea, or is it terrible? How do you think I can improve it?
P.S. Just have to add: This is the first time I've posted on the Paizo forums in a long, long time.
As far as I understand it, Decius, that's not the part of EvE Online that Xeen was talking about. Suicide ganking is a separate issue. What Xeen is talking about is the ability for entire corps in EvE to corner the market in specific geographic (cosmographic?) sectors by buying every single unit of a specific good on the market and reselling them for up to five times what they are worth. It is possible to maintain this price gouging if the corp has enough members in different time zones to keep an eye on the market 24/7.
Even in games with more controlled pricing, exploitation is more than possible. The MMO Runescape had this problem for years after their global market, the Grand Exchange (abbreviated to the GE), came out. A quick summary: On the GE, the price of an item was determined by the daily average price of that item. (Maybe it was the weekly value, I can't remember.)Players could not post a price for that item more or less than 5% of the GE price. Over time, if enough players put higher or lower prices for an item, the daily value would change, as would the GE base value.
This had huge exploitation possibilities, arguably even more than the free-for-all PvP area this system replaced (that's a long story), albeit far more subtle. Entire player clans formed for the sole purpose of buying and selling a given item for 5% above daily for several weeks, driving the price up to double or triple what the item itself was worth, then cashing in on the inflated value, repeating with some other item. (These clans were known as "merching" clans or "merchers".) What made the system so effective was that success bred success; the extra money made from the price gouging could be used to make the next price gouging more effective, since you could buy and sell more of a given item at once. Granted, this tactic didn't work very well with extremely high-traffic items or staples used by many players, but that didn't stop some merching clans from trying. Even with a global market, where players didn't have to worry about transporting goods from one market to another, and a quasi-socialist pricing scheme, players STILL found ways to artificially game the market!
Long story short: Yes, merchants absolutely can do some dirty deeds.
Wow, haven't been on these forums in months! And we're still thinking about all the things that could be in the game! Glad to see that some things on here don't change.
I'll second that idea, with my own spin on it:
GW has already said they will have mass combat/formations in the game. How about formation/mass NON-combat? Like, combined with a music skill, could produce the above link. Or you could use it for parades, or theater productions, or mass demonstrations/rallies! (The famous March on Washington springs to mind.)
And to add even more to the list with one very simple word:
Me? Getting my world-building side honed with Minecraft, dabbling in League of Legends, and going back through some older games on my DS.
The only big-budget game to come out in the last year or so that I've actually played is Borderlands 2. I can't think of another AAA game that actually interested me enough to go out and buy. Yet another reason I'm waiting on several Kickstarter games to bear fruit in the next year or two. I've waited this long, I can wait a bit longer...
Adaptability is already important. If the opponent keeps using his Hammer-Drop-Of-Doom attack, dealing large amounts of damage every 6 seconds, I'd imagine there are several abilities that can deal with that. Defensive bonuses, giving yourself some actual Dodge chance (short-term buff that gives all incoming attacks a chance to out-and-out miss, sort of like Concealment in the tabletop version), extra damage reduction, all sorts of tricks.
If your opponent gets predictable, then shift to a set of abilities that gives you what you need to counter him.
Overall, I'm imagining combat flowing almost like a MOBA (DOTA, League of Legends, etc.), but slower-paced... and the idea that you can switch "Champions" (aka Weapon Sets) rather quickly. Opponent using a big, hulking, hammer build? Switch to something with high damage, or just move out of range and grab a bow. Is he using super-heavy armor? Switch to a weapon with a high Damage Factor, like a dagger, to get into gaps in his armor.
With three Weapon Sets per player, and six Abilities per Set, I can see a lot of flexibility even in a single character build. So if your opponent gets predictable, switch to something that can predictably beat him.
The flexibility doesn't come from the whims of the Random Number God, it comes from players switching their strategies on the fly.
Thanks for the help, Waffleyone. I'll spend some time over the next few days refining that data; I got it all out of a Java program I wrote over the course of a few hours, so it's not perfect.
However, one benefit these have over Decius' data is that they're not inductive; they're deductive. This isn't data collected over X number of rolls, it's the actual probability chance for each number.
You got it right, randomwalker. Though you do bring up an interesting point: How would those final damage multipliers act together, if there were more than one?
Oh, and not to brag, but just so that the last several hours weren't a total waste, I just finished calculating the odds of a 3d200 roll having a given number as its lowest, middle, or highest number. The results are now posted on the budding Library of the Caeruxi:
For the record, I have read all three pages of comments so far; I'm just skipping right over the discussion that started to go back to the original topic.
Great work with the blog! To be frank, I wasn't even expecting this much work into the graphics at launch, so this is a pleasant surprise. The mechanics and aesthetics are finally starting to come together, so I'm looking forward to the next blog!
Decius: Bah, and I'm forgetting basic math again. Thanks for reminding me!
Unfortunately, it seems I also worded my post rather poorly. Let me clarify myself:
-I wasn't talking about a To-Hit bonus/penalty directly on a weapon, merely the fact that a poor overall hit chance = much more likely that a partial Miss multiplier will be put on the final damage. Since this applies at the same time as the Damage Factor, they essentially cancel each other out, even more so if they add together rather than multiply together. So, a character with an unfortunately high miss chance could make up for it by wielding a Greatsword or some other weapon with a high Damage Factor.
-Right equipment on the right creature was at the very tail end of the blog this thread is about: Murder by Numbers. To requote:
Murder By Numbers wrote:
Some creatures may have an additional, final damage multiplier that applies unless the attacking weapon has a specific keyword (Silver for lycanthropes, Adamantine for golems, Bludgeoning for skeletons, etc.), reducing the final damage. This is the one time a better weapon is useful to players without sufficient attacks to use all the keywords: a Silver sword is still useful to a new player fighting werewolves. Players very rarely benefit from such vulnerability-based defenses.
(Mentioned as Step 9 of the Attack Resolution Sequence.)
My question still stands: Do these three multipliers multiply together, or add together, before being applied to the Post-Resistance Damage?
It's been 7 pages, and I have yet to see the discussion or answer concerning one part of the blog.
I know this is getting more in-depth, but still: The percentage increase from the Damage Factor, the percentage decrease from a partial Miss, and the percentage decrease from not using the right weapon against certain creatures. Those are three separate percentages affecting damage.
In what order do these three multipliers apply, and do one or more of them add with each other before multiplying?
If they apply in some order, say, 1 -> 2 -> 3, then the order matters greatly. Any percentage increase magnifies later percentages, while a percentage decrease will make later multipliers less significant.
If two or more of them add together, then they may cancel each other out. So, a high Damage Factor could make up for a poor hit chance.
I have no doubt these have already been discussed in GW, but I'm surprised these haven't been brought up in this thread yet.
Ooh, vehicle-based combat! Man, nobody's tried that! WoW's design fell apart into gimmickry; LOTRO's going to submit their version of mounted combat in a month or so. Still, that would be great! Transport troops and supplies to and from the field of battle, act as ammo resupplier/medical ambulance, or just put spikes on the sides, lances on the front, and go full-speed towards the enemy lines!
Again, that's probably going to take a LOT of coding and balancing, but if that could ever happen in PFO, that would be awesome.
Plus... Twelve Dwarf Beer Wagon Charge. That is going to happen at some point, no matter what I have to do to get it done.
A lot of gold? That's the beauty of the bounty system as currently designed: It doesn't matter if it's 1000gp or just 1gp, at least the target is marked as "having a bounty" and can be killed once, anywhere, completely legally. Sure, most bounty hunter wouldn't take a 1gp bounty, but some might; plus, if someone ganks him once, he can't bounty them; in fact, they'd collect your bounty!
Vexous, have you ever played/watched videos of EvE Online? Yes, it can turn into a gankfest, but the gankers pay a stiff price; murder isn't cheap. Well, it is out in the boonies far from town, but you're taking your life into your hands out there anyway. Bring some friends and keep your eyes sharp.
In PFO, if you're unlawfully ganked, you can put a bounty on the attacker. That means that the next person to kill the murderer gets the bounty. More importantly, the next person to kill the murderer CAN DO SO WITH NO PENALTY. So yes, you may have just lost some valuable stuff, but if you put so much as a 10gp bounty on the murderer's head, he'll never be able to sleep safe again.
So, yes, it will be more PvP focused, but that doesn't mean you have to be a PvP nut to play. Just don't carry what you can't afford to lose, and don't head out into the wilderness alone unless you really know what you're doing.
Well, especially with the Archetype/Merit Badge system instead of rigid Classes, there will be a lot of variance even between Archetype pures.
However, I would guess that the spellcasting-heavy Archetypes (Wizard, Sorcerer, Cleric, Druid, and later Witch and Oracle) would use a lot of spells no matter what their role, and the good-BAB-based Archetypes (Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger, Paladin, and later, if ever, Gunslinger) would use fighting whenever appropriate. Sorry I can't get more specific, but what else do you expect from characters who have the potential to be jack-of-all-trades, regardless of Archetype?
Yeah. Can't say I've ever seen chariots in Pathfinder. Wait... were there a few in Ultimate Combat as a vehicle? Let me see... Hey, they're in here! Ultimate Combat page 181 or so, or here.
So yeah, they might make it into the game eventually. We'll see. Right now, I'll just be happy if they get vehicles into the game at all; they might not even be there on launch day.
Acrobatics? Words of warning about that: DCUO and Assassin's Creed.
Both games have the same problems with acrobatics/climbing: It's difficult to get your character to go where you want him to go, especially in a stressful situation, i.e. combat. There's little more immersion and flow-breaking when your character interprets "turn right at this intersection" as "immediately cling to the right-hand wall and start climbing, then get stuck near the ceiling". Context is very, very, VERY important. At least both games came up with the same quick-fix solution: Have a safety-catch on climbing; the player has to press a button to toggle between "regular movement" and "Spider Climb + Haste". Not a great fix, as movement in the "super-movement" setting still has those context problems, but at least you can turn it off to just walk around without clinging to every wall you bump into.
Summary: The Z-Axis makes things a lot more fun, but can create several headaches (Flight has already been discussed elsewhere, and, to my knowledge, there is no game with 3-D movement that has handled free-Climbing spectacularly.)
Bard. If only to have an excuse to hit Shuffle on my music folder every time a fight starts. Plus, I like their Buff/Debuff/Melee/Skill Monkey/Jack-of-all-Trades feel. (Not sure how much of that is translating into PFO, but still...) They're like rogues, but less stab-stab and more friendliness/utility. But still not to be underestimated.
If I had to pick a second... Sorcerer. Or maybe Cleric. Less bookishness and more Raw Power of The Planes/The Gods.
There are some cool ideas here... but I'm having a hard time picking them out.
Maybe it's just me, but would you mind spacing things out and organizing your thoughts a bit? (Of course, I'm one to talk...)
Then, that finished blueprint can be copied and/or given to the company leader who can then place the building construction site, which can then be built into that building with some resources/time.
Towns can be used as forts, but towns can also be conquered and/or destroyed by opposing factions.
Is that basically what you said? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
But let me work at it anyway:
As for who can make the blueprints/place the building sites, we're not sure yet, though I think it can be more than just the company leader. However, some kind of Architecture skill will probably be involved, requiring character training. (You don't want your unschooled brute-force characters trying to site and design the building, right?)
Towns can be used as forts? Other way around: Forts will be upgraded into towns. So yes, so far, it seems like some kind of keep/bailey/fort will be part of a town automatically: Some kind of extra-strong building.
As for conquering/destroying towns, we're not sure, though it will be in the game. Conquering? Oh yes; though nobody's sure how it's going to work. Destroying? Again, building destruction might not be the first thing in the game, but will definitely be coded/patched in at some point.
Not to add another element to this storm of ideas, but here's another angle to consider:
What about the non-blasting spells? Some of the most fun I've had as a Bard or Wizard is how much I can do without grabbing for a single d6 (or d20, for that matter). Illusions to confuse, protect, and hinder, Transmutations for buffs and shapeshifting to fill other roles, Enchantments for short-term knockouts against weak-minded grunts, and Conjuration for...well...everything: Calling in allies, summoning walls, building an entire square fort out of walls in 24 seconds, shaping part of it in another 6 seconds, then having my summoned minions man the ramparts, with a few illusions at the ready... good times.
Now here's my rant about theme-park MMO's especially WoW. Most of them turn the Mage/Spellcaster into just, "Fireball! Fireball! Fireball! Time to mix it up... MAGIC MISSILE!", resulting in a whole bunch of gamers to write off the class that can shape space and time with a word as just "more ranged dips". (At least the LOTRO Loremaster gets a bunch of knockdowns/debuffs... Though the Runekeeper is definitely more like the standard MMO mage.)
Now, why they just go with damage spells is pretty obvious: They're the easiest to code. Adding in area debuffs and shapeshifting, and especially summoning creatures and/or walls, is really hard to code and balance for gameplay; too little, and it's just gimmicky, too much, and every other class will whine (well, so what? The wizards spent years learning how to make reality their mistress, why not show it off?)
And that's not even approching the other issues addressed: Spells/day, known spells vs. spellbook vs. words of power vs. whatever else...
Yikes. This magic stuff is complicated. No wonder you need Int 10 just to begin to grasp the basics...