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My friend tends to run grapple rules much more liberally. Essentially, maintaining a grapple is a move action, but you do not receive the free action that comes with maintaining a grapple. You must use a standard action to pin, attack, or move the opponent. This gives much more freedom in what you can do during a grapple.
I once grappled a drake and used it as an improvised weapon against another opponent.
Depends on what you call "low level" as beast shape I is a 5th level spell. A polymorph spell is basically a swiss army knife of combat buffs. You can fly, swim, get natural attacks, get ability score bonuses, increase or decrease in size, and gain other useful abilities all with a single spell effect.
Don't they kinda already do that?
Generally only the Player Companions and the hardcovers have player options. The rest of the product lines are modules, adventure paths, and campaign setting books, which are all published more frequently and with more content. Even the hardcover books tend to focus on campaign settings and campaign types, like with Ultimate Intrigue, Inner Sea Races, and Occult Adventures. The last "pure crunch" hardcover book was published more than two years ago.
I'm not keen on just handing out ability score bonuses to AC. It's something that shouldn't come lightly. Heck, it even feels questionable on the oracle as it's one of the most powerful revelations among the mysteries.
I might allow a barbarian archetype that replaces all armor proficiencies with a dodge bonus to AC equal to their Charisma bonus.
By the way, you should generally always have class feature descriptions begin with what level the player receives the feature. This is standard writing style and makes it much easier to read.
The Green Traveller wrote:
Yes, but the kineticist description then goes on to explain how kineticists gain their powers and that many of them are motivated to figure out the mysteries. The Occult Adventures book also explains that the kineticist draws forth power of the Elemental Planes through their body. This places the kineticist in the world. This creates narrative. Just saying, "I'm just a guy that manipulates energy" doesn't do that.
I totally understand the class's general premise, and I'm not trying to be a jerk. I'm encouraging you to flesh out the narrative and lore of the class in the actual description, but you refuse to do that for the sake of making the class feel more generic in terms of having a broad flavor. You don't have to do that.
The Green Traveller wrote:
That's actually not the antipattern I was talking about. That's just a mistake. The antipattern is that you're putting the class features at odds with each other for the sake of build diversity.
And now you have new problems. The class's 1st level is broken. You now start off with an ability that does nothing by itself, a pool of points with nothing to spend it on, and a blast that was originally designed to be a debuffing tool.
My point is it's a flawed approach to put the class features at odds by forcing the player to choose one or the other to augment. It makes the building a character of this class feel crappy. There's no reason to limit the class like this. The empyreus is a 3/4 BAB class with no spellcasting. There's plenty of room in the power budget allow both aspects of the class to function well without the opportunity costs.
Why not give meaningful uses of siphon and link immediately? Why not have two talent pools and alternate when a player gets a talent from either pool?
All classes vary in flavor, but all of the published ones have some kind of concrete example. The description doesn't have any. You're giving me a lot of real world examples, but you haven't written any in the description.
The Green Traveller wrote:
But the primary purpose of siphon is debuffing. You're trying to create build diversity, but all you're doing is creating a situation where the player always ends up with a class feature that can't be used for its intended purpose for a couple of levels. It's an antipattern.
I made a similar mistake with a class I designed, and it frustrated players.
There's a lot of issues with this class. Overall, it has a lot of really broken abilities on an otherwise underpowered, not fully fleshed out class.
1) There's very few class features at 1st level. You basically just have spells and that's it.
2) None of the class features indicate what kind of abilities they are. Aside from spells, proficiencies, and cantrips/orisions, every ability should indicate whether they're extraordinary, supernatural, or spell-like abilities.
3) There should be alignment restrictions (and a consequence for acting against the will of the deity) for being a divine spellcaster, especially when you're implied to be deific divine caster.
4) Weapon and Armor Proficiency: There's some really awkward design choices here. Only getting proficiency based on the handedness of a weapon is rather odd and doesn't make much sense. You should just directly specify the weapons like how the rogue does. Also, it gives a deity favored weapon, but as written, they get the benefit of this even if they aren't a divine caster. You never specify an arcane chronomancer can cast without arcane spell failure.
5) Chronopool: You get this class feature at 1st level, but you have nothing to spend points on until 2nd level.
6) Do Over: This ability is ambiguous. What exactly do you mean by "can reroll?" It should specific exactly what check or roll you can use this ability on.
7) Temporal Recall: This is basically just the magus's spell recall. It's a really powerful ability that should be level 4 or higher.
8) Time Skip: This ability needs completely rewritten. It's not clear what exactly it does. What do you mean an enemy has to "skip" their action? Which action? The language is also really awkward and confusing. What do you mean it's a "will based save?" You mean the target gets a saving throw? Abilities are not saving throws -- abilities allow saving throws. Also, why does this ability say that spell resistance doesn't apply when this is not a spell-like ability?
9) Ally of Time: This ability also needs a rewrite. It's extremely open-ended and vague. What kind of abilities can you give to an ally? What's the range? What do you mean "they still have to provide the cost of the ability." If you choose to give the ally a bonus, then what's the bonus? What type is the bonus. Also, the concept of giving your allies free abilities without any restriction is rather broken.
10) Temporal Strike: I don't understand when you can use this or what action it is to activate this effect. What do you mean "1 to 5 ratio?" Are you just reiterating? Also, the ability to irreversibly age someone is insanely powerful, the kind of power you see in artifacts and really high level spells. You give this at 4th level. And they don't get a save to negate.
11) Temporal Spells: I read this ability 5 times and I still have no idea what it does.
12) Anomaly: How exactly do you actually "manipulate when others or himself go during initiative?" Do you give them a bonus to initiative? Do you reorder the turns (which would be insanely broken)?
13) Medium Armor: This technically doesn't give you proficiency in medium armor. Also, remember that light armor still causes arcane spell failure.
14) Temporal Shifting: This ability is not only vague, but also an absolute a bookkeeping nightmare. There's a good reason why abilities that actually let you travel through time are extremely rare and usually only tied to artifacts. It's really annoying to run at the table.
15) Time Lock: Wait a minute. Making someone immortal allows a saving throw, but not the power that irreversibly ages someone? This is also fairly low level for an immortality ability.
16) Sands in the Hourglass: This completely breaks the class's spell and chronopool economy. You can abuse this to consume your low level spells so you can get more uses of your high level spells with temporal recall.
17) Temporal Stability: This ability doesn't actually do what you think it does. This ability seems written with the assumption that time stop is a debuff spell. It's not. Time stop targets the caster, so all it does is make you immune to your own spell -- assuming you could cast time stop at all. Even if time stop was a debuff spell, this ability would ironically make you immune to time stop but not the slow spell. Come to think of it, it's sad this is a time mage class that can't cast time stop.
18) Margin of Error: Because sands in the hourglass broke the chronopool economy, this is essentially an at-will displacement spell, but better because it gives concealment without explaining how it works. Also, as written, this ability doesn't actually cost anything to use. It uses language that suggests this triggers when spending points to use other abilities.
19) God of Time: When I first read this, I thought Temporal Spell referred to a metamagic feat when it actually refers to the class feature that I still don't know how it works. Also, you need to be more specific when you mean "1 for 1 ratio."
You said that siphon's primary use is debuffing, but siphon doesn't debuff unless you get a talent for it. The alchemist is a good class, but I can't really compare the empyreus with it. Locking all class features behind discoveries is one of the biggest criticisms of the alchemist. Yet despite that, the alchemist has three powerful, unique class features that are not only each useful without any talents, but also do an excellent job conveying the identity of the class.
I consider the new description an improvement, but Theliah Strongarm has a point. What's the narrative behind the class? How do they fit in the world? What do most of them do? What profession do they typically have? How did they get their powers? Are they like monks? Are they like scholars? Just some people who manipulate energy feels a little nebulous. You have room to add more concrete lore without making them too flavor-specific.
Pretty cool series. I look forward to hear about other character conversions.
Is it just me or are Jason and Owen really against any sort of rule that lets you swap your Dex modifier with the Strength modifier for damage no matter how limiting the rule might be? Anywho, thanks for the detail Erik. Wish you could have given us more but we'll take what we can get.
This has been a big topic in the community.
I'm somewhat baffled by the resistance, because it's quite easy to balance Dexterity-to-damage without making it obnoxious to obtain. When you do the math, you can see that it's balanced as long as:
I've been running a 4-year campaign that stretches from 1st level and 16th level. I allowed Dreamscarred Press's Deadly Agility (much more well designed than Slashing Grace) for the bladebound magus with a maxed out Dexterity. Yet, all of the Strength martials deal at least 50% more damage than her. At 16th level, the two-hander is dealing 40-45 damage a hit while the magus only deals about 20-25.
As I said, that's the issue. The class has the collective but without all the other mechanics that support it. It has an eldritch blast, but locks its main purpose behind a talent pool. And if the primary use of siphon is debuffing, then that's what it should do by default.
The class tries to be a mix of the two classes together, but there's very little cohesion and identity with with respect to its class features because almost all of its strong points lie behind a talent pool.
The class falls into the same issue I see with plenty of other homebrew classes. It's basically just a bag of talents. They get one interesting class feature that doesn't feel fleshed out, a massive talent pool, and an at-will blast that deals typeless damage. That's it.
Overall, while it's not a bad class, it just feels like a much less fleshed out version of the vitalist, which I'm pretty sure was your inspiration.
True deities in my campaign are essentially one with the multiverse. Trying to kill one is like trying to kill a star. The only way to ever truly affect it is to possess the same level of cosmic power and presence. And even if you somehow managed to kill one using a macguffin, some form of it still lingers behind and causes a cosmic shift in the fabric of the universe.
It's still too strong for a move action. Action economy is a major balancing lever for spellcasting. It's pretty rare for spells to have a casting time less than standard action. Cantrips are typically not meant to be combat spells, anyway.
Even as a standard action, the cantrip would still accomplish your goals and have usefulness that competitive spells do not.
This is too strong for a 0-level spell. A cantrip that's essentially an automatically successful Sleight of Hand check with greater effect, better range, and better action economy is too powerful as a 0-level. The fact that it explicitly lets you cheat the action economy of drawing and storing objects is a giant red flag to me. It's like if you invented a way better version of Quick Draw as a cantrip.
At the very least, the spell needs to be a standard action and always have a range of 5 feet. Even then, I still think it would be too strong, but that's a good starting point to balancing it.
That playtest at GenCon was so secret that even the people attending didn't know about it.
I walked in expecting a game design seminar for Pathfinder RPG. Instead, I find myself in a room with Jason Bulmahn and the other Paizo crew saying we're gonna playtest Starfinder ship combat. Half hour later, I'm piloting the Devil's Due, evading enemy fire from the Desperate Gamble.
I think it should be a move action at best. Even as a swift action, doubling your crit range for free on a x4 critical modifier weapon is crazy good. Especially for a weapon that has a better damage dice than all of the other core one-handed exotic weapons. Its damage dice really should be no greater than 1d8 -- maybe a 1d10 if you remove the range increment.
I never understood the benefit of that racial trait.
You gain a +2 on saving throws against sleep, paralysis, and fear effects, but you lose immunity to sleep effects and a +2 bonus to all enchantment effects. So the benefit is getting a much weaker version of a trait you lose. And you lose other beneficial traits. And you suffer the drawback of being treated as a dragon for bane and favored enemy.
It's not bad. I like that you have an answer for metamagic casting time, which is a major issue. However, I honestly wouldn't take this archetype. The problem with this and other attempts to make a spontaneous magus is that the vanilla magus is already a pretty good spontaneous caster thanks to Spell Recall. So in effect, you made the magus a worse spontaneous caster. I'd personally replace spell recall with an ability that lets you cast a spell without expending a spell slot at the cost of a swift action and arcane pool points.
Also, next time, please use Google Docs or something with formatting. It's annoying to read a wall of text without formatting.
Bigby FrostFire wrote:
Well here is my reasoning. Rolling is super fun plus it isn't like the Paladin is STUCK with that 1 with only nine days of down time he has his four. But the base idea is just allow people to pick from the base of what they would normal or allow to to at least train it up higher from there if their roll is same or lesser. It is just a thought.
I never met someone who thought rolling for hit points is fun. I doubt I'd ever meet someone who would feel the same about rolling for skill points.
My group does away with rolling for hit points entirely. Using a static value makes it easier to calculate hit points and audit character sheets. In addition, it removes an annoying formality to leveling up. I'd never want to do the same for hit points.
I don't think it's necessary considering that:
1) It's beneficial and easy for a bard to specialize in multiple types of Perform due to versatile performance.
2) There's already a benefit for using an instrument over a Perform that doesn't need one. You can have masterwork instruments, and there's plenty of magic items that are instruments.
Spheres of Power is surprisingly well done and balanced to some extent. And unlike Spheres of Power, it was actually playtested for more than a year. However, it is designed to totally replace the spellcasting in the game. It makes casters more powerful at earlier levels, but significantly weaker at later levels. While the wizard can gain a fly speed that has a concentration duration or a spell that lets them cast a limited haste, they don't gain the ability to totally wipe out encounters with a single spell. Also, it's rather easy for full martials to get spellcasting. The system balances itself by totally changing the paradigm in a way that makes casters have consistent power across all levels.
But even the Alteration sphere does a lot to keep polymorphing effects in check. It limits the number of traits you can have and you don't have immediate access to all forms. You also have to concentrate unless you spend a valuable resource. When you do spend a resource, the duration is minutes per level unless you're druid, who loses wildshape in exchange for increasing the duration to 10 minutes per level if they use the spell on themselves.
Not to sound cynical, but players are usually the worst game designers. An ability that lets you solve many challenges with no preparation, effort, or investment will get dull very quickly. For all people at the table.
Giving more forms as you level up would be cool. I'm working on a shapeshifter class that works that way.
Spells form a benchmark for power level based on character level in this game. You're wanting to make a 1st level at-will ability that mimics the effect of a once-per-day 5th level spell ability that lasts minutes-per-level.
Not sure on limiting flight until 8th level, though... that's actually kind of late compared to when other classes (and some races) get it. Love these ideas!
Longterm flight is an 8th-9th level ability (overland flight, class abilities like sorcerer bloodlines, etc) whereas flight measured in minutes is a 5th-6th level ability (fly spell, beast shape i, flight hex, alchemist wings, etc).
On that note, referencing builds using monstrous races or combinations of character options from the Player Companion books does not help an argument concerning power balance.
I agree that "per day" ability paradigm can be tiresome, but I do think Pathfinder has done some good work to try to push out of that paradigm. Grit/panache are dynamic resource systems as opposed to the static resource systems of arcane pool, ki, and daily abilities. I think taking a different approach from the once-per-day paradigm is fine, but you will be limited if it's flatout an at-will ability. I do have some suggestions though.
That's not how wildshape is supposed to work. Even in most fiction, shapeshifting has a lot of restrictions that prevents a character from being whatever they want, whenever they want. Also, if an ability is too versatile, not only does it make it unbalanced but also it makes the ability less fun for the player, his teammates, and the GM.
The problem with balancing wildshape is that
2. Turning into an animal is not a 1st level ability. The fact that the druid can do it before 5th level at a duration of 1 hour per level is already fairly strong. A large part of the what balances it is that druid can't just turn into any animal whenever they want.
3. Beast shape can replicate many good abilities and spells. And making such abilities at-will at 1st level becomes incredibly problematic.
Just the last two points makes wildshape difficult to balance as a 1st level ability, yet alone an at-will ability. To accomplish that, you would have to have a very strict limit on what abilities and forms you can assume using beast shape. For example, making you have to choose which forms you can take at the start of the day or saying you can't use the ability to gain a fly speed until 8th level.
I honestly like the fact you can't wildshape at-will. I like that ability is once per day but has a very long duration. It forces you to commit to your transformation without trapping you in the form and makes you carefully consider what form is ideal for the day's adventure. This commitment makes the forms you take more engaging. If wildshape can be done at-will without any commitment, then the shapeshifting is basically just a combat buff that lets you solve a large array of challenges without any preparation, investment, or effort.
Isn't this exactly the kind of thing 4th Edition D&D tried to do that everyone hated?
No. 4th Edition got rid of saving throws entirely with exception to on-going effects that force you to roll a natural 10 or higher each round to end them. Instead of saving throws, you essentially have four Armor Class scores and all offensive effects have attack rolls. So casting a fireball requires the wizard to make an attack roll against the Reflex of each creature in the area.
I've seen tons of swashbuckler dips, fighter dips, brawler dips, slayer dips... I've seen lots of gunslingers go ranger after getting gun training. I personally dipped gunslinger for my inquisitor. Some cavaliers get the feat that lets their mount scale with character level and then multiclass. Slayer/swashbucklers are very common in PFS.
It's a beautiful thing, really. I just wish martial classes had more interesting class features beyond 10th level.
Don't be a jerk, Headfirst. Swoosh has a point. There's a lot of people who love high level play, but hate all the broken math, the rocket tag, the lack of ways for martials to contribute beyond stabbing and shooting things. At high levels, you can do a lot of fun stuff that isn't possible with low level play. You can have adventures that E6 could never do.
So saying "don't play high level PF, play E6" is like saying "don't play PF, play 5E" to someone who complains about the math of CMD.
I seem to challenge my level 16s just fine by...
1. Up the number of monsters in the encounters. At high levels, the best ways to deal damage tend to be single-target focused (martials, spells like destruction, etc) as hit point totals get too much for staple AoEs. High levels also give you much more room to have larger amounts of monsters.
2. Use monsters with varied tactics. My group is currently dealing with an army of Shaitan. Even a high level party finds it challenging to fight military veterans with the power to launch ambush attacks from underground and split off the party with wall of stone.
3. Create challenges that can't efficiently be solved with violence. Create high stakes political intrigue where reputations are on the line.
4. Create dungeons and environments that require the "gamebreaking" spells that would ruin low level dungeons. Got a teleport-happy wizard? Create a dungeon that can only be traveled to or navigated by teleportation magic. Or create adventures where the party has to rapidly travel from one city to another.
jeremiah dodson 812 wrote:
1. The spells per level table is actually deceptive. Most wizards start with 3 spells per day: 1 from level, 1 from high Intelligence, and 1 from arcane school. If the wizard choose an arcane bonded item, then they get a 4th. And each one of these spells can be used for something that ends a combat. I could understand an argument that wizards don't get enough things to do outside of casting spells, but an argument that they don't get enough spells when they have the highest spells per day out of any prepared spellcaster?
2. 2 + Int is standard for 9-level spellcasters because of the insane amount of utility nine levels of spells provide. Out of all such spellcasters, the wizard is one of the best off. They have Intelligence as their casting ability score and are dependent on a single ability score. Because of this, most wizards will get roughly the same amount of skill points per level as most bards or rogues. In addition, they have good class skills. Wizards don't need a buff here.
3. Wizards have the largest tool set for keeping themselves alive, and never need to be in melee range of enemies.
The kitsune never wears any shoes. She always goes barefoot even when the rest of the party of anthropomorphs at least wears sandals or wrappings around their feet.
I occasionally remind her why this is a bad idea. She once got tetanus from stepping on rusty nails. I take every opportunity describe how unpleasant each terrain is for her. The dungeon inside of the giant whale opened a whole new world of icky sensations for her paws.
At this point, she still goes barefoot just to spite me and made herself a wings of flying.
There was a store just 2 minutes away from my house that never got any RPG action. The store owner said there's no interest in it in my area. The only thing people care about are cards. I do some research and find on some message boards that no one likes running games there because the weekends are always packed with card tournaments and there's no private place for board gaming.