I think Umbriere is thinking about something like this, which I just stumbled upon. (While borderline silly and badly smelling of cheese, it also seems quite legal.)
Anyway, barring unexpected crits at low-ish levels (probably your biggest potential risk of things getting out of hand), I think it should be fine to have NPC use firearms, especially if they have difficulties getting around reload times.
This was most notably used to try to interrupt spell casting (since being hit meant losing the spell automatically).
This whole thread has definitely interesting ideas (especially the 6/5/4 for 2H/1H/Light, reasonably simpled and potentially refinable in something without too much exceptions at first glance), but you would have to do a boatload of maths to see if each fighting style has expected average DPR against CR appropriate opponents within an acceptable spread of each other... (And I certainly am not doing that. Not that I wouldn't like, mind you, but I definitely don't have the time, sadly...)
Also, be wary of increased complexity. Pathfinder rules are not a simulationist framework, trying to bring back too much of it will break the whole thing.
"Energy Attacks: Energy attacks deal half damage to most objects" (Smashing an object)
Undead/constructs will be damaged like everyone else, and can make a fort save for half.
The whole "immunity to fort save" is there to make them immune to stuff like stinking cloud, since it makes no sense for creatures, you know, not alive. Almost every damage effect against which these creatures don't have specific resistance (cold immunity for undeads for example) will work normally.
I made the calculations a while back, but IIRC there's just enough XP rewarded by the fixed encouters to get a party to level four by the end of the first part.
My group had a slow start too. Things seemed to get faster once characters got to level 2 (which made a huge difference in exploration).
So unless your players like to rush things, they should be fine.
Synthesist Summoner with the Arcane Strike feat is probably the most gear independant character that comes to my mind. By level 5, there's not much you would truly need to be effective. (you already have pounce, fly, high saves and AC, good HP, magical attacks, situational summons, and a good selection of buffs/debuffs, what else would you want)
That said, I don't understand this thread. The game and APs are built around a number of assumptions, namely : 15 point buy, low to moderate system mastery and character optimization, and adequate wealth by level. While good players or DMs can and wil make games with low to no gear work, and they can certainly be flavorful, it's not specifically meant to be that way.
Or is this an exercise in theorycrafting, to see how much we can force Schrödinger Wizards to coelesce in an observable form ? If so, I will need more coffee.
Cutting of someone from the game because she don't know the rules well - aka when the technical side of the game go too far ?
To me, there's a huge difference between not being particularly intent on learning how to translate your character concept into a proper character sheet, with all the rules mastery it usually demands, and not being willing to learn how to use said character effectively in game.
On the other hand, if the player contributes meaningfully to the group, and slowly ramps up in the roleplay and/or rules mastery department, what's the problem exactly ? That the character isn't completely her own because it was built partly or mostly by someone else ? Why is it even a problem if she's okay with that and someone can do a better job at something she's just not interested in ? (And do note I'm not talking about the character concept itself, that absolutely still should come from the player)
In the end, you should definitely take the time to talk about all this with her, what are her motivations for playing the game, and what she and the rest of the group are willing to do to ensure everyone is having fun.
For those of you that may be familiar with the rulesets, would you tell a Mekton Z or Heavy Gear player that he doesn't have the right to play the game because he's unwilling to spend the massive amount of time needed to learn how to build effective mechas for his character ? I mean, really ?
Cutting of someone from the game because she don't know the rules well - aka when the technical side of the game go too far ?
Of all the reasons for excluding somebody, this is the worst. If we never let in people who do not know the rules, we'd never get new players.
There is no shame in having a character concept fleshed out by someone more knowledgeable of the rules. (In fact, it's usually a very good idea, because internal party balance is a very important thing to have in a group.)
As an example, in my current gaming group, I have one rule-lover, character-tinkerer player, one with "standard" rule mastery, and two newer players that don't know all the rules yet.
Of those last two, one asks for regular advice on character building (that I gladly provide) and is getting up to speed on actual game mechanics, and the other is less interested by rules and has a character build by someone else with simplified options ("This is your attack bonus and damage with deadly aim already factored in, since it is almost always beneficial to use it"). Both still contributes meaningfully to the group, the campaign, and player dynamics.
That said, complete disinterest for rules AND no or few willingness to invest in games often reveal players either not really interested by our dearest way of spending time, or not finding their place in the gaming group. If such is the case here, it may be best to talk about it with the player directly rather than simply shun it.
As far as I remember, the consensus is that Augment Summoning does work on the summon eidolon spell. It is not applicable when using the normal ritual.
You need Resilient Eidolon if you plan to buy the "large" evolution, for the same reasons Barbarians take Raging Vitality.
I believe I made calculations at home a while back that showed that at lower levels Arcane Strike was better than Power Attack.
Improved Natural Attack will only provide marginal damage increase and can be replaced with something else without mourning.
If I may : be really careful when building your synthesist (and have someone else review your character for errors if you can). Synthesist is the most error prone class of all Pathfinder. I still catch involuntary mistakes on my player's Synthesist almost every level up. :D
Step 1 : Realise that as a GM, it is easy to TPK any party whatsoever, without resorting to any kind of rule twisting, and that the true difficulty is to challenge players in meaningful ways without quite reaching said TPK.
Other than that, what Evil Lincoln said. The best way to deal with powergaming is to make sure everyone agrees on the same terms for the campaign at work. I found it's always what works best, since everyone agrees beforehand on what "fun" it will be rather than having bits of it stolen without warnings, until there's none left to be enjoyed.
I have an intense dislike of anything calling itself "low power" while still pretending to use the Pathfinder ruleset, because it usually breaks said ruleset very badly, often followed in its fall by the campaigns depending upon it. I will assume you know this.
Now, with such low stats, your best bet is to stay full synthesist, because it uses the eidolon physical stats instead of the character's. This will make you bypass most of the intended limitations. Whether it's a good or bad thing is left for you to decide. You wil need to focus on upping your charisma to at least 16 throughout the game to keep up with your spellcasting abilities.
As for a build direction, I'd focus on the "classic" melee synthesist monster : quadruped form, pounce, improvement to natural armor, Large form and flight as soon as able.
At first level, I'd take the Arcane Strike feat (you don't have much use for your swift action, and it will scale as you gain levels), the Mage Armor spell, and a Quadruped Eidolon with claws, pounce, and improved natural armor. Cast Mage Armor before combat, pounce, and shred the target. As you gain levels, simply focus on upping the effectiveness of this tactic, and you will find you can dismantle most things that does not have annoying DR. Focus mostly on buffing for spells, since it does not depend on a high charisma. You will also want the Resilient Eidolon feat quickly to avoid annoying deaths (I'd take it no later than level 3 in your case), but apart from that, you're mostly free to do whatever you want with your feats. Most of the punch comes from the Eidolon itself.
Do note this will likely make your GM cry once you're past level 5 or so, since even in "standard" games, this archetype is often seen as overpowered. I'd revel in it, but like I said, I'm partial in this matter.
My advice in short : listen to the Dudemeister. He is that awesome when it comes to Kingmaker.
Not-so-joking apart, most subsystems I've seen for mass combat implemented the notion of "Player Missions" to reconciliate the problems you describe. Dudemeister's way of doing it for Kingmaker is both simple and sound mechanically.
I like to think of it this way :
So in your second example, it becomes "Your army clashes with the soldiers defending the keep, but as your men slowly advance, Drelev leading a small group of elite armored trolls charge from the inner keep. Your men cannot withstand such an assault, and already you can see them fall back. They need your help if you are to be victorious". Your PCs then bashes on Drelev (who quickly retreats) and his trolls in regular combat to sway the outcome of the mass combat.
And first example is more "Dozens of enemies already fell to your mighty blows, but such is their number that this barely slowed their advance. You either need to fall back or be engulfed by the horde. As you hesitate, your men boldly charge into battle, inspired by your display of martial prowess". And you go back from regular combat to mass combat.
I agree I'm pushing it a bit with my blessed bandages jab, but the +4 to natural healing process is technically enhancing their natural healing. But I was half-joking anyway. Good catch about the fast healing details for construct type. Why not go for the same wording ?
I'd be wary about having a 5% arcane failure as a mage. It's the kind of thing that will bite at the worst of time, usually... But Dabbler as a fair point. The other abilities may very well be worth a feat tax, and it's not as severe in Pathfinder as in 3.5.
(I'm not familiar enough with the other races to give you a decent feedback on them, sorry. I can't see any glaring problems though.)
I echo the sentiment that the PDF is worth its price. It's a good consolidation of the various special Kingmaker rules.
Magic item economy has three potential problems :
I can't tell a thing about mass combat, we're not far enough in the AP.
I think I'd word Unnatural as doesn't heal lethal damage naturally, period. Unless there is a precedent of a construct with fast healing or regeneration somewhere in the bestiary, I can't see warforged benefiting from such abilities. Besides, current wording allows me to slap blessed bandages on and get half natural healing, which I suppose is clearly not the intent. :)
Also, Composite Plating is not an advantage, it's a freaking feat tax. You more or less have to take one of the warforged special armor feat at level one to fit any given character concept. I'd like to see the feats included as alternate racial features instead, but effect on pricing and overall race balance could be more complicated to adjudicate, I guess.
Other than that, really good work, I like it a lot. It looks well balanced overall compared to, say, those stubborn dwarves and all their cool racial abilities. I've always been a fan of the warforged concept and execution, it's nice to see it revived like that.
SleepybotMonster, a synthesist doesn't use the save progression of it's Eidolon when fused. It's saves are those of its class, so bad progression for Fort and Ref and good progression for Will. Multiclassing works as usual (clarified in the FAQ), so you get your +3 to saves and +1 BAB for having two levels of monk.
I think there is a rule somewhere that forbids using natural attacks and unarmed attacks simultaneously, but I don't remember where. Maybe someone will chime in. You can use manufactured weapons with natural attacks, provided you have hands, and could flurry with it if you otherwise qualify for a flurry, AFAIK.
Similarly named bonuses never stack except if explicitly stated, so you're correct about the shield bonuses not stacking.
A good number of questions on the synthesist is answered here : http://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fz.
You have to read the rules really carefully when making a synthesist, otherwise you quickly make errors. Wraithstrike and WRoy are so right when they say that nearly every synthesist has errors, that damn beast uses so many rules from everywhere it's almost impossible not to make any. :/
Echoing wraithstrike because it's one of, if not the most important thing as a DM : Being fair is OK. You should continue to do it.
This does not precludes enemies trying to act intelligently. For example, are they dumb enough to run over toward someone holding a spear ? It's obvious that they will be at a reach disadvantage and get hit. Also, as said, it's only one AoO per character (except if said character as taken Combat Reflexes and has a decent dex). So multiple opponents attacking the same character are likely to land some attacks before being mowed down.
But really, I only see things working as intended here. Good tactics and well-built characters are supposed to lead to success, and sometimes not being challenged because you did everything right is okay.
You said it was your first session with this group. It's normal to have a bit of issue with game balance, because you don't yet know how well your group will behave in combat. Now that you do, you will be able to better adjust opponents tactics, without having to resort to out of game knowledge. (For example, the first session of my recently started Kingmaker campaign was easy-mode for my players, second had 2 characters in negative and a fair share of damage spreaded accross all characters, because I now know where to set the difficulty cursor to challenge them.)
The only real advice I have to give though is to be careful about the internal balance of your group. If the other players are at a loss about their characters or how to play them effectively, don't hesitate to offer them some advice about how to build them or usable tactics, to keep them in line with more knowledgeable players. This will improve group dynamics over time. The trick is doing this without holding their hands too much, otherwise they'll never do it by themselves... But it's part of the fun of being a GM.
Thanks Thalin. I understand where you're coming from, and I'd be the first the say that the Synthesist is maybe a bit too powerful. But broken ? Persistent spell cheese with 3.5 clerics was broken. Dwarf Bear Warrior/Fist of the Forest/Deepwarden were not, merely brutal, and the synthesist is along the same line.
It does not escape action economy, and there's still more than one way to shut a synthesist down or hamper it seriously. It will however bring painful tears to inexperienced or unimaginative GMs, or the ones that think that internal character balance in a given group of players is not one of their duty. (if you have a player with system mastery in a group and three others that do not, you better be helping them building their characters, otherwise your campaign will have problems very quickly.)
I hope I doesn't come off as too blunt. I respect your views on this matter, I just disagree with the broken status. The thing where I do heartily agree though is that the 3.x line has a problem reconciliating the imperative of full-attacking with the necessity of mobility, especially at higher levels, and the dreaded pounce ability is not the good solution when only a few melee classes get it.
Both ideas are excellent suggestions. I'll ponder a bit on this, and discuss it with my player too. We'll see what's more interesting or practical, even though I'm tempted to go with both : tracking injury for the Eidolon, and not allowing rest and refit without dismissal. But I still need to think about it.
Also, yes, part of why I bring up this point is because I don't think we discussed temporary hp, and I wouldn't want to leave shadowy zones in an otherwise truly excellent variant rule (I think we left the realm of a mere house rule a while ago). Like I said, I can't think of any other case other than the synthesist that would cause problem though, so it's probably fine as is.
I'll let you know how it turns out in play. Thanks for the help.
The PDF looks great ! Incredible work so far.
Our Kingmaker campaign is now launched, but as next saturday will only be the second session, it's still a bit early to give some interesting feedback. I'm not forgetting this thread though !
I also have a question, and I'm not sure it has been addressed before here. One of my player is playing a synthesist. The fused Eidolon gives its HP as temporary HP, and in the core rules, they are not supposed to be healed through any other means than the rejuvenate Eidolon spell line. It's interesting because usually, temporary hp are given through spells or other similar effects, and are truly "temporary", but the Eidolon suit is different in that it's meant to have staying power.
Fake edit : third possibility, only the hp of the summoner are strain damage, and the temporary hp are regained at the beginning of each day. (houseruling the fact that eidolons get back to full hp the next day if "killed" but not if dismissed. A fair share of players will just whack its eidolon head on a tree before sleeping to get it back to full "artificially", heh)
Nobody said the synthesist is a weak archetype. In fact, everyone here agree to say its a very powerful class. Few view it as truly broken though, and DPR thought experiments and actual gameplay both show this to be a more than defensible position. I can't see what more you do want.
That said, the posted build confuses me to no end. I know you said it was done quickly, but at this point errors are just throwing oil on the fire... :/
1) Where is Steely Resolve from ? The only feat I can find close enough is "Steel Soul".
See, that's what you get by posting quickly while at work. (Note to self : Don't do it anymore.* )
I am not meaning it in a derogatory sense either, but fully in the meaning Evil Lincoln puts so much more clearly into words.
@chobemaster : I could note that I used super-human deliberately and delve into the barren lands of semantics debate, but as that would be immensely silly and since I get your point, let's agree to disagree. :)
(* Answer from self : not gonna happen.)
*gives Kthulhu a Cthulhu-shaped, internet-flavored cookie*
With that very important thing taken care of, I think I'd go with the perception rules too. It's one of the more... curious design in the current available rules.
Oh, and yes, Pathfinder is about playing characters with super-human powers. As Evil Lincoln, I feel sorry for anyone not noticing such a glaring fact.
No problem. My player took this pdf out of curiosity, and 90% of what's in there would probably make the synthesist broken beyond recognition if allowed. I had a funny face almost all the time when reading most of the feats in there. :D
I seriously begin to think that most people complaining about the synthesist alleged brokenness (this is not the first thread about it, and certainly not the last) are really complaining about something else entirely. Namely, internal character balance in a given group, and expected playstyle and system mastery (which I will admit can be a tough beast to wrestle). The synthesist only make this painfully obvious.
I agree that posting the build could help this discussion, because the synthesist is certainly powerful, but hardly broken.
As already said though, the problem with this archetype is that it's very very hard to do a crappy character with it, a situation rather unique in Pathfinder.
@Wraithstrike : I can at least help with the third party feat "Giant Step" (one of my player is playing a synthesist and took the 3rd party pdf this feat is in). It gives a large Eidolon the ability to take a 10 ft step instead of a 5 ft one... The two other I don't know about.
You have plenty of answers on the rules for animal companion already, but I would second the idea of letting a player buy a combat trained horse to give a horse animal companion combat training early, exchanging 110 gp for six early tricks.
Then, we still have the muddy trenches of the int 3 animal companion, rulewise, but regardless of how you decide to handle that, your ranger should still definitely do it with his animal companion first stat bump.
Actually the classes are open content per page 87 of the IKCG
Good catch ! I retract my statement. :)
Only the fluff text is not OGL, all other general class description and mechanics are in fact open content. I checked my Liber Mechanika too, but apparently the revised Arcane Mechanik in there is not OGL, unless everything in there is OGL, which I doubt, but I may have missed something (again). In any case, it's not a problem from a conversion standpoint.
Incidentally, the last line in every legal disclaimer of Privateer Press, at least for IK books and No Quarter magazines, makes them the best legal disclaimers ever. :P
You don't need Improve Eldritch Heritage, but you do need Skill Focus as a prerequisite. Rereading the Sylvan Bloodline though, it says the animal companion replaces both your first level power and your bloodline arcana, which means I'm not convinced anymore the Eldritch way to get an Animal Companion is legal. Meh.
You can also get a full mount animal companion with four levels of cavalier and the feat Horse Master.
blackbloodtroll, you mean the Cleric and Inquisitor can get an animal companion as alternate class abilities ? Which archetypes are used ? Or is it domains ?
Eldritch Heritage (Sylvan Bloodline) + Boon Companion will give you an almost full level animal companion for the cost of three feats.
Other than Leadership and the combination above, I don't know of any way of getting an animal companion outside of a class ability.
Anything that steals away player control on their character I can only view as a bad thing, because it's the *only* thing players have full control on in the gaming world. Unless every player around the table is OK with restrictive (*) stat generation, I would be careful about using those kind of alternative.
When doing stat generation, regardless of the actual savor (usually 4d6 drop lowest), to alleviate the common woe of the player having rolled very poorly while others have good to very good stats, I record the stat arrays of every players, and let them choose whichever they want.
Incidentally, the more "old school" or "hardcore" a GM whishes to be, the more min-maxing he risks to elicit among its players. Because character deaths are usually not fun if it occurs because of random kobold #3 or Generic_Deathly_Trap_of_Doom_42 only because of poor stats or ignored WBL (for example), anything that detracts players from the sense of empowerment that is usually assumed to come with the process of gaining levels in Pathfinder will tempt them to play the system to its limit in order to get what they want (generally, some form of successful character).
Edit : I'm unclear on one point : I mean that you should consult your players about the playstyle you wish for your campaign *before* deviating from the default assumption of Pathfinder, not that lower powered or harsher games are inherently wrong. If everyone agrees, then no problem.
(*) Yes, restrictive. PF assumption is 15 point buy.
Diego Rossi wrote:
I use houserules that reduce the BP produced by the magic economy.
I'd be very interested to know the new values you are using. My players will probably quickly find the advantages of magic economy, and I'm trying to come with adjustments before I have to start handwaving things.
As an alternative to the BP reduction, I wonder if limiting the number of buildings "generating" magic items or the item slots of a town could do it. Did someone already tried this ?
My Eberron geography is quite blurry and I don't have maps at hand, but it would work fine I think.
You could take most of the locations/encounters in Kingmaker 1 and 2 and reuse them without too much trouble. Mainly changing locations and flavour where appropriate, mostly.
Perfect, thanks. I don't know why I had so much trouble with that one.
That would be because the Grapple rules are a pain to work with, really. It's perfectly normal to be confused. We all are or were at some point because of those.
As an aside, please do note that Owlbears main mission in life is to shred low-level character into bloody pieces. Be careful around those, whether you're a PC or the GM, those things can be nasty for their CR.
For very small rooms, maybe. For larger ones, generally good base speed of summons, and early access to elementals (fly, earth glide) can solve lots of the "getting around and positioning" problems. You still get the benefit of using your summons as a meat shield. Even if they last only one round, it's probably more than enough.
I agree it won't be very useful if heading in a room full of archers or casters at the ready, but being melee heavy isn't the problem in that case...
The fact that the Druid likes to melee doesn't mean he can't use his Summon Nature's Ally spells to conjure creatures. Make them go first in the room, it should help in buying enough time for everyone to get into position.
Also, I agree that planned tactics and cooperation is the best way to go. With that large of a party, going in unorganized will quickly turn to its ruin due to the general mess.
*glances at his full IK RPG line book collection* Looks like I'm one of those lucky few then. :P
In all honesty, balance and mechanics in the IK RPG aren't very good. But the fluff. The fluff is hands down one of the best I've seen. In particular, the Monsternomicons are truly amazing, a standard by which I now judge every other bestiaries.
I'll keep an eye on the new RPG line when it finally launches, if only to see if mechanics are more satisfying than the d20 incarnation. I've always liked the high magic feel of Eberron, but it's hard to beat the flavor of the Iron Kingdoms. Maybe the success of Warmachines and Horde will give a brighter future to their new RPG system. The setting truly deserves a good RPG line.
Really interesting discussion so far !
For the record, I completely forgot about the "half-HP" clause of the massive damage rule and was totally thinking "50 damage" the whole time. I also agree that the Helpless condition not causing reflex saves to auto-fail seems curious. I'd be happy to have the proposed clarifications added in the document without any rule change.
I don't think the current rule about failed saves needs changing. After all, it doesn't upset game balance at all, and a chance for only strain is still better than a certainty of having to use your healing resources.
On a personal level, I'm perfectly fine with the idea of evocation spells acquiring a fearsome reputation as being the cause of grievous wounds. It gives back something to blasting, so often derided from an optimization standpoint, and makes the evocation school reacquire a special flavor in its own right. Where necromancy can snuff your soul out, enchantment make you lose control over yourself, evocation hurts. I think the distinction between strain and injury helps making it feel more like "real" damage and could be leveraged in descriptions to overall good effect, getting better player immersion and improving overall suspension of disbelief. Maybe it's just me.
Also, I'm fortunate enough to actually play more these times than the last two years or so, and should launch a Kingmaker campaign very soon now. I will use the strain-injury rules in their current state, from level 1. A chance to see if I'm completely wrong or not about blasting not being an issue from a mechanical standpoint !
It seems we reached the point where people either are satisfied with the strain-injury rule as it is, or want it to work differently (or do more). Since I'm still concerned with tying loose ends of the current draft, bear with me while I make an attempt at it.
The line between strain and injury is mostly determined by crits and saves. Thus, we need an attack roll or a saving throw to have the possibility of one or the other. This quite logically leaves damage without saves or attack rolls as a problem. Of those, we solved heat, thirst and the like by adding a clause for ongoing damage. This leaves us with things like lava or falling, whose treatment in Pathfinder weren't particularly realistic to begin with.
We have several options, more or less already explored in some way :
We know the first two options aren't really satisfying, so let's see what we can come up with the third one.
First, I'm more and more convinced that we should add the helpless condition to the list of injury sources. It is a one word solution to a slew of corner cases, such as the chucking of a tightly chained dwarf in a vat of acid, already provided as an example in the other thread.
Second, I propose to simply use the massive damage threshold as a secondary dividing line between strain and injury for damaging effects devoid of attack rolls or saves. This make a cave-in strain to any mid-level adventurer not already battered, and restores a dip into lava into something that will always be inherently dangerous. (unless you get literally lucky by rolling less than 50 on 20d6 - if I read anydice.com correctly, a ~0.33% chance !)
Would this solution seem to be an acceptable compromise to everyone under the current draft and the ideas surrounding its core mechanics ?
(*) While not trying to miss it.
Puma D. Murmelman wrote:
Combat is exactly the same as before. Any healing effect can heal both strain and injury, healing injury first.
You're correct. 21hp, and a broken rib or somesuch that represents your lingering 9 point injury yet to be healed. (*) The mechanic is mostly intended for PCs, but if you were to apply it to opponents, yes, they would also get strain back the same way.
You raise an interesting point, you know. Do we want and should we include a clause saying that strain-injury only applies to PCs and major characters, a bit like Hero points, or do we want it to be absolute ? (As a GM, I almost always let mooks die if they're taken below 0hp, and care only about the fate of important opponents, but I understand not everyone will run it like that.)
Edit : (*) Or rather, that is the way I read it anyway. Only Lincoln can tell if it's what he intended with regard to negative hp. But it's certainly way easier to track that way.
Your proposal adds additional rolls and calculations to the existing system, where the Strain-Injury only adds a conditional check. I'm sorry, but it's not simpler.
I understand you want more realism in the system, but Pathfinder is not realistic. Shadowrun (which I played extensively, altough it was... 3rd Ed ?) is much more realistic, but it also has excruciatingly slow combat round. Pathfinder, like 3.5 before, attempts to reconcile streamlined combat mechanics with decent suspension of disbelief.
The Strain-Injury rule tries to alleviate some of the harder points of the suspension of disbelief part for narrative GMs without breaking the streamlined mechanics, while also trying to solve the 15-minute workday problem by changing the way healing works. That's a tall order already. Trying to push realism into the system will either break it completely or lead to a vast subset of house rules, inevitably more complicated than the actual proposal.
As for your very good point about more strain from melee than spells, I take it you postulate then that the sword blow is more dangerous than the lightning bolt jolt and burn ? Why would it be so ? I can easily see a trained man-at-arms having a much easier time to dodge and parry a sword, even wielded by a guy foaming at the mouth, than a sudden bolt of lightning coming out of nowhere. This would be the exact reverse of your implication in your earlier example, but it's a difference in how we see the lethality of combat, and perhaps how we would narrate it. But what you and I think of how combat should work is irrelevant because the cursor was already set by the designers of 3.5, and it's somewhere around "decently fast, not very realistic at its core, but hopefully believable enough".
Strain-injury reconcile the meaningfulness of hit points with descriptions by providing a clear cut, simple, and fully integrated within the existing ruleset of what's injury and what's not. Therein lies its true strength and elegance. I'm all open to bouncing other ideas back and forth and expanding the current system with additional rules, but the core idea of strain-injury should say as it is, or mutate into something as equally instinctive than the current proposal.
That said, I agree we need to find an acceptable solution for the potential abuse of environmental damage other than GM's call. Massive Damage sounds like a solid bet. If we were to use this rule as a basis, would we want to make it a save vs Death or a save vs Injury ?
And rereading myself before posting, I come off maybe a little harsher than I'd like. Sorry Charender, I think I just mostly disagree whith where you're trying to push the current proposal.
Not that I know, but the first sentence in the PRD is "A helpless character is paralyzed, held, bound, sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise completely at an opponent's mercy." It seems a solid ground for the idea that you get an injury because you're completely unable to avoid the damage and thus don't have an opportunity to make it strain damage. Solves the vat of acid and half of the catapulted part. Still no luck with the falling damage part, but I think that's because the original rules are beyond help about any semblance of suspension of disbelief...
I too am annoyed by the common misconception that seem to arise when people read the strain-injury rule, or what they think it should do. Even though some seem to grasp the implications immediately, we can only assume it is poor wording on our part. Like Mortuum, I think we're really close to a sentence or two in the first section that would clarify it further. Basing it on the helpless condition sounds interesting because it's both RAW and leaving room to GM adjudication. Coupled with your proposal of a quick explanation, it would bring us in a good position, hopefully.
Thanks for the kind words. Its a good exercise to collect my thoughts and try to express them clearly in English, but it can take quite some time. Every so often, it's good to know my efforts aren't for naught. :)
Excellent work on the presentation !
The Gunmage looks solid enough already. It may overshadow "regular" Magus a bit, but it's to be expected, with the emphasis on ranged magic. It may also be a bit on the powerful side compared to gunslinger and magus, but I lack experience with those two classes, so I'm not the best judge for that. Otherwise, the design is sound and mechanics in line with fluff. I like it.
The Arcane Mechanik is not quite there yet, I'm afraid. The handful of higher level abilities I find a bit wonky as written, especially the "immune while perched atop servitor" which sound slightly ridiculous. While I like the full companion for the class, I have no idea how to rewrite or what to replace those weird abilities with, I'm sorry. You merged the Bodger with the Arcane Mechanik. While it loses some of the original flavor of the Bodger, it's probably a good idea too, given the power level of Pathfinder classes. Overall, it's not bad at all either, but I feel it needs more refining.
In case you're interested, there is a different take on a PF Gunmage here : http://privateerpressforums.com/showthread.php?7181-Pathfinder-Gunmage-I-co uld-use-some-collective-thoughts&p=278560&viewfull=1#post278560; It was made before the Magus and looks really solid too.
For those willing to put these conversions on their websites, remember that the original classes were not OGL, and as such remain under the intellectual property of Privateer Press. Although I very much doubt they would mind much, given the lack of support given to their RPG line - a pity, the setting is absolutely awesome, and the fluff books were truly excellents as well.
Best of luck in those conversions, it's always a pleasure to see people keen on keeping the Iron Kingdoms thriving. :)
I'm not sure if I should. :D
It may not be what you meant, but it's probably how it would end up being used at a fair share of tables. Would it be for good (better interactions and investments of players and great storytelling) or worse (endless bickering as to what is an injury, or excessive rulings by GMs), that I don't know, but I'm afraid it would be the latter if we're not careful in our presentation.
I should also say that I've never been pushing for realism. I'm of the opinion that an unrealistically powerful character is a fine thing, and that it's only consistent that such a character should be able to unrealistic things. It's that internal consistency that I'm pushing for. The kind of rule that means gods don't die to a finger poke and generic commoners can't jump over houses. I want crappy to be crappy and awesome to be awesome.
I fully understand that, and this is why your input so far has been so valuable. I'm also all for internal consistency, I'm just wary of the confusion that could arise if we were to left too much in the hand of the GM under the assumption of "realistic injury or not", because I'm afraid it will perversely lead to the exact reverse of the premices behind the strain-injury system.Hence my advocacy, like Laurefindel, of retreating on the "helpless" condition, or failing that, on being denied a save, because it is a clear reference, doesn't change the ruleset further, and I think is sufficient to solve those last problems - until you poke holes in it again, but we already established earlier that we liked you doing that. ;)
Otherwise, we go back to the "but lava is deadly" argument which we're trying to avoid so hard. For your "being shackled and then dumped into acid" or Laurefindel's "pinned by a giant and shoved head-first into lava", we have good example where RAW, you wouldn't necessarily be helpless or denied a save, but where a good number of GMs would rule you are for the purpose of strain-injury. That RAW you aren't is irrelevant, because the wording around helpless/denied a save = injury would be sufficiently clear, I think, to show the intent behind the rule and provide an easy framework of reference for "on-the-spot ruling that just make sense" that are one of the reasons we all play with pen and papers RPGs.
I think I'm just rambling again. I'm sorry I can't express my thoughts as clearly as, say, you or Lincoln, but hopefully you get my point despite my lack of eloquence...
I think the clearest way to word those latest corner cases discussed - your feedback is absolutely excellent Mortuum, but I swear, you poke holes in rulesets like a Devil in a contract - is to tie the injury to the "helpless" condition, or maybe any condition that would prevent you to make a save (i.e. be able to avoid injury). Otherwise, I fear we will stray away from a clean and simple houserule.
Mortuum, your idea ("Say that taking strain is always a choice. If you don't employ your training etc to avoid getting injured, you just get injured.") is great, and I have the same view as others here about empowering players, but I sincerely think this is a slippery slope, prone to misunderstanding and abuse by GMs. Or can we safely assume that any GM interested by this rule will understand it fully and not make harsher decisions than intended as to what is an injury or not ?
The strain-injury proposal is awesome in that it gives some realism to the pathfinder hit points, but I think we shouldn't forget that the amount of realism in the default system is not much. Like Ashiel would be prompt to note, by RAW, a character making atmospheric reentry takes an average of 70 points of damage upon hitting the ground. Any mid-level adventurer will just dust off and walk out of the small crater he just made. There is no way to reconcile completely such cases with realism.
While I like most of the ideas in this thread, I don't think trying to force realism to every cases conceivable is a good idea, because Pathfinder is not the system for that. We could add a more realistic framework with extensive house rules, but the strain-injury would still be step one, and to keep it encapsulated like Lincoln whishes, I feel we must refrain from the temptation of complete realism that insidiously creeps back in this thread.
Now, don't get me wrong, I like my realism too, I wouldn't be here otherwise. I just feel we almost reached a point where, as we say in French, "le mieux est l'ennemi du bien" (*), which would here probably best translated as "leave well enough alone".
(*) And now you know why you probably sometimes find my English a bit weird. :P
Impressive work. I especially like the hex improvements expansion you made.
Why not share the document through google doc/google site ? A simple link where to direct people would certainly be easier than sending dozen of emails, particularly with the interest your rules are raising. :)
My only concerns are that it calls out specific environmental threats rather than things that cause damage over time in general
I agree. Pathfinder rules usually call specific points as example. What about some change in the vein of "... nor suffering additional ongoing Strain damage (such as thirst, starvation, or extreme heat or cold)" ?