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Is this a GM-book or a PC-book?


Advanced Race Guide Playtest

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Fundamental question: who is this book marketed towards?

The Gamemaster's Guide and all of the Bestiaries are marketed as GM's products.

The APG, Ultimate Combat & Ultimate Magic are marketed as PC's products.

Certainly, people can purchase books that aren't marketed to them. PCs buy Bestiaries to find new mounts/summons, and GMs buy the APG to build NPCs. But the books are still marketed towards a specific role, because they are mostly intended for that role.

What role is the Advanced Race Guide marketed to?

This is very important in trying to give feedback on the product. I don't know what angle I'm supposed to take on it.

To use some simple/fundamental examples:

-if it's marketed as a GM's book, I think the restrictions on various traits is fairly pointless. Why should only elves be able to cast elven magic? Why not the Rune-Stitched Ones, who first brought magic unto the world, much like Prometheus brought the Greeks fire?
But these restrictions make sense in a player-oriented book

-if it's marketed as a PC's book, I think there absolutely needs to be two types of RP: a bucket of points that can only be spent on boring abilities, and a bucket for cool abilities. In other words, as a PC, I'm never going to shell out my precious RP to make my race able to speak extra langauges when I could be using those RP to boost my stats. Without two distinct buckets, this system will just generate a bunch of sillily minmaxed races.
But this open-ended approach makes sense in a GM-oriented book

So, what hat should I be wearing as I consider this PDF?


It will be both, the race creation system is only going to be a small part of the book.


This book doesn't make it easier for GMs. GMs want Races that fit their needs. They want a tiny outsider race? Well guess what? They just create one despite the fact that this is impossible by the rules of this book. And its just a quick example.
DMs who need races for a role will make a race for it. Most of the times it doesn't even matter if its balanced, if it fits the job. Not to mention that the CRB races are broken beyond any chances of salvation anyway...

This book has only one potential: getting rid of the playable races mess which has a few races making some builds totally over and some totally undoable just because the races throw stones at your build. Why is there no +2 Str, +2 Cha, -2 Wis race if there is a +2 Con, +2 Wis, -2 Cha race? All it does is creating an imbalance favoring certain classes or builds.

But this potential has already been lost to me after looking over these rules.


It's all mine, pal.

I like how Paizo named their book after my comprehensive catalogue and price list!

Paizo Employee Designer

Erik Freund wrote:

Fundamental question: who is this book marketed towards?

The Gamemaster's Guide and all of the Bestiaries are marketed as GM's products.

The APG, Ultimate Combat & Ultimate Magic are marketed as PC's products.

Certainly, people can purchase books that aren't marketed to them. PCs buy Bestiaries to find new mounts/summons, and GMs buy the APG to build NPCs. But the books are still marketed towards a specific role, because they are mostly intended for that role.

What role is the Advanced Race Guide marketed to?

This is very important in trying to give feedback on the product. I don't know what angle I'm supposed to take on it.

To keep things very simple:

-if it's marketed as a GM's book, I think the restrictions on various traits is fairly pointless. Why should only elves be able to cast elven magic? Why not the Rune-Stitched Ones, who first brought magic unto the world, much like Prometheus brought the Greeks fire?
But these restrictions make sense in a player-oriented book

-if it's marketed as a PC's book, I think there needs to be a bucket of points that can only be spent on boring abilities. In other words, I'm never going to shell out extra RP to make my race able to speak extra langauges when I could be using those RP to boost his stats. But if I had "base RP" that could only be spend on boring stuff, and then "advanced RP" that could be spent on sexy stuff, that would make this much easier to balance. Otherwise, you'll get a bunch of sillily minmaxed races.
But this open-ended approach makes sense in a GM-oriented book

So, what hat should I be wearing as I consider this PDF?

The grand majority of the book is a book for players. This one chapter of optional rules is for GMs or players with heavy GM oversight. It's similar in some ways to Ultimate Magic. That book is a pretty heavy player resource, but but the Mastering Magic section has a lot of GM utility. Similarly, Ultimate Combat is largely player book with sections that are basically there for GMs to create encounters (Performance Combat, Siege Weapons, and Vehicle Combat, for instance).

The goal of the race builder is to have GMs or players with heavy GM oversight create races for a campaign. It's a campaign tool, not a machine for min/max wild dreams.


Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
The goal of the race builder is to have GMs or players with heavy GM oversight create races for a campaign. It's a campaign tool, not a machine for min/max wild dreams.

So this is why we only have bonus Feats on Humans and only tiny Feys?

To give the DM not the option to create tiny outsiders?

Paizo Employee Designer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Alienfreak wrote:
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
The goal of the race builder is to have GMs or players with heavy GM oversight create races for a campaign. It's a campaign tool, not a machine for min/max wild dreams.

So this is why we only have bonus Feats on Humans and only tiny Feys?

To give the DM not the option to create tiny outsiders?

Hey, I will freely admit that I may have been a little too strict with some of the prerequisites. Sometimes we are intentionally restrictive in an playtest document to see what the reaction will be. Other time we are overly generous, just to see how it pans out and what user reaction will be.

We do playtests to get feedback on an iteration of a design to see if we are on the right track. That's the main goal to this little endeavor.

We knew that we didn't want Tiny humanoids or monstrous humanoids. Most of the Tiny existing creatures that people may want to build were fey, so we made fey the prerequisite.

As far as the floating feat, up until now that has been basically a human only thing. It is one of the many things that has defined a human in Pathfinder. I'm also not particularly adverse to opening that up, but when designing these things its sometimes hard to figure out what the fans will consider sacred cows and what they'll let slide. Getting that information is often as valuable as gold to game designers. Well maybe not gold...

We meant no insult to those outsiders with dreams and aspirations of being Tiny. ;)

Andoran

You say that the book is meant to be both a GM resource and a player's resource. How much of the book is expected to be legal for PFS? (A guess is fine here, I'm not asking for exact numbers. Just a rough idea.)

Paizo Employee Designer

ShadowcatX wrote:
You say that the book is meant to be both a GM resource and a player's resource. How much of the book is expected to be legal for PFS? (A guess is fine here, I'm not asking for exact numbers. Just a rough idea.)

Well it depends on what options you have in PFS. The core races sections, which is a very large section, will be legal (or at least that's the goal). Other sections will be legal if you have options for the race. So, if you have a goblin or a tengu character, those options will be legal (or at least that is the goal).

Mike and Mark will have to make their own decisions on individual rules based on the needs and particulars of PFS.

Does that give you a rough enough idea?


Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:


Hey, I will freely admit that I may have been a little too strict with some of the prerequisites. Sometimes we are intentionally restrictive in an playtest document to see what the reaction will be. Other time we are overly generous, just to see how it pans out and what user reaction will be.

We do playtests to get feedback on an iteration of a design to see if we are on the right track. That's the main goal to this little endeavor.

We knew that we didn't want Tiny humanoids or monstrous humanoids. Most of the Tiny existing creatures that people may want to build were fey, so we made fey the prerequisite.

As far as the floating feat, up until now that has been basically a human only thing. It is one of the many things that has defined a human in Pathfinder. I'm also not particularly adverse to opening that up, but when designing these things its sometimes hard to figure out what the fans will consider sacred cows and what they'll let slide. Getting that information is often as valuable as gold to game designers. Well maybe not gold...

We meant no insult to those outsiders with dreams and aspirations of being Tiny. ;)

If it is really meant for DMs then take those "prerequirements" and make them "suggestions". So the DM knows what would fit to what but doesn't make him feel like breaking the rules badly by giving a monstrous humanoid an acid 5 resistance...

Plus fix those RP numbers :). This isn't meant as an offense, but those "all CRB races are 10 RP" is just a covering up of heavy imbalance in the races which was always there and making it look like the CRB was always perfectly balanced, only the people viewing it as imbalanced.

The next step is opening up a Player's Options (the name is an intentional hint ;) ) chapter. Make something like the Creation Rules but "stricter". So that you can have your +2 Str, +2 Cha, -2 Wis Dragon Disciple Guy and not just the +2 Con, +2 Wis, -2 Cha uber Cleric Race without being able to break every adventure by being able to choose flying and resistances plus hardy plus plus plus.
This is a striking "design flaw" in the D&D system for long. Some builds are getting boosted beyond all recognition by the races while other just as fun builds are getting sticks thrown between their feet by just having no races that would fit them. Or just making them unattractive by the races promoting some build so hard that you will not take another route except if you really want it hard.
The Human was the right step into that direction by giving him a +2 on a random stat, but it wasn't followed enough with the other races. You can see this trend continued by the alternate racial traits, but those are just a drop of diversity into an ocean of rigidness.


The human only extra feat is definitely not a player holy cow. I often feel that no matter what I'm building human is the "best race" to play it as because of that extra feat and the variable stat bonus, so I feel constrained to play as one in order to get closer to my concept, especially at a low starting campaign level. It's easy to see looking at the boards that a lot of people feel humans are slightly overpowered as a race largely because of their bonus feat. At least widening the requirement out to other supposedly versatile races such as halflings, half elves, or gnomes would go a long way to easing this feeling.

Or you could add some interesting racial class archetypes and/or feats that make playing a non-human anything more interesting. Elven monk styles, halfling rogue tricks, gnome only spells. There are already cool half-orc feats that add uniqueness to being a half-orc over other races, but the racial feats for other races tend not to be as useful, so maybe some racial feats that orient around the races strengths?

On that note:

Dwarf rant:

Please add some interesting options for dwarves. I've been trying to find a build that can play as a dwarf without being significantly worse than other races and I'm having a really hard time. The only classes that really benefit from being a dwarf are Druid and Inquisitor (dwarven Clerics all but kill their ability to channel with a dwarf's charisma penalty), and Druid's tend to have thematic issues with being dwarves (dwarves are not well known for their love of the forest, so unless they're cave/subterranean Druids they don't really fit well with the concept, but all of the builds for cave Druids tend to have terrain specific class features that don't fit with most campaigns). The dwarven racial book added some interesting combat options for dwarves, especially the Dorn-dergar which was unique for being the only 1-handed reach weapon in the game that could threaten, but then UC came out with Whip Mastery and the dwarves lost their only unique option. Sure dwarves are hardy and have resistances to magic, but characters that build around traits like these tend to fall into the adamantine pillar trap where the character is basically unkillable but also not enough of a threat to warrant attention. So this leaves dwarves with Inquisitor as their only truly beneficial class. Playing an Inquisitor is fine, but it would be nice to have some cool options that make dwarves viable as a martial or prepared caster race. Maybe adding a racial option for dwarves similar to the one for tieflings, where you can ignore their Charisma penalty for the purposes of spells and abilities of divine casting classes and some racial feats and class archetypes that make a Con based martial class more viable?


I'd love to optional sets of attribute bonuses/penalties for races without the floating +2.

The 1st exammple that comes to mind is are Elves with +2 Wis instead of +2 Int, a bonus to survival/knowledge(nature) instead of spellcraft and something more Agility/Nature related instead of Elven Magic. It always made more sense to me that elves got higher wis due to their long lives and "harmony with nature" way of life.

This way we can play the typical elven ranger. I'm not even a fan of elves, but that is a classic character archetype that can't be effectively built with the current Elf attributes. Unless there is some alternate racial trait I don't remember (as I said, I'm not a big fan of elves), but you get the idea.

Dwarves could get the +2 Int, so useful for crafting armors and axes, and maybe actually get a -2 to Wis, due to their secluded towns and rigid way of thinking.

Ta-daaa! More character concepts. Some builds would still not be viable, but many more would efficient.

And not entirely related, but I think Dwarf clerics are damn good. Cha is not that important, as Channel Energy is not that important anyway, and you can always get Extra Channel Energy. The bonus to Wis and Con is awesome, so is the Hardy racial trait.

Also, while I think a free bonus feat + extra skill points are pretty much the Human's thing... Other races could get a bonus feat from a limited list, like Half-elves, who get Skill Focus, but can trade it for what is basically Iron Will or Exotic Weapon Proficiency.

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