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Ashiel's page

RPG Superstar 8 Season Star Voter. 11,742 posts (11,745 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Mashallah wrote:

What do you think about skill synergy?

Not necessarily the way it was implemented in 3.5e, just generally stuff like a character with both Perform(Oratory) and Diplomacy maxed out having a much easier time at convincing a crowd of something than a character with only one of the two.
I think it's a shame Pathfinder doesn't really have mechanics for any of this (except for one particular interaction between bluff and diplomacy).

It's something worth considering. I kind of liked skill synergies in 3.x, albeit they were usually just ways of getting better at things you were already going to be better at, or investing enough ranks to get your synergy bonuses and jumping ship...

At the moment we don't have any plans for a synergy system of any sort, but that might change as we decide how some things are looking in play.

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Kryzbyn wrote:

Back to the subject of racial traits...

I'm also kind of on the fence.
On one hand, I don't want the race to be yet another possible list of poor choices. Choosing the race for a Pathfinder character is the hardest choice for me during character creation.
Currently, there aren't races to fit every character type. It always seems that, especially at first level, the stat mods and sometimes the racial traits themselves (holy crap Elan, survivable much?) are critical for surviving the first few levels (maybe 5) where the characters are most vulnerable to one-shots or other things beyond their control. As somewhat of an optimizer, I want to make sure that I make the best choices for my character concept, to not only aid mechanically, but to help ensure survival. Obviously, a list of playable races that fit every stat or beneficial racial trait would be prohibitively large, so while a gripe, there really is no fix for it, other than to homebrew a race, and beg your DM to allow it. So, alot of times I have to hold my nose and choose a race that fits concept and story the closest, or default to Aasimar again. This isn't cool, and makes the game less fun, for me at least. So, the solution seems to be, jsut have races as "skins" that only have culture and appearance fluff, and have stat mod choices unrelated to race, but to background that a player can make. Cool?

On the other hand, I like there being noticeable, mechanical, differences between the races that back up any fluff the "skin" provides.

What is the solution?

Well, a couple of things that might help part of that problem is that characters are going to be noticeably sturdier at 1st level than in vanilla d20, and save DCs scale a little gentler too (spellcasters are also using a +1/2 level for DCs, which means that they scale at about the same pace as saves), so being an Elan to survive the first few levels wouldn't be a must have to avoid getting one-shot by some dude two-handing a longsword. :P

Aratrok and I were discussing it last night and one of the things that we'd be interested in toying around with would be reducing the flat ability modifiers of races and focus more on features of the races instead. I gotta gotta take a nap (got nightshift tonight so I was up all night so I'd sleep today and re-align my schedule for it) but I'll try to write up some prototypes or something at the first opportunity.

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Klara Meison wrote:

>wench being useless in a bar fight

I don't think Ashiel's point was that any character has to be useful in every situation, and you misunderstood it by a rather large margin. Instead, I think she was saying that in a good system it has to be impossible for some character to end up useless in every situation a party might encounter on an average adventure, or useful only by virtue of others going out of their way to make them useful. People have to be awesome due to being inherently awesome.

>"it's GM's job"

You know, gm's aren't robotic aliens from outer space (Ashiel is still suspect, investigation currently ongoing), and have such human things as limited attention, limited endurance, limited creativity, biases and so on. Making their job easier is a nice thing to do if nothing else, and saying "back in my day, we had to walk to school 50 miles in the snow uphill both ways and we bloody well liked it, and so should you" is kind of assholish if nothing else.

To Ashiel: are you a robotic alien from outer space by any chance?

Given that we're all made of matter that comes from stars, and are technically biological a really roundabout way? :P

In the more traditional sense, no. Though, I sure feel like one talking to people sometimes. (o_o);

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Lumipon wrote:
I think we just established that good mechanics mitigate causes of conflict instead of starting them :D

Yaaaay! Progress! \(0-0)/

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Lumipon wrote:
What are the practical issues that can happen when players think they can become Diplomancers? I mean, aside from the obvious one.

One of the practical issues I see is that players may be expecting their skills and abilities to do a thing their skills and abilities explicitly say they do, in the context they say they do them in, so when they buy those feats, invest those ranks, craft those items, pick that race, or any combination thereof and when they actually use the ability as it is described it doesn't do anything because of GM fiat.

That's a problem. Now, people can argue until we're all blue in the face about whether or not it's the fault of the player, the GM, or the system, but I'm of the opinion that it's a varying combinations of all three, but it's always the fault of the system that put this thing out for you to use.

This is also the heart of the caster/martial disparity issue. Simply using your spells and such as they are written to be used can leave your fellows twiddling their thumbs or feeling like they're the hobbits next to Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas. shouldn't have to not use your abilities to "play nice" with everyone else, and you shouldn't ever expect that your version of "common sense" is going to mesh with somebody else's version of "common sense" to play in a game. Just as I noted before, one guy might think human beings standing in molten magma is too far beyond common sense, but another thinks that's fine, but being so amazingly godlike at influencing people means you can request the brother of the woman you just murdered in front of him to be your friend and be a dear and wash the knife for you since you really need to start wrapping the body up to dispose of it. But for someone else, that might seem plausible because to them, their version of common sense says that that +50 diplomacy modifier represents a sort of social prowess that is godlike and beyond anything that mortals are truly capable of comprehending, akin to a sort of fantastic power of its own.

I'm....not really sure what we're talking about anymore. I think it had something to do with my project, and some colors, and I'm a rainbow-turd, but I've kinda wandered off the trail somewhere. (o_o);

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At what point is being able to spend 6 seconds to turn a hostile person in combat with you into your best friend within the common sense clause of your hypothetical system?

TheAlicornSage wrote:
Perhaps "plausible within the game world" woukd be a better metric, at which we return to my earlier question, is the game world supposed to reflect the mechanics, or are the mechanics supposed to reflect the game world? In either case, the gm is the arbiter of handling the translation between mechanics and game world.

I'm no expert but...

Given that traditionally it's the campaign settings that change to conform to the changing rulesets, I'm going to have to say that history would suggest that the worlds reflect the mechanics.

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TheAlicornSage wrote:
Edit, a guideline is a general case rule with the expectation that it will be subject to common sense.

What good is a "guideline" that serves no purpose? I mean, if a rule or "guideline" tells you that its function is to turn hostile people friendly, and that's literally its only purpose, why have it since that by it's nature is out of the realm of what you deem acceptable by "common sense" (which isn't a real metric as it varies widely from person to person)?

A system that has rules that aren't intended to actually work is a system with some fundamental design problems, no?

TheAlicornSage wrote:
Unless the system is explicitly designed for use with rule 0, common sense, the rules being explicitly called out as guidelines, and example after example of the gm adapting the rules to better fit the players and campaign on the fly. It is the intended way for the system to be used, I don't believe any set of mechanics can avoid this in any significantly better way (except to become almost exclusively orange style, like chess or minitures warfare games), at least not without becoming so completely bloated that it becomes such pain to use that no one plays it.

I'll have to be most diligent then. :)

Also, I'm not sure that any system that deals with characters doing superhuman pseudo-magical things can use "common sense" as a metric. We're talking about a game where you're literally expected to be able to stand in lava while fighting a red wyrm, 'cause their breath weapon will actually turn the very ground you stand on to magma.

Common sense would tell you that some dudebro with some plate mail and leather shoes can't stand in lava and not instantly die. But we're talking high fantasy dudebros here. :P

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TheAlicornSage wrote:

"Well, a GM doesn't control the PCs, so if the PCs decide to not munch on rations they just don't munch of rations, right"

Wrong. The gm can go "Hey players, we have an issue here, instead if bickering lets comprise. How about this solution, would this idea of mine be acceptable to everyone?"

I am out of time for today. I'll be back later.

But that's just asking the players to do something. It's not a solution that has anything to do with the system, and the GM still doesn't have the ability to make a PC do anything because it's...a PC. >_>

Players don't godmode NPCs, and GMs don't godmode PCs. That's just the way it works.

As for the rules being filled with "as you see fit", There are quite a lot of rules that just strait up say you can do things (like with the diplomancer, it literally gives you the rules for turining someone who is actively hostile into your friend, and it gives rules for things you spend resources in to do it in a standard action, and so on and so forth).

This is textbook oboroni fallacy. Rule 0 doesn't indicate that there is no problem. In fact, I would dare say the more rule 0 has to be invoked to overrule the system, the more issues the system has. I think that's a reasonable assessment.

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TheAlicornSage wrote:
The point is, low level characters can't do it either way without magic, but while boots of floating allow a low level to glide between trees, the high level character no longer needs those and trades them in for better ones because their ranks are high enough to not need boots.

But players want boots. I don't really see what would be bad about boots that would allow them to be better at doing things with a skill they understand how to do.

For example, if you have some +5 boots, it just adds +5 (+25% success chance on a d20) to your checks. That means that you're better at going unseen. And when you hit a level where you can hide behind someone as cover (literally hiding in their space by shadowing them) it still makes you harder to spot, even though you're hiding in a way that would have been considered impossible some levels ago.

The same boots make you harder to notice either way. They aren't required for you to do the cool thing, so there's no reason to throw away your cool boots when you reach a level to do the cool thing. They're your special boots. They love you, and you love them back. (Q_Q)

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TheAlicornSage wrote:
Not just fluff. If they players don't have or think of some way to jam the pressure plate, they'll have try something else. Or they the chance to just out of the way of the darts amd set it off, or use a ladder to make a bridge over the plate. With the narrative, some options will gain that circumstance bonus/penalty the gm is supposed to pass out, or potentially avoid needing to roll at all. And a purple player is looking to get past the trap, but is not looking to beat the trap's dc via automatic dice roll.

The only issue I have with this is...

I don't expect the warrior's player to be able to benchpress a stallion.

In the same way, I don't really expect the party's trap expert to actually have any clue how to disarm a trap IRL.

In the same fashion, if they CAN benchpress a stallion IRL, that doesn't mean their 7 Str mage can. And just because they ARE engineering experts IRL, doesn't mean they can simply bypass the trap with their good idea.

They roll to Disable and we'll see how well their character implemented their plan.

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TheAlicornSage wrote:

"Which is why I'd prefer the rules to be sensible and support a good narrative, rather than creating cases where the different colors end up pulling against each other."

That is the job of the gm.

I can't think of any reason why I should require the rules to explicitly state that a player can't make a man his friend while murdering his beloved daughter. It is so ridiculous, the rules shouldn't need to explicitly deny it.

But they explicitly allowed you to do it. So in this case, the rules and the narrative are conflicting. It's not the GMs job to have to rewrite the rules of the game for it to be functional (yet ironically, I'm a GM literally rewriting the game for that very reason so YMMV :P).

As for colors pulling against each other, ther is no such thing as complete harmony here.

*shrugs* I'm still the turd-color.

Turd is life. Turd is love. :P

It wasn't the rules that had got me yelled at for acting in character. It wasn't the rules that expected me to identify potions now, while marching through hostile territory with a bunch of strangers met only hours prior with reason to distrust them rather than wait until camp is made. Those things weren't rules issues. Those things were conflicts between perspective and gameplay expectations and desires. No mechanics can reconcile these types of issues.

That's correct. But mechanics can reconcile issues that spring up like how rogues in Pathfinder are pretty much inferior to Rangers and Bards. We can't make a horse drink the water, but we can totally ensure that there's water to drink, and lead them there. :)

The gm is supposed to handle this, either by explicitly stating one way or the other as the expected playstyle, or by comprising and mediating the players, such as saying the party rests for 10 minutes to munch on rations and thus can identify the potions then.

Well, a GM doesn't control the PCs, so if the PCs decide to not munch on rations they just don't munch of rations, right?

In all seriousness, I feel like we're talking about different things. Having a well designed system that makes it easier on everyone involved won't solve all social or style issues. It can help them though, since it can ensure that nobody feels like the gimp because they picked the wrong class, or having mechanics that don't require you to break the rules to do cool heroic stuff. :)

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TheAlicornSage wrote:

"Because I think good mechanics support narratives and roleplaying."

"Agreed. Restricting yourself to only a portion of the game experience feels silly."

Not quite seeing the point here. It isn't so much about the limits of what you allow but more like the lens through which you see the game.

Is the game world supposed to reflect the mechanics, or are the mechanics supposed to reflect the game world?

When players encounter a trap, do they simply roll a check, or they go digging through their packs looking for wedges to block the pressure plate, wax to cover the gas release holes, and a line and hook to try to catch a mechanism through a crack? Do you not see the difference between these two methods? Do not see how both methods can use the same mechanics?

Of course. But either way a disable device check is rolled and if it failed, you did too. Frequently when my players succeed at such a check, I might narrate a way they foiled it, or if they want to, they can. But that's just fluff on the mechanics.

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TheAlicornSage wrote:

"Because people like things that make them better at things. It's the same reason we don't just rely solely on BAB for to-hit mechanics."

Higher modifiers are not the only way to make them better. How about a cloak that allows a reroll on steath, or boots that give 2d10 instead of d20? There are plenty of options for enhancing a skill without simply improving a static modifier.

Those items are very luck based. The 2d10 actually makes it very unlikely that you'll get an above average roll as well, meaning that they don't really help you so much as just lower the risk of rolling low, but reducing the chances of rolling well. If you aren't already crazy good at Stealth it'll actually cause you to fail more often than you would have if the 8-12 range wouldn't do it for you.

Rerolling likewise works sometimes and provides no benefit if you aren't rolling in the first place (such as when taking 10 or taking 20), so again, it just improves your averages, not actually helps you get any further.

Notice that this just creates a system where you're trying to force PCs to be unable to reach a certain number before a certain level. Which is functionally similar, but less impactful, than actually making the superhero-levels of skills an effect of actually being superhero-levels.

Honestly, the results should take into account where the bonus comes from at the very least. If an item, say boots that make the water underneath stiffer, then that would be a far preferable way to allow walking on water, since the item is providing something that allows it when it otherwise wouldn't be possible, of course, this also makes the items more situational. An item that improves balance by keeping the wearer upright isn't going to help with jumping and might even penalize tumbling.

Because I'd rather not have "beneficial" items have drawbacks, and I'd rather not limit the high level features of characters to the bling that they're wearing. That's where we are in Pathfinder. Where characters that aren't magical can't do cool things unless they have magic items that let them do them, which anyone can have and casters can have more of.

I'd rather players be able to do things like glide between trees ala Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon because they're high level badasses, not because they had to get magic boots. They can't do these things at low levels when they're in the realm of normal people, but when they reach levels where they have surpassed the mundane they can do quite extraordinary things.

This, in turn, gives more options for characters who aren't as reliant upon magical spells and such (the less spellcasty you are, the more martial/skillful you are), allowing for games where you can have heroic characters that can handle common adventuring hurdles even if they don't have a wizard in the party to facilitate the adventuring at levels where things like dispel magic, death ward, or resist energy are must haves.

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Mashallah wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Mashallah wrote:

Speaking of skills and diplomacy, do you have a general idea on how you want to handle diplomacy?

Given the ranks-to-abilities things you described, I'd imagine high ranks in diplomacy or bluff would give essentially mind control, possibly forcing will saves and such, but many people might be uncomfortable with diplomacy being mind control.

This is one of those skills that has us scratching our heads a lot, trying to get some really good design goals for it. It's a skill that we do feel needs to exist, because just like a barbarian isn't expected to have a player that can bench press a horse, we'd like there to be mechanics for resolving social situations even if you're not a socially gifted orator.

However, we definitely don't want to end up with diplomancers or "I asked nicely, so murder your mom", so a few loose ideas I've pitched have been things like helping you to break others OUT of mind control. Such as being able to reason people out of charms or domination effects, like they do in movies and shows where it's like, "Please, fight it, I know this isn't you!" and suddenly he guy puts his sword down as the words shake him out of it.

Perhaps, it would be fitting for diplomacy to be more powerful against groups than against individuals?

It's generally easier to convince a large group of people of something than a single person. So, say, you could reasonably convince a group of villagers that you were justified in killing a particular villager's child, but you'd be hard-pressed to convince the parent of that child that the murder was justified.

Indeed. I'd like to explore mass diplomacy more deeply. There's very little support for these sorts of things, such as two people trying to win a crowd, or some dudebro convincing a mob of peasants to bring torches and pitchforks at the flesh golem.

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TheAlicornSage wrote:

"change an adventure"

Oh, railroading. Or modules. Fun in an orangy way.

I think we might be on different pages here. If for example a badguy and his cronies are supposed to approach the party in a bar and start something, having to rebuild the encounter to make it work without being hopeless or requiring the PCs to be rescued by some NPCs adds pointless work.

But why plan an epic bar brawl, and why expect every party member to fight equally?

I didn't say equally, I said comparatively. Level based systems have the benefit of having certain statistics baked in. You don't have to focus heavily on building to suit the adventure, the adventure is built to suit you. Even if you're a school marm, if you're a 7th level school marm that means something (you're at least 7th level and have 7th level stats) which makes it easier to plan around that sort of thing (especially in advance).

It also makes it easier to deal with prep work ahead of time, or keep different premade scenes that can be dropped into different games that will be functional, rather than having to rebuild everything from scratch for each game, which can save a GM a ton of time and effort being able to recycle and reuse statistics, and giving them more time to work on things like stories, plot elements, and fleshing out important NPCs.

Seriously, is there something wrong with the school marm throwimg her hands up at "men!" amd going to collect the sheriff? or maybe she hides behind the bar and when the tough party member shoves a guy into the bar the marm hits him on the head with a liquor bottle?

There is when the school marm spends several rounds doing much of nothing, only to wack a dude with a bottle after he's been punked. Even less appealing when the school marm eats a bullet and promptly dies and has to make a new character. Even less appealing than that when the gunslinger dies and has to make a new character too, because the school marm did little other than wait to bonk somebody with a bottle.

These ideas really fit the scene and the character as well (well judging by the very little info provided), and the tough guy still gets his fight.

Having mechanics that encourage that sort of thing to play out organically would be a virtue. For example, if there were reasons that pushing a guy over a table and letting the school marm bonk him was a good idea (as opposed to junk bonking him yourself) then that's good. If it requires you to go against the grain to achieve anything interesting, that's bad.

But really, are you looking for the to bd narratively epic, or mechanically epic? Because you can engage each player according to their character, though that is far more easily done within a narrative focus. And if you have a mechanical focus, why don't your players know this, and why are you letting them diverge so drastically?

Because there's not much point in a point-based system if you're going to require those points be spent in certain ways. At that point you're basically mirroring a level-based system anyway.

If you wamt mechanically epic, then the player falling behind should get loot that brings them up to par,

Narratively, why should they get loot at all if they weren't contributing? Why are they even on this adventure?

while the leading player should get loot the grants breadth over power, or narrative loot.

What if they decide to divide the loot differently?

The gm has a bazillion tools to keep this under control, and yet it seems to have become almost taboo for the gm to do anything other than robotically railroad the story (though while also being required to magically make the tracks invisible).

Oboroni fallacy. Also, I never railroad anyone in my games, so I think it's probably a misunderstanding.

Part of the gm's job is to keep such disparities small amd to adjust the events to suit, yet everyone keeps looking to the system to solve it instead of the gm, which is mindboggling to me.

A good GM can make a game that resolves everything by flipping quarters against each other good. I know. I threw together a very dirty RPG that involved having x ranks in different stats and for each rank you flipped 1 coin, and compared the results to either a number of successes you had to meet or opposed coin flips.

We had fun.

But I do believe that a system should facilitate a good game, not hinder it.

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Mashallah wrote:

Speaking of skills and diplomacy, do you have a general idea on how you want to handle diplomacy?

Given the ranks-to-abilities things you described, I'd imagine high ranks in diplomacy or bluff would give essentially mind control, possibly forcing will saves and such, but many people might be uncomfortable with diplomacy being mind control.

This is one of those skills that has us scratching our heads a lot, trying to get some really good design goals for it. It's a skill that we do feel needs to exist, because just like a barbarian isn't expected to have a player that can bench press a horse, we'd like there to be mechanics for resolving social situations even if you're not a socially gifted orator.

However, we definitely don't want to end up with diplomancers or "I asked nicely, so murder your mom", so a few loose ideas I've pitched have been things like helping you to break others OUT of mind control. Such as being able to reason people out of charms or domination effects, like they do in movies and shows where it's like, "Please, fight it, I know this isn't you!" and suddenly he guy puts his sword down as the words shake him out of it.

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TheAlicornSage wrote:

"Are you familiar with the mighty Diplomancer from 3.x? It's a character build that because high Diplomacy checks (like in the 60s+) could turn the guy whose sister you murdered into your best friend, as you finish murdering her in front of him, and take a dooky on her corpse while asking him to hand you the toilet paper."

You know, cases like this make me wonder what is going through the mind of some of these gms. I don't see why diplomacy would even be usable in this case much less successful, even with a result of 3000.

How can the player justify being able to attempt diplomacy in this case?

Because the rules as they were presented allowed the character to, as a standard action, attempt a diplomacy check with some penalties, even against a hostile target who was trying to murder them, to shift their attitudes up.

So we're presented with a situation where the rules allow you to do something goofy, and it's kinda unbalanced, but it's also at least partially intended because that's explicitly what they were supposed to be for. It's not mother-may-I, and if it was, you shouldn't be playing this game anyway.

Which is why I'd prefer the rules to be sensible and support a good narrative, rather than creating cases where the different colors end up pulling against each other.

Instead, let us let the energy flow like a colorful tai chi of wonder. :3

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TheAlicornSage wrote:

"The thing about skills is, it's chump change to boost them. "

A valid point, though more troublesome when the gm just lets players pick items out of the various books, rather than catefully choosing what to allow access to or give as loot.

However, I just have to ask, "why not make it do it isn't that easy to boost them?" Seems like a much simpler solution and more satisfying in my opinion.

Because people like things that make them better at things. It's the same reason we don't just rely solely on BAB for to-hit mechanics. People want their cloaks of elvenkind, or boots of striding and springing. Those are pretty iconic and it's fun.

Rather than trying to keep an iron grip on exactly what sort of modifier you're allowed to have at certain levels, it seems far more practical (to me at least) to simply allow certain things to become available at the levels where they are appropriate.

There's already a precedent for this in normal d20. Trained only skills. Even if you have a +300 knowledge check, you can't do anything beyond what a DC 10 check could do for you, until you invest that rank in it.

This is the same principle. Having the extra invested ranks open up new uses for the skill that weren't there before. They'll have higher DCs (such as going from DC 20 to 25, but the 25 option isn't even available until you've got 5 ranks in the skill), so you're always pushing your limits, but your limits are expanding through your advanced mastery.

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On the subject of the color schemes, I'd probably be the turd. That kind of brown color you get by mixing all those things together, since I really strongly believe that the mechanics should be good, balanced, support roleplaying, allow you to do incredibly cool and heroic, cinematic things, with lots of freedom for customization, and narration.

Because I think good mechanics support narratives and roleplaying. I find that bad mechanics stifle it. It's one of the reasons I cannot stand older editions of D&D.

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TheAlicornSage wrote:

"overall ability to contribute to an adventure."

Wait, why does any classless system care about this? Any classless system I've seen is going for purole or green, in which case contributing to story vastly outweighs contributing to adventure.

Imagine the books of lotr as a game group, Sam killed one orc in moria while aragorn and boromir killed many. Clearly, the men contributed far more to the adventure and orange players thus might have a problem playing this with Sam, but sam contributes greatly to the story, which can be satisfying in it's own right for purple, and maybe green players.

Because having to vastly change an adventure because characters cannot function in it isn't very attractive. Quite frankly, if you were to convert the characters in the Lord of the Rings movies, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas would be the party and you got a bunch of runty NPCs.

Going back to Deadlands, it's kind of irritatng having to change around adventures because someone decided that they wanted to play the local school marm and now that epic bar brawl that was part of the story is a death sentence unless you turn the brawl down to like one drunk guy and his crippled friend.

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TheAlicornSage wrote:

3) Make skills better.

I really can't get behind you on this, though I see why you might be experiencing problems. Again, this is expectations not matching output.

You many expect the numbers to be subjective to the player's stats, particularly level. But this is not true. There is a clear objective progression here, results of 10 are average layperson, 20 are from the professionals, 30 are from the masters, 40 are from those worthy of world renown at the peak of human capacity, 50+ are mythical results that mundane people could never hope go achieve without divine intervention. But since most don't understand this, they think the numbers are arbitrarily based on level expectations.

Truth is, if you want pcs that are heroes but still normal humans, you don't play above lvl 5, likewise, if you want over the top superheroes, you don't play below lvl 15. But players notice that the books go to level 20 and thus automatically assign their idea maximum human ability, at least for real world activities like jumping and swinging swords to the level 20, nevr noticing the system sets those things to lvl 5. This drives the difficulty in handling skills, because if they encounter a master made lock, they don't think the lock dc should be set by the level of the lock maker, but rather they think it should be set by the level of the PCs when they find the lock, just like mmos.

Personally I prefer the objective dcs.

I also think it really awkward to say that some guy can walk on water when he can't even match the skill of a master, most cettainly not because of some metagame aspect that doesn't actually improve skill nor provide some explanation for the odd ability.

Perhaps we've got our wires crossed.

Are you familiar with the mighty Diplomancer from 3.x? It's a character build that because high Diplomacy checks (like in the 60s+) could turn the guy whose sister you murdered into your best friend, as you finish murdering her in front of him, and take a dooky on her corpse while asking him to hand you the toilet paper.

Mostly because the high level rules at the time allowed you to do really amazing things with high skill modifiers. But of course, with the right combinations, you could do those things are much, much lower levels than expected.

But since, as you noted, being 10th level means something very different from being 5th level, beyond simple stat modifiers and an elixir of whatever, we want to make certain skill features that are tied to your level.

Because talent and tools only get you so far. A high Dexterty and an elixir of acrobatics does not the master make. A true master of the skill has learned to use the skill in entirely new, often wondrous ways, such as being able to balance on the surface of water, or ride a leaf on the wind.

EDIT: Ninja'd by Tels. :D

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TheAlicornSage wrote:

", it's entirely possible to have a god of war and a complete gimp in the party at the same time"

This happens when you have highly conflicting styles. The god comes from the orange player, while the gimp is really only a gimp in comparison to the god and is created by the purple or green player. Having a discussion at start about the styles and the expected style to aim for in the campaign can really help this alot.

Ehhh, well, I've seen this happen a lot more often even if the characters don't have much difference between their playstyles. When I was a kid, we often played Deadlands (and we were terrible at it, seriously that game is too complicated) and it's a classless system where you just invest points into different things.

Now, being a fantasy western RPG, being a knockoff of a John Wayne character is as legitimate in that game as being a school teacher or a doctor who can't pick up a gun to save their lives. But building encounters for characters who have no measure of expectations isn't particularly helpful. :P

I've seen this sort of thing crop up in most classless systems I've tried or looked into. There's no baseline for standard progressions, so characters making reasonable choices for their characters based on their adventures can very well accidentally lead to characters that are wildly different in terms over overall ability to contribute to an adventure.

Mashallah wrote:

That sounds a tiny bit like 5e races. Some races gain abilities upon reaching a certain total character level (e.g. aasimar), some gain better numbers which give more benefit with more levels (e.g. dwarves have bigger hit dies), some just have boring stuff like a bonus feat.

As for balance concerns regarding races - gimmicks are fun. If racial abilities don't contribute directly to ass-kicking power and, at best, do it in a very roundabout way, thus being mostly a flavour thing, they shouldn't raise balance issues. A neat example is dwarven stonecunning, or, say, elven trance instead of sleep stuff: neither are so important to have so as to build characters around them (I'm looking at you, bonus feat), both can be situationally beneficial, and both are there mostly for flavour. With races mostly having minor things like that, it's extremely unlikely for a single race to dominate the metagame, while they would still feel different in terms of roleplaying.

Well, as an example, when I was working on some races for my campaign setting a while back, I was statting up wood elves. One of their racial abilities is constant speak with animals and at-will animal messenger. It was cool and made being a wood-elf have some cool adventure quirks ("Oh my, a corpse. One moment, let me ask this Sparrow if he saw anything afoot,").

We've also been discussing the pros and cons of racial modifiers to ability scores (as opposed to more specific modifiers to things those scores modify), and possibly making certain bloodline related things (like aasimar/tieflings) feats rather than races (which would solve the issues of trying to figure out elven aasimar and stuff).

I think I'd look like a giant turd on the color wheel. :3

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Tacticslion wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:
How will races/racial traits be handled?
Ashiel wrote:
We're still deciding on that, honestly. Mostly, I'm wondering how much of an influence I want races to have on the overall condition of your character. There are pros and cons for making it more impactful vs more aesthetic.
Kryzbyn wrote:

So you don't think races will/should have any mechanical benefit?

That's interesting...

I don't think that's what he said, though I can see how that could be a take-away.

From my readings, he seemed to be on the fence about a spectrum of possibilities, ranging from one extreme ("more aesthetic") to another ("more impactful") and somewhere in between.

(He could just correct me right quick, though...)

You're correct. We're kinda on the fence about it. I can see pros and cons in both directions. To give a quick summary...

More Mechanical: If we emphasis racial traits to be more impacting to the sort of character you're playing, then it can make races feel noticeably different from one-another in major ways. The old tried and true method has been things like ability scores and passives, but if we make races more "different" it might be in the form of things like special racial perks or abilities.

The downside to this is that you might end up with races that are just the clearly superior choice for certain things, or strongly discourage characters from trying things outside of the usual norms.

Less Mechanical: On the other end, we could end up going with something that was more like a number of modern RPGs (be they MMOs or otherwise) where race is more of an aesthetic or roleplaying choice. This could have the benefit of ensuring that it's not like in Pathfinder where some races are just so much better than others (hail dwarves the master race :P).

The downside to this is that you might end up where races feel really "samey" and so people feel a bit let down that there's not some really big difference between playing an elf vs a dwarf, or somesuch.

Some Ideas: I think I'd like to try experimenting in a few different ways when it's time for playtesting. I'd like to try a few minimalist versions of races, and some that have unique special powers or abilities that make them stand out more, and seeing how people react to them.

For example, I had an idea of giving races scaling benefits that become unlocked as your level rises, so you become a paragon of your race as you advance. So a dwarf might start out with a few slight bonuses to being more sturdy, or an elf more nimble, but by high levels the dwarf can shrug off massive punishment and use himself as a bowling ball, while the elf seems to step between space or move so swiftly that people attack them only to find that they attacked their after-image and the elf is actually behind them. Things that change the way you play your character, regardless of class. I'm not sure how it would be received though, since a lot of people are used to their +2/+2/-2 standards. :P

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Anzyr wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
TheAlicornSage wrote:

Hmm, I have only recently started reading this thread, so I don't know all the goals of this system you are developing, but there do seem to be some aspects that overlap, in which case it might be beneficial to join together, at least for those aspects. For example, handling of technology.

I still will stick with my own d20 mod of course, since I want classless (I hate classes with a burning passion), but it might lead to these other aspects being better in the long run.

So what are all the changes you are going for?

The goals are basically...

Out of curiosity have you looked at Legend for inspiration at all?

I haven't actually. I had never heard of it until someone mentioned it in this thread, but even then, I haven't bothered to look it up. XD

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Klara Meison wrote:

A point about Wyrmspire: "Theocracy", "Technocracy" and others are systems of governance, on the same level as "Monarchy", "Democracy", "Republic" and so on, which makes them a little weird as names for just a part of the governing structure.

It's not terribly jarring, so if you chose the names with the full knowledge of this for thematic reasons or just because they sound cool, it's fine, but just wanted you to know this.

Yep. That's intentional, actually. Wyrmspire lacks a true form of government and instead has two major powers, a college of mages and a powerful religious sect, who share council with one-another to decide courses of action for Wyrmspire, but they often do not see eye to eye.

The magocracy is very libertarian in a lot of its respects, preferring that there be less government control on the lives, moralities, and rights of people in the city (including them), but also has a tendency to be pretty aloof and can seem cold and uncaring towards the little guy. Contrasting them, the theocracy is for most purposes the opposite, preferring government influence in the lives of the people, mostly in an attempt to protect the little guy.

The technocracy which was renamed such after the death of the league's founder isn't actually a political power, but it would like to be. In fact, it would like to be THE political power, to further the dream of the founder's ideal government dream. The technocracy has a very libertarian view in many ways and is also loved by the actual little guys in the city (whom they often provide jobs for). Some rumors suggest that the Technocracy might attempt to stage some sort of a claim for power in the future, especially given some of the directions of their mad science.

The psiocracy is a nickname, one that the psionic cult that bears it isn't particularly fond of. Their actual name is something like "The Brotherhood of Clarity" or somesuch, but a lot of the locals have nicknamed them the psiocracy because their influence on the local culture and connections with the Technocracy reminds them of the other great guilds. As such this 'psiocracy' has more or less accepted it as a misnomer and gotten on with their lives. Their influence is actually less of one of political change but one of spiritual and philosophical. They also happen to be helping the Technocracy achieve a number of great scientific advancements without having to go through the major powers.

For example, if the Technocracy wishes to experiment more with magic and machines, they would traditionally have to enlist the aid of the ruling bodies, as they had to do to create the waterpump system (which funnels create water spells through the city, since Wyrmspire has too few sources of clean water for the citizens it's housing). However, since the psionic folks can replicate magical things (including crafting wondrous items) and are an independent group, the Technocracy has begun sidestepping the need to bother (or include) the ruling powers on their projects (which makes the ruling powers a little nervous).

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Kryzbyn wrote:
How will races/racial traits be handled?

We're still deciding on that, honestly. Mostly, I'm wondering how much of an influence I want races to have on the overall condition of your character. There are pros and cons for making it more impactful vs more aesthetic.

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Klara Maison wrote:
So much for the promise to cut down feat trees with a +4 axe of treecutting. You are just making more of them!

Living long enough to see myself become the villain. :P


> So having 5 levels worth of ranks in Acrobatics might let you do something like walk on water, and even though the DC to do so might not be super high (like maybe 25), you simply cannot do so unless you have invested the proper skill points, even if your modifier is +60.

Wouldn't that interfere with people coming up with new uses for a skill, since now GM would need two numbers(minimal ranks and DC) instead of one (just DC) to come up with an appropriate roll for the situation?

I don't think so. If anything it might make it easier, for this reason:

One of the issues with skills in d20 is that we tend to be stuck in this rut where you're not allowed to do really impressive things with skills because you either need to have really super high DCs to prevent mundane characters from breaking the system, or you keep the upper limits of a skill fairly low. You see this in Pathfinder frequently. You can't do crazy cool stuff like use the Heal skill to sow somebody's arm back on, or make Frankenstein's monster, or raise the dead. Hell, a lot of skills are completely lacking in investment potential the moment you can reliably take-10 and hit DC 15-20.

By setting required ranks in a skill to do progressively more super things, I think it would actually make it easier for groups to homebrew their own uses for skills. For example, if there was a standard for what levels you could replicate certain magical abilities (such as reviving dead people with Heal) then if a player was like, "Hey, what do I need to do to Disguise myself so well that it interferes with scrying?" or "Hey, can I make an Intimidate check to make them run away?", you'll have some examples as to when those types of abilities would be appropriate rather than having to ad-hoc an arbitrary DC number that you have to hit to mimic things like nondetection or fear.

Most importantly, it gives value to skill ranks that aren't there in the base game. Look at the poor rogue. One of their big things is they have 8 base skill ranks / level. But who the hell really cares? When you get right down to it, half the skills in Pathfinder don't really reward you for heavy investment, everyone else is going to pick up the skills that do with their base skills and a headband of intellect, and far more often having things like an elixir of hiding is all you'll need.

It means that mundane characters will be able to become progressively more awesome by virtue of just being more awesome, and creates a way to have certain staples in the game without being chained to a wizard or cleric to allow you to function at high levels. It also means that a wizard can't just drink an elixir and show up the rogue at Acrobatics or whatever, because while the wizard might have a similar skill modifier, the rogue can use that modifier to do things that the wizard has to resort to magic for (like walking on water, or running tumbling across a cloud).


> The real wealth comes in the form of things like powerful soul gems, or the essence of a dead eldritch horror, or whatever.

O, I like that. It might even make mundane crafting better, if you could craft things with it that are useful in lategame by just using special materials. I had some similar thoughts on the subject, actually, see PM.

I'll check it out soonish. :)

The basic idea is that there's been a lot of infinite-money schemes since 3E came out, and to curb this, Paizo tried (and failed) to make such schemes fruitless. Even going so far as to make sure you can no longer wish for wealth (so trying to get a magic lamp to become a rich prince and marry the sultan's daughter is right out).

So we decided that it would be more interesting and effective to create an alternate currency system that occurs at upper mid to high levels, where gold becomes more narrative and these priceless things become the currency of epic heroes. It also kind of lets the grognards be happy too since a lot of people complain that creating magic items doesn't require you to do anything cool (but 2E was terrible in requiring things like Kraken Ink tomake a 1st level scroll).

We'll still be keeping GP values for items, for those who want to sell off unwanted items, or for those who wish to ignore the new currency system in their games in favor of ye olde gold piece, but for the high fantasy core game, there's going to be a pretty easy to understand reason for why you can't go to a metropolis and buy something worth more than 16,000 gp easily.

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And a lot more, actually, come to think of it. I've already make a lot of strides in un-hardcoding a lot of the mechanics and giving more artistic freedom to GMs and players when it comes to things like describing their worlds and characters. I've even just recently created some mechanics for handling spell books (cost, weight, capacity, materials) which opens up new avenues for "spellbooks" that aren't books at all (things like stone tablets, rubics cubes, rune stones, etc).

Weapons and armors are simplified for mechanical benefits. There are not (and will not be) lots of redundant weapons. A sword is a sword is a sword. It just matters the size, tech, and qualities assigned to it.

Same deal with light, medium, and heavy armors. You'll be able to customize them but it doesn't really matter a whole lot in game terms whether you're wearing some medium armor from Japan or a medium armor from Europe. It's a medium armor, mkay? :)

I'm currently planning on splitting magic item creation into a mundane aspect and a magical aspect. Things like Craft will be able to provide a superior weapon or armor (which will improve raw mechanical aspects such as enhancement bonuses) while magic adds special abilities to it (so a legendary smith could forge a +5 sword, and a power enchanter could then make it a +5 flaming sword).

Geeze, so many changes. o_o

I'm going to go to bed so I can get up for work, then come home, and do more work.

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TheAlicornSage wrote:

Hmm, I have only recently started reading this thread, so I don't know all the goals of this system you are developing, but there do seem to be some aspects that overlap, in which case it might be beneficial to join together, at least for those aspects. For example, handling of technology.

I still will stick with my own d20 mod of course, since I want classless (I hate classes with a burning passion), but it might lead to these other aspects being better in the long run.

So what are all the changes you are going for?

The goals are basically...

1) Create an all-in-one d20 system that I can use to run my games, whether I'm running D&D, Star Wars, D20 Modern, or My Little Spacemarine: Slaanesh is Magic.

For example: Having a d20 core that supports everything from stone-age to plasma-blasters and laser swords out of the box. That gives explicit examples of what sort of things are expected at certain levels and adjustments that need to be made if those things are removed. An explanation for what levels mean and how to adjust your game if you're looking for something that's more "gritty realism" instead of heroic fantasy.

2) Reduce caster/martial disparity. This is done in a lot of different ways throughout the system (from buffing martials to nerfing casters in certain areas, to changing how some magic items work, to changing how mundane things work, to changing how some feats and spells work, to changing how combat itself works, etc).

For example: Full attacking got the axe and a new pro/con system for making lots of attacks introduced. Combat is more mobile. Saves scale differently so it's impossible to just target the "weak save" trivially. Spells are weaker vs level appropriate foes so things like flesh to stone can instantly turn a mook into a lawn ornament but a heroic character has some time to react to it as it slowly turns them to stone. Casting spells is harder and being threatened while casting spells is super-bad (it may force you to cast lower level spells or risk losing them, even if you aren't hit). Lots of other stuff.

3) Make skills better. Skills will be harder to get and reward investment more than raw modifier. This will mostly be keyed to how many ranks you have in a skill, which means you'll actually attain new uses and potentials for skills as you gain levels, and simply having a better than normal modifier doesn't provide the superpowers from those skills.

For example: We've discussed making skills have new functions at certain breakpoints of rank investment. So having 5 levels worth of ranks in Acrobatics might let you do something like walk on water, and even though the DC to do so might not be super high (like maybe 25), you simply cannot do so unless you have invested the proper skill points, even if your modifier is +60. Skills are also not tied to Int, and martial characters have more skills / level than mages do.

4) Make the game easier to play. I'm reducing a lot of the minutiae, trying to clean up the rules, axing a lot of the redundant stuff that nobody uses, say more in less, and reduce bookkeeping where possible. Also trying to make it easier to teach new players. Understanding things like your spells, resting/recovering/preparing spells, and things of that nature are easier. Reducing (hopefully eliminating) trap options, and including sidebar examples of when and why to use certain options.

For example: So much stuff has already been gutted from the Combat and Magic chapters and re-written from scratch. The magic chapter alone has had the arcane magical writings section completely re-written, arcane/divine magic isn't a thing anymore (magic in generally just doesn't really like armor, which gives incentive for priestly and clerical sorts to limit themselves to lighter armors if magic is their main focus). Rules are less scattered everywhere. Dealing with prepared casting isn't much more complicated than spontaneous casting.

5) Make the game more fun to play. A big point to this design goal is that you're never a gimp for a % of your career. You can feel like a mage from 1st level, and still feel like a warrior at 20th level.0

For example: Mages begin the game being able to do magey things like drop AoE spells, or actually cast magic each round as a reliable thing (rather than falling back to 1d3 cantrips or crossbows), and martials become superheroes at high levels, capable of running through a horde of mooks and leaving corpses in their wake (a side effect of a huge BAB and changes to how full-attacking works), and running over clouds (a side effect of skill changes), or wrestling dragons to the ground (combat maneuvers aren't limited by things like size, and we're also working on a system that lets you scale large monsters and cling to them while fighting them, so your martial would be able to run up a dragon and grab its horns and ride around on it as it moves).

Mages (casters in general) can still do awesome things. They can even do some more awesome things (we're planning to include blasting spells that do really fun things like raze cities) but major spells are often weaker vs level appropriate foes. So while your 20th level wizard might be able to wave his hand and turn a battalion of soldiers to stone or into chickens or something, doing that to a mighty dragon or a 20th level warrior is probably not happening. This means that you don't run into the issues where Epic Dudebro the Dood ends up a lawn ornament or the family pet because he rolled a 2 on a save.

Spell durations and ranges have been normalized. This means that buff spells are useful at low levels and at high levels, and those spells nobody casts at low levels because they only last 1-2 rounds are good then too. A lot of spells, especially martial-buffing things last a long time, so prepping things like bull's strength is a super cool idea.

6) Magic items are going to be parsed into the usual stuff and the good stuff. The good stuff is basically the junk you can't just go to a metropolis and find and there's a reason for that. You can't just poop it out with gold. This loosely connects to ideas such as the "wish economy concept" but at a certain point, general wealth stops converting to power and you have to use certain special materials like soulgems to create magic items or as special key spell components. These types of items have a GP value (for determining their worth for item creation or spells) but since they are must-haves for making legendary items or using legendary spells, nobody sells that junk and you'd be an idiot to sell it too.

This means that after a certain point, basic material wealth becomes a plot device. Start building kingdoms and s!$#. Outfit an army with +1 weapons. Ask your genie for your own mountain of money. We don't care. The sorts of weapons, armors, and items that you use at high levels aren't traded for in gold pieces. They have to be earned by things other than repeated castings of wall of iron and your friendly neighborhood Efreeti can't poop them out for you.

For example: You might be able to buy basic magic items with gold. A lot of the medium and below stuff. But grabbing a magic lamp, or finding an infinite money scheme just doesn't help you in the long run. The real wealth comes in the form of things like powerful soul gems, or the essence of a dead eldritch horror, or whatever. These high level currencies will be included as part of adventures and WBL, but they're essentially outside of the typical game economy. If you want a +5 sword, or the material component to that gate spell, you'll need to use these exotic currencies to do it. We haven't mapped out what the exotic currencies will be, but we do know that soul gems will be at least one of them.

7) A number of spells are showing up earlier, some later, and some are changing the way they scale.

For example: Some spells like blasting spells are showing up earlier and scaling differently, or have greater benefits when you cast them from higher level slots (kind of like intensify/heighten built in for blasting spells).

The spell Summon Monster no longer comes in I-IX varieties, and it has gobbled up Summon Nature's Ally in the process. Instead, you have one spell that scales with the spell-slot used to cast it and is limited primarily to animals and elementals. Class specializations (for things like conjurers, druids, bloodline sorcerers, etc) expand the list of things that you can summon.

So if you're a druid, you can expand it to summon things like fey, plant monsters, unicorns, and beefy ancient or primordial animals. A conjurer might be able to branch out into conjuring outsiders such as devils, demons, angels, azatas, etc. This generally means that summoning will tend to be more focused, but we can also make it more rewarding in some ways (such as being able to poop out a decently beefy or magical creature at levels where they're still fairly relevant).

We currently intend to revise the caps and limits on spells like Animate Dead, Planar Binding, Simulacrum, and Summon Monster, so that they aren't based on things like HD, and they're more flexible while also being more balanced (our current projection is to allow you to control a certain level worth of monsters, similar to building an encounter of a particular CR using an XP budget). Simulacrum's gonna need to get a biiiiiiig tweak and may end up requiring some of that super-currency we were talking about.

That's...most of it, I guess. General things.

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Klara Meison wrote:
TheAlicornSage wrote:

Hmm, I have only recently started reading this thread, so I don't know all the goals of this system you are developing, but there do seem to be some aspects that overlap, in which case it might be beneficial to join together, at least for those aspects. For example, handling of technology.

I still will stick with my own d20 mod of course, since I want classless (I hate classes with a burning passion), but it might lead to these other aspects being better in the long run.

So what are all the changes you are going for?

In d20 legends classes would work more like meta feat trees than anything else, really, so it will be practically classless as is.

The way I understand it, at least.

That's a pretty good assessment. The idea is that class based systems are usually too restrictive, but classless systems aren't restrictive or more specifically aren't structured enough.

For example, in most classless systems (especially those based around specific point buys), it's entirely possible to have a god of war and a complete gimp in the party at the same time, which might seem cool at first but it's a huge pain in the butt to try to actually design encounters for Marduk the Destroyer with a million HP, the ability to slice mountains in twain, and s%!% dragonfire, and his trusty companion Tim, who speaks three hundred different languages and is really good at chess.

So what we've done is kept the leveling system, which acts as a "I'm this tall to ride" standard (you KNOW that characters will be in a certain range based on their levels) but I removed the classes from that progression and turned them into a sort of "build your own" thing where you purchase classes and their features with a resource (talents).

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Klara Meison wrote:

Pathfinder does an admirable job at providing a ruleset for adventures in a classic fantasy setting-medieval fantasy with dragons and magic. It doesn't really extend all that well into high-tech settings, though.

Will D20 legends have support(in the form of rules, classes, or what else) for settings with a higher level of technology?

Yes. Even if it kills me. D20 Legends is, as I said before, stemming from my efforts to create the d20 system that I want to use to run my games for my players. Over the years, I've enjoyed playing/GMing D&D, D20 Modern, Star Wars, Pathfinder, etc.

I also have a habit of mixing a lot of these things together where I feel it's appropriate. For example, in a Star Wars game I ran years ago, I used ankhegs and advanced ankhegs to create a giant acid-spitting ant-colony type thing on a planet somewhere, which ended up with the PCs battling these monstrous "aliens" with lightsabers and blasters (and when the force-sensitive bounty hunter was grappled in the beast's mighty maw, he shoved a thermal detonator down her throat and hoped for the best as the acid was burning through everything).

Reverse it to a campaign I was running last year for Aratrok, Ms. Raital Latral, and my brother (and a few other friends who cycled around as our schedules fit together), set in my Alvena setting. In that world, the apocalypse technically already happened, and a lot of the magical doodads and crazy constructs like golems and stuff are remnants of a bygone age of technology and knowledge. The dungeon that they were exploring was a "floating city" and is one of many of these fallen cities that now dot the landscape. When you get right down to it, these were essentially space station cities orbiting the planet. Inside them is powerful ancient magic, strange constructs and guardians, and in this one, an infernal presence that was trapped within by the city's anti-planar travel barriers (which existed to prevent magicians in the ancient world from teleporting troops or terrorists into the city, and now made for a fine prison for a marilith who was trapped inside when the city fell).

I absolutely want a d20 system that deals with low and high technology and everything in between. I want a system that could handle running a campaign that is essentially set in a time of great change and new discoveries, or can handle small patches of "mad science" levels of tech (like when you have some crazy alchemist who builds a plasma cannon to mount on his golem, powered by a fire elemental and unicorn piss).

I've even got a few simple theories on how to handle the "balance" of that sort of thing without throwing everything out of whack. That is, tech items will generally be akin to magic items in form and function. For example, the main difference between things like plate armor and futuristic armor will probably be less about AC and more about absorption (to protect against energy attacks, or provide some DR against particular weapon types), which is functionally equivalent to things like resist energy.

This creates a nice "dial" so to speak, because if you're running a campaign that's like Star Wars or something, you just use a higher standard of currency. For example, if in your game, energy weapons and armors that protect against them are commonplace, then your campaign's starting currency might be something like 10,000 "galactic credits" or somesuch, and it just happens that a single "credit" is worth like 1 gp, just the economic scale is different.

It's delightfully simple because the rules can remain the same. Just changing the dial on how much currency is standard solves the problem. Because in a game where things like laser rifles and astrotech armor is as commonplace as bows and full plate, you just might start with 20,000 galactic credits or imperial seals or whatever instead of 200 gp.

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Well, these are hypotheticals. We'd need to run the math and see how it works out in practice, but if there's no penalty for flurry, it'll probably be a single bonus attack similar to being hasted, or it might be attacks that carry a separate penalty (e.g. they don't reduce your other attacks), or we might simply make them a standard source of extra attacks and just let you eat all the penalties usually (in which case you might do something like make a flurrying dual-wielder who's strategy is roll lots of d20s and count the natural 20s).

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Would it be badwrongfun to ask you a potentially spoilerific question about Iron Gods?

Nope, but I've also not really been following the APs lately. I've been so busy working and such that I haven't really had any need or desire to run them, but I don't mind trying to answer any questions if it's something I can answer. :)

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Kryzbyn wrote:
If flurry of blows is a talent, will it be limited to unarmed attacks?

Probably not. I didn't even limit it to monk weapons on my psychic monk (you can flurry with whatever you darn well pleased, you just got bonuses with unarmed strikes/monk weapons).

There's a sort of soft-cap on how many attacks is a good idea though. Each extra attack you make adds a -2 penalty to all your attacks, so if you can make like 6 attacks / round, you can take all of those attacks as you desire, but you're eating a -12 penalty to hit. This can be great if your intent is to slaughter a half-dozen orcs in a round, less so if your plan is to pummel the BBEG.

That said, for special extra attacks (like flurries or haste) I'll probably drop the penalty.

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Kryzbyn wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Good stuff

Cool beans. I'm super happy with this, and would be happy to participate in any testing you all need, or even to bounce ideas off of.

I ain't proud, and require no credit.

Definitely. I feel like I've still got a lot of ground to cover before it's ready for some real playtesting but progress is being made.

It's slow progress though, because it's being produced during my *cough*"free"*cough* time (whatever that is), and there is soooo much editing to do. It's in the nooks and crannies of the various chapters. A lot of text is getting trimmed, some new texts added, mechanics cleaned up or converted as needed, and stuff like that.

To put it into perspective, the Alpha I release of the Pathfinder playtest was on 3/18/08, and with an actual "staff" to work on it, it wasn't out of beta and in final form until GenCon 2009.

So in many ways, I'm proud of how much work I've been doing given how much stuff has to be changed. The big hurdles is less in terms of building classes, abilities, and stuff like that. It's the minutiae that's remarkably important, much of which wasn't addressed or fixed from Pathfinder.

A friend of mine, having been curiously doing some research on 3.x->PF, had this to say to me on Discord.

Rules Rant:
I decided on a whim to compare 3.0 -> 3.5 -> Pathfinder's systems for Cover and Concealment. I am f~!@ing livid.

3.0's system had vagaries (though the value of cover was no more subject to discretion than normal -> improved cover later), but they at least TRIED to address the thing where it's harder to shoot a dude with a crowd around them than with one guy in the way. It also didn't give you f%*+-off huge bonus to Hide if your cover was really good for some reason. Concealment is whatever. Basically the same with more granularity.

3.5 did a few good things. Condensing 3/4 and 9/10 cover into Improved Cover was good- having +7/+3 cover and +10/+4 cover that are nearly identical just adds more modifiers to remember (and +10 AC is even closer for f!#~-off huge). Removing the chance to hit buddies with your attacks was probably good, because comparing your attack to 3 different target numbers when soft cover is in play is f!&%ing crazy. It's hard coded instead of "I dunno, ask your GM if it applies". What they f$$~ed up was not giving you examples for what supply different kinds of cover- 3.0 had a nice table for this, but 3.5 just says "In some cases, cover may provide a greater bonus". The rules for shooting at big creatures are bugged and actually only apply when you're stabbing them, so if Godzilla has a boulder by his foot he's got cover. Also thereis now a f#!%-off huge +10 bonus to Hide checks. Concealment is weird and only Darkvision (not anything like Blindsight) is referred to as doing anything about darkness. Having Concealment and Total Concealment is easier on headspace, but you lose a little variety. Then they toss this out the window by saying "naw, GM makes up whatever concealment numbers are appropriate, have fun with your 17% concealment, b~&%#".(edited)
Pathfinder is literally just a copy paste of 3.5 on this. There are so many little things that could be cleaned up while reducing the amount of text, and they didn't even f!&$ing try. It's embarassing. Also because all they did to integrate stealth was f+@~ing CTRL+F "Hide" and "Move Silently" and replace them with Stealth, the +10, +20, and +40 bonuses to Hide from this s$#~ apply against all other senses now. RAW, having an arrow slit to hide behind makes you harder to detect by sound than hiding behind a solid wall, and that's f&*&ed. The section on Concealment even refers to your Stealth check as if it were Hide ("even though opponents can't see you, they might be able to figure out where you are from other visual or auditory clues").

G&#&@@nit. I'm mad. I had to rant about that. F+~+.

It's stuff like that which will take the longest. Also spells. Dear god, spells. (T-T)

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TheAlicornSage wrote:

Personally, I always disliked the idea of a martial caster where both magic and weapons are used to attack. I always wanted a class where the weapon is used to attack and the spells were in support of attacking with a weapon, such as invisibility, spider climb, enlarge person, etc. But I've never seen a class that really seemed like I wasn't expected to be a blaster with spells as well as sword.

Then again, the magic system of d20 isn't really the best for spellsword characters to begin with.

In that case I would strongly recommend the Bard in Pathfinder. While they don't have enlarge person (that I can recall anyway) they have a delightful set of spells that are incredibly for supporting their martial habits, including (but not limited to) things like heroism, good hope, greater invisibility, mirror image, blur, displacement, haste, glitterdust, see invisibility, dispel magic, dimension door, freedom of movement, greater heroism, etc.

Bards are remarkably good at this, because you don't build them as casters. Minimum casting stats are A-Ok, anything else is bonus spells only. Buff and stomp people. A well played bard is often functional more or less irreverent of their statistics (seriously, +2s across the board is very functional), and can often tank better than front-liners and beat ass like warriors (you have a 3/4 BAB, loads of long-duration spells and performances that stack, and access to the Arcane Strike feat that adds scaling damage).

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Icehawk wrote:

Heh. Gishes were always a weird idea to me in 3.5. I mean, when was the answer use your sword instead of cast a spell? As complicated as it is, I always liked the magus because it was the first to me that made the gish class feel like he wasn't just a wizard who's holding a longsword for some reason. I mean prior too, you were either a martial who wasn;t as good at martialling but had some answers to things, or you were a wizard who decided I want less options. Magus managed to make you not have to pick between solving the problem with a spell, or attacking.

I;m perfectly fine with them not having both in a system where martials will be worth a whole lot more. Though I do hope the hybrid option will at least not return us to the feel like I am choosing between a martial or caster each turn instead of being a unified whole of sorts.

Well, assuming you go full-route, you'll end up like this.

+20 BAB, 5th level casting (or an equivalent)
+15 BAB, 7th level casting (or an equivalent)
+10 BAB, 10th level casting (or an equivalent)

Further, what we know as "caster level" is 3.x/PF is always equal to your level, and your chance to overcome your foe's saves is the same regardless of the level of spell you are casting. As a result, the lesser casters (such as the Pally types and the Bard types) will have a much better time of keeping pace with their abilities, they just have fewer spell abilities than a full-caster and may not reach the highest tiers of spells (8th-10th).

Now, one of the major features of having a high BAB is that it also applies bonus-damage to attacks you make. This includes spells you make attacks with (so things like flame blade, shocking grasp, scorching ray, acid arrow, blah-blah) which can make certain spells really attractive to the martially inclined.

Likewise, many of the better buffing spells will tend to be 5th level and lower (things like divine power, polymorph, bull's strength, etc), which means if you want to be a martial with a splash of support magic, that's definitely an option.

I would like to include some talents on certain classes that allow you to cast spells as part of attacks (such as channeling a spell through a sword or like an arcane archer), or quicken spells when performing certain types of actions (such as physically attacking someone), which would allow for a nice magus feel for those who preferred that route.

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Mashallah wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

If you're a ranged rogue, you might be more of a debuffer, skulking the battlefield and taking pot-shots at people to assist your team with status ailments, or spotting enemies your allies have already given the bleeding condition and directing their attacks.

How likely is there to be a Cunning Strike equivalent without the 30ft hard limit for the more snipery types?

Very. Especially given my brother's overwhelming love of dwarven riflebros and his love of the rogue.

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Kryzbyn wrote:

This is exactly the response I was looking for.

I started to ask a bunch more questions, but I know you're not done and probably can't answer them at the moment. So, to keep them concise:

1) Do you envision every character getting the same talent pool, or will it be limited by BAB choice? Or will BAB be a talent choice as well?

I currently don't have any plans to have class talents require things like BAB or requiring certain levels of spellcasting (unless the talent somehow actually requires it for some reason).

BAB (and spellcasting) is irreverent of class or talents. Instead when you gain levels you progress down one of three routes (Martial, Hybrid, Magical) and you can flip-flop between them (so if you want to advance 10 levels as martial and 10 levels as mage you're going to be functionally identical to a 20 level hybrid).

2) Could some talent choices auto-negate other choices? (like having both full BAB and 9th level casting)

Currently as a design standard, there will be no way that you will be able to completely have your cake and eat it too. Martials are getting revved up and I believe on a fundamental level that you should not be able to do things like in 3.x/Pathfinder where Gishes can casually reach top-level magical superiority while also getting to have all the benefits of being a martial and then some.

There are plans to create some class features that allow special exceptions, such as allowing classes to get certain themed spells in a limited capacity in the same way that bards get irresistible dance despite it traditionally being an 8th level spell, but by the large, BAB or spellcasting are two ends of the same see-saw, and you can't rise on both of them at the same time.

3) Would bonus feat progression be a talent purchase?


4) Are you worried about "core builds" or a list of obvious talent choices for a character type or concept?

Yes! We'll probably include a few sample themed builds (not terribly unlike how certain barbarian archetypes recommend certain rage powers) and we'll also include suggested paths for certain iconic character paths.

And once people are comfortable with the system, they can begin to branch out and try more exotic things if you'd like. In fact, I commented to Aratrok that one of the things I was most looking forward to would be the inevitable forum threads on whatever forum we used as the platform for our game, where actual players were posting their unique mixtures of classes and talents making up their own archetypes out of the options they had.

I'm excited about giving people some LEGOs and see what make of them. :)

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Kryzbyn wrote:

On a d20 legends note...

As you're probably all well aware, I like getting and using ideas from video games, and borrowing them for my table top experiences. Case in point Ash's WoW Warlock and my Dragon Knight both are classes from video games that I thought would be fun to play in a table top game.
With that in mind, how flexible will the class archtypes be to create various concepts?
Case in point...
Playing Age of Conan, they have a class called the "Herald of Xotli", which is a character that's dabbled in demonology a little too far, and has been claimed by Xotli. They are a mage, BUT are mostly a melee class.
They are big on using hellfire (both raw and with weapons), 2 handers, and wear cloth. They get boosts to avoidance, and for a bout 30 seconds (with a 3 minute cooldown) they can take on an "avatar" form, turning into a demon, which raises damage, survive-ability and pulses fire damage to all enemies in melee range.
How easy would this be to recreate?

It's a bit too early for me to be giving specific mechanical routes (I noted a few posts back that aside from some very dirty and loose early drafts there has been little done to develop classes, in favor of getting the core of the system constructed) but I can say a few things on the subject that I think are relevant and will continue to be relevant even in the final product.

1) Because your base statistics such as HP, BAB, Skills, and Spellcasting aren't tied to your class, making a "mage" who exercises his magical wisdom by shoving swords up peoples asses (animal cruelty aside) is a totally valid option. :)

2) Because of the way my multiclassing system is designed, you'll be able to mix and match classes in ways never even dreamed of in d20 outside of the grossest examples of gestalting (think like triple multiclassed gestalt characters or somesuch craziness) except that it'll be at least kinda balanced (I say kinda because, who knows, I may drop the ball or something but the framework's totally legit).

As an example, you've got these things called talents. You get 'em kinda like you get feats, and they're kind of your ability-currency. You trade them for class features. Now you can also buy new classes with them (essentially saying "Okay, I'm a rogue now, check out my cunning strike!" or "Looks like I'm a champion, I got some divine powah!") which in turn allows you to spend future talents on picking up class features of that class.

So like, you'll get about 11 talents over the course of your career. Minor class features (like barbarian rage powers or thins that scale with your level) will usually cost 1-2 talents at most (so you might drop a talent to get a rage power progression that gives you 1 rage power at 2nd, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level; but a second talent dropped improves the progression to 4th, 8th, 12th, and 16th level as well). Other major abilities that add delightful things such as allowing you to perform multiple bardic performances at once as part of the same action may cost an entire talent.

Point is, because all classes and combinations are vying for your talent points, the end result is a 20th level character has the same general value of abilities as another 20th level character. Except one might be the paragon barbarian who's fully invested 100% into Barbarian; you might have the other character being some sort of Mage/Ranger who whisks around on his loyal dire wolf Mr. Scruffles while he tosses fireballs and occasionally lets Mr. Scruffles grow scales and breath fire; or you might have that one guy that has yet to fully explain why he's a priestly paladin-bro who performs interpretive dance magic while fighting with a lightning katana in one hand and a parasol in the other, while and growing a wolf tail out of his ass...but it kind of works for him.

3) I think that, perhaps most importantly, when I'm designing a something for the game, I strongly imagine and envision how it would play out. I kind of project scenarios in my head thinking "How would this be used?", "what would be fun?", "How can this be made interesting to play?", and so forth. Much like games like World of Warcraft, it's not about being a particular role, it's about enjoying filling that role the way you want to fill it. Playing a Restoration Druid is a vastly different style of healer than a Discipline Priest. Being a Warlock is vastly different from being a Mage, even though they are on the surface both DPS/CC specialists wearing light armor and using magic.

When I try to design something, I try to design abilities and features as packages and intend for them to be used together. For example, here's some examples from the very rough and ugly and unfinished and oh my god the embarrassment early class drafts for the rogue.

Cunning Strike; Sinister Strike; Staggering Strike; Blinding Strike; Rending Strike; and Blood Hunter.

Here, you can see where part of the vision for the rogue involves being able to be a terrifying beast in close quarter's combat. They hurt you, a lot. But moreso, they are good at disabling and harassing people if direct damage isn't the best option. But looking at these abilities, the rogue's gameplay "goal" is to get on a target and make it difficult for the target to fight back or escape them. Staggering strike makes it progressively harder to get away from them or chase allies. Blinding strike makes it hard to fight back (in D20 Legends, Dazzled = everything has 20% concealment, which also means the Rogue can Stealth vs you). Rending Strike causes you to start bleeding, ups their critical chances against you, and makes it almost impossible to use misdirection to fool the rogue (he'll find you and gut you, even if you're invisible or have mirror image or displacement spells active).

The element is get on that guy and make is life miserable. Flank when you can. Fight dirty. You have a specialized role, now milk it like only you can.

If you're a ranged rogue, you might be more of a debuffer, skulking the battlefield and taking pot-shots at people to assist your team with status ailments, or spotting enemies your allies have already given the bleeding condition and directing their attacks.

Lots more needs to be added but I hope this gives an idea as to the sort of mindset that goes on when I'm designing stuff. I don't just make a stand-alone ability, I make a series of abilities intended to be usable with each other towards a common goal or theme, and then let players do with them as they please. Sometimes you might make a hybrid. I know a friend of mine made an assassin lady who fights with a pair of sewing scissors, a parasol, and throws knitting needles.

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Sure go for it.

As a note, a lot of vampires in this that I wrote are in fact badguys (there are those that aren't but the evil ones seem to propagate more readily) but a lot of them (particularly the non-ferals) often insinuate themselves into the societies that they are part of and act as a form of secret government or in some cases open government where there's no secret that the local landlord is in fact a powerful vampire.

However, these insinuations are ultimately symbiotic, which is one of the reasons that they can be difficult for some to stamp out. If there is a coven of vampires in the area, you are going to have to deal with their spies and informants (often perfectly living humanoids and/or dhampir passing as humans) who are going to mislead or snitch as to your intentions. You're going to have to deal with the fact that, on some level, some of the villages and their peoples are safer because the vampires and their servants (which often include lycanthropes) are around because they protect the people from things like trolls and/or other beastly sorts that could cause problems (and if your local vampire lord isn't particularly gluttonous, being fed on might not even spell your doom like getting eaten by a troll would).

I feel like I need to clean up some of the Sylvantha stuff (it was written rather hastily and I think I painted a too shiny image of the poor downtrodden monsters at the hands of that nasty oppressive order; or something that sounds like that). In truth, neither is particularly shiny but neither is particularly without its virtues either. There are good, and bad, in both camps (as there usually is in everything and every organization).

So a lot of the things you mentioned in your PM aren't far off from how they frequently operate. They have a way of getting into areas and making themselves just a little too useful to be driven out and purged in many cases.

In fact, one of the PCs that I've got in the campaign is a member of the Chalice line of vampires, which work strange healing magics using manipulations of the magic surrounding vampirism (such as the transference of life forces). Many of their houses actually put down deep roots during the plague and the years following, as their immunity to disease and their willingness to secretly heal the sick they were feeding on means that in some villages, if you're particularly desperate, someone you knew for a long time may take you aside and say something like...

"Look...don't ask how I know this but, if you take little Emma up to the castle at midnight, the countess will meet with you, and she'll save her life in exchange for yours. I didn't say anything," before walking off.

And when the desperate parents heed this strange advice and head to the castle, they are met in the courtyard of the old haunted castle, with the only light being the moon, a torch, and the eerie reflection of a werewolf's eyes in the darkness somewhere. The countess and her kin appear from a cloud of bats.

"Welcome to Castle Devir," she says with a formal nod and an old common accent. "I've been expecting you," she adds.

Terrified, but desperate, the parents plead for the life of their child if there is anything they can do. Fearful, they expect one of them to be taken in the child's place, but they are surprised...

"Then it is settled, your lives for the the child," the countess remarks. Kneeling down to the child, the countess bites down and instead of blood, draws forth the sickness into her like a cloud of black mist, leaving her for the first time in weeks, well.

Returning the daughter to the parents, she wipes her mouth and remarks, "As promised. I trust you will honor your part of the bargain. Some of servants will meet you in three days and better prepare you for the nature of your services. You will speak to no one about this night, save those who would seek us as you have sought us, and we may come to collect our tax from you when we see fit,"

"What tax?" the mother asks confused. The countess simply grasps her with her strong arms, causing the woman to shiver like a rabbit being held by a fox. "The one you already expected to pay," she says biting the woman and drawing blood. She then releases her bite, leaving the woman a little light headed but unharmed. "Consider this your first payment. If you need anything else, don't hesitate to visit again," she says as she and her kin suddenly vanish into a swarm of bats.

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Wouldn't hurt my feelings. :P

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Icehawk wrote:
They seem really neat. I look forward to when the full entries are finished. Though with how insular communities are in Sylvantha and such I'd start worrying about the genepool after awhile :p.

Yeah true that. I might reduce the level of insularity between the towns a bit or I might actually play that genepool thing up a little (maybe a little of both). :P

Sylvantha was written explicitly to allow multiple GMs on their persistent world to run adventures set in the area with whatever towns or villages they wanted to include, without it screwing up anyone else's stuff. If you wanted a town to be wiped out by something, or secretly be made up of body snatchers or something, it would be more or less okay to the grand scheme of things.

I'll play around with it a bit later.

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Ms. Raital Latral wrote:

Once we get the wiki and administrative stuff handled and clean everything up, we'll likely begin to accept applications.

We may end up advertising the game on, but I'm sure when things finish and it becomes open to the public, the first thing Ashiel will do is post the application page here :P

Well, I could do that if you wanted. (0-0)

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Hey, some friends of mine are working on a persistent world campaign that's going to be open in the near-ish future, and I've been asked to help. As a result, I've been writing some stuff for the campaign, so can I get some feedback on a few spots I'm responsible for?

Wyrmspire City and Sylvantha the Darklands.

EDIT: I don't think they're accepting public applications at the moment (I think the forum on the site's mostly dead at the moment). Just thought I should note that. o_o;

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Yep. It's pretty much to keep Paizo safe from people trying to abuse legal actions, but it also opens a new avenue of legal abuse from a different direction, so I think it's better to just leave the potential for abuse out of the equation.

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