Trinkets and Treasures

Monday, June 25, 2018

Wayfinder. Bag of holding. Ring of the ram. Staff of power. Holy avenger.

The magic items you find during your adventures become a part of your story and let you do things beyond the techniques you've mastered and the spells you know. So how do these essentials of the game work in the Pathfinder Playtest?

Magic items are used in three major ways: by investing them, by activating them, or automatically. Invested items are ones you wear that you have to prepare as you don them, after which they work continuously. Activating items follows a system similar to that used for spells. Just as casting a spell requires you to spend actions to supply the somatic, verbal, and material components of the spell, activated items require you to use the Command Activation, Focus Activation, or Operate Activation action, or a combination of multiple actions. A potion requires you to spend an Operate Activation action to drink it. A necklace of fireballs requires you to spend 2 Operate Activation actions to unbind a bead and throw it. Activating a luck blade to reroll an attack just takes a mental nudge with a Focus Activation reaction (though you get to do that only once per day). Automatic activation happens with a small category of items that give their benefit whenever they're used for their normal purpose. A prime example is a sword with the frost property rune, which is always coated with frost and needs only hit a foe to deal extra cold damage.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Resonance

Activating or investing an item costs 1 Resonance Point (RP). You might have heard a bit about this on the Glass Cannon podcast! Resonance is a new resource all characters have that can be used to activate items. Your innate magic item resonance is represented by a number of Resonance Points equal to your level plus your Charisma modifier. This ties back to the Pathfinder First Edition concept of Charisma as the main ability score tied to innate magic, as seen in the Use Magic Device skill and the fact that Charisma is used for spell-like abilities, oracles, sorcerers, and so forth. However, in Pathfinder Second Edition, true scholars of itemcraft *cough*alchemists*cough* might get to use their Intelligence instead.

The idea of resonance stems from the Pathfinder First Edition occultist, who was able to tap into the magical potential of items, and even before that to the idea of resonance between creatures and various magic items, as seen with the resonant powers of wayfinders. We've expanded that concept to apply to everyone. In practical terms, you're really unlikely to run out of Resonance Points unless you're using an absurd number of items, and you're at the greatest risk at low levels. You still have a chance even if your pool is empty, though. You can overspend Resonance Points! If you're at 0 RP, you can attempt to activate or invest an item anyway. You need to attempt a flat check (a d20 roll with no modifiers) against a DC equal to 10 + the number of points you've overspent today. So the first item has a 50% chance of working, and it gets more risky from there.

We expect Resonance Points to be a contentious topic, and we're really curious to see how it plays at your tables. It's one of the more experimental changes to the game, and the playtest process gives us a chance to see it in the wild before committing to it. Here are the advantages we see from a design perspective:

  1. Using items is clear and consistent. Spend the required actions and 1 RP, and you activate or invest your item. If someone else wants to use the same item, you can remove it and let them put it on and invest it themselves.
  2. You have less to track. We get to remove some of the sub-pools that individual items have (such as "10 rounds per day which need not be consecutive" or "5 charges") because we know you have an overall limited resource. There are still some items that can't be used without limit, but they get to be special exceptions rather than being common out of necessity.
  3. It puts the focus on the strongest items. Because you can't activate items indefinitely, your best bet is to use the most RP-efficient item, not the most gp-efficient item. You want a high-level healing wand because you get more healing for your Resonance Point rather than getting a bunch of low-level wands because they're cheap.
  4. Investiture limits what you can wear. That means we don't need to rely heavily on an item slot system, creating more flexibility in what kind of worn items are useful. You'll read more about this on the blog on Friday, when we talk about removing the magic item Christmas tree!

Will those benefits be compelling? Will people prefer this system over the Pathfinder First Edition system? We look forward to finding out!

Want to look at an item to see how this works in practice?

Cloak of Elvenkind Item 10+

Illusion, Invested, Magical

Method of Use worn, cloak; Bulk L

Activation [[A]] Focus Activation, [[A]] Operate Activation


This cloak is deep green with a voluminous hood, and is embroidered with gold trim and symbols of significance to the elves. The cloak allows you to cast the ghost sound cantrip as an innate arcane spell. When you draw the hood up over your head (an Interact action), the cloak transforms to match the environment around you and muffles your sounds, giving you an item bonus to Stealth checks. If you activate the cloak, you pull the hood up and are affected by invisibility for 1 minute or until you pull the hood back down, whichever comes first.

Type standard; Level 10; Price 1,000 gp

The cloak grants a +3 bonus.

Type greater; Level 18; Price 24,000 gp

The cloak grants a +5 bonus, and invisibility is 4th level. If you're also wearing greater boots of elvenkind, the greater cloak of elvenkind allows you to Sneak in forest environments even when creatures are currently observing you.

Here's a fairly complex item to show multiple parts of the system at once. The cloak of elvenkind is level 10, and there's also a greater cloak of elvenkind with an item level of 18. In case you missed it in the crafting blog, items have levels now, which indicate the point at which you can craft them (as well as being handy for the GM when making treasure hoards). Method of use indicates that this item is worn and that it's a cloak. A few items have this two-part listing because they're hard to wear multiples of. Multiple cloaks, multiple boots... not practical. Multiple rings or amulets? No problem.

This item is both invested (note the invested trait) and activated (as you can see by the activation entry). Investing the cloak lets you cast ghost sound. You get this benefit as long as the cloak is invested, which means you can cast the spell whenever you want without activating the cloak and therefore without spending more Resonance Points. You can also get an item bonus to Stealth checks from the cloak (+3 or +5 for a greater cloak). Finally, you can activate the cloak as you raise the hood, spending 1 Resonance Point to turn invisible! Certainly not every item has as much going on as a cloak of elvenkind, but several classic items seemed like they needed a little extra special treatment! What do you think? Too much?

How about something simpler?

Floating Shield Item 13

Magical

Price 2,800 gp

Method of Use held, 1 hand; Bulk L

Activation [[A]] Operate Activation


This master-quality light wooden shield (Hardness 6) protects you without requiring you to spend actions each round. When you activate this shield, you can release it from your grip as a part of that action. The shield floats in the air next to you, granting you its bonus automatically, as if you Raised the Shield. Because you're not wielding the shield, you can't use reactions such as Shield Block with the shield.

After 1 minute, the shield drops to the ground, ending its floating effect. While the shield is adjacent to you, you can grasp it with an Interact action, ending its floating effect.

You can hold this and use it just like any other shield. Activating it lets you free up a hand to cause the shield to float, where it protects you without you spending an action! While the floating shield offers far less Hardness than many magic shields of a similar level (some have Hardness up to 18!), it's not meant for Shield Block, and its abilities allow you to use it even with a character who needs both hands for other things.

Now let's look at two special types of items: one revamped classic and one brand-new category!

Staves

We went through several different iterations of staves. They needed to remain a powerful tool for spellcasters, but we also wanted them to appear earlier in the game so you didn't have to wait for most staves to appear at higher levels. Let's see the staff of healing!

Staff of Healing Item 3+

Invested, Magical, Necromancy, Staff

Method of Use held, 1 hand; Bulk 1

Activation Cast a Spell (1 RP)


Made of smooth white wood, this staff is capped at each end with a golden cross adorned with a multitude of ruby cabochons. A staff of healing adds an item bonus to the Hit Points you restore any time you cast the heal spell using your own spell slots, using charges from the staff, or from channel energy.

Type minor; Level 3; Price 60 gp; Maximum Charges 3

The item bonus to heal spells is +1.

  • stabilize (cantrip)
  • heal (level 1)

I've included only the level 3 minor staff of healing here. There are also versions at levels 7, 11, and 15, and they add higher-level heal spells, plus restoration, remove disease, restore senses, and more! A staff is tied to you, which means you have to invest it, unlike most held items. This investiture has two extra benefits. First off, it links the staff to you, preventing anyone else from investing the staff for 24 hours. More importantly, it restores charges to the staff equal to the highest level of spell you can cast. You don't have to expend any spells to do this; it's all part of using your Resonance Points. You'll notice this also means that if you find one of these as a 1st-level character, it will take you longer to recharge it than if you're a higher-level spellcaster. You also get the item bonus to healing as long as you hold the invested staff.

Now how do you cast these spells? Well, you activate the staff as part of casting one of the spells in it (spending 1 RP as usual). Then you have two options: You can either expend charges from the staff equal to the spell's level (1 charge for heal here) or expend one of your own spells of that level or higher. Yeah, your staff essentially lets you spontaneously cast the spells in it!

Trinkets

How about something completely different? One thing we wanted to add was a type of item that was like scrolls for martial characters. Spellcasters use scrolls and everyone uses potions, but how about something special that relies on nonmagical skills? Trinkets were the answer! Our first example was designed specifically for fighters.

Fear Gem Item 4

Consumable, Enchantment, Fear, Magical, Mental, Trinket

Price 11 gp

Method of Use affixed, weapon; Bulk

Activation [[F]] Focus Activation; Trigger You use Intimidating Strike, but haven't rolled for the attack yet.


Dark smoke seems to writhe within this obsidian gem. When you activate the gem, if your Intimidating Strike hits, the target is frightened 2 and flat-footed against your attacks until the end of your next turn. If the attack roll is a critical success, the target is flat-footed against your attacks for 1 minute.

Trinkets all have the consumable trait, meaning they're used up after being activated once. They have the "affixed" method of use, and as this one indicates, it has to be affixed to a weapon. You can activate it with a Focus Activation as a free action when you use the Intimidating Strike action from the fighter feat of the same name. This makes the Intimidating Strike more severe, increasing its effect to frightened 2 instead of frightened 1 and making it especially strong on a critical success.

Now how about a trinket that's less specific?

Vanishing Coin Item 9

Consumable, Illusion, Magical, Trinket

Price 85 gp

Method of Use affixed, armor; Bulk

Activation [[F]] Focus Activation; Trigger You attempt a Stealth check for initiative, but haven't rolled yet.

Requirements You are a master in Stealth.


This copper coin dangles from a leather strip strung through a hole drilled into the coin's center. It's usually tied just below the throat on a suit of armor. Until it is activated, the coin becomes invisible for a few seconds every few minutes, but always at random intervals. When you activate the coin, you gain the benefits of a 2nd-level invisibility spell until the end of your next turn.

Anyone with master proficiency in Stealth can use this trinket by affixing it to her armor. She can turn invisible by activating the coin when she rolls a Stealth check for initiative. Pretty useful in the first round of a fight!

Well, there's a lot to say about magic items, and we'll have more to say on Friday. For now, I'm going to leave you with a short list of some of the new items appearing in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook in addition to the classics.

  • Anklets of alacrity
  • Feather step stone
  • Forge warden
  • Grim trophy
  • Handwraps of mighty fists
  • Oil of weightlessness
  • Persona mask
  • Potency crystal
  • Runestone
  • Spell duelist's wand
  • Third eye
  • Virtuoso's instrument

Tell us what sorts of items you'd like to see in the final rulebook!

Logan Bonner
Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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Scarab Sages

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Hmm wrote:

MORE THOUGHTS:

Making Resonance a Limited Resource:

For me, the real test of if the Resonance system is truly viable will come with the first PFS 2E multi-table special. (Yep, I am viewing all of this though the lens of Organized Play, but that’s where I will be doing the majority of my Playtesting.) Multi-table specials have so many different encounters in a single gaming day that some PF1 builds were not as useful in them because their special abilities were usable only a few times a day. In PF1, the only way to get through a multi-table special was to use healing wands because the whole system was balanced around the party arriving fully healed into every combat — particularly the boss fight.

Are we assuming that everyone will arrive wounded to boss fights? Will boss fights have to scaled down? Will we have to metagame to know it’s the boss fight, and we can all finally use our healing then?

I don’t know how all this balances, but I worry that ‘resonance’ will turn into the batteries of starfinder. In Starfinder, it was clear that the development team wanted batteries to be a precious resource and a way of limiting tech power. They made them tough to recharge. But this change was rather silly given what players know of technology and more importantly, it was not fun. The very first few games of SFS that I played involved whole groups of players that avoided anything that required batteries, and who stockpiled batteries like madmen. When SFS shifted to allowing batteries to recharge on ships, suddenly balance was restored and we could concentrate more on roleplay than on resource conservation.

With that small change, Starfinder Society became fun again and my favorite game.

Playing with different types of unusual magic items = fun.
Being hurt and wounded all the time = not so fun.

★ ---- ★ ---- ★ ---- ★

What I want and what I don’t want from resonance:

I really like certain aspects of the resonance system for investing items. I love that magic...

I'm kinda the opposite. I really got used to playing with every encounter being fully healed up, and I noticed that the encounters were being written as such. Rarely would we run into a "gimme" encounter anymore as the evolution of PFS development went along.

Now I still play an AP or two with friends, and we don't have access to healing magic quite the same, and I must say, going into the final boss encounter either already injured or with most of our healing magic expended, is quite exhilarating. I really enjoy it.

But then my style of play is not particularly risk averse either. But I don't think using phrases like, "But I worry that you are applying a fix to healing that is not needed or wanted by your player base...", is not really helpful, because you are assuming that your style of play (and the majority you see in PFS) is the general player base style of play. I'm not sure it is, but it might be, we don't know.

But season 0 through 2 of PFS were written for 4 players, 15-point buy, and like you'd write a normal adventure. Because that was Paizo's adventure writing style and they wanted to maintain the same style throughout all their product. (At least this was the explanation of Mark Moreland at the time.) But it quickly became evident that the scenarios were not challenging enough, mostly, because the average table was not 4 players, but 6, and the point buy was 20. Additionally, the advent of only 5 encounters maximum per day, let players metagame without even really trying, with daily uses. In many cases they didn't have to metagame, they just never ran out of daily uses.

Now, I suspect, that part of the playtest, will be incorporated into the playtest scenarios that John and company are producing(ed) for Gen Con 2018, in that they will be figuring out the right balance of how to write a challenging but not killer scenario with the new resonance system and how it changes availability of healing magic.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Yes, that is my hope too, Tallow. I admit that I don’t see how the whole thing balances yet, and that I am viewing everything through the Organized Play Lens. If encounters are written to balance around the limited healing mechanic, then maybe this all works fine. And heck, this is why we’re playtesting.

Hmm

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
magnuskn wrote:

there seems to be a general lack of acknowledgement by them that this new system also creates completely new issues which change how the game narratively will unfold.

If fixing one "problem" you have with the current game creates two new ones, then maybe the new system is a bad idea.

The likely reason that this aspect of the situation isn't being addressed is because it's pure speculation, and doesn't match their internal playtesting. That doesn't make it untrue, but it does mean it's too early to tell whether there is any "there" there yet. I'm sure they have noted your concerns, along with the many similar ones expressed by others. Until we experience the system in its full context, though, it doesn't really make sense to worry about it.


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And here I am fretting over whether someone saying "RP" at the table will cause everyone to do a quick mental double-take as to whether they were saying "resonance point" or "roleplay."

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

With (most) of the general information for Resonance out for us to read (not necessarily much detail that interacts with it, but the baseline of it) I am still in the place I was when I first heard it... I love the idea of it for permanent magic, and I despise it for consumables. Full disclosure, I am one of those who collects consumable items for 'break package open in case of emergency' because too often (particularly for my PFS experience) my parties need rescuing on a regular basis. And in some cases, just for the fun of it (I am collecting 'unusual uses of feather tokens' stories from personal experience *grin*).

Consumables should continue to be regulated by the fact that they're gone once you use them. That may continue to be helped by cost, or perhaps the need to use Resonance as part of the creation process (even, perhaps, temporarily suppressing the creator's Resonance for a time as they recover from the effort).

But unless, somehow, Resonance for consumables really blows me away as a cool and comfortable method to 'control' their use, this may well be (without hyperbole) what decides my retirement from Pathfinder Society play going forward. I'm collecting enough reasons without adding a mechanic I cannot abide (regarding consumables).

Grand Lodge

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Joana wrote:
Not sure I'm a fan of trinkets. I get that they're cheap, but that's a lot of little one-use items to clutter up a character sheet and erase and write in again and say, "Wait, did I forget to cross out that trinket after I used it, or have I not used it yet?"

Shouldn't be any different than potions, right? Besides, the trinkets appear to be far, far cheaper than potion, even taking into account the single use (although we don't fully know the economy of the game yet). However, I'm not sure I'd bother using trinkets if they are linked with certain feats. Seems like a bit of stretch to take advantage of.

I understand the ghost sound ability with the cloak of elvenkind, just think it doesn't go well with it when other options like Invisibility would be far better.

My hope is PF 2e can come up with a ton of unique, but useful, magical items. I remember the D&D days when I had the encyclopdia magica books, with tons of unique and useful items that weren't just rings, boots, belts, headbands, amulets, or cloaks.

dragonhunterq wrote:

Deeply unhappy. The more I read of resonance the less I like it.

I'm one of those who likes using many lower level utility items. When I get to 10th level if I don't light up like a christmas tree something has gone very wrong IMO. It's one of the things I love about 3.x/PF. You just don't get that from other games as much.

I was of the same mind, but I don't think Resonance will need to be used for most items your fighter would use, anyway. At least that's how I read it. I think it basically works like UMD, and like most fighters, if you weren't interested in using activated UMD-based items, you prolly didn't put skill points in UMD.

How does one "invest" an item? A ritual of some sort? Can anyone use a staff if they have an RP to invest and then an RP to cast?

Just to be clear, the "level" listed is the level needed to craft the item, not use it, correct?

Do potions actually use Resonance? I've not seen anything.

I'm just not sure how I feel about magical weapons needing to be invested with 1 RP. I prefer caster characters and have argued against many of those who constantly whine about caster/martial disparity, but this seems to really limit martials on the gear they can carry. Although, depending on the nature of the game, it may not be necessary to have them carry all this gear as they did in PF 1e, so me thinks it may balance out and take some getting used to, let it sink in.

I still think the shield mechanics are top notch rule-making!

knightnday wrote:

I am definitely not a fan of this system. I'm somewhat confused on how this system is easier for new, or old, players to use as compared to the previous system other than you can use multiple rings, necklaces and so forth. We've just added something different to keep track of.

I ignore all arguments for the new system that say it's simpler. The new system won't be simple so people need to stop pretending it is simpler. Which is fine; I like the complexity of PF1e. Just don't argue in favor of 2e due to its "simplicity."

As a GM, I do not look forward to making sure my players are tracking RP properly, especially at high level play.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What are people's takes on what Resonance means in game? This blog post refers to it as your innate magic, in the same vein as sorcerers.

I'm okay with high level fighters being able to do things that would otherwise be achievable only with magic just because they're that good, but Resonance implies that everyone is magical and get more magical as they level. So even if you're trying to play a super non-magical dude who's just really good at killing with a sword, they too will have a big pool of magical power when they're higher level?


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Knight Magenta wrote:
Since all the items draw from the same pool, it implies that all item activations are equally powerful.

Does it though? 2 things that cost the same number of actions need not be equally powerful (e.g. "strike with your Legendary +5 Sword" vs. "strike with your untrained foot") and two things that cost the same number of spell points may not be equally powerful (e.g. "Ki Strike" versus most monk powers since "1 SP for +1 to hit" isn't great). We just leave the onus on the player to differentiate between efficient and inefficient, the same way we do with every other currency in the game (e.g. gold, feats, spell slots, etc.)

Like a low level healing wand and a high level healing wand have the same RP cost, intentionally, but this is to justify the higher monetary cost of the one that heals more.

No one who has a +5 sword even considers attacking with their untrained foot. That's kind of my point. This is only a problem if its in the game's design goals to have swordsmen kick people sometimes.

I think it is a design goal to have interesting low-level items, but not necessarily consumables, remain useful into later levels.

Incidentally, I think that the "Ki Strike" power is also a problematic symptom of our love of resource pools. It will either be a feat tax, or it will make all other monk powers weaker to justify its existence.


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Quandary wrote:
Maliloki wrote:

"In practical terms, you're really unlikely to run out of Resonance Points unless you're using an absurd number of items, and you're at the greatest risk at low levels. You still have a chance even if your pool is empty, though."

Then what the hell is the point of having a Resonance Pool!?

Let's see, if you can choose between two mechanics:

"You can use magic items in combat, and they work 100% of the time"
"You can use magic items in combat, but they work only 50% of the time (getting worse by 5% each attempt), wasting your action if they fail"
(and if you Critically Fail that item is shut of from usage attempts for 24h)

Which would you choose?
That is the difference between using RP to use an item, and rolling to see if you can use it without RP.

This does get into my question if one can choose to roll to use an item without RP before actually exhausting your RP pool, in order to keep "reliable" reserve for when you really need items in combat etc.

Duh. That was obvious.

What you seemed to completely miss is the fact that they stated in the article introducing an new mechanic involving a "limited" resource was that the "limited" resouce (for clarity, I'm talking about the 100% activation chance) would practically never run out unless you were using a large amount of items, and even then it was only restrictive at low levels. Meaning, to be as clear as I can be since you seemed to miss this part, by their math and how they expect the game to be run, you would almost never have to get to to 50% or lower chance of activation failure because they're not expecting you to run out of Resonance Points in reasonable use.

And based on their wording, it'd be hard to "over spend" Resonance Points before you've actually spent your Resonance.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm still confused about what people are finding "complex" about Resonance. It seems like a recurring issue I just don't get. I'm not the smartest tool in the shed, but Resonance seems pretty plain to me.

It is a resource used by items. You get charisma + level of this resource (likely minimum 1.) Reduce your Resonance by 1 when asked. Get it all back when you rest. If you want to spend a Resonance and don't have one, roll a D20. On a (10 + the amount of times you have tried this before resting) you use the item and get its benefits.

Thats it. Not complex at all.


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EMANATIONS

Yes, not a Resonance post, as I feel in tune with that (at least until I accumulate playtest data.)

So we have two items, a trinket and a cloak, which both cast Invisibility, possibly in front of enemies, and very likely while using Stealth. Since casting a spell creates emanations (unless that's been changed from PF1), the PCs using said items will draw attention to themselves.

Example: Coin-bearer is using Stealth in Exploration mode. Combat begins. It seems at this point the PC would already have a chance they are unseen due to using Stealth. Likely she is invested in Stealth and the odds favor her. So when would she use the coin?
And wait, using the coin makes magical emanations, so if she had successfully used Stealth, now the enemies know she's there (even though yes, she's invisible) when normally they wouldn't have.

It also seems the PC would have little knowledge of the enemy when initiative's rolled, so she wouldn't know whether the encounter is worth triggering the coin or not. So when would you actually use this coin? (Or even buy/keep such a coin?)
I'd say the coin would be far better if one knew to activate it when one's Stealth failed because odds are this PC is already invested in Stealth so doesn't often need to use it. Also, it specifically should state that casting the Invisibility does not cause emanations (if those are still around).
The PC might still blow some uses on encounters they misread, but them's the breaks. At least they won't be wasting uses nixing their own successful Stealth rolls.
---

The Cloak of Elvenkind has the same issue. You're likely good at Stealth, and have this Invisibility ability that draws attention to you?

Also, clunky wording with the hood. As written, somebody who wants to use Invisibility has to lower their hood (losing Stealth bonus) so they can raise their hood (as part of the actions needed to activate Invisibility). Also, could one trigger both at the same time?
Maybe having the hood raised should be a static state necessary for use.

And lastly about the Cloak. It's an iconic early-level magic item for DnD, so there needs to be a Lesser Cloak or something.
Ditch the Ghost Sound (something I also wish for the higher versions!) and give a +2 to Stealth w/ no spell abilities. Yes, it's just a mundane bonus on a magic item w/ no special goodies (which seems to go against PF2 design goals), but these cloaks are such staples of early adventuring.
Maybe at the earliest levels (1-3) there could be some permanent items that only give a simple bonus, if only because getting anything magic at those levels is cool. This might even make the fancier higher level magic items feel that much fancier.

Thanks.


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Castilliano wrote:

EMANATIONS

The way I read it neither item casts a spell.

"if you activate the cloak, you pull the hood up and are affected by invisibility for 1 minute or until you pull the hood back down, whichever comes first."

"When you activate the coin, you gain the benefits of a 2nd-level invisibility spell until the end of your next turn."

No casting, no emanations.

I'd assume a wand or scroll of invisibility would have that problem though a potion of invisibility wouldn't.


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Quote:

Yeah, you're wrong. If the party takes heavy damage in one combat and then needs four or five minutes to heal themselves up, it is totally reasonable for occupants of the next room to come and investigate.

This assumption that you can always heal up all damage you have received in one encounter assumes always perfect conditions for the party.

This kind of thinking always boggles my mind on how people think it's a reasonable counter to system mechanics.

First, there is a wide gap between "reasonable counters every once in a while" and "reasonable counters to every use of the mechanic". Is it reasonable for you to get ambushed while CLW spamming every once in a while? Sure. But it's not going to happen every time. Heck, I argue that in a practical sense, where there's a wide variety of environments, RP situations, and enemy types, it makes no sense for it to happen a lot of the time; pretty much, that sort of behavior would be constrained to areas where there are allies within a reasonable area, which isn't actually all that common outside of enemy strongholds and dungeons.

You make the argument that CLW doesn't happen in perfect circumstances, which is true, but the fact that it's true is not relevant, it's how reasonable are those "perfect circumstances" to occur in most games and how much disruption it takes to knock players out of those perfect circumstances.

It's the same argument that makes "burn the wizard's spellbook" as a counter make no sense. Attempting to counter broken mechanics itself inflicts a cost on the game, whether it's interesting gameplay or game planning or player satisfaction or DM-player relations, etc. You always hear tales of DMs making unreasonable restrictions on players but those tend to occur because the DM has a perception of what is broken or not and, regardless of whether they're right or not, it doesn't matter because what's important is the effect of that "game break fixing" on player enjoyment.

Secondly, if I'm going into a game where I know that I'm only going to have limited CLW spam time, that isn't going to prevent me from keeping around a CLW wand. What I'm going to do is keep only a couple of healing spells for out of combat and then use my CLW wand in the remaining time. So this doesn't stop me from abusing CLW wands as a way of saving healing spells entirely, it just mitigates the effect.

The reason why is because the major effectiveness of countering CLW spam is the uncertainty of ambush. If I spam CLW and get ambushed suddenly, that's effective in getting me to stop CLW spamming just in case because I don't know the timing. But that's only effective a couple of times. Once I'm aware that there is a specific amount of time that I usually have before I get ambushed when CLW spamming, the DM has to either make the time before getting ambushed so short as to be impractical for gameplay (as in argument 1) or they have to allot a certain amount of CLW time as a compromise for reasonableness, which means I STILL have my CLW spam up to the amount of time that usually occurs.

So why go through all the hassle of putting it on the DM to moderate healing in such a roundabout way such as in-game time? It's much easier to moderate healing through a more visible point-to-point system that has little cost to RP and can be set in a very clear manner ahead of time, so it's much clearer to all players and the DM how much healing the party should expect and much more amicable when the DM has to fix how much healing the party has. Time is not easily moderated, arbitrary points with little RP impact IS easily moderated.

That's why Resonance makes much more sense as a way to control healing.

Now, whether the implementation of Resonance as a whole is a good system remains to be seen from the numerics standpoint, but saying that CLW spam was counterable by circumstance in the original PF is not practical to actual gameplay.


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Malk_Content wrote:

I'm still confused about what people are finding "complex" about Resonance. It seems like a recurring issue I just don't get. I'm not the smartest tool in the shed, but Resonance seems pretty plain to me.

It is a resource used by items. You get charisma + level of this resource (likely minimum 1.) Reduce your Resonance by 1 when asked. Get it all back when you rest. If you want to spend a Resonance and don't have one, roll a D20. On a (10 + the amount of times you have tried this before resting) you use the item and get its benefits.

Thats it. Not complex at all.

No one thinks the system at its most basic is difficult to understand.

The bigger issues are:


  • At present, resonance doesn't take away any complexity from the current game, while adding one more layer. One of the main stated intents for resonance and most of 2e is that it would reduce complexity. This increases complexity. That doesn't necessarily mean that it is now too complex to understand, just that it's added some more bookkeeping where none existed before.
  • The annoying nomenclature of the activation types where something like [[A]] or [[A]] (provoking) would do just fine.


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Coming late to this party, I lack the time to read the nearly 500 posts in depth, but I find myself agreeing with a good portion of the pushback here.

This is the first post that leaves me confused beyond the "well I need to read the full playtest before I get this" stage. Let me try to parse some of it.

First off, there's a lot to like here. I like the concept of trinkets very much, non-casters should totally have cheap one-use items on the level of scrolls. I like that the super-boring cloak of elvenkind (always-on flat bonus to Stealth, meh) got a lot of oomph in this edition. I like the attempt to make staves a lot more interesting and usable at low level.

Also, I agree with the concept behind Resonance, and with the four design goals as stated. The problem is, it looks like goals 1 and 2 aren't being met.

"1. Using items is clear and consistent." Maybe it's because of the way actions are written. Like many others, I'm not impressed with the wording "Operate Activation", "Command Activation" and "Focus Activation". I don't see how the word "Activation" makes it clearer, quite the opposite. Maybe it's because the text leaves out some key things that will be described in the overall introduction to magic item generic properties. Maybe it's because the wording of the cloak of elvenkind seems to indicate two things that sound like activate, but only of of them really is:

Logan Bonner wrote:
When you draw the hood up over your head (an Interact action), the cloak transforms to match the environment around you and muffles your sounds, giving you an item bonus to Stealth checks.
Logan Bonner wrote:
If you activate the cloak, you pull the hood up...

Both these sentences describe a very similar gesture made with the cloak, but only the second one activates it. I'm not clear what the first one does - it seems it's "free" with regard to Resonance but costs an action? Anyway, that's confusing.

Or maybe it's because I see a big apparent contradiction in the blog itself:

Logan Bonner wrote:
If someone else wants to use the same item, you can remove it and let them put it on and invest it themselves.
Logan Bonner wrote:
A staff is tied to you, which means you have to invest it, unlike most held items. This investiture has two extra benefits. First off, it links the staff to you, preventing anyone else from investing the staff for 24 hours.

Am I missing something here?

"2. You have less to track." I'm afraid that's not correct, or at least not nearly as initially advertised. Making my items work means I need to manage up to 3 different types of costs: My actions, my Resonance, and the item's charges. On top of that, some items like the luck blade still have limited uses per day. Then, some items take certain types of actions to work, sometimes more than one action, or one or the other type depending what I want to do with them. Some items have charges that are consumed forever, some are recharged on investing. Some use Resonance and some don't (Resonance itself is actually the simplest part of the system). Looks like a lot to track to me. Sure, in PF1 there were charges, uses per day, rounds of use per day, and every item needed a standard action to operate, except when it didn't. But PF2's desired ease of use doesn't come through here, not nearly as much as it does in any one of the other blogs so far.

I haven't spend enough time reading and thinking this over, but here are my gut feeling ideas:
- Have Resonance, or have charges. Not both.
- Consider redesigning wands so they aren't a 50-spell gun anymore. I think Mark was looking at this possibility in some of his (always welcome) answers.
- One-use items shouldn't require Resonance. We should be able to build stories like the evil 1st-level aristocrat bought tons of potions to make himself look like a super-villain, or the wizard's apprentice sneaks into his master's library and goes to wreak havoc with his incompetent use of dozens of scrolls.
- Describe investing and activating complex items like the cloak of elvenkind with tighter wording.
- Get rid of the "Activation" adder in the action language.


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When I think "resonance" I think of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse. So it was a well chosen term for this subsystem.


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Overall, I like it. Does MOST of what they want it to do, and anything that discourages neglecting Charisma without making your class completely SAD on it is cool in my book.

I find this concern over the 15 minute work day overstated, and honestly think this isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. As I have pointed out about spell slots, placing limitations on the daily resource pool makes it a lot easier for a GM to wear the party down and making them sweat without resorting to either super deadly single encounters or an incredibly long slog of weaker encounters in a day. Yeah, sometimes the party will have to make a tough decision about whether to rest or press on. IMO, this is always going to be an issue and the fix for it has very little to do with rules but with narrative reasons not to rest, like ticking clocks or enemies that will discover or respond to you besieging the dungeon or there not being the safety to rest.

Nor am I seeing this “now you are forced to have a healbot” complaint. Yes, if you have someone who can heal you will probably be better off than if you don’t, just look you will probably be better off with an arcane caster or a front liner than not. Balanced parties are good. This will always be true. However, the Medicine skill (and possibly other skills like UMD equivalents) seem mean you have far more flexibility in what kind of characters can heal and the sorts of things they can treat. By comparison, you needed someone who could reliably activate the wand of CLW in PF1, and the only class that could reliably respond to various ability damage and scrolls was the cleric. I’d much rather feel pressured to spend a skill feat or two than to specifically play a cleric.

The Fear Gem seems like it should either not be expended or grant a benefit on a miss, if it uses up actions, gold, and RP. You can totally intimidate someone without actually hitting them, especially with magic assistance. So for example: Dark smoke seems to writhe within this obsidian gem. When you activate the gem, if your Intimidating Strike hits, the target is frightened 2 and flat-footed against your attacks until the end of your next turn. If the attack roll is a critical success, the target is flat-footed against your attacks for 1 minute. On a miss, the target is only frightened 1, and on a critical failure the gem is expended with no effect.
I’m not TOO worried about the different terms for activation yet, since it is the type of thing that will probably make more sense when we read the actual rulebook. Also, I think a lot of people overlook that activating magic items in 1e is already weird. Potions provoke, casting a spell provokes, but wands don’t provoke. Drinking a potion yourself is a standard but a full round to pour down a friend’s throats. And then there are all those rules about drawing them. Command words have all sorts of problems—they are supposed to be the norm but it often isn’t easy to remember that or tell if this item is an exception. They are a standard action, which is nuts for a spoken word that uses no other focus from the speaker, and how one figures out the command word for an item they find seems vague. By comparison, making it explicit what the different methods of activating items are and which actions a given item need seems great.

That being said, some of these items DO seem confusing for what actions they actually require. I liked the look of whoever posted the item description like the monster statblock: with actions clearly delineated from the rest of the description.

Idea for making it easier to track healing wand/staff charges: Can we perhaps move them to restoring a flat HP amount from a finite pool rather than requiring a roll with each cast? Like the 5e Paladin Lay on Hands. I have found that the biggest tracking problem with CLW wands (or spamming CLW potions, for that matter) is that it basically requires tracking 4 different values at once: current HP, total HP, the amount rolled with each casting, and the individual number of castings. This has basically made the process of healing up almost certainly require 2+ people to go quickly. The person being healed tracks their HP, one person (probably the caster) tracks how many times it is cast, and whoever handles the inventory for the party deducts the total number of charges used.

If you just let players choose how much they heal until the item is spent (be it for the day or used up forever) there are several advantages. It requires less rolling and then adding appropriate modifiers together. It also stops players from getting snake eyes on such something which costs them both gold and RP. It becomes less frustrating and much easier to use, and offers them a point of differentiation from other more randomized healing methods. If there’s a concern that you can empty an entire wand in one casting for a healing burst that is too efficient for action economy or RP purposes, there’s a variety of ways you can cap the amount per “casting.” Either set a max for what it can restore for a casting, or just have it always restore 5 or 10 hit points per charge, for example.

Cloak of Elvenkind looks baller as hell, setting aside clarity issues.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

So if wands are "multi-use consumables" is there a wand-analogue for trinkets? i.e. scrolls : wands :: trinkets : ????

[trinket]-on-the-cob.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
DFAnton wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:

I'm still confused about what people are finding "complex" about Resonance. It seems like a recurring issue I just don't get. I'm not the smartest tool in the shed, but Resonance seems pretty plain to me.

It is a resource used by items. You get charisma + level of this resource (likely minimum 1.) Reduce your Resonance by 1 when asked. Get it all back when you rest. If you want to spend a Resonance and don't have one, roll a D20. On a (10 + the amount of times you have tried this before resting) you use the item and get its benefits.

Thats it. Not complex at all.

No one thinks the system at its most basic is difficult to understand.

The bigger issues are:


  • At present, resonance doesn't take away any complexity from the current game, while adding one more layer. One of the main stated intents for resonance and most of 2e is that it would reduce complexity. This increases complexity. That doesn't necessarily mean that it is now too complex to understand, just that it's added some more bookkeeping where none existed before.
  • The annoying nomenclature of the activation types where something like [[A]] or [[A]] (provoking) would do just fine.

A goal being to reduce complexity overall does not mean every single mechanic needs reduced complexity. That is an absurd idea to have. And yes I suppose it has more complexity but it isn't complex. Some of the items that interact with it are complex, but that was true for many items in PF1 and would be the case for any mechanic with any appreciable depth.

Yeah the formatting and nomenclature is, not great. Which is a fine complaint to have which is why I didn't criticize it.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Doodpants wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

So if wands are "multi-use consumables" is there a wand-analogue for trinkets? i.e. scrolls : wands :: trinkets : ????

[trinket]-on-the-cob.

Dear god


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Doodpants wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

So if wands are "multi-use consumables" is there a wand-analogue for trinkets? i.e. scrolls : wands :: trinkets : ????

[trinket]-on-the-cob.

Tchotchke - Random little trinket you can't seem to get rid of.


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More I think about it, the more I believe that casting a spell with charges from a staff should not cost resonance.

First of all it's confusing that the cantrip apparently does not cost resonance per Seifter, but the other spell does. If this is how staves work, it's not indicated anywhere in the text of the item. If nothing else it's double dipping to have to spend resonance to charge the staff and also to spontaneously cast with it. In this way it's kind of worse than a wand, which at least doesn't have the upfront cost.

But I think it's much more appropriate for a magic staff to essentially serve as a resonance multiplier and have a caster be limited to a single staff than have a magic staff just eat resonance faster than anything.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
So if wands are "multi-use consumables" is there a wand-analogue for trinkets? i.e. scrolls : wands :: trinkets : ????

I would actually vote for Medals / Badges as probably a cool, and martial-thematic take on a reusable trinket.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
So if wands are "multi-use consumables" is there a wand-analogue for trinkets? i.e. scrolls : wands :: trinkets : ????
I would actually vote for Medals / Badges as probably a cool, and martial-thematic take on a reusable trinket.

Maybe one of those shiny sash things that Worf wears.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Suggested Tweak to the Cloak of Elvenkind

So, I’m a stealthy character, and I want to scout ahead, so I got my cloak of elvenkind, and my boots of elvenkind. Now, while I am scouting... Do I want Ghost Sound? I don’t think so. What I want is message spell so that I can apprise the rest of the party of what I am doing and seeing — quietly.

Hmm

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Reading that wand thread I think the biggest issue is how often people think the game is designed around attrition.

Attrition is not especially fun and only a good concept to use in Moderation. moreover, its not actually a concept paizo even employs in their AP design for the most part. I just ran the first 4 books of Hells Rebels. In that AP, you mostly have single encounter adventuring days until youre tackling the end of book mini dungeons in which time is not usually an actual factor, with the sole exception of the endstage of book 4.

Youre right that nothing was gained by them having cure wands; they could have just rested for 8 hours. The fact that they COULD heal to full hp while proceeding with diminished every other resource meant that they did. It really is basically the sweet spot. Remove easy HP recovery and the desire to play cautiously does amp up. No one wants to lose a character they have shepherded from level 1

Don't like the happy stick? Then give up the ghost that any player is ever going to go into combat at anything lower than max or near-max health. I dont care if you dont like it Jason, that's just the way the game is played, so build it into the system.


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Hmm wrote:

Suggested Tweak to the Cloak of Elvenkind

So, I’m a stealthy character, and I want to scout ahead, so I got my cloak of elvenkind, and my boots of elvenkind. Now, while I am scouting... Do I want Ghost Sound? I don’t think so. What I want is message spell so that I can apprise the rest of the party of what I am doing and seeing — quietly.

Hmm

Hypothetically, depending on just how far you can cast Ghost Sound(Doesn't say range) back towards your team which makes a sound that they know for different signals.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
MerlinCross wrote:
Hmm wrote:

Suggested Tweak to the Cloak of Elvenkind

So, I’m a stealthy character, and I want to scout ahead, so I got my cloak of elvenkind, and my boots of elvenkind. Now, while I am scouting... Do I want Ghost Sound? I don’t think so. What I want is message spell so that I can apprise the rest of the party of what I am doing and seeing — quietly.

Hmm

Hypothetically, depending on just how far you can cast Ghost Sound(Doesn't say range) back towards your team which makes a sound that they know for different signals.

*owl noises*


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KingOfAnything wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Hmm wrote:

Suggested Tweak to the Cloak of Elvenkind

So, I’m a stealthy character, and I want to scout ahead, so I got my cloak of elvenkind, and my boots of elvenkind. Now, while I am scouting... Do I want Ghost Sound? I don’t think so. What I want is message spell so that I can apprise the rest of the party of what I am doing and seeing — quietly.

Hmm

Hypothetically, depending on just how far you can cast Ghost Sound(Doesn't say range) back towards your team which makes a sound that they know for different signals.
*owl noises*

That. Wolf howl, Moose noise, angry gerbil noises.

Part of the fun is using stuff in odd ways. Message would be a far easier thing to use yes, but Ghost Sound can also let you say, Spook a bunch of bandits or lure one away for a silent take down.

Maybe Elven bands of something can have the Message cantrip/spell to them.


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eddv wrote:

Reading that wand thread I think the biggest issue is how often people think the game is designed around attrition.

Attrition is not especially fun and only a good concept to use in Moderation. moreover, its not actually a concept paizo even employs in their AP design for the most part. I just ran the first 4 books of Hells Rebels. In that AP, you mostly have single encounter adventuring days until youre tackling the end of book mini dungeons in which time is not usually an actual factor, with the sole exception of the endstage of book 4.

Youre right that nothing was gained by them having cure wands; they could have just rested for 8 hours. The fact that they COULD heal to full hp while proceeding with diminished every other resource meant that they did. It really is basically the sweet spot. Remove easy HP recovery and the desire to play cautiously does amp up. No one wants to lose a character they have shepherded from level 1

Don't like the happy stick? Then give up the ghost that any player is ever going to go into combat at anything lower than max or near-max health. I dont care if you dont like it Jason, that's just the way the game is played, so build it into the system.

Yes, and what does it also say?

> Note that several of the following missions tend to be slightly more challenging than normal for a group of 2nd-level characters—this is by design, as the expectation is that the PCs won’t need to manage their resources; these missions should be interspersed with plenty of opportunities to rest and recover.

So with the wand, every single encounter has to be more challenging than normal, or they won't pose any threat at all. Either they have to kill a character, or they have to inflict some sort of permanent damage, or they're not considered enough of a threat to actually even use mid-level spells. Does this not seem like a problem to you?

Not to mention I can think of quite a few places where resting and retreating in Hell's Rebels will cause major problems.

Scarab Sages

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eddv wrote:

Reading that wand thread I think the biggest issue is how often people think the game is designed around attrition.

Attrition is not especially fun and only a good concept to use in Moderation. moreover, its not actually a concept paizo even employs in their AP design for the most part. I just ran the first 4 books of Hells Rebels. In that AP, you mostly have single encounter adventuring days until youre tackling the end of book mini dungeons in which time is not usually an actual factor, with the sole exception of the endstage of book 4.

Youre right that nothing was gained by them having cure wands; they could have just rested for 8 hours. The fact that they COULD heal to full hp while proceeding with diminished every other resource meant that they did. It really is basically the sweet spot. Remove easy HP recovery and the desire to play cautiously does amp up. No one wants to lose a character they have shepherded from level 1

Don't like the happy stick? Then give up the ghost that any player is ever going to go into combat at anything lower than max or near-max health. I dont care if you dont like it Jason, that's just the way the game is played, so build it into the system.

EH, somebody that get's it.


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Cyouni wrote:
eddv wrote:

Reading that wand thread I think the biggest issue is how often people think the game is designed around attrition.

Attrition is not especially fun and only a good concept to use in Moderation. moreover, its not actually a concept paizo even employs in their AP design for the most part. I just ran the first 4 books of Hells Rebels. In that AP, you mostly have single encounter adventuring days until youre tackling the end of book mini dungeons in which time is not usually an actual factor, with the sole exception of the endstage of book 4.

Youre right that nothing was gained by them having cure wands; they could have just rested for 8 hours. The fact that they COULD heal to full hp while proceeding with diminished every other resource meant that they did. It really is basically the sweet spot. Remove easy HP recovery and the desire to play cautiously does amp up. No one wants to lose a character they have shepherded from level 1

Don't like the happy stick? Then give up the ghost that any player is ever going to go into combat at anything lower than max or near-max health. I dont care if you dont like it Jason, that's just the way the game is played, so build it into the system.

Yes, and what does it also say?

> Note that several of the following missions tend to be slightly more challenging than normal for a group of 2nd-level characters—this is by design, as the expectation is that the PCs won’t need to manage their resources; these missions should be interspersed with plenty of opportunities to rest and recover.

So with the wand, every single encounter has to be more challenging than normal, or they won't pose any threat at all. Either they have to kill a character, or they have to inflict some sort of permanent damage, or they're not considered enough of a threat to actually even use mid-level spells. Does this not seem like a problem to you?

Not to mention I can think of quite a few places where resting and retreating in Hell's Rebels will cause major problems.

Flip side is if the fights become that much of a hassle that you're looking at a good chance of death per fight(I hate meat grinder games), then guess what?

Your players will not fight.

Instead they'll just pick up wands, scrolls, skills, and spells that allow them fully outright skip the fights. Losing a few resources or several charges of a Wand are okay risk. Losing 25% of your combat effectiveness due to a character dying? Yeah no, that's when you break the "Scry and Fry" box open.

I mean if your team gets the tar beaten out of them by the bodyguards and have to use a good amount of their resources to get past them, what the heck are they going to have left in the tank to kill High Priest Kzinku who is summoning a pack of Demons to assist him in killing the party?

Also, even with the Resonance and wand changes, it seems players can still stay healed up to a good degree without spending too many resources. Don't know how just yet(Though Heal Skill is useful now), but to those that think players walking into every fight at full HP is bad..., well I don't see that changing too much for you in PF2.


To me the big thing this is going to do is make HEALERS a prime class again, not being able to use a resource like a wand all the time makes having a healer a big consideration on party composition and weather you can get through dungeon or not. Otherwise it will depend upon how many stat points you get with leveling. If it is like starfinder and getting 4 stats with a +2 then getting your CHA up is no big deal that would give you at level 15 between 3-5 items active (on average). At low levels this is going to suck, but thats the breaks.


Ectar wrote:

Are staves worth using? The healing staff seems questionable at best to me.

One RP for a low impact passive benefit. Admittedly, having a bonus could be good, considering they scale with level now. Or do staff cantrips scale?
But is 1 RP for a spell from a staff even a good use? I guess maybe when using the staff's charges.
The other option seems kinda steep, though. 1 RP and a spell slot to use a spell from the staff seems high, especially since, from the preview, casters have fewer spell slots than PF1.

Finally, who can use a staff? The post mentions spellcasters, but nothing in the actual description seemed to require spellcasting.

For a healer say you cast a group heal that +1 applies to everybody healed so efficiency wise it is pretty decent for the minimal cost of it. It also lets you use it like it was one of your spells you had memorized so I imagine as you get better staves they will allow you a lot more flexibility on what you can cast each day. I see wizards as one of their hinderances is guessing what spells they will need that day. If you know your staff gives you some of your main bread and butter spells it allows you to prepare other stuff instead and have better choices of what you use. It also gives you 3 charges on this low level staff to cast something without having to use up any spell slots do do it which is very handy for emergencies when you need that bit more throughput.


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Or you know, instead of crying over the loss of clw spam, we could move onto the fact that higher level wands are now affordable (at least they seem to be) and that you should use them instead of a 1st level spell for your whole career to heal up.

A lot of the whining over mandatory healer seems to be out of place.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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I've had a few additional thoughts on the blog:

1) Investing resonance seems to require "actions and 1 RP". This seems to mean that if you invest your equipment in the morning, it lasts for 24 hours, but then you would need to invest them again the next day, spending at least 1 action per item to do so. Sounds like this means items won't be continuous ever, and that there will always be a gap, even if for a round or two when they don't function. If you're knocked unconscious, they'll potentially not be active for substantially longer. This could be a huge problem for things like magic items which let you breathe water, or survive on the elemental plane of fire. Even a few rounds of them not working would be deadly.

I hope that there's a rule (or one added) which says that items invested stay invested until you die or specifically de-vest them.

2) I noticed the magic items stat blocks no longer list an aura. While we don't yet know how detect magic works in PF2, I hope aura line comes back. It's super handy to have at your fingertips if an item has a necromancy vs. an evocation aura.


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Kringress wrote:

To me the big thing this is going to do is make HEALERS a prime class again, not being able to use a resource like a wand all the time makes having a healer a big consideration on party composition and weather you can get through dungeon or not. Otherwise it will depend upon how many stat points you get with leveling. If it is like starfinder and getting 4 stats with a +2 then getting your CHA up is no big deal that would give you at level 15 between 3-5 items active (on average). At low levels this is going to suck, but thats the breaks.

I consider this a detriment. In games where you can expect similar opposition to yourselves, I have basically always not enjoyed those with HPS as more than a niche role. Considering I want the ability to keep using fully rendered NPCs built the same as PCs, healer as a role is going to be dropping my enjoyment of the game in one of two different ways. I want defensive effort and tactics to mean something, as opposed to a flimsy shield before you start comparing one team's ability to heal with the other team's ability to deal damage.

I'm currently planning something that has a bunch of characters split into combat roles due to the uncertainty in which will end up being played. In terms of making unique characters, it's been easy to fill out buff supports: Aid another, Bards, Clerics, Alchemists with Infusion, Brown-fur transmuters, Marshall mediums, a Battle Herald. That is a lot more variety in playstyle than "I heal whoever is most injured" would be.

It doesn't matter that many classes can heal, it doesn't avoid healing being one-dimensional. A good array of defensive options can make you think about how to deal damage, but that can't flourish if the tank is too reliant on their living potion IV to do anything but stand there and take hits.

I know my frustrations here are as much about PvP games as PvE, but as I mentioned earlier, I like making (and facing) PC-build opponents. I don't want to lose that because people felt that HPS needed to be up there with DPS, nor do I want to lose what interests me most about gaming combat: non-healing support.

Shadow Lodge

I think that wands could take the page of spell knowledge niche for one spell, letting you convert a spell slot (and a point of resonance) into whatever spell is in the wand. They're a mini staff, as the staff also has a passive bonus, contains more spells, and has renewable charges that can be used instead of spell slots.

Grand Lodge

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Knight Magenta wrote:

I think Resonance is an interesting approach to get rid of the X/Day items, however I think there is an unintended consequence that I've not yet seen addressed.

Since all the items draw from the same pool, it implies that all item activations are equally powerful. This means that players are dis-incentivized from even keeping their old cloak from level 5 once they get access to some other level 10 cloak, because its more useful to activate the level 10 spell-in-a-can then a level 5 one. The old level 5 X/Day item remains just as useful at later levels, while in the new system the relative value of one point of resonance increases.

One way of working around this would be to multiply all resonance amounts by 3 (or some other number) and have resonance costs for lower level items go down as PCs level up. Or you could flip it and have resonance pools double/triple at levels 8/16. Then you multiply the resonance costs of every item of those levels as appropriate. This way, weaker items remain interesting.

Too bad we can't just get rid of "charges" altogether. Just make the wands a bit more expensive, maybe, or make RP use a bit more? I've been playing RPGs a long time, and can't think of any instance wherein I or a player of mine has actually burned through an entire wand, meaning all the tracking hassle we had done was basically for nothing.

I'm also just not a fan of having to "spend" anything (RPs) to wear magical items like armor and weapons (i can understand activating abilities, though). More tracking does not equal better game play, even if the new system is designed to help with the christmas-tree effect.

QuidEst wrote:
Put me down for wanting staves to keep charges. If they don’t, then they’re just inefficient hand-held Pages of Spell Knowledge. People wanted limited-per-day non-disposable wands, and that’s what they effectively are.

Then why not just increase their RP use?

The more I read into this and dwell on it, the more worried I am becoming. I just can't seem to like the idea of magic items having to be tethered to the person who uses them (it appears this is what is causing most of the issues with Resonance, too). On top of that, this isn't a system which can be removed from the game by the GM if the group doesn't like it; the entire system will be based on this parameter.

ErichAD wrote:
I'll let my previous gripes about item level stay where they are, and just add the bulk system to the pile. There's nothing good about Starfinder's equipment system. But I assume that stuff is here to stay.

Pretty sure the level refers to when the item can be crafted, not when it can be used.

Nyarlathotep wrote:


One quibble though with the staff of healing description though. Cabochons are not gems. Description should read: "...multitude of cabochon rubies."

LOL. The dictionary definition of cabochons literally says ..."gems..."


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MerlinCross wrote:

Flip side is if the fights become that much of a hassle that you're looking at a good chance of death per fight(I hate meat grinder games), then guess what?

Your players will not fight.

Instead they'll just pick up wands, scrolls, skills, and spells that allow them fully outright skip the fights. Losing a few resources or several charges of a Wand are okay risk. Losing 25% of your combat effectiveness due to a character dying? Yeah no, that's when you break the "Scry and Fry" box open.

I mean if your team gets the tar beaten out of them by the bodyguards and have to use a good amount of their resources to get past them, what the heck are they going to have left in the tank to kill High Priest Kzinku who is summoning a pack of Demons to assist him in killing the party?

Also, even with the Resonance and wand changes, it seems players can still stay healed up to a good degree without spending too many resources. Don't know how just yet(Though Heal Skill is useful now), but to those that think players walking into every fight at full HP is bad..., well I don't see that changing too much for you in PF2.

I'd argue that "fights being constantly deadly" is a problem in PF1 because healing to full takes absolutely no resources. If a fight takes out 1/2 of every party member's health, but no other resources, that fight is utterly unmemorable simply because all the damage is healed in a minute. Nothing was lost from that except some wand charges that basically cost nothing anyways. So, as a result, fights have to force people to burn non-HP resources constantly. The original paradigm of 3.5 was that an average fight of CR = APL should take out around 20% of a party's resources. That's something completely unimaginable nowadays because a fight of CR = APL, if you don't use any spells, will really just take out HP, which gets healed from the wand.

So in your example, I'd argue that the fights don't have to be nearly as threatening as they used to be to actually be considered a threat in PF2, because now even HP damage affects party resources and has an impact. Even two level+1 fights would probably be sufficient for that, even if they started at full health for both of them.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Cloak of Elvenkind redux

MerlinCross wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Hypothetically, depending on just how far you can cast Ghost Sound(Doesn't say range) back towards your team which makes a sound that they know for different signals.
*owl noises*

That. Wolf howl, Moose noise, angry gerbil noises.

Part of the fun is using stuff in odd ways. Message would be a far easier thing to use yes, but Ghost Sound can also let you say, Spook a bunch of bandits or lure one away for a silent take down.

Maybe Elven bands of something can have the Message cantrip/spell to them.

Okay, that’s a fair point. Alright, owl noises — or whatever — it is!

Hoooooooooooo!


Kringress wrote:

To me the big thing this is going to do is make HEALERS a prime class again, not being able to use a resource like a wand all the time makes having a healer a big consideration on party composition and weather you can get through dungeon or not. Otherwise it will depend upon how many stat points you get with leveling. If it is like starfinder and getting 4 stats with a +2 then getting your CHA up is no big deal that would give you at level 15 between 3-5 items active (on average). At low levels this is going to suck, but thats the breaks.

You do get four stats +2 at levels 1, 5, 10, 15, 20. Don't forget that level also applies to it as well, so at level 15 that'd be 18-20 items active.

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I do not think the Resonance system is a bad idea, but I DO think this is bad implementation of it.

I like how investing works on paper. Instead of slots you can wear any logical combination of magic swag, but your personal force of will and adventuring experience will determine how many magical effects you can manage at once. Makes sense. I will echo what others have said here and say that there needs to be more clear separation of investment effects and activation effects in the statblocks. But honestly, there are a LOT of things I dislike about those statblocks.

Firstly, they cross words too much. Operate, activate, focus, invest, interact, ect. There were multiple places in reading the statblocks where I had no idea what it was asking me to understand. I'll go further with this and propose that there don't have to be any separation of action types at all for magic items. You made the parallel of activation to spell components, but spellcasters have multiple ways they interact with the various casting actions, as well as ways they can replace one action with another or ignore the need of an action entirely. They can also choose with certain spells how many actions to invest in the casting. This makes sense. They're spellcasters. They do spells.

No class revolves around magic items unless you've been hiding the PF2 Occultist up your sleeve (Alchemists notwithstanding). There seems to be no reason to differentiate activation actions except for flavor reasons, or out of some fear that players will go hogwild with activation unless a named mechanic is attached to it. The only important part of the activation that I can see from this blog are the number of actions needed for it. That, and specific clarification on what the action is doing is all I need to know to understand the item. Looking at the item and seeing "Focus Activation" tells me nothing important. I'm going to have to read the item's paragraph info anyway to learn that I need to pull the hood up as an action, and at that point the "Focus" part unnecessarily complicates the wording.

Last thing I disliked was the double-dipping in Resonance. If something uses charges, I fail to see why Resonance is needed. The point of the mechanic was to condense the different types of magic items usages into one system, but not only are charges a thing, but they are a thing without actually being distinct enough to warrant being a thing. If I spent Resonance to charge the staff already, why am I using Resonance again? If I'm a fighter and expected to protect my squishier friends, why am I the most hindered when it comes to using consumables? Potions already cost time and/or money to acquire, then using them is in itself a risk. It's in your belly. You're not getting it back if you end up needing it more later. The potion itself is literally a resource, so I don't see the need to attach a resource tax to using the resource. I love the trinket idea, but I do not think that 100% of magic items need to have a Resonance cost. I think that this good idea and good intention with Resonance went a little past the mark and needs to be reeled back a little to better achieve what it was intended to do.


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Cyouni wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

Flip side is if the fights become that much of a hassle that you're looking at a good chance of death per fight(I hate meat grinder games), then guess what?

Your players will not fight.

Instead they'll just pick up wands, scrolls, skills, and spells that allow them fully outright skip the fights. Losing a few resources or several charges of a Wand are okay risk. Losing 25% of your combat effectiveness due to a character dying? Yeah no, that's when you break the "Scry and Fry" box open.

I mean if your team gets the tar beaten out of them by the bodyguards and have to use a good amount of their resources to get past them, what the heck are they going to have left in the tank to kill High Priest Kzinku who is summoning a pack of Demons to assist him in killing the party?

Also, even with the Resonance and wand changes, it seems players can still stay healed up to a good degree without spending too many resources. Don't know how just yet(Though Heal Skill is useful now), but to those that think players walking into every fight at full HP is bad..., well I don't see that changing too much for you in PF2.

I'd argue that "fights being constantly deadly" is a problem in PF1 because healing to full takes absolutely no resources. If a fight takes out 1/2 of every party member's health, but no other resources, that fight is utterly unmemorable simply because all the damage is healed in a minute. Nothing was lost from that except some wand charges that basically cost nothing anyways. So, as a result, fights have to force people to burn non-HP resources constantly. The original paradigm of 3.5 was that an average fight of CR = APL should take out around 20% of a party's resources. That's something completely unimaginable nowadays because a fight of CR = APL, if you don't use any spells, will really just take out HP, which gets healed from the wand.

So in your example, I'd argue that the fights don't have to be nearly as threatening as they used to be to actually be considered a threat in PF2, because now even HP damage affects party resources and has an impact. Even two level+1 fights would probably be sufficient for that, even if they started at full health for both of them

I don't get why fights have to either kill your or take Spells/items to be memorable. My group walked away with a good story after one use of Murderous Command and they barely took any damage in that fight. But that was a bad fight it seems we're badwrongfun for well me, not making it hard, and for them, actually daring to use a spell.

PF2 HP damage doesn't seem to affect the party resources any more than PF1 damage now. The only difference is you have more than one way of getting that HP damage back. Wait, you have more than 1 way of getting HP damage back on PF1 too but it seems you're playing the game wrong if you don't buy a CLW wand every chance you get.

I don't know what people want anymore.


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SnowFever wrote:
I can support the design goals of adding RP, but personally I feel potions should be an exception. Since they're literally ingested and metabolized, they should always work. (Bulk helps eliminate the spamming issue vs a wand.) This would also allow them to consistently work on 0-level NPCs. Players could deliver potions of cure disease to a plague-stricken town (or whatever) and actually feel like they accomplished something rather than have half of them fail to function.

I want to echo this and say that I'd actually be okay if it meant that potions/elixirs costed a bit more in compensation. Currently, I always see players sell any one-use items they find since multi-use wands or permanent buffs on worn items are just better. But by giving potions/elixirs a nice niche of always being ready for use, while more permanent/consistent items are limited by RP, they might actually see more use as players find more value in having them as a backup.

If there is any concern with potion/elixir spamming as a result, you could always impose a limit for how many you can drink within a certain period of time (say an hour). Trying to drink more would trigger a Fort save as the character becomes nauseous from having too much magical liquid mixing inside them without enough time to fully digest it.

I also want to echo some of the previous posts which suggest looking at MtG's system of formatting. The first time I heard about how 2E was using icons to represent actions, the first thing I thought of was how mana symbols are used in MtG and how easy it is to read at a glance.

WatersLethe wrote:
What are people's takes on what Resonance means in game? This blog post refers to it as your innate magic, in the same vein as sorcerers.

I've kinda interpreted it as being something tied to force of will, lifeforce, and/or an individual's aura, in line with it being tied to the charisma stat. Protective worn items require resonance because they need to mix with your personal aura in order to grant their protective magic to you. As for activated items, they need to somehow connect to your force of will as a way to control them and direct as to when/where to activate their magic (since they lack a simple button or on/off switch).

Overall, I'm coming to like many of the ideas behind the Resonance system, though some of the finer details obviously still needs a bit of work (which is what a good playtest is for).

Additionally, count me as part of the group which hates CLW wand spam, and doesn't see the argument that healing is suddenly gone and 15min adventuring days will return. Not only does the lack of CLW wand spam make more powerful healing items more valuable, but there has been talk of increasing the amount of non-magical healing in the game. So I doubt that a group which really wants healing is going to have too much trouble in getting it, even if CLW wands are no longer a cheap and near-infinite method of doing so.


An idea I had (which may be very well how they're doing it, since they've mentioned that Potions, Elixirs, Extracts, [insert synonym here], ect work differently in 2e), maybe to solve the consumable resonance problem, all you have to do is create a two tiered system, where for instance potions are cheap, but cost resonance, but elixirs are significantly more expensive but don't cost resonance (and perhaps something similar for scrolls, and [insert scroll synonym here]). You'll want to use the resonance option most of the time, since it's the most economical, and it encourages you not to waste resonance, but you're not screwed if you run out of resonance (and are too worried about wasting a potion or scroll on a 50% or less shot), you just pay a higher premium.

Not a perfect fix, most likely, but it makes it so you want to get the most out of your resonance (eliminating the CLW wand spam), while also allowing you to use certain consumables reliably, even at 0 resonance, to combat the 15 minute work day issue.


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The more I read about this 2nd edition, the less I like it.

Resonance is first too gamey for my taste but it just makes things more complicated.

Well to be honest everything in this preview seems way more complicated : seeing the block about Cloak of Elvenkind was such a disappointment. I want PF2 to simplify tedious things and I only see more tedious things added ...

I don't understand the point of trinkets : Why should a martial character need to pay for a consumable to get better effects in a combat ? Can't they just be better by themselves ?

Seriously Paizo devs, the problem is not that martial characters are less powerful than spellcasters. The problem is that it is too easy to be a spellcaster to be extremely powerful without any real cost. Just make magic rarer or more costly (look at Midnight where magic drain constitution from casters that use too much magic) and things will be better !!

And I have a last point to complain : it's not about the rules, it's about your PR, Paizo ...

When you tell me that using wands of CLW in PF1 is bad-wrong-fun (I know I'm exagerating a bit, that's not how exactly you said it), I'm finding a bit paradoxal to read now that you advice to use a wand of CLW, but a bigger one as a good way to play.


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Bold suggestion:
1. Wands operate like staves currently do, they can cast a particular spell, but use Resonance to do so without charges (you can decide if they have to be invested).
2. Staves have their own pool of resonance that can be charged daily. You still have to invest in them (1 RP) but from there, get to use their resonance pool for casting their spells (and using their abilities).

This simplifies the pools a bit as well as tracking. Now using a wand only tracks one resource. I can't see how this significantly improves the power of wands, which had 50 charges previously anyway and were unlikely to run out quickly (before even having to think about resonance as well). For staves, now every use is tracked off of only their pool, and not both the staves pool and your resonance...

If this makes the cost trend slightly upward, particularly for staves, that's a cost I, at least, am willing to pay, as it significantly decreases the tracking overhead that exists currently.


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Noir le Lotus wrote:
(look at Midnight where magic drain constitution from casters that use too much magic)

Didn't people hate it when Kineticist tried something like that?

Shadow Lodge

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MerlinCross wrote:
Noir le Lotus wrote:
(look at Midnight where magic drain constitution from casters that use too much magic)
Didn't people hate it when Kineticist tried something like that?

People hated

1) Burn got worse as you leveled up, making it the only class feature that never gets any better, only worse.

1A) There are no ways to reduce the damage taken from Burn.

2) Burn had no way to get removed except by resting.

3) The sole archetype that removed burn was awful.

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