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Commentary on the "Hulks"


Advanced Race Guide Playtest

Taldor

So I went ahead and put together a cheesy race to just stress-test the system:

Hulks

These incredibly muscular green skinned people are generally loud, brash, and when provoked will suddenly grow to the size of an ogre.

Type: Humanoid [+0]
Size: Medium [+0]
Speed: Normal [+0]
Abilities: Weakness Modifiers (+2 Str, +2 Wis, -4 Cha) [-1]
Languages: Standard Array [+1]
Racial Abilities:
Advanced Strength x 2 (+4 Strength) [+8]
Spell-Like Ability x 2 (Enlarge Person 2/day) [+2]

10 RP total

The end result is a race that has +6 Strength, +2 Wisdom, -4 Charisma, and can Enlarge Person twice a day.

This is a martial's dream come true. Crank up Strength to an absurd amount, patch up Wisdom to get rid of that pesky low Will save, and be able to enlarge yourself twice a day to get more strength, a bigger weapon, and reach.

The only cost is to have a low Charisma, which a martial character would be dumping anyway. True, the GM might go after the Cha 3 character all the time... or they might not.

All of this is supposed to be in the same relation and scale as the core races. The problem though is that it was rather effortless to make something that is completely out of step with the core races.

The ability score options are far too liberal. If you're dealing with a Standard Power Level for a race then it should be amazingly expensive to get a stat to +4, and impossible to get it to +6. On the negative end, there shouldn't be an option for going to -4 for in any stat. The problem is that once you get to -4 in a stat it's basically an auto-dump stat for any player that is making any effort at keeping the math behind the system involved.

With a -2 stat you can dig yourself out of the whole a little bit, but once you get to -4 you'd need to pay for a 14 stat just to get it to 10, which is so expensive that you'll forgo that, but then you've got a -6. If the stat is already that low then you might as well get some points out of the abysmal score.

Regarding spell-like abilities, I think one thing that is really problematic here is that the RP point system lacks so much granularity that you don't really have any room to differentiate between a wide array of spells. Heck, 0-level spells cost the same as first level spells due to the low-res RP scale. If you were to stick to this low-res scale then at least give more uses per day to 0-level spells.

Ultimately, the cost for ability scores and the ease with which you can stack them up is a real problem. It takes the assumption, of +2 for Standard Power Level, and pushes well past that assumption, making the system come crashing down.


advanced strength is an Advanced Ability. thus not available to standard races. and it's not so much the amount of points spent that matter but how well the abilities synergize.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
advanced strength is an Advanced Ability. thus not available to standard races. and it's not so much the amount of points spent that matter but how well the abilities synergize.

Wrong.


Mok wrote:

So I went ahead and put together a cheesy race to just stress-test the system:

Hulks

These incredibly muscular green skinned people are generally loud, brash, and when provoked will suddenly grow to the size of an ogre.

Type: Humanoid [+0]
Size: Medium [+0]
Speed: Normal [+0]
Abilities: Weakness Modifiers (+2 Str, +2 Wis, -4 Cha) [-1]
Languages: Standard Array [+1]
Racial Abilities:
Advanced Strength x 2 (+4 Strength) [+8]
Spell-Like Ability x 2 (Enlarge Person 2/day) [+2]

10 RP total

The end result is a race that has +6 Strength, +2 Wisdom, -4 Charisma, and can Enlarge Person twice a day.

This is a martial's dream come true. Crank up Strength to an absurd amount, patch up Wisdom to get rid of that pesky low Will save, and be able to enlarge yourself twice a day to get more strength, a bigger weapon, and reach.

The only cost is to have a low Charisma, which a martial character would be dumping anyway. True, the GM might go after the Cha 3 character all the time... or they might not.

All of this is supposed to be in the same relation and scale as the core races. The problem though is that it was rather effortless to make something that is completely out of step with the core races.

The ability score options are far too liberal. If you're dealing with a Standard Power Level for a race then it should be amazingly expensive to get a stat to +4, and impossible to get it to +6. On the negative end, there shouldn't be an option for going to -4 for in any stat. The problem is that once you get to -4 in a stat it's basically an auto-dump stat for any player that is making any effort at keeping the math behind the system involved.

With a -2 stat you can dig yourself out of the whole a little bit, but once you get to -4 you'd need to pay for a 14 stat just to get it to 10, which is so expensive that you'll forgo that, but then you've got a -6. If the stat is already that low then you might as well get some points...

If you go with Paragon Modifiers like the HULKO I created on the races post, you would get 10 strength and be able to use enlarge person one more time per day. :)


Xum wrote:
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
advanced strength is an Advanced Ability. thus not available to standard races. and it's not so much the amount of points spent that matter but how well the abilities synergize.
Wrong.

Actually, he's absolutely right. Page 8.

Playtest wrote:

Ability Score Bonuses

The following racial abilities add to the base ability score
modifiers chosen in the ability score modifiers trait.
Advanced Abilities
Advanced Charisma (4 RP): Prerequisites: None; Benefit: ...


playtest wrote:

There are three power levels: standard , advanced, and monstrous. Standard races can only take standard racial abilities , while advanced races can take both standard and

advanced racial abilities, and monstrous races can take
standard, advanced, and monstrous racial abilities. The
number of RP you may spend as well as the maximum
abilities per racial ability category a race of that power
level can create appears on Table 1–1.

bolded relevant info.


draco_nite wrote:
Xum wrote:
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
advanced strength is an Advanced Ability. thus not available to standard races. and it's not so much the amount of points spent that matter but how well the abilities synergize.
Wrong.

Actually, he's absolutely right. Page 8.

Playtest wrote:

Ability Score Bonuses

The following racial abilities add to the base ability score
modifiers chosen in the ability score modifiers trait.
Advanced Abilities
Advanced Charisma (4 RP): Prerequisites: None; Benefit: ...

Ok, I suck. Sue me. :) Didn't see that line there, sorry.


Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
playtest wrote:

There are three power levels: standard , advanced, and monstrous. Standard races can only take standard racial abilities , while advanced races can take both standard and

advanced racial abilities, and monstrous races can take
standard, advanced, and monstrous racial abilities. The
number of RP you may spend as well as the maximum
abilities per racial ability category a race of that power
level can create appears on Table 1–1.
bolded relevant info.

I'm not gonna say I suck a second time. But I'm sorry... again.


Xum wrote:
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
playtest wrote:

There are three power levels: standard , advanced, and monstrous. Standard races can only take standard racial abilities , while advanced races can take both standard and

advanced racial abilities, and monstrous races can take
standard, advanced, and monstrous racial abilities. The
number of RP you may spend as well as the maximum
abilities per racial ability category a race of that power
level can create appears on Table 1–1.
bolded relevant info.
I'm not gonna say I suck a second time. But I'm sorry... again.

that's okay. it's a mistake i once made as well. *Attempts to Hug Xum*


Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
*Attempts to Hug Xum*

Kinda hard, unless there is teleport involved. I live in Brasil. But thanks anyway, I'll try and feel huged. :)


Xum wrote:
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
*Attempts to Hug Xum*
Kinda hard, unless there is teleport involved. I live in Brasil. But thanks anyway, I'll try and feel huged. :)

does it matter? it's a virtual hug. much like Lilith's virtual cookies.

Taldor

Thanks for that catch! My bad!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Drop the Advanced Strength for Large size, and drop languages to Xenophobic. Then you have two points to play with; take a disadvantage for Greater Defensive Training, take Lesser Spell Resistance (or Greater with a disadvantage), or whatever.

Minmaxed races are just too much better than anything else.


At least large doesn't get reach standard -- you still have to buy it with rp.


A Man In Black wrote:

Drop the Advanced Strength for Large size, and drop languages to Xenophobic. Then you have two points to play with; take a disadvantage for Greater Defensive Training, take Lesser Spell Resistance (or Greater with a disadvantage), or whatever.

Minmaxed races are just too much better than anything else.

Thing is you are assuming that Players will just be able to play a min max race... any GM that allows one gets what he/she deserves. Any point based system can be abused... period. It is up to the GM to set the balance he/she wants for the game.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Not sure we really need stress testing. After all, it's just a guide on how to create a specific house rule. :P

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Realmwalker wrote:
Thing is you are assuming that Players will just be able to play a min max race... any GM that allows one gets what he/she deserves. Any point based system can be abused... period. It is up to the GM to set the balance he/she wants for the game.

So if the GM has to make up the balance on their own, why bother having point values to "balance" things at all? It's not helpful to have a bunch of meaningless numbers.

Osirion

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Actually it kind of is. The problem with munchkin races like the ones in this thread is that they ignore the first step of the race guide and are entirely free of concept lore or fluff. The way a race fits into the world isn't an afterthought but the guiding principal.

Cheliax

Yeah, they are guidelines for house rules, like the item creation rules. Fairly easy to abuse, but they are just guidelines. It's not something you hand to players and say "10 points, be what you want". Otherwise we'd get a lot of races with hardy and a free feat and bonuses exactly where they want it (in a martial case, +Str/Wis -Cha). And no free skills or languages (lots of xenophobes).

Shadow Lodge

Matthew Trent wrote:
Actually it kind of is. The problem with munchkin races like the ones in this thread is that they ignore the first step of the race guide and are entirely free of concept lore or fluff. The way a race fits into the world isn't an afterthought but the guiding principal.

I was beginning to think I was the only one thinking this.

These rules aren't a new part of character gen, they are world building rules. I wouldn't let anything like the above race near my games. Not without serious justification to why the race has a spell like ability to enlarge itself even though its massively physically strong already. There isn't even a description! What color are they? What's their average height? Society, language(if they have one), average lifespan?

Don't get me wrong. With a little more work this race could be really interesting. The idea of such a physically powerful race has lots of RP opportunities. As it is it just looks like min-maxing.

NB - If you and your group enjoy min-maxing gameplay there is nothing wrong with that, it's just not for me.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Matthew Trent wrote:
Actually it kind of is. The problem with munchkin races like the ones in this thread is that they ignore the first step of the race guide and are entirely free of concept lore or fluff. The way a race fits into the world isn't an afterthought but the guiding principal.
Hecknoshow wrote:
These rules aren't a new part of character gen, they are world building rules. I wouldn't let anything like the above race near my games. Not without serious justification to why the race has a spell like ability to enlarge itself even though its massively physically strong already. There isn't even a description! What color are they? What's their average height? Society, language(if they have one), average lifespan?

The problem is, doing it that way doesn't mean you get more balanced results. "ROLEPLAYING!" isn't a pancaea for poorly-designed rules; it simply obscures them. The only reason to have a point system is to make sure races are more or less balanced; if you also need a filter of the GM carefully vetting every race to make sure it's balanced, then the point system is serving no point whatsoever.

Cheliax

Like item creation and CR, I think the rules are actually "good but abusable if put in the hands of someone trying to abuse". These actually less than the other two. Just like I can't have my 2000 GP sword of always-on true strike, you don't ask the players to "have at it" with the rule guidelines.

With that said, the flavor created races I've seen have been predominantly balanced and interesting. If you were just allowed to put 2 +s and a - in the stats of your choice, that is enough to call "munchkin abuse tool" if left in hands of a player.

Shadow Lodge

A Man In Black wrote:
The problem is, doing it that way doesn't mean you get more balanced results. "ROLEPLAYING!" isn't a pancaea for poorly-designed rules; it simply obscures them. The only reason to have a point system is to make sure races are more or less balanced; if you also need a filter of the GM carefully vetting every race to make sure it's balanced, then the point system is serving no point whatsoever.

While I do agree that they should be a well made balancing tool, they shouldn't be presumed to be a new step in character creation.

A race is more than just your character. None of the standard, or even advanced race's are exclusively designed to fill one niche. Sure Elves make better wizards than Orcs, but they also make better archers, rogues and bards. Dwarves are great at defensive combat, but also make reasonably decent clerics*. A race shouldn't be so good at one thing that they pretty much can't do anything else. So basically an over specialized race offends me.

*This is meant to be an ironic statement.

Osirion

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
A Man In Black wrote:
The problem is, doing it that way doesn't mean you get more balanced results. "ROLEPLAYING!" isn't a pancaea for poorly-designed rules; it simply obscures them. The only reason to have a point system is to make sure races are more or less balanced; if you also need a filter of the GM carefully vetting every race to make sure it's balanced, then the point system is serving no point whatsoever.

Actually if you bothered to try it you might see a few ood things pop up. For example I have yet to see a single race that gave skill bonus in anything other than perception and only that rarely, yet the core races hand it out like candy. That implies to me that the ability is currently overpriced. Also I recently was building a race of elephant guys who were noted artificers. The craftsman ability seems right for them but they don't work with stone so you think maybe this ability should let you pick any two materials to get the bonus with.

And to address another point you raise, viewing a new race to the lens of 'how does this fit in the world' is not exactly carefully vetting. No more so than viewing the race through the lens of 'how to make the bestest fighter evar'.


Matthew Trent wrote:
A Man In Black wrote:
The problem is, doing it that way doesn't mean you get more balanced results. "ROLEPLAYING!" isn't a pancaea for poorly-designed rules; it simply obscures them. The only reason to have a point system is to make sure races are more or less balanced; if you also need a filter of the GM carefully vetting every race to make sure it's balanced, then the point system is serving no point whatsoever.

Actually if you bothered to try it you might see a few ood things pop up. For example I have yet to see a single race that gave skill bonus in anything other than perception and only that rarely, yet the core races hand it out like candy. That implies to me that the ability is currently overpriced. Also I recently was building a race of elephant guys who were noted artificers. The craftsman ability seems right for them but they don't work with stone so you think maybe this ability should let you pick any two materials to get the bonus with.

And to address another point you raise, viewing a new race to the lens of 'how does this fit in the world' is not exactly carefully vetting. No more so than viewing the race through the lens of 'how to make the bestest fighter evar'.

I agree it is fun to build races not intentionally over optimized or combat monkeys

Half-Nymph
Standard Race
Fey (1 RP)
• Fey have the low-light vision racial ability.
• Fey breathe, eat, and sleep.
Medium (0 RP): Medium races have no bonuses or
penalties due to their size. A Medium creature has a space
of 5 feet by 5 feet and a reach of 5 feet.
Normal Speed (0 RP): The race has a base speed of 30 feet.
Standard Modifiers (0 RP): -2 Str +2 Dex +2 Cha
Integrated (1 RP): Members of this race gain a +1 bonus on Bluff, Disguise, and Knowledge (local) checks.
Skill Bonus (2 RP): Choose one performance skill you gain a +2 racial bonus with that skill.
Sociable (1 RP): When members of this race attempt to change a creature’s attitude with a Diplomacy check and fail by 5 or more,
they can try to influence the creature a second time even if 24 hours have not passed.
Spell-Like Abilities (3 RP): Fey Magic (SP) 1/day you may cast Daze, Dazzle, and Guidance. The caster level of the spell is equal to the character level of the user.
Language Standard Array (1 RP): Common and Sylvan; Bonus Languages Elven, Giant, Gnome, Goblin, Halfling, and Orc
Total RP: 9
Not one bonus to Acrobatics, Perception, Stealth or Survival
Also Note Medium sized with a Str penalty

This is one of the ones I'm using in my Saturday Game Playtest.

Screams Bard but it was more designed for a face type race.

Osirion

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Realmwalker wrote:


Not one bonus to Acrobatics, Perception, Stealth or Survival
Also Note Medium sized with a Str penalty
This is one of the ones I'm using in my Saturday Game Playtest.

Okay. I see that. I also see that you're using skill bonus wrong. It doesn't give the option of which perform to pick by default so you should be giving all your half-nymphs a bonus to Perform: Dance or Perform: Singing or whatever. And that doesn't really make any sense at all, so I would suggest picking a different ability. Either that or select two perform skills that they are naturally good at and left the player choose which to get an astonishing +1 in.

Also wow on putting effort into picking the very worst spell-like abilities to give a race. I'd think charm person or sleep make more sense for fey magic and such abilities might even get used.

Finally, half-what? Are they half human? If so they should probably have the human subtype.

Regardless of those comments, the race looks fine. I'd be tempted to give them an ability like the elemental subraces that they get +1 CL on fey bloodline sorcerer powers.

I also don't see how any of that is relevant to this thread.


Matthew Trent wrote:
Realmwalker wrote:


Not one bonus to Acrobatics, Perception, Stealth or Survival
Also Note Medium sized with a Str penalty
This is one of the ones I'm using in my Saturday Game Playtest.

Okay. I see that. I also see that you're using skill bonus wrong. It doesn't give the option of which perform to pick by default so you should be giving all your half-nymphs a bonus to Perform: Dance or Perform: Singing or whatever. And that doesn't really make any sense at all, so I would suggest picking a different ability. Either that or select two perform skills that they are naturally good at and left the player choose which to get an astonishing +1 in.

Also wow on putting effort into picking the very worst spell-like abilities to give a race. I'd think charm person or sleep make more sense for fey magic and such abilities might even get used.

Finally, half-what? Are they half human? If so they should probably have the human subtype.

Regardless of those comments, the race looks fine. I'd be tempted to give them an ability like the elemental subraces that they get +1 CL on fey bloodline sorcerer powers.

I also don't see how any of that is relevant to this thread.

The relevence to the thread was to show that there can be very cool playable races with out having to build that super caster or hulk fighter

Thanks for the critique I will add either Human or Elf to this as a Subtype.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Matthew Trent wrote:
Actually if you bothered to try it you might see a few ood things pop up. For example I have yet to see a single race that gave skill bonus in anything other than perception and only that rarely, yet the core races hand it out like candy. That implies to me that the ability is currently overpriced. Also I recently was building a race of elephant guys who were noted artificers. The craftsman ability seems right for them but they don't work with stone so you think maybe this ability should let you pick any two materials to get the bonus with.

That this system has a ton of overcosted, underpowered options simply agrees with my point that the point costs are meaningless. It's simply easier to illustrate that problem with overpowered races than underpowered.

Quote:
And to address another point you raise, viewing a new race to the lens of 'how does this fit in the world' is not exactly carefully vetting. No more so than viewing the race through the lens of 'how to make the bestest fighter evar'.

It doesn't fix game balance problems, either. Remember, the eponymous orcs were created by magic to serve as the footsoldiers of a dark lord. "Created with magic to be the best [x] ever" is a time-honored origin for fantasy races.

Realmwalker wrote:
I agree it is fun to build races not intentionally over optimized or combat monkeys

I could not agree more with this. All the more reason to not have a badly-designed system where there is a large gap between optimized and unoptimized options.


A Man In Black wrote:


Quote:
And to address another point you raise, viewing a new race to the lens of 'how does this fit in the world' is not exactly carefully vetting. No more so than viewing the race through the lens of 'how to make the bestest fighter evar'.
It doesn't fix game balance problems, either. Remember, the eponymous orcs were created by magic to serve as the footsoldiers of a dark lord. "Created with magic to be the best [x] ever" is a time-honored origin for fantasy races.

QTF.

It's funny how I've seen many commentaries that revolve around this, 'but that's clearly a munchkin race that's created with the sole purpose of being good at one class', when in fact, this holy grail core races are not that far off, but because they are the CORE races then all is forgiven, but as soon as people create RogueHumans and Arcane Elves, then suddenly is BadWrongFun/Munchkinism.


the rogue humans i would be fine with if there was a less metagamey name for them. we could call them Skulks or something. we could say that they are the result of humans living in the underdark.

the Arcane Elves i would be fine with if they branched themselves out to what the OP claimed they were. if they are Truly a Homage to WoW Blood Elves, than they need to be Viable Rangers and Paladins as well. they didn't just have the Magisters (Wizards), they also had the Blood Knights (Paladins) and the Farstriders (Rangers) at an equal position of power.

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