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1,322 posts (1,323 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
I might subtract 11 from stats, so that 12 is 1, and modifier goes up at odd numbers. Mechanically the same, but since stats below 1 are something only the GM sees it removes the impression that PCs are uber good at everything by starting them out at the lowest visible number.

How are you planning on handling stat damage/drain, specifically the threshold for incapacitation/death? Would that be at -11 (or possibly -10 just to make it an even number)?

The rest sounds very interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing the details.


Looked over what you have so far and I liked what I saw.

As someone who has no love for the PF point buy system (rolled stats only here), after looking at your point buy rules I must say I'd be willing to give them a shot. Your point buy hits a sweet spot from my perspective.

I can't comment with regard to the WoD vices since I am not familiar with that rule set, although I may look into it.

On the skills, I find your removing perception as a skill intriguing. I'll have to consider that for my own homebrew.

I also applaud your Knowledge (Cultures) as it addresses the issues I have with poorly named Knowledge (Local).

I'm looking forward to seeing more development on Kelseyfinder. Hopefully I'll be able to provide some useful input to repay you for the ideas you have provided me.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
All I said was that I like the option of feat taxes on powerful feats as a design tool.

The certainly are a design tool - a tool designed to force players to take feats designed around low levels that lose their worth at mid to high levels (in other words, force players to take poorly designed feats).

Even feats that have a natural progression are better consolidated into one feat that scales with level.

The only case where feat prerequisites make sense is when you have a natural progression that branches into divergent paths similar to how critical focus branches into the various critical feats.

Well designed feats should stand up on their own and remain relevant throughout the progression of the character.


Hugo Rune wrote:
It started with Commoners and Experts not getting HP or BAB increases when they level, just feats and skills. This means your average journeyman basket weaver can't outfight the young hero fighter who has been practicing with all manner of weapons since boyhood. But said basket weaver has far more skill at his craft than said fighter.

This is fine for commoners (and adepts), but even aristocrats and experts who are functioning as NPC thieves could very plausibly be better with weapons than a novice fighter. And I notice you did not mention warriors, who could easily be more skilled at arms than low level fighters.

Hugo Rune wrote:

I then wondered about extending this idea to Wizards and Sorcerers. Why would a level 6 wizard be better with a dagger than a seasoned level 2 veteran fighter, and be able to take about the same amount of punishment?

The answer of course is because all the stats scale with level.

No, the answer is because he has more actual combat experience than the fighter. Just because it isn't his primary focus does not mean he isn't getting more experienced as a combatant.

Hugo Rune wrote:
But what about if the monsters BAB didn't scale either. A giant would have a lot of hit points because they were big and could take a lot of damage, but a young adult hill giant shouldn't be as good at fighting as a 10th level fighter who has killed hundreds of foes just because he is bigger.

Here is where "The answer of course is because all the stats scale with level." does actually apply, or rather BAB progression is tied to HD progression (which are tied to level progression if you have class levels).

The way stat scaling works in this system I will allow is based on a circular argument - "Why are attack bonuses so high? -> "Because monster ACs get so high?" -> "Why are monster ACs so high?" -> "Because attack bonuses are so high?"

Hugo Rune wrote:
I have done any serious number crunching yet but I'm wondering about giving full BAB classes full BAB. 3/4 BAB classes, 1/2 BAB instead and 1/2 BAB no advancement. Hit points would remain as they are for the full and new 1/2 BAB classes but the 0 BAB classes would only get 1HP per level.

On the PC side this is just bad. This gimps 3/4 BAB classes, particularly the non casting ones which already get enough complaints about not being able to hit at mid to high levels. It completely cripples 1/2 BAB casters because means that if they are not casting then they are completely useless, and it even hurts them with regard to spells that require any kind of attack roll. This also bleeds over to those 3/4 BAB hybrid casters who have a lot of touch spells or get to target a spell through an attack.

On the monster side, BAB is still tied to HD, so high hit point monsters automatically have higher to hit bonuses. Theorycrafting here, but what about decoupling BAB from HD and basing it off of CR instead so that it scales independent of HD?

Hugo Rune wrote:

Monsters do not get racial levels but instead class levels but they keep their default HD. AC for the higher DC creatures should probably drop (I read a previous thread questioning why fur on a high DC creature gives better natural armour than steel for example). It would also seem prudent to use the wounds and vigour rules and the damage absorbing armour rules as HP and BAB bonuses have been reduced.

This stuff should be workable.

Some final notes: This will violate the PCs/NPCs/Monsters are built using the same rules model. Whether that is good or bad is for you as the person changing the rules to decide.
From personal experience I can tell you that readjusting BAB is not as simple as it looks on the surface, as it interacts with other rules like AC which in turn interacts with magic, magic items, and mundane equipment. You quickly find yourself tweaking more of the ruleset than you originally intended.


I have to agree that this would not work well with multiclassing. Or at least multiclassing as it currently exists.

Pre 3.x multiclassing was parallel - all your classes were picked at creation and you divided your xp between them. You started out in level 1 of all your classes, but each class only gained a fraction of your XP total and progressed accordingly so differing XP tracks were not an issue.

Post 3.x multiclassing is serial - you start out with one class and then at any time when you level you can take a level in another class. This necessitated going to a unified XP track instead of individual tracks for each class. Prestige classes only add to this.

Theoretically you could track all XP separately by class, with each class added by multiclassing adding a new track starting at 0. However all you are adding is a lot more bookkeeping. Additionally there is the issue of "how much XP to add a new class?" which if you go with "enough to level in an existing class" gets progressively higher the more levels you have. This would encourage taking 1 level in each class as early as possible. Your character sheet would end up looking like a character ledger.

Then there is balance issues with CR, average party level, and character level that would have to be considered.

Not quiet as simple a fix for martial/caster disparity as it would appear.

Remember changing one rule impacts every other rule that interacts with it.


MMCJawa wrote:

I tend to be on the side that a big problem with DnD/Pathfinder magic is that it does a horrible job of emulating magic as used in most contemporary fantasy.

In fiction, magic may be powerful, but has constraints. This may be energy-based (Really powerful stuff tends to completely drain the caster, or risk burn-out completely), Risky (Really effective, but may have unintended consequences...Bring someone back to life may result in them coming back wrong, Teleporting risks materializing at the center of mountain), may have specific vulnerabilities that neutralize it (running water, thresholds, etc), or may have setting restrictions (Any use of magic in the form of X results in execution by more powerful magicians)

I fully agree.

MMCJawa wrote:
While older versions of DnD incorporated risk, streamlining and simplification of magic in later editions basically removed most any risk associated with magic.

And I'm looking to put some of that back, preferably without being too punitive to casters.

Orfamay Quest wrote:

Look through all the FAQs and see all the times the Paizo design team has said "no" to martials. "No, you can't TWF with a greatsword and a kick, even with the IUS feat." "No, monks aren't proficient with monk weapons." "No, you can't ready an action to charge."

Thanks, these three are definitely going into my "fixed in house rules' list.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
For that matter, how much more powerful would martials be if anyone could make a combat maneuver whenever they felt like it, without needing a hundred feats to do it? (And give monks a bonus at them, if you need to make them special.)

Yes, Please. Feats shouldn't make combat maneuvers work (they should work already), they should make them spectacular (like launching an opponent across the room).


Orfamay Quest wrote:


That's.... unnecessary. Martials can already attack hit points. Why should casters have to do the same thing? There are lots of ways to win fights that don't involve HP attrition and aren't simply save-or-lose. The enervation spell, for example, kills by negative level attrition. It's a great spell and a great tactic.

I'm good with level attrition and stat attrition. The key is attrition. But attrition takes time. Sure, a lucky roll may one shot a target, but they aren't designed to one shot by default. The action economy highly favors those spells that are designed to one shot by default. This was a reaction to the older "any damage taken during spellcasting and the the spell is lost" punitive system, which was carried over into the concentration rules. A spellcaster who can't cast spells isn't fun. But the balance was swung too far the other way. This is why I feel concentration needs to be modified as well, so that while the action is lost, the spell resource is not necessarily lost as well. So that the higher reward of taking out a target (or multiple targets with some spells) with one shot is balanced against a higher risk. It's about fixing a botched fix to an older problem.


Orfamay Quest wrote:


Hmm. In my experience, save-or-lose spells are already nerfed enough because they never land -- between the BBEG's saving throws and spell resistance, you're spending a standard action to make sparkly lights and hear sad trombone noises. YMMV.

I also think you have the wrong end of the stick -- the solution to martials being weaker than casters should not be to weaken casters but to strengthen martials.

For example, if a martial lost his lowest iterative attack (but never his only iterative attack) when he moved, the game would play the same at levels 1-5. At 6-10, TWF skirmishing would be practical (as a TWF skirmisher could move and make a double attack), and at level 16, even a sword-and-board type could still move and get in three very powerful hits.

The more I think about this, the more I like it.

Oh, I agree martials need more nice things. Like the ability to move 30' and full attack. And I already have in my house rules iteratives being at a cumulative -2 (instead of +11,+6,+1 you get +11,+9,+7) because the spread was too much.

I'm also thinking of giving them a save or die if you roll a natural 20 to confirm a crit. (Let the martials get to play rocketlauncher tag too.)

But I can only close the gap so much without giving them outright magical abilities (which I do not want). And I certainly don't want to get punitive and be all "casters can't have nice things" either. My goal is to encourage casters to focus on attacking HP instead of bypassing them.

As for your experience with save-or-lose, ideally I feel saves should fall close to the 50-50 chance range, but the math has been skewed by all the stacking bonuses in the system. It makes it hard to keep a baseline where the keeps the high and low ends of possible totals within 20. This is another systemic problem not limited to magic.


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The actual problems with magic are that 7-9th level spells are over the top powerful and most importantly the action economy.

The 7-9th level spells may or may not be problematic to the individual DM/campaign. YMMV.

The action economy is systemic. A martial can't make more than a single swing if he moves more than 5'. A caster can walk 30' and still alter reality. This would be a minor issue if both were whittling away at HP. But it gets compounded with casters getting save or lose rocketlauncher tag that bypasses HP entirely. The solution is extending casting times, specifically for save or lose to 1 round - that is you start casting this round and the spell goes off at the beginning of your next action. Now clearly this would result in focus fire on the caster likely resulting in the spell being disrupted and the slot wasted, but it doesn't have to. A simple change to the concentration rules where the slot is expended only on a 1 or perhaps if failed by more than n (where n=5 for example). The result being save or lose going from the go-to spell to the Hail Mary big risk for big reward spell.

That would still leave a few poorly conceived and badly written spells to be fixed, but would address the bulk of the issues.


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I got lots of love for rogues. Roleplay wise they are tons of fun.

I cry when I see how they got shafted by a combination of changes in the play style of the game combined with selective nostalgia and niche protection.

Once upon a time when rogues were still called thieves, traps could kill characters outright if not wipe entire parties. Back then character death was considered normal and gameplay was much more roguelike than collaborative story telling.

Then things changed, the game became more about the story and character death became unfun badwrong. So traps became less deadly, more of an inconvenience really. But selective nostalgia of rogues saving the party from deadly traps got them assigned the niche of trap monkey. This selective nostalgia also gave them sneak attack which is one of their few saving graces, but it is still all but useless at range (because ranged combat is the ranger's niche and you can't be better at it than they are). But then because it gives them fairly consistent DPS selective nostalgia is used again to demand it be nerfed (because get back in your niche trap monkey).

I still love playing rogues despite all of this. If anything I hate how they get marginalized and when playing a rogue I refuse to be shoved into the corner.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

You merely cut off the actual 7th-9th level spells, but you keep the slots. It actually gives more incentive for those classes to pick up and apply metamagic feats. (It certainly makes Heighten Spell more attractive.)

I think there was also a feat or something that allowed you to divvy up what a spell slot actually obtained; for example, you could have a 2nd level spell slot instead work as 2 1st level spell slots. That would be another great option for such a game.

This would be the easiest and minimal change to get your desired result Nerdtothe3rd. It's not the classes or spell slots but the spells themselves that people are finding problematic.

Additionally, if you find you want one of the cut spells back, you can allow it as a ritual with a long (10 minute or more) casting time and a minimum caster level requirement equal to the level that class would normally get access to the spell.


Ross Byers wrote:

Here's my suggested alteration to the handedness rules:

Quote:

Light, One-Handed, and Two-Handed Melee Weapons: This designation is a measure of how much effort it takes to wield a weapon in combat. It indicates whether a melee weapon, when wielded by a character of the weapon's size category, is considered a light weapon, a one-handed weapon, or a two-handed weapon.

Light: A light weapon is used in one hand. It is easier to use in one's off hand than a one-handed weapon is, and can be used while grappling (see Combat). Add the wielder's Strength modifier to damage rolls for melee attacks with a light weapon if it's used in the primary hand, or half the wielder's Strength bonus if it's used in the off hand. Using two hands to wield a light weapon gives no advantage on damage; the Strength bonus applies as though the weapon were held in the wielder's primary hand only.

An unarmed strike is always considered a light weapon.

One-Handed: A one-handed weapon can be used in either the primary hand or the off hand. Add the wielder's Strength bonus to damage rolls for melee attacks with a one-handed weapon if it's used in the primary hand, or 1/2 his Strength bonus if it's used in the off hand. Using two hands to wield a one-handed weapon gives no advantage on damage; the Strength bonus applies as though the weapon were held in the wielder's primary hand only.

Two-Handed: Two hands are required to use a two-handed melee weapon effectively. Apply 1-1/2 times the character's Strength bonus to damage rolls for melee attacks with such a weapon.

Hand-and-a-half: A wielder may choose to treat these weapons as one- or two-handed. If treating the weapon as one-handed, wielders with a strength modifier less than +2 take a -2 penalty to attack rolls.

Heavy: Treat these weapons as two-handed, except that wielders with a strength modifier less than +2 take a -2 penalty to attack rolls.

Heavy is there to distinguish between the (mostly martial) two-handers that are big, heavy, and clumsy if you aren't strong enough (greatswords, earthbreakers) and the (mostly simple) two-handers that just require a two-handed grip (quarterstaves, spears)

I like where you are going with this. This is logical, easy to understand, and playable.

I'm saving a copy of this with my house rule notes for future reference.


The problem with alignment is that it is measured against extremes and then used to bludgeon and shackle the PCs. It can be a very useful tool as a guideline for character development and role play, but mechanically tying it to every creature has turned it from useful tool to dreaded burden. The fact of it being measured in extremes and the lack of clear guidelines for at what point an alignment change is triggered lead toward reactions of any action counter to stated alignment trigger alignment changes.

An additional specific that makes matters even more problematic is the Law/Chaos axis vs Order/Chaos axis. While Lawful Good rolls off the tongue better than Ordered (Orderly?) Good, it carries with it for many the connotation of legalities (which can end up surprisingly chaotic) rather than order.

Personally (and as a house rule) I believe that as a game mechanic alignment should only apply to creatures native to an aligned plane. (The devs working on 5e D&D seem to have gone this route as well.)


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In literature where distances are covered at the speed of plot the units of measure are irrelevant. This makes it easy to use whatever units the author wants.

When you want people from different cultures to visualize a distance however, you need a common unit. Even here in the US we have some idea of what a kilometer is.

The metric system may not be the most stylistic means of expressing measurements in a fantasy setting, but it beyond a doubt quite practical.


If the feat conflicts with your house rule, why not alter the feat?

Without the feat you can ready an action, but if you take the feat you instead get to make an Attack of Opportunity.

Seriously, if a feat grants the ability to do something you already allow via house rule, just tweak the feat so that it lets you do it even better/easier. Anyone can do x, but with this feat you get to do x+.


Reebo Kesh wrote:
Fair enough. So a ninja with 2 weapon fighting and 2 poisoned weapons can deal up to 2 doses per round? But the same ninja with multiple attacks due to high BAB and 1 poisoned weapon could not?

Both correct because when the attack delivers the poison the dose is consumed.

Reebo Kesh wrote:
What about a spider affected by haste or a one with a high BAB and multiple bite attacks?

If a creatures has multiple attacks with Poison (Ex), each delivers poison each hit, unless it states limited uses per day.

Drejk wrote:
I don't recall any occurance of ability that would deliver more than one dose of inhaled posion at once. Have you found any?

Now that you mention it, I think my example of inhaled poison is rather poor. A better example would be a single trap with multiple gas jets each delivering one dose with a single save for the entire trap. More poison gas is stronger. I don't think it would normally be possible for a character to actually deliver multiple doses of inhaled poison at one time.

The alchemist class has a discovery called Concentrate Poison that allows 2 doses of poison to be combined into a single dose.


Drejk wrote:

If "one dose of poison at a time" refers to the same turn then multiple attacks of the same creature in the same turn would not deliver multiple doses of the poison. The example gives us attacks of multiple creatures - because each creature acts in its own turn, even if they happen on the same initiative count, they happen in different turns and thus they can stack. At least that would be my very initial interpretation.

Which incidentally would mean that Two Weapon Fighting Assassins would benefit from using different poisons on each weapon instead of two same poisons.

I disagree with your interpretation.

I read it as one attack deals one dose of poison. Inhaled or ingested poisons can deal multiple doses at once. Like a gas jet shooting 3 doses worth of inhaled poison for longer duration and higher save, or applying multiple doses of an ingested poison to someone's drink. Touch or injury poisons can only deal one dose per hit, but multiple hits can stack.

The two bolded sections of the original post do not contradict each other. The poisons stack, but inhaled or ingested poisons can deliver multiple doses simultaneously, whereas injury or contact poisons can only deliver one dose at a time (per hit).


Laurefindel wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
It's the cause of way too many fights, and I'm tired of it. I'm considering canning the whole system and police Paladins via a code of conduct. I've heard some people talking about how they do this in their games, and I'd like to follow suit. What things depend on alignment in Pathfinder that I need to either tweak or can?

Do without alignment for all native of the material world and keep the alignment components for planar denizens only. If you want, include certain undead as "planar denizens" with evil signature. It will make some spells/abilities/items more situational, that's all.

In that case, Good, Evil, Law and Chaos can simply be different energy signatures and be freed of the moral definition of good and evil. No more energy/moral concepts dichotomy.

I'd like to second this. Having alignment as nothing more than a creature subtype removes all the player side issues, but requires the least amount of changes. Spells and items that reference alignment will pretty much just be highly situational but can stay unchanged as flavor. The biggest mechanical change this causes is the Paladin, Detect Evil becomes very situational as does Smite Evil, Detect can stay as is for flavor, but you may want to tweak Smite Evil to make it less situational. Paladin and Cleric auras can stay as is representing a connection to the source of their power.


Very nice.

Until I saw it, I never realized that I needed it. It makes nested quotes so much clearer.


Robert Brambley wrote:
What is a "greycon"? I keep seeing this term used.

Granted I haven't touched an MMO in years, but Greycon was an opponent too far below your level to be a challenge/credible threat. This was generally indicated with the color grey. .


Scott Betts wrote:
Star Wars: The Old Republic does this, but only with class quests (at least, as far as my beta experience informs me). You can still re-run the game's major instances (called flashpoints) as much as you want, and those instances are where you'll find the good loot.

I've only watched video of people playing SWTOR. It's one of the things I feel they really did right. It locks in the story for the character, yet they still have a persistent world to interact with as much as they want. I don't mind respawning mooks, but named mobs that are supposed to be unique should only be encountered (read as killed) by a given character once.

Actually, getting back to Davor's desire to re-fight some bosses, since resurrection is an in world possibility, perhaps have a quest that would remove the character flag for having defeated a given instanced boss so you could fight them again. Trigger them being brought back and set up a re-match as the story justification. That could work and enhance believability.


Davor wrote:
Freesword wrote:


I have to say I agree with both sides and prefer the compromise of instanced encounters. Your character can kill the Stag Lord once. This sets a flag on that character and they will no longer be able to enter that instance for the Stag Lord. To do this however, drops would have to be guaranteed to every party member (the quasi-unique "I beat the Stag Lord" t-shirt which is unique only in that can only get one by beating the Stag Lord).

But see, what do you do if someone wants to replay your content? Isn't it one of the higher forms of compliment when someone wishes to go through your adventure/event again?

Don't get me wrong, there is something to be said for a special, one-time event. But back when I played WoW, I LOVED the Scarlet Crusade dungeons. LOVED 'em. I played them well after I had outleveled them, just because they were so enjoyable. I'd hate to think someone couldn't replay the "Xaxelibrax, the Swamp Lurker" dungeon because you were only allowed to do it once. I want my finishing blow cutscene, darn it :P

You roll another character and play through again, the character is flagged, not the account. The idea however is that there is no unique reward that is exclusive to any one character in the instance, everyone gets an equal experience and instance specific item (and possibly some random trash loot). You wouldn't be getting anything different if you do it again with the same character and there would be no rare drop that only one character gets. Again, there is a reason I call it a compromise. I do admit that there can be a certain appeal in revisiting a favorite boss battle (I'm seeing this only applied to named mobs) with a favorite character.

The goal is to give every player a chance to experience the encounter regardless of having made their account in the fist week or the fifth year, yet making that encounter a unique event in that character's story. For that character, the named boss they killed is dead and no longer exists, yet if the player creates a new character, that boss is still out there waiting to be encountered. The world is persistent, yet the characters alter it (at least from their point of view).


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Moro wrote:
Davor wrote:
Xaaon of Korvosa wrote:
Runnetib wrote:


Playing Pathfinder means that when I take out the Stag Lord, the Stag Lord is taken out, not is taken out for a few minutes, or until the next group starts the dungeon/instance. (I do realize this would make for an expansively large number of quests, but I think player generated quests could help with that, and for 'big' events such as these, perhaps staff can play the part(s), or players can 'apply' to run the scenario/quest on the bad-guy side. I, at least, think that would be a great addition to the game.)

+5 THIS
See, I have to disagree with this, just because it forces players to compete against each other, further removes a sense of community, and only encourages griefing outside of direct PvP confrontation.

I am going to agree with Davor here. Any content as far as PvE encounters go should be available to any player or group of players willing to put in the time and effort to make it there, not just the first and fastest poopsockers who blow through the prerequisite content. Nobody wants to pay for a game wherein the features of that game have been "used up" or "taken" by someobody else.

If any content were to be unique, one-time events it should be player-driven and player-created content.

I have to say I agree with both sides and prefer the compromise of instanced encounters. Your character can kill the Stag Lord once. This sets a flag on that character and they will no longer be able to enter that instance for the Stag Lord. To do this however, drops would have to be guaranteed to every party member (the quasi-unique "I beat the Stag Lord" t-shirt which is unique only in that can only get one by beating the Stag Lord).


Scott Betts wrote:
Quote:
I do know this is possible since I've seen it before.

You've seen turn-based MMORPG combat?

Where?

Atlantica Online is probably the biggest example that is current. A google search for turn based mmo brings up a few others including some with CCG style combat systems (which may not be relevant the the current discussion).


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More reactive mobs.

I can't stand that the orc on the other side of the road will just stand there and watch while I slaughter his cousin Bob because I'm just outside his aggro range.

Yes, this means safely pulling will pretty much be a thing of the past. And before everyone chimes in about this killing soloing, I'm someone who generally soloed in MMOs. It just means treating every Line of Sight aggro mob as a single encounter (unless you can do crowd control). It means you're not soloing those 5 level 7 orcs at 7th level, and maybe just barely at 12th.


A Man In Black wrote:

KitNyx, I don't know if you're fooling with me or not.

If you're not: developing reputation systems is an actual field of study. By contrast, you come off as, "Man, those chemists? I've seen them with their beakers, that's not so hard. I bet I could do that and make a ton of discoveries, no sweat. Just call me the next...uh...who's a chemistry guy...Einstein!"

You're trying to read too much into it.

What KitNyx is describing is a basic thumbs up thumbs down rating system weighted by the rating of the person who is doing the rating (if that isn't too confusing). To be more clear, A and B give you a thumbs up - A's rating is higher than B's so A's thumbs up is worth more.

And yes, such a system can and will be gamed. In fact there will be people who game the system just to see how far they can abuse it.


Laurefindel wrote:
TOZ wrote:

It seems to be a theme with B_L.

kyrt-ryder wrote:
So you're saying if a Hulking Hurler throws a meteor at you, it's the meteor that killed you and not the wielder?
...yes. And guns kill people.

bullets kill people, not guns* ;)

*unless used as improvised melee weapons

No, physics kills people. Both weapons and wielders are merely enablers.


Jiggy wrote:

Hm, so far no one likes my alternate rolling methods. What's so wrong with 1d12+6 or just rolling a d20? Are people just fixated on d6s or something?

(Okay, I am kidding on the d20s. But 1d12+6 isn't so bad, is it?)

More smaller dice brings up the minimum. That's why 2d6 gets preference over 1d12. Of course that makes me wonder if 6 + 3d4 wouldn't be even more popular. (4d3 would probably be even more popular, but I see the lack of off the shelf d3s holding it back)

I for one am not a fan of negative starting ability modifiers. YMMV


voska66 wrote:
Nothing worse the making up a character alone and rolling god like stats that no one would believe when you bring the character to the gaming table.

This is why I am a firm believer of having stat rolls witnessed by the GM and/or other members of the gaming group. In situations where this is not viable (like convention play) I can definitely understand the preference for point buy to avoid accusations of cheating.

voska66 wrote:
But if you get this awesome idea for character and want to build it see how it works out you have point buy, no one can question you on that.

I also agree that it works well for evaluating theoretical builds.

Even if I don't like it for actual play doesn't mean that I don't appreciate it's utility for certain situations.


Steelfiredragon wrote:
pint buy

Now there's an idea I can get behind. Not sure how you generate stats with it, but who cares.

As to your rolling method:
10 + 1d6 for each stat isn't actually that bad. It caps starting stats at 18 including racial modifiers, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. You would need to combine a 1 with a -2 racial modifier to get a negative stat mod.

I lean toward a fixed/random/assigned method myself.

Start out with a 6 in each stat, then 6d6 in order (swap one pair of rolls), then 6d6 assigning one to each stat as you like.

True it gives less player control than other methods, but I come from a 3d6 in order background, so I appreciate the fun that can be had building to the roll more than others and consider this method a good compromise.

So how would a pint buy method work?

Get a stat point for every pint you buy the GM?
or maybe
Get a stat point for every pint you drink? (rather penalizes those who are lightweights and can't hold their liquor)


I for one love stat rolling. Won't do point buy.

I don't care about equal stats or consistent power level, and prefer the variation. I find that the fixed point pool tends toward a handful of optimum arrays.

As for the re-roll abuse, that's just what it is - abuse. I don't believe in re-rolling till you get stats you like. I do however believe in a pre-agreed minimum for stats that is used as a re-roll threshold (minimum total modifier of x and no stat below n) and using a rolling method that minimizes the likelyhood of falling below that threshold.

That's not to say I don't like point buy in any form. In other systems I have no problem with it. The difference is that the stat range is usually smaller, stats only give positive modifiers, there are few if any minimum stat requirements, and there is usually a way to vary your stat point pool.

I enjoy creating a character around the dice rolls. My character is going to be at the mercy of the dice anyway, so I don't mind them determining my stats. If I want control, I wouldn't be playing a game but writing a story.


Poison Apple Games wrote:
I can add in an intelligent zombie archetype for the Lich (Perhaps attempts to create mindless undead occasionally malfunction and create something intelligent?). The Skeleton archetype is for a skeletal Lich, but a second skeleton archetype that's more like this intelligent zombie could exist.

I think I misunderstood what you were going for on this. I do however like the intelligent zombie lich concept, so my suggestion stands and it shouldn't be much harder to implement than the skeletal variant.

Poison Apple Games wrote:
As you can see, I'm using archetypes for monster templates heavily. It's FAR easier than creating 20 level templates for a whole army of creatures, and it what will make this project not too massive to complete.

I'm a big supporter of not re-inventing the wheel.

I think you've got a good idea of how to handle the various casting classes.

Your approach seems pretty solid. I'm looking forward to seeing how the details fill out.

McWOD leveled the field between humans and the monstrous races with the Awakened class. I presume you are planning a template for Human PCs to keep them viable. (Possibly the Champion you mentioned or some variant of it.)


Poison Apple Games wrote:
Like the idea?

Very Much so.

Poison Apple Games wrote:
Suggestions?

For the magic system, expand the McWOD spells, do not try to reverse engineer the core spells to fit the McWOD mechanics. McWOD magic works because it doesn't try to recreate D&D/Pathfinder magic.

I like the idea of powerful monster races as templates. It would probably be best to start with the most powerful as a high end reference and then build up the rest so they are balanced, especially if they all span the entire level range.

Alternately, you could have each template top out at different levels where the racial abilities would be level appropriate. This is probably the biggest design choice you would need to make.

Poison Apple Games wrote:
Comments?

This is overall a very ambitious project. What specific goals you set and how you go about achieving them will be the difference between this becoming easier than expected or crushingly frustrating.

You missed zombie. Shocking since zombies are currently the popular culture monster of choice.

Poison Apple Games wrote:
Change some of the Pathfinder classes so that this thing is technology level neutral, requiring very little tweaking to go from medieval times to the modern day or something in between.

This should just be a matter of adding skills, class skills, and weapon and armor proficiencies.

Since McWOD is a unified single class magic system, what are your thoughts on dealing with the multiple casting classes in Pathfinder? If I were to offer a suggestion, it would be for certain classes to have an affinity for certain types of spells, for example clerics would be better at healing magics and bards at mind affecting magics.


This is a very abstract combat system if I am reading it correctly. While my personal preference lies somewhere between this and RAW (leaning to the more tactical detail side), this does look pretty solid and I wouldn't be against using it.

How does it interact with the range/range increments of spells and weapons?

What about cover and concealment, which RAW are determined by the cursed grid?

Need to add:

[Charge]

Gives the acting combatant the Close condition and removes the Far condition. It also gives them the Adjacent RCC relative to a target of his or her choice. The acting combatant gains a +2 bonus on the attack roll and takes a –2 penalty to his or her AC until the start of their next turn.

-A charging character gets a +2 bonus on combat maneuver attack rolls made to bull rush an opponent.

-Even if you have extra attacks, such as from having a high enough base attack bonus or from using multiple weapons, you only get to make one attack during a charge.


Darkholme wrote:
Freesword wrote:
Go ahead. Nothing is stopping you.

It would be houseruling it in. the base system does not allow for you to make discounted packages, along the same lines of what they gave the core races. That is my point. So either there should be guidelines on how to put together discount racial packages (a waste or time imo, but maybe theres some case where a discount is valid) or they should stop giving discounts to the core races.

Freesword wrote:

I would also strongly recommend a line (preferably in a side bar so it stands out) stating:

All custom built races are subject to GM approval, and the GM retains the right to disallow any custom built race, even if it strictly adheres to the guidelines presented.

It shouldnt be a sidebar. it should be the first sentence under the section header for race building. lol.

That's exactly what I'm talking about. Discounting needs to be consistent and clearly defined.

And I went with sidebar as a consideration to page count. It really should have a page all to itself.


Darkholme wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
Discounts on particular bundles of core race abilities are fine, just as long as those abilities are then priced realistically when not bundled.
Disagree. If the core races are getting abilities on the cheap in packages to cheat them to 10 pts, why shouldn't my homebrew race get the same discounts, if its supposed to be the same power as a core race?

Go ahead. Nothing is stopping you.

And that is just fine.

The important thing is that the discounts used in the ARG must provide a consistent guideline for reference.

Currently, they do not.

I would also strongly recommend a line (preferably in a side bar so it stands out) stating:

All custom built races are subject to GM approval, and the GM retains the right to disallow any custom built race, even if it strictly adheres to the guidelines presented.


I think it is a general concesus that all the core races if priced accurately would not equal the same RP total.

The only way to make them equal out is to cheat. And by cheat, I mean allow certain races to buy certain abilities at a reduced cost.

The Gnome does this.

Gnome Magic grants 4 Spell Like abilities (3 level 0 spells and 1 level 1) and a +1 DC bonus to Illusion Spells. All for 1RP.

Meanwhile Spell Like Ability grants only 1 spell 1/day at a cost of 1RP per level of the spell (with 0 level spells costing 1RP) and can only be taken a maximum of 3 times. That means the Gnome's spell like abilities should cost 1RP each, and they should be limited to 3, not 4.

Svirfneblin Magic is worse, as 3 the 1/day spell like abilities are are a level 1 and 2 level 2 spells, plus a constant level 3 spell. All for 2RP. That's 5RP for the 1/day spell like abilities alone.

Honestly, I'm OK with this kind of cheat in general. It demonstrates a type of racial affinity. It provides an example of how races with a particular affinity (represented as a type or subtype prerequisite) can buy abilities at a reduced cost. Granted, any such ability should also be available to any race at a non-discounted cost.

However, I do have a problem with how deep the discount is in the cases I referenced as well as how inconsistent it is. This I feel is an even bigger issue than the forced leveling of core races at 10.

I can live with fudged costs to keep the core races appearing somewhat equal (balanced), but the component pricing and discounts used to achieve that illusion need to be consistent.

tl;dr

Getting core races all at 10 required cheating.
This isn't necessarily bad.
Point costs are wonky.
Type/subtype prerequisites must go, unless they are prerequisites for a cost discount or serve some logical physiological purpose (like requiring an aquatic or amphibian subtype for swim speed)

Suggestions to Developers:
Tweak a few of the point costs.
Rework type/subtype prerequisites to cost discounts or cases where they are physiologically needed.


Honestly, I can see the argument that having a limited list of bonus languages and getting common automatically is standard, that an unlimited list of any language as bonus languages might be worth 1 point, and that not getting common (in worlds that have a "common language" automatically is a penalty worth -1.

I'm not sure I agree with how it is set up as a required trait.

I feel it should be default Racial and Common (if available) and a fixed limited list of bonus languages. Then have it so you could option to spend 1 point to pick any language as a bonus or gain 1 point (-1 cost) for not getting common automatically (but it must take up one of the bonus language list slots).

Having a language barrier when communicating with other characters, possibly including you fellow PCs is a real penalty. It should be worth getting back a point.

The choosing bonus languages from any language instead of limited list is in my eyes questionable in being worth a point since this limitation is so easily overlooked or handwaved in actual play. Having it as an option would mean that it can still be handwaved at GM/group discretion. Additionally, very rarely have I seen someone not knowing a particular additional language be an issue in play. Everything is usually in common or one of the more prevalent (commonly chosen) languages.


Most likely actual reason - bigger numbers sound more impressive.

Logical analysis however does back up these histories to some degree.

The point about long lived races especially contributes to this. Let's say we start with a village of 50 families. If this long lived race has a glacially slow birth rate, then obviously it would take a very long time for the population levels to get high enough for expansion to a city. Additionally, if birth rate were closer to human, you run into the problem of a city where something along the lines of 1 out of every 50 people you (being a native) encounter is either your brother/sister, nephew/niece (likely with some greats thrown in), or cousin. That kind of thing would cross into creepy real quick.

Long lived races also hold the potential for records to span multiple shorter lived civilizations, so a more complete long term historical record is possible.

As far as stagnated technological development, look at isolated cultures and their lack of technology. It's not surprising that a culture can be centuries behind in technology, especially if maintaining the status quo is culturally enforced and there is little outside pressure to change (like encountering cultures with more advanced technology).

I will debunk one theory however. It makes no logical sense that the ruins of many previous civilizations would accumulate one on top of another in a small area and have them be preserved. The needs/curiosity of the newer civilizations would in all likelyhood result in the older ruins being stripped bare in a recurring cycle. And let's not forget each civilization's adventurers.


Personally, I have rarely seen casters casting defensively. Usually it is 5 foot step, then cast.

The real problem is that casting is standard action which means the only way to disrupt it is with an interrupt action (AoO, Readied Action, or some type of Immediate Action). This came about when casting times from pre-3.0 were replaced with almost all spells being standard actions.

I favor a solution that is a bit more work, but actually addresses the problem. Unless a spell does direct HP damage it's casting time is 1 round. This gives every opposing character an action they can use to try to disrupt the spell. The 5 foot step away now only helps for direct damage spells, but save or suck/die are making concentration checks, possibly against full round attacks.

Since HP went up in 3.0 and spell damage didn't, spells that do HP damage need the boost of all being a standard action.

Edit: I suppose you could do away with casting defensively all together, since all it does is allow a concentration check to avoid AoO. The reality however is that casting defensively in practice is used primarily against opponents with reach, and 5 foot step against opponents without reach. Mostly you just penalize casters against opponents with reach.

There is one thing you may want to consider however before making this change. The among hardest hit are going to be healing spells to keep front liners from dieing.


Abraham spalding wrote:
I've never understood why more people didn't scribe scrolls of spells at the end of the day when they play a wizard.

Because you are looking at 2 hours worth of work per day. Which will get you a maximum of 1 spell scribed to a scroll.

Relevant PRD References:

PRD wrote:


Creating an item requires 8 hours of work per 1,000 gp in the item's base price (or fraction thereof), with a minimum of at least 8 hours. Potions and scrolls are an exception to this rule; they can take as little as 2 hours to create (if their base price is 250 gp or less). Scrolls and potions whose base price is more than 250 gp, but less than 1,000 gp, take 8 hours to create, just like any other magic item. The character must spend the gold at the beginning of the construction process. Regardless of the time needed for construction, a caster can create no more than one magic item per day. This process can be accelerated to 4 hours of work per 1,000 gp in the item's base price (or fraction thereof) by increasing the DC to create the item by +5.
PRD wrote:


If the caster is out adventuring, he can devote 4 hours each day to item creation, although he nets only 2 hours' worth of work.
PRD wrote:


This work is generally done in a controlled environment, where distractions are at a minimum, such as a laboratory or shrine. Work that is performed in a distracting or dangerous environment nets only half the amount of progress (just as with the adventuring caster).
PRD wrote:


Scribing a scroll requires 1 day per 1,000 gp of the base price. Although an individual scroll might contain more than one spell, each spell must be scribed as a separate effort, meaning that no more than 1 spell can be scribed in a day.

If they are using a lot of scrolls, this won't keep up. If they barely use scrolls at all, it's more bother than it's worth.

Now if they aren't scribing scrolls when they have down time, that I have no answer for.

Humorous side note: Not only does Power Word Blind take up 7 pages in your spell book for a single word, but also takes 3 days to scribe a scroll with that single word.


If the GM doesn't want a race to be playable, they need to state it clearly and stick to it (unless the player can sell a really cool story and be able to back it up in roleplay, in which case exceptions can be considered).

If the GM says no to a race than that should be the end of it. If the player insists on playing that race anyway, then I have no sympathy for them.


This does bring up a new problem - with perception. The rules talk about how cover/concealment interact with attacks and using the stealth skill, but not with perception checks.

There is only a +5 modifier for through a door, and +10/foot thickness modifier for through a wall.

What is the DC to notice you on the other side of a 1 foot thick wall from 20 feet away? 17?

Notice visible creature....0
1 foot thick wall..........+10
20 feet away...............+2
Terrible circumstances.....+5

(I counted the lack of line of sight as terrible circumstances)

A door would drop the DC by 5.

No line of sight, no line of effect, yet you can notice someone in a completely sealed box with 1 foot thick walls.

There are too many artifacts from Spot and Listen being separate skills. What is needed is a unified DC with a modifier for cover/concealment, and a flat penalty for impaired senses (blinded or deafened) along the lines of the favorable, unfavorable, and terrible conditions modifiers.


No, I am not under the impression that vision is the only thing that you are concealing with stealth. I am under the impression that location is the only thing you are concealing with stealth. By RAW, line of sight/line of effect rules are used for applying cover and concealment. Cover and concealment are conditional prerequisites for stealth.
-----

PRD-Perception wrote:


Detail...........................................DC
Hear the sound of a key being turned in a lock...20

Fixed DC, not an opposed check. Picking the lock would make the same amount of noise.

-----
You cannot just stand next to someone undetected under the rules unless you are actually invisible (which means you have your own concealment). If you are standing next to someone without any other form of concealment you cannot use stealth (except with a successful bluff check).

As for picking their pocket:

PRD-Sleight of Hand wrote:


Action: Any Sleight of Hand check is normally a standard action. However, you may perform a Sleight of Hand check as a move action by taking a –20 penalty on the check.

Stelath means you must take that -20 if you don't want the target to detect you being near him when you make the attempt. Stealth does not replace sleight of hand for the check for him detecting you picking his pocket.

PRD-Perception wrote:


Notice a pickpocket Opposed by Sleight of Hand

You standing next to him is one check (stealth). You picking his pocket is a separate check (sleight of hand).

-----
You want to concentrate on a spell and concentrate on being stealthy at the same time?
-----
As for the potion thing, you have cover/concealment (which you need for stealth). You either potion this round and stealth to a new location next round, or you stealth to a new location (with total cover/concealment and perhaps further away) this round and use the potion next.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Perhaps I'm still misreading the blog entry, but am I really one of comparatively few people who is bothered far, far more by the fact that the proposed changes do not seem to allow drinking potions, concentrating on existing spells (e.g. illusions), picking locks, or picking pockets without losing the stealth condition than by whatever label is used to describe it?

I initially shared your problem with the new stealth rules. But then I looked at it again and realized that if you have cover or concealment, they don't have line of sight to you, so you don't need a stealth check. Additionally, most standard actions should break stealth with a couple of possible edge case exceptions. Still, let's look at how what you mention is already covered.

Most potions you would be drinking while stealthed should last long enough that you would drink them before you stared.

Concentrating on a spell means you broke stealth to cast it in the first place. While the DC to notice a visible creature is 0, it requires line of sight. If they can't see you (no line of sight), no stealth is needed. (see Cover and Concealment)

Picking pockets is already covered by making a sleight of hand check as a move action with a -20 penalty.

Picking a lock - are you trying to pick the lock without anyone noticing you standing next to it? If not, I would say you want a slight of hand check to conceal the lock picks. (Or a bluff check to convince anyone who asks what you are doing that you are too drunk to realize this isn't your house you're trying to open the door to, or how to get your own door open even if it were your house)
Otherwise it's back to Cover and Concealment, or having an ally provide one hell of a good distraction.


Finarin Panjoro wrote:
I don't like the idea of magical invisibility granting a straight up bonus to stealth. Because Hide and Move Silently have been combined this really doesn't make sense anymore. After all the invisible target is no harder to hear than they were before.

Perception does not equal seeing or hearing. It is noticing. It's not about the sensory input, but how well you process it. We need to move away from the old paradigm of spot and listen. The problem is that we are hanging on to checks based on individual senses. Sure they are more realistic, but they (potentially) bog down game play.

What you are heading toward is a very granular check that provokes more checks until the target makes all of them or fails 1 and is located. You will get bogged down into "check if I can hear him", "check if I can see him", "check if I can smell him".

Embrace the abstraction!

If anything, I would go in the direction of failing a perception check by 5 or less gives you a +2 bonus (circumstance/alertness) on your next check against the same target.

Otherwise you risk going down the path of triggering a re-roll if you would have succeeded without a specific modifier.


Dennis Baker wrote:
There are currently no bonuses to perception built into the system for things like tremorsense, all around vision, superior hearing... I'm ok with the idea that you could use stealth to bypass them but what is the DC?

This is a problem. All of these are treated separately, an artifact of having separate spot and listen skills. All these "enhanced senses" need to add modifiers to perception.

Yes, I am calling for more abstraction instead of less.

The alternative is one set of checks for sight, one set for hearing, one set for smell, one set for echo-location, one set for tremorsense. It ridiculously bogs down the game and nerfs stealth since more checks results in more possible chances to fail one.

Perception has to not be about "seeing" or "hearing", but about noticing. How many times have you looked right at the object you are trying to find on the table right in front of you and not noticed it? Heard someone talking to you but missed what they were saying? That is perception.

Any fix to stealth has to fix perception as well since the two are interconnected by being opposed checks.

----------

As for the blog proposal, it fixes the problem where moving from concealment broke stealth.

Having action types (free, move, standard, etc.) determine whether or not you can use stealth "feels" off to me, but after looking over the actions in combat table in the Combat section, I can live with it.

I have to agree with those opposed to stealth applying the invisible condition. See Invisibility, Invisibility Purge, and True Seeing all state that they allow one to see someone with the invisible condition thereby negating it. They should not interact directly with stealth at all, only with non-mundane effects. Either the spells need to be changed to exclude stealth, or a new condition needs to be created (even if it is nearly identical to invisible). I will however state that these spells should negate the bonus to stealth checks from invisibility.

Overall, I think I like it. At least the version I am reading today. It could use some further refinement, but it seems mostly clear and playable.

One formatting note, for clarity, please break the "Check:" section into multiple paragraphs. Too much detail is blurred together in a wall of words. Something more like this:

Reformatted Blog Post:

Reformatted Blog post wrote:

Check: Your Stealth check is opposed by the Perception check of anyone who might notice you. Usually a Stealth check is made at the start of a free, move, or swift action when you start that action with either some kind of cover (except for soft cover) or concealment. You can always spend a swift action to stay immobile and make a Stealth check. You cannot spend a free action to initiate a Stealth check, but if you spend a free action while under the effects of Stealth, you must make a new Stealth check in order to continue the effects of Stealth. You can move up to half your normal speed and use Stealth at no penalty. When moving at a speed greater than half and up to your normal speed, you take a –5 penalty.

It's usually impossible to use Stealth while taking an immediate action, standard action, or a full-round action, unless you are subject to greater invisibility or a similar effect, you are sniping (see below), or you are using a standard action to ready an action.

When you make your Stealth check, those creatures that didn't succeed at the opposed roll treat you as invisible until the start of your next action or until the end of your turn if you do not end your turn with cover or concealment. When you use Stealth, creatures that are observing you (creatures that you didn't have cover or concealment from) or that succeed at the opposed check do not treat you as invisible.

I think this blog post has been updated since I read it yesterday (or maybe it's just my perception rolls). It seems much clearer now.


DM_Blake wrote:

As a DM, this "swinginess" makes it very difficult to plan challenging, interesting encounters. All too often it's some trash encounter that ends up being challenging and the BBEG is too easy, even boring.

It's all too unpredicable, and it can be very anticlimactic when a battle that should be fun and challenging gets suddenly trivialized by a single lucky roll.

That "swinginess" is part of what makes a game different from a story. It's the ultimate expression of random chance. I for one embrace the game and let go of dramatic control. I save that for writing where I don't have to clash with those pesky random dice.

That being said, I feel it is possible that crits may be just a tad bit too good when they multiply a large fixed bonus.

Laurefindel wrote:


For that reason, I play that only the dice are doubled on a critical, not the damage bonus or other additional damage.

This would get rid of that multiplied fixed bonus. It does however have a what I see as a slight catch. It favors spell casters since spells are almost all damage dice (the number of which increase with level, unlike weapons) and rarely have a fixed bonus. Instead of multiplying a large fixed bonus, you end up multiplying a large (and increasing) number of dice.


I have to agree that traps are an area of the game that needs serious work.

Hit point inflation in 3.x-> combined with more sources of healing has resulted in traps the deal hp damage being depreciated. The only traps that are any real threat deal ability damage (like by poison), or status effects.

The suggestion of multiple traps in one square allows you to stack damage, which could make traps more relevant. As for how to handle this, I would say one perception check per square with the DC being the highest + 2 for each additional trap, which gives you a way of determining how many of the traps you find if you choose not to simply make it all or nothing. As for disarming, the same formula can be used for the DC in the case of all or nothing, or alternately you could do each trap separately using the individual DC +2 per additional trap for each. You know, I think I may add this to my house rules. The only problem with this comes from this section:

PRD wrote:
Multiple Traps: If a trap is really two or more connected traps that affect approximately the same area, determine the CR of each one separately.

Which heavily affects crafting. This may or may not have been intentional, since the rest of the section on multiple traps is all about awarding XP.

As for DCs, you do not have to use the ones in the sample traps listed. In fact, if you read the trap creation rules, you can pretty much arbitrarily set the DC. The only thing the rules about traps has with regard to DC is how it relates to CR.

The pricing is ridiculous, and this coupled with the flawed crafting rules makes using them as a PC impossible. It seems like they written purely to be used as set pieces in dungeon construction. On consideration, I beleive it is possible this crazy pricing/crafting time was done deliberately to keep PCs from setting up traps and baiting opponents into them.


I really like condensing feat chains when X/Improved, etc. just give you more of the same thing since it makes sense to turn it into a scaling bonus. Chains should never in any way obsolete the original feat. (Power Attack gets it right, TWF, not so much)

Feat chains do however have a place to me, especially when each feat grants thematically related but different bonuses. Things like Double Slice, Two Weapon Rend or Two Weapon Defense are fine as is since they add different benefits instead of scaling up existing ones, and don't need to be rolled into scaling feats.

Davick wrote:


Which feats should be combined and at what level/BAB should the chain advance?

+4 BAB is when feats like Power Attack and Combat Ex progress, is that a good time? +6 is when you gain an iterative attack, so it's a good choice too. Or should it be level, and the wizard gets greater trip the same time as the fighter?

As for implementation of scaling, the first question to ask is "What does the feat give you?"

Combat Bonus - Should scale to BAB
Spell Casting Bonus - Should scale to Caster Level
Skill Bonus - Should Scale to Skill Ranks
Class Ability - Class ability increases (if applicable like xd6 sneak attack) or Class Level (if not)

(note: Class Level should only be used if it affects only a single class, and only if there is no other scaling class ability to reference off of. Character Level (or hit dice) should never* be used.)
*Except for rare instances where something must scale across allclasses regardless of things like BAB, Skill Ranks, Caster Level, etc.

As for how often, the next question is "How many steps in the chain?"

Take the number of steps in the chain and divide the range of levels the chain covers to determine when it should scale.

Of course you could save yourself some math and use the prerequisites for the feat chain as a guideline like Revan said, since they usually were calculated in this manner.

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