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Ashiel's page

RPG Superstar 2015 Star Voter. 10,467 posts (10,470 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.

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Aranna wrote:
I don't think people are understanding personal bias. Personal bias doesn't necessarily mean favoring a GMPC over the players, although that is a form of it. Every decision is colored by your own take on things and that is what personal bias is. Good personal bias might be favoring the PCs over any monsters or NPCs, saying yes instead of no by default when a player suggests something, or even favoring heroically themed adventures over villainous ones. Everyone has some form of personal bias by being human.

I think I have an issue with personal bias being equated with judgment. Most notably...

Bias wrote:


1. a particular tendency, trend, inclination, feeling, or opinion, especially one that is preconceived or unreasoned: illegal bias against older job applicants; the magazine’s bias toward art rather than photography; our strong bias in favor of the idea.
Judgment wrote:


1. an act or instance of judging.
2. the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion:
a man of sound judgment.
3. the demonstration or exercise of such ability or capacity:
The major was decorated for the judgment he showed under fire.
4. the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, as from circumstances presented to the mind: Our judgment as to the cause of his failure must rest on the evidence.

What you describe as good personal bias I see as a very bad thing as well. As a GM, I will not favor my PCs over monsters and NPCs, say yes instead of no by default, etc. In fact, I will not do the opposite of those things either. I will, however, judge each situation as fairly as possible. This is not bias, it's doing your job.

By accepting the risk of bias one can overcome it. There are many very negative things that are innate aspects of our humanity, including but not limited to destructive instincts and behaviors that we can rise above. Even the mere fact that some people here note that even if they think that GMPCs could work but that they themselves do not feel they can pull it off shows a great deal of higher thought process from these people as they can evaluate their situation and make a well thought judgment on it, recognizing their own strengths and playing better to those.

But I apologize, I just do not agree with your proposed bias.

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Qaianna wrote:

Given some of the traits available, I can see some argument here. 'Oh, I have 900 gold at first level. While the barbarian decided to get UMD as a class skill and the wizard will always have +1 initiative.'

Honestly, I wouldn't allow Rich Parents to be picked up from the Additional Traits feat. Unless you had a REALLY good reason. One that amused me sufficiently, anyway.

As a GM, remember, 'It's just WRONG' can be a valid excuse. Which is why I'm not pressuring mine to let me build that +1 flaming frost greataxe yet.

What's wrong with a +1 flaming frost greataxe?

Name it Coldfire.
EDIT: Or Emberice.
A few other cool names could include...

Balor's heart, Twins' Axe, Unity, Nature's Wrath, Axe of Quasielementalism, Thermo-Cleaver, etc.

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Cap. Darling wrote:
Hmm you should never bother is not a har rule but i see your point. But what if they after level 6 come in really great numbers? 32 of them is a CR encounter after all.

I suppose at that point it's GM's discretion. I'd probably only award the XP if they were actively doing something to provide a challenge.

For example, I would probably include the XP of some CR 1/4 kobolds in an encounter where preventing the kobolds from pulling levers and such to mess with the party was a thing, or if they were running around actively aiding their higher CR brethren (aid anothers, body blocking, etc). Truthfully, because kobolds are NPC classed they can pull above their weight class pretty strongly (they are definitely the strongest of the CR 1/4 critters) but I'm not sure I'd award XP for just catching a bunch of hapless kobolds in a room and mashing them into paste.

Which is kind of what I think is happening with the rats, except more unfair. Maybe if they were rats trained for combat who were somehow supporting their rat-king overlord. Mmmm, fun times could be had with that. :3

That said, even if the GM was imposing a -1 CR for the "encounter" for the extreme disadvantage of the rats, getting to level 5 for 500-ish gold is cheapsauce and once you're 5th level, you should quickly be able to catch back up to your WBL since if you pick your poison Gygaxian-style, you can probably use your party's 5th level durability + spells to go wreck some CR 1-3 things en mass and gear up. :P

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Rich Parents seems like a good trait for the new Vigilante class.

I see what you did there. :3

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Cap. Darling wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Cap. Darling wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

I once took Rich Parents + Dusk Agent for a character to start with 1800 gp. I then used the 10% discount to acquire a lot of onyx stone and spent the rest on spellcasting services and began the game as a Mummy.

EDIT: Best. First. Level. Ever.

If i were to play with your group i would take the trait and spend 535 gp on rats and kill them all. Instant level 20 on slow progression;)

Best. First. Session. Ever.

Wouldn't that kind of run into trouble at 6th level when the rats stopped giving you XP points?

EDIT: Also, who the heck statted rats? They're CR 1/4? Really? A rat has more HP than a commoner?

Humorously being a mummy put me at "5th level" so it seems pretty similar, though your method would be way better for a spellcasting class (since who wants to eat -5 caster levels?). :D

It's worth mentioning the GM thought the idea was funny and OK'd it before I tried it. :)

Why would rats stop giving Xp at level 6 they give a amazing 100 pr rat or 10000 pr gp. It was in D&D 3 and 3.5 that gp was changing with character level.

And of cause your gp would need to approve it and that is why my trick Will never happen.
Edit: and yes rats seem to be stattet for the familiar role and seem a bit in the High end.

Because when something is -10 CRs below your APL they stop granting XP. It's in the core rulebook where it explains XP. So you'd...

Kill rats, reach level 2.
Kill rats, reach level 3.
Kill rats, reach level 4.
Kill rats, reach level 5.
Kill rats, reach level 6.
CR 1/4 is 6-10, rats give no more XP for you.

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Cap. Darling wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

I once took Rich Parents + Dusk Agent for a character to start with 1800 gp. I then used the 10% discount to acquire a lot of onyx stone and spent the rest on spellcasting services and began the game as a Mummy.

EDIT: Best. First. Level. Ever.

If i were to play with your group i would take the trait and spend 535 gp on rats and kill them all. Instant level 20 on slow progression;)

Best. First. Session. Ever.

Wouldn't that kind of run into trouble at 6th level when the rats stopped giving you XP points?

EDIT: Also, who the heck statted rats? They're CR 1/4? Really? A rat has more HP than a commoner?

Humorously being a mummy put me at "5th level" so it seems pretty similar, though your method would be way better for a spellcasting class (since who wants to eat -5 caster levels?). :D

It's worth mentioning the GM thought the idea was funny and OK'd it before I tried it. :)

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bookrat wrote:

Whether you're a GM or a player, at some point in your gaming career you will encounter a cheater. Cheating may include fudging dice rolls, altering character sheets mid game, having illegal builds, and more.

Sometimes, the cheating in accidental, like a person making a mistake on a character build. Sometimes it's intentional, but beneficial to the game, like a GM fudging dice rolls to keep a character alive or to enhance the story. Sometimes it's just someone who wants to have the "best" character and is hoping you won't notice.

I informally surveyed some of my friends and have received responses ranging from "I dont tolerate it at all and the person needs to be confronted by the GM or the group" to "if a person really has to cheat in order to enjoy the game, then so be it."

What's your toleration limit? How do you deal with it - as a player or a GM? If your response is, "It's the GM's job," then how do you deal with it when the GM either doesn't deal with it or is too afraid to confront the cheater? What do you do if the person cheating is the GM? Is it different than if the person cheating is a fellow player?

How much cheating do you tolerate?

None. Respect or find another table. If it's an accidental mistake in the build you can fix it (we all make these mistakes from time to time, there's a lot to keep track of). If you're cheating at dice, I'll warn you once that every time you "fudge" your dice I'll "fudge" mine and karmic justice is a b$+~$, so you better carefully consider if cheating is worth getting auto-crit with a life drinker sometime down the line.

As a GM I do not fudge dice. I do not think it helps the game and I have never once seen it do anything that wasn't ultimately harmful to the group. I'm vehemently opposed to cheating on an ethical level and it's one of the few things I'm very rigid on.

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DM Under The Bridge wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:


Allied NPC: character created by the GM to accompany the PCs. It's on a character sheet and levels with the party, shares loot, etc.
GMPC: same exact thing, only the GM has "emotional attachment", and then ruins the game with it.
By your quote marks, should I conclude that you consider emotional attachment to be a foreign concept, Kryzbyn?
I have emotional attachment to all of my NPCs. :3
It is sad if they get it in the neck, but such is npc life.

I've seen the "icky GMPC syndrome" occur for major NPCs as well. It's not limited to GMPCs. A lot of GMs are likely to cheat to keep an NPC they put a lot of work or thought into alive or ensure that the BBEG cannot die or something. All of this stuff relates to the exact same problems that lead to GMPCs being an issue for groups. It's all connected at the root.

Honestly it's very hard to find a GM that's worth playing under, GMPCs or otherwise.

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Tels wrote:
Burn is a mechanic that, damages the users body. For every point of burn you possess, you take a number of points of non-lethal damage equal to your character level. So a 10th level character with 4 points of burn has 40 points of non-lethal damage. The non-lethal damage cannot be reduced or healed in anyway, except for resting for 8 hours. So no Damage Reduction, regeneration, Wish, Miracle etc. to remove the non-lethal damage or remove the Burn.

Wow, I really wish they didn't do that. I like the burn as a drawback but breaking the normal rules for nonlethal damage means tracking three different damage pools for two different types of damage. Now you have to track which amount on nonlethal damage is real nonlethal damage and which amount is burn nonlethal damage because they heal at different rates.

Normal nonlethal damage heals 1 HP/HD every hour.

And... I'm going to just stop here. I'm a big fan of what they're doing with the Kineticist, and I have a tendency to ramble on about it.

Feel free. Your rambling has never bothered me before and I'd dare say won't start soon.

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Tels wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
I wonder if that's what Paizo meant by "our answer to psionics". Aratrok and I have been trying to figure that out. Maybe they meant "these classes will be easily refluffable like psionics"?

My understanding is Paizo doesn't like the power point system because it's a different casting system than all other magic. In addition, they also think that newer players tend to blow all of their PP and nova with the system, which they don't see happen as often with vancian casting.

I'm also betting they had some bad run-ins with the abusive players from the previous edition that abused aspects of the psionics frequently.

All that insanity aside (they say psionics is OP and publish Spellbane :P), I meant we were confused because of that. We'd heard that Paizo intended it to be their answer to psionics but all it seemed like was more vancian stuff because we knew they weren't touching the mechanics (which also seems weird because the vast majority of psionics fans that I've seen wouldn't be half the fans if not for the amazing mechanics). So, maybe they meant as something more fluffable, y'know?

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
I just did a good deed by giving some money to a guy to help him replace the money he'd accidentally dropped and was picked up by someone else. He'd been crying because without the money he'd be stranded at the airport, so I withdrew some money from my checking account to help him, and his relief was palpable. He even hugged me! I know this was the right thing to do. So why do I find myself feeling guilty about it and trying to convince myself of that? In an RPG I'd do that sort of thing in a heartbeat. Why does it feel like I wasted money instead?

I would estimate that it's several factors, including (but not necessarily limited to) the fact that our money is often hard earned and we're (probably rightfully) conditioned to not waste it or throw it away frivolously. So that probably feels weird having given a man money with nothing physical to show for it.

In an RPG, you don't value money in the same way because it doesn't affect your life in the same way. However, while the sacrifice is more meaningful in reality, so too is the good that it does. In RPGs, giving out some dosh means you get a few more good-points and go on about your day and it means nothing once you turn off the machine or step away from the table. In reality, the money you have was a real sacrifice because it means you no longer have something, but the impact that you have was in turn all the more real in that you just helped that guy get back home.

There can be conflicting emotions, especially depending on how much you value money. In the end, I'm pretty proud of you that you helped him out. My mom once had some conflicted feelings in my stead when I was working one of my first jobs. I've never valued money that much beyond having enough to function, so when I overheard a coworker of mine talking on her phone during her lunch break with her husband about their money issues and concerns about the holidays coming up, I decided I could do something about that.

Where I worked handled money and cashed checks for people, so when I went to pick up my check, I asked the receptionist at the desk to do me an odd favor. I asked her to cash my check for the week, put the money in an envelope with my co-worker's name on it, and tell her that someone left it there for her. The look on the receptionist's face was pretty interesting. XD

(Though not a relevant part of the story, the receptionist came up to me a while later and remarked that she had never seen anyone do anything like that in all the years she worked there. Apparently my coworker started crying tears of happiness out of relief and amazement since this was like an extra week of pay for her out of nowhere. I'll admit that felt pretty nice to know that it would definitely help her out when she needed it.)

When my mother learned what happened she was concerned for me that I just dropped a few hundred dollars on someone anonymously, mostly because she didn't want me to put myself out or anything. Motherly concerns. However my Grandma told me later that even though my mother was concerned, she was indeed proud of what I had done, and my mother did things like that too.

So I guess what I'm saying is, it's natural to feel a sense of buyer's remorse (even though you haven't actually bought anything) but if it makes any difference I'm proud of you for making a difference.

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Crystal Frasier wrote:
I also tend towards the martial classes--fighter, barbarians, rangers, and rogues--so naturally I am widely hated here at the Paizo offices :D

It all makes sense now! (^o^)

Have you tried out anything by Dreamscarred Press? Particularly in their psionics or path of war line?

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Ceaser Slaad wrote:
Jesus loves the OP and everybody else in this thread.

This is not what Lunch Money says. :P

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Skeld wrote:

Has Gorbacz posted to this thread yet? He's on my ignore script.


That seems like a waste of free entertainment. :P

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Kalindlara wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:

S***f posts are an insult now?

...I was just doing it because I dig blue chicks, and apparently I've been assigned S***fette for most of my s***f avatars.

FF's Shiva is sexy. I damn near developed an ice fetish as a teenager thanks to her.

I always liked Maduin myself. ^_^

S'where Terra got her good looks. ;)

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thegreenteagamer wrote:
FF's Shiva is sexy. I damn near developed an ice fetish as a teenager thanks to her.

Amen. :P

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Sissyl wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:


Allied NPC: character created by the GM to accompany the PCs. It's on a character sheet and levels with the party, shares loot, etc.
GMPC: same exact thing, only the GM has "emotional attachment", and then ruins the game with it.
By your quote marks, should I conclude that you consider emotional attachment to be a foreign concept, Kryzbyn?

I have emotional attachment to all of my NPCs. :3

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Sissyl wrote:
And when used poorly and well, was that in any way related to the GM rooting for the GMPC as THEIR CHARACTER IN THAT GAME? See, that is the only relevant distinction. If you consider a GMPC to mean a character traveling with the party, of course they can enrich a campaign whatever their power level. But once the GM indulges his/her desire to play as well, things go south fast.

I root for all the PCs in the game, and then I drop a beholder on them. I still hope they win though. :)

EDIT: A summary of Ashiel the GM as follows.

When Assisting Players: Lawful Good. I want to ensure everyone's having fun, and I'm perfectly open to examining homebrew content or making some for you to help you have your character be healthy and happy.

When Arbitrating: Lawful Neutral. I liked that character too but it failed its save. That's the breaks.

When Making Encounters & Challenges: Lawful Evil. 'Nuff said.

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Jaelithe wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
Wow. I almost expected one, but two people? That's unheard of, and pleasantly surprising!
So we have two posters who are generally Anti-DMPC agreeing that they perhaps can be done right...but no DMPC running DM's that have conceded that perhaps they shouldn't be running them?

I think it's so self-evident it doesn't need to be conceded but ... since you're still on about it: I readily concede that point. You are correct on that aspect of the issue, DrDeth.

Dude ... no one's saying you haven't made valid points.

On the other hand ... no DM running DMPCs is going to be aware that he or she should cease and desist if no one's called him or her on the issue, assuming one exists. Players who don't speak up don't effect change ... and that's the likely consequence of their reticence.

Pro-DMPC DMs in this thread have conceded that they've seen it done wrong, that they themselves have done it wrong in the past, and that it's not something that players who don't like it should subject themselves to after a reasonable attempt at accommodation.

That's as close as the two sides are likely to get.

Honestly speaking, there's no way for a GM to know they're doing anything right without feedback from the players. If players secretly hate that the GM uses puzzles but when he asks for feedback they explicitly never mention their distaste for puzzles then they'd best get used to seeing more puzzles.

I tend to ask for feedback on my games from my groups frequently if not after each session. Common questions include things like:

1. What was your favorite part of the game? Why?
2. What was your least favorite part? Why?
3. For your least favorite part, what would you have liked to have seen or how might it be better?
4. Are there themes or elements that you'd like to explore or have the opportunity to explore?

Stuff like that. In all honesty, the argument that the GM may be running one and his PCs not telling him they don't like it is about as silly as suggesting that GMs are probably bad because they use orcs, because the players may not like orcs but won't tell you. Replace "orcs" with literally any aspect of the game ever.

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Ashiel wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
Hah! Good times! :D
One of the reasons the 5 ft. step is getting the axe is we're already encouraging more mobility in encounters. We're probably going to replace it and withdraw with moving defensively which essentially trades away actions to move while covering yourself. It's also going to use a hex map so we won't have 1-2-1-2-1-2-1 squares anymore.

For the record my group has been using a hex grid to play Pathfinder for quite a while. It's glorious how well it works. :o

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Tacticslion wrote:
Hah! Good times! :D

One of the reasons the 5 ft. step is getting the axe is we're already encouraging more mobility in encounters. We're probably going to replace it and withdraw with moving defensively which essentially trades away actions to move while covering yourself. It's also going to use a hex map so we won't have 1-2-1-2-1-2-1 squares anymore.

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Well we're probably murdering the 5-ft. step, so the wording would need some re-arranging at least. :P

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Mathius wrote:

Cloth cleric is thing that is needed.

How are you handling neat class only things like wildshape or spell combat.

Feats? Class options?

Leaning primarily towards class options. If you've seen my psychic monk from way back when, you'll notice I'm very, very fond of optional class features (you'll notice that the vast majority of the monk features got reshuffled into optional talents).

We're theorycrafting some standards for class design at the moment and weighing their pros and cons, but we do know that however it comes out the need for things like archetypes will be greatly diminished if there is one at all.

At the moment we're letting classes cook on the back burner while we're working on the main course (the core), but here's some of the ideas that we've already got cooked up.

A Core Mechanic: I mentioned earlier that classes that share a vastly different mechanic from one-another are worth being their own classes, while classes that share a similar mechanic can be merged together. Here's two examples of what I mean.

A mechanic that defines a class is likely to be something like Grit, or Rage, or Spells. A sort of resource-driven thing that other class features will often tie-into. I remarked to my brother that I will of course rebuild my gunslinger for the new core, but it won't be a gunslinger. Instead it will be a daring warrior that uses a resource (grit) to do awesome things. Guns will be an option, but you could just as easily have a set of talents and features that are aimed at melee weaponry, or inspiring others, or tanking, or doing other cool things.

Meanwhile, we will probably include optional paths or major class choices that determine specializations. For example, Paladin and Ranger plus an arcane knight equivalent that does not exist in Pathfinder would probably share the same chassis. However, you might have a Champion path (for smites/challenges), a Hunter path (for Favored Enemy type things), or a Magic Knight path (granting the ability to channel spells through weapons), but then they would have talents that could be shared between them (such as animal companions or the ability to add enhancement bonuses to their weapons).

We'll probably also include options for mixing it up between classes. Tels pretty much nailed it when he mentioned things like wild-shaping magi or bards with animal companions and stuff like that. We're pretty excited about it.

Making it Easy: Foremost, I hope that everyone recognizes that Aratrok and I are all about keeping the optimization floor high and the ceiling low. We're also very much aware of the "option paralysis" that can overtake some people. Because of this, when we do finally start working on the classes in detail, we will be including themed packages that will come pre-optimized for certain roles and themes. Allowing people to just dive right in, or use it as a starting point for developing their own characters.

For example, maybe you really like the Ranger package but you don't want to have an animal companion to keep track of, so you might instead opt to make traps instead, or you might decide you like the stealth hunter aspect of it but you would rather trade out your hunting bit for the ability to channel spells through your weapons and then choose spells like contagion and poison to be a sort of magic assassin with a flying familiar as a spy.

Aratrok and I both believe that Roleplaying should never be punished by bad mechanics. If it's not something that we ourselves wouldn't be happy to play, we're not going to make it. We would never dump useless abilities into a package or class and then make the excuse of "it's for flavor". Ideally, we wouldn't make useless abilities in the first place. :P

Love the revision so far.

Thanks. It's back to working on it now that I'm home from work. :)

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What's in the box? wrote:

That sounds exciting. Are witches there? I likes me some Witches Ash (I watched the final season of Charmed if that is any indication) so I would like to throw my hat into the circle of Witch packages.

Thank you

The beauty of the d20 system is how modular it is. Given the way that we're planning to implement spells, picking witchy-themed spells will be easy. As for setting them up with things like hexes, well that's just a few optional class features away.

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Off to work, be back in about 8 hours.

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More on Classes
Here's some more considerations about classes.

Old Tropes, New Options
Since we're cutting the number of classes down and picking the options up, one of the first things that springs to mind as a possibility is cutting down on variant classes. Let's use divine characters as an example for a moment.

Traditionally you have three different archetypes for the divine in fantasy: The holy warrior, the D&D cleric, the white mage. Pathfinder has the Paladin and the Cleric but the Cleric is also kind of the White Mage (it's a hybrid class that casts 9th level spells).

In this system if you wanted to make a holy warrior you would take the Perfect BAB + 1/2 Casting chassis and go that route. The cleric would go to a 3/4 + 3/4 routine (getting up to 7th level spells). Finally you'd have your squishy priest who performed miracles as their primary mode of operation with the 1/2 BAB + Perfect casting.

Same could be said for Rangers or Feral Druids, D&D Druids, and Merlins/Shaman type archetypes.

Same further could be said for a Mage Knight, Bard/Magus, or Wizard/Sorcerer.

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What's in the box? wrote:
Good luck :)

Thanks. :D

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Keeping it Classy
I'm a bit of a paradox when it comes to game design. I simultaneously believe that "less is more" and "the more the better". The catch is, it varies depending on what "more" is. When it comes to more classes, I'm definitely leaning towards the first, but when it comes to more options I'm shoveling the coal to fuel the engine.

Long story short, I'd rather have 12 classes that can cover virtually every single concept ever, rather than making an entirely new class every time something new comes along. There's a lot of class overlap in Pathfinder (especially after the advanced class guide) and it was just horrible in 3.x.

Instead, we're looking into a simpler system where each class tends to fall within certain standards and is defined from each other by a core mechanic and what talents, feats, and spells they decide to invest in.

For example, Paladins vs Rangers and Clerics vs Druids and Wizards vs Sorcerers are pretty redundant. Instead you'd have 3 classes that you could make into all of those things.

A Comparison to Something Existing
Barbarians in Pathfinder got it right. There usually aren't tons of archetypes for barbarians rather than tons of new rage powers and suggested rage powers for making a barbarian of a certain flavor and fashion.

The Big Three
Because there are no spell lists in the game, there are three primary chassis that are projected for development.

Magic Warrior (Perfect BAB, 5th level spells)
Hybrid (3/4 BAB, 7th level spells)
Magician (1/2 BAB, 10th level spells)

Naturally we'll include non-casting classes as well, but these three chassis here cover the vast majority of what is available in Pathfinder core. Specifically it covers Bards, Clerics, Druids, Paladins, Rangers, Sorcerers, and Wizards, leaving only Barbarian as the remaining core class in Pathfinder (yes, I'm a dick and I love kicking dead horses :P).

Making it Easy To Pickup
We'll have themed starting packages for traditional roles right there in the core. If you want to just have a Druid right out of the gate without picking any abilities yourself.

What Provokes a New Class?
In this system, a new class will only be released when it changes the fundamentals of how the class plays. For example, we don't see much point in having sorcerers and wizards but we do see a point in having mages & psions, as they use an entirely different but balanced system that appeals to different players for different reasons.

Spells Known vs Spell Lists
Our current projection essentially includes allowing characters a sort of universal selection of spells. However all classes that have spells will have a limited selection of spells available to them and will be able to cast them with their spell slots. Certain talents and/or specializations may allow casting higher level spells earlier in some cases.

We've also discussed having certain spells restricted to themed packages that you can pick up with special investments (kind of like how domains, bloodlines, or discipline powers work) which can be used to further make different characters feel more different/special.

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Brb, shower, then more about classes

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Some Magical Changes
Here's a quick overview of some of the changes set for the system.

You Must Concentrate!!!
The concentration mechanics are getting revised slightly. Generally speaking you will make fewer Concentration checks but your circumstances will matter more. Things like call for lots of minor concentration checks now apply stacking modifiers to your Concentration checks instead and you only make a single check. It'll basically work like it does in this post. You essentially are always concentrating but you can take-10 on your check so unless someone is actively threatening you or your circumstances become so poor as to not allow you to succeed on a take-10, you won't even notice that every cast has a check involved.

"I run all the schools," - Generalist Wizard
One thing that's a bummer in D&D is the schools. They're flavorful and they serve specific purposes but the problem is they're often bizarre and weird and there's a lot of overlap. It's very difficult to create spells and fit them into schools properly, even for the designers. For example, ever notice that Shield is Evocation and Mage Armor is Conjuration, but Abjuration is the protective magic school? Uhhh...wait...

Because of this, spells no longer governed by schools as a supertype. Instead they belong to schools based on a subtype such as [Abjuration] and Evocation which makes it much easier to not only create new spells (for devs and GMs alike) but it allows players to diversify a bit. This is especially true because you can have a spell that belongs to multiple schools at the same time.

For example, the aforementioned mage armor and shield spells are iconic staples of wizards and have elements of abjuration (protections and wards), conjuration (conjuring armor), and evocation (force) so these spells would be [Abjuration, Conjuration, Evocation] spells. Thus if you were an abjurer, conjurer, or evoker you could select either of these spells as one of your spells during level-ups, and if you have any features that apply specifically to any of those schools (such as the Spell School Focus feat) then you'd get the benefits associated when casting the spell.

No More Spell Lists
This part combines strongly with the class design goals (which are coming in my next post) but we're giving spell lists the axe. We've decided they ultimately do not serve a good purpose and only hurt the game the more developed in becomes. 3.x was notorious for releasing new classes that then never got further support for their spell lists like all the core classes did. Further, even today in Pathfinder, classes can end up missing important spells if a dev forgets to include something that's kind of important for functioning at certain levels or filling specific roles.

Further, individual class spell lists create a lot of potential balance issues (summoner springs to mind but it's not the only one, especially when Samsarans are involved). It over complicates the creation of magic items, spell-like abilities, and more to have spells appearing at different levels on different lists.

Now what we're going to be doing is just making magic and allowing you to create your own spell lists. We'll probably also include packages so you can pick big packs of themed spells. If you're playing a class that should have access to a spell earlier than normal due to its theme, you'll be able to get early access to them as a class feature (similar to how my psychic monk can jump off the psychic warrior list for higher level themed abilities) and will allow you to cast it with a lower level slot but the level remains the same (this also means that if a class can get a themed spell like Bards with irresistible dance then their DC will still be relevant, they just get to cast it with a lower level slot).

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Mathius wrote:
Wow, your house rules sound awesome!

Thanks. :D

When can I start playing them?

Hopefully as soon as Aratrok and I have them all into a set of pdf files that are readable. While a lot of the mechanics have been determined and some still in flux and/or in development, actually having them on paper and written well are another thing entirely. So far we've got...

  • Getting Started chapter (100% done). This chapter includes a breakdown on ability scores and their function, includes basic rules such as multiplying, common bonus types, bonus spells, and ability score arrays (including premade point-buy arrays for quickly generating characters).
  • Skill Overview (80~% done). Explains how things like ranks work, taking 10 works, and making skill checks. Though essentially finished I know that I'm going to need to make some adjustments to the section after the skill revisions have been completed (mostly because the way we're handling skills is more different from Pathfinder than it originally was; with the information posted in this thread being more recent).
  • Skill Descriptions (0-5% done). We've axed a bunch of skills and remade a few of the skills. Skills like Knowledge (Arcana) and (Religion) are now their own skills called Arcana and Thaumaturgy which not only are used for knowledge checks related to their fields but have additional uses as well (Arcana ate Spellcraft) and different benefits for putting additional ranks into them. Skills are one of the areas most subject to change during our development because skills have been having issues for a long time in d20 and we really want to get it right.
  • Equipment (35-45% done). I've got the prototypes for weapons down (though I might make a few tweaks and sidebars) so there's pretty much just armor left to do and armor will take less time overall than weaponry did to write (there's simply less variance with it and thus less to write). After that it's just adventuring gear, trade goods, and services.
  • Magic (0-5% done). We've got some mechanics determined for magic revisions but they haven't been penned yet. Noteable revisions include revised Concentration mechanics (see how Concentration works in my slotless system, which is compatible with normal Pathfinder even if you don't use the slotless rules), revisions to the schools (where schools are subtypes rather than supertypes), and a few other changes (I'm going to note these in my next post).
  • Spells (0% done). We haven't even touched this yet but we do know that a lot of spells are going to change levels slightly (mostly the spells that are different levels on different lists) and some may get some revisions.
  • Classes (0% done). I'm going to start working on the classes once the core is finished. If you've ever seen any of the classes I've made for the Paizo community you probably have a fair idea of what to expect here. I aim for thematics and replicating tropes in balanced ways as well as letting players experiment and do their own things. As little forced fluff as possible mixed with a whole lot of flavor. The number of classes is going to shrink massively though as we're going for a more refined "less is more" concept. More about this in an upcoming post.

There's a lot of 0% done bits up there but this is actually starting to move on at a pretty rapid pace now as Aratrok and I are putting a lot of our other projects on hold and working on it whenever we have any free time from work & school. Right now the skill system is Aratrok's baby and I'm working on the Combat chapter right now.

How are you going to publish them?

100% digitally and 100% free for the mechanics. If there's enough interest then we might attempt a kickstarter for physical publication or something to that extent. We've also discussed creating a SRD site that presents the rules of the game in a compendium sort of way, where all the mechanics associated with each other are placed in alphabetical order and using links and gateways to allow you to quickly find the rules that you're looking for rather than scrolling through the entire combat chapter or entire magic chapter, etc.

Ideally I'd like to include a free primer for my campaign setting along with it. If that's popular, I might try to start a patreon or something so I can devote my time to producing content rather than only doing it between shifts at my dayjob. My lack of time is the great enemy of getting a lot of my projects done or at a snail's pace (poor Kryzbyn's been waiting on that warlock for ages, and back when I was unemployed I completed virtually all of the warlock that exists in a couple of days). Likewise, you're still waiting on the VBSC adventure... (T_T)

Want me to play test? My group is filled with powergamers.

Awesome. One thing that Aratrok and I are both interested in is serious stress testing. We're going to want you to break the hell out of our system, especially during the playtest periods (when they're officially announced) so that we can actually fix them. Also, since the primary means of obtaining the mechanics will be in digital format, we will not be waiting for new printings to release errata onto our SRD (we'll even include a sort of patchlist on the SRD to let people know about relevant changes). We know what a FAQ is and is not. :P

Is there a google doc or something of the nuts and bolts yet?

Only on my PC and most of them are pretty spotty. However, let me upload a couple of things real quick...

Uploads a few of the more complete files

Getting Started, Combat, Equipment.

Also how is the vengeance of the white dragon coming?

Very slowly (I've been pretty much working on our revised core). I've actually considered writing it backwards so I could at least deliver you the encounter with the actual white dragon in a timely fashion.

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Crystal Frasier wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:

It varies from person to person, but:

1) Most trans people don't want their old name shared, especially without their permissions. To most people, especially women who've transitioned and live fulltime, it is a vulnerability, like sharing their medical information or allergies without their permission.

Is there a place I can find the statistics on this sort of thing?
It was a giant mistake for me to come back into this thread

I wasn't being facetious when I asked. Your response mirrors my own feelings on these things most of the time, which is why I don't typically actually talk about this stuff except with my friends and people in person.

It's clear that we have had differing experiences ourselves and differing feedback from other transgendered people. So I was legitimately hoping that you might know of a place where I could find some data that isn't anecdotal. Because I'm interested. Unfortunately trying to find legitimate data on these subjects is incredibly difficult because of how saturated search engines are with inane tumblr blogs and misinformation.

But don't worry about it, I'll save you the trouble and go back to lurking.

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TanithT wrote:

As to being discriminated against in the LGBT community, don't even get me started. There is a LOT of hate in the gay and lesbian communities for transmen and transwomen, and it's just as ugly and toxic as anything the mainstream throws at us. If not more so, because it's coming from people who are supposed to be your tribe, your allies. Bisexuality also gets a lot of hate, but I don't even have that much on my membership card.

Being a non transitioning trans* genderqueer with cis/het passing privilege does not lay out any welcome mats in the LGBT community. I will never be accepted by gay men as one of them without fully transitioning, and even then it would be highly dubious and I would face a lot of discrimination and distaste. I get along well with lesbians until I explain that I am not attracted to female bodied/female identified people. Then it generally goes downhill.

Yeah seriously. This is why I don't associate with these "communities". Literally every instance of "us" and "they" I've ever seen has turned sour. In the first moment I was beginning to feel a little kinship on these boards, I watched it turn sour on someone else and then I regretted fully even talking about anything, apologized to the other people and went back to being disassociated. I realized that similarities are just that and nothing more.

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Crystal Frasier wrote:

It varies from person to person, but:

1) Most trans people don't want their old name shared, especially without their permissions. To most people, especially women who've transitioned and live fulltime, it is a vulnerability, like sharing their medical information or allergies without their permission.

Is there a place I can find the statistics on this sort of thing?

2) It's rude to bring up a name forced on a person and associated with a bad period in their life, like if you were sharing the childhood nickname bullies used to use to taunt them.

I think that makes a few assumptions that I'm not entirely sure I'm in agreement with, but thank you.

3) Even if you're not trying to hurt them with their deadname, you've just put a tool in everyone's hands around you to hurt your friend should the whim strike them.

I imagine the statistical probability of that happening to be essentially nil. A generic name used in a generic description with no other discerning features. If we were the X-Men, sure. However, I don't think there's a sort of "Transgender Control Agency" that's capable of taking a defunct non-surname with a complete lack of other information and deduce not only the whereabouts but the person who no longer uses the name, and do so to go find them and call them by their birth name.

If we were physically present in mixed company, sure, but that much is obvious. I mean, it was pretty obvious to us years ago when our group got collectively pissed at another member of our group for his insistence on being an ass. How she handled it was very mature and I consider it to be a sort of defining moment in my knowing her and why she ended up being someone I looked to as a role model.

4) A lot of trans women try to hide elements of their past, to protect themselves from old harassment or violence, or even just to get or keep a job. Sharing deadnames makes it easier to track old information they'd rather leave buried.

Again, given the context, I don't think Sentinels are dropping yet.

4) You can absolutely talk about someone else deadnaming your friend without mentioning their deadname yourself.

You can. In this case, based on what she has told me in the past, there was no need and it makes the situation all the more real. "He kept calling her X" is fairly "other". It doesn't express the level of mundane-ness that was being levied against her as a form of chastisement, which of course was the entire point.

It wasn't about knowing some sort of mysterious name that had power over her, it was about him being a dick. She told me herself the name wasn't the problem it was the way he used it (among other things) as part of a package deal of not acknowledging her.

Mentioning her old name was absolutely irrelevant to the story, and your story was specifically that she was upset with someone using it.

It was quite relevant for the reasons mentioned. Because of how mundane it is. Because of how day to day life it is. Honestly I think it's the day to day life stuff that matters. It's all well and good for us to join hands and have a big group hug and shout at the sky but the only thing that matters is how we can live out there.

A lot of the pain of these things we're talking about isn't immediately obvious, and doesn't become obvious until you've begun your transition and seen the world try to tear you down on a constant basis. Being respectful in your language, especially towards a minority group, isn't about "If you say X word, trans people will have nervous breakdowns," it's about helping create a world that isn't constantly and subtly aggressive, that doesn't wear people down. It's about showing a disrespected group a modicum of respect in a very hostile world.

We can agree to disagree then. Not that I don't think you're very knowledgeable or anything, it just conflicts strongly with what I actually believe and what she herself inspired in me.

Not to mention, invoking a trans woman's deadname grants you the power to summon her. But not to bind her. It's just safer for everyone involved.

Am I the only person who skips the magic circle when calling friends? :P

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SunshineGrrrl wrote:
Well that is a bad word in our community.

Perhaps in some portions of the community but it's by no means universal. I know several transgendered people (including myself) that neither take offense to it or see it as a bad word. Maybe it's just a matter of preference.

EDIT: Or perhaps it's because we're not part of "your community". I guess that could be a thing.

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Tels wrote:

One note on the Perception/Stealth aspect, you might consider unattentive people having only their perception bonus as their check vs stealth. I'm not actively paying attention to things around me, but I consider my perception to be fairly high (for an NPC).

Even when I'm plugging into my Xbone with Warframe going, a headset on one ear and music playing in the other, I'm still always aware of when people enter or exit my house and I can often tell where they are based on the sounds of their footsteps. Plus, as someone with children running around, I know that I can usually pinpoint where kids are without ever looking for them because "I just know" where they are (whereas their own parents often have to get up and look around to find them, I usually have no need).

Anyway, the point being is that, a bad roll on Stealth should still have a chance of triggering an alert from someone who isn't paying attention. If you're sitting down playing Pathfinder and a burgler knocks a shovel or a bucket over outside, there's a chance the people inside will hear it and go explore.

The way I see this happening, is unattentive people are considered to have Taken 0 on their checks, where as sentries might Take 10. With distance, the might not notice the noise, but the Orcs playing guards might grumble about hearing something. This is the classic, "Ah shut up Burt, it's just the bloody raccoons," moment you hear about in stories all the time. Or it might be one of them gets up to go and check it out and then finds a rat in the food supplies and determines it was the rat making the noise while the stealthing person is actually up in the rafters.

Just food for thought.

Noted. Aratrok mentioned something pretty much identical to that last night (I think he compared it to "taking 1". :P

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Kryzbyn wrote:


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A Note on Skills
Aratrok and I were up last night 'till the wee hours (about 5am my time) discussing design goals and skills. Skills are a funny subject in Pathfinder because Pathfinder has the following problems:

1. Non-opposed skills become useless with no reason to invest more ranks in them or are rendered useless with things like Magic very early.
2. Lots of skills cap out early.
3. Class skills are very binary and it's only a +3 or not a +3.
4. Opposed skill checks are crazy because the amount of bonuses you can get from all over the place means that specialization equates to auto-success forever.
5. Perhaps oddest of all, is skills are treated as a balancing feature of classes while simultaneously being mostly useless and easily acquired. So when a class like Rogue boasts 8 skill points per level it really doesn't mean much over the guy with 4 skill points per level, especially since more points equates to diminishing returns and a headband of intellect is all you need to get the lion's share.

About Skill Ranks
Ranks are going to be really important in this system. Not only are they one of the main contributors to your character's success with their skills but they also unlock new options.

We wanted characters to be able to do awesome fantasy things with sufficient ranks in skills. However, we believe those things should be done at appropriate levels. Just setting higher DCs isn't really a good solution because it means that hyper-specialization could allow mundane characters to do extraordinary things. I also don't mean mundane as in "nonmagical", I mean mundane as in Bob the Builder happens to be walking on water because he happens to have a great Dex, a few ranks in Acrobatics, and rolled a 20.

So now, most every skill will be something you can attempt without training. However, the more trained you are in a skill the more new features will open up. So instead of trained being a binary thing (do you have 1 rank or not?) instead you will get progressively new options to use for extra ranks. So anyone can attempt to walk on a narrow surface but only someone with X ranks in Acrobatics can attempt to walk on water and eventually with Y ranks they can try to walk through the air.

You'll see stuff like this with skills like Craft, Heal, etc as well. Investing ranks will be a big deal for your character and make them useful and relevant forever.

Class Skills and Tagging
We're going to be changing the way class skills work to a hybrid between Pathfinder and 3.x. You'll be able to invest more skill points into class skills than non-class skills. At the moment, we're looking at 1/2 the value of your class skills. So if you can invest 12 ranks into a class skill you can drop 6 ranks into your off-skills.

However, unlike in 3.5, all points are spent on a 1:1 basis and instead of worrying which skill is a class skill for each class at each level, your class skills are basically tagged like in Fallout. In other words, you'll get to pick X class skills. If you multiclass you can get some more. If you take a feat you can get some more, etc.

Intelligence and Skills
It might come as a shock to some but Intelligence is getting divorced from skill points (don't worry, it's getting buffed in other places). There are a few reasons for this.

1. It's not really that realistic. There are lots of people in the world that aren't that bright but are loaded with a lot of practical skills. Those skills might not be Int-based things, but the low-Int rogue probably still learned how climb, pick locks, lie, and so forth just from doing those things regularly.

2. It's not very balanced. If you've ever seen any wizard with 14 skill points / level, you'll know that it gives certain classes way more oomph than not. Sorcerers get the short end of the stick because any class that has Int as a key stat like Wizards are going to be skill monkies by default. Even if you gave them 0 base skill points, by high levels they will have almost every skill.

3. It makes magic items like Headbands of Intellect super amazing. A +3 headband means 3 maxed skills.

4. When you consider that skills are now going to let you do more cool stuff as you have more ranks in them, skill points are more valuable, and we didn't want to make Intelligence a stat that gives you access to lots of extraordinary abilities just because you have a high stat.

How do you get skill points?
Skill points comes from leveling and your class. Whenever you take a level in your class you get a number of skill points (4, 6, or 8 is the current model we're working with). Generally speaking, the less magical a class is the more skill points they get because their time is spent elsewhere.

We plan to also allow feats to grant additional skill points and class skills. So if you want to build a particularly skillful character you can invest in those areas if you desire.

You mentioned picking class skills
One thing I've been strongly considering is instead of having a ton of class skills for particular classes, instead giving a few associated class skills automatically and letting players pick additional skills. For example, a spellcasting class will probably get Spellcraft as a bonus class skill automatically and then you can pick X additional skills to be class skills.

This allows you to build the characters you want more readily. If you're playing in an urban game and your Paladin is an investigator and detective for the local authorities, you might choose class skills that suit that sort of work. Alternatively, a more adventuring sort might pick things that make them better at climbing mountains and swimming.

Opposed Checks and Stuff
One of the things that's kind of a bummer in PF is that the bonuses to skill checks get nutty. Someone with some mild specialization will basically never fail. For example, Skill Focus + Stealth = +10 after 10th level, which means that you will likely never be seen again, especially after Distance penalties unless your spotter has Skill Focus, Alertness, pumped Wisdom as hard as you did Dexterity, and is within 10 ft. of you.

We're reigning it in. The bonuses that you can get to skills outside of your actual advancement will be reduced drastically. There will be room for specialization but it will be more contained and you won't end up with situations where it's just impossible to fail checks against level-appropriate situations. You'll still be able to poop all over those lower level than yourself though. :P

We're also probably going to make Stealth & Perception more like Disguise is in Pathfinder. Disguise doesn't even allow a Perception check unless someone is suspicious. So in this case, if your rogue is stealthing through a crowd the people who don't care or aren't paying attention get no checks. Those passively on guard are assumed to be taking 10. Actively searching rolls.

So if your rogue wanted to sneak into an orc camp and you've got 12 orcs drinking around a fire and a few sentries posted to keep watch, it's the sentries you're competing against. If an alert is raised, then those searching for you get to roll.

We've also discussed that you'll probably get to do some cool silent-killing things with Stealth.

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Kryzbyn wrote:

The ability to easily AOE as a martial would be amazing. I love playing those kind of classes in MMOS, just because of the bang for the buck (more hits per resource spent) and the ability to tank/destroy groups both enhances your survivability (they die to quick to really be a threat) when soloing. That's why I love Unholy Dks, and Paladins in WOW, and to a lesser extent Warriors.

Shadowknights in EQ2 I think are the best at this, amongst all of the caster tank classes I've ever played in an MMO. I miss that character horribly, as the game doesn't offer me anything other than nostalgia anymore.

Generally speaking I want to give martials a lot more fun things to play with and AoE attacks is a big one. Especially since the encounters will innately recommend mixed group encounters. :)

It's very frustrating that in Pathfinder to have a sort of AoE battlefield presence you have to play an exceptionally specific sort of warrior. In this, all martials can have an AoE presence, but those guys with the big reach weapons and combat reflex-type specializations are going to be better at it.

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About Monsters
One of the design goals that's on the table at the moment is the desire to make monster building and advancement an easier process for everyone and to bring Level/CR more closely together (Pathfinder did a huge push in this direction but it's still a little wonky in some areas).

Monster Roles
In Pathfinder a lot of a monster's raw statistics are based on its creature's super-type. For example, all outsiders have a perfect BAB and all fey have a poor BAB. A lot of other creatures have middling stats with only a few variances. The problem with this is it's often difficult to get much diversity between the monsters with the same supertypes or to create monsters that go against the norms for its type.

Enter monster roles. Once we've developed it further, the supertype will not directly affect the creature's HP, BAB, Skills, Saves, etc. Instead it will generally function more like subtypes do now where it basically details common traits shared between creatures of its kind, such as racial immunities (such as with undead) and special qualities possessed by all creatures of its kind (such as elves).

Then you are free to select from a much smaller pool of monster roles. The roles haven't been defined but the three basic ones we've discussed in theorycraft have been:

1. Warrior (great combat ability, poor magic)
2. Hybrid (a good mix of both)
3. Caster (poor combat ability, great magic)

So for example, a succubus demon might be statted as a caster (having her SLAs being very dangerous) while a nabasu demon might be a hybrid (it has a fair mixture of martial abilities and SLAs) and a babau demon a warrior (it has almost no casting stuff and mostly relies on skill use and whacking stuff).

In Pathfinder, all of these monsters have perfect BAB, d10 HD, 6 + int mod skills, and 2 good saves (which are usually identical). Every single variance between them to make them better at standing out in certain roles then has to be tweaked elsewhere in places like ability scores and/or feats and such.

What do you want to accomplish with this?
Firstly, I want to make a much easier process for building, leveling, or weakening monsters in the system. I want to set some firm standards for what sort of things are relatively appropriate for a creature based on its overall level. For example, Pathfinder is full of monsters that mention their advanced versions having greater spell-like abilities but God only knows how that works without just winging it.

With this, we're hoping to not only create more diversity in roles but to allow you more easily create new monsters, upgrade existing monsters, and even more easily allow monstrous PCs into your game without hassles. A 3rd level Ogre for example should be more or less equivalent to a 3rd level character.

Won't that be complicated?
Complexity is a big concern for us when it comes to making anything. I see the rules as kind of like computer code. You want it to be powerful and elegant but demand as little processing power from the computer as possible. Every redundant check or extra step you have to go through is more demand on the mind behind it and slows the game. Now loading as it were.

Because of this, monstrous character classes are intended to be simpler, being more like the NPC classes from Pathfinder. They will typically possess various passive abilities that don't stack with magic items (such as energy resistances) but scale with level and will have a few selectable abilities like bonus feats. EDIT: A big reason for this is so that monsters can engage in encounters with appropriately leveled PCs without needing a lot of magic gear while also not overpowering things if they change sides of the screen since existing magic items won't let them jump the gun so to speak, rather it will effectively be trading class features for virtual gold (since if you don't need to buy things like a ring of energy resistance then you can spend it on something else).

Mind you, the idea is that not every bestiary creature needs to be built from the ground up like an eidolon or something. Far from it. Instead, I'll be tackling the design and creation of the iconic monsters from the Bestiary/Monster Manual myself and letting the nuts and bolts of it be available for GMs who want to (de)level, tweak, or build new monsters or versions of monsters once they're more comfortable with the system. But now when you advance that demon from an 8th level demon to a 16th level demon, you'll have an idea as to what sorts of new SLAs are kosher and what sorts of cool new abilities might be reasonable.

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Tels wrote:


If only Ashiel had been consulted for work on Pathfinder Unchained...

Ashiel, have you thought about possibly tackling the issue of size vs attacks in your new system? What I mean is, when you look at the relative size of creatures in this system, the limbs of the attacks some creatures make are physically larger than the creature they fight.

For example, look at that wonderfully sexy red dragon in the linked picture. His claw is roughly the size of that troll, and yet, if two medium sized creatures stand side by side, his claw attack hits only one or the other, not both.

I'm wondering if you've thought about this issue at all?

It seems like a problem that would require quite a bit of thought, especially if one wanted to design a system that could universally be applied to all creatures. It's especially difficult, because some creatures should be able to deal huge AoE attacks.

Actually yes, yes it has been considered and discussed a bit and we've got some ideas for how to implement it as well and we'll probably do it in the form of selectable monster abilities (kind of like the Snatch feat in Pathfinder and how it's iconic for dragons but totally cool for other big monsters).

We've also discussed options for multi-hitting melee attacks. A few things we're definitely considering is options for making additional attacks without reducing your to-hit but only if you're splitting your attacks (this is going to be a big action economy booster for a lot of creatures), as well as AoE attack options. For example...

For example, that dragon should be able to take a single swipe at a hoard of enemies, slaying them all with a single blow (like Sauron in the LotR movie). Perhaps tying it into the reach of a creature some how? Like some weapons can be used to make a cone attack based on the reach of a creature, while other attacks can be used to make a 'burst' attack in an area. As in, the Red Dragon could make a 20 ft. cone attack with his wing attack (maybe AoE deal minimum damage?) but his claw attack could be used to make a 10 ft. radius (half his reach) burst attack (like stomping on an enemy).
What Sauron we could be seen doing here is making a Vital Strike in Cone and Burst AoEs. These sorts of things are being discussed and we'll probably replace things like Cleave and Whirlwind Attack with these sorts of features. Humorously, most dragons in Pathfinder have Cleave as a feat but it's virtually useless for pretty much everyone in Pathfinder. Now dragons would have a pretty huge reason to have Cleaving attacks, presumably because their potential to throw around lots of AoE attacks would be very high.

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Twigs wrote:

Haha, oh gosh, I believe I was there for that thread. I'd say it should remain buried but I recall lots of exciting statblocks, stories and encounters amidst the madness.

Ashiel wrote:
I really like what I'm seeing. I believe I attempted something similar with weapons not long ago, but I never put it into practice. If you have an inkling to playtest it here on the boards I pretty much exclusively play PbP these days, and would be very much game.

Thanks. I might give it a try. I also plan to just make the alpha rules available to people via my google drive as a reference document for an open playtest.

Open Question: Who here has played with the massive damage rules, either in 3.x or Pathfinder? I've honestly seen them all of once in play. They seem silly, but I'm hesitant to just throw them out the window as they're not regarded as an optional rule in 3.x (although most groups regarded them as such, it seems).

Honestly I think massive damage is really dumb. It's 4am here and I'm dead tired so that's about as eloquent as I'm getting until I've had a nap. XD

Question for our wise overseer: Ashiel, will I ever finish Morrowind/Neverwinter Nights/The Baldurs Gate series? Or am I doomed to start them afresh every time I pick them up again forever?'s what I always do too. Q_Q

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It's a Constitutional Right
Okay, going to have to bust out something that may shock everyone but...everything has Constitution in this revision. Okay, not literally everything, but creatures do. Doesn't matter if they're undead or construct, they have a Con score.

This is mostly because a lack of Con score (3.x) produces crappy results. Meanwhile an alternate Con score (Cha as Con) produces very weird and often overpowered results (alas, I love you lich-adin but you are just too ****ing amazing).

Constitution in this core represents general heartiness and fortitude. Constructs and undead will still have things representing the fact they aren't living organisms (mostly in terms of not having to eat or sleep, immunities to poisons and diseases, immunity to fatigue and nausea, stuff like that) but will still have a Constitution score to represent how overall tough they are.

See, the thing is, Constitution as an ability score has one major purpose. That purpose is "Being Tough". That's pretty much all it does and all it is for. It is typically your "Not Die" stat. It doesn't really apply to any skills and rarely applies to abilities (some exceptions like poisons, breath weapons, etc), and it certainly doesn't (and shouldn't) apply to offensive abilities.

Things like Charisma...those are used for spell-like abilities, spellcasting, lots of supernatural abilities, auras, opposed checks vs charms, etc. It's also kind of a bonus stat for things like divine grace. Suddenly this ability score's value has skyrocketed at Constitution just bottomed.

It also creates a weird situation where unless you were an incredibly charming warrior you're kind of a putz when you rise from the grave since your Charisma is probably mediocre at best and one of your best stats doesn't exist anymore.

With Constructs, you have a different problem. At low levels they're horribly strong because they get tons of bonus HP for size. At high levels they're disgustingly weak because they have no bonus HP beyond that base size value, forcing them to be statted out as super high-HD creatures just so they don't crumble to dust when an adventurer bumps into them rough.

So...yeah, Constitution. They all have it. The funny thing is, this isn't even a new thing. Star Wars d20 had droids. They are basically constructs. They also had Constitutions representing how tough they were. For some reason it didn't catch on in later iterations of d20. I'm sad it didn't because it worked really well.

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Another Ashiel Cultist wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
I see tacticslion's doin' the tacticslion thing. Any comments Mr. Lion? :P

No he isn't, it is I favoriting all of thine posts!

Actual comment coming when it isn't really late at night.

Oh snap! They're breeding! :D

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I see tacticslion's doin' the tacticslion thing. Any comments Mr. Lion? :P

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So back to this Vital Striking thing...
One of the things I'm most fond of with this system I've been working on is that you're no longer a slave to the almighty full attack. It is entirely possible to create viable characters who make one big attack each round. No one will feel more relieved from this than those who like...

Crossbows and Muskets.

Damn, these weapons have been getting the shaft for ages now. It's full-attack or bust so unless you reload these things like the flash, you're pretty much screwed. No longer. Because you can inflict heavy damage with vital striking you'll be able to make viable gunmen by speccing ways of piercing things like miss % and vital striking for big single shots that are strong.

At 20th level with a mastered powerful weapon (+3 damage / die), vital striking with a single crossbow or musket round would allow you to pump out X+25d6+78 damage. Essentially blowing away about 1/2 the HP of a major enemy. Reload! Repeat!

Just watch out for Jaldia. If you're pushing damage like that at a range, she's probably going to stab you in the back.

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Next up, I want to talk about how monsters are being rebalanced here. A few major changes are occurring that change the dynamics of the game in really big ways.

Moving + All Attacks!? Hydras Slay ALL!
This is a natural concern. A lot of monsters in d20 are balanced around the idea of the full attack rooting you to the ground which makes certain monsters like the hydra or big dragons creatures you want to kite because if they get into melee you eat a devastating full attack. Now they can just run up to you and start crushing your face! What do you do?

Well, this was something that was considered very, very hard. Initially it was very difficult to settle on a system that both PCs and monsters shared alike that was fair for everyone involved. Allowing PCs to move + attack was nice but it meant most monsters just became super duper mega-dangerous. However, forcing monsters to plant roots felt bizarre and really wrong. The end result was the system where additional attacks have diminishing returns. Eureka. Suddenly we have a thematic and awesome way of making this work.

By making monsters take penalties for additional attacks, it means that they too are regulated in much the same way as PCs. If a monster wants to move up and wreck your face with five attacks, he's trading accuracy for a potential damage increase.

Challenge Rating and Danger Levels
In standard Pathfinder, two CR 5 creatures are supposed to be equivalent to a CR 7 creature. Of course, this means the reverse must be true and that a CR 7 creature is worth two CR 5 creatures. This is almost never the case (triply so with classed creatures) as they usually do not have much more in the way of offense, have much worse action economy, and certainly didn't double their HP and defenses so...?

With this system, a higher level character is expected to be significantly stronger than those beneath it. A lot of this is reflected in heavy dangers and increased action opportunities that are good for mopping up weak foes but slowing down against more equal leveled enemies. Jaldia in the previous example will steamroll a bunch of CR 3 enemies (she's CR 8 or 9) because she can attack lots of them with multiple CR 5 equivalent punishments.

Thanks to worsening effects, spellcasters will enjoy similar benefits as many of their spells have heightened effects against those whose defenses they can exceed by a certain threshold.

Generally speaking, this means that boss encounter monsters (IE things with much higher CRs) are more dangerous (they're harder to guard against if you're playing conservatively and they can dish out some hurt) while also being sturdier (you can't rely on powering through them with low-accuracy high burst attacks, nor can you rely on one-shotting them with spells like flesh to stone) which means doing things like kiting and whittling them down while trying to survive their wrath.

For example, if Jaldia was fighting a CR 11 creature (an "Epic" encounter for her and her party) its AC would be much higher, so it is not only more insulated against her flurry but it's harder to land a successful critical that way (confirmations are a thing and will either continue to be or we might make it work similar to spells where the crit occurs if your attack roll exceeds your opponent's AC by a certain threshold, which might be an option to cut down on extra rolling). So not only is the foe tougher in terms of AC but it's harder to actually hurt than more level appropriate foes.

So About That Hydra
Okay, so let's take a 12 headed hydra. In Pathfinder this beastie has 12 bites at +15. Giving him what amounts to pounce is really mean.

Well in this system the hydra would have 12 attacks that it could bring to bare. Of course, that's like a -22 penalty on his attack rolls. Fortunately the Multi-attack feat saves the day. Multi-attack cuts the penalty for your natural attacks in half so making 12 attacks at once would mean the hydra has a +5 to hit on every attack.

For the record, 12 attacks is excessive and the crappy to-hit is intentional. Again, a big part of this system is thematic combat with a sliding scale. It is the opposite of bounded accuracy. Normal men and women do not fight the hydra, heroes fight the hydra. Normal soldiers will get slaughtered en mass, but heroes can stand against the hydra.

Mind you, the hydra's damage and such would be bigger (19 Strength on a HUGE creature? Gimme a break...) so having fewer attacks vs equivalent heroes isn't going to hurt anyone's feelings. Though against particularly tanky heroes the hydra might become frustrated and just start a biting frenzy hoping something connects (your evasion caps at 5% so through out enough bites and something's going to hit sometime).

But yeah, this is basically why monsters don't just one-shot you because they have lots of natural attacks. A dragon can flail about and wreck lowbies but may opt for more of a bite->grab-smash routine, or might have abilities that let him ignore penalties for extra attacks as long as they're split between targets (so he can fight with multiple PCs at the same time, swinging his tail at the rogue while buffeting the cleric and biting the fighter).

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Next up I want to cover some of the changes to the equipment, critical hit, and damage dealing characters.


Jaldia the Drow Ranger

9th Level Medium Humanoid (Elf,Drow) Ranger 9
Init +10; Senses darkvision 120 ft., Perception +16
AC 26, touch 14, flat-footed 22; (+4 Dex, +8 armor, +2 natural, +2 deflection)
hp 77 (59+18)
Fort 20, Ref 21, Will 17; +2 vs Enchantment; evasion
Immune sleep; SR 15
Speed 40 ft. (30 ft.)
Melee 2 +2 longswords +16 (1d8+6/17-20; deadly)
Ranged +2 longbow +15 (1d8+8/19-20; powerful)
Bonus Damage/Attacks +2d6 / +1
Special Attacks favored enemy (elves) +4, favored enemy (goblins) +2
Str 18 (16), Dex 18 (16), Con (14) 12, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 10
BAB +9; CMB +13; CMD 27
Feats Dual-Wielding, Toughness, Iron Will, Improved Initiative, Precise Shot, Endurance, Improved Critical (Blades), Quick Draw
Skills - To be added

Jaldia is a member of the queen's huntresses that wages an ongoing war with the exiled prince. She is a master duelist, archer, and assassin. She excels at getting in and inflicting as much damage as she can in the shortest amount of time possible.

Notice the Weapons
Firstly, you'll notice that even though she has a bow like Silia, her weaponry has some interesting threat ranges. This is because your critical chance with your weapons is not based on the weapon it's based on your proficiency. Silia only has simple proficiency with her weapons. Jaldia has military proficiency so she threatens on a 19-20.

Next, notice the weapon properties. I didn't include these on Silia because I didn't want to overload the palette just yet. These are new weapon properties that are possessed by weapon groups. Deadly inflicts a lot more damage on successful critical hits (with Jaldia's military proficiency, when she crits she gets +4 damage / die rolled). Powerful inflicts +1 damage per die rolled but her military proficiency increases it to +2.

You may notice that these statblocks don't have multipliers. This is is because a critical hit is maximized damage, not multiplied. It also includes bonus dice from a high BAB.

Why is she using two Longswords?
Jaldia wields two longswords because there is no additional penalty for dual-wielding one-handed weapons. This is because there are other incentives for dual-wielding light weapons (because light weapons use your Dexterity modifier for attack rolls) so she instead opts to use longswords because they are a tiny bit stronger than light weapons and she intents to be a strength-based character later.

How Does She Work?
Jaldia's tactics are set up as follows. In melee she prefers to unleash a flourish of attacks with her longswords in hopes of threatening burst criticals with her deadly property. Deadly applies a +4 bonus to damage for every die she rolls for damage, including her bonus dice from her BAB. This means that when she hits with her longsword she deals 1d8+6+2d6 damage (average 17.5), but a critical hit inflicts 38 damage and that's what she's going for most of the time. Sudden burst damage hits.

Dual-wielding lets her make up to one additional attack with her second weapon for every attack she normally has. Because of this, Jaldia's melee attack routine looks like this.

Longsword Strike +16 (1d8+4d6+6 / 24.5 average / 58 crit)
Longswords +14/+14 (1d8+2d6+6 / 17.5 average / 38 crit)
Longswords +12/+12/+12 (1d8+2d6+6 / 17.5 average / 38 crit)
Longswords +10/+10/+10/+10 (1d8+2d6+6 / 17.5 average / 38 crit)

What About the Bow?
Jaldia's tactics with her bow are completely different. Instead of focusing on a flourish of attacks, she instead uses her bow's powerful ability to pump out single bursty-shots which are ideal for disrupting spellcasters or other high profile targets. She almost always Vital Strikes with her bow because the more dice she rolls on the damage the more boost she gets from her bow's Powerful Property.

Vital Bow +15 (1d8+4d6+16 / 34.5 average / 48 crit)
Bow +13/+13 (1d8+2d6+8 / 19.5 average / 28 crit)

What's Up with Improved Critical?
You'll notice that she doesn't have improved critical (longsword). That's because longswords fall into the "blades" weapon category. Long story short, she gets Improved Critical with any sword-like weapon she grabs, be it a falchion, longsword, cutlass, scimitar, no-dachi, katana, whatever. If the ogre magi drops a shamshir, she can wreck faces with it.

What's her projected role?
Jaldia generally hops up on longstrider and rushes into combat as fast as possible. She excels at destroying minions in short order since she can pull up to 4 attacks per round without bonus attacks from things like haste, which means that against low-CR foes she can often one-shot them on a critical and keep moving with her attack (similar to how Aragorn just starts wading into a pile of orc warriors in the Fellowship of the Ring).

Since she doesn't use a shield she's pretty vulnerable to other damagers like herself, so she generally doesn't try to melee with things that can stifle her damage output and return fire, nor is she particularly fond of creatures that also excel at wrecking faces. In such cases she tries to use kiting tactics while shooting with her bow to avoid getting killed due to her lower AC.

If buffed by her party's wizard so she can use Stealth in combat, she becomes the predator and will attempt to find and assassinate high-profile targets like squishy wizards in the back ranks. Appearing from Stealth into melee and opening up with a flurry of potential crit-burts can be terrifying for those of low armor and physical fortitude!

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D20 Previews
Thought some people here might be interested in seeing some incredibly early pre-alpha previews of the d20 core I'm working on. None of the classes are in progress at the moment so I'm using the default PF classes as stand ins at the moment. Here's some simple statblocks using the iconics from my campaign setting and some notes.


Silia the Drider

9th Level Large aberration Hybrid
Init +2; Senses darkvision 120 ft., detect good, detect law, detect magic; Perception +15
AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 17; (+2 Dex, +1 dodge, +8 natural, –1 size)
hp 76 (40+36)
Fort 18, Ref 16, Will 19
Immune sleep; SR 18
Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee mwk heavy mace +9 (1d8+3), bite +8 (1d4+1 plus poison)
Ranged mwk composite longbow +8 (1d8+2)
Bonus Damage / Attacks +1d6 / +1
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks web (+7 ranged, DC 18, hp 9)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th)
Constant—detect good, detect law, detect magic
At will—dancing lights, darkness, faerie fire
1/day—clairaudience/clairvoyance, deeper darkness, dispel magic, levitate, suggestion (DC +6)

Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 6th)
3rd (4/day)—lightning bolt (+6)
2nd (6/day)—invisibility, web (DC +5)
1st (7/day)—mage armor, magic missile, ray of enfeeblement (DC +4), silent image (DC +4)
0 (at will)—bleed (DC +3), daze (DC +3), ghost sound, mage hand, ray of frost, read magic, resistance
Str 15, Dex 15, Con 18, Int 15, Wis 16, Cha 16
Base Atk +6; CMB +9; CMD 21 (33 vs. trip)
Feats Blind-Fight, Dodge, Combat Casting, Weapon Focus (bite, mace)
Skills Climb +22, Intimidate +15, Knowledge (arcana) +14, Perception +15, Spellcraft +14, Stealth +14; Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth
Languages Common, Elven, Undercommon
SQ undersized weapons

Where's the HD? What's that Class?

Silia is a sample modification of the standard drider. A few things that you'll notice in her statblocks is that references to Hit Dice are currently removed and she has a class-like role called "Hybrid". This is because monsters and PCs will advance more closely to one-another in terms of capabilities and expectations (and the number of supertypes is diminishing). There are multiple reasons for this but the main reasons are:
1. There's less confusion between almost synonymous terms such as hit dice and level.
2. It will be easier to include monstrous PCs without requiring a lot of strange and unique rules. If you want a troll in your party, you'll be able to match them up with PCs far more easily.
3. It will be easier to scale monsters up and down depending on the needs of your campaign world.
4. Monsters will frequently be less shackled to their supertype and more towards their roles. Not all fey will have a D6 HD and +1/2 BAB and great will saves for example (which in turn means of you wanted to make certain more brutish fey you don't have to shovel a million HD onto them and inflate/deflate their ability scores).

Next you'll probably notice that instead of saving throws and DCs for her spells she has a Fort, Ref, and Will defense and a bonus on her spells. These work like you might expect (the bonus she rolls vs defenses). Some of you may have noticed that her saves are a bit off for her apparent level. This is because instead of +1/3 and +1/2 to saves, all saves progress at +1/2 level and you get bonuses to your saves based on your class or classes. The end math is still being worked on but it basically means that your saves will be pretty close to each other at high levels even though you may have one or two that are superior. This makes it less trivial to just target the weak save vs a creature's type. It's still optimal but it's not the "I win" button that it often is in d20.

One of the strangest new additions that you might see is her attack routine or perhaps lack thereof. Instead of having a routine spread out as "mwk heavy mace +X/+Y (dmg), bite +Z (dmg)" she instead just has her weapons and her natural attacks listed here. Below you'll notice that she has a statistic entitled "Bonus Damage/Attacks". This is a statistic derived from her Base Attack Bonus. Every attack that she makes gets an additional +1d6 damage. Her bonus attacks are sort of like iterative attacks and she can take them with any of the weapons that she wields. Each additional attack applies a -2 penalty to her other attacks, so if she's in melee her options look like this:

Mace +9 or Bite +8
Mace +7 and Bite +6
Mace +5/+5 and Bite +4

A Note About Attacks
There is no such thing as a "full attack" in this system. When you declare attacks as a standard action, you can choose how many of your extra attacks (if available) you will attempt this round prior to rolling your first. You may then disperse these attacks as you wish throughout the round, including taking other actions between them such as moving.

If Silia was fighting a group of hobgoblin warriors with a low armor class, such as AC 15, she might declare that she wants to use all of her attacks. She might then move up to a hobgoblin, swing her mace, fell him, continue moving to the next hobgoblin, dispatch him, then move to the final hobgoblin and bite him.

However, if she were facing a more formidable foe who had a more robust armor class, she might opt to attempt only two more accurate strikes against the foe or to perform a vital strike.

Vital Strike
A vital strike is now a mechanic baked into the combat system. It comes online when you gain additional attacks from a high BAB. When you choose to vital strike you take a single attack at your highest accuracy bonus but you multiply your bonus damage dice by the number of extra attacks you get. In Silia's case, she's got +1d6 and 1 extra attack, so she would make a single attack at +9 with her mace for +2d6 damage, which might be ideal for fighting a tough-to-hit foe.

Bonus Dice / Attacks / Vital Stike scales smoothly with your BAB as you advance. At 20th level, a dedicated martial has +5d6 bonus dice, +4 attacks (for a total of 5), and can vital strike for +25d6 damage on an attack. Some martials will still prefer to opt for multiple attacks though, since thanks to static modifiers like Strength or if your to-hit is really solid, you can push out more damage by hitting repeatedly.

If you haven't notice, this means martials can wreck sub-par enemies. While fighting the Pit Fiend at 20th level you might just swing two or maybe three times, you can move around the field wrecking mooks by slamming them repeatedly with high damage attacks because their AC will be much lower. In other words, when you have hit your 95% accuracy, it's time to start trading accuracy for more attacks.

Grognards might compare this to Ye Olde Figh-tars getting lots of extra attacks vs mooks. It's a lot like that. It also generally means that high level enemies are even more threatening to low-level creatures (a dragon can flail its body around and slaughter tons of low level soliders but will have to time its attacks against a hardened warrior).

More coming in the next post.

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captain yesterday wrote:
At Vinnies need ideas for sci fy fantasy paperbacks to get, I know nothing past Forgotten Realms, LotR, krynn and Stephen king

Unfortunately I don't have much time to read novels. I tend to spend most of it working, gaming, or preparing for gaming, or working on projects for...gaming. >_>

A buddy of mine is practically a connoisseur of fantasy novels though. I'll see if I can get some feedback from him.

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