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Pillbug Toenibbler wrote:
Today, Paizo announces Pathfinder, The Toaster(tm), the newest way to bring the excitement of Pathfinder and the giddy flames of goblin kind to a breakfast near you. With exciting toast burn configurations such as "Ezren's Chin", "Griddle of Opposite Germination", and "Runetoast", breakfast will never be boring again!
Robert Hetherington wrote:
Based on the actual feat text, yea, it seems fairly obvious that it was banned for power reasons and a huge expectancy of table variation.
Spend 1 feat, acquire the most valuable resource in pathfinder: an extra set of actions.
You have to go through a lot of effort to actually create a character that "isn't viable". People routinely play at a power level above what the game was built for, and that provides a huge buffer space. You'll do fine, and magi that aren't the bog-standard-cookie-cutter dervish dancer with intensified shocking grasp do just fine in the game, especially with a competent GM.
They are already useful and competent. Ample playtesting has shown this out repeatedly. In-combat things are not the area they need help in. Buffing them up, or replacing them with a set of classes that just further exacerbate rocket tag and bring the levels that it's active at much lower won't help as much as working in logical out-of-combat abilities, and that's where you should focus your attention if you want to be successful.
This is a messageboards problem and one seen predominantly in the games of people who are on the messageboards. Regardless of which messageboard it is. A tempest in a teacup.
There can be issues, but only when things are pushed to their limits, and in many many MANY games, martials are by far the most powerful characters.
This is especially true at the levels that most people play at (lower levels), and in the average game.
I get the feeling there's some context I'm missing, but I'm not so sure I'm actually missing much.
Reading the rules strictly and without trying to determine the intent isn't the best idea. In fact, I'm not even certain it's possible. It's easy to see why as well:
Written words have one purpose, and one purpose only: To convey the intent of the designer. The words and rules they encompass did not appear out of a void. The words first appeared when a human being typed them on a computer. And that wasn't the first time the rules came into being either. Previously, they were in the designer's head, jumbling about and sorting themselves out. They were bouncing off myriad other ways to implement the desired behavior. How can I best capture this feeling and action I'm trying to encapsulate? Should it be a bonus applied in a certain situation, or something that gives a new ability in that situation?
And, as surprising as it is, it turns out that the designer does not suddenly become a robot when they are designing new rules and transcribing their thoughts into words that convey their intent. Or if they do transmogrify, it sure as heck doesn't happen to me or any other of the many designers I know. This means that they are still just human. They can still make mistakes when conveying their intended rules.
So yes, applying common sense is necessary. Sometimes it's needed to fill in the gaps when mistakes are made during when transcribing rules from the mind to the document.
Of course, coming at the rule without preconceived notions is also very helpful. Sometimes the designer wants to do something that doesn't actually fit what would be called "common sense". Usually this involves being very specific about something to show how it's different from the norm.
And this isn't even getting into the idea of design blind spots, where you are so deep into a system and you know it so well that you simply do not realize that one of the rules in your head is not actually written down, and your mind just fills-in-the-gaps when you are re-reading everything.
But it all comes down to the designers not being robots. Things will never be perfect, and you need to try to figure out what the intent was in a fair manner in the cases where things are odd. There are often times very strong hints that point one way or the other, with a few principles that can be applied to figure out the intent.
Well, unofficially, I think it'd be fine for that case, although if they took other damaging tactics, I'd keep them at d8. It's feat for an effective +1 damage increase. You can also just say they have bastard swords, but some also have daggers that they use now and then, and then between pommelsmacks and thrown elbows, that accounts for the B,P, and S damage type.
The other reason Linda and I went with this model was because it ensured we could have better handle on the balance. When we removed the possibility of outfitting your own troop, it meant that the class wouldn't get massively more powerful or weak based on the wealth that the party got, which is a factor we can't really control. We wanted to take a complex concept, someone in charge of a bunch of people, and take away as many of the the aspects that made the archetypical idea difficult to run without massive spreadsheets. And part of that included outfitting the troop personally. (And paying them, although we experimented with that a bit and Linda made a great system for how to handle it.)
One thing I'd recommend though is to sort of divorce yourself from the thinking that it's exactly like an NPC. It's fine to just say "Yes, they all have bastard swords", without giving them the feat. The squad weapon is never really specified, so it can be whatever you want. In the base adventure that introduced the troop subtype, the auto-damage represented rifle buts, elbows, knives, bayonets, and the occasional-probably-too-close-pistol fire. It was just whatever the troop had in hand.
Fluid Tactics would probably help though, letting them switch easier between two-handing the bastard swords, and using them one-handed with shields.
In the game I'm playing in, I have a General that leads a group of half-elfs that are outfitted with a mix of longswords, falcatas, shields, crossbows, and shovels. Their squad name is the Ditch Diggers, which is somehow a term of honor given our nascent kingdom.
Additionally, here is commentary from a former member of the Pathfinder Design Team ranting about the rods.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Honestly, I think all of the metamagic rods are cheesy and should be removed from the game. The metamagic feats are already annoying and weak and there's no strong incentive to take them, and on top of that you can pick up the rod as a cheap feat-in-a-can and not have to prepare the spell ahead of time, and on top of that, they can bypass the 9th-level spell limit (normally you can't quicken anything 6th or higher with the feat because there are no 10th-level spell slots), so the rods are even better than the feat.
The parenthetical statement is clearly at odds with the idea that the rods allow you to prepare the spells ahead of time using the metamagic feat, as if that were the case, you couldn't use the rod of quicken, despite what the statement above states.
Caused too many questions to arise and unbalanced things that were made under the ruling they weren't spells.
When there are guides on which race to pick to get which spell of which casting tradition and which spell level, just so you can make a build using something that was never the original intention, things have gone way, way too far.
4th edition had one such table, and it was one of the most hated things about the edition, as the characters never actually got better.
If you really want to go ahead with that, just make an excel chart that sets chance to succeed at 50%, and make an average build against that, putting every rank of a skill into that, etc.
You'll have to do that for ability checks too, because ability checks are already screwed up and scale much slower.
"Doesn't need to be playtested," is the common refrain from those who armchair analyze, "it's obvious how this will work, given X, Y, and Z."
But the thing is that if you want your opinions to be considered more, you should still playtest. And playtest fairly! Because armchair analysis is prone to missing details and people on the forums almost invariably want things stronger during the playtests, so it's hard to separate actual good ideas from the usual "buff buff buff buff buff", and playtesting reports helps with that greatly.
I'm quite glad to see that others are planning on more playtests. Since high level playtests are rare, I will probably aim my own tests there.
If they didn't have the extra staggered spells from bloodlines, then it would be an absolutely no-brainer choice for 99% of all sorcerers.
How would you go about trading out a weak ability that you probably won't use past level 2 for an extra set of actions, the most important thing you can get in Pathfinder?
One thing to keep in mind is that the rules were made with innumerable assumptions of what is common sense. For example, nothing in the rules prevents an elephant from jumping, even though it is impossible for an elephant to jump.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Thanks for the review, Eric!
To answer your questions:
Flagbearer was indeed altered here. We thought it fit well, but that as written it'd be a bit too good.
Skirmishing is sort of a different way of damage than anything else in the system, so here is how it is supposed to work:
You have a dice pool. It's comprised of a number of d6s. If you get the tactic as soon as possible, your dice pool will have 1d6 in it. You also get 2 lines when you use this. Each line will do 2 points of damage, and you can assign any number of the dice from the dice pool to either line. If taken ASAP, that basically means you'll have 2 lines, one that does 1d6+2 damage, 1 that does 2 damage. Once you get a 2nd d6 in the dice pool, you could have 1 line that does 2d6+2 and the other doing 2, or two lines that do 1d6+2, etc etc.
The lines will follow the usual rules for line effects, same as spells. So, act like someone in the troop's squares is casting lightning bolt, and resolve it that way. :) Hopefully that helps.
Whenever I refresh a page, a pop up, well, pops up, saying "f" with an OK button.
Then another pops up with 27, a radio box to say "Don't pop up again" essentially, and an OK button. And then another one pops up after I click that one, saying another number.
This is for every page, and another user has seen this happen on theirs too.
Version: 1.14.23352.166.23352 (2015-06-01 11:11)
Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Your assumption about using CR equal was correct.
Amusingly enough though, I actually have a bit better numbers than that. When balancing a class I wrote, I tried to determine the average number of creatures in an encounter*. The numbers worked out to about 2-3 creatures per encounter for a given CR.
I think I checked 3 PFS scenarios and 2 AP modules? Not exactly representative, but do you have any idea how time consuming that is? :) The main module I remember was The Dead Heart of Xin, a real dungeon crawler with lots of encounters, and I used that one for high levels.
Which means for the average encounter, it's better to use not CR equal, but a CR equal to APL - 2 as the target numbers. Not that the numbers aren't entirely fair: if the party is level 15, a CR 17 encounter could be composed of 2 CR 15 critters, but for the numbers below, it's using level 17 CMB numbers for that. However, the original numbers already cover that case.
So, starting at 20, using a maneuver that can replace attacks but doesn't use a weapon, as a full BAB class that only uses things from the CRB:
Starting at 17 Str, other assumptions untouched:
Also, noticed a small issue in my formulas. Subtract about 5% from the level 1-6 range for all previous numbers. The other ranges are unaffected by it, and this post uses the corrected numbers.
Here are the numbers for against CR = APL+1 targets. Keep in mind that as CR overtakes APL, there's a much greater chance that we're getting into single target territory, and then the creature is going down fast anyways. This does not include the flanking that will generally happen in a single target situation.
Starting Str: 20
Starting Str: 17
So, I originally picked this up because it sounded very similar to something I did. Turns out, the similarities are there mostly in overall themes, rather than details.
But due to the rather terse description, here's what you can expect from this class:
The class is a skill monkey one, receiving as many skill ranks per level as the rogue (effectively higher, given the focus on Intelligence). They balance this out by not giving sneak attack.
They get a grit/panache type pool (and it counts as those for prereqs), and it has some interesting methods of replenishing. Whereas the gunslinger and swashbuckler have very gamist methods of regaining their pools, this one focuses on doing very well on skill checks to get points back (with some clever anti-bag-o'-rats language) and more interestingly, they get the points back through "clever play". Essentially, overcoming encounters in ways that do not involve combat.
They get Deeds, which work just like the gunslinger/swashbucklers.
The most important deed is the Gang one. Their gang is essentially an Aura that emanates from the Kingpin, granting bonuses on skill checks to all allies in it, and affecting allies with certain other bonuses that get added on as the kingpin levels up.
There's a fairly decent mix of deeds that will affect the gang, from things that help with skill checks, to not being surprised in the surprise round, to sharing teamwork feats, to granting uncanny dodge, etc.
Some deeds also allow the kingpin an extra standard action, and eventually to grant that to allies.
They also get a number of Skill Tricks, including things like quickly appraising the value of all treasure in your gang aura's radius, not taking penalties on Intimidate for being smaller, or allowing you to get a gut feeling about someone being mind-controlled much faster than normal. You get to select these at 2nd level, and every 2 levels thereafter.
They also get a number of bonus teamwork feats and general bonus feats.
At a very high level, it's a skill monkey that buffs its allies in a nifty way.
There are some layout glitches (especially with the Skill Tricks, there's a place where "immediately" is split across two lines after the leading "i", and the teamwork feat sharing deed is misplaced).
If I had to raise concerns based on the first read through:
Oh, and there are some archetypes, new feats, new magic items, favored class bonuses, and example Kingpins.
One thing I do appreciate about it is how it's probably well-suited for new players, giving a lot of always-on abilities that help others out. Even if they don't do the best things, they at least make everyone else better. They will have to select a lot of feats and skill tricks though.
This isn't really meant to be a review, but things to expect. It's a bit hard to place the balance of this so soon after reading it, due to the whole thing with effectively always-on aura that grants a ton of benefits. I'll put it on the backburner, and if I have any breakthroughs on thinking about the class, I'll make sure to turn this into a review.