Illustration by Wayne Reynolds


Design Tuesdays

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 is here at last, and with the start of the new year, we've got a new program that we are happy to unveil. Every Tuesday, you are going to see a blog from one of the members of the design team (that being Sean K Reynolds, Stephen Radney MacFarland, or myself), looking into the mechanics of the game and giving you tips, tricks, and tools to make your game run smoothly and easily.

I am hoping to use these blogs to present new and interesting rules and ideas to use at the game table, perhaps even a few serials, where we explore a concept or idea more deeply. For example, we might run a series of blogs that explore intelligent magic items and how they can be used in your game, giving you a host of samples, and presenting a few new abilities. Or, we might spend a few weeks looking at the rules for afflictions, and adding a couple of new curses, diseases, and poisons to use in your game. Now, I have a list of ideas for what we might use to fill up this space, but here at the outset, I thought it might be useful to ask you, the reader, what you want to see appear in this space. I'll leave the campaign-specific material and preview for the other days of the week—this space will be used exclusively to look at the rules of the game.

I want to hear what you want to see. Check out this thread on our messageboards and add your thoughts to the growing discussion. See you next week.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Design Tuesdays Dragons Monsters Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Wallpapers Wayne Reynolds Wizards
1 to 50 of 94 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

Every Tuesday, the blog will be used by the design team to investigate the rules of the game. While we have a host of interesting ideas and topics, we wanted to give you a chance to tell use what you would like to see explored in this weekly blog. Post your ideas here. Remember, this blog series will be looking at the rules of the game in a setting-neutral way. I look forward to seeing your ideas.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

Dark Archive

"...And it is on the First Tuesday of 2011 did the many who head the honorific 'Lawyers of The Rules' rejoice, for the promise was made by The Bulmahn from on high, Hidden Mouth of The Golem."

So it is written.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sounds great - looking forward to it.

Ruyan.

Dark Archive

Coolio.

Silver Crusade

I think I may like a bit of expansion on the equipment tricks presented in Adventurer's Armory. What was there was interesting but I'm enthused to see more, hopefully with a bent toward different types of equipment (though scabbard tricks fascinated me quite a bit). Admittedly, either of the examples presented would be pretty cool, but I would like to see this interesting idea get a bit of extra meat to it.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Every Tuesday, the blog will be used by the design team to investigate the rules of the game. While we have a host of interesting ideas and topics, we wanted to give you a chance to tell use what you would like to see explored in this weekly blog. Post your ideas here. Remember, this blog series will be looking at the rules of the game in a setting-neutral way. I look forward to seeing your ideas.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

YESSSSS!

Dark Archive

like a disease that never goes away or rules on curses from non-casters (like form gods displeased that someone defiled their temple... again) or new and inventive rules for skills and such?


oh yeah that's a very neat addition to the blog.


Intimidation:I meant with regards to getting someone to do what you want. I don't think a character should be able to intimidate a person or monster who is above them to a certain extent in terms of fighting ability or political power, but I am sure with good rolls it is possible by the rule. I can't seem to think of any alternate that works well though.

PS:Bear in mind I am not saying that no mortal should be so powerful that such creatures rather not face them, but I don't think the the current rules apply well to social situations.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Sample chase scenes and handling chases that involve the whole party? Maybe even presenting a reverse-chase, where the PC is pursued by an opponent or force?

Cue the Indian Jones boulder!

...though I guess that's actually more of a trap...

The previously mentioned "additional uses for skills" idea could also be quite provocative/useful. I've always wanted to see if the ability enhancement items (headbands of X and belts of Y) could get a makeover or enjoy some variants.

Out of curiosity, will the content presented be considered 100% official?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mikael Sebag wrote:

Sample chase scenes and handling chases that involve the whole party? Maybe even presenting a reverse-chase, where the PC is pursued by an opponent or force?

Cue the Indian Jones boulder!

...though I guess that's actually more of a trap...

The previously mentioned "additional uses for skills" idea could also be quite provocative/useful. I've always wanted to see if the ability enhancement items (headbands of X and belts of Y) could get a makeover or enjoy some variants.

Out of curiosity, will the content presented be considered 100% official?

There are Chase rules in the Gamesmastery Guide and as such also in the PRD.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Paul Watson wrote:
[There are Chase rules in the Gamesmastery Guide and as such also in the PRD.

My awareness of the chase rules is what prompted my suggestion since the Tuesday updates, as they are being described, are a channel in which the designers are hoping to expand on existing topics (like the afforementioned examples: afflictions, intelligent items, etc.). The whole "chase" mechanic, I believe, is a topic the can be expanded on more and may yield some dramatic results.

^_^

Dark Archive

I'd like to see some discussions on movement and conditions, like underground and underwater action and exploration, and flight. For the love of god... all the recent threads on the fly skill are making me batty. PLEASE discuss the fly skill!

I'd also like to see an expanded conversation about bonus types and how/ why they should/do/shouldn't/don't stack.

Sczarni

I wouldn't mind a few articles on artifacts and/or weapons that might grow with the PCs that could eventually 'evolve' into artifacts perhaps.


I agree with expansion on Skill Rules, and more specifically, stealth rules and rogue sneak attack.


Sounds intriguing. And if you continue to give us decently sized and resolution Wayne Reynolds pictures along with your rules discussion, all the better!

Liberty's Edge

Anything at all regarding the Stealth Rules would be hawt. Theory, clarification, anything you'd have done differently...anything at all.

Thanks for doing this, JB, it's a cool idea.


-What exactly it means to "counter and dispel" There are rules for the countering part, nothing on dispelling.

-How the different light and darkness spells interact with each other.

-Non standard monsters grappling

-Can you cast spells with somatic components in a grapple or not? (i think you could get the entire seasons worth on grappling)

-Do tumble and combat maneuvers stop becoming useful at high levels?

-Rules for throwing characters, either to get them across a pit or to use them as projectiles.

-Are rogues missing something now that everyone can take any skill?


Jeremiziah wrote:

Anything at all regarding the Stealth Rules would be hawt. Theory, clarification, anything you'd have done differently...anything at all.

Thanks for doing this, JB, it's a cool idea.

+1. Really, any time you want to do one more on existing-stuff-clarification than generating new material the FAQ requests point to a few obvious choices. Stealth/lighting (and throw into that bin for me: did you at all consider making Hide in Plain Sight an advanced rogue talent?), how wealth-by-level works or could/should work with respect to things like crafting or resurrection costs, etc.

Eidolons might be another good topic. If these forums are any gauge, they're a source of more confusion than anything else in the APG. Maybe some tips on how to eyeball if an eidolon is built correctly would be good -- it seems like about once a week someone posts a "broken" eidolon that turns out to break half a dozen rules. It'd also be easy to suggest new base forums or evolutions.

Grappling, sad to say, is still an area of the game that probably could use an article explaining how it's supposed to function, if you're up for something like that.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Great idea. Thanks for putting this in place.

-Skeld


I'd very much like to see:


  • more cinematic combat options - things like dirty trick and the like that allow for a more involved and roleplaying friendly combat
  • social challenges - greater rules exposure on running non-combat/danger encounters that are more than chatting and rolling a bluff/diplomacy along the way

Thanks! 2011 is looking super rosy!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I would be interested in some further discussion about equipping NPCs and constructing treasures and hordes. I am interested in both the quality and quantity of the treasure included.

Our gaming group has recently had discussions about the value of different denominations of treasure, especially above lower levels. Is providing monetary treasure in denominations other than gold just a bookkeeping exercise? What are the advantages/drawbacks of including gems, jewelry, object de art and mundane equipment? Do these types of items all suffer from sale at 1/2 GP value?

Further, our discussions have covered the topic of magic items not seeming to be as special as they once were. It seems to be items that are not on the "need to have it" list are often sold at the first opportunity. Is it too easy to buy and sell magic items under the current rules?


This is one of the articles I enjoyed with my DDI subscription when I played 4E. +1 to the stealth rules. +1 to the cinematic roleplaying tips/rules. +1 to expounding on skills and possible uses with them. I would like to read about how to remove the magical item creep but still keep the game pseudo balanced. Explain the math behind attacks and damage vs ac and such.


Another interesting set of topics could be around the design philosophy and goals of Pathfinder. These, too, are fairly recurring forum topics of discussion. For example:

D&D 3.0 infamously had intentional "trap options", some of which Pathfinder may have inherited to small or large degree. What's your opinion about this design idea and how does or doesn't it inform your choices in creating content for Pathfinder?

What should "backwards compatability" mean in context of 3.X and Pathfinder? People clearly have some different ideas here.

To what degree is class/character balance a goal to strive for in your design? (4E took a different view here than many other games, and it's implicit in the design of Pathfinder that you didn't completely agree with their decision in this respect.)

Also kind of a 3.XE vs. 4E different approaches kind of point: to what degree or in what cases is realism/simulationism something to strive for in your design, possibly vs. gameism/balance? (Semi-topical aside: Shockingly, this guy doesn't think realism or scientific accuracy is important in movies.)

In terms of interpreting rules, should Pathfinder be considered a "continuation" of 3.X? In other words, should people give weight to things like the 3.5 FAQ or should Pathfinder be considered its own animal independent of that?

I think I can take a pretty good guess at your answers to any of these, but I still think any of these could be the seed of an interesting article.


I'd personally like to see alternative rules for some of the combat maneuvers to make combat more dynamic like 4e. I don't mean that I would like to see powers for each class. I am talking about the ability to knock
monsters into pits or maneuver them onto dangerous and damaging terrain.

I would also like to see some optional rules on things like threat generation due to attacks and such.

Anyways I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Grand Lodge

I am interested in seeing more guidelines on the creation aspect. What guidelines do you use as developers to make a new base class, a new archetype, or new prestige class? Because, it has become clear to me that we as a community rarely have the same idea of balance. I tend to be underpowered, whereas many I have seen feel overpowered...

Anyway, many of the previously mentioned topics would be interesting as well!


Dire Mongoose wrote:
Really, any time you want to do one more on existing-stuff-clarification than generating new material the FAQ requests point to a few obvious choices.

I largely agree. Although I applaud the desire to blog about new game mechanics or rules embellishments, I'd much rather see the time and energy of writing blog posts put towards updating the FAQ pages with the backlog of questions and requests for clarifications for which posters have been clamouring. Tackling the confusing interaction of stealth and sneak attack would seem a popular place to start.


Dire Mongoose wrote:

Another interesting set of topics could be around the design philosophy and goals of Pathfinder. These, too, are fairly recurring forum topics of discussion. For example:

D&D 3.0 infamously had intentional "trap options", some of which Pathfinder may have inherited to small or large degree. What's your opinion about this design idea and how does or doesn't it inform your choices in creating content for Pathfinder?

What should "backwards compatability" mean in context of 3.X and Pathfinder? People clearly have some different ideas here.

To what degree is class/character balance a goal to strive for in your design? (4E took a different view here than many other games, and it's implicit in the design of Pathfinder that you didn't completely agree with their decision in this respect.)

Also kind of a 3.XE vs. 4E different approaches kind of point: to what degree or in what cases is realism/simulationism something to strive for in your design, possibly vs. gameism/balance? (Semi-topical aside: Shockingly, this guy doesn't think realism or scientific accuracy is important in movies.)

In terms of interpreting rules, should Pathfinder be considered a "continuation" of 3.X? In other words, should people give weight to things like the 3.5 FAQ or should Pathfinder be considered its own animal independent of that?

I think I can take a pretty good guess at your answers to any of these, but I still think any of these could be the seed of an interesting article.

I'd like to hear this as well, along with any mechanics/design regrets or possible changes in any theoretical 2nd ED pathfinder.


Covering hot topics that show up in the FAQ flags or messageboard topics would be neat too. :)


BigNorseWolf wrote:

-What exactly it means to "counter and dispel" There are rules for the countering part, nothing on dispelling.

-How the different light and darkness spells interact with each other.

-Non standard monsters grappling

-Can you cast spells with somatic components in a grapple or not? (i think you could get the entire seasons worth on grappling)

-Do tumble and combat maneuvers stop becoming useful at high levels?

-Rules for throwing characters, either to get them across a pit or to use them as projectiles.

-Are rogues missing something now that everyone can take any skill?

You can only dispel with the dispel magic spell or spell-like ability-


1. As a few people have already mentioned I would like to see more skill use scenarios. I would like to put skill ranks to better use and really reward players for using skill points. I have always felt that the number of ranks a PC has in a skill should have a tangible benefit aside from the actual pluses to die rolls.

Something like this:
# of skill ranks/Title/Benefit
0/Unskilled/None
1-5/Novice/??
6-10/Expert/??
11-15/Master/??
15+/Legend/??

2. Rules for skill use during combat. If a PC is an "Expert" in a specific skill he gets some combat based bonus. If he is an "Expert" in Knowledge(Dungeoneering) he gets +2 to hit/dam against Aberrations. If a PC is a "Master" of Knowledge(Arcana) he gets +2 to spell penetration.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Mikael Sebag wrote:
Out of curiosity, will the content presented be considered 100% official?

That depends pretty much on your GM.

As far as the Pathfinder Society goes, though... no. Doesn't mean that nothing we post on this blog will EVER "graduate" into hardcover, nor does it mean that we won't make an exception now and then, but for the most point, the blog is not the place we'll be posting "official" rules expansions.

Again... unless your GM likes the rules enough to make them official for his/her campaign.

Shadow Lodge

This is a great idea. Back in the day WotC had several weekly blogs exploring the rules of the game (3.5) and I loved them.

Not all of them were great but for me when I was just getting back into the game it was awesome.

They also had "Map a week"...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

0gre wrote:

This is a great idea. Back in the day WotC had several weekly blogs exploring the rules of the game (3.5) and I loved them.

Not all of them were great but for me when I was just getting back into the game it was awesome.

They also had "Map a week"...

Map a week won't be something we'll be doing on this blog. We already produce a dozen or so maps a month as it is. That's kind of expensive.


How about some of the following:
• Skill Tricks
• New Uses for Old Skills
• Variant Weapon Design
• Class Creation
• Race Creation
• Feat Creation
• A Round Table on Spell Design and Balance
• To expand on what Cibet44 was saying, how about skill ranks based on training? Like what someone in academia should have or master trappers and such?
• Monster Design

Shadow Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
0gre wrote:

This is a great idea. Back in the day WotC had several weekly blogs exploring the rules of the game (3.5) and I loved them.

Not all of them were great but for me when I was just getting back into the game it was awesome.

They also had "Map a week"...

Map a week won't be something we'll be doing on this blog. We already produce a dozen or so maps a month as it is. That's kind of expensive.

Map a Week was not new content, it was maps used in their adventures so no additional expense (unless there would be licensing issues). I get most of the Paizo maps it's not a big deal but I did enjoy then a LOT at the time.


Considering the sheer number of threads that come up about these issues I think this series should definitely hit the following:

1)Stealth/Visibility/Lighting/Concealment
2)Interactions between Manufactured Weapon/Unarmed Attacks/and Natural Weapon Attacks.
3)Attack Action terminology and feat exclusions particularly charge + vital strike exclusivity.
4)The impact of item creation feats on the game with special emphasis on how the discount impacts WBL.
5)Class/Race/Feature Balance- Are they important, do you worry about them, under what circumstance (such as elite array) are the considered balanced, etc. Granted this gets way into navelgazing and game theory but it seems to be a very contentious issue.

Furthermore use this to discuss optional rules ala 3.x Unearthed Arcana. Want to play around with intrinsic bonuses in order to get a low magic world? Here's how. Want to make a game more lethal and gritty? Here's how to include a scaling Death by Massive Damage effect, etc.

That way you can discuss game options in a forum format which would be particularly useful if Paizo never really intends on creating it's own Unearthed Arcana book down the road.


Rzach wrote:

I'd personally like to see alternative rules for some of the combat maneuvers to make combat more dynamic like 4e. I don't mean that I would like to see powers for each class. I am talking about the ability to knock

monsters into pits or maneuver them onto dangerous and damaging terrain.

Alternate ways to use of CMB would be good. For example, if a PC readies an action to kick a chair into a charging opponent during a bar fight, is it handled as a trip attempt? What if they are rolling a barrel at them instead?

In conjunction to this would be some sugestions on how to use terrain in unique ways, such as using a fireball to melt snow and ice to create slippery terrain around a group of opponents (in addition to doing damage).


"..., looking into the mechanics of the game and giving you tips, tricks, and tools to make your game run smoothly and easily."

YES! This kind of look-under-the-hood view of the game is something I have been waiting for since the beginning.

Thank you all!

EDIT: What I want to see? Well, first a +1 to the 5 things vuron listed above. What I really want to know are what the unwritten assumptions of the game are. For example, we know 4 person party, 15 point buy and wealth by level; but what about party class mix, level of optimization, duration of/between encounters, etc.

I would also like to see fairly specific advice about dealing with common problems that come up as characters gain power. Dealing with flight and teleportation, charm and dominate, scry and fry, and various other things that can by-pass some types of encounters. Also advice on preventing nova-ing or other problems that can arise when you can't do 4-5 APL encounters per day. Finally, a little advice on dealing with high level magic.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

Interesting ideas everyone, please keep them coming.

As a small side note, we are dedicating an amount of time every week to answering FAQ questions, and while some weeks that might get pushed off, we are dedicated to getting some of those questions answered. While we might use the Design Tuesday blogs to cover some of these issues, it is not going to be our sole focus. These blogs are a space for us to explore and expand, not just to cover existing issues. Above all, we want it to be fun.

Just a few thoughts...

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


I love it when a plan comes together. :)

Hyrum.


I know a couple different people mentioned FAQ-y topics; to clarify at least my own mention of them, it's not that I think this feature should be dedicated to FAQ questions, but rather that in some cases I think a lot of FAQ requests clustered around a common topic either reveal an area of the existing design that isn't well understood independent of individual questions (e.g. stealth) or reveal an area of the existing design where it'd be interesting to know what the design goals or thought process were (e.g. differing positions in common arguments about wealth-by-level make different assumptions of what your design goals/intent were).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

0gre wrote:
Map a Week was not new content, it was maps used in their adventures so no additional expense (unless there would be licensing issues). I get most of the Paizo maps it's not a big deal but I did enjoy then a LOT at the time.

Fair enough. But WotC also had several decades of maps backloged from old products to use for that feature. We only have a few years. I'd rather not "genericize" maps that are only a few years old.

Maybe in a decade I'll revisit this... ;-)


I definitely think there are black holes in the ruleset where Rules as Written and Rules as Intended definitely do not really match up. The aforementioned stealth issue seems to be one that simply does not ever go away. If the Paizo crew were to devote an essay to this explaining the rules as intended I think it would solve a massive amount of forum angst.

In the late 3.x period Skip Williams devoted some time to a rules of the game concept and I think it was really successful at prying apart some of the thornier issues haunting the game. Considering how many decades the infravision issue haunted 1e-2e I think insight into how the rules are supposed to function will help immensely, even if it doesn't completely stop all RAW rules lawyering ;)


Might I suggest to headline this one you go over what the "averages" and extremes of pathfinder are? Maybe do it by level tier too -- what do the designers expect of the players? How much AC, how much HP, and where their saves should be?

We see lots of threads where people say things like "If you can't deal this much damage and have this much HP and have AC and Saves in this range you are useless at these levels" -- but where is the useless line, the good and the extreme lines for the designers?

Knowing these would give players and GMs insight as to what the average math wise is for their table and allow them to either adjust the system or their characters to better get the game they want.

I'm not necessarily saying to provide examples of "broken" characters, or of "weak" characters -- just something that gives us a feel for the middle ground that paizo is aiming for.

Dark Archive

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Above all, we want it to be fun.

This is a great idea. I look forward to what you guy whip up!

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

This sounds like an awesome idea, really looking forward to it!

Two areas I would like to see covered:

Trap Design and Construction: I find the rules on designing and constructing traps to be a little vague or confusing. Mechanical traps seem straight forward, but the examples of magical traps (other than trap spells like glyph of warding or explosive runes and such) seemed a little contradictory from the rules text. I'm having a hard time figuring out things like pricing and save DCs, so a little mini-lecture on how to design and price them would be appreciated. As a GM I can eyeball things (kind of like monster advancement) but I had a wizard PC interested in being a trap builder but gave up on it because there was so much gray area.

Craft Construct Rules: The Craft Construct feat in the Bestiary mentions "Each construct has a special section that summarizes its costs and other prerequisites." The Bestiary entry for animated objects states that "Permanent animated objects can be built using the Craft Construct feat" but then doesn't provide the necessary info to do so. Obviously you can create these using the animate objects spell coupled with permanency but without those construction requirements you're out of luck unless you're a bard, cleric, or oracle. Having those rules back (I have a feeling they were cut for space) would really open up some nice ground for PCs... it's a big gap between things like homonculi and golems. :) I apologize if this has been addressed in Bestiary 2 as I have not yet gotten my mitts on that book yet.

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
0gre wrote:
Map a Week was not new content, it was maps used in their adventures so no additional expense (unless there would be licensing issues). I get most of the Paizo maps it's not a big deal but I did enjoy then a LOT at the time.

Fair enough. But WotC also had several decades of maps backloged from old products to use for that feature. We only have a few years. I'd rather not "genericize" maps that are only a few years old.

Maybe in a decade I'll revisit this... ;-)

Pity you can't use all those maps from the Dungeon mag days.

Sovereign Court

I would like to see rules for aquatic campaigns expanded, and some thought to the interaction between aquatic characters and terrestrial characters. As it is, the rules are sufficient for "Let's have a wacky underwater adventure as part of our ongoing entirely land-based campaign" but lack robustness and clarity for something entirely undersea.

Edit: Do stat blocks count as rules? I'd like to see more Leshys.

Dark Archive

expanding on new ideas eh? like a words of power for non-casters that are basically martial arts moves that can be combined together for effects... maybe something similar for skills? is this too insane?

1 to 50 of 94 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / General Discussion / Paizo Blog: Design Tuesdays All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.