|Paizo Pathfinder® Paizo Games|
|About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ|
Skinwalkers don't take a -4 penalty to Charisma. Read this again.
While in bestial form, a skinwalker takes a –4 penalty on Charisma and Charisma-based checks when interacting with humanoids that lack the shapechanger subtype.
The text means they take a penalty on Charisma checks and Charisma-based skill checks. They have to use this language because Charisma checks are not skill checks---they're ability checks. Charisma checks are used for things such as charm person and Command Undead. If the author meant the bestial form grants a Charisma penalty, then the text would say "to Charisma" and the penalty would be mentioned in the Ability Score racial trait heading. Additionally, it doesn't make any lick of sense why some heritages would give you Charisma bonuses when you shapeshift despite having a penalty.
Just a Guess wrote:
No early access, just a way to circumvent the strangeness that alchemy is not magic. And it gets the ban-hammer.
Alchemy isn't magic, but the alchemist's alchemy is magic. However, many feats like Arcane Strike and item creation feats only care if you can cast spells, even if the feat itself doesn't have anything to do with casting a spell.
You could just reflavor the alchemist. They're already good at throwing improvised weapons. I always wanted to play a dwarven alchemist who's a brewmaster that drinks a specially made strength-augmenting brew and throws exploding bottles of booze at people.
An alchemist archetype might work as well.
ErisAcolyte-Chaos jester wrote:
It's more a hobby right now but I would like to make it a career if I end up being good at it.
For serious learning in game design, I always recommend Art of Game Design: Book of Lenses by Jesse Schell and Fundamentals of Game Design and Advanced Game Mechanics by Ernest Adams. Jesse Schell's a Disney Imagineer and lead designer of Toontown. Ernest Adams is a professor that teaches game design, which is why his books are much more technical and expensive. Game design is kind of like writing narratives. It seems fairly simple at a glance, but it's a subject that requires an ample amount of creative and technical skill.
For writing content for Pathfinder, I recommend just writing new archetypes. Get a feel for what has been done before and find a niche to itch. Like any skill, you get better at it the more you do it.
I made a thread about this ages ago.
Despite the fact Paizo advertised the Swashbuckler could get easy Dexterity-to-damage in ACG, that feature was added to Slashing Grace as an after thought. They said they would remedy the situation, but all we got was Fencing Grace, which only works for rapiers. We still have the situation where a character can add their Dexterity to battleaxe damage, but not dagger damage.
I'm honestly not sure what the stance of the design team has about this. I thought they were adamant against Dex-to-damage, but then they make Slashing Grace and completely botch it up. Many have been begging them to errata the feat since the release of ACG.
Dreamscarred Press made a really well done version of the feat called Deadly Agility. A nice touch is that Dervish Dance still has a reason to exist.
Deadly Agility (Combat) wrote:
Unlike Slashing Grace, it has less feat tax while still preventing gish classes (like kensai magi) from getting it right away. Dex-to-Damage greatly benefits gish classes because it allows them to offset their MAD limitations.
I'm not a fan of 5th Edition, but I do have to concede the following things I like about it.
Backgrounds: Backgrounds feel like what Pathfinder traits should have been like.
Feats: I really like how each feat helps encompass a character concept, and having them bigger and more meaningful reduces the bloat. I do wish they had a level progression, though.
Sorcerer and Monk: Both these classes strike me as very well done. It feels natural that the sorcerer is the metamagic master. The monk is designed so you can pick between being a mystical warrior, a ki blaster, or a ninja with shadow powers. I've honestly been tempted to homebrew Pathfinder versions of these.
Skill & Saves: I like how skills and saves are simplified, though I do wish they left more room for customization.
Advantage/Disadvantage (as a concept): I think advantage/disadvantage was really poorly implemented for so many reasons I've listed elsewhere. However, I really like the idea of encapsulating all circumstantial bonuses into one mechanic. I'm implementing a different version of it in my own RPG projects.
This was one of the things I learned from Sean K. Reynolds's advice PDFs. After I read it, I immediately went to my homebrew folder and did all the necessary replacements.
Many word processors will let you program them to automatically certain character combinations with special characters. I set my Google Docs to replace -- with – and -+- with —
Most of my opinions remain the same from my first impressions.
However, I do believe that the arcanist is fairly balanced with the wizard and sorcerer. I did the math and found that the arcanist and wizard are fairly on par with one another. Having fewer spell slots than the sorcerer does hurt arcanist. While the arcanist does get cool toys, the wizard can pick them up, too. My only problem with the arcanist is that I think their spellcasting is way too complicated. You have to keep track of three different lists: spells in their spell list, spells they prepared, and how many spells they can cast. That and their resource pool makes them a bookkeeping nightmare.
I always roll my eyes when I see someone complain about "power creep" with ACG. The feat that gives you divine grace is really the only major power increase worth worrying about. And that feat was banned before the book hit the table.
The warpriest still feels like a huge disappointment. They just have way too many class features I don't care about. The sacred fist archetype is the big saving grace
I'm developing a class called "artiforged,"* which is what people call half-constructs in my campaign setting. The entire class centers around augmenting one's body with devices. My big design goal is to make artiforged setting neutral so they can fit in most campaign settings. They have a class feature that works similar to a sorcerer bloodline that determines the flavor of their augmentations. For example, there's one where your augmentations are magical devices attached to your body, another where you're "frankensteining" yourself with undead limbs, one where you're mutating yourself with alchemically grown organs, and one where your augmentations are actually symbiotic plants. This way, you can play a cyborg-like character that fits in your GM's campaign setting. Unfortunately, while I finished most of it, I got stumped with a couple of mechanics and had to put the project aside for my Master's thesis and RPG Superstar.
In my campaign, artiforged are rather rare. The only ones the party has seen come from a runari city. Like other runari technology, false limbs are magically enhanced stone with little to no moving parts. Runari artiforged look something like this.
If you're trying to brainstorm some kind of cyborg race, I can picture a race where each member (or the descendants of each member) is like the 6 Million Dollar Man or like Android #17 and #18 from Dragon Ball. At one point, they were a member of a different race, but got "rebuilt" so they're functionally an entirely new race. Maybe there's a racial trait that differs depending on how they were rebuilt. Maybe the only way members of this race can reproduce is by sharding a part of their personality into a new cyborg or by creating a "new version" of themselves.
*I can't decide whether to call them "artiforged" or "artiforge."
Zelda Marie Jacobs-Donovan wrote:
You're absolutely justified to reacting that way. As Sean K Reynold says, spell research is meant to will new spells into existance, not cheat your class limitations. Ultimate Campaign's spell research rules should be FAQ'd, eratta'd, and completely rewritten. They and many other downtime rules were haphazardly made. One should take anything from the downtime rules with a grain of salt and a few shots of Tequila.
I not only allow my players to make their own spells, but I encourage it. My players do many downtime activities. The gunslinger recently built a galleon and commissioned a firearm research and development plant. He's traveling from city to city, searching for artificers to hire and build the most unique magitech guns the Inner Sea has ever seen. I don't use UC's downtime system, but I do the buildings and teams content. Those are pretty well done.
I played a magus that used spell research and had big discussions about the research rules with a friend about them.
Do not use the rules in Ultimate Campaign. As I explained in this thread, the rules were not well thought out and the math completely falls apart beyond the first spell level. A 4th level spell requires over 11k, 28 days, and 56 skill checks that you cannot take 10 on. Whoever wrote these rules obviously did not playtest them at all.
The GameMastery Guide has the best rules for spell research. It does allow a spontaneous caster to create a spell, but it doesn't allow them to cheat their spells known cap. That should be obvious. Spell research is supposed to let you customize your spellcaster.
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Can I just pop in to mention that this thread has completely failed to go in any direction resembling any of the directions I'd initially intended it to go?
The discussion doesn't really have much to work with. You haven't really provided much clear support for your suggestion. So far, the only arguments to justify ability score requirements I've seen from you are:
1) Hinder munchkins (problem players that use their system mastery to build and play competitively in a non-competitive game at the expense of their fellow gamers' fun).
2) Preserve the integrity of classes.
3) Other editions of D&D do it.
In addition to the numerous reasons why the suggestion is a bad idea that strikes many as loathsome, the fine people of this discussion gave the following rebuttals to the above points.
1) It will do little to hinder munchkins. Even if it did, the problem with munchkins lie with their motivations, not their methods.
2) Class features define a class, not ability scores. So it's better to let the class features decide the minimums, which they do anyway. Class features are highly dependent on ability scores. Some class features (spellcasting, grit, etc) don't work without a minimum ability score. So even for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of classes, enforcing ability score minimums not only makes no sense, but is also redundant at best.
3) Pathfinder is not AD&D, 4th Edition, or 5th Edition. Pathfinder reinforces the idea of using the system to create character concepts with classes as a foundation. This is why Paizo introduced archetypes and hybrid classes and gave many classes talents or features like sorcerer bloodlines. Additionally, other editions had way better reasons to hinder multiclassing or remove it entirely. AD&D's multiclassing worked entirely different from 3rd Edition's. 4th Edition basically removed multiclassing because every class gets all their features at 1st level. 5th Edition centers everything around proficiencies and was deliberately designed for low-level play. As a result, multiclassing is very strong in 5th Edition, which is why the game made it an optional rule with many limitations.
"I'm Hiding In Your Closet," the discussion will obviously stagnate since you haven't provided any good counterarguments to the above rebuttals.
SO what's your opinion on the Summoner?
It's a class that encourages you to make a background story about your main class feature. That I really love about the class and enables many interesting character concepts.
However, my biggest problem with summoners lies with the fact they're incredibly self-sufficient. They can fulfill the role of a fighter and a wizard at the same time without either of their weaknesses. They can send summons or their immortal eidolon to do risky stuff a monk or a rogue might be tasked to do. They have poor skills, but they can easily make up for it by granting skills to their eidolon or granting evolutions that negate the need for skills altogether. Summoners can fulfill every role at the same time without the risks and sacrifices other classes make. It's incredibly easy for a player to optimize a summoner as a one-man party. For a game all about working as a team, that's a bad thing.
In addition, the eidolon is not only stronger than familiars and animal companions, but also they have none of the risks of possessing a companion. They're immortal. They're hard to kill. And there's little consequence to the summoner if they die. The eidolon comes back the next day. In the meantime, the summoner can use their standard action summon monster SLA.
Overall, I feel the class is flavorful, but broken. When I mean "broken," I mean it's not well designed to the point of running contrary to the game's overall design goals. The summoner is a class unhealthy for a team game. Honestly, I feel like this serves as the core reason why many people don't like summoners, even if they do not explicitly articulate this. I wouldn't necessarily ban the summoner from my campaigns. I only GM for trusted friends that I can count on to make the game fun for everyone.
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
The only effective way to stop a powergamer is don't invite them to your table. Pathfinder's a team game meant to be enjoyed with friends and fellow gamers. If a player's behavior comes at the expense of everyone else's fun, they need to leave. Don't play with them for the same reason you wouldn't play with a guy who acts like a competitive prick at any other tabletop game.
Limiting options won't stop someone that powergames the way you describe. Ability score requirements won't hinder them at all unless you make them really prohibitively high.
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
Surprised at the hostility and complete rejection myself.
We attack the idea, not the person -- though I think Rynjin was jesting. The OP's explicitly said they want to do this to punish players for 1-level dipping. Any house rule designed to make the game less fun will receive very harsh criticism. That should go without saying.
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
Is it such a terrible idea that a fighter should at least have high-average strength and coordination, or a gunslinger really quick on the draw?
Yes, because there's no good reason to gate classes like that. Why have a minimum Dexterity when a low-DEX character makes for an awful gunslinger anyway? And some classes already have abilities with minimum ability scores to be useful or work at all, like grit and spellcasting. Like I said earlier, it's redundant at best and a punch in the face at worst.
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
I think it is an excellent idea, but ninja should have a wis requirement, not int. Although most of their "real-world" work involved cha, pathfinder doesn't really push it that way.
Really? Do me a favor. Look up the ninja class on a PRD. Press CTRL+F on your web browser and type in the word "Wisdom" to see how many times in appears in the ninja's class description. Then do the same for Charisma.
I absolutely hated that they added this back to 5th Edition.
The beauty of the game lies with the fact you can play any class a number of different ways. For example, you can play an alchemist as a melee fighter, a blaster, a ranged fighter, a pseudo-caster, or a combination of them. Why ruin that with pointless ability score requirements? Some classes, like spellcasters and swashbucklers, already have ability score requirements for some of their class features.
Pathfinder does a rather good job rewarding characters that don't multiclass. The game already cripples you if you lack the ability scores relevant to your class. As a result, I can't see any good reason to implement ability score requirements. It's redundant at best and a giant punch in the face at worst.
Magic in the blood is kind of broken. Being able to cast all your kitsune SLAs up to 7 or 8 times per day? Ew.
I highly recommend the Kitsune Compendium. It's really well done, and with exception to the monk archetype, fairly balanced, too. It also has some content that do what you're trying to do here and better. There's one oracle/sorcerer archetype called the "nine-tailed mystic" where you gain Magical Tail as a bonus feat instead of gaining a bloodline spell.
I personally houseruled that a kitsune has a number of tails equal to the highest spell level they can cast. It's purely cosmetic, but something my kitsune players really appreciate. Yes, I have a lot of friends who play kitsunes.
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.
You don't need to completely rewrite the magus's class features. I'd make it something like this:
Casting: The sphere magus may combine spheres and talents to create magical effects. The sphere magus is considered a Mid-Caster and uses Intelligence as his casting ability modifier. (Note: All casters gain 2 bonus talents and may select a casting tradition the first time they gain the casting class feature.)
This replaces the spells class feature.
Spell Points: The sphere magus gains a small reservoir of energy he can call on to create truly wondrous effects, called a spell pool. This pool contains a number of spell points equal to her level + his Intelligence modifier (minimum: 1). This pool replenishes once per day after roughly 8 hours of rest.
Destructive Magus: Starting from 1st level, a sphere magus with the Destruction spheres uses his class level as his caster level for Destruction sphere abilities.
This replaces spell recall and improved spell recall.
Enhancement Weaving: At 1st level, a sphere magus gains the Enhancement sphere as a bonus magic talent and uses his class level as his caster level when using enhance on a piece of equipment. When a sphere magus spends a spell point to make an equipment enhancement linger without concentration, he may spend an additional point to have it stack with the equipment's existing enhancement bonuses.
This replaces arcane pool.
Sphere Combat: At 1st level, a sphere magus may a cast sphere ability with a casting time of 1 standard action or 1 move action instead of a magus spell when using spell combat.
This alters spell combat.
Sphere Strike: At 2nd level, when casting a sphere ability with a range of Touch, a sphere magus may perform a melee attack with a wielded weapon as a free action. If successful, this melee attack deals its normal damage as well as the effects of the ability. This ability otherwise functions identically as spellstrike.
This replaces and modifies spellstrike.
Sphere Arcana: Whenever a sphere magus uses an ability that requires spending arcane pool points, he may spend a spell point instead. Additionally, whenever a sphere magus gains a magus arcana, he may gain a magic talent instead.
Improved Enhancement Weaving: At 7th level, a sphere magus's equipment enhancements always stack with existing enhancement bonuses when he spends a spell point to have the enhancement linger without concentration. He does not need to spend an additional spell point.
This replaces knowledge pool.
Flexible Sphere Access: At 19th level, a sphere magus may spend a spell point as a swift action to gain access to a magic talent he does not possess. He may gain access up to a maximum of three magic talents by spending additional spell points. This effect lasts 1 minute.
This replaces greater spell access.
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.