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Thanks for the review Endzeitgeist. This sounds like a really cool fusion of sci-fi and fantasy that reminds me a bit of the Star Ocean or Xenosaga series of games in how it blends fantasy with space opera. You can't beat the price either.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Geisha's inspire ability was originally supposed to last longer (an hour, I think), but someone else felt that was too long and reduced it to 10 minutes. Which makes the ability kinda pointless, honestly.
@Sean: I really appreciate the insights into the design process. I was always confused by the discrepancies between some of the things you'd written about design methodology/recommendations the design approaches taken in a number of Paizo works which seemed to go against what you'd written. In retrospect, it makes a lot more sense that the different cooks in the kitchen would have different opinions on matters, but with you being the public face for many rule/mechanics issue and a very fierce arguer on their behalf it was hard at times to keep that distinction in my mind.
Four Dollar Dungeons wrote:
I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with these materials, as your adventures to date have been works of art.
Here are the criteria I like to use when evaluating a new class:
First off, these questions should be asked for the major level ranges (feel free to modify slightly).
And on to the questions:
Can the class contribute meaningfully in:
1. Combat - This includes level appropriate:
a. defenses against physical and magical attacks
2. Investigations/information gathering
The 5 areas don't all need to be filled, but the class should be able to participate or have decent options for participating or contributing meaningfully in all categories without crippling themselves in other categories.
If you are looking for a full adventure path, then Way of the Wicked is one of the better ones (though not for heroes)
If you are looking for smaller adventures or short linked adventures, then you might want to check out the reviews here. There may also be some full APs here that I'm not aware of:
Make sure to click on the "older Entries" button at the bottom for more.
I'll let others mention their favourites
So, first off, I mean, don't just report the results of how your group did, because that is going to have all the usual problems with luck/lack of luck with the dice, but instead look at each of the parts of the scenario/module that interact or can interact with the mechanics you are testing and report what the odds of success are whenever a dice roll is called for with the builds you are using. They should also report if the class is able to significantly participate in the check or if they cannot.
The testers should also report where the new mechanics allow them to interact with the story, places where the GM had to fudge things a little to make them fit (this can be great anecdotal data to help flesh out examples in ability descriptions or maybe add another example on a table of possible skill uses).
Other useful data points are going to be how much a class depends on the other group members, are there any large achilles heels in the class or blindspots and to what degree the class is able to offer something new to the box of tools used for problem solving.
This is a rough framework and I'm sure it can be refined to be much better at organizing the questions/data collection, but it should also help minimize the usual issues of playtesting where the developers get a lot of unbalanced or misleading data or just less useful data because there's the guy who can make the commoner shine or the guy who can make the greatest blending of flavour and mechanics ever seem to be boring.
As for the simulated part, that is there because to do the mechanics heavy part of this analysis, you don't really need other people present. You can look at the target AC, saving throws, skill checks, range of skills required in the module and compare them against the sample build being used for testing the class. But, by comparing it to published modules you are working from a comparable baseline and it puts it into the language of the developers rather than the theorycrafters. Using the module also helps calibrate the theorycrafting because it lets the theories be put to the test of an actual module and helps refine the models used in the theorycrafting.
This is basically a stream of consciousness description of what I was thinking, but it roughly lines up with the evaluation/playtesting method used by some reviewers
The key for me, is if Paizo/the players can come up with some good modules to use as testing templates, then the people who like to do the step one theorycrafting can also delve into some deeper analysis and review of how the classes actually handle in a game, without having to get a group of friends together. It should help increase the highly relevant participation in the playtesting.
It would also let players test out the mechanics at a broader range of levels (this will depend heavily on the choice of level appropriate modules, no level 1 dungeon crawling at level 18) and avoid the issues where Paizo doesn't have the time, or planning needed to properly review the mechanics design at all level ranges in semi-real world settings.
Like I think I've mentioned upthread, from watching the playtests, I get the impression that most theorycrafting feedback is largely disregarded, especially when it gets more complex. By putting the feedback into the module format, it will hopefully help the players get their message to Paizo more clearly and lead to a more useful playtest for all. With proper testing methodology setup, it shouldn't really take the playertests all that much longer than a normal detailed theorycrafting post either.
Instead of Full-Attacks, for combat I'd look at % chance of removing the target from being able to contribute to combat. You'd basically be looking at which side is able to reduce the other sides actions/round to zero first.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
If it rubs against your sensibilities, try substituting the word "insist" instead of demand and reading the entire post. It isn't as nefarious as you seem to be afraid.
Vancian/Slot based casting is basically Yu-Gi-Oh. You have a deck of cards. You select your cards for the day, and then have a chance to spend those cards. You just have to hope that you've selected the correct set of cards for the challenges you encounter and that you have enough of each card. It's a conceptually interesting magic system, but not one that gets reflected in fantasy literature very often.
Will McCardell wrote:
Hmm, I have the sneaking suspicion that Endzeitgeist likes this one.
I have no idea why you would say something like that. None at all.
There's already a PFRPG compatible Warlock (different name though). In fact, Endzeitgeist (reviewer extraordinare) called the Ethermancer by Interjection Point Games "the best Warlock currently available for any d20 system". The previous link is for the Kickstarter to expand the existing content and bundle it together in a PFRPG Tome of Magic type collection, which would also feature the best version of the Truenamer, an awesome composer/music based class, and potentially an updated version of shadow magic. The individual reviews (and links to where you can purchase the pdfs) for the Ethermancer (warlock replacement) and it's first expansion are below
For explosive runes/symbol spells, it might be better to have an unused rune/symbol lock out that spell slot/use per day until it is either dismissed/dispelled or activated.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
The advantage of following option 3, is it makes the game easier for new players to pick up and easier to GM as well, since you don't have to worry as much about hitting all sorts of landmines that experienced players and GMs know to avoid.
You can also have a Paladin who views Asmodeus's job to be the tempter and jailer of those who are evil or who might do evil. Asmodeus isn't there to be a nice guy, but in the end he still wants the world to continue. Even with the bad parts of Asmodeus, an order of Paladins who worship him could still base their structure around the Lawful parts and basically play the good-cops who work towards a world that will not fall to the temptations of Asmodeus or be sent to him when they die. Asmodeus helps identify and draw the evil out so the Paladins can target them.
Sure, these are non-Golarion interpretations of the god and Paladins, but they seem consistent with how religions have been handled in the real world by worshippers (see Hinduism, Christianity, etc.) where aspects of a god or agents of a god are what would be considered evil in Pathfinder.
I could see a paladin worshipping an evil god, while not falling. Basically, the Paladin would strive towards the Lawful Good interpretation of an evil deity's portfollio, while the god they worship is there to act as the jailkeeper/punisher for those who fail to live up to the ideals. This obviously wouldn't work for every evil deity, but you can totally set up a good cop/bad cop arrangement.
To use a real-world example, in some biblical writings/apocrypha Satan/Lucifer plays the role of the punisher and the one who tries to tempt those with evil tendencies.
The Relluk entry on d20pfsrd.com produced one of my favourite fan responses. Quoted below:
@Set: Were you the one who proposed that different classes be able to get more out of weapon/armor enchants? I remember someone writing some in-character examples regarding a kid playing around with the parent's sword, the father showing the kid how he could light the sword on fire, and the mother (who was the owner of the sword and the higher level fighter) being able to wreath their entire body in flame and basically turn into a sword wielding fire elemental.
I've tried to find the post, but have had no luck to date.
My request for all of the new classes in Pathfinder Unchained is that they all be able to contribute meaningfully in all areas of the game at all levels.
This would include
Obviously, some classes will be designed to be better in some areas than others, but it would be very nice to allow players to have a chance to participate (be the main person or be a helper) in overcoming challenges in all areas and not just be a load for their other party members to carry.
As I mentioned above, it is also important to make sure to extend the ability to participate across the entire level range and not just a narrow low-level range. Look for the challenges the players can be expected to encounter in each level range and then come up with thematically appropriate ways for each class to contribute to solving those problems. Otherwise, if you design the class first then every problem is going to end up looking like a nail and you may end up creating something that will result in the players sitting around waiting for a chance to contribute for whole swaths of the game.
My issue with Reactionary is the following
The Dictionary wrote:
None of these meanings have anything to do with a person with fast reflexes.
Yeah, I don't think it's a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but with the terminology being used for a powerful and popular (everyone likes the Blue Mage) ability of the arcanist, I'm guessing the question of enemy/ally and the consequences of how that is ruled on other parts of the game is going to come up more often in the next little while, and as such it's worthwhile considering what those implications might be.
Here's a question, would an arcanist with Suffering Knowledge be able to take advantage of the ability if they were hit by an ally who was charmed by an enemy (but not known to the characters) who cast a spell on the arcanist? Why, or why not and is the answer to that question consistent with how enemies are determined elsewhere in the rules?
I'm not sure that the 50 pound weight limit for teleport should include a monster's normal gear. Look at some other Outsiders such as Star Archon. They wear large full plate and large heavy steel shield which is well above 50 pounds. I don't think the intent was that they couldn't teleport in their standard gear.
I think it is more likely that the designers forgot about that limitation when designing the creature and it's item loadout.
While the summoner already has a lot of a "build your own class" nature to it, the mechanics have all sorts of exceptions from the normal way the rules work in other areas of the game. I'd be interested to see what you can create when working on the Talented system version of the class, and if you could make it mesh better with the general mechanics.
Similarly, I'd be interested to see what you have planned for the Paladin. I could see you potentially creating a holy knight that would cover the paladin, anti-paladin and other alignment based holy knight types all under the one umbrella. My first impression is that you could link certain powers to the codes of conduct, which would allow you to recreate the core classes using the talented system, but expand the class offerings somewhat and make them less linear in nature.
The issue I think you probably ran into, and I've run into as well when doing some homebrew, is how various different parts of the rules interact with each other, often in contradictory ways. In this case, I'd suggest that whole chunks of the system would need to get rewritten in order for things to work clearly. After that work is done, it'd be much easier to write new mechanics. A good example of this is the simplifications and reorganization done for the Beginners Box set.
The flip side of this situation, is: Should you write a new mechanic if writing it to do what you want requires lots of qualifiers and a large amount of text? Or is that an area you should shy away from because of the complexity, confusion and difficulty in writing a clean mechanic that won't conflict with other mechanics and cause problems for the readers.
I just wanted to point out that cleaning up the entire rulebook is more likely to shorten the text rather than lengthen the text as Dr.Deth was suggesting. If you rewrite everything in isolation, then of course you'd have a massive and confusing tome, but I don't know why you'd want to take that approach.
The thing is, the suspension of disbelief breaks down when people in the game world do not behave socially or intellectually the way people in the real world behave. For example, why build a style of ship designed to maximize the offensive power and defsnsive power of cannons (or even particular types of cannons) if those cannons or another form of offense does not fill the same role? Why would people waste their time constructing a type of ship that costs a bunch extra and makes a bunch of other design concessions to a feature that is not included?
The "nonsense" as you call it, is not the inclusion of the old people flinging balls of fire or ice breathing flying lizards, it's how the people of the world react or fail to react in a sensical way to these inclusions in the game world.
As a follow-up, I am really really enjoying reading this. The organization is much better than the previous version and the simplification of many mechanics makes it much easier to play. The skill system is something that really can be ported directly into pretty much any Pathfinder game for a general overall upgrade in both useability and balance.
The other issue, is unless you can find a copy of Office 2007 or 2010 you are stuck with Office 365 which you can only rent from Microsoft, not purchase. That drives a lot of people towards programs like Open Office and Libre Office.
Confirming that Butters from the Dresden Files books is one of the most evil, eviliest evildoers that ever did evil.
He comes with a +10 skill bonus to hair stylist.
One of the nice things about Pathfinder 3pp is the Endzeitgeist.com resource. Hundreds of high quality critical reviews by a reviewer that uses the entire review scale. The reviews are in depth and explain the what and why behind the conclusion and score. It makes it much much easier to sort the wheat from the chaff and lets the consumer know exactly what they are getting. There's lots of great stuff out there and it has never been easier to find all the best of the best. I'd suggest that it's actually easier to figure out what are the best 3pp products than it is to find out what are the best Paizo products as there are no reviewers who consistently provide the same breadth and quality of reviews for the Paizo products.
For me, bloat is the publishing of non-options. Basically stuff that you will never want to take because the opportunity cost of taking it is too high and you wouldn't even want to take the material if you were hyper specializing in one area.
Play experiences are used to determine the framework for your model.
If you want to check if the mathematical underpinnings of a system have issues, it is probably best to use math and theorycrafting. There can be lots of problems in how this is applied, most having to do with the design of the model and the assumptions used to construct it.
If you want to determine the impact on the flow and nature of gameplay, game experiences are what is important. There can be lots of problems in how this is applied, most having to do with assumptions made and biases in the participants.
Most items are not politically active and do not make any objections to political change. My take on this is you'd need some sort of intelligent magic item, though the backstory would need to take into account why the particular magic item has strong opinions one way or another against rapid/radical social changes.
I know there's been a few things that have given rise to doubt, but I'm surprised how widespread the belief seems to be that Paizo's writers are incapable of writing a clear and consistent mechanic, as shown in this thread.
The world as per the spells and capabilities of characters/npcs does not match the world as typically presented by world builders. Any issues are generally glossed over with half-hearted justifications.
Regarding the Talented classes, how would you categorize them, if not calling them full classes? I agree that they are a redo of the core classes, but they are at least at the level of an alternate class. Note that a bunch of Super Genius Games credited classes are now Rogue Genius Games classes.
Also, here are a few more:
Aquanaut - Alluria Publishing
One thing I've always wondered about, is what is the the checklist designers go through when sitting down and doing the initial prototyping and concept level design, prior to putting actual mechanics down. I always figured it would be something like the following, but I am beginning to suspect that they might be following another procedure.
Caedwyr's imagined design procedure wrote: