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Freesword's page

1,345 posts (1,346 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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graystone wrote:
Freesword wrote:
What these talents really need to be seen as is giving spellcasting to non-casters. This is hugely powerful. But the way it is implemented is so limiting compared to the way the casting classes work that you end up falling somewhere between a casting class and non-casting class if you choose to go that route.
That's not true though. They already have spellcasting and get caster levels. They have the same spells list as a wizard (to 6th) and can pick up wands and use them. So they AREN'T granting full casting but unlocking pre-existing casting.

Again, if you look at spell casting classes as getting their casting ability as free bonus feats, then the Warlock and Zealot are getting their Arcane/Divine Training I talent as an automatic bonus feat/talent at level 1. Access to the various spell levels is just gated behind another prerequisite besides ability score which the existing casting classes get automatically for free.

It is the same as if in order to be a spell caster you had to take Spellcaster as a feat and it could only be taken at level 1. Only spellcasting classes get it automatically for free as a bonus feat.

Vigilante doesn't grant Spellcasting as a free automatic bonus, but the Warlock and and Zealot specializations do. The class is a non-caster with specializations that give spell casting as a feat chain with the first one automatic and free with that specialization.

Regarding your assessment of the Arcane/Divine Training talents, I feel your harsh judgment of them is being unfair to them.

You are judging them in terms of a tax on something casting classes get for free. As such, you are correct in seeing them as weaker than a feat.

Now let's look at those automatic increases in spellcasting as other classes get as automatic bonus feats (that non-casting classes simply cannot qualify for). By this standard these talents are equal to feats.

Now let's go a bit further - would a feat that gave a non-casting class access to levels of casting be better than any other existing feat? Without a doubt.

Most arguments against the Arcane/Divine Training talents are based on being locked into the caster/non-caster paradigm - the "have"s and "have not"s. This is a "sacred cow" to many, and the reason for the pushback.

What these talents really need to be seen as is giving spellcasting to non-casters. This is hugely powerful. But the way it is implemented is so limiting compared to the way the casting classes work that you end up falling somewhere between a casting class and non-casting class if you choose to go that route.

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After having seen the interview with Jason and getting a better idea of the Devs position and viewpoint (as well as some clue as to what we didn't get in the playtest) I'll append this note on fixing the most outstanding issues of the class (Dual Identity):

  • The social identity needs access to class features. This is a must and a deal breaker for the class. Each specialization needs about 6 talents that can also be used by the social identity, otherwise it is completely stripped of class features. Signature talents and 'Shock and Awe' talents can stay limited, but there need to be enough that are usable in both identities to make both sides function as PC classes.

  • The time to change between identities is too long. While I presume it was intended to include the time to change in and out of armor, it ends up being overly penalizing. I can see it taking at least 1 minute for 1st level characters, with a note that donning armor rules apply and may extend the time.

  • The full round action switch between identities come way too late. It should be kicking in by around 6th level. By that point a non-vigillante character with a couple of magic items (hat of disguise and glamored armor) is doing it better.

The netruner syndrome is something they are aware of but consider acceptable. I admit it is possible to make it work, but doing so requires the GM to basically run 2 groups simultaneously, switching back and forth between the two frequently as a best case (a skill few GMs possess).

That still leaves the last issue of integrating a vigilante with an adventuring party without secret identities. In another thread I compared this with Power Rangers - "Except with only one ranger morphing into civilian identity and the rest of the group going about their daily business in their ranger identities. I mean no one would ever suspect the guy hanging out with 4 of the 5 rangers is the 5th ranger."

As you can see there would still be outstanding issues, but these are more inherent in the concept itself (a natural tendency to divide the party) rather than the mechanics to implement it.

I still feel this concept would be best served with mechanics that integrated it into the existing base classes rather than a parallel base class (an opinion I've seen voiced by several others), but the fact that we are playtesting this class pretty much means that the decision to go this route has been made.

As for the talents themselves, they aren't amazing (some are definitely interesting, but not "where have you been all my life" amazing), but they aren't cripplingly bad (a term that could be used to describe Dual Identity as presented). Fixing the Dual Identity would bring this class to a place where it just needs dialing in.

Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
The reason it keeps getting compared to supers is because the only well-known groups of vigilantes (or just people with secret identities) are Justice League and Avengers.

You would think there would be more Power Rangers comparisons. Except with only one ranger morphing into civilian identity and the rest of the group going about their daily business in their ranger identities. I mean no one would ever suspect the guy hanging out with 4 of the 5 rangers is the 5th ranger.

The devil is in the details. Since they aren't exact clones of each other, each divination could be including a detail exclusive to individual in that guise. (one also carries a whip, one does not; eye color; stubble or clean shaven)

It would be like scrying for the baker. The details of the baker you envision will be what you are trying to match. A search is only as good as the search parameters you put in.

Hiro Animation wrote:
I don't see why the dislike over the dual identity. It's kind of the whole point of said class. Or that's how I see it.

Yes, the concept is one person with two sets of skills separated into two different identities.

The implementation is one identity is a PC class and the other is an NPC class that falls somewhere between commoner and the rest of the NPC classes.

If your other identity was a full PC class the 5 minute change time would be a bargain. I mean swapping between Paladin and Vigilante would be well worth 5 minutes of time.

As for it being awkward in parites with non-Vigilantes, try imagining the power rangers where only one of the rangers changes into his civilian identity and the rest just go around in thier ranger identities all the time.

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The masked superhero with a secret identity. This is the concept behind this class. Yet it fails to take into account the world in which that character exists. The masked superhero don's a mask to rise above the world around him. But what happens when the world around him has heavily armored juggernauts wandering the streets accompanied by people who can call down lightning bolts from their deity and people who can warp reality to imprison someone in a block of ice - and seeing them walk down the street means it is Thursday? A flying lizard the size of a house just landed in the middle of town? Oh, that just means it's the second Tuesday.

Ok perhaps I exaggerate a bit, but the fact remains - PCs and giant monsters are not that uncommon. And the Vigilante is meant to join the ranks of the PCs. How does he fit in? The answer is not very well at all. Oh sure, in his masked persona he can pass as one of them, maybe even be mistaken for one of the other PC classes. But he's not quite on par with them. There is a reason for this - he leads a double life. He is not just a PC, he has a Dual Identity. He had to trade off some of his ability as a PC in exchange for this power.

[Dual Identity] is the defining feature of this class, and at the same time the Achilles' Heel of this class as well. What it grants you is a divination shield, protecting you from the various divination magics that instantly reveal your secret identity (a mechanical patch to make the whole secret identity thing work). However it does so by turning you into NPC Man - a pale shadow that inhabits the background of the PC's story. No, really, this guy falls somewhere between commoner and the other NPC classes.

As if that wasn't bad enough, it also suffers from netrunner syndrome where this ability becomes it's own little side game that doesn't include any party members that it doesn't apply to. ("I'm going to change into NPC Man now, the rest of you can go out for waffles, and don't forget to bring back take out for me and the GM.")

Oh, and as has been pointed out numerous times by others, while you can freely change between identities, it takes 5 minutes until level 13. Which means unless you are in your masked persona, you are sitting out the action (or are stuck trying to survive it as NPC Man).

Honestly, the best way to sum up this class as written is "NPC who moonlights as a PC".

The divination shield is a necessary feature for enabling secret identities, but it could have worked better as a feat.

The concept of living 2 lives has merit, but in a world where PCs casually walk among the masses forcing one of those lives to be NPC Man is immersion breaking. I get that giving the Vigilante 2 full PC classes would be overpowered, but this class would be much cooler (about 20% cooler) if you could do things like Paladin by day and Vigilante by night. (it would also justify 5 minutes to change identities since you would need to change out of your easily identifiable Paladin armor). Maybe it could be done:

"A vigilante picks a second class (PC or NPC) for his secret identity. When in vigilante identity, all features of the social identity class are lost and replaced by those of the vigilante class. When in their social identity they retain only those vigilante features that specify being available to the social identity."

(note: this could result in some power creep, especially in the from of a BAB boost, the skill boost should probably not be too disruptive)

Final point: I have not gone into detail about the Vigilante specializations. This is probably infuriating the Devs as I suspect they had intended this playtest to focus on assessing and balancing them. They are weaker than their full base class equivalents, but that was already known. The problem is that determining how much weaker they should be is dependent on what one is getting in exchange for the trade off. At worst we have a vague "stuff" and at best we have an "NPC secret identity that cannot be uncovered by divination". I say worst and best because the worst gives no basis for comparison and the best is what has been clearly defined. It's like evaluating the fighter without access to any feats. You know there is more to the class but it is and undefined value of "and stuff". If however there is no "and stuff" for the Vigilante, then they are clearly giving up too much for too little.

Sidenote: This class makes an interesting proof of concept for replacing the multitude of base classes with a single customizable class.

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I'm going to put on my Devil's Advocate suit for a moment and say that he may have intended this construct as defensive only, with that defense being one shotting anything that got close to him.

Now with that out of the way, the DM who enabled this truly dropped the ball. Wealth == Power and he handed out far too much wealth. While the party had equal access to said wealth, he knew one of his players was built to better leverage said wealth. (Speculation: the DM may have wanted to see what the character would come up with with that much available and didn't consider consequences)

Even assuming that he made his crafting services available to the rest of the party, making their wealth go further, there is a limit to how much they can add to their characters in gear (limited slots, maximum bonuses, stacking limits). He knew this. He knew what he was building would eclipse another party member. When he asked for advice on how to mitigate that, he was told "don't do it". He then did it any way. What he spent on damage he could have spent on more AC - he didn't.

He knew what he was making would not go over well, did it anyway (against the advice he asked for on this forum), and then when it went bad came back to the forum asking for validation for his choices.

He could have held back on DPS - he didn't.
He could have spread the money around on multiple projects - he didn't.
He could have prevented this from going bad - he didn't.

One thing to his credit:
He could have made it worse (more DPS) - he didn't.

His creation might possibly have been better received if he had named it "Plan B" and presented it as an "in case of disaster nuclear option".

As for his title argument -
Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit

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Got it myself and was a bit concerned since my browser isn't on your list but does support TLS 1.1/1.2. Thought you might be just checking user agent string against your list.

Pale Moon

"Pale Moon: Release notes
24.3.2 (2014-02-11)
An update to implement TLS v1.2, implement a few new features and fix some minor bugs.
New feature: Implemented the TLS v1.1 (RFC 4346) and TLS v1.2 (RFC 5246) protocols for improved https security.

I logged in to make sure I still could and then noticed my OS update notifier. Did a restart due to kernel updates (linux) and you had reverted to 1.0 by the time I got back.

FYI current version is 25.5 released today.

Arrius wrote:

B: Point-dependent Skills: The greatest example here is Linguistics. For every point, one gains a language. Under this system, there will be no in-built way to learn languages other than by the Retraining System of learning languages by spending time on them.

This is a problem only in Linguistics and Performance adding in per rank specializations (individual languages or instruments/performance types) and requiring a new way of handling that. Many (myself included) would see breaking this link of "I get a skill rank I learn a new language" as a feature rather than a problem. The retraining rules appear adequate for languages and could be adapted to performance. Traits would also be good here. I'm hesitant on feats for this as there they could be seen as burned feats that could be better spent on something less situational and with more mechanical impact (especially in combat).

Overall looks good.

One suggestion with regard to formatting (especially on the armor table where the names can span multiple lines), separate multiple item names in the same entry with commas (like you did for Do-Maru and Kikko).

With regard to iterative attacks, reducing the penalties has often been suggested as a house rule on these boards. The most common suggestion being a flat -5 (Using Fighter 20 example +20/+15/+15/+15).
Personally, I prefer a progressive -2 (+20/+18/+16/+14), which would still work quite well with a reduced BAB progression.

Ross Byers wrote:
Freesword wrote:
The only real catch I can see would be from spells with no save which would become the new 'Spell Resistance: No'
Spells without saves are already popular for exactly this reason. I'm not sure that would change anything.

Probably not. And if that is the worst issue I can find with this I'd call it pretty solid.

Ross Byers wrote:
Freesword wrote:

Ok, that is a simple way to scale back Natural Armor without destroying backward compatibility.

Not exactly sure I like the BAB scaling back faster that Natural Armor, but it is definitely a good start.

Huh? I'm scaling them back at the same rate.

Right, I was misreading/misunderstanding the higher/lower CR examples.

Definitely liking your method of scaling back Natural Armor.

An interesting idea. I'm especially liking the bits about:

Ross Byers wrote:

Immune to one or more schools/descriptor of magic.

Evasion/Improved evasion or the equivalent for Fort and Will saves.
Bonuses to saves against magic (Hi there, dwarves!)

I'm thinking change Spell Resistance to a save bonus plus the negates all damage on successful save/half damage in failed save for all three saves vs spells and spell like abilities, and then using the specific immunities (including schools/sub-schools) as needed for flavor and/or difficulty. If I really wanted to get fancy with it the effects could be scaled to HD or CR (bonus starts low and increases with the negating damage and halving damage kicking in at certain HD/CR).

Definitely removes a roll and a feat tax.

Racial bonus to beat SR could become a bonus to saves (possibly situational only if target has SR)

The only real catch I can see would be from spells with no save which would become the new 'Spell Resistance: No'

Ok, that is a simple way to scale back Natural Armor without destroying backward compatibility.

Not exactly sure I like the BAB scaling back faster that Natural Armor, but it is definitely a good start.

Ross Byers wrote:

Monsters lose Natural Armor equal to 1/2 their CR.

The result:
Against monsters of equal CR, combat doesn't change - Attack bonuses and AC changed by the same amount.

Monsters above CR are slightly easier to hit.

Monsters below CR are slightly harder to hit.

I get scaling back monster Natural Armor to balance reduced BAB.

I don't quite understand how exactly you are proposing to do it here. Are you talking capping Natural Armor based on CR? Or are you suggesting as it seems to read to me an across the board subtraction of 1/2 CR from all monster's Natural Armor value?

Not liking the 0 BAB thing. I would favor something closer to 3/4, 1/2, 1/4.

The concept however is definitely in the right direction.

Why are BABs so high? - Because ACs are so high.

Why are ACs so high? - Because BABs are so high.

(This is also why monster strength has been bought cheap.)

BAB is the best place to start fixing this arms race since it is the more static side of the equation, then balance AC against the new attack numbers.

As for your attempt to mirror Fighter BAB and Caster Saves, the one flaw is that it is easier to boost AC than Saves. Fighter BAB should be a little bit ahead because of this.

At 1/4 BAB, casters would still be woefully behind, but even throwing touch attacks would get them slightly better at hitting a target.

As for rebalancing AC to the new BAB, I'm still wrestling with that math myself (along with trying to get rid of must have magic items that aren't a weapon or armor to make it more complicated).

Calybos1 wrote:

My players hate the 'stand still and bash things with a refrigerator' model of combat. They find frontline tanks dull and annoying; in fact, their current group's frontliner is just an NPC hireling with the tactical prowess of a rutabaga. (They only brought him on board a few sessions in because none of the players wanted to be a meat shield--their exact words.) The Thug, as they call him, simply throws a two-hander around and Power Attacks... and they're still irked that his strikes are occasionally more effective than the archer and 2WF ranger's. Now that they're at a level where DR is becoming a factor, this problem has only worsened.

This is a Core-Book game; the players have no desire to learn any more rules, much less seek out 'builds' and feat combos to make their characters more combat-effective. And they LOVED 7th Sea, with its emphasis on style, mobility, and panache over brute force. So we're looking for the simplest possible change that will favor a high-mobility, swift-strike model of combat over a two-handed bludgeoning model.

This changes the question a bit.

In addition to my original suggestion, I would add the following:

To increase mobility, first you need to allow full attack with move. Otherwise you are still stuck with a single attack if you move more than 5 feet. Additionally I would also suggest allowing movement both before and after the attack. This greatly reduced the value of Spring Attack, but it greatly increases the potential for dynamic hit and move combat.

Secondly, reduce the penalties to iterative attacks so that the later attacks are more likely to hit. I recommend either a flat -5 to all after the first (+20,+15+,+15,+15), or a cumulative -2 (+20,+18,+16,+14).

As for the DR issue, if you don't have the proper counter to penetrate DR, the only option is high minimum damage to power through it. I hate suggesting a feat tax, but add a feat similar to the Clustered Shots suggested by Aralicia above that allows multiple melee attacks in a single round against the same target to total up their damage before applying DR. (I call it a feat tax because it becomes a "must have" feat.) This, combined with the increase hit chance on multiple attacks is the only way to bring up the minimum damage of multiple weaker attacks compared to single powerful attacks vs DR.

Calybos1 wrote:
So my question is: What is the simplest rule change that would reverse this priority? What would make slow, powerful blows less effective than multiple, smaller attacks?

Add an AC penalty to the slow, powerful blows in addition to accuracy penalty.

The theory being that you take more damage in exchange for dealing more damage and hoping the other guy runs out of HP before you do. This being vs the higher survivability of lower damage output with higher AC.

Alex Smith 908 wrote:
I'd be in favor of removing all spells that give flat buffs to skills without doing anything else. However I think a better solution would be to allow spells to increase the utility of existing abilities. Say have the jump spell half the DC on all jump checks instead of just giving a flat bonus and count all jumps as having a running start. This results in a spell that allow joe shmoe to jump reasonably well and turns someone invested into acrobatics into a super smash brothers character. It keeps the spell as a strong utility option without invalidating either the wizard or the acrobat. Unfortunately such and approach will require going through and adjusting each and every spell on the list. Though at least for skill bonus spells halving the DCs is a fairly easy quick fix.

I agree with your concept.

I would prefer instead of halving the DC, double the bonus (including stat), and possibly negate armor and and encumbrance penalties. Helps those who don't have the skill points invested, and rewards those who do. (note: There would be issues with doubling 0 or negatives. Not sure of a good solution to that so halving the DC may be the more elegant solution.)

Things like fly and spider climb that bypass skill checks altogether I see no issue with. Mundanes climb, Wizards ascend.

The skill utility spells only really marginalize skills when the party only needs a single member to make the check (or a single member to succeed).

On the other hand, in situations where everyone needs to succeed the check (like climbs), they keep that skill from becoming a "must have skill tax".

Language spells also open up possibilities for role play which otherwise would not exist because none of the players expected to need "that particular language". Sure, everyone takes Orc or Draconic, but who takes Ignan?

And I'm saying this as someone who feels that the skill utility spells are a bit much. They aren't inherently a bad thing, but they can be too much of a good thing.

As for where to draw the line, that can be very dependent on the group and campaign. The party should not be prevented from succeeding because none of the players thought to take a plot important skill, just as players shouldn't be forced to make character choices because they will need to cover "plot important ability" at some future point.

My best suggestion is to give a great deal of thought to any spells you remove and be prepared to make them available when needed, even if it is through some convenient (and if necessary disposable) magic item.

I would be inclined toward recommending keeping the Drow matriarchal (with the Elves patriarchal). This can give you a cultural difference while maintaining a familiar aspect for your players.

One of the biggest factors in the "Drow are EVIL" trope is religion. It looks like you are addressing that point with the Aesir/Jotunn approach. Make sure that the religion side is properly fleshed out to convey this break from the trope.

Count me as another voice in favor of the Drow favoring magitech. Elves tend toward the natural and magic, Dwarves tend toward tech with minimal magic, and Drow toward the manufactured combined with magic (their niche being where tech and magic meet).

I noticed you haven't mentioned the niches of merchants and information brokers. While they may not fit too well, you may want to consider them as possibilities (or for future application to other races).

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:


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.)

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:
I do know this is possible since I've seen it before.

You've seen turn-based MMORPG combat?


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.

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