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They can have some utility, but one of the main thing they're touted and hyped as having is kinda broken.
In the same way as the clock on my wall is broken (I'll get around to that battery one day). Or a bunch of the lights on an Xmas tree are broken. Or the way this mechanical pencil is broken.
That is to say; the Kineticist needs bigger batteries, a new pack of LEDs, a new little clicker spring, but it would be cheaper to just get a new and better one.
I'd settle for actually being able to blast at range with reasonable effectiveness however. The Gambler archetype helps a little, but not enough.
Unless they amend the 'clarification' to state you can in fact purchase ammo at the crafting price rather than its listed price, it locks out gunslinger types as well.
As is it more or less tells us that it's backtracked the old ruling in favor of "With this feat, you can purchase ammunition at the listed price. Normal: you cannot"
I've shown the wording to 4 other people already in case it was just me misunderstanding, but they've all had the same reaction.
One even asked if it was purposefully designed to make dead-shot an attractive option preferable to just grabbing clustered shots. I hadn't even remembered dead-shot.
It says listed price rather than crafting price, which leaves us with the table prices are listed in, given it explicitly starts by explaining you are not allowed to craft them (such as an alchemist would alchemical items with his class ability). Can you even upgrade your starter anymore, if you're not allowed to craft with it?
Hell of a tax-feat gating even if you're right, though: Need EWP and Gunsmith just to be allowed to have a weapon that's priced like a magic item.
Gunsmithing isn't clarified, it's completely rewritten and nerfed into the ground "oh you're ALLOWED to buy firearms and the like with this". Whoever decided 11gp PER shot for a weapon that hits half as hard as a longbow despite requiring more feats (TWO more now, it seems) AND a set of dedicated class abilities just to even be usable, should be fired. There's no balance there.
It may have been the case for AR already, but rather than fix the problem, this comes off as the pathetic tantrum of someone who had their "brilliant" plan of making a fight hard by giving the bad guy full plate ruined and decided the problem couldn't have been the genius design of the encounter. Real weird that never happens to people getting dropped by color spray or whatnot though.
There's really a drought of rationality when it comes to PFS rulings. The Synthesist is banned, but not the regular summoner (and for a long time neither was the Master archetype). "It can block one attack per round for like 4 feats so that's broken because too many characters were ill-designed" crane wing, guns...
Well at least Sacred Geometry stays banned. For now.
Another big problem is the way - as Ssalarn suggested an alternative to - that the classes are all advertised and described as though they were equal.
"Be this Rogue" it basically tells new players. "You'll be the super sneaky guy that can do all sorts of useful things!"
And then a book over is this guy, the "ninja" that's better at rogue in every way. And both of them later discover that they're not the stealthiest thing around, the party spellcaster is. And they're not the best at traps and stuff, there's other people that are at least as good if not better before magic, and THEN they go and cast one of those spells they have like 30 of to work with that day.
"Be this Monk! You will be strong and cool and able to do all sorts of stuff and no one's better than you at unarmed combat!" ... Except, you know, everyone else that does unarmed combat better than they do, like certain fighter and barbarian archetypes, or a well built druid...
If everything was roughly as capable in terms of doing its own job as well as affecting the flow of the story, the minor details would be mostly inconsequential and left to matters such as just the roleplaying or build/skills of the player.
But as long as you've got classes that can barely - if at all - do what they're advertised as being masters of even with high optimization, saddled up alongside classes that can bend over and ravage any situation (and the plot) with little to no effort or understanding, like the campaign were some helpless village-girl caught by a horde of viking dragons who're done with the "burning" part of work, "balance" is going to remain an important bloody issue to deal with.
The sizes are a bit odd.
The Biped is probably the strongest choice, having as many weapon slots as the Quadruped/Tracked, a small dex bonus, while still offering decent health and pretty much as much toughness.
The Flyer offers small races flight at level 1. If you do not want characters to be flying at level 1, there's unfortunately several races that offer this. Meanwhile doing it through the mech would require one waits till level 7 and pay an additional quality: the purchasable flight is not worth it at all: cheaper/easier to get elsewhere with faster and higher maneuverability; mechs simply do not get enough enhancements to make purchasing flight feasible.
Additionally, the smaller size and high dex bonus make ranged attacks a questionable idea; far better to have a halfling flyer taking full advantage of an insane dexterity for agile or other dex-to-damage melee weapons.
For example, the best use of the Flyer model would be that monofilament blade, which is no longer fragile as soon as it's made masterwork or enchanted. Hard to call it fragile when anyone using it will never see that rule in play!
I like the rules (I'd say keep it 'natural armor'), but the 'themes' of some of the archetypes so far make me wonder if there's any direction or theme to this at all. The Cryptic archetype doesn't even get a mech?!?, the PsyWarrior archetype is incompatible with the initiator pathwalker (so goodbye G-Gundam), and I'm not really sure what the eclipse is supposed to be doing actually.
But perhaps we can brainstorm some stuff here?
it makes sense for a medium character in a medium mech to be able to fly if he could before, but a medium flying character facilitating flight in a huge or larger mech... Little weird.
Right now, anyone level 5+ can get their hands on flight with ease, and can make the quadruped fly. If they want to do this through a mech, it's level 7 (by wasting an enhancement) or 11 for the flyer size-up.
It might be best to just make the mechs one step larger to begin with. It'll help compensate the high dex bonus, and, I mean, isn't this supposed to be giant robots in the first place?
So... An extremely limited version of Sift(vegetation-heavy-areas only) and Mage Hands (gardening only), costing a utility slot?
Speaking of, Sift is just a normal perception roll at -5, I'm not sure how that's even worth a cantrip. More like a drawback trait you'd take to apply to your cantrips...
The bard (who plays to the stereotype for fun) usually just uses his magic to make sure their husbands think it's theirs. Problem solved. Except that one time the guy was immune to enchantment effects, but then we just raised our ol'bard afterwards and just skipped town. Problem solved... ish.
The oracle had to switch to downtime for a few months, because even if she'd used magic to reduce the nausea, encumbrance and mobility issues, that's part of the spell stock several times a day (except encumbrance, we had those anthaul shoulder things) and basically one solid hit or failed save away from a "Falcon Punch". I can assure you a fetus has rather s%*~ty saving throws.
When both the oracle (again) and psywar had to take maternity leave, the party just got some extra crafting downtime done.
After children are born things get much easier. Thanks to the various forms of dimensional storage and the like, one can easily ensure their child has superior education and experience, or at the very least remains much safer from "character hometown/family destroyed syndrome" than most children their age.
They also grow up into complete and utter murderhobos from their entire common-sense and nurturing being at the hands of frickin adventurers, but that's a minor glitch.
Insain Dragoon wrote:
Few things get harder as you level than #1, unfortunately. Kinda makes you wish for an assault-cannon now don't it?
Regarding Capstones: Perhaps the biggest issue is that they're level 20.
If capstones were at 15th, then putting one at the 10th level of a PRC would make complete sense...
You really shouldn't use those videos as an example for... anything that doesn't have to do with short self-bows being used against soft targets at short ranges. The guy's quick but the bows we're talking about here CANNOT fire that quickly; their size and draw means they need much more time between shots.
That aside, bows are already more than powerful enough, and there's honestly no reason "composites" (most variants of which have serious issues in non-arid climates) should get a strength bonus when crossbows do not. It's the same action, one just had the ingenious idea to lock the thing with a stock and trigger system instead of holding it.
It is, of course, quite ridiculous that crossbows don't have assigned strength ratings, and dumber still that someone with 22 strength can't just hand-draw the balsa peashooter that passes for a "heavy" under d20 system rules, when he can get off 7 arrows of a strength 22 longbow in less than 6 seconds (after all he does have time for swift and frees)
Over the course of a day, the caster's resources gradually deplete in a way such that their strength in each successive encounter is less.
Past level 1-2, that statement requires there to be so many encounters that most parties would be dead thrice over without the caster's encounter-changing spells. Well above and beyond the regular 3-5 one can expect in a given day. In practice, it simply isn't true.
People initially believed the 3.5 Warlock to be a gamebreaker for similar reasons: It brought infinite casting to the table. Turns out infinite was but a quality-of-life bookkeeping schtick, and infinite wasn't really, as you were putting them to bed about as often as you did everybody else.
In terms of martials, well, Full Attack, Charge and Combat Maneuvers are all what the grand majority of one's feats go straight into, with even what should be basic proficiency split into three or four feats (such as altering how you hold a reach weapon, vital "tax-season" strike, and any combat maneuver). In all but certain specific discipline cases of the initiator classes, the primary resource is HP; a resource actually used and depleted at a rather high rate without a caster to prevent loss and replenish it between encounters. This HP goes down and goes down fast in combat when the other side gets their turn; and the other side DOES get their turn, except when a caster has decided they will not.
Now, certainly, a well built initiator ('swordians' as you call them, but given they're wielding weapons not being talking weapons I really can't agree with calling them that) can in fact - given a few minutes of rest in between - go pretty much all day until sheer exhaustion finally takes him, but their ability to keep swinging all day - as handy as that can be - does rather pale in comparison to the literal campaign-rewriting capabilities of a similar level full caster.
"You can keep fighting all day" vs "you can alter the course of history and solve entire encounters, puzzles, quests or dilemmas a few times a day" just happens to actually become true on the former side with a well built initiator class, as it really isn't with a mere martial that lacks those disciplines.
Plus you gotta admit that any god that limits how many smitings his paladins can make in a day, no matter how much smiting or terrible enemies of that very god the paladin might need to smite that day, is a bloody cheapskate!
Makes sense.Although no matter the results, that is some serious Capital E evil acts there. The kind of good act you expect an Antipaladin to do; all part of a greater plan to completely and utterly screw someone well beyond all hope.
So, at step 2 (you have 2 twice, there's 5 steps you listed!) you kill them, and the rest is making sure. But do you really need to alter their alignment? If you can get them to use 'true sacrifice' with enough brainwashing, does that really need that? Or are you just making sure they suffer while they're dead for good measure?
While certainly that's how the RAW reads, I can see how that would make so very little sense as to leave people wondering.
You can increase the range you throw things at, you can increase the range any "single attack" goes at, but somehow when its buckshot you can't increase it at all. Surely there should be some effect.
Maybe at least the wording on the 3pp things could be altered so it works in a way, so at least those using reasonable rules and abilities get to?
Psychic Power Points
Finally, the complete lack of realism in this game:
And then some <letsomit that but there are many adjectives meant for this place, none of them remotely nonoffensive> looks us in the eye and tells us you can't juggle having two things in your hands when they're attached with cords so you never actually drop them -because its hard-, or that a crossbow can't have an automatic reloading mechanism or use advanced materials, or that it's completely unnatural for someone normal on that world to have abilities like flying or recovering health on their own or any other number of the abilities listed above, because APPARENTLY, SOMEHOW, everything on this world is completely normal and mundane and only wizards and other magic casters can do all of the above things for you (directly or by an item).
Despite all of the earlier list being the actual reality of things on Golarion.
THAT. THAT complete disconnect from the reality of the setting is the rule that I hate most.
People keep saying "double barrels", as if fixing it was big and complicated, but if it was just once per attack cycle, all you were doing was adding a weaker (because each shot is much weaker than a bow's) manyshot as a special ability on weapons that have near-magical-weapon prices to them before they're even magic.
You got one extra bullet out per full attack, or made vital strike almost halfway worth taking, in exchange for an extra -4 to hit (sure, guns, but with rapid, deadly aim and this, it's starting to add up). Done. Didn't match bow, but did decent work.
Only problem we've had using what is quite unfortunately a houserule like this is that it did nothing for the other guns not being even less competitive a ranged option.
(unrelated note I spoke to two people who were convinced the kineticist is massively overpowered today, and that makes me very very sad about the state of our education system)
"Killing off a class" is not a bad thing if it's done by folding it into another class when both needed the help.
YES, the cavalier is no longer worth taking if the fighter can do most or all of what the cavalier could do.
HOWEVER: You get a better cavalier, just happens to be named fighter now (it doesn't have to be named fighter either anyways)
This is where the usual suggestions of "just use the PoW classes and rename them" come from. There's nothing you can do about the mechanics of your chosen class doing everything they can to screw you out of ever being truly worth your weight, but when all you need to do is slap the old name on a different set of mechanics that do everything you'd want and more, you fixed your entire problem by changing a single word. No house-rules, just roleplay.
The original version of Crane Wing was too strong even without MoMS. The ability to simply negate one hit when combined with a good AC meant that they could save such deflections for Crits and normal hits would just miss. And with lower AC they could simply avoid 1 attack a round. No roll, no save no nothing just auto deflect. This would be capstone ability rather than something acquired at level 5 (or two with MoMS).
One attack is nothing so long as you aren't facing an AP's "I attack once" NPC (and there's the problem).
When you're negating one hit out of 5+ from a very angry berserker, dragon, or pack of anythings surrounding you (like say, six summons), it's 'nice' to have, but it probably won't save your life.
A fighter can have an ac of 20 at level one and 15 hp without half trying hard
15HP? He's got 20 con? What did he do to his Strength score?
Starting cash average 175. He can afford +6 armor and a shield, but if he does that his attack sucks. That's 18AC, 20 if he's got shield AND dex. His skills also suck moreso, thanks to the penalties.
Moreso because apparently this guy's got 20 con, 14 or more dex, and is using 1h and shield.
So, he's hitting as hard as the wizard, or is he running around with 8 in every mental stat, or both?
"Dumb as wood" as you put it would explain why she has levels in monk. Some clearcutters or the like obviously got her out of the way by telling her where she could learn important wildlife secrets.
Couple of years later she walks out of that monastery not entirely certain what any of that had to do with animals. Her old forest is completely gone, but hey, ENLIGHTENMENT! One with the universe and all that stuff!
Either way she should have intense difficulties with any "buk lurninz": Math and reason generally perform stratospheric flight over her head, but she'd have an easy time with common sense, minus the whole "punching things with your face until they bleed and die" thing.
Don't forget AoE: those better maneuvers being cast can often also affect multiple hostiles at once.
Just try tripping everything in a 10ft radius somewhere within 25+5ft/level of you in just one action as a fighter. Even at 20th level!
OR you could Mass Hold-Monster for a far more powerful effect in a far larger 30ft radius within 100+10ft/lv (that's TWENTY SEVEN TIMES the affected volume)!
OR you could Cloudkill!
OR you could laugh at the silly little cleave maneuver and lower yourself to a measly regiment-annihilating Meteor Swarm!
Or any other number of options, each and every single one of which is better in every way!
Now sure it was different back when the per-day limits actually meant something, but we've had more spells of our two highest levels per day than we do encounters per rest (and we can make DAMN sure of that if we have to with some low level spells) since 3.0.
Oh come now. Not wanting to see someone slain from the inside because not everyone involved had quite as good a save vs Ghoul Fever is totally bigotry and oppression!
Seriously though. Adventuring's just begging for things to go full horror
Plus there's also that whole other can of worms; fetuses and infants in battle. Because your stuff might be safe as long as you make your saves and avoid crits and shock and stuff, but when you fail or fall... I mean, sure, a woman can go adventuring. Her body her choice, whatever... but, um... it would be as unfair as it is unrealistic to avoid certain extremely related subjects. And while this may sound like a joke, and it partly is, these are all *COMMON SITUATIONS* adventurers must deal with that would suddenly take quite a grizzly turn when CR-0 offspring are involved. You can't just pretend s&@& that happens all the time don't happen and wave it all away.
Like how easily a level 0 fetus is going to pass its Fort DCs against that poison you failed a save on.
Critical hits. Going into Shock or Dying with a kid in you (all things that tend to falcon-punch your "passenger" problem quite well)
Size-Shifter spells. Magical Aging. At exactly what age/moment that newborn starts counting as a separate entity (READ: TARGET) for purposes of AoEs.
Mind-affecting exposures; can an unfriendly magic-user subtly turn your child into the next Mecha-Hitler?
Or how much DR or Shield-AC babies provide when worn.
Tracking bonuses and Stealth penalties from crying or needing a diaper change.
Raising the Undead, through ritual or direct necro-conversions.
What to do when your precious little dead baby will be a wight in just 1d4 rounds.
"Do us all a favor, stay home until you can hand it to a nanny"
Simply retcon'ing him into having ALWAYS been pro-LGBT does nothing but create a boring, ho-hum deity where there was once an interesting being.
Plus he'll probably staunchly remain opposed to any gay/lesbian couples that want nothing to do with kids at all (as opposed to ones who adopt). It honestly would not make sense for him to change his mind about that last part, because he's a bloody god of exactly doing not-that!
Not because he's evil, but because he's a good god of farming and families, and they're living in outright opposition to what he quite literally exists for. That's not bigotry, that's just not liking something that goes against everything you stand for. He's like a father that respects your choices but can't help but mention he'd really have liked some grandkids every once in a while. You're crushing his frickin dreams here! Are you going to fault him for that? Can you honestly say "you're a horrible, evil thing for wanting grandkids" and still look at yourself in the mirror in the morning?
If he was Evil, he might 'do something about it'. But he isn't. He doesn't try to condemn or rid the world of folks that disagree with his ideals. That fact shows he's tolerant and *good*.
Uh, you wouldn't want to anyways; they're completely different systems. 4e has more to do with the old chainmail games than with other editions of D&D. That's why people get decent use out of it running things like Final Fantasy Tactics or the such; stuff that's mostly focused on large setpiece battles.
They might as well put out a manual explaining all the differences between a house and a canoe.
Gabriel Cantrell wrote:
I have to say that that the alteration to the Abundant Ammunition spell is a welcome one as that stops players from using it and weapon blanches to get more than their ten shots. A very good change!
I always viewed it as compensation for the ridiculous per-shot cost the gunslinger has until he can afford this (you know, when everyone else has been running around with 'eternal' ammo bows anyways for better DPR), especially advanced or modern firearms, which cost as much as magic weapons before you even enchant them. *EVENTUALLY* when you finally have infinite ammunition, yours gets to be adamantine bullets. Because the other guy no longer NEEDS adamantine, because he could afford a +5 weapon and you can't.
Although the wording on the "alchemical" part significantly worries me in regards to people (I can think of several better adjectives to use on them but let's say 'people' for now) arguing that the powder or metal cartridges are alchemical parts of the ammunition and that therefore screw-you-gunslinger.
Seriously though. It's a gunslinger. They needed no bloody nerfing.
Things would make much more sense if the martials were actually realistic.
Given what's natural and realistic, there's no reason fighters shouldn't be burrowing through stone under their own power while regenerating their lost heads, monks would be flying and using breath weapons through their fists, and thieves would be teleporting like blink-dogs to flank with themselves by 10th level or so.
Because Umber Hulks, Dragons, Blink-Dogs, and regenerating limbs are normal, realistic things as far as golarion's concerned.
Longbows also needed years of training for what we'd qualify as *proficiency*; that much training on a crossbow would mean quite the weapon-master. If "martial proficiency" feat represents the time and training needed for a longbow, then Focus and Specialization and something else (either far-shot or point-blank-master maybe) would all have to fit in a single crossbow feat.
Now, the english longbow WAS faster and shot further. Under 200 yards the crossbow was generally better at penetration, but they were otherwise roughly as lethal due to the lighter bolt and (deliberate) low draw length. The weapon was built to be portable. If you're willing to take massive strength into account, a larger crossbow could easily have a 20" or longer draw length instead of 12-14", which would drive its output straight into "I cast gravity-bow on my longbow" territory, or allow you to use a much lower draw weight than "winch it for a minute". Unfortunately the bow also required a *lot* of time and very high quality wood to produce, and couldn't be kept loading for a rapid shot should you be surprised (not that that's very good for the crossbow, but hey, living.)
This is all assuming no one's touching any of the technology regularly availble on much of Golarion: If nothing else you could easily see autoloaders. Whether a clockwork gnome(er, gnomish system) that handles the winching for you (still has reload time, but it doesn't eat your actions doing so), a limited-charge CO2 cartridge, or a high speed electrical motor, or even just some bloody MAGIC that pulls the bloody thing for you, there's very little reason to be hand-cranking the things.
Just as a comparison point, modern crossbows we have available in real life are hand-drawn, but they're also compound models: They're accurate, quite easy to draw (think 'hand' not 'light') and put a bolt in the air with enough speed and force to drop a bear.
Yeah even Ultimate Combat had 28 pages of spells (just the descriptions, not counting the list) and plenty of archetypes/options/feats for full casters too. Alchemist, Magus, Paladin, Ranger make sense, but the biggest share was still for clerics, druids and sorc/wiz.
In comparison, Ultimate Magic had what for combat feats? Radiant Charge, the Quarterstaff chain, and maybe learning one ranger trap? No archetypes for pure martials or anything.
Would've been a great time to introduce more "supernatural" (read: completely and utterly mundane by the standards of golarion's ecology, which is the definition of mundane that should be used, not our world's) abilities to bring the martials up to par.
The only part that "isn't variable" is that trigger - and even then you can have different weights on there too.
But ALL that changes is that once you've drawn a bow, you have to hold it yourself. That's the only difference. It's a type of spring; whether you're keeping it wound by pushing down on it or keeping it wound by pinning it as-is in place, either way it's wound.
As for firearms, they are for the most part independent of strength: Other than actually holding the thing up and handling recoil (again though there's devices or mountings that help here, as can your firing position) It's a chemical reaction and the physical structure of the weapon itself that are doing all the work. Chemical potential rather than mechanical storage of the wielder's energy.
Firearms are a vastly different mechanism, so long as one does not deliberately oversimplify things in an attempt to keep the status-quo.
They're also kept slow because otherwise "wouldn't be realistic".
This in a world where realistic is alien elves dodging the lightning spells of a dragon at 20 000ft while trying to stab it with a magic sword before you mildly hurt your knees and walk off your un-assisted landing at terminal velocity onto that ancient crashed spaceship.
If anything, strong characters SHOULD be allowed to reload faster than weaker ones, but i don't think they should get a strength bonus on the damage
The CROSSBOW would get bonus damage if built stronger rather than faster (you *do* have to be careful selecting the crossbow, some mechanisms were integral rather than attached/bypassable). One would likely want something with a balance of speed and strength. "Strength Bonus" is the easiest way to do this without a table dedicated to crossbows. Much like a bow though, if you can't handle the crossbow because it's not a mechanism you're strong enough for, you're still as screwed.
Note: I would be completely fine with a table dedicated to crossbows.
I guess you COULD conceivable make a crossbow that required a certain strength to use, but then you could just make a gearing system to load it regardless of strength...
Yeah see, that's kind of how they work to begin with. "Strength" is the draw. Composite (actually ALL bows realistically) are no different at all: You need a certain amount of strength to draw it. Crossbows are just built so that you can *supplement* your own strength with mechanisms that multiply it at a cost in time.
Was there not a time when crossbows ignored a certain amount of armor? Maybe back in 2nd ed?
There was a table of Armor vs Damage types but it was mostly ignored/optional. Crossbows were a bit weaker back then as well, but there was *much* less chance (and attacks per round, etc) of having the kind of strength that would really help your bow out, and there was an incredible difference in training: Bows needed an additional proficiency slot (and long/short were separate; you knew specific weapons, so a starting fighter with specialization in bows might just barely know how to use a dagger along with it, and nothing else).
You forget that the person's strength can influence how fast they can turn that crank (and there's far more than just cranks, from hand-pulled to a simple lever to belt-hooks and stirrups to windlasses), as well as - given the limitations of size, weight and available materials - how powerful a 'crank' they can be turning.
A strong enough person may be capable of hand-drawing what another would need a slow, minute-long winching for. A strong enough person may instead apply this to a mechanism you'd normally have a pair of pack animals on a giant wheel for.
Someone with Strength 5 couldn't use a normal "light" crossbow anymore than they could handle a shortbow.
Edit: If you want a good example of crossbow adjustments, look up how they did in GURPS. Just like a bow, you get a crossbow meant for your strength. Usually. Compounds are a bit more efficient (treat Strength as 2 higher), but beyond that if you want a different strength, it's loading mechanisms. Crossbows have their own strength, you have your own strength, and mechanisms multiply both time and what you can handle. Whether a 2.5 multiplier means a strength 4 guy can use a strength 10 crossbow (just give him a minute) or a strength 10 guy can use a strength 25 crossbow (that's more normal), that's up to how you have it built. No need for anything other than drawing it over the trigger by hand if you're as strong or stronger than it is.
"Mechanical Systems" Is an upgrade.
See, first, you have pointy stick.
Bow lets you take smaller pointy stick and throw it faster, further, thus more dangerously, by using the mechanics of bendy stick and notactuallystring.
Crossbow takes Bow and adds a little rail so small pointy stick doesn't fly off at a strange angle, which makes it much much faster to learn. This is a good thing. A good one. As far as things go. A good thing everyhere save this weapons table here... Then it adds trigger system and maybe special pulling system, so that crossbow itself holds notactuallystring drawn: all that means is your arm doesn't get tired.
Then, later Crossbows go "hey, arm not get tired nice, but what if we make ultra-strong crossbow with pulley to draw, since we don't need arm-strong anyways?"
A Crossbow is taking that same power you'd put into a draw, and multiplying it further in exchange for time; by having that same energy, say, turn a winch for 20s. In exchange, they can give it weights that give no f***s about how strong your arms are beyond needing to turn the crank, which results in utterly ridiculous output.
Now of course because they also liked to make the things more portable the bow of a crossbow was generally made shorter, which made it less efficient (but even if half you were getting half but on like 6+x the draw weight a bow could have) but you don't HAVE to do it that way either.
No, if reason or this so-called "realism" that got applied to crossbows here were anything even remotely similar to their actual definitions (reason and realism), crossbows would be extremely scary, because the last thing anyone wants to be staring is the force-wall-reinforced-adamantine monstrosity a storm-giant spent a minute with a windlass cranking up to eight times what he could draw.
Being to blast "all day" is really just a QoL improvement.
Yeah, "This is what it is under normal circumstances, but it becomes *this* rating instead under these conditions" is excellent advice to those reading your guide.
It lets you give both the 'general' issues of the ability but also lets you point out the bits you like about it and how effective they may be when used correctly. This way people can more accurately judge the utility of an ability in regards to how they want to build their character.
Reminds me of the 4e guides, where you'd have powers rated gold (the "you are literally mentally deficient if you do not take this" rating) for some builds, but red for others. Warlocks were a good example, where the pact riders could turn a really unimpressive choice into something spectacular.
Your issue is that people are seeing orange as a bad thing, but, it kinda is.
More importantly though is not how you personally feel about something that's 26% useful, it's how it comes across to readers who may know little about the class and are relying on this to make an informed decision.
Just okay is not good. It's just okay, which is great in a sea of red, but comparatively horrible if surrounded by blue and purple. You can explain that it's got some good uses, certainly (and why would you not), but you have to remember that if you mark it off as "just okay but not actually bad", the most memorable thing to most readers will be "you can do better".
"I can do better. It's not horrible but I should look for better, because better IS out there. This color tells me so".
As for archetypes: Not impressed at all either. They're gushing in other threads about Omnicide but come ON, that's a level 20 capstone. It's only worth the wait if you've somehow turned NWN2's epic level campaign into Pathfinder or something, because no one else ever gets there and getting there is thoroughly unimpressive.
But while you might be swapping a green for a red, orange and blue, yes they're complex but they're still something people will look at, and might decide "this blue is nice but not THAT important to my build, whereas getting rid of this one orange here is everything to me". But, we have to leave that up to the reader.
Well, no. The whole point of orange is sub-par. Whether because it's very situational, or not enough of a boon/bonus, it does mean that it's not a particularly wonderful thing to have. Marking it orange indicates the ability is inherently of little value, though not necessarily an active detriment to your character (red is fully detrimental, at the very least by virtue of wasting a level/slot/whatever, for example).
Consider it from an Archetype-swapping perspective, really. If burn is orange, and another archetype's ability replacing it is blue, then to anyone reading the guide, the meaning is very, very clear: "You are replacing not-good with quite-good so you should do this".
I'd say the exact wording on metakinesis is still a problem. "Accepting a point of burn" implies no lowering/avoiding. It implies (like the overwhelming soul archetype) that it doesn't work if you don't gain that burn.
Surely some errata?
One more point of damage compared to adding strength bonus is nothing.
There's nothing to prevent someone with titan-like strength to use it to draw an Arbalest the way you might pull a hand-crossbow, or using that strength to winch adamantine cable for a portable weapon with a ballista's kick. Nothing, except that the game simply goes "NOPE THERES NONE BOWS ONLY".
And actually the longer range IS unrealistic: while they had a better ballistic profile at short ranges, the stocky, lighter, un-fletched bolts are inferior to arrows for long range delivery. One big disadvantage crossbows had, in fact, was ineffectiveness at long-range volleys the way you could get 40 archers to do across a battlefield.
So yeah, they definitely need actual options. No need to have 'trap' choices in a game anyways.
It's gotta suck for Mark, seeing a class that did seem like plenty of effort and imagination went into come out as it did. Feel kinda bad about having to tear into it, but fret not: It's not really the class you design we're ripping apart in front of you. It's a vile imposter with (it would seem, given your reaction to metakinesis) even fine bits of wording changed specifically to be bad; an insulting clone of what you actually created!
And who knows, maybe we can find good in it too.
Don't forget "you can accept a point of burn" means it's not a cost you can reduce or bypass though. The metas eat you up, even when all they'd let you do is roughly match some poor scrub with a crossbow.