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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This looks really cool. I've liked the idea of this book more and more as the previews came out!


Second!

Silver Crusade

Love it in theory, but quick reading on my phone and I'm just all kinds of confused ... I'm going to have to read it more attentively when I have time.

Paizo Employee Designer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well there's a reason we went with the version we did in the book, even though the table is more strictly faithful to the original mathematical balance, and the difficulty of groking was that reason.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I really like the condensed Tarrasque.

The capacity system seems a bit awkward at first and kind of go against the idea of having your character's power come naturally from their power than their weapon when they still have to buy a better weapon to take advantage of it. However, I do like that it ultimately makes it cheaper to have magical weapons with special abilities. This system basically makes enhancement bonuses cheaper at the cost of putting a level requirement on them.

While awkward, making special abilities more accesible is a huge plus. My players and I have more interest in giving weapons magical abilities than giving them numbers.

Paizo Employee Designer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Extra fun trivia: The picture that isn't the flumph is Kyra using automatic bonus progression to wear only a simple outfit and still keep all her bonuses. Like the rest of the blog (other than the flumph, which is in there for pure fun), this was a part of Unchained that was cut for space!


A flumph with laser beams! That made my day. Now I want to play one.

Paizo Employee Designer

Cyrad wrote:

I really like the condensed Tarrasque.

The capacity system seems a bit awkward at first and kind of go against the idea of having your character's power come naturally from their power than their weapon when they still have to buy a better weapon to take advantage of it. However, I do like that it ultimately makes it cheaper to have magical weapons with special abilities. This system basically makes enhancement bonuses cheaper at the cost of putting a level requirement on them.

While awkward, making special abilities more accesible is a huge plus. My players and I have more interest in giving weapons magical abilities than giving them numbers.

If you're using capacity (like me whenever I use the auto bonus progression rules), you can probably just allow the PC who owns the weapon to pay the difference to add capacity, as part of attuning more deeply to the weapon.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Extra fun trivia: The picture that isn't the flumph is Kyra

That's Kyra? Her skin tone seems to have changed considerably from both her standard iconic portrait and mythic form. Who's the artist?

Paizo Employee Designer

Garrett Guillotte wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Extra fun trivia: The picture that isn't the flumph is Kyra
That's Kyra? Her skin tone seems to have changed considerably from both her standard iconic portrait and mythic form. Who's the artist?

Mythic Kyra was actually in the reference art, since it's the best look at her without all that gear.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Well there's a reason we went with the version we did in the book, even though the table is more strictly faithful to the original mathematical balance, and the difficulty of groking was that reason.

I imagine my problem may be that I don't know what the heck is going on with "attunement." Maybe I'll need to look at those rules, which these appear to depend on, before this is readily grokkable.


Garrett Guillotte wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Extra fun trivia: The picture that isn't the flumph is Kyra
That's Kyra? Her skin tone seems to have changed considerably from both her standard iconic portrait and mythic form. Who's the artist?

I agree. The skin tone is way too dark to be Kyra.

Paizo Employee Designer

Joe M. wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Well there's a reason we went with the version we did in the book, even though the table is more strictly faithful to the original mathematical balance, and the difficulty of groking was that reason.
I imagine my problem may be that I don't know what the heck is going on with "attunement." Maybe I'll need to look at those rules, which these appear to depend on, before this is readily grokkable.

Attunement is where you get a "free" scaling enhancement bonus on your weapon as part of automatic bonus progression. Capacity makes the non-free part, the special abilities, cost the same as it did before (the alternative in the book is that the special abilities usually cost substantially less than they did before but they lower your attunement so you don't buy tons of weapons with bane for super cheap and switch out to suit the day).


Hey Mark, thanks a ton for the updated chart. Really does a nice job of preserving the WBL balance (which I know many GMs appreciate) and character flexibility (which I appreciate).


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Laser eyed flumph?!?!?!?!

WE"RE NOT WORTHY!

Grand Lodge

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I'll be honest, I straight up do not understand the math on the weapons and armor table. Like, not at all. I especially don't get where the 9000 comes from. To me it should be more. It'd be nice if it was broken down more.


There's no math to the table at all. If the enchantments on your armour have a total value of +3, and you don't want to get any of the automatic AC bonus from the new system, then it cost's 9,000 gp. Or if you have only a +1 equivalent enchantment on your armour and want to use 4 points of the automatic AC bonus, it also costs 9,000 gp.

Grand Lodge

ZanThrax wrote:
There's no math to the table at all. If the enchantments on your armour have a total value of +3, and you don't want to get any of the automatic AC bonus from the new system, then it cost's 9,000 gp. Or if you have only a +1 equivalent enchantment on your armour and want to use 4 points of the automatic AC bonus, it also costs 9,000 gp.

I'm more of less trying to figure out where the 3 capacity flaming weapon to flaming burst only cost 3000 + 6000.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Joe M. wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Well there's a reason we went with the version we did in the book, even though the table is more strictly faithful to the original mathematical balance, and the difficulty of groking was that reason.
I imagine my problem may be that I don't know what the heck is going on with "attunement." Maybe I'll need to look at those rules, which these appear to depend on, before this is readily grokkable.
Attunement is where you get a "free" scaling enhancement bonus on your weapon as part of automatic bonus progression. Capacity makes the non-free part, the special abilities, cost the same as it did before (the alternative in the book is that the special abilities usually cost substantially less than they did before but they lower your attunement so you don't buy tons of weapons with bane for super cheap and switch out to suit the day).

if money is still the limiting factor on weapons I don't really understand what this accomplished, nor can i really understand how or when a weapon gains any capacity or enhancement bonus.

in fact, i'm not entirely sure i know what capacity even does.

Paizo Employee Designer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bandw2 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Joe M. wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Well there's a reason we went with the version we did in the book, even though the table is more strictly faithful to the original mathematical balance, and the difficulty of groking was that reason.
I imagine my problem may be that I don't know what the heck is going on with "attunement." Maybe I'll need to look at those rules, which these appear to depend on, before this is readily grokkable.
Attunement is where you get a "free" scaling enhancement bonus on your weapon as part of automatic bonus progression. Capacity makes the non-free part, the special abilities, cost the same as it did before (the alternative in the book is that the special abilities usually cost substantially less than they did before but they lower your attunement so you don't buy tons of weapons with bane for super cheap and switch out to suit the day).
if money is still the limiting factor on weapons I don't really understand what this accomplished, nor can i really understand how or when a weapon gains any capacity or enhancement bonus.

This is an alternate option for weapon and armor special qualities that goes with the auto-scaling rules in the book. It will make more sense when you have the auto-scaling rules, to see what it replaces! (incidentally, this is why it was in the final preview before the book came out). Auto-scaling is for numerical bonuses.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Joe M. wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Well there's a reason we went with the version we did in the book, even though the table is more strictly faithful to the original mathematical balance, and the difficulty of groking was that reason.
I imagine my problem may be that I don't know what the heck is going on with "attunement." Maybe I'll need to look at those rules, which these appear to depend on, before this is readily grokkable.
Attunement is where you get a "free" scaling enhancement bonus on your weapon as part of automatic bonus progression. Capacity makes the non-free part, the special abilities, cost the same as it did before (the alternative in the book is that the special abilities usually cost substantially less than they did before but they lower your attunement so you don't buy tons of weapons with bane for super cheap and switch out to suit the day).
if money is still the limiting factor on weapons I don't really understand what this accomplished, nor can i really understand how or when a weapon gains any capacity or enhancement bonus.
This is an alternate option for weapon and armor special qualities that goes with the auto-scaling rules in the book. It will make more sense when you have the auto-scaling rules, to see what it replaces! (incidentally, this is why it was in the final preview before the book came out). Auto-scaling is for numerical bonuses.

that probably explains a lot.

Paizo Employee Designer

Bandw2 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Joe M. wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Well there's a reason we went with the version we did in the book, even though the table is more strictly faithful to the original mathematical balance, and the difficulty of groking was that reason.
I imagine my problem may be that I don't know what the heck is going on with "attunement." Maybe I'll need to look at those rules, which these appear to depend on, before this is readily grokkable.
Attunement is where you get a "free" scaling enhancement bonus on your weapon as part of automatic bonus progression. Capacity makes the non-free part, the special abilities, cost the same as it did before (the alternative in the book is that the special abilities usually cost substantially less than they did before but they lower your attunement so you don't buy tons of weapons with bane for super cheap and switch out to suit the day).
if money is still the limiting factor on weapons I don't really understand what this accomplished, nor can i really understand how or when a weapon gains any capacity or enhancement bonus.
This is an alternate option for weapon and armor special qualities that goes with the auto-scaling rules in the book. It will make more sense when you have the auto-scaling rules, to see what it replaces! (incidentally, this is why it was in the final preview before the book came out). Auto-scaling is for numerical bonuses.
that probably explains a lot.

Yup! I figured the best possible previews are ones that aren't even in the book, since this blog will be valuable to you even when you have the book (and also, it guaranteed that you didn't know these little tidbits already by peeking at your friend's subscriber copy!)


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kevin_video wrote:
ZanThrax wrote:
There's no math to the table at all. If the enchantments on your armour have a total value of +3, and you don't want to get any of the automatic AC bonus from the new system, then it cost's 9,000 gp. Or if you have only a +1 equivalent enchantment on your armour and want to use 4 points of the automatic AC bonus, it also costs 9,000 gp.
I'm more of less trying to figure out where the 3 capacity flaming weapon to flaming burst only cost 3000 + 6000.

Oh, okay. I see what you're looking at. You're right, the paragraph preceding the chart is rather confusingly written.

It's talking about crafting costs, where the table is talking prices. Crafting costs are half the price. So

blog wrote:

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.

we're starting with a +1 enchantment and 0 capacity. The table says that the *price* of that is 2,000 gp. So the crafting cost is 1,000 gp. Matches up so far.

Then we change it to a +1 enchantment with a 3 capacity. The table says that the price of that is 14,000 gp; the crafting cost is therefore 7,000 gp. But since we already spent 1,000 gp to make the initial flaming sword, we have to spend another 6,000 gp - just paying the difference.

The final part is where it's needlessly confusing I think. Flaming -> Flaming Burst, at a capacity of 0 is going from 2,000 gp price to 8,000 gp price, which is an increase of 6,000 gp. Half of that is 3,000 gp cost. And then it's re-doing the capacity increase from 0 (8,000 gp) to 3 (32,000 gp); 24,000 gp price; 12,000 gp cost but giving credit for the 6,000 gp we already spent in the previous step to go from 0 to 3 capacity for a total of 6,000 gp. Then it's adding the two increases together to make 9,000 gp.

The last sentence there is what they should have referenced instead - a +2 enchantment weapon with a capacity of 3 has a price of 32,000 gp and a cost of 16,000 gp.

If you want to upgrade an existing item, just look at the price of what you want, subtract the price of what you have, and divide by two to figure out how much gold you need to spend to pay for the upgrade.

Seriously, that entire section of text should be replaced.

Less confusing version of that example wrote:
So, for instance, a flaming weapon with a capicty 0 has a crafting cost of 1,000 gp. Upgrading its capacity to 3 would cost 6,000 gp (the difference between 7,000 gp for the new capacity 3 flaming weapon and 1,000 gp for the original capacity 0 weapon). If the crafter later wanted to upgrade the capicty 3 flaming weapon to flaming burst, it would cost 9,000 gp (the difference between 16,000 gp for the new capacity 3 flaming burst weapon and 7,000 gp for the previous capacity 3 flaming weapon).


kevin_video wrote:
ZanThrax wrote:
There's no math to the table at all. If the enchantments on your armour have a total value of +3, and you don't want to get any of the automatic AC bonus from the new system, then it cost's 9,000 gp. Or if you have only a +1 equivalent enchantment on your armour and want to use 4 points of the automatic AC bonus, it also costs 9,000 gp.
I'm more of less trying to figure out where the 3 capacity flaming weapon to flaming burst only cost 3000 + 6000.

The math is there, its just set by the 0 column and the diagonal with a hidden step. The 0 column is the price of a +1 through +5 weapon. The price of the diagonal (i.e. 1,1 through 5,5) is the cost of a +X or armor with another +X worth special abilities - the cost of a +X weapon. This subtraction is due to the WBL built into the automatic attunement progression, which ends up at 50k gp, the cost of a straight +5 weapon.

To get the other values, the cost increase is then distributed evenly across the values under the diagonal (I.e. for row 4 the cost is 96000 for a 4x4 weapon, and a 0x4 weapon is 32000. This gives a difference of 64000. There are 4 columns to distribute over (1,2,3, and 4), giving 64000/4 = 16000. So adding a capacity to a +4 weapon costs 16000 gp/per capacity. This value is also added above the diagonal.

Edit: As a quick note, the diagonal values are also given by the formula (special ability bonus^2)*6000 gp.

((2*x) bonus^ 2) * 2000 gp = 4x^2 * 2000 gp = 8000*x^2 gp = 6000 * x^2 gp + 2000 * x^2 gp. (This 2000 x^2 is the value allotted for weapons in the 50% WBL lost to the automatic progression system).

Edit 2: Ok, found the actual formula. The cost of every entry is {(column # + row #)^2 - (column #)^2}*2000 gp.

This formula is equal to the cost of an equivalent weapon under normal pricing rules - the highest allotted value to weapons from the automatic progression that you can take full advantage of.

Grand Lodge

ZanThrax wrote:

Oh, okay. I see what you're looking at. You're right, the paragraph preceding the chart is rather confusingly written.

It's talking about crafting costs, where the table is talking prices. Crafting costs are half the price. So

blog wrote:

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.

we're starting with a +1 enchantment and 0 capacity. The table says that the *price* of that is 2,000 gp. So the crafting cost is 1,000 gp. Matches up so far.

Then we change it to a +1 enchantment with a 3 capacity. The table says that the price of that is 14,000 gp; the crafting cost is therefore 7,000 gp. But since we already spent 1,000 gp to make the initial flaming sword, we have to spend another 6,000 gp - just paying the difference.

The final part is where it's needlessly confusing I think. Flaming -> Flaming Burst, at a capacity of 0 is going from 2,000 gp price to 8,000 gp price, which is an increase of 6,000 gp. Half of that is 3,000 gp cost. And then it's re-doing the capacity increase from 0 (8,000 gp) to 3 (32,000 gp); 24,000 gp price; 12,000...

This is GREATLY appreciated. Thank you.

Paizo Employee Developer

6 people marked this as a favorite.

I'd like to publicly thank Logan for ordering the flumph art.

Pew pew!


Hmm. Neat.


So basically, now instead of having to spend money on actual enhancement point, you spend them on "attunement capacity". The only thing this system accomplice is that you are now hard capped by level on how much you can spend on big 6.
It does not change the fact that you are still going to save up all your money to buy/attune them as soon as you can. You are still going to trash you +2 "attunement capacity" sword as soon as you find one with +3 "attunement capacity". In the same vein you are going to immediatly trash a +1 flaming sword since having flaming on it is gonna make increasing her "attunment capacity" a lot more pricy. Basically, nothing changed aside the math. And god knows if what we really need is learning new maths.

Paizo Employee Designer

Dekalinder wrote:

So basically, now instead of having to spend money on actual enhancement point, you spend them on "attunement capacity". The only thing this system accomplice is that you are now hard capped by level on how much you can spend on big 6.

It does not change the fact that you are still going to save up all your money to buy/attune them as soon as you can. You are still going to trash you +2 "attunement capacity" sword as soon as you find one with +3 "attunement capacity". In the same vein you are going to immediatly trash a +1 flaming sword since having flaming on it is gonna make increasing her "attunment capacity" a lot more pricy. Basically, nothing changed aside the math. And god knows if what we really need is learning new maths.

You can always use the actual system in the book if you prefer! It doesn't have capacity at all. This is an alternate system to the one in Unchained that can give you a potentially stronger final result but requires more specialization.

Grand Lodge

Dekalinder wrote:

So basically, now instead of having to spend money on actual enhancement point, you spend them on "attunement capacity". The only thing this system accomplice is that you are now hard capped by level on how much you can spend on big 6.

It does not change the fact that you are still going to save up all your money to buy/attune them as soon as you can. You are still going to trash you +2 "attunement capacity" sword as soon as you find one with +3 "attunement capacity". In the same vein you are going to immediatly trash a +1 flaming sword since having flaming on it is gonna make increasing her "attunment capacity" a lot more pricy. Basically, nothing changed aside the math. And god knows if what we really need is learning new maths.

There's ways around that. I use Legendary Items from PDG. I like it. It's free Legacy Weapons stuff. What I did in each game was sit down with my players. They would gain one item during the start of the game or near it, through story. What that item was, was up to them. They knew what character they wanted to play, and what would compliment their character best. This worked because now they were invested in that specific item that they designed. It was a little bit of metagaming, but it worked for them.


Mark Seifter wrote:
You can always use the actual system in the book if you prefer! It doesn't have capacity at all. This is an alternate system to the one in Unchained that can give you a potentially stronger final result but requires more specialization.

I'll have a look at it when i can. Out of curiosity, why did you "preview" something that actually isn't in the book? I'd preferred if you gave an overview of the system that is on the book, maybe saving this "alternate take" for a new blog entry, like "Mark Seifer thinkering corner". Honestly, that seems like a wonderfull idea. You should totally start it. I bet everyone would love to have an insight on your take on houserules.


Dekalinder wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
You can always use the actual system in the book if you prefer! It doesn't have capacity at all. This is an alternate system to the one in Unchained that can give you a potentially stronger final result but requires more specialization.
I'll have a look at it when i can. Out of curiosity, why did you "preview" something that actually isn't in the book? I'd preferred if you gave an overview of the system that is on the book, maybe saving this "alternate take" for a new blog entry, like "Mark Seifer thinkering corner". Honestly, that seems like a wonderfull idea. You should totally start it. I bet everyone would love to have an insight on your take on houserules.

I may or may not be partially responsible for the preview. Im pretty sure the first time he mentioned it was in response to one of my posts. Basically, the system presented in the book is great for simplicity, but it doesn't handle cases where a character wants to spend more than 50% of their WBL on big six items, or more than about 10% of their WBL specifically on weapons(i.e. any martial character), well. This system addresses that problem quite nicely.


Don't know if this has been asked, but is there anything in Unchained that gives you the 'big 6' progression but still allows for some low-level magic items?

I was thinking of making the 'necessary maths' be untyped bonuses and to allow some low-level +1 or +2 signature weapons to give the players an edge.

I wanted a LotR feel where magic is rare, rather than a Conan style one where magic was non-existent, or the default which has bags of trash items like a videogame.


Not talking about the Big Six for a minute, I'm interested in the Tarrasque.

I'm not seeing many differences between the bestiary Tarrasque and the unchained version. None of the feats are explicitly listed, but all of the effects seem to be in place. The biggest difference I can see is the internal AC and HP have been removed and the numbers all seem bigger (AC, HP, attack bonuses). Damage I presume is the same (simply factoring in power attack) and saves have been redistributed. At first look it looks like a direct power upgrade, although potentially not a significant one. I do wonder about the decision though. As a general rule I'd agree simpler means you need higher numbers. Although I'm not seeing much simplification in the unchained Tarrasque.


I'm really not sure I understand the point of the item rules presented here: is this just telling you to remove the cost of the enhancement bonus from the item?

Silver Crusade

Mark Seifter wrote:
Dekalinder wrote:

So basically, now instead of having to spend money on actual enhancement point, you spend them on "attunement capacity". The only thing this system accomplice is that you are now hard capped by level on how much you can spend on big 6.

It does not change the fact that you are still going to save up all your money to buy/attune them as soon as you can. You are still going to trash you +2 "attunement capacity" sword as soon as you find one with +3 "attunement capacity". In the same vein you are going to immediatly trash a +1 flaming sword since having flaming on it is gonna make increasing her "attunment capacity" a lot more pricy. Basically, nothing changed aside the math. And god knows if what we really need is learning new maths.
You can always use the actual system in the book if you prefer! It doesn't have capacity at all. This is an alternate system to the one in Unchained that can give you a potentially stronger final result but requires more specialization.

Yeah, I'm kind of worried about this too. If you just end up dumping all your money into big-6-by-another-name, what does this accomplish other than adding complexity? I think I'll need to wait and see the attunement rules.

Silver Crusade

What would be the danger of giving special enchantments +1-+5 just a modified flat cost? So a +1 enchantment like flaming would cost X gp but works with whatever attunement bonus.

That's kind of how I had envisioned the system working, and looks a lot simpler without the added second dimension of "capacity."

Would such a flat-cost system work? What would be fair prices? What would be the drawback of such a system? (I recall discussion in another thread where the diagonal 1,1 to 5,5 was suggested, and that would preserve the math here while suppressing the sliding along the dimensions that I'd want to avoid. Would that work?)

(I assume, Mark, that you had a good reason for adding in the second dimension, and that I'm just not seeing it right now.)

Scarab Sages

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The costs for every combo of 'plus & special ability' aren't exactly the same as they would be under the old system, but some of them are. Enough to confuse people into thinking nothing's changed.
It's cheaper at some of the advanced capacity columns, though that could be a benefit to offset the fact that only high-level users would benefit from the full power of the weapon.

True, there is very little difference mechanically, between paying a crafter to add an extra 'plus' to to your weapon, and paying a similar amount to attune a weapon to accept your own inherent plusses.

What this does do, is make things narratively easier for GMs who dislike the MagicMart assumptions, or who prefer a mobile, globe-and-planar-spanning campaign, to be able to run the game at a constant pace, without the action coming to a crashing halt, every time someone has to take their weapon to the 'PlustoHit Gnomes'

They can also introduce some legendary weapon into the game earlier, without wrecking the balance, since a low-level 'Chosen One' can't tap all its power. Those plusses can be held back until a specific character level (or better still, an in-game event) acts as the catalyst for proving the wielder's worth.

Example; Aragorn at Erech. By accepting the fealty of the Dead King of Dunharrow, he finally stops being a scruffy, wandering murderhobo, and transforms into the uncontested heir of Isildur, bearer of Narsil.
In game meta-terms, he solves a non-combat encounter, earns some xp, and levels up, increasing his inherent attack bonus. But it sounds better, the former way. And he doesn't completely miss the battle of Pelennor, waiting for some boney weaponsmith to make their Craft checks.


Snorter wrote:

The costs for every combo of 'plus & special ability' aren't exactly the same as they would be under the old system, but some of them are. Enough to confuse people into thinking nothing's changed.

It's cheaper at some of the advanced capacity columns, though that could be a benefit to offset the fact that only high-level users would benefit from the full power of the weapon.

True, there is very little difference mechanically, between paying a crafter to add an extra 'plus' to to your weapon, and paying a similar amount to attune a weapon to accept your own inherent plusses.

The costs are exactly the same, just different portions of it are hidden by the automatic progression system. Each capacity column has a hidden cost (equal to a straight +X item, see column 0, with an enhancement bonus equal to the column). Remember, you lose half your WBL to the automatic progression system. The system then literally buys the big 6 items out of that half WBL and gives you the associated bonuses. So in order to have an attunement pool of +3, you have, through the system, already paid 18000 gp. It's just hidden from you. If you want to add +2 worth of special abilities, that nets a +5 weapon, which is 50000 gp. Subtract 18000 gp and you get 32000 gp. Now check the table, 3 capacity +2 is 32000 gp, exactly as predicted.

The values in each entry are the cost to add a certain (row) bonus worth of special abilities to a weapon that is already +X(column).

Paizo Employee Designer

Joe M. wrote:

What would be the danger of giving special enchantments +1-+5 just a modified flat cost? So a +1 enchantment like flaming would cost X gp but works with whatever attunement bonus.

That's kind of how I had envisioned the system working, and looks a lot simpler without the added second dimension of "capacity."

Would such a flat-cost system work? What would be fair prices? What would be the drawback of such a system? (I recall discussion in another thread where the diagonal 1,1 to 5,5 was suggested, and that would preserve the math here while suppressing the sliding along the dimensions that I'd want to avoid. Would that work?)

(I assume, Mark, that you had a good reason for adding in the second dimension, and that I'm just not seeing it right now.)

So in the book, the system is similar to your suggestion but not equal; flat cost, but it eats your attunement point for point (and you can pick special abilities at higher levels to get a higher attunement than +5 that only serves this purpose). Another one that works is to just use the column on the right (5 attunement column) for all prices, making special ability weapons and armor extremely rare and valuable (this won't really be a problem for the characters who use them, as they are automatically progressing flat enhancement bonus anyway, as you'll see in Unchained). The reason that the proposal you mention (flat cost, doesn't eat attunement) is problematic is severalfold, and it all stems from the fact that the quadratic increase in weapon and armor cost as the total enhancement increases is a good system for taking the synergy of increased bonuses into consideration. Here's just a few of the issues:

1) The simple big money saver: Suppose I have +5 weapon attunement from automatic progression. That's worth 50k market price. A +10 weapon is worth 200k. But just buying a weapon with, say, keen holy axiomatic would cost 50k, so you spend 100k and save a massive amount of money.

2) The golf bag: This one is worse, proportionally. Under that system a bane X weapon costs 2k. Normally, bane is balanced by the fact that if you wanted a +5 bane, it costs 72k, so you're sinking a lot into it. At a cost of 2k, you can just buy bane for everything, and change it out each day to match the dungeon's ecology. That's actually usually better than the keen holy axiomatic combo from before for even cheaper (even after the cost for having a golf bag of banes), particularly if you have keen edge or Improved Critical. The chart version (or just always using the +5 column) helps there, as it raises the cost to the more-substantial 22k. Still could be worth it as a combo to buy a few of those, though, even at that price!.

Alternative tldr explanation: Trusssst the mathssss!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Extra fun trivia: The picture that isn't the flumph is Kyra
That's Kyra? Her skin tone seems to have changed considerably from both her standard iconic portrait and mythic form. Who's the artist?
Mythic Kyra was actually in the reference art, since it's the best look at her without all that gear.

I've said this before, I really really want a mini of Mythic Kyra, either pewter or prepainted, it is such a phenomenal piece of art, and in the context of mythic (that is her at a higher level of progression) and the context provided in the comic (of a character working to come out of her shell) the art really feels important to her narrative.

Paizo Employee Designer

Snorter wrote:

True, there is very little difference mechanically, between paying a crafter to add an extra 'plus' to to your weapon, and paying a similar amount to attune a weapon to accept your own inherent plusses.

What this does do, is make things narratively easier for GMs who dislike the MagicMart assumptions, or who prefer a mobile, globe-and-planar-spanning campaign, to be able to run the game at a constant pace, without the action coming to a crashing halt, every time someone has to take their weapon to the 'PlustoHit Gnomes'

Yep. We put all the flat-out bonuses into automatic progression for all the Big 6; all that's left is the special properties for weapons and armor, since finding weapons and armor that do something special is so steeped in the stories and tales (as opposed to finding a "cloak of resistance" or "amulet of natural armor"). One other way around this is to take out Craft Magic Arms and Armor from the game (the auto-progression makes them less useful anyway) and then have weapon and armors with special qualities be relics of a distant past that can only be acquired as loot.


After looking it over, I prefer this to the way the original system handles special weapons. I can see why you were reluctant to put this in Unchained though, it took me a bit of effort to wrap my head around it.

Paizo Employee Designer

Kudaku wrote:
After looking it over, I prefer this to the way the original system handles special weapons. I can see why you were reluctant to put this in Unchained though, it took me a bit of effort to wrap my head around it.

Actually, I had wanted to put a cleaner, easier to understand version of this math in Unchained. It took the greater wisdom of Jason to realize that we needed the easier-to-understand version!

Also, what about that tarrasque, eh guys? Rawwwr!

Silver Crusade

Mark Seifter wrote:
Joe M. wrote:
[...]
So in the book, the system is similar to your suggestion but not equal; flat cost, but it eats your attunement point for point (and you can pick special abilities at higher levels to get a higher attunement than +5 that only serves this purpose).

Thanks for the response, Mark. Maybe it'll work out that the system as printed in the book will be a good fit for my purposes; I'll see in a few days.

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. So I don't like scaling capacity rules because then they still have to think about pouring their money into upgrading their weapons so that they hit "expected" power levels. I'd rather have a solution under which they'd never *have* to think about upgrading their weapons except as a fun bonus (if they want to add a new special ability). Since that's my particular situation, I'm much more concerned with achieving simplicity and good-enough balance rules than I am with finding something airtight that could work for a table of very knowledgeable optimizing players.

Mark Seifter wrote:
Another one that works is to just use the column on the right (5 attunement column) for all prices, making special ability weapons and armor extremely rare and valuable (this won't really be a problem for the characters who use them, as they are automatically progressing flat enhancement bonus anyway, as you'll see in Unchained).

Yeah, I might have to go with that. I'd rather not make a flaming sword *that* expensive, but it would squash any possible problems right out.

Mark Seifter wrote:
(1) The simple big money saver: Suppose I have +5 weapon attunement from automatic progression. That's worth 50k market price. A +10 weapon is worth 200k. But just buying a weapon with, say, keen holy axiomatic would cost 50k, so you spend 100k and save a massive amount of money.

That sounds like a problem with picking the right flat cost. I was looking at the 1,1 to 5,5 diagonal, which wouldn't have any such gap in the 5,5 case you're considering:

+1 = 6k
+2 = 24k
+3 = 54k
+4 = 96k
+5 = 150k

There would still be slack in other combinations, of course—e.g., a flaming weapon would only cost 6k, saving an attunement-5 character an effective 16k—, but I may be willing to accept that to make special abilities a bit more accessible (especially since my players aren't going to be at attunement-5 levels for a looong time and the money saver isn't as big of a deal for lower level characters).

Mark Seifter wrote:
(2) The golf bag: This one is worse, proportionally. Under that system a bane X weapon costs 2k. Normally, bane is balanced by the fact that if you wanted a +5 bane, it costs 72k, so you're sinking a lot into it. At a cost of 2k, you can just buy bane for everything, and change it out each day to match the dungeon's ecology. That's actually usually better than the keen holy axiomatic combo from before for even cheaper (even after the cost for having a golf bag of banes), particularly if you have keen edge or Improved Critical. The chart version (or just always using the +5 column) helps there, as it raises the cost to the more-substantial 22k. Still could be worth it as a combo to buy a few of those, though, even at that price!

A golf-bag of 6,000 gp bane weapons might be a problem, sure. Not so worried about that in my particular game with new and easygoing players, at low enough level that they won't really ever have the gold for that. I'd probably handle problems by spot-ruling problematic abilities either by raising the price or by changing the ability (e.g., drop the +2 increase for bane, leaving only the +2d6 damage, which would make that golf-bag at least a little less problematic).

So thanks for the response! Very helpful. I've probably got enough to work with now that I can safely tinker around to figure out what will work best for my game. I figure I'll avoid the "capacity" rules and either use the as-printed system or some version of a flat-cost system.

Paizo Employee Designer

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.


Well, on the face of it, Mark, I like your nifty table up there. I'll have to wait until I get the book to contrast it with the "official" version. :)


Question: If using the inherent bonuses variant rule in the book, would one be able to reasonably play a Vow of Poverty Monk? The primary reason VoP is such a trap in Pathfinder is that you lose access to those necessary Big Six items, if you don't need them regardless then maybe this is actually a viable character option.

Paizo Employee Designer

Arachnofiend wrote:
Question: If using the inherent bonuses variant rule in the book, would one be able to reasonably play a Vow of Poverty Monk? The primary reason VoP is such a trap in Pathfinder is that you lose access to those necessary Big Six items, if you don't need them regardless then maybe this is actually a viable character option.

Honestly, in a campaign where the GM wanted to use the normal rules for most characters, you could use the level+2 no-money variant (the chart goes up to level 22 to support this) as a vow of poverty option that any character could take (but if so, remember to cut down on the treasure the party receives, so everyone else doesn't just get more!). If you did so, I wouldn't recommend giving additional benefits for poverty, though, since you're getting them already from the subsystem.


Arakhor wrote:
Well, on the face of it, Mark, I like your nifty table up there. I'll have to wait until I get the book to contrast it with the "official" version. :)

The official system is similar to column zero of the table. You can buy up to +5 worth of special abilities, but they count against your attunement pool (i.e. if you have a flaming weapon, your attunement pool is reduced by 1, a holy weapon reduces by 2, etc...)

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