I don't think them being better archers than Fighters or Rangers is even on the horizon at this point. Compared to Fighters or Rangers they don't have any bonus feats (archery is feat intensive), no bonuses on attack/damage, their 3/4 BaB slows meeting feat prerequisites, and their major feature is having a companion which apparently does still provide cover (and will until you get IPS at 15, 1/4 of the entire game progression after a Ranger).
It doesn't terribly matter to me if the Hunter makes a good archer or not, but becoming too powerful in that regard just doesn't seem like something we need to be worried about at this point.
I also noted the presence of inappropriate spells, especially save-or-die types, at high level. Fey is probably the worst, with deep slumber at level 13 (it only works on 10HD of creatures along with a couple other save-or-suffer kind of spells. The Bloodrager is unlikely to have extremely high Charisma, so combined with the extremely low spell level I can't see the DCs being high enough to make these spells generally useful.
A couple of the bloodlines also still compare poorly to each other. For example, Celestial and Infernal are very close. However, Celestial's bonus damage is always active from level 1, whereas the Infernal damage (which hits slightly more targets, but is the most common resistance type) has to be activated as a swift (interfering with Arcane Strike) and likely wouldn't stack with flaming (unlike the Celestial's, whose damage explicitly stacks with holy). At level 8, Celestials gets wings, while the Infernal just gets flaming on a charge (still doesn't stack, still often resisted, the Celestial still gets it free on all attacks). He has to wait all the way until 16 for the exact same wings, where the Celestial gets a nice reroll ability. Spells and feats do not make up the difference, though I would argue Celestial has the better set here too. While obviously not everything needs to be the same, I think there is a distinct power gab between the two archetypes.
I have similar sentiments towards Arcane and Fey, though they are less closely related.
I think Stonelord is actually a really good example of the minefield that is racial archetypes. Yes, it makes it easier to have Dwarven Paladins, which is awesome. However, the class also perfectly fits Oreads (both mechanically and thematically), but they are arbitrarily barred from it. Svirneblin would like the stat changes and idea of it too, and any Paladin of an Earth diety would appreciate the theme.
Restricting it to dwarves adds nothing, it just took away the option from other races. After the game has specifically been altered to allow other races to be "Dwarven" Defenders and non-elves to take up Arcane Archery, I see absolutely no reason to regress by making racial archetypes (at least those that do not rely on specific racial mechanics) a thing.
Honestly, I hope not. The vast majority of the ARG racial archetypes fit perfectly well with any race. Making them "racial" just restricted the choice for characters from other races, even if those races are as (if not more) thematic than the associated race.
There are 10 classes in the ACG, all of which need support in terms of feats/spells/etc. There have also been references to material for the existing classes, to allow them to interact with the new ACG mechanics. Given this, there will be a limited amount of space for archetypes. Given that limited space, I would hope they would spend it dealing with concepts that can be applied to as large a group as possible rather than arbitrarily restricting them to a single race.
-One thing to change: Warpriest BaB. I want my not-a-paladin, darn it!
-One thing not to change: Personalizing the Bloodrager spell list, if it isn't being done for other classes. My thinking at the time was that it already worked passably, giving a few minor buffs and utility spells to a class that was pretty good even without it. Compared to the Hunter or Warpriest, I felt it needed a unique list the least.
-Favorite Class: Investigator. With the Archaeologist and Inquisitor, I now have a not-Rogue for each mental stat!
-Least Favorite Class: I went with Hunter. It was tough deciding between it and the Warpriest though, as both have little to distinguish them mechanically or thematically. The Hunter only won because I was more excited for it, and I wanted to hurt it like it hurt me *sob*.
I think RAuer2 expressed my own thoughts pretty much perfectly.
The current PDT version is not very strong, and the strength vs. resource intensiveness does not scale well. Compared to just Inspire Courage it does not seem particularly good for a normal party, especially (but before even) considering all the things a Bard can do with a standard action.
As I've said before, my thematic guideline is The Harpists scene from Kung Fu Hustle. They were great against single opponents, passable against groups, and were utterly destroyed once someone got up to them. One would assume they were higher level than their opponents, so I am fine with the eventual version being flat worse than an equivalent character who went archery (I can post my calculations if anyone cares, but according to my tests even a max-CHA Caster Bard with moderate Dex would be better served with a Shortbow against individual foes).
I'm fine with it being worse than archery, I just don't want it to be too much worse. The idea of musicians throwing music at enemies is incredibly cool. If the music does damage that isn't relevant in comparison to the rest of the party, it is not cool. I don't care if I'm 10%, 20%, even 30% worse than an archer with identical skills, I want my super optimized character to be able to be able to be passable in compraison the Harpists in an AP/PFS scenario because, even if it requires to-the-hilt optimization, it is awesome. The current PDT version is very weak for groups and extraordinarily weak for single targets, without even addressing the level 3 ability. I think, and hope, that something awesome and balanced can be made out of the theoretical idea of the Sound Striker.
There are many ways to make the ability meaningful, integral part of a character. I do not feel that the PDT version is one of these, being a very weak AoE and a meaningless single strike. The Sound Striker already loses enhancement bonus, Inspire Courage, and likely Arcane Strike (depending on errata) on their Weird Words, they aren't inherently an overpowered ability. With the current versions, I don't see much reason to use Weird Words instead of a Bow (even, mathematically, for a Caster Bard). Wordstrike lets me destroy (no attack, no range, no save, increasingly inevitable damage) holy symbols, component pouches, and other non-weapon/armor/shield magic items at my leisure, which is inherently unbalanced until we get to the GM/Player arms race of "everyone has 30 holy symbols!" I have no idea how it could be errated to be meaningful in comparison to Inspire Competence, and strongly feel it would be a good sacrifice for making Weird Words an iconic and meaningful ability.
I don't think looking at individual replacements is useful. Archetypes are balanced on the whole, not 1:1 for abilities.
Unfortunately, despite us concentrating on Weird Words, it seems people don't agree on how Wordstrike works, either (what is the range? Are "sonically charged words" sonic?). Depending on reading (and if blowing up wands/spell component pouches/other gear is the intended use) it compares very differently to the extremely versatile Inspire Competence, which would have to be included in the equation.
Obviously, my personal choice would be to throw away Wordstrike so Weird Words could be a bit better, which would skip the problem of Wordstrike also needing at least some errata as is.
I liked the idea of weird words as a weapon, but it's something that would require a significant rewrite. If the sound striker were in playtest it would be one thing, but for errata it's just too much.
Though I piled a bunch of stuff on top to allay theoretical balance concerns that might pop up, at its core the idea of the change is switching the attack to a normal iterative instead of 1/level up to 10. I would honestly argue the current PDT change is a larger change, substantially increasing Performance round usage and adding damage scaling. As rays both versions would stay weapon-like spells, and both ideas drop the save, so they are equal in those regards. I'd also consider individual vs group targeting a wash in terms of changes, as the PDT post made it seem either is a reasonable reading at this point.
But, I really have no rebuttal if the ability absolutely must be an AoE rather than a weird (and weaker) archery alternative. Obviously, if a full attack on a single foe isn't on the table, it isn't on the table.
I think the problem is that the damage is so easy to get. You aren't investing in a ranged weapon or replacing particularly powerful features, but get a huge pile of attacks that are all normal BaB, touch, your choice of form, easily cranked up through damage bonuses + large number of attacks, and so on.
An idea comes to me, though excuse me if something similar has been brought up before and I missed it...
Why not just make the ability essentially a normal attack? Using Weird Words would just be a ranged attack that used normal rules for iteratives. It could even be a normal ranged attack and no save, rather than touch, making it even more comparable to a weapon attack (more likely to miss, but with Deadly Aim as an option).
The idea is to make an "Archer" Bard that uses sound instead of arrows, offering different benefits but being comparable to one another. You would have an advantage with using Charisma for attack and damage, choosing the weapon damage type, and being unable to be disarmed. However, you would also be losing out on the enhancement bonuses, special abilities, and special materials of a weapon and ammo, have limited range, only a x2 critical, be unable to benefit from your own Inspire Courage while doing it, and be more likely to run out of rounds than an archer would be to run out of arrows (even at 1 round/round, rather than 1 round/target).
In terms of damage, the Bard with a bow would still lead (through Manyshot, enhancement bonus, and Inspire Courage). However, using Weird Words as a primary option would be a viable option, allowing me to play The Harpists without being overpowered or their main shtick being too weak. Ideally Weird Words could be moved to 3 so the concept could get off the ground easily (with level 7 being dropped or replaced with a conal), but I think I should just stop talking now before this post becomes too rambly.
The Bane ability is part of what makes the Inquisitor a viable martial combatant. All classes expected to engage in martial combat have ways of boosting attack and damage (whether a Fighter's Weapon Training or a Ranger's Favored Enemy), this is just theirs.
As for Flame of the Faithful, if it is breaking your game, there have to other factors involved. It is a 2nd level Inquisitor spell and Standard action for flaming or flaming burst for 1 round/level. So, +3.5 damage on a normal hit. Really not game changing compared to the other buffs and spells that are available, even at that level.
Thanks to the Spell-like ability FAQ they count for Prestige Class requirements, and thus you no longer really need so many levels of Wizard for Eldritch Knight. Aasimar is easiest, though there are tons of options out there. Skipping 4 Wizard levels gets you going much easier, and by extension making the EK much less painful for most of the early-mid levels.
My Sorcerer version (one of my favorite characters ever) went Sohei 1/Empyreal Sorcerer 1/Eldritch Knight 10, with the later levels left undetermined (as it never got that far). Wisdom adds to AC while polymorphed AND is your casting stat, plus you get all the frontloaded Monk feats and saves. Skills were garbage, but the spells gave enough versatility to still be interesting. Obviously, this is an animal/magical beast/dragon polymorphing build, as if one is going to turn into a Monstrous Humanoid or such you might as well just wear some armor and go Magus or Hellknight Signifier.
Ooh... or Warpriest 1/Empyreal Sorcerer 1/Eldritch Knight/Hellknight Signifier in some combination, maybe even some Mystic Theurge. Idea just came to me, haven't really worked it out, but Warpriests in their current form might be a viable alternative for your first level choice and could lead to an interesting combination.
In other notes... I think you forgot Arcane Strike. You will probably want Arcane Strike if you plan on using any natural attacks, and it is nice for pure manufactured weapon builds too. Quicken Spell should probably be in there somewhere too, as action economy with buffs is one of the toughest parts of the concept. Extend might also be useful, though that will depend heavily on the nature of your adventures, forms, and how your group tracks min/level durations.
Yes, it works. Also yes, it is a no brainer. Flipping it on and off can be annoying if you also plan to use Arcane Strike, but it is a small price to pay for triple rounds.
As for complements, the most obvious is the trait "Fate's Favoured" (+1 to all luck bonuses). Also worth recommending is taking a race that can add performance rounds as a Favored Class bonus, so you can keep Luck running even more.
Finally, you might want to look at using the house rule proposed by the author of making it Cha + 1 round/level rather than 4 + Cha rounds, which brings it much more in line with other options.
With regards to Consume Magic Item, it doesn't seem to scale to item value well. 2nd level scrolls give you a point for 150gp, far better than other options. Wands are the worst, spending 450gp/point for a 2nd level wand and a whopping 1050gp/point for a 4th level (even worse than 8th level scrolls). Potions are not terrible at 300/point, but not as good as scrolls either. Higher level or odd level stuff should, of course, only be used in a pinch. If the values being different is an issue, there are a variety of ways in which things can be scaled so they are closer to even.
Siphon Spell also makes things hugely cheaper. A wand of mage armor then becomes the favored source by a factor of 5x-10x (depending on level and Charisma). If it is intended that the Arcane Reservoir be able to be filled for between 15gp and 30gp/point at level 11, then this doesn't matter. However it is intended to continue being meaningfully limited, this could easily throw the game out of whack.
It certainly makes the capstone wild (135gp for a 9th level spell? Yes please!). However, it is a capstone, and thus not really relevant.
While I originally wanted to post a more in-depth playtest report, that is not going to happen for many reasons. Instead, I wanted to just present a few experiences on classes while playing through the first two chapters of Shattered Star (don't worry, no spoilers). We used 15 point buy, built fairly traditional characters, and tried not to dumpster dive for obscure options.
The "Fighter" character was a Half-Orc Arcane Bloodrager. In building, there were few problems. Not being able to dump Charisma took a couple points from Strength, but overall led to a more "balanced" character (that is, one that doesn't need to burn a feat on Intimidating Prowess to be scary). Overall, the class played very much like a Barbarian: extremely strong when raging, still good while not, with an acceptable amount of skills. The ability to cast spells was a nice little benefit, used mostly for vanish and the odd enlarge person. We did notice the lack of cantrips acutely, as read magic was not available so we had to look up what to do without it. Also, the Arcane bloodline is amazing: the first power and spell were basically irrelevant in our game, but being able to choose between four buffs as the second power was very strong. Blur was standard, but spider climb basically made climbing irrelevant (even at low level, with few rounds) and resist energy came into play. We didn't test the other bloodlines, but looking at them, some of them may fall behind the power and versatility offered.
The "Rogue" was an Investigator. Dex-based Elf. The big impressions were that the first few levels hurt, but it became amazing after. Inspiration ended up being spent on attacks and saves because it kept the character alive, even though the 2 point cost meant they didn't get many uses out of it. Requiring training in a skill was slightly annoying, but didn't come up much (Intelligence Inspiration was not even considered, as all skills were trained by level 3 and there were so many other, strong talents to choose). Also, really hope "Extra Inspiration" is a feat in the ACG. Anyway, the dex-based nature meant damage was fairly awful for level 1-3, making the character of minimal combat relevance. Level 4 was an amazing change, the watershed of turning points. Sneak attack kicked in, 2nd level extracts (woo, bull's strength!) came into play, and the Investigator got a talent (Combat Inspiration) all at the same time. It was a slightly rough start, with low damage and few extracts and tricks to help, but post-4 was amazing. It had been a disappointing experience compared to a Rogue, as the save bonuses didn't come up, the 2 extra skill points would have allowed skills to be trained sooner, and the extra Sneak Attack would have been noticed. But after level 4 the player would not switch back to Rogue for the world. As the hybrid classes are intended to make what would have been a multiclass option into something that works from 1, this might be an issue, as taking until 4 to really come into its own is almost Prestige Class levels.
Our "Cleric" was a Hunter, which was probably a poor choice. After much grappling with the abilities, the player chose a Strength-based melee build (as ranged and casting builds benefited little from the companion or Teamwork feats, restricting those options). It felt VERY similar to having a melee Druid, but with slightly worse skills (no Nature Sense) and special abilities. Animal Aspect was nearly irrelevant, as the duration on the skills were generally too low and the stat boosts felt weak. Owing to the fact they conflicted with Belts by the second adventure, and the small number of uses was not worth ignoring one of the "big six" items, the player chose to put the boosts into Dexterity or Constitution. The effect was minor, both because it was small and because gaining bonuses to defensive stats will never "feel" the same as gaining one to an offensive stat. The overall experience was quite negative, with the player complaining about the Teamwork stuff being weaker than an Inquisitor while not getting the Wild Shape or spells of a Druid.
Finally, our "Wizard" was an Arcanist. There is very little to report here. He felt very much like a better Sage Sorcerer, with a skill list more suited to him. The ability to change spells was nice for getting rid of sleep quickly, but didn't have much relevance to the game overall. It likely would be more important at higher level, when metamagic and specific use spells become more common. The bloodline felt so tacked on I had to look it up afterwards, but that is irrelevant since that bit appears to be getting changed.
I hope this helps. I know I skipped much of the hard data, but trying to type it all out gives me grad school flashbacks, and I doubt it would really be that interesting anyway. I have it, if anyone particularly cares, but otherwise I hope the general experiences will be of some value to the playtest.
tony gent wrote:
I get the feeling that paizo is going down the powercreep path with its extra books
Powercreep has such negative connotations. However, in this and other cases, it isn't necessarily bad for a system.
People have complained for a long time about the mechanical abilities of the Rogue class. For numerous valid non-game reasons, such as not invalidating all old Rogue statblocks, heavy changes to the class are not a possibility. In this case, without power creep, a certain character niche will forever remain weaker than others.
Instead, power creep has reopened that conceptual space. Investigators (as well as Archaeologists, Vivisectionists, and other classes) give players that want a "Rogue" class with a potential closer to that of other classes the option, while not completely invalidating older material. Overall, I think this is better to the health of the system than remaining tied to a very low bar for "Rogue" types, simply because the original rendition was not up to snuff.
Remember, both Archaeologists and Investigators have access to Rogue Talents, and by extension Trapspotter, as well as Trapfinding. They can also be used as a multiclass base, though depending on level of dip/archetypes/stats and all that, I guess the Rogue might be best for a specific goal.
That said, I do understand there are those that want (and a conceptual space for) a non-magic Rogue, and I do hope there is an effort to give it strong archetypes or something in the future.
Although honestly, I think we might be one Swashbuckler archetype away from stealing "non-magic rogueish sort" away from the class too.
This idea speaks to me WAY more than the previous Arcanist did. The basic concept has some actual flavor, and Talents + Magic could be very interesting mechanically.
That said, I wonder about the extent of the "deconstruction." On the one hand, if the benefit is insufficient, tearing about lesser magic items will be rarely done and tearing apart active effects will be a fancy dispel magic. On the other, if it pours into a universal pool that can be drawn on for strong effects, it will become a "bag of rats" problem. Although in this case I guess it would be a "bag of scrolls of mage armor" or "whatever the Bloodrager wants to give up to be ripped down" problem.
The other thing, of course, is that the casting is already very good. Unless it is weakened in some way, the design space of what the Magic Talents can do might be very small.
Okay, okay, enough fiddling. Yay, new direction! Yay, cool concept! Yay in general!
I think there just isn't that much to say. The other Rogue replacements were at least somewhat different. The Vivisectionist made better use of Sneak Attack, but didn't feel like as much of a skill character. The Archaeologist was an amazing skill character, but comparing Luck to Sneak Attack is complicated. With the Investigator, you have someone that is so close to 1:1, but better, that it is hard to deny.
I do agree there might be some niche use left. A couple of archetypes, maybe something that requires a Sneak Attack based Advanced Talent, or someone who very actively does not want magic (though even then, I'd probably be an Investigator that ignored extracts). Otherwise, smart Rogues are Investigators or Vivisectionists, wise Rogues are Inquisitors or Rangers, and charismatic Rogues are Archaeologists or Swashbucklers.
Unless someone appears to vehemently disagree with that idea, I don't see much discussion being possible.
EDIT: I should add one more niche. "I don't want something complicated." While Rogues might not be mechanically better than their competitors, they are certainly more straightforward, both mechanically and conceptually. That space at least deserves to be acknowledged.
I think the answer would be "However the Fury's Fall + Agile Maneuvers thing works."
Personally, I would see them both as doubling up. The equation for a Monk's AC is Dex + Wis, or A+B. You have an ability that lets you substitute B for A. So, you would get (B)+B, Wis + Wis.
However, I also haven't kept up with the discussions (or dev responses, if any) about this. So I might be missing a rule, reading, or statement that makes me totally wrong.
I don't really see the Investigator's AC as a particular problem. Not that their AC is great or anything, but they are in pretty much the same boat as the rest of the light armor classes. On this particular character you have chosen to throw money behind unarmed strikes, but it easily could have gone to an Amulet of Natural Armor, a shield, and either a Mithral Kikko or Celestial Armor. And, as you say, they always have extracts in an emergency.
I agree on the poison (I also think poison resistance, while useful, is unnecessary and unthematic), but I'd hate to lose the trapfinding. While I can't recall Sherlock dealing with traps, it seems like something he would be up for. It feel it fits the flavor of the class (perceptive, insightful) and the role ("Rogue"-type slot) well. In part it is what makes the class different (for me) from a Vivisectionist with a swingy version of Skill Focus (Everything).
What are the stats for using elemental body IV to become an Ice or Lightning elemental? The Waves and Wind Spirits get this as an option for their True Spirit Ability Elemental Form, but as far as I know options for using elemental body to become Bestiary 2 elemental forms don't exist.
Hopefully, the options can be added to the spell (or a new paraelemental body created), since I'd hate to lose the options (especially ice, which would be thematic for or-so-many characters and enemies).
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Revising animal focus and having it apply to your companion as well is an interesting idea.
Doesn't it already? In the first paragraph about Animal Aspect it says "(her animal companion also gains this benefit)."
* A ranged hunter is going to run into problems with the animal companion interfering with shots, requiring the hunter to take Precise Shot, which would be an annoying feat tax. Perhaps we can add a class ability that counts as that.
This would be great. Ideally (through class features or new Teamwork feats) the companion would not require Precise Shot NOR provide cover to an enemy. I could see a Hunter's companion keeping enemies at bay while his master peppers them with arrows, or goes in for the kill with a Boar Spear. Or perhaps some way to extend the range of Teamwork feats, or allow the companion to provide protection from AoOs.
Really, anything that allows a Hunter the options of shooting, casting, or otherwise not directly getting into melee while still providing benefits from the companion. Armed with the current class and selection of Teamwork feats, a melee team would seem to have the lion's share of options at the moment.
While working on characters, I noticed several abilities I feel could use clarification (or at least another set of eyes). Rather than interfere with the general class discussions in those threads, or spam the forum with a topic for each, I figured I'd make a combined thread for minor clarifications (rather than recommendations, or "this is so great/awful it can't be intended" stuff). Mine would be:
Brawler: The feat requirements are vague. How liberally should they be read? Does Heavy Armor Proficiency "improve defenses?" What about Monkey Style's removal of prone penalties? What is intended to be removed by this restriction, other than ranged feats?
Investigator: Do Empathy and Tenacious Inspiration interact? Since the two dice for Empathy are also called "inspiration dice," Tenacious Inspiration could be read as allowing two rolls of each of them. I would guess this reading is not the intention, though.
2) The Waves Spirit allows one to use elemental body IV to turn into an ice elemental, and Wind allows lightning. What are the stats and abilities for these forms?
Arcanist: Boring. Powerful, but boring. The bloodline might as well not exist, getting fatigued when you run out of focus is weird, and the whole thing feels more like a experiment with a revamped casting system than a unique class.
Bloodrager: I've warmed a lot to the idea. Needs serious balancing of bloodline powers, and too many spell lists have save-or-sucks long after they have expired (level 13 Deep Slumber?). Well built Barbarians will still have a place, but these barely-MAD cousins are going to steal a lot of the spotlight.
Brawler: No strong opinion. Doesn't seem to be much reason not to armor up, and the capstone needs to be switched. Knocking foes out of Full Attack range wasn't particularly "awesome" on the Brother of the Seal either, and they at least got it earlier with lots of bonuses.
Hunter: Inquisitor reskin, but weaker. Half the abilities are left off and there are no unique/early access spells. Animal Aspect's stat bonuses don't stack with most buffs and items (unlike Judgment combat boosts), and the skill bonuses are too small and short for significant use. Plus, non-thematic armor and shield restrictions. Probably needs the most work of any class.
Investigator: Cool, they fixed Rogues!
Shaman: Versatile and interesting, a strong contender for many if not most "Cleric" type characters. Like the Bloodrager, the spirits need balancing. The power ranges from huge utility and witch-level offensive hexes, to weak 1/day/enemy debuffs, to the Flame spirit. Some of the Familiar abilities are weird, not sure if I want a pokemon-familiar hanging around.
Skald: I was hoping for more martial skill, but got a song many classes won't want to benefit from and an expensive non-combat schrodinger casting ability instead. Could be very powerful in certain parties and a great enemy cast, but my Bardbarians will likely stay Bard/Barbarians. This could easily have been an archetype.
Slayer: Vanilla. Murdery vanilla, but could have been built with existing pieces.
Swashbuckler: Also made from existing pieces, but puts them together much better than one could otherwise. Fills a niche people have wanted for a long time.
Warpriest: I'm tempted to say "There is already a Cleric/Fighter, and it is the Cleric," but I know people have wanted a combat-oriented holy-type that is not a Paladin. This one doesn't do it for me, but I can't really point out the specific reasons why.
While I agree with Davick, I would say the most obvious comparison is not to the Druid or the Ranger, but the Inquisitor. It is, more or less, a reskin of that class. However There is no replacement for Bane, Stalwart, Exploit Weakness, or Slayer, the Animal Focus abilities are more likely than Judgements to step on the toes of other items/buffs, and there is an added punishment for wearing heavy armor (or metal shields, but not metal armor? Odd).
While I like the idea of a companion-focused class, I feel this one will need some added love offer something really unique from its predecessors. The companion is a bit better than, say, just taking the Animal Domain, but not sufficiently for me to see it as the focus of the class, or to make up for what is lost in comparison to the others.
With a normal Full Attack, yes, you would get to use your Bite as a secondary attack. However, Flurry of Blows is a special full-attack action that explicitly prohibits you from taking natural weapon attacks as well (though Feral Combat Training would allow you to use your bite for Flurry attacks).
The attack would be secondary if you are also attacking with an unarmed strike, which would indeed mean -5 to the roll (-2 with Multiattack).
It does not get the benefits of Unarmed Strike feats, you would need to take Weapon Focus (Claw) separately. However, Martial Versatility/Mastery would allow you to apply the bonus to your natural attacks, as both natural attacks and unarmed strikes are part of the "Natural" weapon group.
EDIT: Missed one! Yes, all natural attacks benefit from the Amulet of Mighty Fists.
Attah meshalem be'shekelim? Shalom, yadid yisraeli!
Seriously though, you could probably just define the north face of the grid as the "river," and the south face the "cliff" or whatever. It actually recommends things of this sort in Kingmaker. If you want a proper map, it shouldn't be to hard to make it with copy/paste and a random map.
My problem I have with this is that "Longsword" and "Shortsword" already cover a great deal of different historical weapons, we are just used to lumping them all together into this generic category. Whether something is close enough to lump in has changed between books and editions, for example I believe 3.X considered a Katana a masterwork Bastard Sword while Pathfinder considers it a distinct weapon. There are also cases like the Aldori Dueling Sword, where a weapon is folded in unless you have the Exotic proficiency, in which case it receives a bonus.
In the end the line between what counts as a distinct enough weapon will probably always be fuzzy and gray, distinguished by individual philosophy of game design. That said, I think giving Monks the ability to gain proficiency in a group really would be great. While charging a feat for the use of a weapon that is only cosmetically different is a bit much, it would be evened out a bit by allowing it to cover a wider range.
Isn't the town building meant to be quite abstracted, though? I mean, at least in Kingmaker, the squares were 750 feet on a side. Presumably, there is something else in a given square besides a 562,500 square foot Stable. That houses would be mixed in also makes sense in that population was based on squares, not houses in a city. And while one needs customers, it seems like people are still going to need to walk to get to vital businesses (as everyone needs to go to the brothe... er... market, not just those adjacent).
Regardless, I'd be interested in the game mechanics reasons for this that you mentioned. While these are verisimilitude reasons for the grid, the only mechanical effect I found in the Kingmaker version was a bonus (in the form of more businesses per district/less need to spend BP on housing) for those that planned out the city ahead of time rather than just plopping things down.
They programmer made a common error. Adopted gives you access to a "Race Trait," not a "Racial Trait." "Race traits" are things like World Traveler, traits that a race can choose (like social, combat, or other traits). "Racial Traits" are things like Stonecunning and Bonus Feat, which are an entirely different category and not an option for Adopted.
I've heard of people having great success with notecards. Make cards for common spells or abilities, such as "Bless / +1 Attack / Morale" and place them in the middle of the table (or near the appropriate player) when cast. You can also place tokens or coins on them to track duration. When they are all in front of you the basic addition and subtraction really shouldn't be a problem.
You might also want to encourage players to calculate these things before they roll. It will give them something to do between turns, avoiding delays and hopefully preventing the scourge of "Smartphone distraction" that so plagues the world these days.
I think a bit more information would be useful. What are you trying to accomplish with your character? What is your backstory, and what abilities would you like to have? The archetypes you listed are very different, and "caster or martial" basically covers every class, so it is hard to be of help without additional information.
In very general terms, realize that the game tends to reward specialization. If you want to be a caster even a 1-2 level dip in another class should be carefully considered, as it is a dear price to pay for a what other classes could offer. If you want to be a martial combatant dips are less painful, but you should still think things through carefully so that you can get appropriate bonuses at appropriate levels so that your characters feels like what you want. In either case, when undertaking multiclassing, it is helpful to have a clear idea of your goals before starting, lest you end up with a character who just can't do much of anything well.
Uh... what? That reasoning makes no sense. Why would a Bard be more powerful by not boosting others?
Anyway, no, the archetype is not overpowered. It is actually rather crumby when compared to the very similar Dawnflower Dervish. At level 1 it is going to be strictly worse than a normal Bard, as the only difference with the Dance is that the Inspire Courage only works for the Bard, and you can't even make use of Scimitar proficiency to get Dervish Dance yet.
Seriously, either your GM wildly misinterpreted something or is plain nuts. Just play a regular Bard and use Dance for your performances. It will be basically the same at level 1, but you can help your friends too.
I see so that limits him to collective owned stuff, stuff no one in the party owns individually, stuff that is not the possession of others and yet not his possession either.
I would still say no. If the Monk considers himself part of the collective that owns the items, then he is breaking the rule of how many possessions he can have (as owning 1/4 of an item is still owning). If he does not consider himself part of the collective, then he is breaking the vow about borrowing (even though it belongs to several people).
Vow of Poverty is intended to keep you from having more than one valuable item, and is for this reason a crippling choice. You might persuade a GM that a forced reading allows you to make use of more items, but at that point the Vow has become meaningless, and you are basically getting something for nothing. Either way it is a badly designed option, and should probably be avoided.
As far as I know, an AoO does take place before the triggering action. So, when standing up from prone, the attack will take place while the enemy is still prone. This prevents "trip locking," but also means the prone person will still have the penalties for the condition during the AoO.
This is the interpretation stated by Jason Bulmahn here.
While I agree with some points, your condemnation of Mythic is a bit overdone.
Your primary complain seems to be with the Lesser Trials, which (given the current response) will likely see some change in the final product. You can influence this by going to the trouble of making playtesting reports that expose (or, perhaps, disprove) the numerous issues people have found with the rules. Paizo is open to comment, they just strongly prefer game reports to analysis.
On the Mythic Feats, I agree that many of them would be better as base feats. The Mythic skills feats would encourage normal, non-mythic people to take the +2/+2 feats in the first place. Mythic Weapon Finesse is a big jump from "no Dex to damage except Dervish Dance" to "dex to damage always," while Mythic Power Attack is a fairly minor boost. I found the mythic saves feats a bit odd, as they give you a substantial boost... when fighting non-mythic foes. Hopefully Wrath of the Righteous only puts the Mythic enemies as bosses, I guess. But again, if one wants to influence Paizo, one must post playtest reports to prove this.
I agree that many of the Lesser Trials encourage metagaming and forced behavior, while others are just luck or GM fiat. However, even if the final product does not reduce or eliminate their importance, it does not necessarily destroy the product. I plan to utterly ignore Lesser Trials (along with the number requirement of Greater Trials) and leave Mythic as a strictly GM-based system (rather than weird combo GM-chart thing). If you really have a problem but like idea of the rest of the book, I'd encourage you to do the same.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Page 35, 2nd paragraph of the Greater Trials section. Not labeled the best Ill grant. Its another thing that will get polished up for the final.
Ah, thanks. I see it now. A smidge of polish will easily remove the "bag of rats" problem, in that it will help the inattentive GM (ahem, me) notice that you have already dealt with it. However, I think it just moves the issues into "GM Fiat" territory. If you get easier, "resource depleting" styles challenges you can ether easily accomplish Lesser Trials (perhaps by artificially elongating combat) or simply can't accomplish them at all. If you tend to have fewer more difficult challenges many Trials will be more difficult (if not impossible, such as maneuvers against Dragons or Elementals). Because of this "GM Fiat" aspect, I still have trouble accepting the necessity of Lesser Trials. Perhaps it would be better if they just regenerated Mythic Points, rather than being required for advancement, it would place Tier advancement firmly in the GM's hands rather than a roll/GM hybrid? Unless, of course, such a hybrid is the design goal.
As a separate recommendation, for the polish, it might also be useful to mention certain GP/CR requirements for some of the Trials. If only to give guidelines to GMs who aren't sure if a borderline underpowered intelligent item or somesuch should warrant a Lesser Trail point.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Well, I don't believe it is the GMs duty to make your lesser trials impossible to accomplish. This is no different than if you have a ranger with a favored enemy of undead. If the GM never throws any undead at you, he is not playing to the core of his group.
I would actually say it is a rather major difference. A Ranger can gain a level fighting anything. A Mythic Character must, to accomplish their preselected mythic goals, fight certain opponents. Whether or not those opponents appear is entirely up to the GM. Unless, of course, the player chooses the trivially easy Lesser Trials, in which case they can pretty much skip this whole thing.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
As for the easy ones, the GMs section gives guidelines on how to adjudicate these trials and having the PCs kill a bag of rats does not qualify for completing a lesser trial.
Are there specific lines that represent this view? I am having trouble finding them. Looking at the GM rules I see things related to how MT (Mythic Tier) and CR interact, but I can't find anything that says that you can't accomplish a mythic task against a hamster in a cage. It might not feel "mythic," but it certainly counts by the rules.
I know you want to see how players interact with this, but frankly, this is how my players will deal with it. "No CR requirement? Bag full of rats." "I can make a couple of cheap magic items? Might not be "mythic," but there is absolutely nothing saying this isn't how it works." If the point of Lesser Trials is to require the PCs to perform mythic-style acts, the current set do not accomplish that. You will need to add specific GP/CR/DC requirements for this to occur. If you are relying on the GM to demand they perform "mythic" actions beyond the stated rules, I don't see a point for the Lesser/Greater Trial distinction, and likewise a point for the Lesser Trials to exist at all.
Will it really be more useful feedback if I say "my players abused the heck out of this" rather than just informing that is what is going to happen beforehand? I'll wait until next week to comment if I have to, but but a bare reading shows a massive gap between what I expect from those with basic system mastery and those without.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
As for how easy some are, my above comment plays into that. As a player, if you find that the only thing you want to do with these is find the easiest way to accomplish them, that is not very mythic by its nature. Creating a throw-away intelligent item is not very mythic. As feedback, I am interested in seeing how players use these rules. Do they go for the easy path, picking the trials that are simple to accomplish, or do they use them as an opportunity to accomplish something that truly adds to the legend of their hero.
In practice, how is this not a poll of how many players try to abuse the system, and how many choose randomly based on descriptions? Lesser Trials seem to be game based while Greater Trials are GM based, but in practice a great number of Lesser Trials are ALSO based on what the GM throws at you.
I do not want to be a jerk, but I simply have trouble understanding how running players through this system actually affects anything I said. Are abilities I said were based on GM fiat not based on GM fiat if I choose to let them occur? If players get lucky and accomplish the luck based trials, are they not luck based? If they pick the easy challenges that can be accomplished with a small investment of gold, a bag of rats, or taking 20, do they not count because my players had enough system mastery to figure this out?
I do plan to run my players through this system, and I really do want to take to heart the "good playtesting" guidelines that have been published. However, there are many things that are based on what the GM throws at the players, which is not something that can be playtested in any way beyond "what is the most popular way to play on these forums?" If I have the same criticisms next week, when my players have gone through the material, will they have more weight?
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
That said, I will be very interested to see some playtest feedback on this system, as it is one of the systems that was hardest for us to evaluate during the design phase.
I would ask, much like the other thread, how is this supposed to be playtested? A large portion of the Lesser Tiers are luck or GM fiat based. For example, of the universals, 3 are entirely GM based (Improbable Victory, Mythic Challenge, and Push On) The other two are utterly trivial (a moderate level caster can make a low level item for Perfect Craft, and Skill Supremacy can be accomplished by rolling 21 on a 1' jump check (which I can't find a reason you can't try until you succeed)).
These problems seem to extend throughout the Lesser Trials. There are things entirely based on fiat, others on luck, and others that are utterly trivial. I honestly don't know how to playtest "the GM let me fight a CR +5 creature without Mythic Rank" or "a fight lasted 4-8 rounds and I had one of each spell school prepared in my top two levels."
If you're going for Critical Chain, use a keen 18-20 weapon. 30% chance on each attack. Your math is also wrong on the normal crit.. it would be 1/8000 (1/20^3). 30% would be 216/8000 (6.20^3)... so literally 216x better chance.
For some reason I used a 25% chance instead of a 30% chance. Let us call it a brain fart. Anyway, the chance becomes 2.7%, which while nearly double what I said, is still very much in the region of "complete luck," which was the point I was making with it. A 216x times chance would be greater than one critical/hit, so I don't know what you are on about with that.
Spellcasters who want to advance Mythic tiers can use Quickened spells to help them out.
The impression I from the rules was that it was Spell Level, not Effective Spell Level. Either way, it does not matter terribly much. A caster would still need to burn nearly their entire top two spell levels worth of spells to attain the achievement, while there are many far easier options. And frankly, at the power level Mythic represents, I'd be rather shocked if a combat lasted even four rounds, let alone eight.
Don't focus on what your character will have trouble with to advance your mythic tier... Focus on what they are capable of and you'll be fine. They aren't SUPPOSED to be something you can easily pull off. Otherwise everybody would be mythic.
That is all well and good, but the next AP is supposed to be based on the players have mythic tiers. Which will, presumably, include a necessary number of Greater Trials to advance Mythic Level to the appropriate point. If some characters have a trivial time acquiring the necessary Lesser Trials while others need to have the party specifically lengthen otherwise won combats to achieve them, there is an issue. If the gateway is supposed to be Greater Trials, I don't see the point of Lesser Trials at all. Just let it be a GM Fiat, Magic Teaparty thing rather than trying to tie it to swingy, random roll-based achievements.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Well, since the penalty was a eventual loss of most of your powers, I felt that the acquisition should not be all that difficult.. that said, I will be interested to see some playtest feedback on the issue.
I would honestly ask, how do you want this to be playtested? Before the playtest, I was going to run some combats with various level/tier characters for playtesting purposes. However, some of the flaws really requires an entire campaign per data point. I mean, the entire effect of dependency is going to be by GM fiat. Whether you choose spinach or dryad tears, the acquisition of this item will be entirely dependent the GM's personal decisions. Whether you can acquire dragon's blood or whether iron rations are an appropriate choice are a GM concern, and don't really seem like something that can be playtested in a universally useful manner.
Okay, I read all the playtesting guidelines and promised myself that I would abide by them. However, a couple of hours in and after only one read through, I feel compelled to comment on the Lesser Trials.
First, I get the idea. They are little achievements, like in video games, that add up to an eventual bonus. In theory, that is great. However, in practice, I don't see much of a point. The Greater Trials seem like the important bit, while the Lesser Trails are "did you purposefully finish a combat in a specific manner?" Worse, it seems that you can get more than enough Greater Trials completed, but additional ones will not count towards your Lesser Trials. So basically, Hercules would not advance his Mythic Tier from his twelve trials, but from curbstomping some lesser enemies in between.
Second, the specific Lesser Trials seems weighted towards luck or purposefully prolonging combat. For example, unless I am missing a Mythic way to increase threat range, Critical Chain has a 1.5% chance of occurring over any three given attacks (assuming automatic crits). School Display, on the other hand, requires an 8 round combat and likely Mythic Points (as spontaneous casters likely won't know enough spells, and prepared casters will not have enough slots to accomplish it otherwise, even in a nova).
I could go on with specific examples, as there are many within each Mythic Path, however I'd like to hear other opinions before I type that all out. What is the specific purpose of Lesser Trials? Should they be a given for those that attempt them, things that require extreme effort, or the result of luck? What is the expected advancement rate of Mythic characters, and do the Lesser Trials make that more or less difficult to attain?
2: Overcoming Mythic Weakness: Is it intentional that using Tier 8s Unstoppable ability that you can negate the "Insanity" Weakness by spending a Mythic point to remove the Confused Condition from your character?
Honestly, I don't think this will be a huge issue. Especially when you can already choose to choose Material Weakeness (Silver), School Aversion (Abjuration), or Dependency (Sandwich) as weaknesses.
3: Mythic Spamming. Right now with the right (wrong GM) and taking the "Endless Power" ability twice you could theoretically take one of the various attribute bump spells (such as cats grace) that matches up with either your Mythic Attribute or your targets mythic attribute.
From a quick read-through, Mythic seems crazy powerful as-is. Being able to cast a spell that will be cancelled out by a +4 Belt or Headband... don't foresee an issue.
Since the spell increases the Mythic Attribute by 4(+2 mythic uses), in theory you could cast it let target use his mythic powers two more times.
Not how stat bonuses work. They only increase a very specific subset of abilities before 24 hours have expired, rather than actually increasing the ability score in question. Mythic-Cycling in this way will not work.
6: Master Healer and a few other lesser trials seem pretty easy for a party to especially if they are evil to spam with commoners or low level victims.
I agree on this one. Many of the lesser trials seem horribly swingy and abusable. A great many can easily be accomplished by searching out the lowest level group of goblins or bar thugs one can find, while other would be borderline impossible in normal gameplay I mean, School Display requires using Mythic Points and 8 combat rounds. Is that really likely to happen outside of someone purposefully not killing an enemy to prolong combat?
If you want an AP that gets right to "the good stuff," I'd recommend Shattered Star. Your goal and purpose is very clear from the start, and from the first adventure you are picking up artifact-level items, fighting powerful foes, and exploring the decaying but still amazing remnants of Thassilon. It is very dungeon crawly, but when each of those dungeons feels like the final amazing discovery of a long campaign it works out.
I'm going to say that I have had enough Varisia for quite a while.
This isn't to say I dislike that part of the setting, or that the material that has been published hasn't been excellent. It is just that we already have a very, very clear view of what Varisia entails. Entire books on most of the major cities, numerous APs set there, lots of supplemental material on its people and culture. In short, I already have enough material to "get" Varisia, the country and its people.
I cannot say the same for large chunks of the rest of the setting. I'm not just talking about totally unexplored bits, like Casmaron or southern Garund. Most of the area around Lake Encarthan is unexplored, especially very unique places like Druma and Razmiran. Thuvia and Rahadoum haven't been dealt with much beyond "immortality elixirs" and "atheists" with some genies thrown in. Nex and Geb could easily warrant a 64 page book together, being some of the more unique, magically advanced societies of the Inner Sea. While every book on Varisia inherently reiterates material that has previously been published, books on these areas would have more space for entirely new material, enhancing the breadth of Golarion and the ideas it encompasses.
While Varisia may have been the core of the Pathfinder setting, I believe it has grown beyond that. The whole world is filled with incredibly interesting people, places, and ideas. Given the limit of how much material Paizo can publish in any given year, I would much rather see a "broadening" of the setting rather than a "deepening" of material on Varisia. While more Varisia books would not be bad, I would feel that they were missing the opportunity to explore new and interesting avenues rather than further enriching an already well developed setting.
I think the reason for the restrictions is because traits are not suppose to be feats. They are something to give characters with a particular background extra flavor. If you remove the restrictions from all traits then you are basically giving the character 2 extra feats. I remove the restrictions on a case by case basis.
First, traits are defined as being "half a feat," so the total benefit is only one feat, not two. Worse than that, really, since they can't be used to cover prerequisites for feat chains.
Second, the restrictions do not seem to solve the problem you state. Traits do indeed give characters with a particular background extra flavor. However, why can't my flavor be someone who is a "Child of the Temple" because of her "Sacred Touch?" If it would make sense for my character to be stealthy, why must she be from the Highlands? If I want an initiative bonus I can be a Reactionary or a Warrior of Old, not based on background but depending on what trait type I've already used. The restrictions do nothing to promote flavor, and do everything to impede legitimate, balanced, and flavorful choices.