Taran and Scholar of Philosophy, doing a diplomacy check to persuade!
"Are you daft? Stop and think a little, you'll see if ya' help us your really helping yourself. It's like Torag says in "Hammers and Tongs" - many hands may work a forge, but a single dwarf - or I guess humans - beats his hammer uselessly. Lets work together and profit, friend!"
Also, I would take a trait that gives me climb. Climb, I say.
I will be flying tomorrow, and on a work trip until the 20th. I will have internet, but my expediency in posting may suffer.
Uh... I suppose I can be the obligatory loot tracking person again. Unless someone wishes to volunteer ;)
And after I wrote instructions, too! Zounds, I am wounded.
Well, taking Undercommon has worked out rather well for me so far. Odd; most underground critters I run into end up speaking Aklo more frequently, for some reason.
A little late but:
Study of the Fun Guy
(I'm sure you've never heard that one :) )
Ugh, gremlins are a pain in the backside, especially with my current gear :(
It occurs to me now that artificer's touch is an out of combat power, especially 1d6+1/2 cleric level and hardness and dr applies does squat all to tier appropriate constructs. Handy for locks past a certain point, I suppose.
@Jorac: That might be a good use of your creation power.
Sorry I didn't reply to your post, I had an exceedingly busy day at work (just finished now), not to mention my sick kid at home. I've looked at the creation power, which mentions that the item created disappear if it leaves my possession, so I was thinking it over when I saw your next post.
Permission to do a rebuild EF? I can keep the essential flavor but I can see some changes I would like to make.
I rebuilt Taran as a warpriest of Torag, with artificer and defense blessings. Shifted some stats around (still 20 pt buy).
If I understand the spellpoint rules correctly, and assuming he gains spellpoints as a bard (who has a similar progression) I have:
0 spell-points from level
1 spell-point from con 16 and ability to cast 1st level only spells
1 spell point total - is my math correct?
So far I'm finding the spell point rules very harsh for fighter/mage or fighter/cleric types. I imagine it is much the same situation for the magus (who has a similarly restricted ability to use their spells - only 1 shocking grasp and then you are fatigued ). Neither of us will have much reason to cast spells until 4th. Once we get the 4th, the situation is as extreme - we'll go from 2 to 9 spellpoints.
I would say that the magus has a harder road, as many cleric spells are static bonuses. Meanshile, magi will want to spend extra spell points to increase their dice rolls on shocking grasp. No damage spiking at all, really, or they'll fatigue themselves quickly due to small spell pools (although, an android so technically immune to fatigue, so maybe that doesn't matter so much for this particular magus.
A dedicated spellcaster (no melee) is in a better situation, as they don't really care about fatigue and have a larger spell pool.
Just my observations so far.
Oh, and I just realized that my bless spells are useless to Libri - they're morale effects, which she is also immune to.
Yeah, I've been thinking about the rule changes quite a bit recently, as you guys are sort of my guinea pigs for this. Vancian casting (the normal prepare-cast system) is not really my preferred magic method but the spellpoint system we're using now was made for 3.5 and doesn't translate well to some PF classes, as you've pointed out.
One thing that would alleviate part of that problem is to get rid of the fatigued/exhausted rule for spellcasting. I'm considering this and will take your opinions into consideration if you guys have any thoughts.
Another option is to allow classes like magus and warpriest to use a different spell point progression. Even though their casting is most similar to bard, that's probably too few spell points to work with. I'm not as sure about this one.
Ultimately, I'm kind of hoping that some of these rules are temporary and that a better system is introduced with the upcoming Pathfinder Unchained hardcover (aka Pathfinder 1.5). It mentions "altering some of the fundamentals of the game and giving fresh optional takes on classic rules" and a "robust new system that allows spellcasters to modify their spells with powerful spell components".
I'm honestly hoping for two main things from this book:
If the above are included in that book, I will absolutely be adopting them in this game (if that's ok with everyone) and I may even consider changes in my other games. (Maps/miniatures/tactical positioning is one of my least favorite things about PF and I think it was a mistake to add this element of miniature wargames into an RPG back in the day but, alas, it seems to have stuck in DnD/PF.)
In general, the allocated spellpoints really cuts down on the effective magic you can utilize, with the benefit of a minor improvements in flexibility, if my math is right.
A 6th level wizard with an 18 Int in a Vanican system has 4/4/4/3 spells.
Now assuming that he does only damaging spells (multiple d6), to cast all his spells at the appropriate caster level (this would include capping 1st level spells at CL 5th) would require:
0 x 0 = 0
4 x 1+4 = 20
4 x 3+3 = 24
3 x 5+1 = 18
This is a total of 62 points.
Instead they get 33 points. (9 ability +24 level)
Granted, not all spells use variable dice, so you could probably tweak down the 62 point estimate a bit; 75% would put you a 46 spell points, still significantly higher then allocated.
To make a true parity system, they should have made it so casting any spell above minimum caster level requires extra spell points. But, that definitely cuts into the simplicity aspect of the system.
Again, the system really eats into the effectiveness of a magus in particular, as they almost exclusively use damaging spells.
I am available for further math a low, low price of free
I'm not quite clear on what bonuses I get for those technologist untrained rolls. Obviously Int is kept, and the class bonus and ranks aren't. What about the trait bonus and the skill focus? Jorac's normal bonuses are as follows: 2 ranks + 3 class + 4 int + 3 skill focus +1 secret of the ages
Could I have your input for this ruling, please? I plan on taking Technologist next level, but in the meantime I would like to know what I should take into account for these untrained rolls. Thanks!
As for the spellpoint rules, Taran brought to light many problems they create. While the fatigued status isn't as bad for wizard/clerics as it is for gish builds, I think the threshold at 1/2 the spell points is rather harsh for the latter, as are the penalties.
If there need to be a threshold for the penalties, I would suggest a minor penalty (similar to fatigued/wounded, but maybe other stats? at 3/4 spell points spent, and another, harsher penalty (similar to exhausted/severely wounded?) at 9/10 spell points spent. Of course, these penalties would be more meaningful when we have more spell points. Currently we have so few that we get the penalty after two spells cast, so these suggested threshold wouldn't mean much right now.
About the nature of the penalties: my take is that the wizard hardly suffers from the penalty, while it is still something for a cleric, it's a very important penalty to a magus, and overwhelming for a bloodrager. Loss of Hp imposes the wounded/severely wounded status (physical in nature) so the loss of Sp could impose a mental penalty, for example a -1 to spell DCs and Int/Wis/Cha-based rolls (-2 for the severe penalty at 9/10 spell points used). This penalty would obviously only go away with an 8-hour rest, when you regain your spell points.
With that mechanics, it could be very interested to introduce spells and abilities that could negate the penalty momentarily. Lesser restoration comes to mind, since it removes fatigue, but at the cost of a second-level spell. How about adding to that spell that it restores full mental capabilty for 1 min/lvl or something like that? It's just a random idea, but I think it could work.
For reference (from the Technology Guide):
You are familiar with the basic mechanics of technology.Benefit: You are considered to be trained in any skill used against a technology-based subject. If the skill in question requires training to use even against non-technological subjects, you must still have ranks in that skill in order to gain the benefit of Technologist.
Normal: You treat all skill checks made against technology as if they were untrained skill checks. This may mean that you cannot attempt certain skill checks, even if you possess ranks in the skill in question.
Those who wish to construct or repair technological items use the Craft (mechanical) skill in conjunction with the technological item crafting feats presented on page 6. Without the Technologist feat, Craft (mechanical) can still be used to craft less advanced forms of technology such as gears, hinges, and pulleys.
With the Technologist feat, you can use Disable Device to interact safely with explosive devices and disable technological devices and traps.Arm Explosive: If you possess a detonator (see page 43), you can arm an explosive weapon as a trap. Connecting a detonator to an explosive requires a successful DC 10 Disable Device check. Failure means that the attempt fails, but you can attempt to arm the explosive again. Failure by 5 or more means the explosive is triggered as the detonator is installed. You can attempt to make an explosive difficult to disarm. To do so, choose a target disarm DC of 15 or higher, with a DC increment of 5. This becomes your target DC to set the explosive as well as the DC to disarm the explosive.
Disable Electronic Device: Disabling an electronically controlled trap or unlocking an electronically locked door is easier if you use an e-pick (see page 43). Without an e-pick, you take a –5 penalty on any attempt to use Disable Device on an electronic device.
Disarm Explosive: Disarming an explosive requires the character to succeed at a Disable Device check as if disarming a trap. The DC is usually 10, unless the person who set the explosive successfully did so with a higher disarm DC. A failure to disarm an explosive by 5 or more immediately triggers the explosive.
Special: A character can take 10 when using Disable Device to arm or disarm explosives, but cannot take 20. Time: Arming an explosive device takes 1 minute or more, depending on the scope of the job. Disarming an explosive is treated as if the explosive were a complex trap, and takes 2d4 rounds to attempt.
A character with the Technologist feat can attempt a Linguistics check to decipher certain complex messages that appear in Numerian ruins. Note that many of these messages are written in the native language of the crashed starship’s crew, Androffan. This language is spoken outside of Numeria only rarely, and even within its borders, the Technic League has tried (quite unsuccessfully) to keep it a secret language.
Researching Technology A character can use the following skills to research technological subjects. Other skills may have research applications as well, subject to GM approval.Heal: Used to identify and understand pharmaceuticals.
Knowledge (arcana): Although robots are constructs, Knowledge (arcana) cannot be used to identify robots or their abilities and weaknesses.
Knowledge (engineering): This is the most important skill with regard to technological subjects. Knowledge (engineering) can be used to identify a robot’s abilities and weaknesses. Knowledge (engineering) is also used to identify and understand unknown technological objects in a similar manner to how Spellcraft is used to identify the properties of a magic item. The DC to correctly identify and understand an unknown technological object is equal to the object’s Craft DC. An object with a Craft DC of 15 or less can be automatically identified and understood by someone trained in Knowledge (engineering) who also has the Technologist feat.
Knowledge (geography): Used for astronomy.
So from the above, it looks like the Technologist feat doesn't grant you any actual +X bonuses, it just allows you to use skills in different ways and to use some of the above "trained only" skills even if you are not trained in them, but only when making a check related to technology or one of the other things outlined above. It is also necessary to ID robots and their weaknesses (whoops, looks like I messed that up earlier against the repair drones!) and to disable any sort of technological trap/explosive/etc.
So it still has plenty of uses, especially in this AP, but I don't think it gives you any bonuses on the above skills.
More coming on spell points later....
Here's what I was hoping to accomplish with using the Spellpoints system:
While it's certainly different from Vancian casting, I haven't been convinced that's it's better. At least, it's not better in the PF system since Vancian casting is so ingrained in the system. Spell points bring up a lot of problems that Taran outlined above. The issue of scaling/variable spells is a particularly harsh one because it makes evocation-type casters much harder to play than enchantment-type casters, as enchantment casters can spend the minimum number of points and get the same effectiveness whereas evokers would need to spend a ton of points to keep their damaging spells relevant. That doesn't seem fair.
And of course, the limitations on magus and other melee-focused casting classes is not ideal. In general, I've come to the opinion that gimping spellcasters with penalties for casting more spells might not be accomplishing what I was hoping to accomplish.
So in the end, I have decided that the spell-points system (as much as I wanted to try it out) would require too much of a major overhaul of the PF system to make it work effectively. Thus I have made some decisions regarding spellcasting in this game:
More to come in a minute....
Sorry to write you guys a novel today, but I did say that you guys were the guinea pigs in my many rule changes so I thought this would be a good opportunity to discuss them and make some changes if you feel it's necessary:
I'll outline what I was hoping to do with each change and you guys can tell me if you like the changes or if you'd like to change something.
Subraces: I was hoping to offer more variety in stat choices to encourage diversity in class choice (beyond the stereotypical elf wizard, half-orc barbarian, etc). For some time I've also been a fan of the idea that your racial powers scale with your level rather than just being some bonuses you get at first level and then gain anything new. Are the subraces worth messing with?
Skills: I was also hoping to encourage more focus/excitement on skills by offering bonuses at certain skill levels. Are these little bonuses worth it or is it just too much to mess with? I thought maybe it would be a little overwhelming with so many extra abilities thrown in but I'm not sure if you guys feel the same way. And what do you think of the Heal skill's 'bandaging wounds' ability?
Damage and HP: I wanted to represent 'being injured' by imposing attack and damage penalties when you are low on HP. Do the Wounded/Seriously Wounded conditions accomplish that or are they just a pain to remember and mess with?
Thanks again to everyone for working with me on these changes! I'll be taking the feedback and experiences in this game and using any of the good changes in future homegames.
Subraces: seem really awesome. I think you should leave those as is.
Damage/HP: Being injures sound interesting, but needs more playtesting.
Feats: Need more playtesting. In particular, what nastiness happens on account of the monsters having unfolding feat trees? Could be nasty.
I don't think you need to scrap the spellcasting by points quite yet.
I think part of the problem is we're adapting 3.5 to PF; there has been power creep.
1. there wasn't as many PC "superpowers" in 3.5. Classes didn't have pools or oodles of daily abilities (excepting the cleric's turn). As a player playing a bit of a "gish" I *am* moved to rely more upon those then spellcasting.
2. If you compare the 3.5 and PF bard, for instance, the bard didn't get spells until later.
I think the system is workable, but there are variations to try:
i. remove additional spell points needed to cast a spell above minimum level
ii. increase the pool
iii. leave the fatigue/exhaustion mechanic in place, but give us a way of overcoming it (maybe a feat/feat tree?)
those are my current thoughts...
Hm, yeah, maybe you're right and we don't need to throw out the spell points system just yet. It does offer some flexibility that I like. But maybe instead of just using an old 3.5 system I'll rewrite it for PF using some of the suggestions you've made. Another change will be that all full casters (9th level spells) will have one pool progression and half-casters (6th level spells) will have a different pool progression. And I will absolutely scrap the rule about spending more points for variable spells; the variables will just increase with CL they way they do normally in PF without having to spend extra points on it.
*I may even add in a rule about utility/non-combat spells costing fewer points. That adds in the arguments of which spells are utility/non-combat versus combat but I'll try to think of a way to make it clear to the players what that distinction is.
Thanks for the recap on the Technologist rules. I understand now that you need the feat in order to make the check at all, which compels me all the more to get Technologist next level!
Here's my input. I find this discussion very interesting, and I'm happy to be able to contribute!
1) I love the subraces, and I think they achieve what you tried to do perfectly. I'd suggest to keep them as they are.
2) I haven't had the chance to explore the skill subsystem yet, since the first levels are usually the moment when I try to put at least a rank in the class skills I'm interested in. With this character, I have a lot of ranks to distribute, but a lot of skills I need to be proficient with, a few I need to max out. Over time, I see Jorac investing in 1-2 skills that might not be typical for a wizard, but we'll see. Heal does sound interesting to invest in, and it makes perfect sense! I agree with Taran's opinion that it needs more playtesting.
3) Feat trees are a great idea to avoid feat tax for melee characters. I think that it also gives the opportunity for characters that aren't built as melee ones to be more efficient in combat. However, the problem is that for some monsters (typically those that were built intentionally without Power Attack, for instance) it will change a lot of things. I expect a lot more for them than for us. Once again, I agree with Taran saying that we need to see it more in action. It would be great if you did an audit about an encounter (after we've overcome it) in this thread and said what was changed from the vanilla one, so that we could have a better idea of how much it changes things. Moreover, we could also just make a quick audit of our characters to check what free feats they get, and what it changes for them.
4) The wounded/severely wounded status ailments is a change I like. Same as the feats, it both helps and hinders the monsters as much as ourselves. It's actually a great addendum, something I wanted to see in 3.0/3.5E then PF for a long time. You solved the only problem by changing "fatigued" to "wounded" (fatigued being too detrimental to raging classes), so I think it's perfect as it is.
5) Spell points is also a house rule I like a lot, at least in its intention. The problems are there, but I think we can solve most of them. We should keep that system, but tweak a few things that Taran pointed out.
The major problem is the unfair difference between a blaster caster and another one, I think that should be simply abandoned entirely: we should pay a number of points equal to the spell level, period.
As for the number of spell points we'd get, I think it would be best if we had a number of SP equal to how much it would cost to cast all our spells.
I love the idea of having bonus spells determined by Constitution, we should definitely keep that. I think it represents well how taxing magic can be.
As for the penalties for spellcasting, I've voices my opinion above so I won't repeat it here.
I hope this will be useful. Thanks for the effort you're putting into making these systems work, EF.
I think there already is a distinction, which is part of the problem. Variable dice spells are generally combat.
But so is a greater magic weapon, and in (many) ways its better then (say) a fireball. so why would a single fireball cost double an all day, awesome socks greater magic weapon that gives the fighter +3 to hit all day?
But I think you are specifically referring to things like rope trick or fly - no direct damage at play.
@Taran: Things like Dominate Person are also not variable-dependent and would therefore be cheaper/better to cast than something like Lightning Bolt in the Spellpoints system as it stands now.
And I've also changed my mind on the utility/noncombat cost anyways; that would just make things needlessly complicated.
I'm glad to hear you guys like the subraces so much, that took a while to write up.
Re Monster Feats: So far it hasn't been impactful. They'd still need to qualify so things like constructs or unintelligent undead that have no Int and therefore no feats would not have access to the "always available" feats. I understand your concern about some monsters that were specifically built without Power Attack but then again, the PCs are also at an advantage by not having to take PA as a feat and getting to take something else instead. When I was writing that document up I even thought about (gasp!) getting rid of Power Attack and Deadly Aim altogether as they just seem too powerful.
One solution I thought of to alleviate your concerns though would be just not to alter monsters and NPCs at all in regards to "always available" feats. Of course, if they've already got Improved Bull Rush or something similar, I'd of course my collapsed/combined version for them. But that way not every monster you come across will be power attacking.
Let me know what you think of that (leaving it the way it is and letting monsters have access to feats with the understanding that you are also at an advantage or don't let mosnters/NPCs use always available feats unless they already have them in their statblock).
Spellcasting will be rewritten in the Homebrew document at some point this weekend so watch out for that.
Homebrew Document updated!
Races and Subraces:
Classes and Archetypes:
Completely rewritten! Here are some of the highlights (and a few concerns that I'd like some opinions on changing):
*I'd still like to fix this somehow though. The 3.5 Spell Points rules bring up a good point:
One balancing factor is the cost for casters to increase the damage dealt by their spells. This cost helps to maintain balance between spells of different level. If you didn’t have to pay more for a 9d6 lightning bolt than for a 5d6 lightning bolt (a 3rd-level spell costing 5 spell points), then the 9d6 lightning bolt would cost barely more than half as much as a 9d6 cone of cold (a 5th-level spell costing 9 spell points), even though both spells deal equal damage.
Without having to spend extra spell points to increase lightning bolt from 5d6 to 9d6 in the above scenario, the only disadvantage that casting lightning bolt has compared to cone of cold is the difference of +2 DC on the cone of cold (and obviously the different elements and shapes, which may or may not matter). I suppose that difference in DCs could be a consideration when deciding what to cast but I haven't decided if that's enough of a difference when considering how much cheaper lightning bolt is to cast. As it was before (spending an extra point per d6), really gimped variable spells compared to enchantment and similar spells though so I'd welcome suggestions if you think that needs fixing.
Edit: And I considered making all spell DCs minimum unless you spent points to increase it but this makes things like magic missile or shocking grasp too powerful. It also gives a big advantage to casting buff/defensive/utility spells, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Great changes overall, EF!
As for Spellpoints, I think that the DC, shape, elements and above all (on the long run) maximum damage are the differenciating factor. It's not by chance that the first two area of effect spells (burning hands at spell level 1 and fireball at spell level 3) are both using the elemental energy that is the most commonly resisted. I agree that lightning bolt is a nice variation but it's a line, which in my opinion (and in my experience) makes it harder to hit multiple targets on a regular basis.
Maximum damage is also an aspect that should be considered, especially since most APs (not sure about Iron Gods though) run until 16th-17th level. A single-class wizard gets cone of cold at level 9th, which means that at levels 9 and 10, lightning bolt may be a better choice (if we choose to disregard the shape aspect of the conundrum). Since level 10th, lightning bolt's damage is capped unless you burn a feat to bypass that limit, and a few levels later cone of cold is much better than the other.
The only spell (to my knowledge) which clearly disturbs the balance of things is dragon's breath, because it is a blasting spell that allows almost all shapes/elements variations and goes until 12d6 max. However, you can easily prevent this spell from spoiling our fun by simply removing that spell from the authorized spell list or by making dragon scales (I don't understand why they don't have a material cost, which makes things ridiculous in PFS) simply unavailable in spell components' shops.
Heh, so my selection of "always available feats" is low due to my low dex. However, if I had individual feats (instead of collapsing), at third level I now have:
armor proficiency (light, medium, heavy, shield)
improved bull rush
weapon focus (warhammer)
Quite the spread of combat options...
Hey, I was wondering if someone else would mind keeping track of treasure for this campaign? Thanks.
|John Smithey 796|
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My (ex-)wife has a very high bluff modifier. (Oh no I didn't!)
I will be traveling (and at a convention) from 11/6/14 to 11/11/14. I will probably actually be able to post more, but who knows :)
So, one would assume that we will all get a chance to play around with high tech weaponry at some point in the future. Can you perchance confirm that we will be awash in laser guns and plasma throwers at some point in the future?
Dwarves carrying heavy weapons; I do kind of miss warhammer 40K squats.
Alright, sorry to pester. I'm simply trying to make some build decisions :)
Just a reminder to everyone that Mrs. Endless and I are leaving for our honeymoon in New Zealand tomorrow and will be gone until January 13. If we get the chance to update at all, the updates will likely be few and far between. So sit tight for a few weeks, enjoy the holidays, and I will see everyone when we get back! Thanks!