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Arbalester's page

Goblin Squad Member. 201 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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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:
MGDMT - Elephant Man 1

MGDMT - Elephant Man 2

Note: MGDMT stands for Manly Guys Doing Manly Things. It's a webcomic.

Back on topic...
Yeah, putting slapping/prehensile on the trunk is interesting, but I feel that's too powerful for a core race. Just put the prehensile trunk in as fluff text; it's interesting, but I don't see a mechanical benefit in it. As others have said, I'd replace it with some kind of mental or skill bonus.
Maybe they get Breadth of Experience as a racial bonus feat?

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
1 0
2 1
3 2
4 4
5 8
6 12
7 16
8 20
9 25
10 30
11 35
12 45
13 50
14 60
15 70
16 80
17 90
18 100
19 135
20 175

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...

You Are Not Your Gear

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:
1) Some rebalancing of when characters get what bonuses.
2) Using this houserule only costs 1/2 of your WBL, not 3/5ths. Less bookkeeping, and only slightly more powerful; still near the power of vanilla Pathfinder.
3) Using an extended Point Buy system instead of enhancement/inherent bonuses for ability scores. Trades one set of numbers to keep track of with another set of numbers to keep track of, but this way your characters don't have to use Sovereign Glue on their belt and headband so that their stats don't suddenly plummet when they get undressed at night.

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
Patch Notes:
-Players get their +1 Ability Score boost every 4 levels again.
-Deflection and Natural Armor bonuses have been moved up to the higher levels. Sorry, but no +1 Ring of Deflection until level 11. On the plus side...
-Ability Score boosts and Armor/Saves/Weapon boosts have been shifted lower.

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.)
Heroic Deflection (Ex): Starting at 6th level, deflection bonus to AC (and therefore also touch AC and CMD) equal to +1, +1/3 level after 6, to a max of +5 at level 18.

So the table has now been changed as follows.
The terms used:
Saves: Saving throws.
Armor: Armor bonus to AC.
Def: Deflection bonus to AC.
Weapons: Bonus to all weapon attacks.
Abi: Ability scores. A () shows the +1 bonuses gained at high levels.
1: None
2: None
3: +1 Saves
4: Abi: +1
5: +1 Armor, +1 Weapons
6: +1 Def, +2 Saves, Abi: +2
7: +2 Armor
8: +3 Armor, +2 Weapons, Abi: +3/+1
9: +2 Def, +3 Saves
10: +4 Armor, Abi: +4/+2
11: +5 Armor, +3 Weapons
12: +3 Def, +4 Saves, Abi: +5/+3/+1
13: +6 Armor
14: +7 Armor, +4 Weapons, Abi: +6/+4/+2/+1
15: +4 Def, +5 Saves, Abi: +6/+4/+3/+2
16: +8 Armor, Abi: +6/+5/+4/+3 (+1)
17: +9 Armor, +5 Weapons, Abi: +7/+6/+5/+4 (+1)
18: +5 Def, Abi: +8/+7/+6/+5 (+1)
19: +10 Armor, Abi: +8/+8/+7/+6 (+1)
20: Abi: +9/+8/+7/+6 (+1)

-How does this apply to familiars/cohorts/animal companions/eidolons? I'm not sure, but here are some quick guidelines (these will almost certainly need refining and polishing):

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...
Having weapons taken away? What, like in the casinos? That's what Sneak is for; 50 Sneak lets you keep some of the bigger stuff. Plus, there are a few awesome smaller weapons out there (even Maria is good for most of the game). Or are you talking about Dead Money? I personally loved that DLC, but I can see why some people hate it; it's not for everyone. (Though I did get a mod to get rid of those godawful invulnerable radios; that was a terrible design choice.)

@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.)
-Characters only get 2/5ths of the original WBL. (If WBL isn't tracked, characters should get about half as much treasure as they do normally.)
-Characters do not gain the normal 1 attribute bonus every 4 levels. (Instead, it is folded into the Attribute bonus, as detailed below.)
-Spells that give enhancement bonuses to ability scores, weapons, or armor do not function. Wish cannot be used to grant an inherent bonus to an ability score. (These spells are either removed from the game completely, or given alternate functions; see below for some suggestions.)
-Magic items that give an enhancement bonuses or inherent bonuses to ability scores, weapons, or armor do not function. (As with spells, these items should either be removed or reworked.)
-For all magic weapons and armor, when determining the total cost to purchase it (and the cost against WBL), all costs from magical enchantments count as twice as much.

Clarifications (Not actual rule changes, but just to put several important rules here)
-Alter Self, Beast Shape, and the like give a Size bonus to ability scores, not an Enhancement bonus, so it still functions and stacks with the ability score increases below.
-In normal Pathfinder, monks (and brawlers) with the Unarmed Strike class feature may treat their unarmed strike as a manufactured weapon for purposes of Magic Weapon and Greater Magic Weapon. (See page 310 of the Core Rulebook for the descriptions of Magic Weapon and Greater Magic Weapon.) Why am I mentioning this here? Read the Modifications below.
-Technically, you may add enchantments to regular clothing as though it was armor with a bonus of +0, though it must be Masterwork first. Most people don't think of making Masterwork clothing, and it's going to be tough to find a tailor that good in most towns. Still, it's an option for those who want enchanted armor but have class features/spells that can't use armor.

Modifications (Minor rule changes to help this houserule.)
-Armor, shields, and weapons must merely be Masterwork to start putting special enchantments on them; they do not need to be made +1 first. As detailed above, these enchantments do cost twice as much as normal.
-Monks, Brawlers and any other character with the Unarmed Strike class feature (Not just the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, the actual class feature) gains the following benefit: When they have at least one weapon they are proficient with on their person, they may apply the magical enchantments on that weapon to all of their unarmed attacks. They do not have to wield the weapon or even have it in hand, but it must be on their person and not wielded by anyone else. Any enchantments on the weapon that are invalid to apply to their unarmed strike are ignored. (For example, the Keen enchantment can't be put on bludgeoning weapons, and unarmed strike is a bludgeoning weapon, so Keen is ignored.)

Right, with all of that red tape out of the way, on to the fun part...

All player characters gain the following bonuses at the assigned levels. These bonuses are in addition to any gained from race or class features, as normal. As normal, all of these bonuses round down unless otherwise specified.

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.
Heroic Armor (Ex): Starting at 5th level, bonus to AC equal to level-3, to a maximum of +15 at level 19. This does stack with the armor bonus from armor, but not with Mage Armor.
Heroic Deflection (Ex): Starting at 6th level, bonus to Touch AC (but not regular or flat-footed AC) equal to 1/3 level, to a max of +5 at level 18. A character using a shield (But not the Shield spell) may apply this bonus to regular AC (and therefore flat-footed AC) as well.
Heroic Weapons (Ex): Starting at 5th level, all weapons (including unarmed strikes and natural weapons) are treated as +1. That means +1 on attack and damage rolls, counts as magic for DR, does not stack with the bonus from a Masterwork weapon. Goes up by 1/3 levels after that, to a max of +5 at level 17.
Intense Training (Ex): Starting at 4th level, the character's ability scores get bonuses as shown on the below table. (Note that the table shows the total ability score bonuses, not the bonuses per level.) This bonus is a permanent increase to the ability score, does not count as a temporary bonus, and cannot be dispelled. In addition, the increased ability score is used when meeting prerequisites for feats.
Almost Perfect (Ex): Starting at 16th level, +1 to an ability score of your choice every level; this stacks with Intense Training. (This works out to 5 +1's at level 20.) Like Intense Training, this is a permanent nonmagical increase that can even be used to meet feat prerequisites.

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.
The terms used:
Saves: Saving throws.
AC: Armor Class.
Touch: Touch AC.
Weapons: Bonus to all attacks.
Abi: Ability scores. A () shows the +1 bonuses gained at high levels.
1: None
2: None
3: +1 Saves
4: Abi: +1
5: +1 AC, +1 Weapons
6: +2 AC, +1 Touch, +2 Saves, Abi: +2
7: +3 AC
8: +4 AC, +2 Weapons, Abi: +3/+1
9: +5 AC, +2 Touch, +3 Saves
10: +6 AC, Abi: +4/+2
11: +7 AC, +3 Weapons
12: +8 AC, +3 Touch, +4 Saves, Abi: +5/+3/+1
13: +9 AC
14: +10 AC, +4 Weapons, Abi: +6/+4/+2/+1
15: +11 AC, +4 Touch, +5 Saves, Abi: +6/+4/+3/+2
16: +12 AC, Abi: +6/+5/+4/+3 (+1)
17: +13 AC, +5 Weapons, Abi: +7/+6/+5/+4 (+1)
18: +14 AC, +5 Touch, Abi: +8/+7/+6/+5 (+1)
19: +15 AC, Abi: +8/+8/+7/+6 (+1)
20: Abi: +9/+8/+7/+6 (+1)

Overall Balance
-Although characters only get 2/5ths WBL, with the value from these bonuses, they may be as high as 20% over WBL for some levels, especially levels 12 and 17 or so. However, not all of these bonuses are useful to all characters, so their effective "value" may be lower than calculated. (I mean, come on. Blowing 25k for a bonus to your third-highest ability score? Splitting your leveling bonuses 3/2 instead of 5/0? Most SAD characters definitely have a lower WBL than indicated here.)

-In case anyone was wondering, here is the wealth a character should have left after getting the above bonuses, using WBL for their level.
Wealth Remaining (% of total WBL for that level)
3: 2k (67%)
4: 5k (83%)
5: 6.5k (62%)
6: 6k (38%)
7: 11.5k (49%)
8: 11k (33%)
9: 13k (28%)
10: 17k (27%)
11: 22k (27%)
12: 24.5k (23%)
13: 46.5k (33%)
14: 52.5k (28%)
15: 72.5k (30%)
16: 90.5k (29%)
17: 93.5k (23%)
18: 120.5k (23%)
19: 180k (26%)
20: 350k (40%)

-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:
Saving Throws: +5 Cloak of Resistance
AC: +5 Amulet of Natural Armor, +5 Armor, +5 Ring of Deflection
Touch AC: Part of +5 Ring of Deflection; adding to regular AC replicates a +5 shield.
Weapon: +5 Weapon.
Ability Score Bonuses: Works out as follows:
+9: +6 Enhancement, +3 from +1/4 ability score/level.
+8: +6 Enhancement, +2 from +1/4 ability score/level.
+7: +6 Enhancement, 1 casting of Wish.
+6: +6 Enhancement.
+5 to any ability score: 5 castings of Wish.
I figure a total of 6 castings of Wish isn't out of reach of most high-level parties, and the cost for those castings (150k worth of diamonds) is included in the WBL reduction.
The overall value of these magic items (assuming 1 weapon and no shield) is 530k, which is almost exactly 3/5ths of a 20th-level character's WBL, hence the 2/5ths WBL rule.

-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:
1) Reworking either set of classes is far beyond the scope of these houserules. I'm trying to keep this houserule as simple as possible; there are enough features creeping in as it is.
2) In my personal opinion, the unbalancing isn't bad enough to warrant any major overhauls. Yes, martials are less interesting mechanically, but that doesn't mean they're less FUN; you'll just spend less time on mechanics and more time on fluff text/characterization.

Also, as to the balance of this houserule itself:
Several people have mentioned ignoring or reworking the WBL table itself. I'm trying not to, for another two reasons:
1) I can be quite the Emmet at times, always trying to follow the instructions, so breaking away from the published tables is a bit nerve-wracking for me.
2) Compounding the first issue is that I'm trying to keep this balanced for published material. My goal is that someone using this houserule could run a published module or even full AP with next to no changes in overall encounter difficulty or stats. Yes, I agree that the +1 attack/+1 defense arms race is kinda silly, but that's the system we're working in. I don't have the effort or the expertise for a more serious overhaul, and it's far beyond what this houserule is trying to do.

@Firstbourne - What?! Just ignore the WBL! But... but... that's not following the INSTRUCTIONS!
Kidding aside, I have considered having the bonuses stray farther from the WBL. I'll have to think about it; in the meantime, I wanted this first pass to be close to WBL, to make sure that my bonuses were at least mostly balanced. I'll definitely keep a WBL-balanced version for campaigns that want to stay closer to the core rules, but I may make a second version that plays much faster and looser with the WBL, in exchange for smoother progression by level.

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:
1) To make the houserule more palatable to most GM's, and avoid the whole "New Houserule: Everyone is 10x more awesome" power creep.
2) Given that these bonuses cannot be dispelled and do not take up any magic item slots, I figured a relatively small "cost" on the bonuses wouldn't be inappropriate.
Finally: This wasn't harsh at all! Constructive criticism like this is exactly what I'm looking for. I know the idea needs tweaking and refining (or maybe even a total overhaul), but I can't figure out how on my own.

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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.
(Mind you, I consider Boots of Levitation "mandatory" on most characters I play, but I find yet another +1 to be far more boring than "Gravity? What's that?" Getting a +1 from a class feature is one thing, but I'd like my magic items, enchanted with power, to be something a little more interesting.)

All characters have 1/2 the expected WBL. In other words, however much wealth and treasure they'd normally get, they now get half.

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.
Abbreviations: Res, Def, and Nat refer to Resistance, Deflection, and Enhancement bonus to Natural Armor, respectively. Inh refers to Inherent bonus. Enh refers to Enhancement bonus to Attribute. All numbers given are the TOTAL bonus at that level, not the increase at that level. So at level 14, a character has a +4 Enhancement bonus to one stat, and a +2 Enhancement bonus to a different stat.

Bonuses Gained By Level:
1: None
2: None
3: +1 Res
4: None
5: +1 Def
6: +2 Res
7: +1 Nat
8: +2 Def
9: +3 Res, Enh: +2
10: +2 Nat
11: +3 Def
12: +4 Res
13: +3 Nat, Enh: +4
14: +4 Def, Enh: +4/+2
15: +5 Res, Enh: +6/+2
16: +4 Nat, Enh: +6/+4/+2
17: +5 Def, Enh: +6/+6/+2
18: Enh: +6/+6/+6, Inh: +1
19: +5 Nat, Enh: +6/+6/+6/+6
20: Inh: +5

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:
+5 Enhancement bonus to natural armor bonus to AC (50k)
+5 Deflection bonus to AC (50k)
+5 Resistance bonus to all saving throws (25k)
+6 Enhancement bonus to four different ability scores (180k)
+5 Inherent bonus to one ability score (137.5k)
Total: 442.5k
20th-level WBL: 880k
Yes, these bonuses are slotless and Extraordinary, but I feel this is still balanced by two things: 1) The bonuses are fixed, so less player choice is allowed about what bonuses to get when, and 2) These bonuses are all but mandatory anyway, so getting one of these items lost or dispelled doesn't feel like a temporary setback/annoyance so much as exposing a glaring weakness.

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.

Goblin Squad Member

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.
Mind you, in both EvE and Runescape, price gouging didn't require the goods to really be transported anywhere to work, meaning that banditry and SAD wouldn't effectively counter them. But that's a discussion for another thread.

Goblin Squad Member

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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.

Gedichtewicht wrote:

oh yes!!!

how about something like
And now for something completly different and totaly this :D

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:
Fishing, swimming, rafts, boats, player-built bridges, sunken-treasure hunting, merchant ships, pirate ships, underwater escalations (Sahuagin: Like murlocs, but a little less cute and a little more drag-you-down-to-the-depths-and-tear-your-limbs-off), and eventually, underwater settlements, even underwater farming! (They're not called kelp "forests" for nothing.)
That would be a truly titanic amount of code and work, and a massive amount of player work to get all the resources, but at some point...

I'd like to be, under the sea, in an octopus' garden, in the shade...

Goblin Squad Member

California, USA.

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...

Goblin Squad Member

Got one! I've heard this song a dozen times, but only thought of it now.

Future blog about PvP/competition for resources - "People Living in Competition" (line from a song by Boston)

Future blog about making settlements/buildings more secure - "Peace of Mind" (Title of the above song by Boston)

Goblin Squad Member

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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.

Goblin Squad Member

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.

Goblin Squad Member

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:

Attack Roll

Goblin Squad Member

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!

Goblin Squad Member

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?

Goblin Squad Member

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.

Goblin Squad Member

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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.

Goblin Squad Member

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!

Goblin Squad Member

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.

Goblin Squad Member

Oh wow... best version of drunk driving I've ever heard. In fact, that's a kinda cool idea anyway... vehicles being pulled by players! That doesn't sound very useful, but it'd be hilarious!

Goblin Squad Member

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?

Goblin Squad Member

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.

Goblin Squad Member

End of September, 2015.

If they get it finished before then, I'll be happy.

Goblin Squad Member

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.)

Goblin Squad Member

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.

Goblin Squad Member

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...)

Let's see:
A character in the company, of a certain rank, can create a blueprint for a building; in creating that blueprint, they design the building: Layout, significant features, etc.

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:
Buildings will have to be sited, but I think, at least early on in PFO, all buildings of one type will have the same basic blueprint. Even placing furniture inside is not going to be a feature in PFO on launch day; Goblinworks is planning on putting it in at some point, though.

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.

Goblin Squad Member

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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...

Goblin Squad Member

Agreed with the above: It's going to be open PvP, on one world: There is no pure PvE option. However, don't let that stop you from making it a PvE game if you want to.

I'll admit, I'm not super-happy with this design either; I played EvE Online for a bit, and the all-PvP part really bugged me. However, with some hindsight and perspective, I've realized that what bugged me wasn't the ABILITY to gank anyone, it was that so many players did that. It wasn't the design of the game, it was what that design said about people in general. Go watch The Dark Knight or read some Nietzsche; that's what EvE Online seemed to be saying.

However, PFO also will have a few things EvE doesn't: Bounties if you're murdered (ganked in relatively "safe" zones) and a built-in Alignment system, to name two.

This is a sandbox game: You can do almost anything you want to do. If you don't want to fight other players, you don't have to; there will be plenty of monsters and dungeons. However, you do have to keep in mind that other players can and will fight you. To paraphrase Firefly: "A horse helps you get a job, a sword helps you keep it."

And to quote the most important lesson newbies learn in EvE Online:

Only Carry Stuff You Can Afford To Lose.

Oh, one last note: If you're worried about losing almost all of your stuff when you die, don't worry so much. If you haven't played EvE, PFO will have a similar equipment economy, namely that decent gear is pretty cheap. Getting a full set of useful combat gear isn't very expensive; it's the super-good combat gear that costs a pretty penny, and that's only used in serious battles/duels/dungeons. Again, if you don't want to lose a lot when you die, don't carry a lot of stuff around.

I hope that helps.

Goblin Squad Member

Okay, there are a few kinds of fights here: Short-term and long-term.

So far, everyone's been discussing short-term fights: How easy or hard it is to beat the enemy in front of you. Right now, it seems like skill and gear will only matter so much, and 3-4 level 5's stand a good chance of beating a level 15 if they can get the jump on him and know what they're doing. That's fine, I like that. Yes, the short-term fights are less about resources and more about tactics and skill, both in planning the fight beforehand and during. Please read my next paragraph before responding.

Then there's long-term fights. The bandit groups, border skirmishes, and outright warfare. That's where resources will matter. That's where that extra 5% effectiveness in combat really adds up. It matters little in a 1v1 fight, but in a 20-man skirmish, it can make or break. In a 200-man war, if those hopefully happen at some point, 5% extra damage is going to really add up. Plus, the richer group may not win the fight, but they're more than likely to win the war, as long as they're not idiots. If the poorer team takes even one major loss, they may not have the capital to repair and re-arm before the enemy is in their keep.

So skill and tactics will matter more in short-term, resources will matter more long-term, but both are important to a good player.

Goblin Squad Member

Ooh. This is one of those things that sounds simple, is probably devilishly hard to code, but would be a nice touch. I'll add this to my personal list of "things that would be great to have in the game, but I'm not going to cry if it's not in game on release day, or even the first six months". There are quite a few things on that list, actually...

Goblin Squad Member

I think I understand what Valkenr was trying to get at. Let me phrase it the way I was thinking it:

If you're going to have a quest to run around a city talking to everyone for 20 minutes, don't give a pittance reward.

The keyword here is "have a quest...". And PFO doesn't sound like it will be big on quests. At least, NPC exclamation-point kind of quests. So if you run around the city for 20 minutes talking to people with a pittance reward, it won't be because some man with his feet nailed to the ground told you to. It will be because you really just wanted to.

Goblin Squad Member

My one problem with "Resist cold, but weak to acid" or "+10 vs dwarves, -10 vs gnomes" is it leads to bloated item stats and overcomplicated strategies. "Oh, the encampment is full of kobolds now? But I just finished crafting an ogreslaying spear!" And the elemental rock-paper-scissors idea is nice, but it runs the risk of turning into rock-paper-scissors-airplane-lizard-Spock-Jesus-banana.

Just keep it simple and effective.

Goblin Squad Member

It sounds like most of this unskilled stuff won't be done by novice players, or even any player, it will be done by NPC's.

I'm talking from the future, where the new blog is out, and it sounds like there won't be a plant-harvesting skill. There will be a skill to direct and manage the plant-harvesters. So, for example, your Herbalism merit badge won't be about just picking plants, it will be about finding as many plants in an area as you can, and managing the plant harvesting camp you constructed while NPC's do all the plant-picking.

And this whole 80/20 thing is one of the cores of EvE Online. Skills have 5 different levels of training, with each level becoming exponentially longer. Put it this way: Training from level 0 to level 3 in a given mid-rank skill takes about 3 days. Training the last two levels can take 30. So you do get pretty good at the skill pretty fast, but it takes a long time to master it.

My one issue with that in EvE is how many ships and skills require level 5 in other skills as a prereq. So you have to spend all 30 days training the other skill just to even BEGIN to train the skill you were actually looking at.

Goblin Squad Member

This, for me, is one of my secondary priorities: I'd love to see it ingame, but I won't be disappointed if it's not there on release day, or even a few months after then. Still, it would be really nice to have ingame information on monsters; both their game stats and some flavor-text details about them.

Of all games, Age of Mythology (Basically, Age of Empires 2.5) had a great ingame mythopedia, giving both historical and mythological details about the ingame units, both their game stats and details. Maybe something sorta like that.

Goblin Squad Member

Mark wrote:
Very interesting. I have to admit that just doing entire buildings is a lot easier to program though :-)

Yes, but then every building looks the same. Every single one. That's fine for the early days of this game, but most of us are hoping to put on our Interior Designer hats after a few months in the game. Heck, even SWG used templated housing plans; but everything inside that floor plan could be moved/rotated. So the housing footprint is the same for every house, but the stuff inside it is not. That's a decent compromise between playing Interior Designer and not having the servers melt.

Goblin Squad Member

Here's how I understand it, so far:

In the entire world map, there will be 3 NPC settlements. They have their own histories of why they're there, what political and social factions are in each one, who hates who, who likes who, etc. That doesn't matter very much; those settlements are really only there to give starting players a base while they go out to make their own buildings.

Every. Single. Other. Building. In. The. Game. Will be built and managed by players. So the players start writing their own stories about them.

So, if you hopped into the game 2 years after it launches, you should learn some of the history of where you're staying and what factions are there. Because those factions and places weren't slapped down by a developer three months before the game started. They were built by players, and it's player conflicts and goals that shape each one. So you're learning about some of the history of your fellow player characters, and of the game itself.

Hey, those backstories and histories will be at least as interesting as anything that WoW cobbled together.

Goblin Squad Member

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I have been waiting for details on crafting ever since I started reading the blogs. I wasn't able to finish reading this in one sitting. I had to pause every so often to run celebration laps around my desk!

The harvesting, refining, and crafting systems sound even more amazing than I had ever imagined. Thank you so much!

EDIT: I also realized: This may be the first MMO made where the NPC's have a prominent role, and not just as shopkeepers/repairers. Wait, so you actually have to keep your workers happy while they're harvesting/processing/running your buildings? I can't think of a game that's done that before... well, besides the city-building sims, and certainly not an MMO. Well done!

My single favorite part is one feature of the Create Demiplane spell. (The standard one, not Lesser or Greater.)
I quote the PRD:

PRD wrote:
Structure: Your demiplane has a specific, linked physical structure, such as a giant tree, floating castle, labyrinth, mountain, and so on. (This option exists so you can pick a theme for your plane without having to worry about the small details of determining what spells you need for every hill, hole, wall, floor, and corner).

You ever read the 3.5 book, Stronghold Builder's Guidebook? (One of my favorite books in 3.5, and one I'm sad that Pathfinder doesn't have yet.) You could take any building you can design or imagine and put it in your demiplane... with ONE SPELL. Permanently; it lasts as long as the demiplane does. One 8th level spell, and bam! Instant doom fortress! Or giant cave behind a waterfall! Or anything! As soon as you have one casting of Create Greater Demiplane, you can Permanency that for about the cost of a permanent Mage's Magnificent Mansion... except now, you can reshape and change your demiplane with just one or two high-level spells and a few hours.

Plus, your demiplane is really hard to get into or out of.. it's about as secure as, say, Mage's Magnificent Mansion, but it's way bigger, and that Structure feature lets you make a pretty nice pad for your whole party, and all their friends.

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