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Spending XP On Loot / Upgrades Dark Souls style


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew

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With the release of the Dark Souls boardgame, I've been thinking about how to run a Dark Souls style Pathfinder game. There are other threads - many of them - on that topic in general (and I've bookmarked several of them), but I want to discuss but a single aspect of that here.

So, what I want to do is run a game where XP can be spent on traditional leveling OR on upgrading equipment. In fact, I'm thinking of not having stat boosting items but rather having stat boosts simply purchased sans items - but that's neither here nor there.

Anyway, I noted that for the first 10 levels or so, the Fast Experience Track and the PC Loot By Level chart are very similar.

Level 2: 1300xp, 1000 gp
Level 3: 3300xp, 3000 gp
Level 4: 6,000xp, 6,000 gp
Level 5: 10,000xp, 10,500 gp
Level 6: 15,000xp, 16,000 gp
etc

So not exactly the same, but close.

Thus, logically, if I gave my 1st level character encounters equal to 2300 xp and then let them level up at a bonfire and spend their XP on a level up and loot, they'd be right on track (and they'd level up about as fast as the Medium Track, maybe a tad slower at higher levels).

Of course, a PC could instead choose to spend more on one side of the split than the other, but failing to keep balanced would quickly weaken the character (great loot but under-leveled or over-leveled but no loot).

Anyway, looking it over, I can find no logical flaw with this. However, I may well be overlooking something. Thus, I'd like to ask you, the readers of this fine forum, to look over this idea and see if any glaring flaws leap out at you.

Plus, if this works, it might make a lovely alternative to magic items for some GMs (or at least for the Big 6).

Thoughts?

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

No thoughts at the moment, just dotting in ^w^


Hmm. Maybe people aren't understanding what I mean? I realized later that I phrased the title of the thread badly. Maybe a better thread title would have been "Using XP instead of Gold as a currency for both level ups and upgrades."

Does that sound better?


I understood it when I saw "Dark Souls". That said, I think you'd get more of a Dark Souls-y feel if you took a look at the Staggered Advancement rules (which would allow players to "buy" upgrades more frequently).


GM Rednal wrote:
I understood it when I saw "Dark Souls". That said, I think you'd get more of a Dark Souls-y feel if you took a look at the Staggered Advancement rules (which would allow players to "buy" upgrades more frequently).

I will keep that in mind. It would require me to make some charts, but that's do-able. It would work even better with static HP values (since it is difficult to roll half a die).

However, that said, what I'm really trying to figure out here is if there's any reason why not to use XP as both XP and GP.

Has anyone done that before? How did it go?

I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work (aside from the potential for a player dumping too much XP one way or another, but even that could be easily self-corrected with a few more encounters), but I might be missing something.


The main issue that comes from using xp as a currency is that you start to encourage metagaming, that's not to say your players will, but once players know how much xp something gives them they can farm it, just like in dark souls, or they can use all their xp on item and force easy encounters in till they end up op. Now of course not everyone will do this, I know some of my players would, you know your players better than I do but I did want to warn you. Other than that though I don't see any other issues. If you don't think your players will abuse it then let us know how it turns out because I love the idea behind dark souls esqu pathinder


The most noteworthy thing is probably that some classes need to invest in gear much more than others do. Those who are pretty gear-free could level faster and get even stronger, while those with equipment requirements would probably end up dragging behind. That could definitely unbalance things if you didn't keep some kind of mandatory distribution going.


Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
they can farm it, just like in dark souls, or they can use all their xp on item and force easy encounters in till they end up op.

Hm. The first assumes the GM allows farming - which, technically, I should if I'm going for an authentic Dark Souls experience.

However, the idea that they could "force" easy encounters... that's interesting, but easily squashed. One could simply have the encounters scale by what the party should be - so if they intentionally lag behind, they get hit with harder and harder encounters. Loot could save em for a while, but eventually lack of HD would create a beef wall. And then they'd need to grind just to catch up.

But you do make a good point that I should discourage that up front to prevent a grind-necessary situation from occurring.

Of course, I also doubt that most of my current players would want to do that. Mostly because they have few enough free weekends in which to game that wasting time on grinding when they could be getting to more plot tends to be the way of things. My group regularly ignores loot that "isn't worth the time" to pick up. Like masterwork anything they aren't personally going to use.

GM Rednal wrote:
The most noteworthy thing is probably that some classes need to invest in gear much more than others do. Those who are pretty gear-free could level faster and get even stronger, while those with equipment requirements would probably end up dragging behind. That could definitely unbalance things if you didn't keep some kind of mandatory distribution going.

Hm. Aside from Monk, which classes were you thinking of?

My players are pretty good about evenly dividing loot, so I've never noticed any classes ending up with fewer magical stuff than others, but I also adjust loot to fit my PCs so that a typical dungeon will pay out one item obviously for each person (and a bunch of vendor trash to sell for cash), so that may be me as a GM adjusting on the fly - which I wouldn't be able to do (or not as much) if I leave upgrades entirely to the players.

This is good. I wouldn't have thought of that on my own (for the reasons noted above).

Thank you all for your responses so far - and keep em coming!


Yeah, you know your players of course. I think really the only real non gear dependent classes I can think of are monk, brawler(?), and a lot of 9th level casters don't strictly NEED gear a whole lot, I don't see that being a super huge issue though


Most classes that use weapons and armor have pretty heavy gear requirements, given the cost of keeping those up-to-date. 9th Level casters like Wizards, on the other hand, can usually get by with just a Headband for their casting stat. Other things are nice, but they're not fundamentally necessary for the class to fulfill its basic role the way a weapon is for most Fighters.


Just because monks use unarmed strikes and don't wear armor doesn't mean they're not gear dependent. They need The Big Six™ number-stacking items in order to keep up with the math of the game, just like other martials. Casters don't, in comparison. Casters benefit much more from this system than martials do. The power a caster gets from accessing their next level of spells is exponentially greater than the power they get from bumping a stat up by 2.


Hm. Again, this might just be my table, but my casters are always clamoring for Rods of Metamagic.

But yes, caster stats are always the first go to.

That said, knowing my players, I'm betting that the only 9th level caster in the party will be healer-specd. My group heavily favors 6th level casters or straight up melee fighters.

Like, my current party (for Iron Gods) is three different flavors of 6th level casters and an Oracle for healing and AoEs.


So one xp point is one gp? How much do they start with?


Goddity wrote:
So one xp point is one gp? How much do they start with?

None?

They would get the usual starting gear value, but I wasn't planning to start them off with any "souls" to begin with.

But yes, to answer your first question, one "soul point" would be worth the same as both 1 xp and 1 gp. Killing a basic hollow (ordinary CR 1/2 zombie) would get the party 200 soul points (divided among the party). A character would save up until they could either level up (at 1300 souls for level 1 to level 2) or buy an upgrade (1000 souls to upgrade a masterwork armor to +1 (or a +1 resistance bonus to saves), 2000 souls to upgrade a masterwork weapon to +1 (or +1 natural armor), or 4000 souls for a +2 to an ability score).

I am not yet sure what, if anything, titanite will do. Maybe be required to add special properties?


I would say let titanite lessen the cost of upping the + on a weapon as well as being required for things like flaming or keen


Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
I would say let titanite lessen the cost of upping the + on a weapon as well as being required for things like flaming or keen

I was just watching an LP of DS1 where someone did a trick I didn't know about - they farmed a specific kind of titanite from slimes, made their weapon divine, and then headed into the Catacombs (before ringing either bell).

So basically, that green titanite made their weapon Holy.

However, it also reduced the weapons physical damage.

So, I was thinking maybe you have to upgrade the item's Enhancement bonus first, then use titanite to turn some of the Enhancement bonus into special property.

To use that example, the player spends 18,000 souls to make their bastard sword +3, then uses a green titanite shard to make it +1 holy. The bonus to physical attack drops, but it gains divine damage.

I am hesitant to have titanite reduce soul cost because I'm worried that would mess up the balance between xp and gp (since I'd effectively be putting in extra gp).


Ah I see, I like the whole "trade in" aspect, you could do that in dark souls three with the gems. I really like that idea. Also please let me know how this system works out for you, I have wanted to run a game like this for years and never worked out a system properly to do it


I'll start by saying: I think the Automatic Bonus Progression rules does all this better.

Zelgadas Greyward wrote:
The first assumes the GM allows farming - which, technically, I should if I'm going for an authentic Dark Souls experience.

Pfft.

Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
I would say let titanite lessen the cost of upping the + on a weapon as well as being required for things like flaming or keen

This is potentially a good idea: Using titanite as customizable loot instead of handing out magical weapons and armor (that they may not want to use).

However, it may also come off as a limiting factor for players who are used to being able to shop for whatever they want, without being dependent on specific loot.

Zelgadas Greyward wrote:
Of course, a PC could instead choose to spend more on one side of the split than the other, but failing to keep balanced would quickly weaken the character (great loot but under-leveled or over-leveled but no loot).

Here's the problem with this idea. Or rather, this is the idea. This here, what I quoted, is the core feature of your idea. You don't really introduce anything else to the game except for this potential balance issues.

"but failing to keep balanced would quickly weaken the character" - Are you sure? Will this be true or do you just take it for granted? Because it won't be true, unless designed to be so.
And if you do intend to design it this to be so: I'm wondering why you want to introduce more options for players to make subpar choices. Why even bother giving them the option of screwing up?


Rub-Eta wrote:
I'll start by saying: I think the Automatic Bonus Progression rules does all this better.

Ugh. I am NOT a fan of the Automatic Bonus Progression. I play Pathfinder because it offers more customization than other equally good systems. Taking customization away makes things far less interesting.

Even in games with no magic items, I use some sort of currency to gain upgrades. In another game, I used "prayer points" - the party were all in the service of the same goddess, and when they slew her enemies or completed tasks for her, they got "prayer points" equal to the amount of gold they would have gotten. They could then spend those points by praying to her statues, which allows them to improve their equipment. I'm old hat at "buy your own upgrade" systems - it's the spending XP that's new.

[QUOTE="Rub-Eta"This is potentially a good idea: Using titanite as customizable loot instead of handing out magical weapons and armor (that they may not want to use).

Possibly, but I never plan to hand out magic weapons in game - at least not early, and certainly not often. Masterwork will be the drops of choice. Once a character finds a masterwork they like, they can upgrade it with souls/titanite.

The only straight up magic items I could forsee handing out would be non-Big-6 related ones that would provide additional flavor or bonuses to specific class abilities or similar. I haven't thought that far ahead yet (this game won't start until October at the earliest, so I have some planning time).

Rub-Eta wrote:


However, it may also come off as a limiting factor for players who are used to being able to shop for whatever they want, without being dependent on specific loot.

Well, that's the trade off. In a way, they can shop for anything - by spending souls on it. However, if they want to upgrade something, they will need to find or buy a masterwork version first.

Rub-Eta wrote:


Here's the problem with this idea. Or rather, this is the idea. This here, what I quoted, is the core feature of your idea. You don't really introduce anything else to the game except for this potential balance issues.
"but failing to keep balanced would quickly weaken the character" - Are you sure? Will this be true or do you just take it for granted? Because it won't be true, unless designed to be so.
And if you do intend to design it this to be so: I'm wondering why you want to introduce more options for players to make subpar choices. Why even bother giving them the option of screwing up?

1) Because it adds flavor to the universe. The benefit is it turns leveling up into something real in-universe without being cheesy. It makes XP an actual physical substance that can be picked up and carried around - and lost. That is one of the defining aspects of Dark Souls for me - that strange universe where souls are used as money and humanity can be found in rat corpses.

2) Because inbalance is not the same as unequal. I am attempting to maintain balance while allowing for inequality.

What's more valuable at 1st level - a +1 to saves or being 2nd level? Almost certainly the later. However, as things progress, the ability to penetrate DR or hit high enemy saving throws may be more important than another level. I like the idea of my players having to choose, having to consider the choice and what it means.

That said, my main worry about all this was that there was some huge obvious problem that I was missing. So far, no one seems to think of one. The worst that will happen is that my players will try to break the system - and I'm confident that I can manage that. If "players can be a-holes" is the only problem, then my original question has been answered - there is no systemic problem with this idea that is going to implode my game - and I can move on to other stuff.

So yeah, thanks everyone!

Anyway, I think the thread has reached mutation point. Since my original question seems to be answered, I can start moving on to nitty gritty like the role of titanite and what exactly I'm going to do with humanity.

Which we can continue discussing right here (unless people would prefer I start a new thread to avoid people coming in late to answer the OP since I can no longer edit that).


I'm fine with continuing this thread, btw I love this concept, I know a ton about the soulsborne games if you have specific questions I'm more than happy to help, I'm also a game developer of you need any really specific things I'd love to help


Dotting for interest.


Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
I'm fine with continuing this thread, btw I love this concept, I know a ton about the soulsborne games if you have specific questions I'm more than happy to help, I'm also a game developer of you need any really specific things I'd love to help

Okay! Sounds good.

Let's talk titanite and embers first.

There's already been some discussion above on that about not wanting to have titanite be part of the cost (since that would screw up what I hope to otherwise be a very elegant system).

However, for flavor, I do want to include it. The question is how.

There is also the matter of Embers. Do I want to bother with Embers or just assume that certain smiths already have certain embers? Unlike titanite itself, I don't really feel that Embers are intrinsic to the Dark Souls flavor, but others might disagree.

Anyway, back to Titanite.

So, in the video game, normal Titanite is used to upgrade weapons up a "normal" path, so they appear to correspond directly Enhancement bonus. In the game this scales all the way up to +15, but obviously that wouldn't work in Pathfinder. So assume +5 max.

Green Titanite (and the correct Embers at the Blacksmith) allow for upgrades up Magic, Divine, and Fire routes. Thus, Green Titanite would be used to unlock special abilities - in this case Holy, Flaming, and... Spell Storing?

Red Titanite allows for further upgrades for Fire, and upgrading into Chaos. The obvious ones here are Flaming Burst and Anarchic, but then Chaos doesn't mean the same thing in context, so maybe not?

Blue Titanite allows for further upgrades for Magic and upgrading into Enchanted. So... greater spell storing? The magic upgrade stuff is kinda stumping me. Suggestions?

White Titanite allows for further upgrades up Divine and for upgrading into Occult. Again, unless I create "lesser holy" for Green (ie 1d6 holy) and put normal Holy here, I'm not sure what to do for this. Likewise, Occult ... like holy, except it doesn't penetrate good DR, but it penetrates Epic DR?

Twinkling and Demon allow for upgrading Unique items. So... specific weapons?

And what about other weapon abilities? Keen, Shocking, Corrosive, Icy, Speed, Brilliant Energy, etc? Do I wrap these into the above?

That appears to be how titanite works in the Dark Souls world. In each of the above cases, upgrading weapons still costs souls - and there's no way to upgrade the weapons without souls. Thus, it appears that titanite is the "raw materials" used in weapon upgrading and would not affect the cost to do so.

ANYWAY - that took longer than I thought it would. So options.

Option 1) I could try to keep as close to the game as possible. This would involve needing titanite to do ANY weapon or armor upgrades. Without titanite, the PCs could only upgrade other things like Ability Scores, Resistance Bonuses, etc. Basic Titanite is required for Enhancement Bonus upgrades, various others for each special ability.
Pros: This would allow for me to have total control over weapon and armor upgrading. If I don't want the party to upgrade their weapons and armor too quickly, I can avoid dropping Titanite. If I want to avoid certain weapon special abilities, I just avoid dropping that type of titanite.
Cons: Massive amounts of additional bookkeeping. It requires players to track all of these different types of titanite and know which they have and which they need.

Option 2) I could streamline the system. Eliminate basic titanite except for high level enhancement bonuses (so maybe you need Titanite to reach +4 and +5). Simplify which colored titanites are associated with which special abilities (like Green does all elementals damages, Blue does non-elemental +1 abilities, white does all alignment-based abilities like Holy and Unholy, etc).
Pros: Simpler and easier to remember while still maintaining some control over magic item advancement. Still retains a good deal of world flavor without being exactly the same.
Cons: Loses any lore or thematic aspects associated with special ability groupings.

Option 3) I could also change titanite into something entirely different - weapon metal types.
Ie, Titanite acts as Cold Iron. Green Titanite acts as Silver. Demon Titanite acts as Adamantium. Maybe Blue Titanite bypasses Magic DR. Titanite thus no longer has any association with Enhancement bonus upgrades and is entirely about changing what DR weapons bypass.
Pros: Simple, doesn't really affect money in any way. This would also bring weapon metals back into the game.
Cons: Not even remotely similar to the actual video game.

SO... thoughts? Which options do people prefer? And am I missing anything I should be considering in regards to Titanite and Embers?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

White Titanite could be for Undead Bane since it kept actually killed the reviving skeletons.

Occult... divine bane?


Rysky wrote:

White Titanite could be for Undead Bane since it kept actually killed the reviving skeletons.

Occult... divine bane?

See, I was assuming that the summoners were granting the skeletons something like Regen 5/Good, so that good aligned weapons (like Holy weapons) could kill them. Bane weapons only bypass DR if they happen to boost the Enchantment bonus high enough.

You do bring up a good point though - where to put Bane. I suppose it depends on which of the Titanite options I end up using (1, 2, or 3).

Undead Bane would be a bit overpowered just because of the sheer amount of undead in Lordran. It might be worth it to divide up Undead into subtypes (like Humanoids normally get) to avoid it being too powerful compared to other Bane types.


Okay, as far as embers go I wouldn't go that far. I think the the first option (the in depth one that is) would be fine as long as you are clear with how it works to your players. Have you thought about "magic" (from blue titanium) being a force enchantment. Maybe like +1d4 force damage. With a forceful burst upgrade. I believe that chaos most closely aligns with a half and half damage type (maybe half fire and half negative energy or something similar) and I think that the other abilities should be spread amongst the titanites based on theme and power. Also would dividing the number of titanite shards required by three help your math? I'm not where I can do comparisons right now but I think that it may work. I'll post again when I'm not on mobile with some math (unless you decide something different or someone else does this math before I get back)


Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
Okay, as far as embers go I wouldn't go that far. I think the the first option (the in depth one that is) would be fine as long as you are clear with how it works to your players.

**nods** That seems fair.

And yeah, I'll probably create a one-page handout of some sort. I did something similar with Potion Crafting during my Witcher game. My players were remarkably entertained by rolling survival checks to find local flora for alchemy.

Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
Have you thought about "magic" (from blue titanium) being a force enchantment. Maybe like +1d4 force damage. With a forceful burst upgrade.

I hadn't. Unless I really need to, I try not to invent new weapon properties. Still, that might work. Your suggestion seems balanced enough that I don't think I'd need to worry about it.

Alternatively, I seem to remember a weapon property somewhere that damages SR. That could be a good replacement for magic since it would allow spellcasters to affect creatures with SR more easily.

Alternatively alternatively, I could replace "magic" with "ice" since I've been doing that with resistances on monsters anyway.

Decisions decisions.

Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
I believe that chaos most closely aligns with a half and half damage type (maybe half fire and half negative energy or something similar).

It might be easier to just have Red titanite allow for Flaming Burst and Unholy. If the player wants to pay for both upgrades, then that would create a sort of half-and-half situation.

My main concern is that most critters in Dark Souls are evil-type things, so Unholy would be a fairly sub-optimal option except vs very specific enemies. And even then... in a lot of ways, it can be very hard to figure out who is good and who is evil in Dark Souls. I mean, normally having snakes for legs would be a pretty good clue, but in Lordran, not necessarily.

Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
I think that the other abilities should be spread amongst the titanites based on theme and power.

That seems fair. The main issue I was having is that a lot of the abilities don't seem to have a natural home. For example, what to do with Keen? At least one of my players will likely want to add that to a weapon, so I need to have a plan in place for that.

That said, at my table it's rare for anyone to get weapon properties with a higher cost bonus than +2. My players tend to prefer lots of +1s and +2s rather than any higher level ones. So I'm more likely to have people wanting Flaming Keen Holy Bane weapons than, say, Brilliant Energy.
(in fact, I probably don't even need to figure out what to do with Speed, Brilliant Energy, or Vorpal - if I made them unavailable, my players would likely never notice).

Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
Also would dividing the number of titanite shards required by three help your math? I'm not where I can do comparisons right now but I think that it may work. I'll post again when I'm not on mobile with some math (unless you decide something different or someone else does this math before I get back)

That's a good point. I cannot remember how many shards are needed for upgrades, and the Wiki page has not been helpful.

Lacking that info, and possibly just to keep things simple, I was thinking perhaps one per level. However, if you have the actual data, either raw or calculated, feel free to run it by me.


It takes 1 for +1 and 2 for +2 3 for +3 and +4 so 3 for +3 if my math is correct. Than if I go to large shards and chunks flatmate still works so a one for one enchantment is pretty accurate


Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
It takes 1 for +1 and 2 for +2 3 for +3 and +4 so 3 for +3 if my math is correct. Than if I go to large shards and chunks flatmate still works so a one for one enchantment is pretty accurate

So, to make sure I understand...

To go from a Masterwork Longsword to a +1 Longsword would be:
1 titanite shard and 2,000 souls.

To go from a +1 Longsword to a +2 Longsword would be:
2 titanite shards and 6,000 souls.

To go from a +2 Longsword to a +3 Longsword would be:
3 titanite shards and 10,000 souls.

And then

To go from a +3 Longsword to a +4 Longsword would be:
1 large titanite shard and 14,000 souls.

To go from a +4 Longsword to a +5 Longsword would be:
2 large titanite shards and 18,000 souls.

But at this point we hit an issue between Dark Souls and Pathfinder. In Dark Souls, we'd just keep going up to 3 large shards, then 1 chunk, 2 chunks, 3 chunks, and 1 slab for +10. However, Pathfinder won't let base enhancement go above +5.

Instead, at that point (or earlier) they'd have to swap over to some specialized titanite - green most likely since that seems to be the one that starts off several of the other paths.

Or did I misunderstand you? Looking back at your post, I'm getting the impression that you wrote that post quickly (likely using a phone) and I have misinterpreted your meaning somewhere.


You read it correctly (and yes it was written quickly from a phone) I do see the dilemma though. Perhaps use shards for +1 and +2 then use large shard for +3 chunk for +4 and slab for +5? Then allow for the specialized titanite...hmm...that's probably what I would do


Just to butt in, there are four types of standard titanite; Shard, Large Shard, Chunk, and Slab. If you were to add in one more type (say, Large Titanite Chunk), you could have a pretty easy 1:1 for the maximum five levels of Pathfinder enhancement.


Lost In Limbo wrote:
Just to butt in, there are four types of standard titanite; Shard, Large Shard, Chunk, and Slab. If you were to add in one more type (say, Large Titanite Chunk), you could have a pretty easy 1:1 for the maximum five levels of Pathfinder enhancement.

Actually, it might be easier to go the other direction.

mwk -> +1 = 1 shard
+1 -> +2 = 2 shards
+2 -> +3 = 1 chunk
+3 -> +4 = 2 chunks
+4 -> +5 = slab

That would reduce us down to three item types and create decision moments where the party has to decide if they want to give two more people +1 weapons (or +3 weapons) or one person a +2 (or +4) weapon.

Yeah, I think I like this method. It combines several of the previous ideas and keeps the scaling flavor on a smaller scale.

Okay! I'm feeling good about this.

So, with basic titanite shards/chunks/slabs dealt with, time to figure out the weird ones.

So, we have Green, Blue, Red, White for the main types, with Twinkling and Demon for "unique" weapons. Green is associated with starting various paths, Blue is associated with Magic, Red is associated with Fire and Chaos, and White is associated with Divine and Occult.

We also have the following abilities that need associations:

+1 modifiers that seem to fit the Dark Souls aesthetic:
Bane
Conductive
Corrosive
Countering
Dispelling (Blue?)
Flaming (Green?)
Frost (Blue?)
Furious (Red?)
Ghost Touch (White?)
Grayflame (White?)
Heartseeker
Keen
Ki Focus
Mighty Cleaving
Ominous
Planar
Shock
Spell Storing (Blue?)
Thundering
Valiant
Vicious

+2 modifiers that seem to fit the Dark Souls aesthetic:
Advancing
Anarchic (Red?)
Anchoring
Axiomatic (White?)
Corrosive Burst
Dispelling Burst (Blue?)
Flaming Burst (Red?)
Furyborn (Red?)
Glorious
Holy (Green? White?)
Icy Burst (Blue?)
Igniting (Red?)
Impact
Invigorating
Ki Intensifying
Lifesurge
Negating (Blue?)
Shocking Burst
Stalking
Unholy (Red?)
Wounding

+3 that seem to fit the Dark Souls aesthetic:
Nullifying (Blue?)
Repositioning
Spellstealing (Blue?)

This upon a quick flip through Ultimate Equipment.

Now, we don't need to assign all of these - particularly since I am certain that I've never used a lot of these in game. I'm mostly listing them because, if people think that some of these stranger abilities really fit well, then I might try them out just to help with the whole flavor.

Also, if there's an ability that I left out that you think fits, feel free to suggest it. (That invitation is to everyone in the thread).

Anyway, for the list above, I've put in some colors based on previous discussion.

One potentially easy method would be to have Green handle all +1 abilities, while +2 abilities are divided up to Blue, Red, and White based on which they seem to fit.

Also, should I be saving Twinkling and Demon Titanite for upgrading Unique Weapons (which RAW isn't actually allowed, but can be figured out by reverse-engineering the weapon for price modifiers and adjusting from there)?


I like your method of upgrade a lot. Ill be back later for some more in depth discussion over the other titanite shards


I can't post in full right now (I'm on mobile) but I did want to say that if you convert magic resistance to ice the the magic enchantment should be ice too


Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
I can't post in full right now (I'm on mobile) but I did want to say that if you convert magic resistance to ice the the magic enchantment should be ice too

Well, it's more like, as I've been working on monsters (which will be going in another thread here soon), I've gotten to Defensive abilities and been like:

Welp, this creature is strong against Fire, weak to Lightening, and... moderate against "magic". So... no SR, Immune Fire, and Resist Ice 10?

Likewise, I've been giving enemies that resist Poison and Toxic well a Resistance to Acid (and a bonus to saves vs poison, unless they're S rank against them, in which case they are poison and acid immune).


Okay, so general question on the colored titanite.

Should I be dividing the titanite types up by power level or theme?

I suggested before that perhaps Green Titanite is used for all +1 abilities, while Red, White, and Blue are divided up among the +2 and +3 abilities.

Another option would be to use the four colored titanites for +1s (divided up by theme) and then use Twinkling and Demon titanite for +2 and +3 abilities (since Specific Weapons are normally not upgradable anyway). This would also make Twinkling and Demon more useful (since most PCs want custom weapons not specific weapons - with a few exceptions like Holy Avengers).

In that case, I'd probably associate Green, Blue, Red, and White each with one energy type and have Twinkling handle Good/Law aligned stuff while Demon handles Evil/Chaos type stuff. It wouldn't be exactly like the game, but I think it might be easier for Pathfinder.

In that case, the upgrades might look something like this:

Green Titanite: Corrosive/Burst, Keen, Mighty Cleaving, Countering, Ghost Touch, Advancing, Repositioning
Blue Titanite: Frost/Burst, Conductive, Dispelling/Burst, Spell Storing, Negating, Spell Stealing
Red Titanite: Flaming/Burst, Furious, Vicious, Heartseeker, Ominous, Stalking, Impact
White Titanite: Shock/Burst, Thundering, Valiant, Bane, Grayflame, Ki Focus, Ki Intensifying

Twinkling Titanite: Holy, Axiomatic, Glorious, Invigorating, Lifesurge
Demon Titanite: Unholy, Anarchic, Furyborn, Igniting, Wounding

How does that look?

Oh, and in case it isn't obvious, for Green, Blue, Red, and White, a +2 ability would require two pieces, and a +3 ability would require 3.

For Twinkling and Demon, only one piece is require (since all of them are +2 abilities, and they're rarer than the four types above).


I like it, simple, concise, and it feels good. I like it a whole lot

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Looks good to me :3

You could also leave the Twinkling/Dragon Scales for upgrading artifacts?


Rysky wrote:

Looks good to me :3

You could also leave the Twinkling/Dragon Scales for upgrading artifacts?

I was saving Dragon Scales for dragon-based weapons and armor. Pathfinder already has dragon-based armor, but dragon weapons are something I'll have to come up with it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

*nods*


Armor

I was thinking of using the Piecemeal Armor variant from Ultimate Combat since that mostly matches up with the four armor types already in Dark Souls.

The two flaws I see there are that:
1) there's no reason to upgrade pieces separately since only the best piece grants its enhancement bonus.
And
2) There are no helms in the Piecemeal Armor variant (which seems like an oversight to me).

Alternatively, I could just have armor function normally and then add a helm mechanic.

One idea I had for helms was that they could be an interesting place to hide Deflection Bonuses. Basically, this would make Rings of Protection into a head-slot item. That way, Helms would grant an AC bonus that was unique to them, it covers one of the Big Six in a way that is flavorful to Dark Souls.

Thoughts?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

*nods*

I like the ring/wondrous item idea, they did that a lot in Dark Souls 2 basically, though some helms had effects in 1.


I love the helm of protection idea, but please for the lo e of all that is holy don't use the piece meal armor option, those are some of the worst designed rules I've seen in all my years playing ttrpgs


Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
I love the helm of protection idea, but please for the love of all that is holy don't use the piece meal armor option, those are some of the worst designed rules I've seen in all my years playing ttrpgs

Yeah, the more I looked them over, the more I was like "Whaaat?"

I love the idea of being able to mix-and-match bits of armor, but UC seems to have designed their rules to make it instantly and entirely sub-par to their standard armor.

And that's a shame - if the system offered benefits to equal out the detriments, then I'd probably use it for flavor alone. However, I couldn't find any situation where it would be advantageous.

Ah well. The Helm as Deflection option seems to have two up-votes (you know what I mean), so I'll probably stick with that.

Although that will create the weird effect of having Helms cost twice as much to upgrade as full suits of armor. ^^;;

But, on the plus side, it will free up a ring slot.


I wish that the piece meal armor rules worked too...oh well, I'm glad that the rest of this is working for you. What else do you need? I'm having a grand old time doing this, I haven't developed pathfinder stuff for years


In fairness, I'm pretty sure piece-meal stuff is meant to be weaker than proper armor. XD Intended for gritty campaigns where good stuff isn't that easy to find, or maybe as stop-gaps if you lose your main gear and have to scrounge something together until you get a new set. That, too, can have a purpose in games.

On the topic of deflection helms, though... I will note that each slot is generally geared towards specific things. Putting a powerful and desirable effect like a Deflection Bonus onto helms will generally overwrite the normal use of that slot (Interaction items) and sort of take that option away from players. It's usually advised to avoid that.

If you don't mind people being able to up their defenses a little more, you could always give them a third ring slot just for Rings of Protection or something... or, heck, even make it an attachment they could put on helms in addition to its other effects.


It's not that piece meal armor is weaker, it's that it's poorly designed, all the ACP is in the arms for example. And it's possible to make suits if armor that have ridiculous stats by min maxing your armor pieces. It's just poorly written.

Back on topic I like your idea of adding an attachment to helms as to not overwrite the use of the head slot


Rednal wrote:

On the topic of deflection helms, though... I will note that each slot is generally geared towards specific things. Putting a powerful and desirable effect like a Deflection Bonus onto helms will generally overwrite the normal use of that slot (Interaction items) and sort of take that option away from players. It's usually advised to avoid that.

heck, even make it an attachment they could put on helms in addition to its other effects.

Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
Back on topic I like your idea of adding an attachment to helms as to not overwrite the use of the head slot

Another option is to allow any head-slot item to be enchanted with Deflection. So a character could take their, say, Circlet of Persuasion (my favorite head-slot item) and pay 2000 souls and a titanite shard to upgrade it to a Circlet of Persuasion with +1 Deflection.

Also remember that headBAND slot is getting removed entirely in favor of simply being able to upgrade mental stats directly via souls (4,000 souls for a +2 to any stat, 12,000 souls to increase that to +4, etc).

Technically that means that there are other headbands that will be unavailable, but honestly, I have never in any game seen a PC take a non-mental ability based headband. Thus is the curse of the Big 6.

Hm. Part of me is TEMPTED to have actual proper helms grant a +1 bonus to AC without magical improvement (to account for them actually being helmets), meaning that a head-slot item would max at +5 Def, but a proper helm would max at +6 (+1 helm, +5 def).

Part of me is like "but that introduces an entirely new +1 bonus to AC!" ... while another part of me is like "yeah, but so did that trait you wrote for a PUBLISHED PRODUCT, so how is this different?" And... yeah, I don't have an answer to that question.

So... Armor Helms grant a +1 "helm" bonus to AC? Good idea? Bad idea?


Headbands are mostly for mental improvements, and straight ability score increases tend to be seen as the most useful way of getting that. XD Though the slot does technically have a sub-focus on ranged attacks (hence the Kineticist's Diadem being there)...

Anyway, I'd be hesitant to add a new kind of bonus, but if it's capped to +1 and it's interfering with wearing other items, that's probably balanced enough.


I love the idea, sounds like it'll work great


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All right then - Helms will be a thing. They grant a +1 Helm bonus to AC and are now the Item Slot where Deflection goes. Thus, a +5 Helm will grant a +5 bonus to deflection and a +1 helm bonus to AC.

Awesome.

Next up, it's probably a good time to consider magic equipment slots in general.

Headband slot, shoulder slot, belt slot, are being completely eliminated since those will be direct character enhancements (ie mental stats, physical stats, and resistance bonuses).

I'm tempted to dump Neck slots as well (since that's where Natural Armor lives, and that's also going direct character enhancement), but unlike the others, I have often seen characters choose other neck-slot items over amulets of NA.

Eye slot... just doesn't feel very Dark Souls to me. So, unless someone has a good reason not to, that one's out too.

For those that are staying:

Feet Slots and Hand/Wrist Slots are sticking around since those correspond well with the gauntlets and grieves.

Body and Chest slots need to stick around for mages or other low-armor characters.

Slotless items are a big thing in Dark Souls, so they get to stay.

And, of course, Rings. In fact, since Deflection has been moved to Head Slot, I've effectively added an extra ring slot. Besides, it wouldn't feel like Dark Souls if there wasn't a ton of magic rings lying around.

Because I was bored yesterday and felt like messing about, I have a written up a bunch of Dark Souls ring. Most of them are either magic items (some rings, some other slots, some slotless) that already existed in Pathfinder whereas others I had to make up. Since I just wrote these up yesterday (while watching the new MST3K on Netflix), I have no idea how well they're balanced for price - I did my best to compare to already existing magic items, but still, be warned that some of these are untested.

All The Rings:

Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring
Aura moderate evocation; CL 7th
Slot ring; Price 25,000 gp; Weight -
The wearer of this ring gains the Intense Spells ability from the Evocation School as if they were a wizard. Any spell of the evocation school that they cast gains a bonus to damage equal to 1/2 their caster level. If a wearer has levels in more than one class that grant a caster level, they must choose which the ring applies to upon doning it. The ring must be worn for 24 hours (or one bonfire rest) before it applies this bonus damage to spells.
Requirements Forge Ring, creator must be an evocationist. Cost 12,500 gp

Calamity Ring
Aura moderate necromancy; CL 7th
Slot ring; Price 28,000 gp; Weight —
The wearer of this ring takes more damage than normal. All HP damage taken by the wearer are doubled.
Requirements Forge Ring, bestow curse, inflict critical wounds; Cost 14,000 gp

Cloranthy Ring
Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th
Slot ring; Price 4,000 gp; Weight —
This ring contains two panache points that can be used by the wearer to activate any deeds he or she possesses. Once spent, the two panache points refresh after 24 hours and can be spent again. The panache points are only available to the wearer 24 hours (or one bonfire rest) after the wearer first dons the ring. If the wearer removes the ring and puts it back on again, they must again wait for 24 hours (or one bonfire rest) to be able to use the ring again.

Cursebite Ring
Aura moderate abjuration; CL 7th
Slot ring; Price 28,000 gp; Weight —
The wearer is warded against curses. Any spell or effect - except those from other pieces of worn equipment - that function as bestow curse do not affect the wearer. Curses already in effect when the ring is donned remain in effect. This ring has no effect on other curse effects or on the spell greater bestow curse.
Requirements Forge Ring, spell immunity

Darkmoon Seance Ring
Aura strong transmutation; CL 17th
Slot ring; Price 36,000 gp; Weight -
The wearer gains an additional prepared spell or spell slot at the highest level they are capable of casting. If the wearer has spells from two or more sources, only one of them gains the benefit of this ring (wearer's choice).
Requirements Forge Ring, creator must be 11th level or higher.; Price 18,000 gp

Dark Wood Grain Ring
Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th
Slot ring; Price 2,500 gp; Weight -
This ring continually allows the wearer to leap about, providing a +5 competence bonus on the wearer's acrobatics checks.
Requirements Forge Ring, creator must have 5 ranks in Acrobatics skill; Cost 1,250 gp

Dusk Crown Ring
Aura strong necromancy; CL 17th
Slot ring; Price 152,000 gp; Weight -
All of the wearer's spells are cast as if affected by the Empower Spell metamagic feat. However, the wearer also takes a -8 penalty to Constitution while wearing this ring. This constitution penalty cannot be cured by any means so long as the ring is worn.
Requirements Forge Ring, Empower Spell, bestow curse

East Wood Grain Ring
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 7th
Slot ring; Price 4,000 gp; Weight -
The wearer's in-hand weapon becomes more difficult to sunder. Whatever weapon the wielder has in hand has its hardness increased by 2 for the purposes of sunder attempts. Other weapons carried on the wearer's person do not receive this benefit. If the wearer has two weapons in hand (such as while using the feat two-weapon fighting), then only the weapon in the same hand as the ring is worn on receives this benefit.
Requirements Forge Ring, stoneskin; Cost 2,000 gp

Flame Stoneplate Ring
Aura moderate abjuration; CL 7th
Slot ring; Price 28,000 gp; Weight -
This ring continually protects the wearer from fire damage, granting 20 points of fire resistance.
Requirements Forge Ring, resist energy; Cost 14,000 gp

Havel's Ring
Aura faint transmutation; CL 3rd
Slot ring; Price 1,000 gp; Weight —
The wearer treats his Strength score as 8 higher than normal when determining his carrying capacity. This bonus does not apply to combat, breaking items, or any other Strength-related rolls, it only contributes to the amount of equipment or material the wearer can carry.
Requirements Forge Ring, bull's strength; Cost 500 gp

Hawk Ring
Aura faint divination; CL 3rd
Slot ring; Price 7,000 gp; Weight —
The wearer gains a +5 competence bonus on perception checks and a +1 competence bonus on ranged attack rolls with bows.
Requirements Forge Ring, clairvoyance/clairaudience; Cost 3,500 gp

Hornet Ring
Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th
Slot ring; Price 16,000 gp; Weight —
Three times per day on command, this ring casts keen edge on any weapon held by the wearer.
Requirements Forge Ring, keen edge; Cost 8,000 gp

Leo Ring
Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th
Slot ring; Price 8,000 gp; Weight —
When the wearer spends a point of panache to use the parry and riposte deed and successfully parries a target, the wearer gains a +2 to bonus to hit and damage on her riposte attempt as if she had the weapon training class feature for her weapon. If the wearer already has the weapon training class feature, then the bonus improves by +2 for successful ripostes.
Requirements Forge Ring, greater magic weapon; Cost 4,000 gp

Lingering Dragoncrest Ring
Aura strong (no school); CL 17th
Slot ring; Price 24,500 gp; Weight —
The wearer can cast up to three spells per day that are extended as though using the Extend Spell feat.
Requirements Forge Ring, Extend Spell; Cost 12,250 gp

Old Witch's Ring
Aura faint divination; CL 4
Slot ring; Price 2,500; Weight -
This ring grants the wearer a +5 competence bonus on Linguistics checks and the ability to read and speak a single ancient language (chosen when the ring is forged).
Requirements Forge Ring, comprehend languages; Cost 1,250 gp

Orange Charred Ring
Aura minor abjuration and moderate transmutation; CL 9th
Slot ring; Price 24,000 gp; Weight -
This ring allows the wearer to walk on lava in relative safety. The wearer cannot be submerged in lava, and immediately rises to the surface if submerged from above. In addition, the wearer gains 10 resistance to fire, mostly (but not entirely) negating the damage for walking on lava.

Poisonbite Ring
Aura faint conjuration; CL 5th
Slot ring; Price 27,000 gp; Weight —
The wearer is immune to poison, although poisons active when the ring is first donned still run their course.
Requirements Forge Ring, neutralize poison; Cost 13,500 gp

Rare Ring of Sacrifice
Aura strong abjuration, conjuration, and evocation; CL 15th
Slot ring; Price 11,100; Weight -
This ring protects the wearer from a fatal attack. When an attack would reduce the wearer below 0 HP, the wearer is instead teleported (as per word of recall) to the most recent bonfire he or she has visited and the damage is negated. Once the ring has done this, it breaks, becoming useless. This ring also functions (returning the wearer to the nearest bonfire) if they would be affected by a curse. Unlike a Cursebite ring, this ring protects against any curse, including greater bestow curse - but is broken in the process.
Requirements Forge Ring, contingency, word of recall; Cost 5,550 gp

Ring of Favor and Protection
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 7th
Slot ring; Price 7,500 gp; Weight —
Grants the benefits of the Cloranthy Ring, Tiny Being's Ring, and Havel's Ring. However, once worn, it breaks if removed.

Ring of Fog
Aura faint illusion; CL 3rd
Slot ring; Price 20,000 gp; Weight —
By activating this simple silver ring, the wearer can benefit from invisibility, as the spell.
Requirements Forge Ring, invisibility; Cost 10,000 gp

Ring of Sacrifice
Aura moderate conjuration and evocation; CL 11th
Slot ring; Price 6,600; Weight -
This ring protects the wearer from a fatal attack. When an attack would reduce the wearer below 0 HP, the wearer is instead teleported (as per word of recall) to the most recent bonfire he or she has visited and the damage is negated. Once the ring has done this, it breaks, becoming useless.
Requirements Forge Ring, contingency, word of recall; Cost 3,300 gp

Ring of Steel Protection
Aura moderate abjuration; CL 10th
Slot ring; Price 60,000 gp; Weight -
Every 24 hours, this rings’s wearer gains DR 10/adamantine until the ring absorbs 100 points of damage, at which point the ring becomes useless for the remainder of the 24-hour period. When first worn, or after each time this ring is taken off, it must worn for 24 consecutive hours (or one bonfire rest) in order for its magic to take effect again.
Requirements Forge ring, stone skin; Cost 30,000 gp

Ring of the Evil Eye
Aura faint necromancy; CL 5th
Slot ring; Price 15,000 gp; Weight -
Any weapon wielded by the wearer of this ring gains the Vampiric weapon property so long as the wearer uses it. The wearer must wear the ring for 24 hours (or one bonfire rest) before the ring activates.
Requirements Forge Ring, cure moderate wounds, inflict moderate wounds, vampiric touch

Ring of the Sun's Firstborn
Aura strong evocation; CL 17th
Slot ring; Price 51,000; Weight -
Three times per day, the wearer of this ring can empower a divine evocation spell, such as holy smite or flame strike. This ring only functions for divine spellcasters.
Requirements Forge Ring, empower spell, ability to cast divine spells; Cost 25,500 gp

Ring of the Sun Princess
Aura strong conjuration and necromancy; CL 17th
Slot ring; Price 51,000; Weight -
Three times per day, the wearer of this ring can empower a conjuration (healing) spell that restores hit points to a target, such as cure serious wounds. If worn by an undead individual, it instead can empower a necromancy spell that restores hit points to an undead target (such as inflict moderate wounds). The ring only functions when restoring HP - it cannot be used to empower spells used offensively.
Requirements Forge Ring, empower spell, ability to cast cure or inflict spells.; Cost 25,500 gp

Rusted Iron Ring
Aura moderate abjuration and transmutation; CL 8th
Slot ring; Price 14,300; Weight -
This ring enables its wearer to breathe in water as if she were in clear, fresh air. She can cast spells and act underwater without hindrance.
Requirements: Forge Ring, freedom of movement, water breathing; Cost 7,150 gp

Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring
Aura faint illusion; CL 3rd
Slot ring; Price 2,500 gp; Weight -
The wearer of this ring has his footsteps silenced, granting a +5 competence bonus to stealth checks made while moving. Furthermore, the wearer can move up to your normal speed without taking a penalty to your stealth checks (although moving more than your speed, such as a double move, imposes the normal penalty). The wearer still cannot use stealth while being observed or while attacking, running, etc. This ring grants no bonuses to wearers who remain still (although they gain the usual bonuses for not moving as normal).

Speckled Stoneplate Ring
Aura minor abjuration; CL 3th
Slot ring; Price 33,000 gp; Weight -
This ring continually protects the wearer from acid, cold, fire, and electrical damage, granting 10 points of resistance to all four energy types.
Requirements Forge Ring, resist energy; Cost 16,500 gp

Spell Stoneplate Ring
Aura moderate abjuration; CL 7th
Slot ring; Price 28,000 gp; Weight -
This ring continually protects the wearer from cold damage, granting 20 points of cold resistance.
Requirements Forge Ring, resist energy; Cost 14,000 gp

Thunder Stoneplate Ring
Aura moderate abjuration; CL 7th
Slot ring; Price 28,000 gp; Weight -
This ring continually protects the wearer from electrical damage, granting 20 points of electrical resistance.
Requirements Forge Ring, resist energy; Cost 14,000 gp

Tiny Being's Ring
Aura faint transmutation; CL 4th
Slot ring; Price 4,000 gp; Weight -
The wearer gains the benefit of the toughness feat. The ring must be worn for 24 hours (or one bonfire rest) to grant these benefits.
Requirements Forge Ring, bear's endurance; Cost 2,000 gp

White Seance Ring
Aura strong transmutation; CL 17th
Slot ring; Price 36,000 gp; Weight -
The wearer gains an additional prepared spell or spell slot at the highest level they are capable of casting. If the wearer has spells from two or more sources, only one of them gains the benefit of this ring (wearer's choice).
Requirements Forge Ring, creator must be 11th level or higher.; Price 18,000 gp

Wolf Ring
Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th
Slot ring; Price 4,500 gp; Weight -
Grants the wearer a +2 insight bonus on CMB and to CMD.
Requirements Forge Ring,

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