There *are* questions in the survey about the narrative and pacing of the adventure which leads me to believe they are taking feedback about the non-crunch side of things, so if you want better pre-written adventures I would still run the module as written and leave feedback about the writing.
Um, is there some secret link to the survey you can share with me? Because the playtest page only has surveys for PFS, not for doomsday dawn.
We're well aware it's not a full campaign, per se, and I'm not houseruling anything. I just want to make the adventures more fun for my group of players, who are particularly averse to unending combat slogs. That's why I'm trying to figure ways to change and add stuff without subverting the actual test intent of the individual adventures.
I have similar qualms. My approach in prep is reflavoring the adventures and changing some plot points (especially the origin / nature / purpose of the clocks), adding some extra non-combat puzzles and social encounters of the same rough DC as other challenges in the published adventures to break up all the combat, adding extra rooms / sites for those extra non-combat events to happen in, and making the setup / terrain for individual encounters more interesting.
I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to address the wall of back to back combats in adventures 3 and especially 5. My players will hate that, whereas 2, and especially 4 and 6 are going to be much more attuned to mine and their interests. Waiting for some eureka moment on how to change those encounters without subverting the playtest intent.
I think for 3 I will have there be more meaningful options for setting up barricades, funneling the enemies if the players set up well, and having the NPCs provide support. That will also make my players care more that the NPCs are in danger. Rather than the barricades doing nothing but break automatically after 3 rounds and then become hazardous terrain, I think they should be able to be shored up if the players decide to reinforce them, and once the door behind the barricade is broken maybe the players can make ranged attacks past them treating them like arrow slits in a castle parapet. If they reinforce one side well enough maybe they can force the enemies to go around to where the players want them.
I'm kind of lost on 5. I like little details in the adventure like the stained glass window so maybe there needs to be more stuff like that which can be triggered over the course of the siege. I'll probably add retainers who can watch outside and die first for flavor, and have enemies advance up the hill instead of always just boringly teleport directly into the edges of the room. I'm thinking the roof can fall in partway through the assault and then weather effects can happen later, maybe applying the weak template to the later enemies to compensate for increased check / attack difficulties from the weather. Beyond that, not currently sure.
I might also decide to have the players level up the parties from 2 and 3 for 5 and 6 instead of making entirely new parties. I'll have to decide that based on what kinds of characters they make for those parties, and if they seem appropriate to the later adventures. The party for 3 seems like it might be a good choice for 5 just based on thematics. 5 would have more weight for the players if the party in the hopeless siege is comprised of characters they already ran through an earlier adventure.
I'd also prefer class feats to be more reflective of each class's special schtick. With more general combat feats either separated by weapon group (Power Attack belonging to swords / axes / hammers for instance) or just a broader combat feat pool, that any class (or at least any martial class) can just dip into. Maybe say martial classes can dip combat feats with their class feats, caster classes can dip "magic" feats (metamagic etc) with their class feats, and any class can dip either of these pools with their general feats.
I would tend to think a weapon with two level 9 runes would actually consume two level 9 item picks. Or one level 11 pick since that is the equivalent cost. Or one level 9 pick plus paying gold to make up the difference.
The same philosophy would also apply to special materials; a 1 bulk adamant item is the same price as a level 9 item.
Similar logic seems to be used in Doomsday Dawn, where one of the adventures lets PCs choose between their choice of either a +3 starting weapon or a +2 with flaming or etc starting weapon.
Seems like a good idea, yeah. And better than just giving 200 sp instead of 150, since it's locked in as specific gear instead of being extra money to spend on weapons, potions etc. Someone who doesn't want / can't benefit from a skill kit could just get extra outfits or a ~50 sp "basic adventurer's starting package" instead.
Big Lemon wrote:
Noticed this as well (half of the characters I was making for testing, which were based on my friends' past PF1 character, would have the Noble background). I wonder if they intend in inverse to be true: use Nobility Lore in the place of Society.
I feel that using Nobility Lore in place of Society is what was intended.
I'm fine with there not being a full fledged old-style surprise round where the surprised side loses their turn entirely. I've seen too many completely lopsided encounters happen that way.
HOWEVER, I'd be just fine with there still being a surprise round of sorts where everyone still acts in initiative order, but the surprised side gets one less action on their turn - 2 instead of 3 - and is flat footed. Honestly, it's what I was expecting given the new action economy. That seems reasonable and fair.
The rogue's surprise ability can let them treat people as flat footed on the surprise round even if they act before the rogue in initiative order.
Multiple sources of persistent damage should stack regardless of type, as separate sources. If I get hit for 1d6 bleed in one part of my body and then 1d6 bleed in another part of my body, it's not like the first wound suddenly stops bleeding, nor does each wound suddenly have half the blood pressure to it. Stumbling from flame jet into flame jet into flame jet could logically turn my entire surface into a conflagration instead of just my arm or whatever.
There is no weapon balance in the playtest as written. A +5 dagger does about the same damage as a +1 greatsword. That's not fun.
What I think would be great is if instead of one feat per one maneuver, and each maneuver being locked into open, press or finale, they did one of the following:
As long as they don't go animu they can capture everything good about the Book of Nine Swords without turning people off. (Disclaimer: I actually like animu warriors, I'm just mindful of prevailing opinion, so they should avoid that feel at least until a splat book.)
The Fighter already has a cool new thing it can focus on if they leaned into it, the stance and combo system. They can build the fighter's special stuff around that and becoming more proficient in more gear more quickly than other classes. They can also bring in Starfinder Soldier or 5E Fighter "subclasses," sort of like PF2 druidic orders, where you can get stuff like being a warlord tactician or a duelist or the like. Then all the generic combat feats can be opened up again, instead of being fighter locked.
Jester David wrote:
Looking at the math, you could probably add your level to damage like everything else and it would be fairly comparable...
Adding level directly to damage as a modifier without increasing dice would work out pretty well, actually. If you assume the "average" weapon is a d8 weapon with a mean of 4.5 per die, well, +20 from level is pretty close to +5d8 from magic. Adding level is actually better for lower dice weapons and keeps rogues from sucking at high level, and restrains d12 greatswords a bit so they're not the automatic best choice.
Now looking forward to the next errata, where they give every class as many feats as the wizard, extend the druid design philosophy to give every class a meaningful choice of "path" at level 1 that doesn't exclude you from other options, and overhaul ancestries and give at least one more ancestry feat at 1st. :>
1 hour feels like a better time limit for fatiguing actions than 10 minutes. And yeah, time spent on non-fatiguing actions subtracts / "heals" the time spent on fatiguing actions.
There should be a more general fatiguing meta-tactic for combining two normally non-fatiguing tactics. Am I supposed to believe a scout can't be both stealthy and observant at the same time? It's stressful to maintain that focus over time, sure, hence the fatigue, but it's definitely doable in real life.
What I would prefer is if the minion always gets two actions according to a "basic AI script" if not commanded (which should allow it to fight back and attack foes / defend its Master with uncomplicated move / interpose / basic attack if in combat), but the player can spend an action to give it a full 3 action turn under the player's control. I've never seen companions get out of hand at the table except with "pack Master" shenanigans, which are easily left out of this edition. Requiring an action to command still acts as a balancing factor, preventing the player from fighting at full capacity if they have multiple summons or a summon and companion.
1 is definitely something I noticed. It'd be fine if there were pricing / level guidelines for making your own ad hoc items, since I don't really expect a spread of items for each skill at each tier in the CRB, but there aren't.
2... Maybe I missed something but I thought armor was invested generally? Or is that only armor with special fx? If basic +X armor isn't invested, then bracers shouldn't be either.
As for the handwraps, well, they do apply to all of your various unarmed attacks, even bites and claw strikes and different attacks granted by stances / rage / etc. I guess 1 RP isn't much of a cost to pay compared to PF1 where mighty fists was 3x more expensive in money than an actual weapon.
I would feel a lot more comfortable with the core math, and it would avoid silliness like a level 10 Str 10 untrained-athletics wizard handily outwrestling a level 1 Str 18 barbarian, if the effects of level in proficiency rating were reduced the effect of rank was increased. Being trained in a skill, a weapon, or whatever else should really matter. To wit:
Level: Level contribution is reduced to 1/2 level.
Rank: Add an extra rank tier. The ranks go as follows:
Signature: Signature just means you get to advance proficiency one step higher than your level would otherwise allow. It's not actually a cap. Things that give you extra signature, like race or background abilities, are still desirable but not necessary unless you're pushing optimization.
Equipment: This is why I kept Trained at +0, to line up with how they did equipment tiers. It means an average, decent but unexceptional item is still +0, lining up with Trained. There is an extra equipment tier to correspond to the extra proficiency tier, but equipment bonuses are half of your proficiency rank gives you: +1 expert, +2 specialist, +3 Master, +4 legendary. Actual artifacts ("mythic" items) are the only way to get a +5 item.
Being trained, expert etc in a skill actually mean something. While level is still a factor, a level 1 barbarian with Str 18 and expert athletics can now consistently outwrestle the weak untrained wizard until the wizard is at the very highest levels, at which point whatever, the wizard is just innately magicking everything they do.
DCs and monster ACs / saves would have to come down some from what is in the published text, sure... But it's not like the whole math system has to be rejiggered. You just reduce DCs a bit at higher levels; a reduction of 2 at low-mid levels to 5 at high levels, with the enhanced proficiency ratings and extra equipment tier, means they still line up with current success rate expectations. Though they should come down more imo, because a mere 55%-60% chance of success at on-level tasks in a skill or with a weapon you're optimized for is really terrible, but that's a separate design consideration from keeping the math largely the same.
Skill feats with the extra tier can represent a smoother curve of potentiality, instead of meh, good, break reality. A feat for a trained character represents being actually good at a particular thing, increasing to really great at expert, normal peak of human potential at specialist, action movie hero or absurdly good csi cop but still /plausible/ at master, then pushing past accepted notions of reality at legendary.
Proficiency can still apply to AC and saves and it works fine.
If bonus damage dice were to be decoupled from magic weapons, it works well with the revised rank system. Expert, Specialist, Master and Legend give a bonus damage die. A good martial character like a fighter or monk can be doing a bonus damage die from training right from level 1, a barbarian can be given an extra die while in rage, a rogue gets a sneak attack / trick attack that goes off more often instead, the Paladin can get smite back. Training is only a few levels behind for non signature classes, so a barbarian doesn't have to wait until the teens of level advancement to become expert, because it's a consistent progression.
If it's not a weapon, they are excluding monks, animal totem barbarians, wild shape druids, and so on from an entire category of magic items explicitly created to be useful to fighty types. I doubt that was the intention.
It definitely needs clarification, but if they make the wrong decision or don't clarify it I'm just going to end up allowing trinkets attached to bracelets / handwraps / animal companion collars / etc anyway.
Having flexibility in feat assignment and also a choice of core "archetype" or "subclass" are not mutually exclusive.
I agree with the OP. Of special note, the design of the Druid in particular is my favorite in the book as well as several of my players. You make a meaningful choice at 1st which resonates through your career yet doesn't lock you out of other options. Specifics may need to be tweaked a bit (other druids should get more than 1 wild shape a day, maybe what the animal druids get is extra temp HP in wild shape or a longer duration) but the core idea is very very sound. We were flabbergasted that all the classes didn't follow the obvious example of the druid as "best design philosophy."
I'd be fine with light / unarmored armor doing the AC 7 thing, medium doing AC 8 and heavy doing AC 9. Light classes like the monk have other advantages, they don't need the same AC as plate too, especially now that they finally get full BAB.
Or get rid of medium armor finally and just go light AC 7, heavy AC 8.
Vorsk, Follower or Erastil wrote:
Also as backpacks in SF treat your Str as 1 higher (or 2 with the better one) i feel like this may be the intention, though if they went that route we should really see backpacks along the tiers of quality (Normal, expert, master, legendary) that allow you to hold more. At least IMO.
This is what I would prefer as well. Backpacks in real life do actually increase how much you can physically carry, and better-made backpacks do so to a greater degree, so it makes complete sense to me.
Oh, you're that kind of abusive rules lawyer. I see. :p
The intent of the rules is very clear. For example, from the retraining rules:
Page 318 wrote:
For instance, you can’t exchange a feat for a different type of feat, a higher-level feat, or one that requires prerequisites you didn’t meet at the time you took the original feat.
You would not be able to retrain at 4th level to replace a 1st level class feat with a 4th level archetype feat.
By the same token, you cannot replace a specifically called-out 1st level bonus feat with a 4th level archetype feat, no matter whether they forgot to include the words "of the same or higher level" one time on page 279.
They can keep half-races feat based. It's a cool implementation. :) However,
This would solve basically all of my problems with the current execution of an otherwise great idea. :)
Hopefully, archetype feats will get down shifted in the final version so dedications are 1st level, 4th level archetype feats become 2nd level feats, and so on.
But in the meantime, no.
Each feat has a level associated with it. That level is bound to the feat and part of its prerequisites. Since as it stands there are no 1st level archetype feats of any kind, you cannot use Ambition to get an archetype feat.
What it does allow you to do is pick up another actual class feat you wanted, so you can save your actual class feat slot for the archetype instead of spending it on the extra 1st level feat you wanted.
Absolutely all of this. I mean, there should always be a chance of failure, but that shouldn't always be floating around 50+% - that's appropriate for going up against a boss, not literally everything.
We'll see what shakes out during the actual campaign when that gets rolling and it's not just quick tests, but so far the initial run of failures and crit failures with basically no critical successes isn't encouraging.
I thought the point of the ancestry feats was mostly to separate out the cultural aspects that logically not every member of a given race would have, and also to let you hone in on and improve your racial traits through training. So each ancestry / race would still biologically express a lot of what was intrinsic to that race, but you could then get /better/ at what you wanted to focus on over time. Much like the racial feats from PF1 but with incentive to actually take them because they wouldn't be competing with all the other general feats you could take instead. I was excited for that.
In practice, it's so... Meh. As others have noted, the implementation here is that you just spend your whole career becoming a dwarf, instead of becoming a dwarfier dwarf. What even happened?
There also aren't any high level ancestry feats. That's disappointing too.
It wouldn't even matter if shields and objects generally weren't made of tissue paper. Virtually everything on Golarion breaking in 2 hits kind of makes it a comedy setting. Hit a tree twice for at least 5 damage each time and you break it. Hit the stone wall of a building twice for at least 8 damage each time and you break it. Golarion, Minecraft edition.
If they're going to use dents instead of hit points, there at least needs to be a reasonable number of them before stuff gets broken.
Items that are nothing but a plus are boring as heck. Not once as a GM in the last 15 years have I ever handed out an item that was just a plus and nothing else; I /always/ add at least some other kind of minor interesting ability. PF2 tying damage dice to the weapons and saves to the armor still does not make me any more inclined to hand them out without embellishments.
What I would prefer is that every instance of "incorrect information" or the like is replaced with "half truth." So the guidance would be that the GM give information that is partly true but misleading, and could cause bad outcomes if acted on directly. This drastically reduces the chances of a player just outright recognizing the information is false, and makes for more interesting situations.
There's some precedent for it, since there are already feats in PF2 (eg for the Barbarian) that let you just use an action every turn to get temporary HP every turn. It's just a different opportunity cost: rage / feat / 1 action per turn for the Barbarian, vs money / giving up a hand / 1 action and reaction per turn for everyone else.
That's nuts. Also apparently a creature being bigger or smaller has no effect aside from effects on carrying capacity, and a +/- 2 damage per size step.
Bear in mind that +2 now represents not only +10% more chance of success, but +10% more critical successes and -10% less critical failures. I think that is pretty significant and worthwhile.
It'd be even better though if Assurance was built into Expert+ levels of skill, since as written the feat is worthless, but if included in skill advancement would help the higher proficiencies feel more worthwhile despite the current lack of high level skill feats.
In the new math, +3 per step is too strong. HOWEVER, I agree in principle. After reading everything and doing some quick tests, I think there is room in the math for +2 per step, which would make the steps feel much more meaningful. I also agree that Untrained should be 0, so it would go Trained +2, Expert +4, Master +6, Legendary +8.
(This would also help address that you really only have a 50-60% chance of success in the game as written on a level appropriate attack roll or skill check even when fairly optimized, which is too low to me.)