SnS Homebrew AP Design Feedback


Homebrew and House Rules


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'm currently working on another homebrew AP, this time for SnS. Right now, I'm halfway done, and while I'm working on the second half, I'd like to get some feedback for some new mechanics I want to include.

I'm keeping this vague on purpose to not spoil the surprise when it's done, but there will be a mechanic similiar to the MM traders, which allows you to get some new cards at the end of each scenario.
For this to work, I need to categorize the boons of the box into 5 categories of 2 types each, which all should be equally desirable.

The idea is that you trade cards of one such type against another card of the same type that comes from outside of SnS; you can make this process more efficient by investing in the corresponding category, so you will always improve two card types at the same time.

Right now, my 5 categories are as follows:

- Weapons that have the Melee trait
- Armors that have the Shield or Heavy Armor trait

- Weapons that have the Ranged trait
- Allies that list Survival in their check to acquire

- Spells that have the Arcane trait
- Blessings and Items that lack the Divine trait

- Spells that have the Divine trait
- Blessings and Items that have the Divine trait

- Allies that list Diplomacy in their check to acquire
- Armors that have the Clothing or Light Armor trait

The question would be whether this is a good partition of all the cards in the box or if and how you would do it differently, given the following constraints:

- each category should be priority for some kind of character
- it should be a hard decision between focusing on one category or spreading over several categories
- each card type should be well represented in the SnS set

Feedback would be greatly appreciated, and I might use this thread in the future for further questions.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Doppelschwert wrote:

For this to work, I need to categorize the boons of the box into 5 categories of 2 types each, which all should be equally desirable.

....

- each category should be priority for some kind of character

OK, so I think you realize the categories cannot ever be equally desirable to each character. Furthermore, you actually want each character to have TWO priority categories (so it's a "hard decision" if to focus or spread). It's kinda hard to judge, when we don't know the specific mechanic involved (if, for example, "focusing" far outweigh "spreading" - then you can be pretty sure that most characters will stick to one category)

That said, here's how I see the classes and Categories (C):

Fighter/Slayer/Swashbuckler: C1 obviously. In some corner cases, also C2 or even C3 (Arcane spells) but really only your Secret Mechanic (SM) will determine if it's ever worth considering another C than C1. Also, Swashbuckler will probably have her best weapons in S&S already, so I'm not sure how you'll intrigue her with the new mechanic.

Paladin/Cleric/Warpriest: C1, C4. Pretty safe call; specific characters may prefer to focus on either C, but I guess a lot will benefit from spreading.

Barbarians: C1, maybe C5 for Armor, if they deem it worthy. gain, your SM should not impede C1 too much if spread, otherwise they're likely to only focus C1

Rangers/Hunter/Druids/Inquisitors/Gunslinger: C2. Rangers/Hunters can also dip into C5 for Armor, or C2 (if the have Animal-related powers). Druids and Inquisitors are likely to spread with C4 for Divine spells, while Hunter/Ranger can chose to dip into it, depending on your SM. Gunslinger is a special case in that Firearms only figure into S&S; so either your new feature will have some interaction with Class Decks, or it will be completely lost on the Gunslinger.

Bards: can spread between C3 and S4, depending on their role, or just focus one of those.

Wizards/Sorcerers/Witches - C4. All other categories seem kinda secondary.

Magus/Spellrager: C1/C4 their very nature. IMHO, it's only up to player playstyle if they'choose to focus on only one of those.

Oracle/Estra/Yoon): C4.

Alchemist: only C3, really. And then, would only make much sense with access to MM and/or Class Deck.

Rogue: C1 or C2, depending on Combat specialty; maybe C3, if it will allow you to stack multiple Masterwork Tools in your deck.

Monk: C2/C3/C4. RotR Sajan may not care about weapons much, but he could probably want both Blessings (C4) and Potions (C3)

So, I come up with a few questions/observations:
- in your feature, does it really matter if a character wants BOTH types of Category cards?

- some characters (Gunslinger) only ever want one type of card

- not all card types are created equal: most characters really want to upgrade their combat cards (Weapons/Spells). OTOH, types like Items, Armor and Allies - you can mostly do with whatever (though some characters will have very particular considerations in these categories)

- related to the above: Alchemists really care about Potions. Gunslingers - about Guns. So, not only they want a particular card type, they're also looking for a very specific Traits. It is of immense difference then if they should be able to choose replacement cards, or if they would be drawing random?

So, C1-4 are the strongest, as they can offer straight combat upgrades. C5 is a definite underdog by leagues - I can't think off the top of my head about character that does something super-exciting with Diplomacy Allies or Light Armors in particular. Yes, there are some very cool cards in those categories, but for this to matter - I should have a very good shot at getting them - which I assume will only happen if I'm CHOOSING those cards, as opposed to random draws.

C2 is probably my favorite - as there are enough heroes that can both want Ranged weapons AND care about animals. A lot of the other characters that want two card types have to spread for them.

There are characters like the Oracle that get all the most important cards from single category (both Spells and Blessing). If the replacements are random - I'm not sure what you can do to make those characters spread into other areas. Neither am I sure you should do it, from a thematic standpoint.

Heroes like Alchemist will have the odds stacked heavily against them if they get random draws - there should be a way to compensate them. Otherwise, they'll probably only focus on non-Divine item to maximize their chance

TLDR: Thematically, the categories seem well-built. There could be issues, but it's hard to judge with so many unknowns, the most important being - will I be able to choose a specific boon, or do I draw random?

C3 - non-Divine blessings are fine, but I think I'd prefer that the items are Liquid, Alchemical and Attack - and I'm able to chose the trait before drawing, which would require a more specific (and lengthy) wording (but maybe it can be explained in the general rules for your feature)

C5 - there are no Clothing armors in S%S, I believe. If you intention is that I would be able to replace Light Armor for Clothing, that's fine I guess. Still maybe a better wording would "Card with the Light Armor or Clothing trait" - to open up a more narrow targeting for some robes etc.

C4 - I think there are maybe 3-4 Divine Items in S&S; I'm not sure if that meets your criteria for "well represented". Maybe expand it to "Divine or Healing"?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Thanks for the feedback, Longshot!

Ok, I guess I'll have to clarify the mechanics; might as well explain them completely now:

Prior to starting the AP, the party collectively decides on up to 3 class decks (or another AP!) to use in conjunction with SnS; those cards make the upgrade pool, so to say.

Early on, you unlock the option to 'buy' cards from the upgrade pool after each scenario.

This works as follows:
After winning a scenario, each character is allowed to buy one card from the upgrade pool. To do this, you first choose the card you want to buy, which has to belong to 1 of the 10 types listed above. It's cost is twice the card's #AD.
To pay the cost, you need to banish (exactly!) two cards of the same (!) type, whose summed up #AD are at least as high as the cost of the card.

Example:
When you want an #AD3 melee weapon, you can buy it with one #AD2 and one #AD4 melee weapon, but you couldn't pay with anything that is not a melee weapon.

Corollary:
Even though SnS has no Armors with the Clothing trait, the Clothing trait ensures that:
- You can buy armors that have the Clothing trait at all
- You can pay for them with cards that have the Light Armor trait.

So why are there categories of 2 types of cards each?
Because the party can get a discount on the categories. Each adventure, you'll be able to permanently reduce the cost of 1 category of cards by 1 (up to a reduction of 3). It should be hard to decide whether to focus on a single huge discount or have a small discount on several categories, so the categories should be roughly equally attractive.

Hopefully, bigger parties have to compromise on the cost reductions so that everybody can use them, instead of having cheap access to one card type that only 1 or 2 characters actually use. On the flipside, a specialized party with a lot of overlap gets a little boost from specializing in discounts as compensation for greater boon rivalry.

Compared to the MM traders, you get more control about the cards you get, but you'll have to pay for them with specific cards as well.
Compared to upgrades in organized play, you have to pay more, but you also get access to more than one class deck.

I recon every category should have a major card type; melee / ranged / arcane / divine works fine, but the fifth category is a bit lacking.
Given your feedback and my clarification, what about this:

- Weapons that have the Melee trait
- Armors that have the Shield or Heavy Armor trait

- Weapons that have the Ranged trait
- Allies that list Survival in their check to acquire

- Spells that have the Arcane trait
- Items

- Spells that have the Divine trait
- Allies that list Diplomacy in their check to acquire

- Blessings
- Cards that have the Light Armor or Clothing trait

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

I think your new categories will work better. I'm definitely interested to see where this goes. :)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Thanks for the interest! I've got another question relating to mechanics:

Assume your ship has a very good and useful power (I'll get to that in a later post); what would be better cost to use it:
Banish a stashed plunder card or discard a blessing from the blessings deck?
You can also assume that there will be more plunder cards than usual.

I never used to discard cards from the blessings deck for ship powers in SnS because that always felt to steep as a cost, but I fear that banishing plunder cards makes it abusable.


Certainly some interesting ideas here. I'll need to do a bit more thinking (and close reading of the posts in this thread) when I have the time to do so.

I will say that an alternative to 'discard from the blessings deck' for Ship powers would be awesome. I've only played through S&S as a 6 player team... and almost as a direct result, I believe we only used any 'discard a blessing' ship power something like three or four times during the entire adventure path, rendering the majority of ships (especially early on) as effectively identical to each other. Admittedly, I played with some very rather risk-averse players. This practically nullifyied a huge component of the whole mechanic, since no ship functioned differently to my party until you got into passives like 'take less ship damage'.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Doppelschwert wrote:
I never used to discard cards from the blessings deck for ship powers in SnS because that always felt to steep as a cost, but I fear that banishing plunder cards makes it abusable.

My XP was similar to Yewstance, but I'll say this - my players will be even more averse to spending their Plunder (unknown value, may be a significant upgrade for a player), than spending Blessings (know value, may be planned around). So... when you say "better cost" - do you mean a "more balances cost" or a "more likely to be used by players" cost?

All in all, if you want to limit the number of times the "very good and useful power" is used - maybe it's better to come with a fixed or fixable number. I can only be jealous of folks who took their mileage out of Ships, because they were in a 3-party or something, and they couldn't care less for the Blessings deck....


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Those are interesting point of views; I would not have thought that plunder could be seen as more valuable than turns. The main trade-off I saw is that plunder is limited but expendable while turns are less limited but more valuable. My main concern are players that don't care for plunder at all, abusing the mechanic to make the game too easy at parts.

Personally, I think that turns are much more of an unknown value, because you'll never know how many more you'll need to win a scenario until you are close to the end, and that means there is a huge disincentive to sacrifice them early on, especially with bigger parties.
On the other hand, plunder is statistically (and in my experience) junk most of the time, so I don't really think too much of it.

My goal is that using the ship's power would be almost always desirable but also expensive, so that you only use it when really needed; something you use against the Siren Caller when every character has 1d4 Wisdom for example.
When your party is ill-suited for a scenario, the power should be able to help you out at a heavy cost, while there should be an incentive to not use the power when you're just doing fine on your own, so I don't want it to be usable a fixed number of times.

In playtesting last month, the power was set to discarding blessings from the blessings deck, but even though we are 2 players and have plenty of turns, we almost never use it; this shows that this is not what I am going for.


As an aside; whilst it obviously varies from team to team, I find it curious that Longshot's party would be averse to losing plunder in almost any situation rather than turns.

If you have more turns, you can spend longer boon-hunting in location decks anyway, including intentionally not closing locations off of Henchmen defeats (or not cornering the villain ASAP) to get more boon options. I feel like spending a turn is, in most circumstances (certainly not all) going to cost you more potential boons than banishing a given plunder card will. And, as mentioned, plunder cards are usually worthless.

Perhaps there can be a "two birds with one stone" solution here? Could your AP make plunder cards more meaningful? I can't think of an ELEGANT solution off the top of my head, but a hypothetical example could be that "At the end of the scenario, after revealing plunder cards, you may banish two plunder cards of the same type to draw 1 random card of that type from the box with an Adventure Deck number equal to the current scenario."

I don't really like that solution for a number of reasons, but I feel like there's some way that plunder can be increased in value... which means giving it up for ship abilities suddenly becomes a more interesting trade-off to make. Perhaps you have the option of plunder 'stockpiling' from scenario to scenario (without looking at it), representative of you not having sold it off yet? This carries more risk, but you could implement some payoff to make it worth it to players, like "when you choose to reveal your Plunder deck at the end of a scenario, you may banish up to X cards of a given type, where X is the current Adventure Deck number, to draw a random card of Adventure Deck X of that type from the box."

Again, inelegant, and obviously the wording is just for demonstration purposes, but kind of meshing it a tiny bit with the Mummy's Mask trader mechanic (of which I've only a passing familiarity to, honestly).


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Thanks for the input!

As you may have seen in my post about the upgrade pool above, there already is an upgrade mechanic similar to the MM traders, so I wouldn't add yet another one; my main strategy to make plunder more attractive so far is the following:

- Start each scenario with more plunder, so that the chance of having at least one good card is higher: Each adventure, you get to choose one card type from the plunder table (you can select each up to 2 times), and then you will stash one additional plunder of this type at the start of each scenario for the rest of the AP. You will end up with 7 plunder cards at the start of AD6 scenarios (there will be much less ship combat, so there will be less instances to get additional plunder cards in other ways)

- Culling Basic cards starting with AD1 and culling Elite cards starting with AD4; this should speed up power scaling and will give you a better chance at having useful plunder

- Upgrading cards costs you 2 cards, and plunder is meant to help you get access to a second card you can use in conjunction with one from your deck, so that you don't have to banish 2 cards from your deck (in contrast to MM traders, you can offer any cards regardless of AD, so even weak cards can help you to pay the cost)

What do you think about these changes?


Ah yes, I went off on a tangent and forgot the earlier posts/ideas about the upgrade mechanic. I will certainly say that all of your ideas are great; though I have a particular like for culling Basics and Elites earlier.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Thanks.

I've got another question for everyone:

In some scenarios, I want the villain(s) to end up in a specific location over the course of the scenario. For this reason, that location gets the following:

[When closing]
While there are other open locations, this location is always open; it is always temporarily closed otherwise.

[When permanently closed]
This location is never permanently closed.

Does this work, rules-wise?

The intention is that
- the villain(s) can always escape to this location, so they will get there eventually
- the villains stay in this location until all villains end up there
- once no other location is left, villains are banished as normal when defeated (you're not allowed to permanently close it, but since it's temporarily closed, the villain has nowhere to run)
- you win only (and as usual) after you defeated the last remaining villain at this location


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Doppelschwert wrote:

Thanks.

I've got another question for everyone:

In some scenarios, I want the villain(s) to end up in a specific location over the course of the scenario. For this reason, that location gets the following:

[When closing]
While there are other open locations, this location is always open; it is always temporarily closed otherwise.

[When permanently closed]
This location is never permanently closed.

Does this work, rules-wise?

The intention is that
- the villain(s) can always escape to this location, so they will get there eventually
- the villains stay in this location until all villains end up there
- once no other location is left, villains are banished as normal when defeated (you're not allowed to permanently close it, but since it's temporarily closed, the villain has nowhere to run)
- you win only (and as usual) after you defeated the last remaining villain at this location

You got me looking up all the threads about the Abyssal Rift, and discovering in the process that:

* If the villain is defeated at the rift with the rift open-side-up, then they still escape to where they are. So I've been doing that wrong. Not even sure when or whether you get a chance to bury a blessing to flip it over.
* If the villain is undefeated at the rift with the temp-closed-side-up, the rules basically self destruct, with Vic having said "I'll get back to you" two years ago and not having done so. But the intention is clear enough (that you ignore it being temporarily closed).

So... I believe what you've written is the best way to write it, and works within the rules with the one exception that, once all other locations are closed, if you fail to defeat a villain there it's not entirely clear what to do. But that's basically unsolvable, no worse than the current situation at the Abyssal Rift, and people will probably figure it out. Though having multiple villains maybe makes it less obvious that they're not just banished?

A possibly simpler alternative would be to say that people can't move there until all other locations are closed. Play-wise it's not that different (since there's little reason to move there earlier the way it currently stands), rules wise it's simpler, flavour-wise only you know what makes more sense.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Thank you so much Irgy! The simpler solution is much better, both in terms of mechanics and flavor, and I'll gladly use it instead.

I was thinking about the abyssal rift when writing the location, but I thought Vic already got back to us with a proper solution. Not moving to the location in the first place is better though, and will help me set up the location for some other things I had in mind.

There is a final mechanic that I want to discuss, and that is the ship power. Basically, I want you to be able to tell the crew to do the dirty work for you, so that you can have a fun time in SnS even when you have 1d4 in both wisdom and constitution; to accomplish this, the crew is designed as a role card you temporarily use, and the ship power reads as follows:

Ship power wrote:
When you encounter a card, you may banish a random stashed plunder card to summon and treat 'The Crew' as if it was your role card until the end of the encounter; banish it at the end of the encounter.

Does the wording make sense? Whether you have a role card or not, the crew should replace all your powers while being summoned.

As for the crew, it currently looks like this:

Crew wrote:

HAND SIZE 7

PROFICIENT WITH (NONE)

For your check, use 1d10 (□ +3). (□ Add the scenario‘s adventure deck number if it is a check against a ship)(□ or a barrier)(□ or any non-combat check).

During your encounter, you may not play cards other than allies (□ or blessings).

You may add 2d6 (□ 4d6)(□ 6d6) and the Cold or Bludgeoning traits to your combat check. (□ If you fail the check, you may reroll 1 die (□ or 2 dice); take the new result.)

When you would be dealt damage, deal the same amount (□ reduced by 1)(□ 2)(□ 3) as Structural damage to your ship instead.

The intention is that the crew replaces everything encounter-relevant about your character (skills and powers, usage of cards other than allies/blessings, getting damage).

What do you think, does it look balanced and is every power feat desirable? I guess the damage reduction is not so hot, but I'm not sure what would be a cool and useful power instead.

I'm also thinking about not allowing the crew to be summoned against villains; what do you think?


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

If I'm following correctly:

- the Crew will cause me to banish Armors (which is a big no-no to me), if used and will cripple Weapon users (due to non-proficient penalty)
So, depending on party/deck build, this may totally exclude the Crew from Combat checks (so far; however:)
(EDIT: I just noticed that I would NOT be allowed to use weapons at all, correct? I HAVE to roll 1d10 + X on all combat checks?)

- but then, being able to add 6d6 at the price of a banished plunder is INSANELY powerful, and I think it dwarfs pretty much every boost seen in PACG, except maybe some WotR cards

Due to the above, without doing the math, I expect that the Crew will either trivialize, or be deemed inferior for Combat (again, depending on build/character), its use probably relegated to 'safety net' - deployed when a character is caught without other means of combat - which in itself is A BIG balance change, as it offers an out-of-hands combat resource, which is impervious to all of the monsters usual shenanigans (BYA damage, checks to play Spells/Weapons, etc..)

Bottomline, I'm dubious if the Crew should be able to participate in Combat at all (except maybe adding some small boni - 1d4, ()2d4, ()3d4...or maybe a flat +2 for each Ally in your hand , or something...

I don't know how fast your Crew upgrade rate will be, but 2 feats in it can trivialize ship combat, and 4 feats in - ANY non-combat check in the game? Yes, at a price, but still, the *important* non-combat rolls in each game are only a handful. You want the Crew to be a 'crutch' for Survival/Fortitude-deficient characters - but the Crew would actually allow them to outperform the *expert* characters in those skills.

Finally, the damage reduction is not only "not hot" - it, again, trivializes a lot of the cheap damage S&S likes to throw at you, at a party level, especially considering the ways to reduce Structural damage in the game. Consider that this Crew power equals "the first X of ANY damage dealt may be dealt to ANY character" , AND automatically turns every "reduce Structural" card in the game into (*additionally!*) "reduce ANY damage to ANY character by X".

In conclusion, as is, the Crew seems a bit overpowered to me. Yes, its use is limited (though, remind me to tell you of that one time I finished a game with 136 cards of plunder!) but it's likely to be used only on important stuff - and the it would KILL those checks, without the players even having to bother what's in their hand.
OTOH, *I* would probably avoid using the Crew altogether (I love my plunder!) so maybe I don't have the best perspective here - if you nerf the Crew severely - this may well desinsentivise most players from using it at all. I'm afraid I can't give a better suggestion than thoroughly testing it 'live' with a group or two and seeing how it impacts the game, and how players use it in practice (as opposed to what you expected). Then it will have to come down to your desired difficulty curve...


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Thanks for the feedback!

I agree that the pacing and the number of some of the feats are off; I think that can be changed though.

As for damage, you can't play armors, and it will always be structural damage, regardless of damage effects or lost checks against monsters. Since it is actual easier to reduce damage other than structural damage for other players, I'm not so sure this is strictly better, but can save your hand if you are willing to sacrificy your ship.

I agree that 1d10+6d6+3 ends up too much for combat. But let's change the d6 to d4; you end up with an average of 23.5, which is comparable to a melee character discarding a falcata+2 (1d10 + 4d4 + 8). Seems ok to me for a clutch.

As for the noncombat checks, you end up at 1d10+9 for banishing a plunder, which is only slightly better than MM Ezras 1d10+6 for Strength/Dexterity on a recharge. I'll think about removing the +3 check box, which should bring this in line as well. You should also remember that this won't help you with checks forced by location powers, and unless you beat a henchman with the crew, you won't be able to use them to close locations (you should not have enough power feats to be good in both at the same time).

And again, if it is deemed to powerful, I could always disallow them for villains, which should also help with balancing it.

How did you get more than 100 plunder cards in a single game?
I don't recall any sources of plunder cards besides defeating ships and the promo goblin keelhauling.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Doppelschwert wrote:

How did you get more than 100 plunder cards in a single game?

I don't recall any sources of plunder cards besides defeating ships and the promo goblin keelhauling.

Technically, I lied - I finished with only 68 plunder. But look at that one AD6 (6-2, was it?) scenario that *doubles* your plunder as a reward: it also has scenario power that awards you plunder for each defeated Pirate.

Now, I'll only say it was a 6-p game, and there was an Assassination Attempt barrier that says: "Each character summons and encounters a Buccaneer henchman (a Pirate), defeated status is determined only by your encounter./ After you act, summon and encounter a Buccaneer henchman."

So, if the in-turn character *fails* or *evades* his first Buccaneer, but all the other Buccaneers are defeated - those are 6 plunders (12 at end of scenario) right there. AND the barriers get shuffled back in... which is merely a figure of speech, if we've managed to leave it as the last card in the location deck...:)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

That's impressive, and I tip my hat to you for plundering the shackles in such an ingenious way; the promotion to pirate king was obviously well deserved for your group.

At the same time, that is reassuring, since scenario rules and the likes are fair game, and I won't be featuring special ways to get additional plunder on that level.

Based on your feedback, I've reworked the crew mechanics to work like this:

Ship power wrote:
When you encounter a non-villain card, you may banish a random stashed plunder card to summon and treat the 'Crew' as if it was your role card until the end of the encounter; if you already have a role card, use 'The Crew (Upgraded)' instead. At the end of the encounter, banish the summoned role card.
'Crew' wrote:

HAND SIZE 5

PROFICIENT WITH (NONE)
- For your check, use 1d10; add 3d4 and the Magic and either the Bludgeoning or the Cold trait if it is a combat check.
- You may not play cards of a type other than blessing.
- When you would be dealt any amount of damage, deal the same amount as Structural damage to your ship instead.
□ Add the scenario‘s adventure deck number to your combat check (□ or your check to defeat a monster).
□ Add the scenario‘s adventure deck number to your check against a barrier that has the Task trait (□ or against a ship).
□ Add the scenario‘s adventure deck number to your check to acquire an armor or item (□ or ally or blessing).
'Crew' (Upgraded) wrote:

HAND SIZE 7

PROFICIENT WITH (NONE)
- For your check, use 1d10; add 3d4 and the Magic and either the Bludgeoning or the Cold trait if it is a combat check.
- You may not play cards of a type other than blessing.
- When you would be dealt any amount of damage, deal the same amount as Structural damage to your ship instead.
□ Add the scenario‘s adventure deck number to your combat check (□ or your check to defeat a monster)(□ or your non-combat check against a monster)(□ or your Strength or Wisdom check).
□ Add the scenario‘s adventure deck number to your check against a barrier that has the Task trait (□ or against a ship)(□ or against any barrier)(□ or your Constitution or Charisma check).
□ Add the scenario‘s adventure deck number to your check to acquire an armor or item (□ or ally or blessing)(□ or weapon or spell)(□ or your Dexterity or Intelligence check).

The 'crew' gets at most 3 feats both pre and post role (some are optional).

It feels much better balanced to me now and consistently more useful; you get an actual chance to defeat killer banes like the Siren Caller and the various Veteran barriers, which make the set really unfun for parties that lack both scouting and characters with the appropriate skills; at the same time, you will never be able to cover everything with the 'crew' alone.

What do you guys think?


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

I don't know why you removed Allies from playable cards - it was thematic and I liked it; also, "of a type" seems a redundant wording - you're fine with "You may not play cards other than (allies or) blessing".

At the same time, I stand by my assessment of the Damage=> Structural conversion, which is now even MORE powerful!

I would suggest you return the "damage conversion" upgrade path and nerf it somewhat, for example:

"□ Reduce damage dealt to you by 1 (□ 2)(□ 3); your ship is dealt 3 Structural damage instead."

(though I agree the above will reduce early game usability of this power for low-count parties)

Also, again in connection with damage reduction, and "at location", party-wide BYA/AYA damage - I'd like to see the general rule revised as "When A character encounters a card, A character may banish plunder..." - so as to give the damage conversion to the most vulnerable character. (see also cards like Brinebones - who is encountered by one character - but may deal his BYA damage to a completely different character and location...)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

The allies can be added back, that's not a problem.

I don't really understand why you think the conversion to structural damage is so powerful / became even stronger; in particular, the new version has the same effect as the old version, except that I removed the power feats for damage reduction (since the ship will gain some reduction anyway). Keep in mind that you can't call the crew on villains now, so you won't be able to let the crew win the scenario for you.

In case there is a misunderstanding:
Only the character that encounters a card can call the crew and only that character has the damage conversion, so everyone else suffering from damage to every character at a location will still have to deal with the damage themselves, and that is intended.
My intention with that conversion is to punish the player for picking the crew for an encounter with a monster and losing; its primary use is not intended as a shield that blocks incoming damage away from you, even though that is a side effect for BYA damage that I want to support as well.

In my opinion, the conversion from [damage to your character] into [structural damage to your ship] is much worse than both burying an armor to ignore damage completely or evading a bane altogether (which is something you could have done if you didn't call the crew over); either your ship gets wrecked and you lose plunder (thus less crew in the remaining scenario and a hard check to repair), or several characters have to discard cards with almost no way to actively do anything about it (see next paragraph).

I'll freely admit that I'm not very proficient with SnS, but the only effects besides ships that reduce structural damage that I can recall are the items Besmaras Bones (-1), the loot Impossible Bottle (-2) and Jirelles powers (-1/-2); the loot won't be in the AP and Jirelle can be disregard for the average party as well.

Could you elaborate more on how you think the conversion is OP?


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Doppelschwert wrote:


My intention with that conversion is to punish the player for picking the crew for an encounter with a monster and losing; its primary use is not intended as a shield that blocks incoming damage away from you, even though that is a side effect for BYA damage that I want to support as well.

Oh, OK. Now I get it. And yes - you would actually achieve this primary purpose.

For Structural reduction - higher Class ships have it par for the course, going as high as "reduce 3", iirc. (There's also Loot armor that reduces 1 with reveal, but I assume you won't have that either)

Now, for the BYA though (and it also goes for failed combat - you would usually fail by no more than 4 or 5) - this damage is intended to mess with your hand, potentially denying you important cards or even leaving you without means to fight the encounter itself. Granted, Crew already gets you out of this predicament (by granting you out-of-hand combat resource that is impervious to damage), but let me try and give an example to show you what I mean:

I'm in a party of 6 (or whatever), and I have 2 cards left in my hand. I encounter a monster with 1d4 BYA damage. Now, I have a pretty good chance to be hand-wiped before combat even starts, and one of the cards in my hand is something I want to keep throughout the scenario (say, my best weapon). So, instead, I just call on the Crew and roll the 1d4 - now ANY character in the party can suffer that damage instead of me - and with more characters it's highly likely that several of then will be able to comfortably throw away at least 1 low-importance card. The damage (again, this may even be post-check combat damage) is "watered down", as instead of hurting my most precious cards - it's dispensed around the whole party and and it hits our LEAST precious cards.

So, you're trying to circumvent people's armor as "punishment" - but in my XP, people don't carry a lot of armor in S&S, and your "byproduct" - the ability to spread any damage around is actually a superior boost for people that encounter something with a nasty BYA and without armor in hand. You alone can judge where that lays on the scale of your difficulty preferences; personally, as a *player*, I'm not opposed to having an easy way to circumvent all the cheap BYA in S&S, which was obvious but obnoxious attempt to make armor at all relevant (as opposed to later design philosophy where Lone Sharks realized armor has to actually be able to contribute something else - like adding dice to checks, giving movement power, etc..)


Re structural damage vs normal damage, there's pros and cons both ways. In a vacuum it's a flavour choice. Whether it's good, bad or just flavour depends most importantly on the level of control players have over the situation. If the players choose when to switch it they'll get the best of both worlds and it's a huge advantage. If it was somehow decided antagonistically it would be the opposite, though I'd struggle to think of how to do that.

If it's damage from failing a check, I think in general people will prioritise making the check over what sort of damage to take when they fail, so it's mostly a flavour difference. The two cases where players gain an advantage through having the choice are BYA damage (because they know that's coming before they choose), and the rare case where the whole combat is a write-off and they basically just choose between trashing the ship and dumping their hand/armour.

Of those, I think on the whole BYA damage is the only serious issue. I can think of four ways to dodge the issue:
* Change the timing of activating the crew to be during the check, i.e. after BYA, rather than at the start of the encounter.
* Limit the crew to non-villain, non-henchman banes. This works indirectly because most BYA damage is on villains and henchmen.
* Limit the crew to non-monsters or non-combat.
* Don't rely on BYA damage heavily in your design generally. Though in that case please find another use for armour.

Incidentally, I'd also add a rider that you can only use the crew against a card which can be evaded. It's more of a flavour thing but it also makes "cannot be evaded" actually mean something.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Thanks, Longshot and Irgy, I think we're all on the same page now. My conclusion is that I'll leave the conversion as it is; I'm aware of the pitfalls that you've mentioned, but I'm ok with them being there.

Another explanation on where I'm coming from:
I really hate a lot of the cheap cards in SnS like the Siren Caller, the Seaweed Siren or the various veteran barriers; even with heavy blessings investment, you're doomed to fail if your skill is 1d6 or below, and even if you have 1d10+4, the chances are still stacked heavily against you.
From what I've seen on the board, the people that like SnS almost all use Alahazra to heavily examine around these cards, but I think the set should be enjoyable without having examine powers in your party (which for me it wasn't when I played through it). As such, I don't have any qualms in making the game easier on that domain.

The easy solution would just be to remove all the cheap cards from the box, but I think the existence of the crew is better both in flavour and in that you can fall back to them when you need while being rewarded for doing things on your own (keeping the plunder). The three feat lines should allow you to skill the crew in a way that helps to balance your party, which should also help lower play counts to have a good time.

As you'll see once the AP is done, you're not actually being pirates this time, and you're mostly passengers on the ship of the client that hired you, so it feels entirely appropriate that you can outsource the sailory parts to someone who is better suited than you.

It may be hard to get the difficulty right, but I'd rather it comes from scenario powers than BYA damage.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Back to the drawing board for the categories of the very first post:
Turns out, everything is kind of convoluted and doesn't fit properly on the cards. I've been thinking about how to make everything more intuitive and decided to make categories based on the skills needed to acquire.

There are only 5 categories now, and each contains a set of skills.
A card belongs to a category if one of the skills can be used to acquire it.
You use 2 cards from 1 category to buy a boon of the same category.

Currently, the categories look like this:

[Acrobatics, Melee, Stealth]
[Perception, Ranged, Survival]
[Arcane, Disable, Knowledge]
[Craft, Diplomacy, Fortitude]
[Divine]

Thoughts on the new categories (as compared to the old ones) or suggestions for alternative partitions that are thematically coherent?
Should Craft and Disable be swapped?


Doppelschwert wrote:

Back to the drawing board for the categories of the very first post:

Turns out, everything is kind of convoluted and doesn't fit properly on the cards. I've been thinking about how to make everything more intuitive and decided to make categories based on the skills needed to acquire.

There are only 5 categories now, and each contains a set of skills.
A card belongs to a category if one of the skills can be used to acquire it.
You use 2 cards from 1 category to buy a boon of the same category.

Currently, the categories look like this:

[Acrobatics, Melee, Stealth]
[Perception, Ranged, Survival]
[Arcane, Disable, Knowledge]
[Craft, Diplomacy, Fortitude]
[Divine]

Thoughts on the new categories (as compared to the old ones) or suggestions for alternative partitions that are thematically coherent?
Should Craft and Disable be swapped?

From a pure "are these concepts similar"/"would the same sort of person be able to do these things" perspective I'd cycle all three of Melee, Disable and Craft:

[Acrobatics, Disable, Stealth]
[Perception, Ranged, Survival]
[Arcane, Craft, Knowledge]
[Melee, Diplomacy, Fortitude]
[Divine]

They would then fit the class "stereotypes" of rogue, ranger, wizard/alchemist, warrior and priest quite well


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Irgy wrote:

From a pure "are these concepts similar"/"would the same sort of person be able to do these things" perspective I'd cycle all three of Melee, Disable and Craft:

[Acrobatics, Disable, Stealth]
[Perception, Ranged, Survival]
[Arcane, Craft, Knowledge]
[Melee, Diplomacy, Fortitude]
[Divine]

They would then fit the class "stereotypes" of rogue, ranger, wizard/alchemist, warrior and priest quite well

That's certainly what I think as well, but the problem is that the categories should have equally attractive card pools, and that is simply not given for [Acrobatics, Disable, Stealth], especially since there aren't even a lot of cards like that in SnS to use for trading into this category.

With this regard, Divine is obviously the most versatily since it covers around 2/3+ of spells and all the blessings (and then some cards from other types in CDs as well), and together with Melee, Ranged and Arcane are all attractive due to covering all weapons and spells, which are used by all characters.

The fifth category needs something similiar compelling, and Diplomacy/Fortitude makes sure that at the very least, most of the allies and all the armors are covered. Craft helps as well since it covers a good deal of items, but all those cards are support cards for most characters in the end, so it's not so clear to me if the category works.

My categories correspond roughly to
Monk, Ranger, Scholar, Artisan and Cleric,
at least that is the best I came up with (in the end, those all will be places on the ship anyway).


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

I'm not sure exactly what your issue is, re: fitting text on cards. Your new approach however suggest that I , for example, choose Arcane - and then I go through all Spells, Items and Allies with that trait to choose a boon, right?
(EDIT: Disregard the above, I misread. The stuff below stands though.)

So, what' wrong with keeping the old method, but simply omitting the "spell with the(Arcane)trait" part? Would that work?

Otherwise, Irgy's categories seem fine IF you manage somehow (not sure how) to add cards with the Swashbuckling trait to the most problematic category (Acro/Disable/Stealth).


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Longshot11 wrote:

So, what' wrong with keeping the old method, but simply omitting the "spell with the(Arcane)trait" part? Would that work?

Basically, I want the upgrade boxes, a picture, and all the necessary rules on one card, because I want the cards to be self-explanatory.

To achieve this, I need to foremost reduce the number of categories, and at the same time, the length of their description. I didn't quite understand how you would shorten the descriptions (maybe you could elaborate more on this?), but the number of categories itself is a problem as well.

I liked the old approach thematically, but I also recognized in play-testing that I often couldn't get a proper upgrade with the acquired cards from the scenario, so it made sense to make the categories a little wider. The old approach also suffered from some unobtainable cards (e.g. allies without Diplomacy and Survival to acquire) and in general, having two different types of definitions (traits / check to acquire).

The new approach is certainly more streamlined and does actually fit on the cards, so my hope would be that the categories can be chosen to partition all boons into competitive pools.

Longshot11 wrote:
Otherwise, Irgy's categories seem fine IF you manage somehow (not sure how) to add cards with the Swashbuckling trait to the most problematic category (Acro/Disable/Stealth).

Including the Swashbuckling trait would certainly improve the availability of cards that can be traded away, but it wouldn't really impact the pool of available upgrades you could get from the class deck boxes. Acrobatics, Disable and Stealth all occur rarely on checks to acquire, and most class decks have few to none Swashbuckling cards, so the pool is still not very attractive.

My ranking of coverage that I based my categories on would be (taken over the majority of cards, since individual class decks can easily shift the balance):

1. Divine (Spells/Blessings/some Items)
2. Arcane (Spells/some Items), Melee/Ranged (Weapons), Fortitude (Armor), Diplomacy (most Allies)
3. Survival (less Allies), Craft (Items)
4. Acrobatics, Disable, Stealth, Perception, Knowledge (barely none, since they are mostly used against banes)

If anyone disagrees with the ranking, I'd be interested in your arguments.


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Ok, if you're going for balanced card numbers that's a whole different design constraint. Re your lists of card frequencies, I'd agree broadly other than to note that the Craft skill also appears in the check to acquire for guns, which in S&S are quite common.

If I was doing it myself it would be as follows (I don't mention items because they're spread fairly evenly over all the groups, other than craft for potions which I do mention):
Divine (2/3 Spells + all Blessings)
Melee, Fortitude (Melee Weapons + All armours)
Arcane, Craft, Knowledge (2/3 Spells + Potions + Guns)
Ranged, Survival, Perception (Guns + Bows + Animals)
Diplomacy, Disable, Stealth, Acrobatics (Most allies + a smattering of other things)

The number of cards in each group is probably inversely related to the number of skills in each group, since I've bunched up the ones that don't show up much. It would flatten things out a bit if I moved knowledge and perception down to the bottom group, but then that becomes a bit of a ridiculous "miscellaneous" group.

Comparing to your suggested groups, I think your "Craft, Diplomacy, Fortitude" group covers too many things (all armours + most allies + potions + guns), and otherwise the differences are mostly just flavour.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Thanks for the feedback irgy!
The fact that guns have a craft check actually impacts things quite a lot, thanks for bringing that up.

Consequently, I think you're right about my last group, and it needs to change. Your categories seem solid, but I'd fear that the last category doesn't get picked too often for upgrades; the AP allows you to level up the categories, so that everything becomes cheaper, and personally, I wouldn't invest in it only for allies when the alternatives have categories that cover more spells/weapons.

How about this:

[Dojo] Melee, Acrobatics, Stealth
[Workshop] Ranged, Craft, Disable
[Library] Arcane, Knowledge, Perception
[Quarters] Diplomacy, Survival, Fortitude
[Shrine] Divine

What do you think about the quarters?
I think the category that doesn't include Melee/Ranged/Arcane/Divine has to be broader since it doesn't contribute to combat, and since there are only enough upgrade feats to max out 2 of the 5 categories for any party, it has to be useful for everyone to be considered at all.

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