Unleashing Unchained!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Alright everyone, this is the last blog before Pathfinder Unchained hits your local stores! Many of you have heard so far that with Unchained, we’re encouraging you to really experiment and play around with the system, so we thought we’d end with a bang and release information about two of the pieces of Unchained that we hadn’t previewed yet as well as give you even more content! That’s right, Unchained was so full to the brim with exciting rules changes and optional subsystems, that it couldn’t even fit it all. So let’s take a look at what we’ve got.


Illustration by Jorge Fares

First up is Automatic Bonus Progression. If you’re like me, you’ve probably been annoyed at some point or another that your characters more-or-less need to purchase certain magic items to keep up with the game’s math, and those items are super-generic and just add numbers. Why not take out the middle man and just give you what you need to keep up with the numbers, thus letting you be creative with where you spend the rest of your wealth, on fantastic and truly wondrous items. As the newbie designer, one of the first things I added to any of our books was a subsystem to do just that, and the subsystem in the book is an excellent addition to games that have low magic items as well! There are even rules to explain how automatic enhancement bonuses on weapons and armor will interact with special properties, like flaming. The system in the book is simple to adjudicate and curbs some of the potential problems with things like buying tons of different weapons with different iterations of the bane property (or making special qualities the workaround to boost your numbers ahead of everyone else, since you wind up making a trade-off). Take a look at this alternate approach, which allows you to follow the same mathematical progression for special properties, in exchange for using the table below.

Magic Weapons and Armor

Magic weapons and armor using this system never grant an enhancement bonus but instead grant only special qualities (up to a maximum of +5). Any quality that costs a flat amount is unchanged, but qualities that have an enhancement bonus equivalent use a slightly modified pricing system.

In this system, independent magical effects on weapons and armor can sometimes interfere with the process of attuning to the item. Therefore, each magic weapon and armor has a capacity, from 0 to 5, which indicates how much of a character’s attunement can apply to that weapon or armor. Any character who attunes to a magic weapon or armor gains an enhancement bonus equal to the minimum of her attunement and the item’s capacity. Increasing a weapon’s capacity requires a crafting cost of 2,000 gp x the total enhancement bonus of the weapon’s special abilities (and a market price of twice that). Upgrading a weapon that has a capacity greater than 0 requires paying the difference in the cost of the capacity. So for instance, a flaming weapon with capacity 0 has a crafting cost of 1,000 gp. Upgrading its capacity to 3 would cost 6,000 gp. If the crafter later wanted to upgrade the capacity 3 flaming weapon to flaming burst, it would cost 3,000 gp to upgrade flaming to flaming burst and an additional 6,000 gp because the capacity’s cost increases when the weapon’s enhancements increase for a total of 9,000 gp. In total, this weapon cost 16,000 gp to make and has a market price of 32,000 gp. Armor works exactly the same, but all costs are half as much.

Weapon Prices
Enhancement0 capacity1 capacity2 capacity3 capacity4 capacity5 capacity
+12,0006,00010,00014,00018,00022,000
+28,00016,00024,00032,00040,00048,000
+318,00030,00042,00054,00066,00078,000
+432,00048,00064,00080,00096,000112,000
+550,00070,00090,000110,000130,000150,000

Illustration by Daniel Jiménez Villalba
Armor Prices
Enhancement0 capacity1 capacity2 capacity3 capacity4 capacity5 capacity
+11,0003,0005,0007,0009,00011,000
+24,0008,00012,00016,00020,00024,000
+39,00015,00021,00027,00033,00039,000
+416,00024,00032,00040,00048,00056,000
+525,00035,00045,00055,00065,00075,000

But wait! There’s more! Early in the Unchained process, we decided to give you tons of sample monsters that use the new system. Later on, we realized that it would be even cooler if we also gave you step-by-step explanations of how we built them, to maximize your ability to make more of your own. You can guess what came next—explanations made each monster longer, so we had to cut a bunch of monsters. Well, the mighty tarrasque has something to say about that. It will not be chained. And while you read its mighty stats, here’s a flumph with laser beams!


Tarrasque CR/HD 25

Init +6; Perception +45 (low-light vision, scent)
Aura (DC 28) frightful presence (300 ft.)
Size Colossal (30 ft.); Speed 40 ft.; Special Movement rush

DEFENSES

AC 45 (touch 19, flat-footed 39); Fort +26, Ref +26, Will +21; CMD 58 (62 vs. grapple); SR 36
hp 616; regeneration 40 (cannot be suppressed, automatically rises from death after 3 rounds); DR 15/epic; Immune ability damage, ability drain, acid, bleed, daze, disease, energy drain, fire, mind-affecting effects, paralysis, permanent wounds, petrification, poison, polymorph, staggered
Defensive Options carapace

ATTACKS

Melee bite (reach 30 ft.) +38 (4d8+19/15–20/3 plus improved combat maneuver [grapple]), 2 claws (reach 30 ft.) +38 (4d8+19), 2 gores (reach 30 ft.) +38 (4d8+19), tail slap (reach 60 ft.) +33 (4d6+9)
Ranged 6 spines (range 120 ft.) +30 (2d10+22/19–20/3)
Attack Options (DC 46) critical striker, defense breaker, pounce, swallow whole (10d6+29 plus 10d6 acid), trample (12d8+51); CMB +56 (+60 grapple)

STATISTICS

Str +16, Dex +6, Con +12, Int –4; Acrobatics +45 when jumping
XP 1,638,400; N magical beast

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Carapace (Su) The tarrasque’s carapace deflects cones, lines, ranged touch spells, and magic missiles automatically, with a 30% chance to reflect them onto the caster.
Rush (Ex) Once per minute, the tarrasque can increase its speed to 150 feet for 1 round. This also doubles its bonus on Acrobatics checks when jumping.

The mighty tarrasque has a special DR type of epic, and a slew of special immunities. As it is the tarrasque, it has many more combat options than normal, and it has its own non-standard suite of attacks based on the expected damage (for instance, the 6 spines each do 1/3 of the damage for 2 primary natural attacks). The tarrasque’s spines and bite have a ×3 critical multiplier, and the bite has a natural 18–20 threat range before adding the critical striker option. The tarrasque also has two master skills instead of one master and two good (and one of the two is only at master level when jumping).

Well, that about wraps up our previews for Pathfinder Unchained! This book is shipping to subscribers now, and you should be able to find it in your local gaming store next week! Pick it up and unchain your game!

Mark Seifter
Designer

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Tags: Daniel Jiménez Villalba Jorge Fares Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
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Fair enough. Mark's version does seem to be the more involved one then.


Why does the tarrasque not have WIS or CHA scores, but still have a Will Save and a perception check? or are the stats listed just the modifiers, and the WIS and CHA values are 10 each?


Unless you believe that the tarrasque merely has a Strength of 16, those clearly must the modifiers. They even have a plus-sign in front of them. :)


When I read it I questioned the Automatic Bonus Progression getting lowered when you attune a magic item but it actually makes a lot of sense. It funtionally keeps normal WBL and abilities like the Magus' weapon enhancements stay relevant since they can effectively 'buy' enhancements. To emphasize this I probably will house rule that the weapon property doesn't work unless you have the appropriate enhancement bonus, and take away the once a day limit.

Although any way to compensate for abilities like the Oracle's Ancestor Mystery's Ancestral Weapon where they make a new weapon with an enhancement bonus? Granted the bonus scales way worse but now it doesn't do anything but just make a weapon.


Fire the LASERS!

Pew PewPew PewPewPew


Malwing wrote:

When I read it I questioned the Automatic Bonus Progression getting lowered when you attune a magic item but it actually makes a lot of sense. It funtionally keeps normal WBL and abilities like the Magus' weapon enhancements stay relevant since they can effectively 'buy' enhancements. To emphasize this I probably will house rule that the weapon property doesn't work unless you have the appropriate enhancement bonus, and take away the once a day limit.

Although any way to compensate for abilities like the Oracle's Ancestor Mystery's Ancestral Weapon where they make a new weapon with an enhancement bonus? Granted the bonus scales way worse but now it doesn't do anything but just make a weapon.

My issue with the base system is that it effectively nerfs martials, which I don't think should be the end goal of any addition to the current pathfinder system. The automatic bonus system allocates 10% of WBL to weapons. This is extremely low. Most martial characters allocate close to double that, if not more (I mean, the gamemastering section recommends no more than 25%, and I know most of my martials push that.) Following the base system lets your characters keep up with the math of the game, but provides no way for them to use their wealth to help them in the most direct way: upgrading their weapon above the base minimums necessary.


Calth wrote:
Malwing wrote:

When I read it I questioned the Automatic Bonus Progression getting lowered when you attune a magic item but it actually makes a lot of sense. It funtionally keeps normal WBL and abilities like the Magus' weapon enhancements stay relevant since they can effectively 'buy' enhancements. To emphasize this I probably will house rule that the weapon property doesn't work unless you have the appropriate enhancement bonus, and take away the once a day limit.

Although any way to compensate for abilities like the Oracle's Ancestor Mystery's Ancestral Weapon where they make a new weapon with an enhancement bonus? Granted the bonus scales way worse but now it doesn't do anything but just make a weapon.

My issue with the base system is that it effectively nerfs martials, which I don't think should be the end goal of any addition to the current pathfinder system. The automatic bonus system allocates 10% of WBL to weapons. This is extremely low. Most martial characters allocate close to double that, if not more (I mean, the gamemastering section recommends no more than 25%, and I know most of my martials push that.) Following the base system lets your characters keep up with the math of the game, but provides no way for them to use their wealth to help them in the most direct way: upgrading their weapon above the base minimums necessary.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one on the boards who routinely winds up with the same +1 weapon for most of the campaign.


I wonder what the designers thoughts are on this: The main concept of Pathfinder Unchained is unshackling itself from the D&D 3.5 system.

Whereas these weapon enhancement rules are very similar to D&D 3.5e Weapons of Legacy , just with better (and more complicated math).

Not a bad thing, I like the idea of legacy weapons.


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You know, I had one simple request. And that was to have FLUMPHS with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!


Mark Seifter wrote:
Joe M. wrote:
My aim here is to simplify as far as possible. I'm running a game for a bunch of new players right now and I don't want them to have to worry about getting the "right" equipment.
Your best answer then? The simplest thing would be to just remove weapon and armor special qualities period. The scaling enhancement gives you enough accuracy to hit and enough AC to live, which is the only part that is mathematically necessary to keep up assumed math. Maybe throw in a few as rare loot.

OH, are these on top of a character related bonus? your +2, 3 atument weapon is effectively a +4, 5 attunement thing at level 7 or something?


Dr. Evil wrote:
You know, I had one simple request. And that was to have FLUMPHS with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!

yep, that's all I had to see. Sharks are yesterday's news.


I have the book now. Stamina is the best idea.

Low magic and no alignment just annoy me.

I may implement the monster creation rules in my random monster creation thread in homebrew.

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