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If humans get a swim speed, then there's not really any reason why almost ANY race wouldn't get a swim speed. The same principle applies to climb speed. You're suggesting that a race should get movement speeds that are reserved for races that are physically evolved for it. It's ridiculous.
Humans already have alternate racial traits for getting Climb bonuses, Swim bonuses, and spell-like abilities. And those traits do a WAY better job of representing the fluff you claim you're trying to accomplish.
The race builder can be a useful tool, but it's not a substitute for good design skill.
And I honestly can't say that it's a good design to give a racial swim speed to a race that exclusively lives on land and isn't physically evolved to be a swimmer. Humans are adaptable, but they can't mutate themselves to adapt to their environment like a Golarion elf.
For monks and rogues, let players use the unchained versions of the class.
For fighters, let players select options from Weapon Master Handbook and Armor Master Handbook. Specifically, the advanced weapon training options. By the time the players reach a level where those options become available, they should already have a couple of months of games under their belt and should be able to handle it. I'd recommend the Stamina rules from Pathfinder Unchained, but those can be a bit overwhelming.
Another helpful thing is letting players get Weapon Finesse for free.
This has been discussed before and Jiggy summarized my thoughts fairly well. Advantage/disadvantage is a cornerstone of 5th Edition's math that doesn't quite work well in Pathfinder.
Personally, I love the idea of encapsulating circumstance bonuses into a single mechanic, but I hate how 5th Edition implements it. Namely that the math and the mechanics don't allow for stacking advantage/disadvantage. You have the same bonus for attacking someone who is prone as you do someone who's prone, restrained, and blind.
I wouldn't say so. Kender are basically the Mary Sues of D&D races. That's what makes them a horrible race.
Portrayal is a big difference. Kender are not only obnoxious, but also the material desperately tries to paint them as cute and charming in a way that insults your intelligence. Describing how people who hate kender are close-minded and mean. That the wisest of races consider kender as "precious." Being "cute" and "loyal" are the only positive traits mentioned, but the text never shows us what makes them charming or loyal aside from playing off their kleptomania, lying, and obnoxious personalities for laughs. On top of it, they're fricken ugly. They're insufferably unlikeable and the text insults us for thinking so.
PF goblins are not portrayed this way. PF books never downplay their faults. In fact, we're supposed to laugh at them. They're quirky and pathetic.
The always hitting is what troops threatening at all levels. As it should be.
A battle against an entire army should NOT be a quick battle, but that's just me.
Looking at your system, it honestly looks way more complicated. If you have to roll and look up several tables to figure out the result of one group of foes fighting another, that slows things down significantly. At least with the troop subtype, you only have to do damage or a Reflex save for ranged attacks. The weaker troop will naturally die first.
I appreciate the design team's attempts at mitigating power creep.
However, I consider it pretty bad form to have this cycle of creating content that misses the mark and then totally gut it with little attempt to compromise or balance it appropriately. I understand the reasons behind this, but it does leave customers feeling frustrated to have the content they paid for get changed for the worse. I feel erratas should be used to fix mistakes and content that simply doesn't work. Instead, it's used as a way to nerf content that's too powerful in PFS.
In some cases, the errata creates even more problems and confusion than the content as originally printed. Slashing Grace is a great example of this. The errata made the feat even more awkward and broke several items and archetypes for the class that the feat was intended for.
Most of your points there just add more confusion and go against the lore of positive/negative energy and force damage.
Alex Trebek's Stunt Double wrote:
I'm using "cheating" as a metaphor. I'm talking about game design, not game rules written. Spells (and pretty much all abilities) are balanced around action economy. Any effect that lets you get an advantage on it will always be powerful. Especially for spell effects, which is why Quicken Spell has such a high cost and can't be used until around 9th level.
If you're the GM, you could alternatively just have the players discover elixirs that have combined spell effects. This way, you have much more control over it than giving them a bottle that lets them mix whatever potion they find.
I'm confused why you're so insistent on this magic item when I already explained why it won't solve what you perceive as an issue in your game. Heck, if there's an alchemist in the party, they'd probably keep the flask themselves instead of let the fighter use it.
edit: @Cyrad: what you're saying makes sense, but the creating custom races guide allows for Advanced and beyond races (and in at least one of my 3.5 games we played with a "free level-adjust 2" clause that allowed for stronger races without losing out on class levels, in exchange for appropriately harder challenges). If Pathfinder is really meant for all races to be not powerful and level-1 available, why do the creating custom races include abilities that are plainly not normal for level 1? I'm trying to understand your reasoning.
The race creation guidelines are not limited to creating balanced PC races. They're also used for creating NPC races or creating high powered PC races. That's why many abilities are way powerful compared to standard races. There's very different standards for all types of these races. This is also why the guidelines have a tier system (Standard, Advanced, Monstrous), which is what you seemed to ignore when homebrewing these races of yours.
On top of it, the guidelines are no substitute for good design skill. Though a good starting point, but they're imperfect.
If you want to create races in line with core and featured races, I recommend sticking with races that have about 10 RP and only use Standard traits. Maybe one Advanced trait if you know what you're doing.
Alternatively, you could set the bar yourself. Decide what tier and RP a PC race for your campaign should have and then homebrew your races following that as a base line.
Your Google Drive URL doesn't work. Regardless, I have the following comments.
1) Lore over mechanics. When homebrewing, the lore should be the selling point of your race, not the mechanics.
2) Races should have abilities appropriate for a 1st level character. This is due to how 3.5e and PF work. In these games, characters gain very little power from their race, gaining nearly all of it from class levels instead.
3) Flight: Following point #2, at-will flight is not a 1st level ability. It's an 8th level ability. It's impossible for any character to otherwise gain the ability to fly for hours per day before level 8 or 9 unless the player munchkins it with some obscure combination of feats and non-core character options. As a result, it's extremely powerful to give any kind of flight as a racial trait. Some GMs don't care, but it does have a big impact on the campaign. All published adventures assume characters can't fly before level 5.
In your nautical pirate campaign, being able to fly is a pretty huge advantage. In naval combat, for example, flight is the difference between being a rampaging killing machine that rains death from above or being the guy stuck manning the wheel of the boat.
4) Lycans: There's already a race of pseudo-werewolves called skinwalkers. It's a pretty cool race. I haven't seen your race yet, but remember: a race should have abilities appropriate for a 1st level character.
5) As a new GM, there's no shame in using an existing race's statistics and re-skinning it as a new race. Maybe with a few alterations here and there. As I said earlier, the lore is the soul of the race.
@Alex Trebek's Stunt Double
If problem is that martial players lack the system mastery of knowing available spells, giving them a Potion Bottle of Cheating Action Economy doesn't really fix that. And if the casters don't want to cast spells on the martials, that's their prerogative.
Yes, there's items that let you cheat action economy with drinking potions. However, all of them have restrictions and limitations. Heck, Accelerated Drinker forces you to have the potion in your hand ahead of time and it's considered one of the best traits in the game. NONE of these items and abilities let you combine two spell effects together, which is very powerful.
You're proposing fixing a problem by introducing a very powerful itme that won't really fix anything at all.
I love positive and negative energy. I love that it's a lore concept with mechanical effects. I hate that the game mechanics aren't consistent since we have positive energy that deals damage to the living and channel energy that only affects targets based on intention.
I think the best approach is differientating between positive/negative energy effects and positive/negative energy damage.
You have to remember that potions are basically spells in a bottle. So being able to drink two different potions at once is like being able to cast two different spells at once, which is very powerful. You would have to make this item very expensive as a result.
Your design goal doesn't make much sense to me. If the problem is that casters aren't casting buffs on combatants, wouldn't you want a solution that encourages it rather than discourage it?
Also, remember that most of the action economy of getting buffs exist for very good reasons. It rewards preparedness and punishes lack of it since you have to spend a turn to drink a potion if you came to the fight unprepared. However, it also puts a limit on how much you can buff yourself before a fight. Each round spent buffing is one round of duration lost for any existing buff.
I'm not crazy about your overwhelming soul rework. The entire point of the archetype is eliminate the annoyance of managing burn and burn costs. Here, you not only kept that but also gave them another resource that doesn't fit the flavor of the archetype at all. In addition, the resource panache works very differently from burn. You can't just swap one resource system for another like that. From a mechanical perspective, they're totally different systems (one's a static system and another is dynamic).
I've only run one campaign...that's still going. Nearly 4 years now. Here's how I handle material in this campaign.
1) All Paizo material published in hardcover books accepted without audit. My players generally know which material I find suspect anyway.
2) 3pp and soft cover book material accepted with permission on a case-by-case basis.
3) Path of War is generally accepted, but I reserve the right to audit any maneuvers I find unacceptable. Some of them are total bullcrap, like the ability to resolve an attack using a skill check, automatically kill an enemy with half health with no save, or add 8d6 to each attack for 1 round.
4) Psionics are reflavored as psychic magic. The soulknife in my campaign was reflavored as a warrior who has a lump of special metal that he can manipulate with his mind to form a blade.
5) Gunslingers and firearms use my house rules. I did this because the gunslinger player got tired of being useless because he kept getting misfires. So I struck a compromise: No misfires, no touch attacks.
In general, I actually do look at my players's character sheets. In many cases, I helped them with the character sheet since most of them are not as savvy with the game as me. When they level up, I ask what new tricks they learned.
I toyed with creating a class creation system that worked similar to Shadowrun 5th Edition's priority system.
Syrus Terrigan wrote:
While definitely a lofty goal, it's not quite possible to assess all class features numerically
1) The game makes heavy use of incomparables, a game design term meaning content that doesn't have clear numerical value. Comparing many class features is like comparing apples to oranges.
2) An ability's value depends heavily on its context. A class is greater than the some of its parts. What might be balanced on one class might be broken or overpowered on another.
3) Assessing all abilities of all types would be rather impractical and not precise. Because of this and the above two reasons, it's better to assess the value of two similar abilities on a case by case basis than try to do a blanket assessment across all abilities of all types.
4) Even if you overcome the hurdles of point #3, an assessment honestly wouldn't be that useful due to points #1 and #2. At least not useful enough to make the effort worth it. It wouldn't tell you what should be the base line, power ceiling, or power floor. It would also depend heavily on allowed content and the campaign.
Game design is hard.
3) Most combat maneuvers already let you do this. And the ones that don't have very good reasons to not let you do them in place of attacks.
I would have liked if Feint was a combat maneuver instead of a Bluff check. Instead of a standard action, it could take the place of a melee attack that bestows a penalty to the opponent's AC for your next attack. The Greater Feint would cause it to deny Dexterity bonus to AC for the next attack.
Classes are the hardest thing to design in this game, and what you describe sounds more like a very vague character concept.
For class suggestions, you could probably create a mesmerist character flavored as a wise and influential monk. Mesmerist has a lot of buff and debuff abilities and spells. Their tricks tend to be reactionary abilities that respond when an ally gets attacked or something, which could be flavored as "maintaining harmony."
Aziraya Zhwan wrote:
I'd just make it a martial weapon and forget about Vital Strike. I think N. Jolly was under the impression that you couldn't full-attack with the bow or was suggesting you make it a weapon that can't be full-attacked to buff its damage in order to make it a good Vital Strike weapon.
In either case, a special effect that occurs on a Vital Strike should be a feat or class ability, not an innate feature of the bow.
Aziraya Zhwan wrote:
Honestly, I'd just remove the Strength requirement to wield them. No other weapon I'm aware of has a Strength requirement. Alternatively, you could say that the bow needs to have a minimum of a +2 Strength rating. This way, the Strength requirement is appropriately baked in using the existing composite bow rules and it's cleaner design.
With the above Strength rating requirement, my previous suggestion for how mounting works, and a 1d10 damage dice, you could get away with making this a martial weapon.
Remember when designing this weapon that a composite longbow is one of the best mundane weapons in the game. Your weapon should never be more powerful than a composite bow. Not even close.
1. The action economy is more complicated than it should be and goes against the rules in a lot of ways. Just keep it simple: It takes a move action to mount the bow and free action to unmount it. If you fire the bow while not mounted, you take a -4 penalty to attack rolls.
2. As others point out, lack of mobility is already baked in ranged builds. Plus, the downsides of this weapon are easily mitigated by having a back up weapon.
3. Do not consider the double hackbut as comparable. The hackbut is a firearm that has to be put on a cart and requires two feats to make usable. It's on a different class than your weapon.
4. I'd make the damage be 1d10. I don't think it should do more damage than a heavy crossbow, especially when it doesn't require any feats to use and all of its drawbacks are easily mitigated by having a backup bow.
5. I'd totally remove the ability to stagger enemies. Your bow is already pretty strong as is. This ability just pushes it into very overpowered territory. Again, your bow doesn't require any feats to use effectively. Reloading it is a free action and it's a martial weapon. Weapons that do weird status effects like this are typically niche exotic weapons with a lot of drawbacks. This bow doesn't have any of them. It's roughly as effective as the most powerful ranged weapon in the game AND you want to give it an at-will stagger? Even normal combat maneuvers can't stagger enemies, and this bow lets you do it hundreds of feet away.
I think the idea is pretty cool: trading divine bond to gain angelic aspect. But there's some serious flaws here.
At 5th level, this ability is severely underpowered. At this level, Divine Bond grants the power of a 3rd level spell. Lesser Angelic is a 2nd level spell. I suggest having this ability also give wings with a fly speed of 30 feet. This makes the ability more in line with 3rd level spells and makes it competitive with the other options.
Secondly, I'd totally remove all of the annoying and complicated bits about the spirit disappearing if the paladin falls down or the spirit taking the paladin's soul away. Just say that if the paladin is knocked unconscious, the effect ends. Doesn't need to be more complicated than that.
You're twisting my words. I never said math wasn't important. It's a tool. Just not a universal tool. You can't limit yourself to only one tool. A game designer needs lots of tools to make something that's fun and interesting.
Also, where does this art science crap come from? We have literally thousands of game systems out there that function exclusively through mathematics. You can math out the underpinning nature of the freaking universe but ttrpg's are just a bridge too far? That's ridiculous.
Pretty much every professional game designer with significant experience under their belt will tell you that game design is a mixture of art and science. Heck, game design is an iterative process largely because you can't plan out everything mathematically.
All I'm seeing is someone trying to improve the game and a bunch of whiners saying that since absolute mathematical perfection is impossible we should all wallow in poorly designed garbage.
It's not cool to beat up strawmen arguments. No one is suggesting something so ridiculous.
Knight Magenta wrote:
I don't think you can call classes incomparable.
By "incomparable" I'm using a game design term that refers to content with non-numerical power. Balancing them is apples to oranges. It's difficult to give each one a numerical value. Most of Pathfinder's classes and abilities are designed this way.
Im not the one lining my conversation with pejoratives. If you want to help people, you dont start by attacking their motives.
We're talking game design here. If the design fails to accomplish the design goal or the design goal itself is flawed, then the design will likewise be flawed. There's nothing wrong with pointing this out.
Drahliana Moonrunner did a pretty great job explaining what I meant.
Don't be putting words into anyone's mouths. Mathematics is a useful tool, but it only goes so far. Game design is as much an art as a science, and we're dealing with a game where most abilities are balanced non-numerically.
Also, she's not insulting anyone. She's pointing out that the OP's system doesn't accomplish what he's trying to achieve. Honestly, you sound more hostile than anyone else here by handwaving all of her arguments by saying "everything you said was bias and based on personal hang ups and therefore you're wrong."
Ah okay. So I misinterpreted you when you said, "My philosophy is that if a feat comes up in 1/4 of all fights, but is awesome when it does, it should cost less?"
Knight Magenta wrote:
I believe that's only part of what she meant. I believe she also means that feats, classes, etc are "incomparables" (borrowing a term from Extra Credits). While we certainly want feats to have competitive value, you can't really compare them or assess them numerically with precision. Which is one of the reasons why using a point system for feats accomplishes very little.
Knight Magenta wrote:
And I do think classes should be equal. No one wants to play Robin while everyone else is playing Superman.
Again, classes are incomparables. In addition, while every class should feel meaningful, they don't have to be "equal." As long as a class is fun and not egregiously below or above the power curve, it's okay if they don't have the same power level as the next class. Really, power equality isn't as important as most people idolize on these forums. They put an undue amount of focus on it because it's one of the few aspects of game design they've been exposed to.
Tangent: Most of my friends (and myself) would totally rather play Teen Titans Robin than Superman. Heck, I'd rather play Robin from the Adam West show than Superman from the Man of Steel movie.
Balancing power and assigning numeric value thereof is more complicated than that. Especially in a game like Pathfinder where circumstances vary wildly depending on the campaign.
How often an ability comes into play is not the only factor in assessing power level. The power ceiling of the ability also plays a huge factor -- how powerful that ability is on its own merits. If the power ceiling combined with the circumstantial nature equates to the power ceiling of a reliable feat, then the two feats are likely equal in power level and therefore should have the same point cost.
This isn't what the OP suggests in his "balance philosophy." His philosophy suggests the circumstantial feat should have a lower price even if the power ceiling compensates for the circumstantial nature when the feat in question is balanced against a comparable reliable feat.
This is a flawed philosophy.
Knight Magenta wrote:
You're dodging my point. Your philosophy on power balance is heavily flawed.
Knight Magenta wrote:
By your logic, a feat that lets you cast the wish spell once per month should be a 1-point feat because it will only come up once per adventure. That philosophy is flawed because each feat is an optional choice that varies in usefulness depending on the campaign. If you give a feat a very low cost because it's circumstantial, that feat becomes overpowered/underpriced in a campaign where the circumstance is common. As a result, you have to price based on the power ceiling, not how often it's useful. Just as Trogdar pointed out, a feat should be judged by what it's trying to accomplish.