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Core races add up to 10?


Advanced Race Guide Playtest

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That's highly convenient.

Would we get better pricing on racial abilities if we gave up the idea that all the core races are precisely equal? Dropping this notion of preconceived parity may enable a better balancing of the system as a whole.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I even recall SKR mentioning that halflings are weak compared to other races.

I think the "base 10 for core races" is hurting more than it's helping.


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Yeah, I'd definitely prefer giving up the idea that these races are ALL EQUAL in favour of having a better-balanced system to create races.

Tieflings and Aasimar are ECL 0 in Pathfinder, and they've been "revealed" to be 11 and 13 RPs, while the Fetchling is 14 and the elemental planetouched are around 6. It's refreshing to see that we're not pretending THESE are all 100% equal.


it's not the point total alone that determines power, it's about how well those points actually synergize. and i have seen people try to propose examples that abuse the system. such as a race that may as well be an attempt at the perfect wizard. said wizard race milks 1 extra point of DC that the traditional wizard can not and has a bunch of magic traits.

Osirion

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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I think skill bonus is the major offender in overpriced abilities that make everything 'balanced.'


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Languages are pretty terribly priced, too.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
Languages are pretty terribly priced, too.

Honestly, languages shouldn't even be priced at all. My group (and I'm sure others) just flat-out ignores bonus language restrictions.


Agreed. Right now they're just another shallow excuse for the core races to add up to 10.

Taldor

3 people marked this as a favorite.

This was the first thing that I looked at when I downloaded the pdf.

I've actually spent a couple of years, 150+ hours, and several playtest runs with my own race-creation system. It was going to be my grand foray into OGL 3pp, but the AR book has diminished those aspirations. Anyway, it went through many stages of development, but early on I realized that I needed to get a clear snapshot of the races and their value compared to each other. They are decidedly skewed, and yeah... the halfling is the weakest.

Other race creation systems in the past have also made the mistake of going off a basis of the core races all being equal. That assumption keeps cascading through the point-buy.

If you want to have an accurate measuring tool then it ought to reveal what is actually happening in the system first before moving on and measuring everything else.

Osirion

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Yeah the races clearly do not all line up. This is the cause of many of the wonky costs of abilities , they are trying to make even what clearly are not.

Andoran

Aassimar actually add up to 14. They're mistakenly priced at 13. Unless I missed something when I added up their costs.


(wonders what the core races would be liked beefed up to 19 RP)


24 people marked this as a favorite.

Honestly, if the published book tries to shoehorn all of the core races into being equal, then it will be the first core Pathfinder RPG book that I won't purchase. Any race-building point-buy system whose core assumption is flawed (in my eyes) will be fairly useless to me.

Osirion

Totally agreed, the whole point cost is built upon a flawed assumption.

Osirion

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mok wrote:
I realized that I needed to get a clear snapshot of the races and their value compared to each other. They are decidedly skewed, and yeah... the halfling is the weakest.

I think that taking away the halfling +1 to hit with slings and thrown weapons, while either adding stuff (spell penetration to the elves, a skill focus feat to the half-elves, ferocity to the half-orcs) or keeping them the same (humans, dwarves) was perhaps a step in the wrong direction for the halflings.


I said this in another thread, but I might as well repeat it here; The core races are not equal, but they don't need to be in order to be attractive. Some people will choose a race because of a unique ability (no other race gets to choose an extra feat) or the actual flavor (humans can generally be played you want any place you want without being 'odd').

Traits also do a good job of padding the effect. (The difference between 2 and 4 seems a lot bigger than 6 and 8)

We all kind of already know that the core races aren't exactly equal, but most really don't care. I'm sure those who are pedantic enough to make sure all races are equal have made it so in their own campaigns.

The key here is that lower point races have something that still makes them attractive to the player that they can't find anywhere else.


Are wrote:
Honestly, if the published book tries to shoehorn all of the core races into being equal, then it will be the first core Pathfinder RPG book that I won't purchase. Any race-building point-buy system whose core assumption is flawed (in my eyes) will be fairly useless to me.

Keep in mind that the point-buy race stuff is only one relatively small part of the book. Feel free to dislike it (I'm not too happy with it myself, yet) but you might want the other content of the book.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Totally agreed, the whole point cost is built upon a flawed assumption.

Yes - "flawed assumption" is a big, BIG eye-sore to me looking at this.

Honestly, anyone that's seriously considering looking into all of this will be well served by looking at BESM d20's racial construction costs. They actually valued out the systemic values (by their own system's prices mind you) of the abilities and then priced everything out accordingly.

The point being - the methodology used was *exactly* the right way to approach an undertaking like this. Take it apart and see how it works (ie: system value points), and then put it together and see how it ticks with your tocks in place (ie: assignment value of individual racial constructions).

BESM d20 has an srd, but I'm not sure if the racial construction is included, I'd imagine it is, but I can't tell off hand.

In any case, to everyone really looking this over - look at BESM d20 for guidance on how this *should* be approached.

As of right now ... no. I can't back a system with such a faulty assumption up front.


Distant Scholar wrote:
Are wrote:
Honestly, if the published book tries to shoehorn all of the core races into being equal, then it will be the first core Pathfinder RPG book that I won't purchase. Any race-building point-buy system whose core assumption is flawed (in my eyes) will be fairly useless to me.
Keep in mind that the point-buy race stuff is only one relatively small part of the book. Feel free to dislike it (I'm not too happy with it myself, yet) but you might want the other content of the book.

Yes, you're right. I shouldn't have been as categorical as I was. Even so, the race-building system seems like a pretty large part of the book, and while I like the concept of the race-building point-buy system, I don't like the current implementation of it.


Are wrote:
Distant Scholar wrote:
Are wrote:
Honestly, if the published book tries to shoehorn all of the core races into being equal, then it will be the first core Pathfinder RPG book that I won't purchase. Any race-building point-buy system whose core assumption is flawed (in my eyes) will be fairly useless to me.
Keep in mind that the point-buy race stuff is only one relatively small part of the book. Feel free to dislike it (I'm not too happy with it myself, yet) but you might want the other content of the book.

Yes, you're right. I shouldn't have been as categorical as I was. Even so, the race-building system seems like a pretty large part of the book, and while I like the concept of the race-building point-buy system, I don't like the current implementation of it.

Dot so I can find this again if a dev replies.

I also agree that languages are severely overcosted and there's a few racial abilities severely undercosted (gnomish, dwarvish). The core races aren't balanced, that's fine with me, and I'd prefer to see how the points come out to home-brew up a few extra halfling abilities rather than be told they're all equal when it's clear they're not.

Taldor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Speaker in Dreams wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Totally agreed, the whole point cost is built upon a flawed assumption.

Yes - "flawed assumption" is a big, BIG eye-sore to me looking at this.

Honestly, anyone that's seriously considering looking into all of this will be well served by looking at BESM d20's racial construction costs. They actually valued out the systemic values (by their own system's prices mind you) of the abilities and then priced everything out accordingly.

The point being - the methodology used was *exactly* the right way to approach an undertaking like this. Take it apart and see how it works (ie: system value points), and then put it together and see how it ticks with your tocks in place (ie: assignment value of individual racial constructions).

BESM d20 has an srd, but I'm not sure if the racial construction is included, I'd imagine it is, but I can't tell off hand.

In any case, to everyone really looking this over - look at BESM d20 for guidance on how this *should* be approached.

As of right now ... no. I can't back a system with such a faulty assumption up front.

Yeah, the big reason that it's taken literally years of me poking away at my own race design system is that to do it right you really do need to break the whole system down into it's constiuent parts, lego-izing everything like it's GURPS or HERO. You also have to keep aiming to anchor all of the valuations off of core game elements, such as to-hit, damage bonuses, and hit points, and then work your way out. If you don't isolate a core measuring stick, then you're going to have to keep redoing your work... something that I've had to do over several revisions as I kept honing the measurements.

Aside from BESMd20, there is also the Challenging Challenge Ratings, which is what really inspired me on my own project. The CCR document is a good start, but even the designer was looking at it as a benchmark system over 20 levels, and so it even lacks the granularity needed to really get it right.

What really needs to happen is get a measuring system that makes an attempt at as accurately measuring:

BAB
AC bonus
Saves
Ability Scores (they aren't all equal, they need to be priced differently)
Hit Points
Skill Points
Feat Values
Spell Values

Basically, the whole system needs to be atomized, then measured, then rebuilt, and then playtested.

Paizo has publishing schedules and limited resources for any given project, so I doubt it's going to happen, but doing some of the above will be far better than just eyeballing at a low-resolution.

Taldor

Distant Scholar wrote:
Are wrote:
Honestly, if the published book tries to shoehorn all of the core races into being equal, then it will be the first core Pathfinder RPG book that I won't purchase. Any race-building point-buy system whose core assumption is flawed (in my eyes) will be fairly useless to me.
Keep in mind that the point-buy race stuff is only one relatively small part of the book. Feel free to dislike it (I'm not too happy with it myself, yet) but you might want the other content of the book.

One thing that gives me pause is that if the race design system in the book is used to develop the other race content that fills up the rest of the book, then unless the design system is solid, it's going to make the rest of it suspect.

Ideally we'd have a race design system that gives a fairly accurate assessment of the core races compared to each other, which right now it does not, and from that "core assessment" be able to clearly see how all of these other races compare.

If it's supposed to be a good tool for the GM toolbox, the system needs to give more accurate information.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Mok wrote:

What really needs to happen is get a measuring system that makes an attempt at as accurately measuring:

BAB
AC bonus
Saves
Ability Scores (they aren't all equal, they need to be priced differently)
Hit Points
Skill Points
Feat Values
Spell Values

Basically, the whole system needs to be atomized, then measured, then rebuilt, and then playtested.

Impossible. Find me one person's (or one company's) breakdown of the whole system and I'll find you thousands that disagree. Skills don't even all "equal" each other. Spells' values certainly don't match up. Feats? Forget about it. Try comparing them to each other and you'll just end up frustrated.

"Low resolution" as you label it is the best that is possible. And that's just assuming all tables are created equal, which they aren't. At some tables, a social skills based character is a god among men. At others, he's an underpowered waste of a character sheet. I just don't see how Pathfinder can truly be broken down. To paraphrase Voltaire, the perfect is the enemy of the good. If Paizo can do a good job with this, it won't bother me that they didn't break the entire game system down.

edit: My response is just to that post. My take on this whole thread is that Paizo should not shift numbers around to make all core races equal 10. My guess is they did do that initially. Now they are seeing the response and are discussing internally whether to change their minds. I say this only because devs have commented on many topics in this playtest forum but have so far avoided this issue each time it appears (unless I missed it).

Taldor

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Set wrote:
Mok wrote:
I realized that I needed to get a clear snapshot of the races and their value compared to each other. They are decidedly skewed, and yeah... the halfling is the weakest.
I think that taking away the halfling +1 to hit with slings and thrown weapons, while either adding stuff (spell penetration to the elves, a skill focus feat to the half-elves, ferocity to the half-orcs) or keeping them the same (humans, dwarves) was perhaps a step in the wrong direction for the halflings.

Yeah, after doing the assessment of the core races and seeing how shafted the halfings were compared to other races, I and the playtesters had a conversation about ways to fix halflings. I don't have my notes handy, there are so many different ways that it could be done with a point-buy system, but I do remember one that I liked was that Halfings get +3 to all of their saves, rather than +1. That brings them in line with the top races (such as Dwarves) and fits the Tolkiensque flavor of the humble hobbits being able to surprisingly pull through despite the odds.


draco_nite wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Languages are pretty terribly priced, too.
Honestly, languages shouldn't even be priced at all. My group (and I'm sure others) just flat-out ignores bonus language restrictions.

My group however makes languages very important, we have even talked about getting rid of Common and Undercommon in favor of Racial and Human regional Languages such as Azlanti, Kelish, Varisian etc.

To me the language arrays are very fair.

Paizo Employee Designer

I thought I would share a few thoughts on this topic that I hope you'll all find informative and helpful.

One of the main goals of the system was to help GMs, or players with GMs oversight, create races that were relatively balanced with the core races.

And I mean relatively.

In many ways it is impossible to make it entirely balanced, partially because that kind balance is a mythical creature of RPG design from the land of hopes and dreams, but mainly because the core races were built on many assumptions about the races in the default setting and general fantasy tropes. They were not built using a point system.

Because of that we decided to zero out the system at 10 points as a baseline and use the core races as our benchmarks. Why did we do that? The game assumes that, all things being equal, these races equivalently good choices. There is of course difference based on your class choices, your itemization, and the tone of your campaign, but those are particulars of the actual game you are playing, not to the game in general. As they say in the auto industry, milage may vary.

With those baselines and benchmarks we could figure out the relative cost of other abilities, many of which we are still tweaking (hence the playtest). It's a mistake to treat all RP as being equal, and the system does not. RP interact with a number of buckets. There are difference in RP between traits and abilities. There are differences and balances in the ability categories and the ability power levels.

I'm sure that some min/maxers will always want to pick the Xenophobic language choice, but they'll pay some price later on to speak with other creatures. That may not be important in your campaign, but it is important in the game in general (that's why we have languages and rules for using them). You may not care what languages your character can speak, but your GM probably does. If he or she doesn't, I'm sure they could just as easily skip that part and allow you some bonus RP. This is one of the points where milage may vary due to play styles and the needs of individual campaigns.

Could we make the dwarf more points? Sure. Could we make the gnome or the halfling less points? Sure. RP are constructs toward a design goal. But how does that accomplish the main goal of the system, which is to provide GM with a useful tool to create races relatively balanced with the core races?

Creating game elements is often more art than science. There are few absolutes in game design and a lot of relative relationships. This is especially true in RPG design, and particularly true when creating rules item creation guidelines. Like a designer, the GM will have to develop ideas that he or she feels that she can live with in his or her campaign. This tool just gives them a useful starting point that takes into account the assumptions of the Pathfinder rules in general, much like its rules for creating magic items. We assume that in the face of powergaming frenzy, cool heads (GMs) will prevail. Now that does not mean we will not be adjusting point values or reevaluation some of the buckets as we move forward. We are taking a close look at peoples suggestions, conversations, and race builds to help make the system the best it can be give our design goals. So thanks for helping us with that. We all appreciate it.

Taldor

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drumlord wrote:
Impossible. Find me one person's (or one company's) breakdown of the whole system and I'll find you thousands that disagree. Skills don't even all "equal" each other. Spells' values certainly don't match up. Feats? Forget about it. Try comparing them to each other and you'll just end up frustrated.

It's possible. It's just the amount of work that is put behind it.

Each valuation is ideally taking into account as many factors as possible. The more factors that are weighed, the "higher the resolution" is gained.

And just because lots of people disagree with you doesn't mean that you're valuation is less accurate. People can disagree for all sorts of reasons that involve far less analysis and just from-the-hip reactions. I'm old enough to know that some people's opinion on a particular subject are better than others.

Ideally though, you open up the system to review and do get input from others that provide cogent arguments and analysis. It's all about accumulating more insights and taking into consideration as many different elements as possible.

As for Skill Points, you're right. I mispoke above and what I intended is that each skill has to be evaluated on its own and it's particular bonuses have to be isolated. Once you get all of the skill broken out in this way then you can get average values to derive a generic skill points value.

As for feats and spells, they too need to be broke out individually. EVERYTHING in the system has to broken down. Depending on the element, some averages can be gleaned and used for certain placeholders, such as feat slots and spell slots, etc.

All of this is a huge amount of work, but it's not possible.

The thing is, all of this kind of analysis is done all the time for real world concerns. The entire financial system is built on breaking things down and analyzing the bits. The current movie that just came out, Moneyball, is all about the kind of analysis that I'm talking about here. It happens all the time in the real world because huge sums of money are at stake. This is all imagination stuff that has very little cash value, and so the amount of labor involved has to come from the love of doing it rather than hoping to reap real wealth.

drumlord wrote:
"Low resolution" as you label it is the best that is possible. And that's just assuming all tables are created equal, which they aren't. At some tables, a social skills based character is a god among men. At others, he's an underpowered waste of a character sheet. I just don't see how Pathfinder can truly be broken down. To paraphrase Voltaire, the perfect is the enemy of the good. If Paizo can do a good job with this, it won't bother me that they didn't break the entire game system down.

I think it would be a mistake to think that how the game is played varies so much that nothing productive can be measured. While there are tables out there diplomacy and intrigue dominate the game, I'd assume that it isn't such a high percentage that it rocks the boat of good old fashioned dungeoncrawling.

Even then, the whole point of breaking the system apart and seeing how it all adds up as accurately as possible is to establish a baseline against what the system aims for being the highest stakes. If you make the assessment that combat is the main aim of the system, and build the whole evaluation around combat, then you'll get a much more accurate resolution as to how all of these elements weigh in relation to combat. Since combat does have the highest stakes for the most part, if another table is running a game that doesn't see a lot of combat, then those valuations aren't going to have a big impact on the game, precisely because they are playing a much lower stakes game.

In terms of what Paizo can do, I concede that their business interests likely won't allow them to get to a very high resolution, but if they can go deeper, get more granularity and build up values around at least some of the core game elements then it will be better than what is currently offered.


Realmwalker wrote:
draco_nite wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Languages are pretty terribly priced, too.
Honestly, languages shouldn't even be priced at all. My group (and I'm sure others) just flat-out ignores bonus language restrictions.

My group however makes languages very important, we have even talked about getting rid of Common and Undercommon in favor of Racial and Human regional Languages such as Azlanti, Kelish, Varisian etc.

To me the language arrays are very fair.

I find languages very important: to the setting. Putting a cost on which languages are available would be like putting a cost on which spells and feats are available. So if you're going to do one, follow through and do it throughout, or just don't do it at all. As I see it, languages available depend on the region the character is from and access to other languages.

In fact because there is a lot that depends on campaign/setting I feel that there should be a second cost system for setting dependent things. Build Cost and Setting Cost. Where build cost would be things that are determined directly by the build such as ability bonuses and abilities and setting cost would balance the race compared to the setting (for example swim speed is useless in a campaign set in the desert, bonus languages are more of setting cost and are pretty useless where everyone speaks common)

Osirion

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Honestly Stephen, as long as you try and Make all the core equal 10 Rp, your system will never even out. You have to make some things higher then they should be and others well below what they should be.

The costs will always be lopsided and flawed as you force then in a cost category they do not belong trying to force all the core races to even out.

We all know the core races are not even, do not derail what could be a fine system by trying to say they are even. It just hurts the system.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:

Honestly Stephen, as long as you try and Make all the core equal 10 Rp, your system will never even out. You have to make some things higher then they should be and others well below what they should be.

The costs will always be lopsided and flawed as you force then in a cost category they do not belong trying to force all the core races to even out.

We all know the core races are not even, do not derail what could be a fine system by trying to say they are even. It just hurts the system.

QFT, and +1, and other various terms of approval.

Paizo Employee Designer

seekerofshadowlight wrote:

Honestly Stephen, as long as you try and Make all the core equal 10 Rp, your system will never even out. You have to make some things higher then they should be and others well below what they should be.

The costs will always be lopsided and flawed as you force then in a cost category they do not belong trying to force all the core races to even out.

We all know the core races are not even, do not derail what could be a fine system by trying to say they are even. It just hurts the system.

Lopsided and flawed compared to what? What measure or baseline are we using? What are the goals?


Realmwalker wrote:
draco_nite wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Languages are pretty terribly priced, too.
Honestly, languages shouldn't even be priced at all. My group (and I'm sure others) just flat-out ignores bonus language restrictions.

My group however makes languages very important, we have even talked about getting rid of Common and Undercommon in favor of Racial and Human regional Languages such as Azlanti, Kelish, Varisian etc.

To me the language arrays are very fair.

I don't see how. This ONLY influence the languages you can take at first level, which is quite a few. I see no reason to spend points on this whatsoever.

This option should be put together with something else, like type/subtype, for instance.

Taldor

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Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Could we make the dwarf more points? Sure. Could we make the gnome or the halfling less points? Sure. RP are constructs toward a design goal. But how does that accomplish the main goal of the system, which is to provide GM with a useful tool to create races relatively balanced with the core races?

The main issue I have with making all the core races a 10 is that it's distorting the values and thus giving GMs inaccurate information.

If you want GMs to have a tool which they can use to eyeball race design, then it ought to be accurate in measuring the core races.

It would be better to make an accurate measuring stick and then be able to show the range of values between the races. That way GMs can see that if they have a race design that fits within that range (Dwarf high, Halfling low) then the GM will be more confident that the race will fit well within the existing system. They know that both Dwarves and Halflings are playable and so they can then tweak their race design to fit what they are looking for. If a design doesn't need to use all the race points to get the point across, they can see that if it falls within range of the halfling then that would still be ok for the campaign. They don't have to feel like they have to pack more abilities in just because.

Further, with more of a gradient between the core races, you can see how other levels of race points can perform. If you know that the Dwarf is on top, and you want to make something else that has lots of options, then you can get a better feel based off of how dwarf character's have performed.

Beyond that, trying to cram things into 10 points to fit just right ends up making inaccurate assessments that cascade out into the rest of the design system. If you have more accurate assessments, then it's easier for GMs to be able to eyeball other similar effects.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Mok wrote:
*Mok's stuff *

You make your points very well. Let me be a little bit more clear about what I mean when I say "impossible". You can do what you are saying, but you will need to assign arbitrary numbers to many things. For example, when you assign values to "magic missile" and "comprehend languages" you will need to just make a decision what their two very different effects are worth. Low resolution, that value is "1st level spell". High res, I think many players would disagree.

When I say impossible, I mean you can't break the system down and apply it to this race creation alone. The reason is that by breaking it down and assigning it values, you will be revealing a fundamental truth of this game: not all options are equal or balanced. By attempting to make these options perfect, you will be making the rest of the game look broken, even though at our "low resolution" everything works just fine (at least for my games).

Osirion

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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

@SRM So you are going to just tell me that +2 to profession: baker or the ability to pick any language as a bonus language is balanced with say the ability to re-roll a 1 once per day?

Because I'm a fairly smart person. I don't believe you.

Osirion

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Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:

Lopsided and flawed compared to what? What measure or baseline are we using? What are the goals?

While the RP points are not totally equal in the same category, they should be close. Hardy is no way a +1, nor is skilled a +4

You have forced all core races into the same point total, in doing so you have made RP lopsided and very wonky. You have forced ability into a point group it clearly does not belong.

The core races are not equal. But they are close, you could have easily put built them and then saw where they set in the points. Halflings are not a 10 nor are dwarves , if you had not rigged the points. So to speak.

What I and many others are saying is move an ability into a RP group it belongs, not based on keeping core races the same point cost, but based upon what it cost group it best fits.

Bite the bullet and admit what almost everyone already knows, the core races are not all perfectly equal. Move abilities into a cost group they fit, and add up the race cost afterword. You will not end up with 10 for all races I am guessing 8-15 or so. But that is ok, not everything needs to be even.

I was under the impression the goal was to give GM's and players a tool to help make more balanced races for the game, the help see how powerful they would be next to other well known races. But as long as you build the system upon fake numbers you rigged to make races even when they are not. The system is gonna be far more abuse-able and flawed then it could be. You are in effect, giving the GM a tool you know you have "rigged" to be inaccurate from the get go.

Andoran

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:

Honestly Stephen, as long as you try and Make all the core equal 10 Rp, your system will never even out. You have to make some things higher then they should be and others well below what they should be.

The costs will always be lopsided and flawed as you force then in a cost category they do not belong trying to force all the core races to even out.

We all know the core races are not even, do not derail what could be a fine system by trying to say they are even. It just hurts the system.

Lopsided and flawed compared to what? What measure or baseline are we using? What are the goals?

This post comes off as argumentative, I would really expect better from the designer. I hope I'm just reading it wrong, being the internet and all. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.

I would hope your goals are to make the points costs as close to balanced with each other as they can be, and if this means that you have to admit that your previous work wasn't as well balanced as you would like, well such is life. But over charging for certain abilities just so you can say "Halflings get as many points as any other race" and under charging for other abilities so that "Dwarves are balanced, see, the system proves it" will definitely not make a good system.

Personally, I'd like to see the abilities categorized and given a sliding cost by how many abilities you have from any given category, I think that would give better balance but that would be balancing the races towards particular classes, rather than just in general.

Paizo Employee Designer

Mok wrote:
Beyond that, trying to cram things into 10 points to fit just right ends up making inaccurate assessments that cascade out into the rest of the design system. If you have more accurate assessments, then it's easier for GMs to be able to eyeball other similar effects.

Again, accurate according to what measure? If the assumption is that all of the core races are equal in relative power level, what do we gain by pointing out that some races in some on that list may be better than others? And then you have to ask the question, better at what?

If you want to play a fighter, dwarves are clearly superior, but they are terrible if you want to play a sorcerer or a bard. Halflings are great if you want to play a rogue or a bard, but are not very good at being barbarians. Humans are great generalists, there is no doubt about that.

By looking at the pros and cons of the core races in general, we could create a system that works in general. While we may not have the exact point costs nailed down, I still don't see the flaw in the reasoning, and don't see what we gain by saying that some core races are always better than others in the creation of system that's main purpose is to help GMs create races that are relatively balanced to the core races that we already have.

Paizo Employee Designer

ShadowcatX wrote:
This post comes off as argumentative, I would really expect better from the designer. I hope I'm just reading it wrong, being the internet and all. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.

I'm not trying to be argumentative (at least in the negative sense of that word), I'm trying to gain a better understanding of the argument.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Another call here to please reconsider the "build the system towards making the core even" approach. It's resulting in some severe lopsiding in ability values.

Andoran

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
If the assumption is that all of the core races are equal in relative power level

Why are you beginning with that assumption? That's what is getting complained about.

Ignore ability modifiers for a moment (after all, they're the same cost). What set of racial abilities would you rather have on a character of any class.

Hint: It isn't "halfling."

Andoran

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:
This post comes off as argumentative, I would really expect better from the designer. I hope I'm just reading it wrong, being the internet and all. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.
I'm not trying to be argumentative (at least in the negative sense of that word), I'm trying to gain a better understanding of the argument.

I'm glad to hear it. I was really hoping you weren't.

Osirion

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:


We all know the core races are not even, do not derail what could be a fine system by trying to say they are even. It just hurts the system.
Lopsided and flawed compared to what? What measure or baseline are we using? What are the goals?

My goal for such a system is that I should be able to use it to design playable races that are not unbalanced in relation to each other or the current race choices.

Having Skilled cost 4 RP and Hardy cost 1 RP are examples of the cart coming before the horse, design-wise, and impede the usability of this system to acheive that goal.

The system doesn't need to go *too* deeply into minute and fidgety detail, but it should be *reasonably* balanced, so that if I design a 10 RP race, it shouldn't be completely lopsided compared to another 10 RP race that didn't cherry pick stuff like Hardy.

If the molds are broken from the start, they are only going to produce malformed cookies.

Even the best designed system will leave the potential for a min-maxer to cherry-pick and stack things to make an optimized 'sorcerer race' or whatever, but that's the GM's responsibility to prevent (assuming he even allows players to design their own races!) or allow (assuming he likes that sort of thing!), but the system shouldn't be designed in such a way as to allow someone to *accidentally* create an underpointed or overpointed race, because they wanted to add some fiddly skill bonuses or whatever.


Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:


Because of that we decided to zero out the system at 10 points as a baseline and use the core races as our benchmarks. Why did we do that? The game assumes that, all things being equal, these races equivalently good choices. There is of course difference based on your class choices, your itemization, and the tone of your campaign, but those are particulars of the actual game you are playing, not to the game in general. As they say in the auto industry, milage may vary.

With those baselines and benchmarks we could figure out the relative cost of other abilities, many of which we are still tweaking (hence the playtest). It's a mistake to treat all RP as being equal, and the system does not. RP interact with a number of buckets. There are difference in RP between traits and abilities. There are differences and balances in the ability categories and the ability power levels.

But that is the thing. Dwarfs aren't 10 rp. They are 12 (Hardy is worth 2 or 3).

Halfings aren't 10 either, they 9 or 8 depending on how you weigh their abilities.

So I think the balance should be 12. With most core races a 10, Dwarfs a 12, and Halfings a 9.
Yes, the Core races aren't equal, they never were. Not even in 1E.

The +2 bonuses to saves vs spell comes up very often. Yet, you price Hardy 1 when it should be 2. Only Halfings get the 1 rp +1 saves ability. The other one is higher priced but they can get the cheap Hardy?

Even the idea that you admit in the system that there are races like Ifrit that are weaker than core races? Only 6 rp?

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:


If you want to play a fighter, dwarves are clearly superior, but they are terrible if you want to play a sorcerer or a bard. Halflings are great if you want to play a rogue or a bard, but are not very good at being barbarians. Humans are great generalists, there is no doubt about that.

Not really, according to the RP system:

We can switch out Cha penalty for Int or Wis penalty (switch out that for Int or Cha bonus) and it is the same cost.

So Dwarves are still the best race.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:
This post comes off as argumentative, I would really expect better from the designer. I hope I'm just reading it wrong, being the internet and all. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.
I'm not trying to be argumentative (at least in the negative sense of that word), I'm trying to gain a better understanding of the argument.

Can't speak for everyone, but an ability cost assessment done neutrally and outside the context of the individual core races seems to be what is desired. Take the general average power and versatility of the core races together as the standard for what a 10 should perhaps, but if you take pains to make certain they come out to exactly ten they skew abilities too cheap or too expensive for what they really are.

We're not going to make a fuss over dwarves having over 10 or gnomes having less. Most of us are pretty much at peace with the idea that the core races aren't precisely balanced with each other. We just want a system that prices these abilities fairly that won't throw things off kilter when we put it to use.

Taldor

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drumlord wrote:
Mok wrote:
*Mok's stuff *
You make your points very well. Let me be a little bit more clear about what I mean when I say "impossible". You can do what you are saying, but you will need to assign arbitrary numbers to many things. For example, when you assign values to "magic missile" and "comprehend languages" you will need to just make a decision what their two very different effects are worth. Low resolution, that value is "1st level spell". High res, I think many players would disagree.

It's true that there are arbitrary valuations that always go into an analysis. However the word arbitrary is a tricky word because it can come off as have a meaning similar to "random." It's not that the person making the valuation just rolls a die and adds that value to the equation, instead it's built on estimation. Some people's estimates are more valuable than others, and the methodology of those estimates is also more valuable than others.

As an example, if you break out magic missile and one person says, "I think it's this!" and you ask how they came to the number and they just say, "well, it feels right" then I'd be a bit suspect. However if someone else shows up and takes the DPR value of the magic missile, along with compares the auto-hit feature to factor in something close to the value of +20 to hit, plus also considers that it's force damage and thus more valuable than other types of energy damage, then factors in range, and on and on... giving you a table that breaks all of those elements down and then provides a sum... well, I'll take their approach as being more meaningful. Methodology that is documented and open for review is key.

drumlord wrote:
When I say impossible, I mean you can't break the system down and apply it to this race creation alone. The reason is that by breaking it down and assigning it values, you will be revealing a fundamental truth of this game: not all options are equal or balanced. By attempting to make these options perfect, you will be making the rest of the game look broken, even though at our "low resolution" everything works just fine (at least for my games).

Ah... you see, I want the entire system laid bare. I want harsh light to shine down on everything and reveal every last flaw in the system. That way you can more accurately and reliably fix it.

I've said it before, but basically everything I post on these forums is at least in part aimed at an eventual Pathfinder 2E. It might be a decade away, I don't care, but I want that system to be a properly "fixed 3.5" and it's products like these that give opportunities to laid down some fundamental analysis on how to approach that. I know that the race design system can get into everything, but if it at least starts to make some more accurate measurements of the system, it will make the needed overhaul of the future that much easier to accomplish.


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Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Mok wrote:
Beyond that, trying to cram things into 10 points to fit just right ends up making inaccurate assessments that cascade out into the rest of the design system. If you have more accurate assessments, then it's easier for GMs to be able to eyeball other similar effects.

Again, accurate according to what measure? If the assumption is that all of the core races are equal in relative power level, what do we gain by pointing out that some races in some on that list may be better than others? And then you have to ask the question, better at what?

If you want to play a fighter, dwarves are clearly superior, but they are terrible if you want to play a sorcerer or a bard. Halflings are great if you want to play a rogue or a bard, but are not very good at being barbarians. Humans are great generalists, there is no doubt about that.

By looking at the pros and cons of the core races in general, we could create a system that works in general. While we may not have the exact point costs nailed down, I still don't see the flaw in the reasoning, and don't see what we gain by saying that some core races are always better than others in the creation of system that's main purpose is to help GMs create races that are relatively balanced to the core races that we already have.

In measure to itself. It's only a quick look at many of the threads. A +3 to any skill of your choice which then turns to +6 at 10 ranks and is also a prereq for Eldritch Heritage should NOT cost half of a +2 to a predetermined skill. This is what some people call internal inconsistency.

In this case we have a stack of 2 quarters and a stack of 5 pennies, 4 nickels, and 3 dimes, they're roughly the same value and hey quarters are more widely accepted. But it's kind of a pain when you try to change the value of the coins so that they're absolutely equal and some of those nickels aren't even worth some of the pennies. It's even worse if this system of measurement is only used when determining coin stacks and a different currency system is used when trying to buy snacks.

Taldor

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Again, accurate according to what measure? If the assumption is that all of the core races are equal in relative power level, what do we gain by pointing out that some races in some on that list may be better than others? And then you have to ask the question, better at what?

Combat. That's the core point of the whole system.

How many hit points can be removed.
How to avoid having hit points removed.
How to beat saving throws.
How to avoid failing a saving throw.

Everything else are just varying degrees away from those central premises.

A race that is packed with non-combat utility abilities can be plenty fun, but once you get into combat they generally won't fare as well as a race that had a +4 Strength and +4 Wisdom. The first race might be good at getting information that is important to the fight or the trap ahead, and may even help with getting a surprise round, but the second race is going to chop things to bits and be able to resist nasty mind effects that would stop them in their tracks.


Races are not equal in power, nor should they be. That's a given and it has been proven with this Playtest. But we don't care about that.

The way to make said races "equal" is not directly related to how they START but also, how they evolve.

For instance, Dwarves are very good already, but they get even better cause of steel soul.

Humans have flexibility for any class.

Tiefilings get wicked cause of Fiendish Heritage.

Several other races have race related prestige classes, Feats and Traits that can make them better, but are not directly related to their initial "Racial Points".

So, my proposition to the Paizo staff is, do not pretend that all classes have the same base points, cause they clearly don't.

If you want to make them more balanced, give options like traits, feats, prestige classes, templates and archetypes. Isn't that what this book is all about anyway?


So much nerd rage...

I think the devs should be more sensitive to the fact that there are a LOT of us who are keenly aware that the core races should not be balanced at 10 RP across the board. If we all recognize this (as I have yest to see a post that disagrees with the sentiment), then obviously something is wrong there.

However, I do feel that the general tone in expressing our dislike of this approach has been less than... congenial? I can see why SRM might be a little defensive with some of the word choices people are making and some of the borderline insulting things that are being said.

The fact of the matter is: Paizo took an approach to this system and we as consumers and playtesters are disagreeing with this approach.

I'm pretty sure that it has been established that dwarves > halflings. My group has known this since 3.5, but people still play halflings. I don't know anyone that will think ill of Paizo for putting a point value to them and proving once-and-for-all what we already know is true.

There are some skewed RP costs on abilities because of the need to make core races balance at 10 RP. I don't think that having 11-15 points is going to make a "Standard" race into an "Advanced" race in the strictest sense, so breaking the concept of 10, 20, or 30 point ceilings may be something Paizo has to consider.

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