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Honestly, I think Mark Seifter's diligent feedback provided a very awesome alternative to the top 100. His and voter feedback strike me as a better measurement of how well your item faired and how you can improve than some arbitrary top X items list.
I do feel that the strongest argument for showing the list lies with less golden ticketing since getting those few more votes than the other item in the top 50 is more important than simply making an item great enough to catch the eye of the judges. However, I do agree the arguments against showing the list outweigh this.
Shimmering air continues to briskly flow within this 30 foot line for 1 round. Allies that perform the charge, move, run, or withdraw actions through at least two squares of this wind trail begin hovering 1 foot above the ground and ignore difficult terrain for the remainder of the movement. These allies must land on a solid surface at the end of their turn.
Jacob Kellogg wrote:
As Petty Alchemy says, the recharge mechanic is a very significant difference. So much that I wrote this article answering the question "Why does grit/panache "feel" different than ki?" To summarize the article, grit is a dynamic engine whereas ki is a static engine. As a result, grit generates a feedback loop that gives rise to emergent gameplay differing from ki.
I'm not saying a unified pool is inherently a bad thing, only that it comes with trade offs. These trade offs do exist, even in a system as you propose. You would still have to figure out a way to make all classes and their interactions work in the same framework, either by disabling multiclassing or by providing/barring recharge mechanics for all classes. This inherently limits the design space.
So as someone who is only a casual visitor to Golarion, what HAS been mapped already?
I recommend looking through the Inner Sea World Guide for a city or some place on the map that looks interesting. Then do a search for it, even if just google, and see if any module or adventure path takes place there. If not, there's likely no map for it. Many modules have the place's name in the module's title (Doom Comes to Dustspawn, Fangwood Keep, Carrion Hill, etc) so it should be easy to find whether a map exists of it.
On a related note, I have a character who comes from a tribe that reveres ancestors. She strongly frowns upon grave robbing as her tribe tends to bury a few useful items with their fallen kin so can continue to serve the tribe in the afterlife. However, it's also customary for the deceased to leave their best possessions to their kin. This means that while the character opposes grave robbing, she's fine with looting tombs or taking equipment from fallen foes. The kin of entombed dead are usually way long gone and most of the valuable tombs come from arrogant materialistic kings. As a result, she feels like their possessions serve no use being buried.
She's not a Pharasmin, but this might be a good example of a character that respects the dead, but is fine with taking stuff from the slain.
Casey Hudak wrote:
That seems similar to a soothsayer's raiment.http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/magic-armor/specific-magic-armor/sooths ayer-s-raiment
The mythic version is okay, but I'm not crazy about the augmented version because the table should be custom tailored by the GM anyway. Why not just let you choose the race provided it does not change your creature type?
On a tangent, I'm really baffled I haven't found anything that allows a worshiper of a deity to reincarnate into the form the deity favors. In other words, there's no way for a dwarven cleric of Torag to increase his chances of reincarnating into a dwarf. That makes no sense to me when gods have the power to influence or deny resurrection and that the deceased take a form favored by their deity in the afterlife.
The short answer is don't plan the plot. Prepare the participants involved and then have them do stuff. Only prepare what you need to run the adventure on the fly. For example, if you have an adventure about raiding a cult, don't plan out the entire story involving the cultists. Instead, write some notes about what the cult is trying to accomplish, make a hook to get the PCs to want to stop them, find some stat blocks for the cultists, and a map of their temple for the PCs to explore.
I honestly recommend the book Gamemastering by Brian Jamison.
Reworked firearms so they're no longer touch attacks, only misfire if broken, and apply Dexterity mod to damage as an innate feature. Gunslinger was changed to compensate. Fast muskets is gone, but now the Musket Master gets Vital Strike feats for free to emphasize two-handed firearms as single-shot burst weapons.
Monk has a full BAB and d10 HD.
Crafting rules are simplified and work more like magic item creation.
You don't need magic item creation feats to create or modify magic items.
All characters receive Weapon Finesse and Power Attack for free if they meet the prerequisites.
Exotic weapon proficiency is a trait, not a feat.
Being "denied your Dexterity bonus to AC" is renamed to the flat-footed condition. I think even SKR is doing this in his new Five Moons game, except he's calling it "distracted."
You can grapple a target bigger than you. It doesn't immobilize the target, but this allows you to climb up on them Shadow of Colossus style.
You can retrain for free with GM permission as long as your character concept remains the same. One player did this beautifully. He made an ifrit monk, but couldn't handle the Wisdom penalty. So, I let him retrain as a suli. His character spent her whole life thinking she's an ifrit, but learned that she's a suli and that her mother lied about her heritage.
Economies make for powerful, meaningful mechanics. It can influence how a game flows and makes for a powerful tool that facilitates emergent gameplay. This is so true that a game design textbook exists that revolves around designing economies to create games. Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design by Ernest Adams and Joris Dormans is an excellent book that I recommend for anyone who has serious aspirations to become a game designer, especially for table top games. I've personally used what I learned from Ernest Adams's book to homebrew a class with a pool that starts empty each day and must be filled by performing a special attack that's usable X times per day in order to convey the class's theme.
A class designer can use a pool mechanic to influence how a character's powers feel. This is why grit has gained popularity, because it works very differently from ki. It's also why some people prefer psionics over Vancian spellcasting. A psionic character and a Vancian spellcaster play very differently, even if their abilities are similar.
My point is that homogenizing all classes to use the same pool denies many potential ways to make interesting classes. It does help make classes less complicated, but at the cost of narrowing the design space.
I've been upvoting items that, while not superstar in their execution, really push magic items in a direction I greatly support. One of them involves rods. I honestly hate rods in 3E/PF, and don't understand why they deserve an entire magic item category. Aside from Metamagic Rods, rods are basically just wondrous items in the form of a stick. This year in RPG Superstar, I've seen many designers create rods as magic items that alter spells being cast in interesting ways. I think this is a solid direction for rods, and want to see this come out of published material.
1) Channel energy is one of the only AoE heals in the entire game. It has plenty of feat support. It's a great asset to the team in a game all about teamwork.
2) The cleric SHOULD be feat starved. They get 9-level spellcasting, one of the best healing, domains, and make for decent fighters with their 3/4 BAB. They already outshine martials simply because they gain so much in exchange for no bonus feats and a slight hit to BAB. Finally, there is a good archetype that grants you bonus feats without having to meet requirements, so...
3) MADness is pretty standard for a fighting spellcaster class.
4) They can cast 9th level spells, many of them excellent utility. Poor skill points is an acceptable and standard trade-off.
5) Every class has bad archetypes. Every one. Some of them outright unplayable or possessing mechanics that don't work as written.
Though fairly dull to play, the cleric is one of the strongest classes in the game because they get so much: good saves, decent BAB, 9th level spellcasting, good proficiencies, great healing, etc. Even compared to similar gish/support classes, they're really strong. Even Sean K. Reynolds says they're too powerful. Implying that they aren't viable really hurts your credibility.
Martials already feel illiterate because they have no way to interact with magical stuff. Every game I ran or played ran into the situation where the party would encounter something magical, and the party's mages examine it and have long winded discussions while the martials sit at the side and twiddle their thumbs.
I prefer items that facilitate gameplay. I don't care if it's a technical item. I don't care if it's a firearm. I want items that do cool stuff or let the me do cool stuff. I want to see if you can write an ability that works with the form of the item to produce a cool effect. This year's competition enabled many action-oriented type of items, so there's no excuse!
All of the orc torcs...All of the orc torcs.
*Shivers in a blanket as if suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Distorder*
I was about to suggest something similar to John Compton.
The arcane power begins integrating into his soul, slowly transforming him into an elemental of raw arcane power with his mortal coil slowing the process. Each day, the power begins degrading his mind and his body, causing glowing fissures to appear on his flesh. When the power finally shatters his body, he will become reborn as a wandering beacon of primal magic, changing reality around him with each step and leaving behind a trail of transformed creatures and landscape -- a smaller but barely sentient version of the magical cataclysm.
With each loss of Constitution, the power grows more powerful as the mortal coil is less capable of containing the energy in his soul. At first, it's merely a +1 caster level to his extracts. Then he starts emitting an aura that causes primal magic events whenever a spell is cast. The aura grows larger the more Constitution he loses. However, with each event, he can make a Will save in an attempt to control the raw power, suppressing it, influencing it, or perhaps leaving some areas near him exempt of this power.
The party learns that this transformation is inevitable. Unless the taint is removed from his soul, a feat requiring mythic power, eventually he will become a magic elemental. However, hope exists. If the alchemist somehow manages to control the power rather than the power controlling him, he may become something akin to a genie of primal magic. This requires an insanely strong will. The party may have to appeal to a god to assist. Perhaps the god of magic may see the alchemist as a potential new herald? Maybe another god wants to use him as a tool to end the cataclysm. Perhaps an evil god and his cult wants the alchemist to make it worse...
I like giving maximum hitpoints for several reasons.
1) It makes the characters more durable. My players put a considerable amount of investment in the narrative of their characters. I tailor the campaign to their characters' stories. Nobody wants a player to make a new character all the time. While I don't want my campaign to be without death, I want to make sure a character's death is a decisive consequence.
2) It gives me wiggle room to be brutal or imperfect in my encounter design. It allows me to let enemies focus fire or use clever tactics, because I know the PCs are more durable than the average character.
3) My players still feel like death is possible. If the players feel too indestructible, I can throw them a tough encounter to keep their hubris in check. That's my power as a GM. Really, GMs should be doing this anyway -- alternating between easy and tough encounters to give the players highs and lows.
4) It's so much easier to calculate hitpoints. My players aren't the most savvy with Pathfinder, so sometimes they calculate their stats wrong (more often NOT in their favor). With max hitpoints, it's always Level * (Hit Die + Con modifier). If they use favored class bonuses for hitpoints, they can figure out if they done so just by checking the disparity.
5) Solves all the problems with random hitpoint generation.
Also remember that players feel much more weight with hit point loss than the GM. Losing 25% of a PC's hit points doesn't feel that big of a deal to a GM, who knows the scope of the adventure and encounter. To that player, it's a much bigger deal.
New Class: Nadia Fortune of Skullgirls. Why? Reasons (also prestige with Biomancer, make The Thing!)
Classes are one of the hardest things to design in this game. Classes are also the easiest way to break the game if you don't understand the internal mechanisms of how the game works. At-will fast healing is a great example of this. Healing 1 hit point per round doesn't seem very powerful at a glance. However, the game's internal mechanisms assume that all healing requires using up daily or long term resources. A character that can heal to full hit points after every encounter without spending any resources breaks all game mechanics that make this assumption. If you don't understand the consequences of breaking these assumption, you risk changing the game in a way you did not intend.
I'm not saying it's bad to change the game to suit your campaign and preferences. However, you can end up causing problems you did not suspect if you don't know what you're doing. Worse is that these classes mess with the fundamental machinations of the game.
It's like a customizing a car. It's fine to swap the tires, add a new stereo, or change your gas pedal to look like a foot print. But if you're not a mechanic, messing with the engine is a really bad idea.
I much prefer to balance toward being equal to a wizard, and if it's too much dumbing it down.
Balancing content to make it on par with the most powerful or optimal case is a common mistake I see. This is not a good idea because the most powerful case may actually be too powerful. When you balance against the above advantage rather than the average, it causes power creep. You may accidentally make the content more powerful than the optimal content, which is a bad thing. A better strategy is to choose a benchmark you considered to be the most balanced case. And choose one most similar to your concept.
Balancing a martial against a wizard never strikes me as a good idea because they're radically different classes. Professional designers have been trying to balance martials against wizards for decades with mixed success. You're better off picking a martial you think is balanced and has a similar class feature structure. I'm using the bloodrager as a benchmark for my cyborg class because it also has a limited self-buffing mechanic and a bloodline-like feature.
Another issue with balancing against wizards is that many people make fallacious assumptions when they do so. It's fine to balance limited-use effects against spells. However, I've seen the faulty argument "It's fine if X class can do it at-will because a wizard can do it at the same level!" way too many times.
I think he was saying it was a little "on the nose" and allows you to play a character rather than a class.
I do agree with this, too, but it's a common issue I see with homebrew classes. If you're making the class specific to your campaign, it's not that big of a deal. However, it feels like the life gem should be an archetype or prestige class with the life gem as a class feature or an artifact that grants special abilities. The large benefit of reducing the scope of the project to a prestige class or archetype is that you don't need to build enough content to support a whole class. Instead, you can focus on the cool abilities that motivate you to homebrew it in the first place.
AH before I forget Cyrad, you may like the Biomancer a little more, I've already gone through and made adjustments and gotten some thoughts from the forums with it before, so I believe it's in a good spot.
I gave that one a closer look. I actually kind of like it. My biggest issue comes from the fact it hooks onto summoner class, which I feel wary of because it's a broken class. Prohibiting some evolutions strikes me as a good idea, but a better idea might be to just cherrypick the available evolutions rather than black list some of them. This is the approach Advanced Class Guide took with slayer and investigator talents. Cherrypicking the evolutions might also grant you enough leverage to make it a full BAB class.
I understand ring of invisibility, because that requires activation and doesn't make much sense if you could be invisible all the time. However, this doesn't make any sense for hat of disguise from a mechanical, flavor, and rules standpoint.
1) The text doesn't provide an activation method, which implies it's a continuous effect. Yes, the magic item rules do say that items without provided activation methods are command words and the item is priced as one. However, this creates an ambiguous precedent where items that were obviously intended as continuous effects now have to be activated as command words.
2) Not having it be continuous goes completely against the nature of the item if you have to activate it every 10 minutes to keep up the disguise, especially when the hat requires you to have the item be part of the disguise in some way.
3) Unlike ring of invisibility, I see little mechanical reason to not allow this item to be continuous. It strikes me that the developer writing it intended it to be a continuous item.
New Class: Nadia Fortune of Skullgirls. Why? Reasons (also prestige with Biomancer, make The Thing!)
Playing with dismemberment is an interesting idea. However, my feelings about these classes mirror the same feelings I had about your cyborg-ninja-that's-totally-not-Raiden that gets a +1 adamantine katana at 1st level as a class feature. They're broken classes that deliberately throw all balance and design sense out the window. So, I'm not sure what kind of meaningful critique or feedback I or anyone else can give you.
For art programs, I personally recommend GIMP. It's a free Photoshop-like program you can download. Change the preferences to have everything snap to the grid and set the grid to something like 50 pixels (it's better to make the image large and shrink it when exporting). Then use line tools and such. You can place a grid over the image by creating a new layer, pasting the grid there, and then set the layer to multiply.
I personally use Adobe Illustrator for simple line art maps. If I want to pretty it up, I export it to Photoshop and paint over it.
Last year, I posted a style guide I compiled when studying the game in a previous year. It has served me as a great tool, and I hope it does the same for you. If you would like to add to the list, please do so!
1. Spells should be italicized and lowercase, such as fly, invisibility, and black tentacles.
2. Magic items and properties should be italicized and lowercase, such as flaming and bag of holding.
3. Magic weapons/armor are PREFIXED by their enhancement bonus, such as a +1 flaming longsword and +2 spell storing leather armor.
4. Magic items with varying bonuses are POSTFIXED by their bonus, such as headband of vast intelligence +2.
5. Feats should be capitalized, such as Weapon Focus, Arcane Strike, and Cleave.
6. Skill names should be capitalized while subskills in parenthesis should be lowercase, such as Sleight of Hand, Knowledge (arcana), and Profession (sailor).
7. Size categories should be capitalized, such as Large, Tiny, and Medium.
8. Almost all game mechanics except spells, magic items, feats, skills, and size categories should NOT have any special formatting.
9. Measurements should be empirical (feet, inches, miles) and NOT be abbreviated unless it's part of the item's template. For example, the template abbreviates the item's weight as "lb" or "lbs." However, you must use "pounds" when describing weight in the description text.
10. Construction requirements should be in the following order: feats, spells, other requirements, cost.
11. If the item requires more than one feat or spell, order them alphabetically.
12. Alphabetize list items in the text when possible. For example, if your item's text lists energy damage types, it should be in the order "acid, cold, electricity, and fire."
This is also a good example how to make your item avoid feeling like an SAK. Note that Mikko's sword actually does many things.
1) It gives the wielder a 20-foot pseudo-reach on melee attacks for one full-attack.
2) It increases the fire damage from the flaming property for one full-attack.
3) It teleports the wielder to a space within 20 feet.
However, since the flavor and mechanics all work harmoniously, it doesn't feel like a SAK. Mechanics #1 and #2 function as the same, logical action. Mechanic #3 comes as a logical consequence of the mechanics preceding it. The visuals tie all the mechanics together into a single effect reinforcing the sword's theme around the fire goddess.
Mikko Kallio wrote:
Pardon me if I add to that quote with a favorite of mine.
"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
If you can make a cool item that does one iconic thing without a lot of moving parts, that's the mark of a great designer to me. Try to keep it simple but highly effective. Making the item complicated will not impress. I've seen many items create really complicated interactions that require an entire paragraph to explain when the designer could have simplified them to a combat maneuver. I've seen many add extraneous bits that did nothing but distract from the item's main purpose. The more you can do with less, the better. Remember there's a difference between depth and complexity. Some of the most well designed content I've ever seen had incredible depth with minimal complexity.
If I want to play a spellcaster rogue, I'd honestly rather play a magus, which has plenty more support for the character concept and is simply more fleshed out in general. In fact, I'd recommend redesigning the class as a magus archetype or using the magus as a template. At the moment, the class feels too weak and has a narrow scope of character concepts it can enable. At the very least, you can afford to give them 6-level spellcasting. Additionally, several of their class features, like impromptu sneak attack, take away the gameplay of using their class features.
Not quite. Let me elaborate on that, but I'll start off by saying that I'm NOT totally happy with how any modern edition of D&D handles hitpoints/healing as a resource.
From a design perspective, the entire game revolves around the concept of using encounters as a resource drain - each CR = APL encounter is mathematically designed to consume roughly 20% to 25% of your daily resources. These resources include hitpoints, abilities, and spells. The players' objective is to complete each encounter in a manner that mitigates the resource drain to a minimum. This creates gameplay and strategy and decision making.
Long term resources reinforce the idea of adventure. It creates the conflict of trying to make your long term resources last to the end of the adventure. This creates varying levels of tension and keeps encounters from getting monotonous. The same encounter can force players to approach it very differently depending on the availability of their resources.
Hit points function as the primary long term resource in D&D because it does not completely replenish each day and starting an encounter with fewer hit points increases the chance of death. The entire game's pacing hinges on this resource. In most editions of D&D, replenishing enough hit points to keep your character healthy costs either short term resources best saved for emergencies (healing spells) or another long term resource (money).
However, no edition of D&D I played handle hit points as a resource as effectively as it should. Healing that is too scarce can slow an adventure to an agonizing pace or halt it entirely, which is what CLW was designed to fix. However, CLW trivializes healing into a consumable that's extremely easy to stockpile. Like you said, this results in out-of-combat healing feeling like a pointless gold drain. 4th Edition tried to fix this problem with healing surges, free healing that replenishes daily. However, in doing so, they intentionally threw the baby out with the bathwater in order to focus 4th Edition as a skirmish game than a game about journey and adventure. It eliminated healing as a long term resource. 5th Edition inherited this mechanic, though tried to mitigate somewhat by requiring you to rest for 1 hour to heal and making you only replenish half your hit dice daily.
In summary, I strongly prefer a game that has a middle ground concerning scarcity of healing/hitpoints. I don't want a game with healing so scarce that a single bad luck encounter can bring the game to a halt. At the same time, I don't want a game that trivializes hit points as a long term resource. It reinforces D&D/PF as a skirmish game rather than a game about adventuring. To put it simply, I believe mechanics like healing surges and 5e hit dice do not solve the problem CLW creates in the game as I perceive it. Rather, it internalizes it into a new form.
Vincent Takeda wrote:
Responding condescendingly to criticism neither advances your idea nor this discussion.
The reason many had negative first impressions of your idea stems from what I said in my previous post. Completely breaking the economy of a fundamental system in the game does not make for a viable solution to the problem at hand. Many people can intuitively come to this conclusion even with only cursory understanding of game design and D&D/PF. This is reason many people were quick to respond with "it's a bad idea." These are not personal attacks against you. It's simply a gut response to your idea from their intuition. It's valid criticism, and I haven't found any examples of someone criticizing your idea an inappropriate manner.
If someone gives you an abrupt response, then politely ask for an elaboration. Criticizing the way they do their criticism neither advances your idea nor the topic at hand. It's rude and generally considered unacceptable behavior in this community. Throughout this thread, you elevated the abrasive nature of your responses in a manner I consider as a personal attack against the people in the thread who feel genuinely invested in the subject of giving the fighter quality of life changes.
I started tabletop gaming with 4th Edition, which has the healing surge system that 5th Edition's hit die (I hate that name) system evolved from. After a year or so of playing/studying 4th Edition, both my DM and I grew to dislike healing surges and came to the same conclusion. Healing surges eliminate healing/hitpoints as a long term resource. This reinforces the game as merely a daily sequence of skirmishes rather than an adventure. There's less tension because everyone can regain all their resources as long as they can rest for 8 hours. I don't like this. It was one of the many reasons I found 4th Edition so agonizingly boring to play.
In a response to an article by Sean K Reynolds, I proposed another solution: eliminate wands and make potions the price of a single wand charge. Potions have many inherent physical limitations to make them less of a trivial source for healing while maintaining them as a long term resource. The benefits of this are:
1) Action economy limitations of potions make clerical healing more valuable (easier to cast a healing spell on an ally during battle), but not as necessary (don't need UMD to use a potion).
2) Potions have greater difficulty to stockpile than wands. It's not easy to store 50 potions of CLW. Shoving them into a bag of holding or handy haversack has its own problems and risk breaking the bottles. It forces players to become creative with their storage.
3) Encourages players to buy more expensive cure consumables due to cheaper prices, action economy, and storage issues.
4) Makes potions the iconic source for consumable magic, as is the case for most fantasy settings and games.
A botched time travel experiment or the plane of time collided with the kingdom, causing it to suddenly age as if thousands of years passed within an instant. One of the clues includes surviving records all indicating the event happened only 100 years ago despite the ruins showing thousands of years of disrepair. Some of the elder bad guy races recall suddenly finding the homes of their enemies like this.
Both. I always thought lightsabers needed a guard of some sort. I'm happy there's finally a lightsaber that has one, but the design looks silly. How about a selectively-permeable lightsaber-proof energy field around the hilt as a guard? Ya know, exactly like the ones those "roller" droids had in Phantom Menace?
This hasn't been something that occurred yet in my campaign. However, I considered that once a character drops to hitpoints at negative Constitution, the character's fate is sealed, but they can still remain conscious and perform actions, like make a last stand before death.
I experimented with having petrification be a gradual process represented by Dexterity bleed where you turn to stone at 0 Dexterity. This resulted in a very dramatic fight with two characters using the remaining seconds of their life to aid the party before succumbing.
I would allow it because:
2) The fireball spell points out that obstructions can impede the spell and cause it to blow prematurely.
3) This is the sort of thing that readied actions are made for. You can perform a reactionary response normally not allowed by the game at the cost of your turn and initiative. While powerful, it's very costly and not abusable.
4) I think it's the kind of creativity that a GM should encourage.
5) It adds another way for martials to contribute to their team without just whacking things with a pointy object.
Numbers aren't the main problem with martials. It's that for classes dedicated to combat, they're only good at only ONE aspect of combat (doing damage) that any class with a decent Strength and a BAB that isn't terrible can do.
I did implement the free Power Attack, Deadly Aim, Combat Expetise, and Weapon Finesse in my game and have seen suggestions for adding BAB to initiative, which I liked.
Arcanemuses threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to create a Lovecraftian-inspired class. Since Arcanemuses issued the challenge a few weeks ago, I gave myself only three days to design this investigator archetype.
Complexity =/= Depth
My problem is that when I finally dig through the bloat and complexity, I'm honestly not seeing much depth to the classes. The spiritualist is just a summoner with a ghost. While a cool concept, it doesn't need any of the horrific bloat and complexity the summoner's eidolon has. The mesmer doesn't really have much to it. The medium is cool, but the wandering and combination spirit mechanics just overcomplicate what should be a fairly elegant class: you channel a spirit and get buffs. In addition, the kineticist seems fun enough, but it has so many different types of talents that even after reading the class three times, I'm still not entirely sure how it all works.
In other words, the complexity of these classes don't necessarily give them depth. that's my concern.