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sunshadow21's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 3,326 posts (8,151 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 29 aliases.


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Mearl's response is here. While I applaud them for being careful, this strikes me as being almost too careful, and if this is how they are approaching a key book, people looking for support of less important books are going to be in for a long haul.

K177Y C47 wrote:
KaiserDM wrote:
I thought a cleric's domains and the availability of archetypes is what helped give clerics their flavor. I don't disagree with the sentiment that individual spell lists would be impressive, but wouldn't separate spell lists for every deity be rather intensive? The page count for the cleric spell section could fill its own book. That's not to mention spells for Infernal/Demonic patrons and Empyreal Lords.

It would not be a seperate spell list. Essentially you would have basic spells every cleric knows (i.e. "univeralist" spells) then the other spells would have tages depending on domain (i.e. "fire" or "evil") kind of like spell schools.

I would think that a cleric would essentially get all spells that fall within their dieties domains (regardless if they actually HAVE the domain as one of their 2).

That's essentially how I would do it. There wouldn't be a core list; rather, each domain would have a spell list of one to two dozen spells. I would then give clerics access to a three or four common domains, such as healing, plus whatever domains their deities have. Domains would also have powers like they do now that individual clerics within that religion could tap into (this is where selecting 2 domains would come into play). This would give each cleric access to the four domains of their deity, another 3 or 4 common ones that all clerics would have access to, and put them in line roughly with a specialist wizard in terms of available spells and flexibility, a good place to be. Not only does this give more power to domains without overpowering the class, but it creates a certain amount of customization within the religions that DMs can play with. It also makes druids and oracles a breeze. Druids get a list of all the nature, plant, animal, and elemental type domains without needing a separate list, and could easily become an alternate class of the cleric, saving further space. Oracle mysteries would each grant access to specific domains, helping make each distinct, and still not requiring special lists beyond the lists for the domains themselves. You could even throw in a few basic common domains for oracles, but I would limit the number of them to only one or two, and I would not automatically make healing one of them.

It would be a lot of upfront work, but the payoffs are big. Power levels remain the same, domains and customization take a big step forward, and designing other full level divine casters becomes easier.

Buri wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
To me, the biggest flag of concern is that they don't even have an idea of how to do a campaign guide for FR yet.
This is utterly baseless. A lack of announcement in no way implies a lack of vision or intent. They've decades of experience in business let alone tabletop gaming or even Dungeons and Dragons. It is much more likely they, in fact, do have a roadmap for the settings and certainly so for one of their largest to date.

Not according to Mearls himself. In a thread on Enworld about that topic, he stated that while they do plan to publish such a book, they were still trying to figure out exactly how to do it. They may very well have very rough plans, but clearly nothing that would be considered a working outline that would allow them to go forward on the project tomorrow. For what is likely to be one of the key books beyond the core books, that's not comforting. It means that either they have virtually no resources to work with when it comes to the system itself and/or that so many people are so afraid of the risk of failure they are effectively paralyzed and unable to do much of anything on their own. Neither scenario is good. If they can get an OGL off the ground, a lot of pressure will be off their shoulders, but that's still at least late next year before they could see any benefits from that area, assuming they get one off the ground at all. In the meantime, the lack of even a generic placeholder quarter (not even day, but a three month period) for a key book is not promising and evidence that key parts of the development of that book haven't even started yet is going to hurt WotC in the long run. Launching a great set of core books, and backing them up with nothing but a few adventures (even if they are high quality adventures) for at least several quarters beyond that is going to create yet another failed opportunity that WotC cannot afford.

Channeling is not much better than the spell list as far as customization is concerned. It's biggest strength is that it frees up spell slots, and it doesn't really do much else. The alternate domain channeling abilities are nice, but many of them are lacking in usefulness in actual play, and they still don't really get beyond what the spell list allows except in a few cases.

To me, the biggest flag of concern is that they don't even have an idea of how to do a campaign guide for FR yet. The world books are going to have to be their main bread and butter for actual revenue to support the system if they are going to avoid rules bloat, and they haven't even figured out a working idea of how to do them. I applaud them for not overpromising, but this seems like paralysis to me, which is just as bad. Not even having a rough date or quarter where something is going to be launched is problematic when it comes to a critical book. If they can't even pin down to a three month period something like that, how are they going to expect people to wait while they pin down support for other worlds, rules options, and the other stuff they are tentatively promising?

DrDeth wrote:
It is by no means universally acknowledged that the rogue is sub-par. Sorry. Still a very popular class, fun to play and can contribute to any team.

A recent thread might disagree with you. While it's not the only measure, when most people would not retain the rogue as one of eight classes they carry forward, and indeed, rogue doesn't even come close, very popular may be a stretch, even if the other claims are still valid enough. Interestingly, for the purpose of this thread, the fighter wouldn't have made it, and even the ranger and paladin struggled, so there's no real clear concensus on what people want from a martial or skill based class. For the OP, I would say it's less they are becoming less favored, and more that people are willing to explore other ideas to see what ultimately works best. The same is true for casters, as well. Clerics and wizards both struggled in that other thread, but bards, sorcerers, and oracles all did well, mostly on the grounds of flavor. Based on what I saw on that thread, having a generic class that everyone builds from is likely to be replaced with more focused, flavorful classes that have archetypes to allow for different concepts within the same basic framework.

Melkiador wrote:
At the least, I suspect the new monk and summoner will be different enough from standard to make prior experience with them fairly meaningless.

Or they could build off of prior experience by taking what they learned about from the different archetypes and incorporate that into the core classes, at which point, prior experience is still very much relevant. We really have no way of knowing how it will go.

Shadowdweller wrote:
The cleric was never SUPPOSED to be the spellcasting equivalent of the wizard/magic-user.

Late AD&D and it's spheres would disagree with that. Heck, the whole idea of domains, though weak in implementation, would disagree with that. PF has done better than 3.5 did, but there's still a lot of room for improvement, and that room will only come with rewriting the base spell list to something that gives that room for domains to shine while not overpowering the class as a whole.

Charlie D. wrote:
Starting in 2015 they plan to make an announcement about OGL/open source.

That's the only part that really gets my interest. Adventures are great, but are not going to take the place of actual books about the different worlds; PF, while it started with adventurers, also included, and still includes, more in their APs besides the adventure and they still ultimately started a line to support the actual world itself. Video games, merchandise, boardgames, and movies look great on paper, but ever since 3.5, boardgames are the only ones to have really come through. In the end, I'm seeing mostly what I've seen for the last ten years; lots of plans, big goals, and not much else. The novels need a major shot in the arm for most of their readership to see them as anything but Drizzt novels plus a few others that try to capitalize on Drizzt's success. For this edition specifically, they have plans for more books and for electronic support beyond the core books, but nothing major, and very little besides adventures, actually scheduled beyond the core books, with no specifics on how the electronic support will work. If they are actually serious about supporting an OGL this time, it will be less of a problem, but with that announcement not until next year, that still leaves at minimum a several month gap between the core books and whatever either they or anybody else can put out. So, in the end, we end up in the same place as before, a lot of potential, but the opportunity of directly feeding off the initial boost from the sales of the core books probably squandered due to lack of anything else immediately following (a few adventures don't really count for sustaining momentum).

I'm not saying that they are going to fall flat on their face again, just that unbridled optimism is not yet something that most people are going to be able to easily muster. They've talked these same talking points constantly for at least a decade, and while the new edition is doing better than I expected, it's still not enough by itself to exorcise the lack of progress on the major talking points they are stressing yet again despite having had no major success in any of them recently.

Terquem wrote:
"I like D&D so I will take a look, but I can still play D&D using other rules that are still supported by a lot of different companies."

This is a lot of what I'm seeing as well. There's a lot of people looking at the new edition, and even a lot of people buying one or more of the core books, but not really a lot of people automatically switching over entirely. While this doesn't have to hurt WotC, it will require a different strategy than what they leaned on in the past, and so far at least they haven't shown themselves to have any strategy at all. The lack of any books for any of their world IPs even scheduled at this point will especially limit any long term effects the boost from the core sales could have provided, as those are the best chances to boost sales without going super rule heavy.

They are in a position very similar to where they were after the OGL was released, where they have to figure out how to adjust to the new market to at least some degree rather than having the market automatically adjust to them. So far their only response to those concerns is largely none at all, either in comments, products, or anything else. Not precisely the kind of proactive response I expect to see from a company that is supposedly the market leader.

JoeJ wrote:

I don't think it needs buffing, but it does need significant reworking for variety, so that clerics of different gods aren't all casting the same spells. Clerics of Aphrodite, Apollo, and Poseidon, for example, should not have the same spell lists. That was one thing that 2e did better than any version since, IMO.

Exactly. I want a class that receives power from different sources to reflect that in play. Not have all sources ultimately end up providing the exact same spells the vast majority of the time.

Kthulhu wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
This I don't agree with entirely. They aren't weak, but capitalizing on the brand going forward is going to be harder than many think, especially in non-tabletop game markets.
Non-tabletop environments know D&D as a bunch of computer games, a bunch of novels, and a board game that they play on Big Bang Theory. But before you sprain your arm patting yourself on the back for Paizo's victory, consider this: Non-tabletop environments know Pathfinder as an SUV.

Novels that most people don't actually associate with D&D itself and that rely on characters made over 20 years ago. Computer games, most of which that are remembered are at least a decade, and usually several decades, old. Boardgames that may or may not be associated with the core brand. In short, nostalgia weighs heavy, and will be as much of a burden as a blessing. WotC, for all the potential they are sitting on, hasn't really done a whole lot with the brand or any of the IPs that could be considered a major success since 3.5 was released. Maybe they finally found the team to break that streak, but that's still a lot of failures (both perceived and real) and missed opportunities to overcome.

Paizo, while they haven't achieved victory yet, is taking the steps necessary to get it. The lack of history and nostalgia, while it will prove to be a major initial hurdle, also means that they get a clean slate to work with, which when put together with a cohesive business plan, is very powerful. Unlike WotC at this point, Paizo has both the support of the community and a proven business plan. The lack of general knowledge amongst the public is an obstacle, but not as major a one as some make it out to be, given that the rest of the pieces either have already fallen into place or clearly in the process of doing so.

In the end, it's not just what has come before and the totality of the resources available, it's also how the available resources are used. In this arena, Paizo has very clearly succeeded; every resource they use is clearly spent on what ultimately is a clear focus. WotC, for the entire ownership of the brand, has struggled with this. The challenges and difficulties with 4E are the most prominent examples, but other examples are just as notable. The lack of any new novel characters or writers to have secured a notable place beside Salvatore, Greenwood, Drizzt, and Elminster. The lack of a truly successful computer game since NWN 2. The complete lack of any successes in the movie theaters. At this point, Mearls and company not only has to overcome the challenge of missed potential but also the failures in trying to capture that potential that led up to this point.

Ultimately, I don't see either company as having a particularly easier or harder road ahead of them. Each has different challenges, but the relative number of challenges versus advantages is about the same in both cases.

Focusing on casting for pretty much anything beyond buffing or summoning is a no go right now. It's less of a problem for the cleric, but a major problem for oracles, where the mysteries have a far greater range of potential concepts, and even for clerics it's problematic. Spell are almost entirely touch, making any kind of ranged magic concept difficult at best and just not possible at worst. They are also almost entirely will save based, meaning that large chunks of the list can be invalidated very quickly unless the DM is consciously not using monsters that would do so. Most of the list is highly situational, which again means that unless the DM is actively finding ways to keep more than a few spells useful, most of the list is going to be pointless. If you like the battle cleric and/or the buff cleric, you're fine, but the second you even think about doing anything else, there's no virtually support for it.

Buri wrote:
Make no mistake that Wizards has more muscle to flex here if not from money then from sheer experience in the market and if not from that then from a more diverse product offering. They're anything but weak. I could see them still thriving off just IP royalties and other product lines and ending tabletop D&D development altogether.

This I don't agree with entirely. They aren't weak, but capitalizing on the brand going forward is going to be harder than many think, especially in non-tabletop game markets. As for experience, at this point, Paizo and Monte Cook each have as much, or more, functional experience as the WotC team. WotC may have overall a more diverse product line right now, but that isn't going to be true for very long, and they are still going to have to rely heavily on the table top game to carry a lot of those lines for at least a little while yet. They are a long ways from being able to discontinue the tabletop game, though they are in a better position to do so now than they were not all that long ago.

In the end, it's not that WotC is losing, but that WotC is not in actual practice necessarily stronger than anybody else right now. They currently have more leverage via the ownership of better known IPs, but no real plans on how to use any of them beyond the release of the core books for the table top game, and a lot of people are going to be wary of jumping on the WotC bandwagon without a bit more evidence beyond a spike in sales for two quarters as they spread out the core books release. At the same time, Paizo isn't at a point where they can relax, but they have a clear plan, a clear path of how to execute that plan, and a wide base of support within the gaming community to help them. Similarly, other spinoffs are winning their own loyal fan bases that will be hard to convince they want to rejoin the formal D&D fold.

Basically, right now WotC has to be very careful about resting on it's past laurels, and while 5E will do well, it won't be enough by itself to win back lost prestige, or enough to hold off a surging OGL and OSR market filled with people that just don't care about WotC anymore. The strength of the D&D brand and IPs like FR and Greyhawk only matters if it's effectively leveraged, and WotC has not shown a strong history of being able to do so on their own, even with all the additional money they have access to. All in all, while I have to say that they are in a far better position than I expected them to be in at this point, they still have a lot of work ahead to firmly secure the majority of their goals.

Renegadeshepherd wrote:
What's more, unlike most classes the cleric can fill any role you want.

Even with domains, the basic role of the any cleric is going to be mostly the same. There's a little bit of give in terms of melee vs not melee, but other than that, domain powers and spells are the only real variation most clerics will really have, and they count for little. Those that utilize domain channeling instead of positive or negative energy can get a bit more customization, but those limited at best in their usefulness. Even oracles can find that actual customization is a bit difficult at times. A big reason is that while the spell list is powerful, it's highly oriented toward a very specific function and role, and because of the power in it, it's not possible to really enhance the other parts of the class that could increase customization. True support for more than a handful of concepts while using that list will require that the entire list be rewritten to allow for a broader range of ideas.

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Buri wrote:
I think the position that Paizo is or has beat Wizards in all segments is simply wrong.

I don't think that Paizo has beat WotC yet, but I do think they are strong enough that they firmly control their own destiny and very little of what WotC does or does not do will impact that in the near future.

Kthulhu wrote:

It seems to me that a lot of the problems people are expressing over 5e is based on them trying to play 5e exactly the same as if it were 3.x/PFRPG. It's not the same game, and you might have to adjust your expectations. The same as 3.x/PFRPG isn't the same game as 4e, and they play differently. And how neither 3.x/PFRPG or 4e are the same game as 0e/1e/2e/Basic D&D, and they all play differently.

If you can't handle a game not playing exactly the same as 3.x/PFRPG, my suggestion would be to stick to 3.x/PFRPG.

The problem I foresee is that they made so much of an effort to pull in from every other edition that 5E will struggle to stand on it's own. It does various things well, but, especially for the 3.x crowd, I have yet to see anything that is going to have the same long term appeal as simply modifying or continuing to use modifications already made to existing systems when most groups are going to find something about 5E that they will likely want to change to be more like their favored edition. The changes they made to wizards and casting in general will annoy as many people as it pleases. Ditto for the inclusion of feats (although they seem to have somewhat worked around that one), healing surges, and their attempts to boost fighters and martials in general. For every person I've seen that likes those specific changes, there usually just as many that are wary of them or outright don't like them. The idea of bounded accuracy is already starting to see a number of holes in it. The only feature I've seen that is universally liked is the dis/advantage system, but that is easily enough ported to other systems that it won't require long term support of 5E to use elsewhere. I could very easily see a lot of people buying the core books, and use those rules in the settings, worlds, and campaigns they already have from elsewhere. While that won't hurt WotC, it's also not going to help them much in the long run either if that's all the support they get from most people.

Buri wrote:
Paizo's stance is anything but assured. I don't think they'll be simply shoved to the way side any kind of soon or even at all, but it's always telling when you look at how an organization spends its money. They're doing what they're doing because they're fighting which means not even they are 100% in their position. If they were, they'd do better to spend elsewhere.

Paizo's position could be stronger, but when you look at the leadership they have, and the progress they have already made in a very short time, I would have to agree with several others here that long term 1st place is largely Paizo's to lose with a strong D&D edition helping Paizo as much as it does WotC. Comparing the long term announcements from Paizo and WotC, Paizo is in a a stronger position. WotC will have a strong several quarters with the core books, but beyond that, they have nothing to sustain the initial boost. They don't even have a setting book scheduled at this point, which means that's probably at least a year out from the DMG release date. Rule books, same story as the setting books. Adventures will help a bit, but will still leave lots of room open for people to keep buying books from Paizo and all of the other publishers out there for adventure and system support, especially since many of the adventures and third party books will be made to be reasonably easy to port over, even if they aren't official 5E products. Meanwhile, Paizo has the Unchained book, one small computer app along with a long term partnership with someone to make a CPRG at some point, an MMO, and all of their existing product lines which I'm sure will continue to get support. Paizo would have to something really, really stupid or WotC would have to come out with a truly amazing computer game or movie (not something that ultimately receives mediocre reviews the Neverwinter MMO had) for WotC to be able to make a dent in their position.

The only reason WotC has a chance of competing with them right now is the brand name and the IPs for FR, Greyhawk, and all of the other worlds they control. The ruleset by itself under any other name wouldn't stand a chance, and I am getting the firm impression that WotC both understands this and doesn't really care, since they really only seem to be looking at the system as a minor placeholder until they can finally launch their grand scheme of moving the brand beyond the game itself (something which they have a better chance of doing this time, though it's still a long shot). So I doubt they really care how the system does as long as it's not seen as a failure. Because of this, they won't stay at #1 very long, and may not even compete for that spot every quarter; as long as they are at least in the top 3, I suspect WotC will be perfectly content.

4d6 ⇒ (5, 2, 6, 4) = 17=15
4d6 ⇒ (6, 3, 2, 1) = 12=11
4d6 ⇒ (6, 2, 4, 2) = 14=12
4d6 ⇒ (2, 6, 1, 3) = 12=11
4d6 ⇒ (6, 3, 4, 2) = 15=13
4d6 ⇒ (5, 3, 3, 6) = 17=14
4d6 ⇒ (2, 4, 3, 3) = 12=10

15, 11, 12, 11, 13, 14 = solid rolls

Will work up a desert druid with either the seeking adventure or gnoll killer campaign trait.

Shadowdweller wrote:
The cleric and the cleric spell list is very nearly the last thing in the game that needs any buffing whatsoever.

Buffing, no. A bit of reworking to work with more than one specific concept, yes. Right now it doesn't matter what deity you follow or what domains you have, at least 75% of the spells and powers you use will be the exact same ones that every other cleric of any other deity or domain uses. Throw in oracles using the same list, and the problem becomes even bigger; an oracle of most of the mysteries is not going to be able to easily explain why their patrons are giving them spells that have little to nothing to do with their mystery. So while you are correct in that buffing is not necessary, a rewrite that allows for a greater range of concepts to be well supported is.

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Puna'chong wrote:

At least the clerics don't get claws as their domain ability in a kajillion slots like sorcerers do, and when they do they have a 3/4 BAB so they can be built to get some use out of it. Most domain abilities are fairly useful, some are even full-on class features (like animal companions) and by default you get two. So, in essence, the spell list is supporting a shell that gets:

3/4 BAB
Channel Energy (and any variants that might be chosen)
Good Fort, Good Will
Two Domains, their abilities, and their bonus spells
Medium armor proficiency and shields (can use heavy)
Free weapon proficiency in deity's weapon
Free conversion of spells into cure/inflict
Ability to leave spell slots open and fill them later

Take that shell, let it have the wizard list (I guess without the arcane failure chance for armor) and damn. I don't think people would play anything else.

They don't need anything like the full wizard spell list. Rather, I would like to see it structured so that domains drive spell selection similar to the way that wizards have schools. Would keep the same relative amount of power they have now while allowing for greater options in character concepts that are backed up in actual play.

boring7 wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
DominusMegadeus wrote:
He said his problem was a lack of flavorful spells.
That right there is my biggest qualm with the list. Too many flavorful spells are absolutely not worth bothering with ever for a wide variety of reasons, and everyone ends up using the same mostly boring spells despite supposedly following different gods and beliefs. Power isn't an issue with a cleric, supporting any kind of rp or fluff through actual spells or class abilities is. Tack on the use of this same list for oracles, and the problem is amplified even more.

Which spells are both flavorful and good on the Wizard list? I mean, off the top of my head the most weird or flavorful spells are generally pretty bad in terms of usefulness.

Moving on, there have been plenty of times my wizard wished he had access to those charming little cleric spells that do things my wizard list just can't. Of course that's because I'm a transmuter and I focus on support casting, and when you're doing good-touch casting it's often about what stacks and what doesn't. Really, 'splodey-caster is more of a Sorceror Idiom anyway, even if they only get 1 more spell per day. But let's not get TOO tangential. I was looking at mythic spells recently and discovered quite a few that were very interesting and NOT available to wizard.

For *interesting* spells, wizard (and I think witch, though I haven't played one yet) has more weird stuff that ended up crawling into the lore and list over the decades of D&D magic. Of course most of that junk is USELESS or also available to other classes. Create demiplane, for example. Miracle, as another example, is both better and worse than Wish, since it costs nothing, has less solid limitations, but can be nixed at any time by the DMyour diety.

Then there's bad touch. A Cleric has a LOT of nasty "hurt you" spells that are touch-range. Many of them are NOT on the Wizard list and really nasty, but they are single-target bad-touches instead of...

The key to me is that not all wizards end up choosing the same spells all the time. A transmuter is going to pick largely different spells than an evoker. Sure, there are a few basics everyone grabs, but for the most part, the spells cast varies from wizard to wizard. You cannot say that about the cleric spell list. Every level has at most half a dozen spells that make up 90% of the spell actually cast, regardless of deity, alignment, or however the player chooses to rp the character. The list is great if you like playing healing/support/buff, but for everything else it sucks. Even counting noncore spells, very few spells target anything but wisdom; almost everything is a range of touch (not optimal for most potential cleric concepts), and there are very few proactive spells that aren't buffs. And because of the power that that the list provides, they can't strengthen domains anymore than they already have to give some customization.

In the end, power isn't everything; the cleric has bunches of power, but it still usually feels very bland. Deity, domain, and other rp choices are rarely supported by the spell list, and it's an even bigger problem when it's used by the oracle class. Clerics need a way to customize their spell list the same way wizards do; earlier editions had that with the concept of sphere. If they brought that back and tied it into the domain system, than you would get stronger mechanical support for more character concepts while keeping domains and the spell list in general more meaningful to the individual character concept while still being easy to understand.

DominusMegadeus wrote:
He said his problem was a lack of flavorful spells.

That right there is my biggest qualm with the list. Too many flavorful spells are absolutely not worth bothering with ever for a wide variety of reasons, and everyone ends up using the same mostly boring spells despite supposedly following different gods and beliefs. Power isn't an issue with a cleric, supporting any kind of rp or fluff through actual spells or class abilities is. Tack on the use of this same list for oracles, and the problem is amplified even more.

The biggest problem I have with the cleric spell list is that that most every cleric I've seen ends up using the same spells, regardless of deity or alignment, because so much of the list is heavily situational in it's effectiveness. Carry over the fact that oracles, with a wide variety of mysteries available to them, also rely on this one list that is very clearly oriented toward a single focus, and I just don't care for it. It is probably the first thing I would rewrite if given the chance, going back to the spheres idea from earlier editions, using domains as the guiding focus for the cleric class and access to spells, not a generic spell list that doesn't work for a great many cleric concepts. In the end, to me at least, it's not that it's weak, but rather that it's so hyper focused on the support/buff role that it only barely works for more martial type clerics and is completely inappropriate for many, if not most, oracles. On the whole, the druid spell list is far better built in my opinion; the power level is not insane, like the wizard's list, but it's versatile enough to cover a variety of concepts.

"I think it's somewhere to the south, so just keep going that direction, and you'll find yourself there. Now if you are aiming for a specific location, that might be a bit trickier. I can't seem to find a map maker willing to go beyond Oleg's Trading Post. Something about bandits and wild animals."

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It's actually fairly easy to get a general idea of what things will look like until the DMG comes out, and I have yet to see any of the changes made be received with completely positive reviews. Dis/advantage seems to be getting more positive reactions as time goes on, but most everything else remain heavily mired in the mixed camp, with a few not liking a particular feature at all, most not really sure how it will actually work in play, and a few wildly positive about it. Hardly "very positive" overall. It's not negative, which is something that I will freely give WotC credit for, but it's still a far cry from very positive outside of a few voices.

A gnome in entertainer's gear walks buy with a tray full of ale laden mugs. "Give her one of these, and take one for yourself while you're at it. It's the finest ale Sandpoint can produce and will easily fill your time."

You may find yourself saying that phrase an awful lot if the DMG doesn't hold up to people's hopes, and that's where the problem comes in. I don't mind having something different on the market, but this just feels like WotC put something out there for the sake of having something out there while they get the rest of the brand going, and that is very disappointing to me. At least with 4E, even if I didn't like what they did, I could respect the courage it took to make those decisions. Maybe time will show it different, but right now there's just something about this system that just feels like it's not worth the effort, and that's not something I want to see in a major brand, especially this major brand. I expect an overall lukewarm response here, but not on more generic gaming forums, but that is very often what I'm seeing elsewhere as well. That doesn't help anyone in the gaming community. WotC needed something to heal their reputation, and so far all they've done is stop the bleeding; that's not going to be enough and I don't like that WotC seems to be content with that being enough.

Steve Geddes wrote:

I think they should have hired some game designers and then run an extended, public Playtest.

Ignoring the good bits of 3rd and 4th edition seems like a silly idea to me.

So does cherry picking ideas without paying attention to the structure they came from, and that's what they did here. They cherry picked all the ideas that people seem to remember as fun and tried to cram them all into one single framework despite the fact that a large part of what made certain things fun had to do with the whole of the original framework. I just don't understand what niche they hope to fill with this edition. 4E was already looking at a very crowded field, and this one seems to try to be a gymnast that sits between and around everything, doing nothing particularly well or particularly bad, in hopes that they can convince enough people that individual mechanics don't matter at all, and the overall story can and should override everything. They'll get some people, to be certain, and will probably even be able to support the concept without a massive amount of effort, but really, other systems do the whole rules lite focus on storytelling far better than D&D ever will.

Steve Geddes wrote:
I think it was a good strategy to not try and target the 3.5 fans. They have pathfinder, after all and paizo have a strongly loyal cadre of customers. Far better to address the market without a dominant leader (especially if that's where the Playtest indicated the fans wanted WotC to focus).

They don't need to target those players, but they can't ignore the impact that edition had on expectations when it came to things like how caster work. If they really wanted to target pre 3rd edition folks, they should have started clean from the last system before they took over, basically ignored everything from than on, including feats, the d20 system, skills, and everything else, and come up with their own brand new solutions from that base, and let the 3rd edition branch be completely it's own thing. This trying to mix the best of all editions into one doesn't work when they were so different in base assumptions and design choices.

Steve Geddes wrote:

Aren't Ad&D and first edition the same game?

I thought it went OD&D (0E) - AD&D (BECMI stream in parallel) - 2nd Edition AD&D - 3rd edition - 4th edition.

I can never keep track of the different acronyms mostly because no one can actually seem to agree on half of them. The system as it stood around Baldur's Gate seems like the best middle ground to me.

Adjule wrote:
If 5th edition isn't up to what you like, you can always stick to Pathfinder, which is always updated and getting new things.

This is the part that a lot of D&D fans are not going to want to have to acknowledge, because as a mashup, 5E will gain a lot of fans, but it also gain a lot of people who take one look at it, look at a particular section that they are most concerned about, see something they find just as problematic as the original problem, and choose not to play it. The magic section in particular is going to have this effect on people. I know a lot of people wanting magic scaled back; I myself don't mind the basic concept. However, I don't know very many people wanting it scaled all the way back to 1st edition levels. Likewise, a lot of fans of earlier editions are going to look at healing surges, feats, and similar things as being unnecessarily complicated. I can see this going over well with a group of people that can't agree on any other edition, but I don't see it replacing any other edition (or the related spinoffs) in the grand scheme of things. It will be just as easy for a great many people to stick with what is already being played and coming up with house rules to fix the parts they don't like and a considerable bit cheaper as well.

Eirikrautha wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:

If they are truly harkening back all the way to the first one or two versions of the game, then WotC and their supporters had better be prepare to fully explain this aspect every time this discussion comes up for the next several months, if not the next year or so. Considering that most people's first memories come from Baldur's Gate or 3rd edition, it is a major, major change to the baseline that many expect.
It's very dangerous to assume that your experiences are "most people's" experiences. Especially when (as far as I know) no one has ever done a comprehensive survey of all role-players. I will say that, considering the lengthy playtesting of 5e, there has been a lot of positive feedback based on the style of the game (and how it "feels" like earlier editions). You may not enjoy that feel. I might. Neither of us can use our preferences to establish what the "majority" of gamers actually think or want. WotC has some information that leads them to believe that their target audience is large enough to sustain this edition and that the flavor is what those people want. We'll see if they are correct. So far, so good...

Baldur's Gate and early 3E is definitely one of the bigger entry periods; therefore, it's reasonable to expect a great many people will use that as a baseline of sorts. And it's a perspective that WotC has consistently ignored in important ways when developing both 4E and 5E. While appealing to pre 3rd edition players is fine, they can't really afford to act as if 3rd edition never happened, or pick and choose what parts of 3rd edition happened and which ones can easily be ignored. Buffing and battlefield control spells are a core part of what people expect when they come from that perspective, and simply acting as if they never became as big as they did is not a solution that is going to appeal to a great many in the OGL crowd. The idea of basing them on concentration is not a bad one; making it concentration only is. Most people can probably agree that scaling back the power of buffs and control spells is good, but I've seen very few that believe they needed to be gutted back to the 1st edition level of non-usefulness.

In the end, it's that kind of decision that will keep the system from reaching the level of success that many seem to think should be automatic because of the brand name recognition. You cannot keep most of the core math systems from 3rd edition and not expect people to use that same edition as something as a baseline for other things. As it is, it seems like they tried to take different expectations from different editions and expect everybody to gather into one big circle again as if none of the differences ever happened. The result will certainly please a lot of people, but far from everyone. A great many people who really like the early editions will dislike the inclusion of anything 3rd edition or onward, and those who like 3E or 4E are going to have a hard time seeing the point in returning to building classes with expectations that have long since ceased to be the norm.

Personally, I would not have tried to go back to 1st edition power levels for casters; too much time has gone by, and those original builds were changed for a reason. I would rather have seen them go with what I saw in AD&D as a baseline for pretty much everything save the consolidated resolution mechanics from the d20 system. Magic was potent, but not overpowered, and mages were playable without heavy houseruling. Buffing and control spells were present, as were blasting spells and summoning spells, all in what seemed to be a reasonable balance between most of them; that would have served them as a better base than going all the way back to mage = blaster and cleric = healing and support spells imo. There was rules for proficiencies, but they had very little implications on the underlying math, which from what little I've seen in 5E, is not the case, where proficiencies still seem to impart significant bonuses. HP totals, and thus all combat math, was still in the realm of the reasonable. Magic items were largely accepted as being present but uncommon, a nice compromise between "all magic items must be epic and rare" and "oh look, another magic shop" attitudes that came before and after. All in all, it seems like the most effective chassis to start from rather than the hodgepodge that WotC threw together for 5E. By starting with a single chassis, people's expectations are going to be a little more focused, and making changes either forward or backward can be done without skipping over key developments and expectations from later editions or being at power levels that most earlier players would find overly high.

Eirikrautha wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:

From the sounds of it, they are going to be very different most if the tactics used in every previous version of D&D.

Not so sure of that. Most of my experience in 1e and 2e does not support the asserted "buff"-heavy or crowd-control magic user style. It wasn't until 3e that buffing or crowd control got their own classes; before that Bless, Haste, or Protection from Evil were pretty much the only party buffs I remember showing up regularly. If you look at 1e especially, casters were blasters, by and large.

So if you want to say tha 5e is going to be a dramatic change in tactics from 3e/Pathfinder, I'd say you were exactly right. But from earlier editions? So far, it's playing a lot more like the first couple of editions than anything since (at least at my table).

Maybe the earliest editions were blaster casters primarily, but even from what little I've seen of AD&D, there was already a bit of trend toward the buffing and battlefield control within the spell preference. If they are truly harkening back all the way to the first one or two versions of the game, then WotC and their supporters had better be prepare to fully explain this aspect every time this discussion comes up for the next several months, if not the next year or so. Considering that most people's first memories come from Baldur's Gate or 3rd edition, it is a major, major change to the baseline that many expect. And I still see a lot of people making variations on the concentration rule because even if people understand why it was done that way, very few are really going to be that eager to go quite that far back in terms of caster power and tactics over the course of an entire campaign.

A tough choice as these threads always are. It will be interesting to see who gets chosen.

thejeff wrote:

Well, a single battlefield control or buff spell, followed by blasting or other non-concentration spells will work. You might be attacked and lose Concentration, but that's not too much of a problem for most fights. No more than the problem that someone's attacking the squishy in the first place.

And they have buffed your blasting or at least given you plenty of it with At will attack powers.

The ones who really get hurt here I think, are the gish builds and other buffed combat casters. From melee clerics to even paladins and rangers.

Depends on how well martials can take up the slack for controlling the battlefield and enemy movement that was taken away from the casters. Even with only one buff or control spell, casters are still going to be squishiest on the field, and the juiciest and easiest targets. A decent DM that makes effective use of enemy tactics and terrain is going to be able to routinely threaten the caster through both melee and ranged attacks unless they really, really buffed the ability for martials to control large numbers of enemies at once routinely. One concern I see is that complaints about 3.x being rocket tag are only going to be amplified if the only effective control mechanism anyone has for multiple foes is doing damage and killing as many as possible as quickly as possible.

JoeJ wrote:

With the concentration rules and the fact that Dispel Magic now always works on spells of its lever or lower, I don't think Buffing Caster is going to be a very good specialization. The tactics of this game are going to be very different than the ones that work in PF.

From the sounds of it, they are going to be very different most if the tactics used in every previous version of D&D. Since it sounds like battlefield control is equally effected, and the summoning spells are equally cut back, be prepared to see almost every caster focus on blasting, blasting, and only blasting, assuming that the older players bother with casting at all, given that so many types of spells that casters have traditionally used to aid the party as a whole are now not reliable or useful enough to to waste time on. That, or a lot of house ruling to the concentration rule to make the caster functional in the same role they had before while in combat.

I get what they were trying to do, but really the one buff limit by itself would have been ample without adding in the concentration only penalty; applying that penalty broadly to battlefield control spells in addition to buff spells just makes the changes come across as someone at WotC doesn't like casters. The concept is fine, but the execution definitely needs some work.

Alan_Beven wrote:
So some risk that your "tactics" (aka spell buff routine) might come undone and actually make you have to adjust your tactics is now bad and frustrating? I guess I can see how it would upset people, but to me it adds a large dollop of luck to any tactic that relies on a heavy spell casting combo. To me I actually like it, noting it affects NPCs too!

If the indications about not being able to do much of anything to control enemy movement that I seem to be hearing are true, this is going to become a major complaint real quick. Some reliance on luck is not a bad thing, but if the lack of being able to use a particular spell comes from the fact that no amount of tactics can stop the spell from being disrupted, it becomes a problem very quickly. The system risks making the success or failure of a spell based entirely on luck and that is not going to go over well if that turns out to be the case, especially given that the wizard is traditionally the class that most favors tactics and planning. The fact that it effects both PCs and NPCs equally will help it be accepted to a greater point than if it only affected PCs, but it won't stop it from being an issue.

I personally would have gone with concentration plus 1 round, or at least the end of the current round, if it is forcefully dispelled, much the way fly in 3.5 allows the person to float down to the ground before it completely fades away if dispelled. I get what they were trying to do with the concentration duration, and it's not a bad idea, but as written it's too much given the amount of chaos that occurs in a typical fight. Building in a short buffer would give people a chance to react before it goes away without taking away the danger of being in combat. In the end, I foresee a lot of people making house rule variants that modify, but keep the basic idea of, the concentration duration simply because as written it's too chaotic to effectively use, either as a PC or a NPC, over the course of a campaign.

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donnald johnson wrote:
thejeff wrote:
donnald johnson wrote:

Player's Handbook (which is the same as the Basic Game), page 203: "Normal activity, such as moving and attacking, doesn't interfere with concentration. The following factors can break concentration:

Casting another spell that requires concentration. [].
Taking damage. [].
Being incapacitated or killed. []."

Concentration allows you to cast other spells that are immediate, such as attack spells.

Last time I was playing, I was a fighter, our wizard cast fly on me, and while I was flying and attacking (move part of movement/attack/move the rest of the movement), and the wizard was blasting things, the cleric was casting damage spells, and healing. Was a fun battle, until the draco lich showed up.. :) .... :(

I like to play a game to get the feel of a game, reading a thing really doesn't give a feel of the game. Buff magic is one of the things that I hated about 3.x.

Buff spells can be scaled as well. Fly for example: if cast as a 5th level spell, two characters can be affected. Having two characters bouncing around the battle field would be high fun.

Until someone hits the wizard and your ability to fly goes away.

You are wrong.

You get hit and that does not automatically end concentration: Page 203, Players Handbook, "Taking Damage. Whenever you take damage while you are concentrating on a spell, you must make a Constitution saving throw to maintain your concentration. The DC equals 10 or half the damage you take, whichever number is higher. If you take damage from multiple sources, such as an arrow and a dragon's breath, you make a separate saving throw for each source of damage."

I guess I should have entered the entire text of the rule.

I don't see that being a major problem if the spell lost is effecting the wizard; the wizard player knows the risk and probably planned accordingly. Where I see that becoming a major problem is when that spell is on the fighter, and they are relying on it to tank someone that could wipe the entire party out if it goes down. Or really any other situation that another character or the party as a whole is relying on that spell. That is where the instant loss of the spell when the wizard is faced with an impossible save is going to upset people, because at that point, it doesn't just hurt the wizard, it hurts the entire party.

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Vancian casting as originally designed still works fine for the wizard and cleric. I would like to see an alternate system that gives more flexibility to fewer base capabilities for the spontaneous casters, though, to give each it's own niche. Vancian for prepared casters to give them greater flexibility up front, but less adaptability in the heat of the moment, and something else for spontaneous casters that gives less overall base options, but more flexibility in the actual encounters. This allows for each type of caster to shine at different times without being constrained by the other type.

The bards could be considered arcane as well as skilled. A more important breakdown for this AP would be by eventual role in the kingdom.

Steve Geddes wrote:
Terquem wrote:

I think some people are missing a big point about concentration and wizard power regarding what it is that the monsters choose to do.

remember that like each Player Character, the DM must decide what each monster is going to do

Going after the wizard to shut down a spell (breaking concentration) sounds delightful, but that means you aren't going after the fighter or rogue, which is going to leave you wasting a round doing damage to someone who wasn't damaging your monsters in the first place.

Yeah, it seems to me that the other side of the "fewer active spells" coin is that its not that useful to target the magicuser (leaving the melee characters unmolested). If you could dispel all of a PF magicuser's spell with an attack, it would be a no brainer - I think there's a different calculus here.

Whether the resultant system is balanced or not (from a "fun for everyone" perspective) is going to be difficult to tell without playing a lot, I think.

The wizard is still the softest and easiest to kill target on the field even without spells making him a major threat. Add in that I've been seeing indications that controlling the battlefield and enemy movement is going to be difficult at best, and going after the caster doesn't lose any appeal, it just now gives different reasons to do so. It will be interesting to see how things shake out over time, but the problem hasn't been removed, just shifted, from what we have seen so far.

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Steve Geddes wrote:
I suspect we'll soon see though. As I said, they seem quite clear that they're not going to be putting out as much support as in previous editions.

Honestly, thats a good thing. Splat book fatigue was a big problem for both. Their announced strategy of fewer, but higher quality books, is a sound one if they can actually pull it off. It supports the system sufficiently, but allows the brand to move beyond it to other things. It's not so much they aren't supporting the system as much as it is they are looking for a smarter way to support the system. There is a big difference.

Steve Geddes wrote:

I dont think 5E receiving tepid ongoing support is going to mean much to most people who might go to a D&D movie.

The RPG market is an exceedingly small, but terribly self-important segment of the economy, imo. We just dont matter, despite all the online chest thumping and hand wringing.

Where it will matter is at the executive level of WotC and the companies that would make the movies. Even tepid support, as long as it's ongoing, would not hurt efforts in other arenas, but something like the rage at the release of 4E or the apathy showed by the community and WotC to do much to support it after would be a problem. As long as the developers can show that they are putting something out there that is being generally well received by at least a few people, other companies will be far more willing to take the chance and support other projects for the brand. As soon as they see WotC or the gaming community fail to make an effort to directly support the brand themselves, WotC's and Hasbro's task of making the brand more than just the ruleset becomes much harder.

Steve Geddes wrote:
It doesnt seem to me that they care. Their comments of late are that they're not going to be putting out lots of supplements. They're going to focus on the movies/computer games/other avenues.

While I agree that supplements aren't their main focus, they can't afford to ignore them entirely at the same time. They need to make sure that, at the very least, the tabletop game enjoys a neutral or better reputation so it doesn't drag the brand name down. Launching movies, video games, and other products is going to be hard enough with a reasonably strong product for that brand already out there; the task will be even harder without 5E as a base to start from.

Kthulhu wrote:
In high-level games prior to 3e, wizards were very powerful, but some of the ways they are most powerful in d20 games were an absolute joke. If your 20th level wizard cast a save-or-die spell against anything vaguely level-appropriate, then you got to watch the GM roll a 4, tell you it made the save, and then have your face eaten by said monster. If you went full-nova and exhausted all your spells, you didn't have them all back an hour after waking up the next had to spend several days studying your spellbooks to fill up those slots again (10 minutes per spell level for every single spell...a single 9th level spell ate 1.5 hours of preparation time). You didn't max out Concentration so that it would be almost impossible to fizzle while casting a spell, you hoped none of the bad guys were packing 1 hp damage darts. You didn't auto-learn 2x whatever spell you wanted every time you leveled, you picked a single spell every time you got access to a new level of spells, you rolled to see if you could learn it, and if you failed, you moved down to your 2nd choice and repeated the process.

Again, you are assuming that the majority of lapsed players played pre 3rd edition casters routinely into high levels. WotC did much the same thing with 4E and learned the hard way it's not a safe assumption. For the most part, they seem to have learned their lesson, as most of 5E doesn't directly challenge the basic ideas found in the newer d20 editions. The magic system will be a real test, as it is the only major section that challenges the d20 systems and the general assumptions that come with them. How well WotC (and to a large extent, DMs that want to run 5E) communicates why the changes were made and what source material they started from is going to have a major impact on how well it received beyond the small core of long time D&D fanatics that are the only ones to have really seen the full material thus far.

LazarX wrote:
At this point, 5E has a long uphill road to climb, and they need to do a lot of things before they even match Pathfinder never mind exceeding it.

Matching Pathfinder initially won't be hard; it might even exceed Pathfinder for a short time without much effort. The challenge will be sustaining any gains they get from the initial spike; that's where the damage done to the brand the last few years will hurt them.

Arnwolf wrote:
I am not a fan of the builder culture that has developed in the last few years.

That honestly comes more from the rise of organized play and the internet than anything in the third edition ruleset, from what I've seen. It's almost an absolute must in those environments, but most people I know that only play in home games and rarely look at the internet tend not to follow that same kind of pattern, at least not routinely.

thejeff wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
It's the same problem they had with 4E, where they tried to make changes that many current players didn't understand and they made no effort to really educate people about those changes. Rendering entire sections of the spell list useless to the currently accepted playing style is not going to go over well unless they also show how to use them effectively in the new system and can show that the new system can be just as good with a simple shift in tactics. That is not something I have seen to date, and it's not something they can rely on DMs to automatically know either. ..
You mean like in the 2E-3.0 switch when blasting suddenly got massively nerfed?

Wasn't around to see for that transition, so I don't know how well they covered that gap or if it just filled itself in on its own. I do know that the "let it shake itself out" approach was a complete failure for 4E, and has the strong potential to be equally bad this time around, as the changes were made to the entire magic system, not just the math found inside the spells themselves, which is where, at least in my experience, the main shock came from when trying to play a blaster mage. The system as a whole didn't have as much of an effect in hurting blasters as much as the overall number inflation that happened elsewhere in the system, but not the spells themselves. Reducing spell slots, focusing on cantrips, and reducing most non-damage combat spells to concentration have a greater impact that can't be easily adjusted by going into individual spells and updating the math.

R_Chance wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:

That was one of the biggest complaints 4E had. I hope they thought the changes through far better this time around, or it could really ugly. The perception that they are actively trying to completely nerf casters permanently and forever in a system that has always heavily featured casters as all powerful and capable of reshaping the world at high levels is not one that is going to help the brand name.
I'm curious, did you ever play OD&D, 1E or 2E? The Magic User was the most powerful class in the end, but he did have weaknesses. Significantly more than in 5E based on my reading of the Basic PDF. 3.X pretty much eliminated the weaknesses of casters. As for 4E, I read the original core books but never played it so I can't say much about it. But no, the casters in 5E are not "completely nerfed". They do have some weaknesses, but then so does every class. As others have said, the style of play may change, but, imo, magic will end up being very powerful. As always. So, relax :)

Perceptions are going to matter a lot, though, and there are a great many people who have only dealt with AD&D or 3.x versions of casters. From that point of view, it most definitely is a massive and unjustified nerf. They cannot simply take casters back to the level they were at the times you remember and expect everyone to suddenly understand the reasons or the history for it.

It's the same problem they had with 4E, where they tried to make changes that many current players didn't understand and they made no effort to really educate people about those changes. Rendering entire sections of the spell list useless to the currently accepted playing style is not going to go over well unless they also show how to use them effectively in the new system and can show that the new system can be just as good with a simple shift in tactics. That is not something I have seen to date, and it's not something they can rely on DMs to automatically know either.

If they can fill in the gaps better this time for those players and DMs that weren't playing before 3rd edition, the new system has a chance of doing fine; if not, the system as a whole will suffer as a large part of the target audience doesn't actually understand the intended purpose of the changes and only see the final results that they don't fully understand how to use.

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