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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8 people marked this as a favorite.
Phantasmist wrote:
I would rather remove charisma from resonance altogether. I know it makes charisma more attractive, but it cause weirdness like the magic item only work if it likes you (I know it can be worded in a different way but). I also don't like that alchemists need a special rule to add his intelligence instead, even though intelligence makes more sense for activating arcane things.

Did you take issue with how UMD was a Charisma-Based skill in Pathfinder 1st Edition?

It really feels to me like Resonance is the replacement for UMD, which seemingly no longer exists as a skill.


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Dire Ursus wrote:
magnuskn wrote:

Yeah, that also feeds into my worries about the change to the metagame. Low levels seem to be very much on the "two encounters per day and you are done" side of things, unless you have a walking healing battery at your side. Forcing players into playing the healbot classes seems a large step back from the good design we have currently which allows more freedom in class choices. I can't tell you how tired some of my players are at having to play the Cleric or the other healing classes (while the rest are completely uninterested in those classes in the first place).

This argument doesn't make sense to me. How are your players so tired of having to play the Cleric when in 1e you don't NEED a cleric at all. All you need is a wand of CLW?

Because a lot of them have been playing the Cleric (or Oracle, etc) during the last 10 years. The idea to use more CLW wands has only come up in the last two or three AP's we've played and has allowed for far more interesting party compositions. Which is why I am very much against a new system which herds players into having to play one of those classes, no matter what they are really interested in.


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Quandary wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
This is why resonance really bites, because for everyone vocally complaining about it there are many for whom it just is not, and has never been, a problem.
Consider every game with wholly new mechanics. Those don't depend on previous "complaints", those are simply integral part of the game mechanic. Specific issues with 3.x/P1E are simply not the ultimate metric for P2E. It is completely valid to simply create new mechanics which stand or their own merit. Limits are an inherent part of games, and this mechanic intersects with many others to form what P2E is.

Except they are selling it as a solution to a problem - if that problem doesn't exist for you that is an issue. This isn't simply complaining about a new mechanic, Paizo are telling me I currently have a problem and this is the solution, so of course I'm going to refer back to my PF1 experiences.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Phantasmist wrote:
I would rather remove charisma from resonance altogether. I know it makes charisma more attractive, but it cause weirdness like the magic item only work if it likes you (I know it can be worded in a different way but). I also don't like that alchemists need a special rule to add his intelligence instead, even though intelligence makes more sense for activating arcane things.
Did you take issue with how UMD was a Charisma-Based skill in Pathfinder 1st Edition?

My post was a joke, but I new someone would take it the wrong way. Guess it was a bad joke.


DFAnton wrote:

So, how exactly would this system work with negatively enchanted items? One of my favorite things to craft in PF1e is a Hood of Deafness/Aphasia. Slip it over the dude's head and he has a constant effect of "I can't hear" or "I can't speak or understand language" with the hood itself applying blindness.

Am I correct in assuming that my (effectively, but not literally) cursed items would simply not function because the target wouldn't choose to resonate with it?

Cursed items like that which you use on someone else could just apply automatically which is the 3rd option mentioned in the blog. So it could work like a magic weapon.


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While being able to cast ghost sound is certainly useful to any hidden creature, it doesn't seem particularly appropriate to a cloak of elvenkind. I would ditch it, and then lower the item level a little.


Rek Rollington wrote:

Just spit balling here:

What if wands became arcane magic only. Then you can drop wand charges and leave it to resonance pools. The divine have their divine favoured weapons, I don’t think we need to see them holding wands. Staves can still be used for both but keep that max charge or 3 per day.

In Final Fantasy at least, Black Mages uses wands/rods, while White Mages uses staves, so that distinction could be used for arcane/divine?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shisumo wrote:
Except that non-class-feature-based healing is an explicit design goal, and has already resulted in at least once sucessful build according to Mark. It seems that this concern is something that needs to wait for the actual playtest doc to judge accurately.

True enough if it turns out to be so. However, if those builds then turn out to suck at their normal role, it is just a healbot by another name. But you are right, we'll have to wait out the playtest to see what the end result will be.

I just want to get out my concerns now already, so that I am not coming out of nowhere then. A blog giving pretty specific information about how resonance seems to work is a good first place to point out possible problem areas.


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Shisumo wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Forcing players into playing the healbot classes seems a large step back from the good design we have currently which allows more freedom in class choices. I can't tell you how tired some of my players are at having to play the Cleric or the other healing classes (while the rest are completely uninterested in those classes in the first place).
Except that non-class-feature-based healing is an explicit design goal, and has already resulted in at least once sucessful build according to Mark. It seems that this concern is something that needs to wait for the actual playtest doc to judge accurately.

There is a lot of ambiguity around how effective that will be, and moving from one person 'having' to be the healer to (potentially) everyone having to devote some character build resource to healing isn't a step forward.


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Meophist wrote:
Quandary wrote:
The only cross-over is Alchemist which doesn't have Spell Points but has enhanced Resonance to compensate for it, but the whole point there is Alchemist is conceptually about using magical items.
Isn't the Alchemist using alchemical items, which are non-magical?

Well they have sort of set up Alchemy as "non-magical magic", but Alchemist blog is clear Alchemists use Resonance:

"Alchemists know (or hazard) shortcuts to the process and can create unstable alchemical items by using an alchemist kit and paying a resonance cost."
So it's the "unstable" i.e. daily usages bypassing normal rules that hinge on Resonance. We know they get class ability using INT instead of CHA for Resonance, tying in with this.

Dark Archive

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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.


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magnuskn wrote:
Because a lot of them have been playing the Cleric (or Oracle, etc) during the last 10 years. The idea to use more CLW wands has only come up in the last two or three AP's we've played and has allowed for far more interesting party compositions. Which is why I am very much against a new system which herds players into having to play one of those classes, no matter what they are really interested in.

So why don't you just remove HP recovery in general then? Just be fully healed after every encounter if that's the favored gameplay style of your group.

If absolutely no one in your group finds it rewarding to have healing (don't need to be a cleric or oracle to get healing spells), then I'd suggest changing the game for their tastes. But I would assume a decent amount of players probably like being able to heal their teammates and feel useful. However They probably don't like one of their character features being rendered obsolete by a stick full of weak healing spells.


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Let's see if I can remember all the thoughts I had on Resonance over a month ago and also make a coherent post about it...

Firstly, I like Resonance as a replacement for item slots for limiting how many magic items you can have on at once. It's about as hand-wavey in how you deal with magic item auras clashing but stands up better under scrutiny.

I like the limited resource being used to empower niche but cool items that had 10 or fewer rounds per day and to give items a bit of activateable oomph by spending an otherwise long-term resource in the moment.

I'm worried that Paizo will take the one-size approach and just make every activateable ability cost one RP per use (effectively killing cool-and-not-too-expensive items like Gloves of Reconnaissance), or that they'll put an "investment" cost on flavour/luxury items like our groups favourite Apprentice's Cheating Gloves or the good old Sleeves of Describe Your Outfit Freely.

There's also the question of whether items will remain "invested" by you? to you? what the hell is investment in-setting anyway? when you take them off to use another item in the same slot for a minute or two. Or whether items aren't magic enough for that.

So those are my main concerns with the system on a conceptual level. Mostly just a case of balancing items so they're useful enough or doesn't cost too much compared to how short-lived their effect is.

If it was me, I'd probably also change resonance to being Racial Mod(2-5)+1/2lvl+Cha and balance costs around that.

Overall I'm positive to the concept, I like the additional setting element of innate ambient magic, and I like how adding an additional resource and opportunity cost can make niche cool items cheaper or more powerful.

It's especially a cool lever to tweak costs, an item that's more powerful than it's GP value might require more Resonance points to keep it's magic aura balanced for instance, or a magic item with a powerful activated effect might require RP expenditure per activation.

Of course there's the above concern that they'll err on the side of restrictiveness and make less powerful items cost more RP than they should and make all activations cost RP. and then also make the items to expensive to be worth getting in the first place.

Now for the current excecution of the concept:

I hate it, if resonance stays this way I'm not getting the final version.

Firstly, because it's too setting intrusive. I love magic items, but I hate them being placebo enablers for my own magic powers. Investing myself into an item for it to work in the first place is entirely different from the item being magic but multiple different items interfering with each other.

A cloak of Invisibility or Levitation are magic items because the magic in THEM make what's hidden behind it invisible, or causes it's wearer to fly. Not because it enables the wearer to use their own magic power to turn invisible or levitate.

There ARE cases where it makes sense to pour your own magic into something for it to have power (like a magic staff). But (to pull from LotR, a major source for the entire genre of Fantasy) while Earendil might require a bit of extra oomph to will into shining, Real Elvish Rope is just Real Elvish Rope, and is magic all on it's own accord. Same with the magic elven swords which glow when orcs or goblins are near, or the elven cloaks which magically hide you from your enemies.

I'm totally on board with Magic items putting a strain on your innate ambient magic, whether it be a complete rewrite of them being taxing in a way other magic isn't or whether it be a new solution to the classic idea that magic items interfere with each other and so you need to deal with that (perhaps by letting each aura Resonate with your innate ambient magic and use that to sort themselves out. I prefer the latter as it's an actual improvement to the problem item slots had with breaking down if you looked too closely at it (magic items need to be kept far enough apart or they interfere with each other but Ring, hand and wrist are all compatible slots...).

I'm never gonna want to play in a game where magic items aren't magic enough to work on their own and you need to push your own magic into them in order for them to actually be magic. If the magic items are only conduits for my own magic power then they're just vehicles for the placebo effect or spellcasting training wheels.

It's fine to have magic items that interact with spellcasting of course, or even magic (in general) that interacts with your innate magic. But if all a magic item really does, is make you able to use your magic in a new way. Then the flavour of items with magic effects aren't really there anymore.

Secondly, potions and other consumables taking resonance is just bad. It's bad design because it undermines the function of a consumable, to be powerful or effective but transient and comparatively costly (5 times the price of spellcasting services for a 1st lvl potion in PF1 and even a 50% markup for a wand charge), by making them compete with permanent items for space they now gain another downside by taking up a permanent resource yet still for a transient effect.

The design of course, also limits the number of other things you can spend resonance on because you'll always want to have enough leftover for 2-3 emergency healing potions.

Consumables (and most activated effects) competing with permanent effects is the worst decision about this entire thing.

On top of this I'm certain my initial concerns will be legit, that items with infrequent small effects will be completely devalued as even if they cost little enough to be worth having around, activating the effect would cost 2 RP or more (if you have an item you must take off and then reinvest). And that flavourful luxury items will never be worth it because they take up a resource which you ought to spend on things with actual mechanical benefits.

I just hope we can impact enough change to the system that the flavour remains interesting to me and that the cool relatively minor items aren't dropped entirely.

There's a lot of interesting levers with Resonance, like uses per RP spent, the power level of abilities which are free to use versus abilities which cost RP, powerful items with increased RP cost to alleviate gold cost, etc. I just hope Paizo is interested in using those levers more than they are in over-committing to the must-fit-one-size design.

/walloftext

P.S. Cloak of Elvenkind would seem a lot more like a lvl 10 item if the invisibility was of a 10 min duration.


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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I'll reserve my opinion on Resonance until the full playtest rules come out.

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

Other than that I'm looking forward to seeing how this all works in play!


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Idle thought, but everyone seems to want to enable people to use 'cool and interesting' items (whatever that may actually be) but the real obstacle to using most 'cool and interesting' items wasn't actually the big 6. The biggest obstacle has always been cost and effectiveness.

If you make an item too expensive for it's effect, or too unreliable for it's cost (*cough*fixed save DC's*cough*) it doesn't matter how cool it is, or how limited the other options are it won't get used if beating on the bad guys/using spells is simply more effective an answer.


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Dire Ursus wrote:
If absolutely no one in your group finds it rewarding to have healing (don't need to be a cleric or oracle to get healing spells), then I'd suggest changing the game for their tastes. But I would assume a decent amount of players probably like being able to heal their teammates and feel useful. However They probably don't like one of their character features being rendered obsolete by a stick full of weak healing spells.

Yeah, I think I don't need to change the mechanics of the entire game if the game already has mechanics which make it more suitable for a larger variety of party compositions. And your assumptions are your own and not shared by my players. Being a walking healing battery feels quite less fulfilling to them (and I know this explicitly because it has come up quite a lot during the last three years or so) than making a more direct contribution to combat encounters. Which is why they want to try out new non-healing classes.

This general assumption that CLW wands completely negate damage between combat baffles me in the first place. There are many other considerations to such an equation, like ability damage/drain, status effects (nauseated, etc) and short duration buff uptimes (haste, mirror image) or even new opponents coming after the party shortly after an encounter, which make spending several minutes healing up with CLW wands between combats not always a practical solution.


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^ Agree with Northern Druid's positive stuff, mostly disgree with the negative stuff, except Cloak.

I do think this sentiment, does suggest it's a good idea to give good, engaging setting "fluff" explanation for how mechanics like this work, which should be expected anyways with "Golarion infused" approach. Likewise for specifics of "spellcasting manifestations". I didn't put down Lord of the Rings because magic didn't work exactly like D&D, I didn't refuse to play Shadowrun because it didn't work one specific way. As a role-player, I can actually engage in any number of arbitrary assumptions, just flesh them out so people having something concrete to latch onto. Otherwise it will be Schroedinger's Grouchy Gamer syndrome.


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magnuskn wrote:
Dire Ursus wrote:
If absolutely no one in your group finds it rewarding to have healing (don't need to be a cleric or oracle to get healing spells), then I'd suggest changing the game for their tastes. But I would assume a decent amount of players probably like being able to heal their teammates and feel useful. However They probably don't like one of their character features being rendered obsolete by a stick full of weak healing spells.

Yeah, I think I don't need to change the mechanics of the entire game if the game already has mechanics which make it more suitable for a larger variety of party compositions. And your assumptions are your own and not shared by my players. Being a walking healing battery feels quite less fulfilling to them (and I know this explicitly because it has come up quite a lot during the last three years or so) than making a more direct contribution to combat encounters. Which is why they want to try out new non-healing classes.

This general assumption that CLW wands completely negate damage between combat baffles me in the first place. There are many other considerations to such an equation, like ability damage/drain, status effects (nauseated, etc) and short duration buff uptimes (haste, mirror image) or even new opponents coming after the party shortly after an encounter, which make spending several minutes healing up with CLW wands between combats not always a practical solution.

That's why we should wait for the playtest survey. Obviously our play groups are quite different. They should simply take the majority opinion and run with that. If more players would rather use CLW wands between every encounter then fine. I'll be fine with house ruling that out in my own home games. But if the majority would rather a system where you actually need to make decisions based on missing HP per combat, then you shouldn't complain that your group doesn't like it. That's on the GM to adjust the system to fit their player's needs.


Dasrak wrote:
As a secondary issue, it also creates some weirdness with regards to the value of the charisma attribute. At 1st level, charisma could swing you between 0 to 6 points of resonance, while at 20th it's a swing of 19-30. That's a massive difference at 1st, but at 20th it probably won't matter on most adventuring days.

Where are you getting those numbers from, I'm getting 0-5 at first level to 19-27 at 20.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dire Ursus wrote:
That's why we should wait for the playtest survey. Obviously our play groups are quite different. They should simply take the majority opinion and run with that. If more players would rather use CLW wands between every encounter then fine. I'll be fine with house ruling that out in my own home games. But if the majority would rather a system where you actually need to make decisions based on missing HP per combat, then you shouldn't complain that your group doesn't like it. That's on the GM to adjust the system to fit their player's needs.

I disagree that a simple majority should dictate the way they go in their development. Taking player feedback into account first, aside from just voting "yes" or "no" on the first iteration they present, is essential to finding a solution which creates a majority of satisfied customers. If they find a solution for resonance which allays or at least minimizes my particular concerns (or maybe that solution is already in the first iteration of the playtest), that then will easily sway me to accepting this new mechanic. After all, I also dislike Charisma being a dump stat.

However, so far some of the other class mechanics in previews and the general lack of response from the devs about concerns regarding resonance (aside from a general "We will be watching feedback closely") kinda makes me fear that they are moving the game mechanically to even shorter adventuring days and herding at least one player per adventuring party into a healing role. We'll see if I'm wrong on that account. I hope to be so.


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dragonhunterq wrote:

Idle thought, but everyone seems to want to enable people to use 'cool and interesting' items (whatever that may actually be) but the real obstacle to using most 'cool and interesting' items wasn't actually the big 6. The biggest obstacle has always been cost and effectiveness.

If you make an item too expensive for it's effect, or too unreliable for it's cost (*cough*fixed save DC's*cough*) it doesn't matter how cool it is, or how limited the other options are it won't get used if beating on the bad guys/using spells is simply more effective an answer.

Exactly this, if high level items are not utilized more is because they are not that good in reality, most high level items in PF1 are underpowered and overpriced, so not wonders they don't get much appreciation.

Resonance looks intended to encourage players to use those questionable items instead of designing more appealing ones.


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magnuskn wrote:
Dire Ursus wrote:
That's why we should wait for the playtest survey. Obviously our play groups are quite different. They should simply take the majority opinion and run with that. If more players would rather use CLW wands between every encounter then fine. I'll be fine with house ruling that out in my own home games. But if the majority would rather a system where you actually need to make decisions based on missing HP per combat, then you shouldn't complain that your group doesn't like it. That's on the GM to adjust the system to fit their player's needs.

I disagree that a simple majority should dictate the way they go in their development. Taking player feedback into account first, aside from just voting "yes" or "no" on the first iteration they present, is essential to finding a solution which creates a majority of satisfied customers. If they find a solution for resonance which allays or at least minimizes my particular concerns (or maybe that solution is already in the first iteration of the playtest), that then will easily sway me to accepting this new mechanic. After all, I also dislike Charisma being a dump stat.

However, so far some of the other class mechanics in previews and the general lack of response from the devs about concerns regarding resonance (aside from a general "We will be watching feedback closely") kinda makes me fear that they are moving the game mechanically to even shorter adventuring days and herding at least one player per adventuring party into a healing role. We'll see if I'm wrong on that account. I hope to be so.

Since the playtest is already off to the printers they are rather committed to RAW for all the new rules, at least for a while. They don't want to invalidate the playtest before it even comes out. Come August or September once everyone has had time to look at the full document I expect they will be a lot more receptive.


O really think that It would bem better to have labels like "invested", "activate (1rp - Focus action)", activate (2rp - reaction), spells (1rp - [[A]] [[A]], and so on. This could make itens easier to read and understand.
About the ressonance mecanics, I rlly think that those rp can get very small for higher lvls, but we need to check It a little more to see how It goes.

Silver Crusade

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As a whole, this Resonance business appears unintuitive and unnecessarily complicated to me. I like the simplicity and accessibility of staves; everything else about Resonance appears to be extra paperwork/tracking for what benefit I cannot discern.

Tying Resonance to Charisma appears to be a low blow to martial characters in general. Aren't most martial classes MAD enough already? I fail to see the point of forcing characters to spend Resonance on consumables unless the intent is to nerf martials (and alchemists) even harder.

Why not base Resonance on class levels instead of tying it to a mental stat?

Shadow Lodge

Because it already is level based.


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Christopher Waterfield wrote:
Tying Resonance to Charisma appears to be a low blow to martial characters in general. Aren't most martial classes MAD enough already? I fail to see the point of forcing characters to spend Resonance on consumables unless the intent is to nerf martials (and alchemists) even harder.

Well, everybody seems less MAD in PF2 and the stat generation method is a lot friendlier to people who want to spread their attribute points around. Not only can you no longer deliberately lower stats in order to get a higher main stat (so the minimum level 1 charisma for non-Dwarves is 10) but starting with something like 18/16/14/12/10/8 is pretty easy to do. Also, you get to improve multiple skills at regular intervals not just one. So you could have a character at level 6 whose stats are 18/18/18/14/10/10.

Plus, if it makes a difference, Intelligence is a lot less important now, seemingly as it only affects "number of skill ranks" at 1st level.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

One of the main reasons Resonance is so appalling to me is that it mucks about with one of the foundational aspects of D&D: getting and using loot.

Acquiring and using loot should be as smooth and intuitive as possible, because it's one of the most viscerally satisfying aspects of the game that can be appreciated in simple kick down the door dungeon dives as well as political espionage campaigns.

I *really* don't want resonance to come between me and those juicy potions I just found in the evil wizard's lair. I don't want to kick open a treasure chest and find the mythical Feathered Wings of Aezenor, only to stop and wonder if I've got the resonance to put them on.

You think not being able to wear more than two rings is upsetting? How about not wearing your brand new Evensong Bracers because you're on a ship and worried you might need to drink one or two water breathing potions?

Also, what GM hasn't given out potions at first level? A 10 cha first level character can only drink one potion, or do a coin toss with an expensive magic item at stake.

It sounds to me like the only way for the claim that Resonance limits aren't going to be hit is if low levels are forced into being low magic. In PF1e I am certainly not shy about handing out potions and scrolls at lower levels to give them some versatility and lessen the chances of a TPK.


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There are a few systems provided thus far in the previews that seem overtly complicated. Resonance definitely feels that way and as someone playing an occultist for the last 3 years I would not like magic items functioning like this. Don't simplify a rule system and then add tedious management to it.


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* Resonance seems like an unnecessary complication. Still.

* The cloak of elvenkind does not need spells. Leave it stealthy, or the spells to greater versions. The activations seem needlessly specific (hood raising etc).

* Specificity of physicality/description of each item is a): unnecessary for word count; b): prescriptive. Sure items can be reskinned, but why bother "skinning" them in the first place.

* Trinkets are echoes of Numenera's one use consumables. I like that they help martials, and think it can be an interesting design space.

Overall I dislike resonance - the cloak's various actions/interactions are already confusing folk (though that could just be lack of familiarity with the system) and is overcomplicating what was a simple item. Having to explain to new players all the interactions, foci, investments etc will be annoying.

I get the reasoning, but adding a subsystem is not, I feel, the way to go.

Let's see how it playtests.


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Quote:
Made of smooth white wood, this staff is capped at each end with a golden cross adorned with a multitude of ruby cabochons.

A cross decorated with rubies? Each end of a Staff of Healing is decorated with a Red Cross? Someone has a weird sense of humor.

I like it.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Dilvias wrote:
I assume that both wands and scrolls cost 1 resonance to use. Given that one of the objectives is to "level out" of items, why should I invest in a wand as opposed to a few scrolls?

I think it's literally a volume discount - a wand with 20 charges is cheaper than 20 scrolls of that spell.

As an aside, do wands still need 50 charges? Now that the days of "we're gonna to cast CLW via wand 600 times to do the entire dungeon without resting" are over, perhaps making them smaller (and cheaper) is in order.

Wands will likely be cheaper per charge, yes, but how many charges of the wand will you use before you should be using the next higher level of item? Say I have a wand of a first level spell. Since it sounds like I am only going to be able to use it once or twice a day, I might end up using only 5 to 10 charges over the life of the wand until it is no longer an effective use of an action. If that's the case, the scrolls are actually the better deal, depending on pricing.


Couldn't you instead of using Focus Activation use Resonance Activation? With Resonance Activation the player knows that an RP needs to be used in order to use the magical abilities of the item. Where as the Operate Activation is simply the player using an action to "operate the hood" of the cloak of elvenkind.


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Some what on topic but we were told there would be three actions and a reaction in an effort to simplify the list of actions. Several preview articles past and I'm seeing more and more action types provided. Here we are presented with "Command Activation, Focus Activation, or Operate Activation" and I can't see any of my players using this lingo. They'd simply state "I'm using X# of actions to activate the magic item" not whatever labels we were given.


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Christopher Waterfield wrote:
Why not base Resonance on class levels instead of tying it to a mental stat?

Well currently it's both.

As a note, I'm still very eh about the 10, 50, whatever number charge wands that become useless sticks afterwards. I get not wanting to have just unlimited access to [Resonance Total] casts of a spell, but that particular one doesn't sit well given some of the other stated goals of Resonance. As such, I have a bit of a counter-proposal, just as something to consider:

Make wands into staves-lite. Trim away some of the fat from staves, like probably the passive effect, and cut it down to one spell, but otherwise have them mechanically function the same way. Wands get the same "Max X charges, recharge equal to highest spell level you can cast when you invest" function that Staves have, as well as the "Burn a spell slot or [Spell level] charges to cast the spell" mechanic. Keeps the "wands are a spell in a stick" multi-use consumable position, while making it... less consumable? in the long run and also cutting down on long-term record keeping (since you don't have to track used charges quite as much from day to day, as well as presumably having a much simpler max number to track than "50".)

ETA: Also, personally, I really don't want to see the staff (and possibly wand *eyebrow waggle*) charges go, because I like that it makes it possible for non-casters to use staves/wands. Heck, spell-point classes like Paladin and Monk could even use them long-term, since Powers are Spells that you can cast and (at least presumably) have Levels, those should be just as legitimate for recharging staff charges as Slots.


I think what people are missing is there is no Resonance "limit". There is threshold between "100% reliability" mode, shifting to "50% reliability mode" the latter deteriorating and with Critical Failure chance that shuts-out *that item* for 24h. You would be insane to behave as if there is actual "limit", and not milk the "50% reliability mode" for what it's worth, which isn't a big impediment in terms of out-of-combat utility and buffing, until you hit Critical Failures which are very rare until you use significant numbers of items past your RP pool threshold.

We don't know if it's possible to milk "50% reliability mode" BEFORE running out of RP, i.e. leaving stash of RP for "reliable" in-combat usage.


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enrik wrote:
They'd simply state "I'm using X# of actions to activate the magic item" not whatever labels we were given.

That's kind of the point. The types of actions just let people assign rules to how certain things are handled. However, your players will generally just go, as you say:

"Two actions to do the thing."

"Wait, one of those is activation, you get a bonus."

"Oh, yeah. I get to ignore one of those once a day... uhm... one action to do the thing."


Enrik, this is exactly what I am confused on. So I understand players get 3 actions unless you have benefits of haste or slow then you would gain or lose additional actions. It would be easier for me to understand an operate activation and a cast activation (using RP) or some other representation of the action system. The way I understand it the [[A]] represents an action. But what is really messing with my head is operate activation, focus activation, ect. It would be easier for me to say ok I need to use an action to activate this ability or a RP point to activate the spell portion of the item.

I guess we dont really know the exact nature of the beast until we can actually look at the rulebook. Is there a blog that lists the different action types because I think that the blogs releases should be based on building up additional rules that are already presented. I believe this would make the picture easier to understand. Don't get me wrong I am loving the system I am just hoping my players will be able to catch onto the system with relative ease.


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Quandary wrote:

I think what people are missing is there is no Resonance "limit". There is threshold between "100% reliability" mode, shifting to "50% reliability mode" the latter deteriorating and with Critical Failure chance that shuts-out *that item* for 24h. You would be insane to behave as if there is actual "limit", and not milk the "50% reliability mode" for what it's worth, which isn't a big impediment in terms of out-of-combat utility and buffing, until you hit Critical Failures which are very rare until you use significant numbers of items past your RP pool threshold.

We don't know if it's possible to milk "50% reliability mode" BEFORE running out of RP, i.e. leaving stash of RP for "reliable" in-combat usage.

To be fair, there is a hard limit. You don't get a modifier on the limit break check, so the absolute most Resonance you can use in a day is Level + Cha + 11. At that point the check to use more would be DC 21 on a raw d20 roll, literally impossible.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shinigami02 wrote:
Quandary wrote:

I think what people are missing is there is no Resonance "limit". There is threshold between "100% reliability" mode, shifting to "50% reliability mode" the latter deteriorating and with Critical Failure chance that shuts-out *that item* for 24h. You would be insane to behave as if there is actual "limit", and not milk the "50% reliability mode" for what it's worth, which isn't a big impediment in terms of out-of-combat utility and buffing, until you hit Critical Failures which are very rare until you use significant numbers of items past your RP pool threshold.

We don't know if it's possible to milk "50% reliability mode" BEFORE running out of RP, i.e. leaving stash of RP for "reliable" in-combat usage.

To be fair, there is a hard limit. You don't get a modifier on the limit break check, so the absolute most Resonance you can use in a day is Level + Cha + 11. At that point the check to use more would be DC 21 on a raw d20 roll, literally impossible.

Wait, are they saying you can attempt to drink a potion but fail and it won't be wasted? Because if it works like I thought and consumes a the potion with the failure it would be insane to gamble expensive items like that on a coin toss unless you *really* needed it, in which case you would wish you had budgeted your resonance so you don't have to take a chance at such a critical point and waste an action and potion.


Shinigami02 wrote:
To be fair, there is a hard limit. You don't get a modifier on the limit break check, so the absolute most Resonance you can use in a day is Level + Cha + 11. At that point the check to use more would be DC 21 on a raw d20 roll, literally impossible.

Sure, but I haven't seen much evidence people are specifically discussing that limit. It isn't even accurate to call that the Resonance limit because you aren't using RP once you leave "100% reliability mode".

WatersLethe wrote:
Wait, are they saying you can attempt to drink a potion but fail and it won't be wasted? Because if it works like I thought and consumes a the potion with the failure it would be insane to gamble expensive items like that on a coin toss unless you *really* needed it, in which case you would wish you had budgeted your resonance so you don't have to take a chance at such a critical point and waste an action and potion.

I get the concern re: Potions, but that is really specific concern, not re: system in general. IME, Potions are generally not commonly used in P1E because they are expensive vs wands etc. This is obviously something you know before drinking the Potion though. I wouldn't characterize that as "insane" regardless, because all it means is risk of losing item. So what? People do thinks with risk of failure, or coming up with nothing, all the time in real life and RPG game, it is cost/benefit issue. How is that fundamentally different than using consumable spell in a can that is Save or Suck? Using consumables isn't real long term impact on WBL or anything, since it assumes present wealth matches target by whatever "income/cost flow" is necessary.

That does relate to my question: Can you choose to utilize "50% failure mode" (rolling) while you still have RP remaining, in order to have "reliable" RP for in-combat use, or to not waste a Potion? We just don't know the answer to that now AFAIK, but assuming one answer doesn't seem inherent part of system until we know the real answer.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
eddv wrote:
I would make a comment on this post, but I have already made 6 posts using my cell phone today and lack the RP to use my phone again.

Well, there goes my posting!


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I would be willing to houserule "if you drink a potion on 0 resonance and fail, you'll just have a 'reversal of fortune' and yack the thing back into the bottle... nobody else is going to want to drink it now, but the magic still works."

Internal logic being "your body rejects excess magic."


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Mildly horrified by these examples.

First, the text needs to make it clear when you have to spend resonance. Until I read the follow-up commentary on the items, it didn't even occur to me that you would have to spend resonance to invest the staff, then spend more resonance to actually use it each time. And also that there would be a usage cap on top and you hit that cap at 5th level.

You spend the first half of the article making a big deal about how limited resonance is, and the first example is a cloak of elvenkind, which is inexplicably a 10th level item, requires you spend your limited resource to get... ghost sound. And maybe get a +3 bonus to stealth at the cost of an action (but not resonance, if I understand it correctly), which lasts for... an unknown duration, possibly until the hood isn't on your head?

But you also can spend yet more resonance, at the cost of two more actions (unclear again) to...put it on your head even more... and turn invisible.

So from the description it isn't completely clear where you need to spend resonance and where you don't, and if you have to use both activation actions (which is horrible terminology) to get the invisibility function on.

So, anyway, that's a resonance sink. It seems to be the primary function, as at tenth level, competing for a limited resource, I'd use this never.

In fact, for all the items shown, with the level required... yeah, pass. Magic weapon, magic armor, stat booster, don't bother with burning resonance with this stuff.

----

Command Activation, Focus Activation, or Operate Activation: these terms are still just really awkward. Possibly just drop 'activation' and find a decent synonym for operate. It sounds really anachronistic and awkward.

----

Also... 'Charisma is the stat for innate magic' Sure, that's a reasonable take on the stat. Making it a bonus for the number of objects used per day (ie, completely foreign magic) doesn't gel. I get wanting a use for charisma, the fluff/rules pair you've come up with is completely dissonant.

Shadow Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

FLOATING SHIELD ITEM 13

Magical

Price 2,800 gp

Method of Use held, 1 hand; Bulk L

Actions Utilized: [[A]] Operate, [[A]] Interact

This master-quality light wooden shield (Hardness 6) protects you without requiring you to spend actions each round. When you use an [[A]] Operate action to 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 [[A]] Interact action, ending its floating effect.


I feel like it could be clarified a bit on things like the cloak which things are from investing and which from activating. Like the 'pull hood up for bonus' thing is listed the same as the invisibility, but only the invisibility costs a point, the other doesn't.

I feel like it should be made more clear.

Like you've got a heading for each that specifies what each gets you.

Say...

Invest: Something something stealth bonus and ghost sound

Active: Something something invis

Clearly delineate what you get for investing in the item, and what requires a point to be spent.

Also as a secondary point, I feel like... staves might have a BIT much going on with them? Not with their benefits, but with their limitations.

Like you need to invest in it, and then STILL spend more RP to use the spells in it... but doing so also costs the staff charges? Why do staves still have charges anyway? It sounds like wands don't anymore, and you can just use them until you're out of RP.

Charges look like just a daily limit, except it's a daily limit that fluctuates depending on how much you used it. And you did talk about how you've removed a lot of daily limits due to RP removing the need for them. If charges are there to act as a limiter on more powerful spells that you don't want to be as equal in cost as other spells on a staff, you could just make them cost more RP instead of more charges.

TL;DR is that I don't feel like charges are necessary anymore on staves, given that RP exists. It's just another daily limit, and one you need to keep track of since it keeps changing.


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All of the bad stuff I want to say about Resonance has already been said, so instead I'll mention how awful of an item the Fear Gem is. Missing a special ability sucks enough already, I have no desire to also throw money away in the process.


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magnuskn wrote:

Alright, the more I read about resonance, the more worried I get about its metagame effect on the game overall. There has to be a better way to make charisma a non-dump stat than this.

The problems I am having with resonance, as presented so far, are:

- That it exacerbates the 15-minute adventurer workday paradigm, instead of shifting the game away from it. With resonance being such a limited and important resource and there being negative consequences to it running out, players will be incentivized to retire from their adventure for the day as soon as they get into danger of being caught out without their resonance pool to fall back on.
I was hoping that Paizo would shift away from the "clear five rooms, rest for a day" type of gameplay which has plagued D&D/Pathfinder for decades. I fear that the developers are going into the totally opposite direction with resonance.

- That it denies opportunities for non-traditional parties. You may think what you want about Cure Light Wound wands as cheap healing resources, but their existance made it possible to run adventure paths without a dedicated healer and also helped out with the 15-minute workday problem enumerated above. With resonance being a limiting factor on cheap healing alternatives, at least one player will be forced into a "healing battery" choice, if he wants to or not. The only solution to that is that the GM begins throwing expensive healing items at the group.

This is exactly what I was thinking as soon as I read about the resonance system. Almost every player will stack as many invested items onto their character as possible, and if that means they can only get magically healed once, then it's two fights a day. If the resonance system is strict on that 24 hour limit, maybe 2 fights every other day. "The mayors daughter will be sacrificed at midnight tonight in the caves of darkness? Too bad for her (and our second prestige in PFS), we simply lack the resonance to save her!"

And if you see a player come to the table with an interesting cleric who wants to use his spells for cool effects, they'll need to be shut down and reminded that they are a heal-bot, and they should be waiting in the corner until after the fight.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As a GM who currently runs both Pathfinder and Starfinder, please don’t use RP for Resonance Points! I will want to switch back and forth between the systems and having two very different things both be RP in the stat blocks.

People learn to focus on different things when skimming information. This works great when things are consistent. At least for me, it will make it harder to skim as I have to switch between Starfinder and Pathfinder 2 modes.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I would be willing to houserule "if you drink a potion on 0 resonance and fail, you'll just have a 'reversal of fortune' and yack the thing back into the bottle... nobody else is going to want to drink it now, but the magic still works." Internal logic being "your body rejects excess magic."

Sure, it basically is unique rule for Potions that they are consumed regardless of non-activation, changing it just is rule that they aren't consumed if they aren't activated. Personally, I'm not sure if "chance of wasting Potion if failing the activation check" is the worst thing in the world, after all Mishaps were a thing in 3.x/P1E when using scrolls/UMD, so it's not some alien concept in general terms. Honestly it seems like they are REMOVING that particular chance of wasting an item. And of course regardless of that, there is still chance to waste the item for no effect with Save or Sucks in a Can, or effects like Displacement or an AC or Attack or Save bonus which don't necessarily result in change to actual game action outcome, meaning that objectively you wasted the item.

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