Potency and Potions

Friday, June 29, 2018

Earlier this week, Logan gave you the skinny on Resonance and how it interacts with some iconic and all-new magic items. If you missed out on Logan's explanation of Resonance, you might want to take a look here before reading on, because we're going to come back to it at the end of the blog. You got how Resonance works? Good. Now forget about it, we're going to talk about weapons instead.

Potency and Properties

Unlike items with the invested trait or ones that you activate, weapons typically require no Resonance to use. You just pick one up and swing (or shoot, or sling, or thrust, or throw), and the magic weapon unleashes its punch, often with potency. Think as a weapon's potency as its "plus" and more. Potency still grants an item bonus to your attack rolls with the weapon, but now it also increases the damage dealt by an additional weapon die for each point of potency bonus. For example, let's say you find a +1 longsword buried in an otyugh's dung heap. Regardless of its current soiling, that weapon grants not only a +1 item bonus to attack rolls, but on a successful hit it deals 2d8 + Strength modifier damage, instead of the standard 1d8 + Strength modifier. A +2 longsword would instead grant a +2 item bonus to attacks and deal 3d8 + Strength modifier damage, and so on.

Of course, potency is only a part of the story. Magic weapons can also have properties. The maximum potency and the number of properties a weapon can have are based on that weapon's quality. Standard weapons can't have potency or properties, while expert-quality weapons can have up to +2 potency and one property. Master-quality weapons can have up to +4 potency and two properties, and legendary weapons can be +5 weapons and have three properties. Sometimes, special materials can affect the number of properties a magic weapon can possess. Since cold iron resists magic, weapons made of cold iron have one fewer property. Conversely, weapons made of highly magical orichalcum can have one additional property, but because the metal is so rare and difficult to work, these weapons must be legendary.

Both potency and property are imbued within a suitable weapon by etching magical runes upon it. Runes can be fairly easily removed or added (assuming the quality of the weapon allows it), and can even be found etched on a runestone, allowing them to be transferred separately from a weapon. Say you just found a handful of weapon property runestones in your adventure. What properties might they be? Well, let's take a look at one of the favorites of good and undead-hating clerics.

Disrupting Rune 5+

Method of Use etched, melee weapon


A disrupting weapon deals extra damage to undead. Undead hit by an attack with a disrupting weapon takes extra positive damage and additional effects on a critical hit.

Type standard; Level 5; Price 150 gp

The weapon deals 1d6 extra positive damage. On a critical hit, the undead is enfeebled 1 until the end of your next turn.

Type greater; Level 15 (Uncommon), Price 6,200 gp

The weapon deals 2d6 extra positive damage. On a critical hit, the undead creature must attempt a DC 32 Fortitude save with the following effects.

Success The target is enfeebled 2 until the end of your next turn.

Critical Success The target is enfeebled 1 until the end of your next turn.

Failure The target is enfeebled 3 until the end of your next turn.

Critical Failure The target is destroyed.

The disrupting property comes in two varieties. The standard disrupting property deals some positive damage and can enfeeble undead. The greater version deals more positive damage, and can force undead to attempt a save—if they critically fail that save, they're destroyed outright!

Of course, other types of properties can do even more incredible things. Sometimes, these properties can require an expenditure of resonance.

Vorpal Rune 17

Evocation, Magical

Price 15,000 gp

Method of Use etched, melee weapon that deals slashing damage

Activation [[R]] Focus Activation; Trigger You roll a natural 20 and critically succeed at a Strike with the weapon targeting a creature with at least one head.


When you activate a vorpal weapon, the triggering creature must succeed at a DC 35 Fortitude save, or it is decapitated. This kills any creature except ones that don't require a head to live (such as constructs, oozes, and some aberrations and undead). For creatures with multiple heads (such as ettins or hydras), this usually kills the creature only if you sever its lasthead.

If, like the vorpal property, a weapon property has an activation, you have to spend Resonance to activate it; however, unlike worn items, you don't have to already be attuned to a weapon to activate it. So roll those 20s and snicker-snack your opponents for as long as you've got the resonance to spare.

Armor Potency and Properties

Magic armor also features potency and may have properties. Like weapons, armor can hold a maximum amount of potency and properties based on its quality and special materials, and you can add, remove, or transfer potency and properties between armor via runes. The maximum potency and number of properties for armor is the same as for weapons, though it's worth noting that rather than granting an additional property, orichalcum armor instead grants a +1 circumstance bonus to initiative rolls and automatically repairs itself over time.

Armor potency grants an item bonus to AC (including Touch Armor Class) and to your saving throws. Magic and high-quality armors are also easier to use. Armors of expert quality have their armor check penalty reduced by one, while master-quality armors have their penalty reduced by two, and legendary armor by three.

Like other worn items, you must invest armor; that is, you have to spend resonance to gain its magical effects. If your armor has an activated property, you must have invested the armor before you can use that ability. Let's look at an example of such a property.

Invisibility Rune 8+

Illusion, Magical

Method of Use etched, light armor

Activation [[A]] Command Activation


Once per day, you can whisper the command word to become invisible for 1 minute, gaining the effects of a 2nd-level invisibilityspell.

Type standard; Level 8; Price 500 gp

Type greater; Level 10; Price 1,000 gp

You can activate the armor up to 3 times per day.

Craft Requirements You must supply a casting of invisibility.

This favored property of many rangers and rogues (and maybe a sneaky alchemist or two) allows the attuned creature to gain the benefit of an invisibility spell at the cost of an action and 1 RP. The greater version enables you to activate the armor three times a day instead of just once.

But not all properties feature activations or require expending Resonance beyond that spent for initial attunement. Here's a classic example of one—fortification.

Fortification Rune 12+

Abjuration, Magical

Method of Use etched, medium or heavy armor


Each time you're hit by a critical hit while wearing fortification armor, attempt a flat check with the listed DC. If you succeed, that critical hit becomes a normal hit. This property thickens the armor, increasing its Bulk by 1.

Type standard; Level 12; Price 2,000 gp; DC 17

Type greater; Level 18; Price 24,000 gp; DC 14

Granting medium and heavy armor users the possibility to transform a critical hit to a normal hit, fortification provides an excellent constant effect for fighters, paladins, and more martial-focused clerics.

Potions

Now that you know how magic weapons and armor work, let's talk a look at something much less permanent, but often useful in a pinch—potions! While in First Edition, potions were spells of 3rd level or lower in a bottle; we wanted to go a slightly different route this time. Potions not only can have effects that reach into higher levels, but they also don't need to be tied to particular spell effects. All of that said, there are just some potions that are so iconic and necessary, you can't mess with them too much. Who doesn't need a healing potion every now and then?

Healing Potion Item 1+

Consumable, Healing, Magical, Necromancy, Potion

Method of Use held, 1 hand; Bulk L

Activation [[A]] Operate Activation


When you drink a healing potion, you regain the listed number of Hit Points.

Type minor; Level 1; Price 3 gp

The potion restores 1d8 Hit Points.

Type lesser; Level 3; Price 8 gp

The potion restores 2d8+4 Hit Points.

Type moderate; Level 5; Price 20 gp

The potion restores 3d8+8 Hit Points.

Type greater; Level 8; Price 60 gp

The potion restores 5d8+12 Hit Points.

Type major; Level 12; Price 250 gp

The potion restores 7d8+20 Hit Points.

Type true; Level 16; Price 1,200 gp

The potion restores 9d8+30 Hit Points.

The first thing you'll notice is that there are six varieties of this point, ranging from level 1 (restoring 1d8 Hit Points) to level 16 (restoring 9d8+20 Hit Points) You'll also notice that this potion (and all potions) has an activation. Which, you guessed it, means you have to spend Resonance to gain its effect.

Of course, sometimes a healing potion does its best work when you're down for the punch and can't activate it yourself. No worries. The time-honored tradition of pouring a potion down your wounded friend's gullet is still in the game. Your companion spends an Interact basic action to administer the potion to you, but you still need to spend Resonance to gain the potion's effect (thankfully, you don't have to be conscious to do so).

Of course, this new flexibility for potions allows us to keep some items that in First Edition were called elixirs (a term that in the Playtest, we now use for alchemical concoctions). Here's one of my favorites:

Dragon's Breath Potion Item 7+

Consumable, Evocation, Magical, Potion

Method of Use held, 1 hand; Bulk L

Activation [[A]] Operate Activation


This liquid contains blood from a certain breed of dragon. For 1 hour after you imbibe the acrid concoction, you can unleash a breath weapon used by that breed of dragon. The potion's level and Price, as well as the amount of damage and the DC of the saving throw, all depend on the age of the dragon whose blood you used. This item has the trait matching the damage type of the breath weapon.

You can spend another Operate Activation action with no RP cost immediately after drinking the potion to exhale dragon breath. At any point during the potion's duration, you can use the breath weapon by spending 1 RP and 2 Operate Activation actions (one to inhale the necessary air and the other to breathe out). After you use the breath weapon, you can't do so again for 1d4 rounds.

Each creature in the area of the breath weapon attempts a save against your breath weapon.

Success Half damage.

Critical Success No damage.

Failure Full damage.

Critical Failure Double damage.

Type young; Level 7; Price 45 gp; Damage 4d6; DC 21

Type adult; Level 12;

Price 250 gp; Damage 7d6; DC 28

Type wyrm; Level 17; Price 2,000 gp; Damage 10d6; DC 35

Dragon Breath Weapon (Save)

Black or copper 30-foot line of acid (Reflex)
Blue or bronze 30-foot line of electricity (Reflex)
Brass 30-foot line of fire (Reflex)
Green 15-foot cone of poison (Fortitude)
Gold or red 15-foot cone of fire (Reflex)
Silver or white 15-foot cone of cold (Reflex)

This one is interesting because you spend Resonance when you first drink the potion and spew some draconic hate on your foes, and can then continue to do so for an hour after imbibing whenever you spend actions and RP. Pick the right kind of dragon, and you'll be the life of whatever party you join.

Very closely related to potions are oils. Like potions, you activate these consumable items, but you do so by applying the oil to an object or person. While it usually takes one hand to drink or administer a potion, applying oil takes two hands. This particular oil may be of interest to shield users.

Oil of Mending Item 3

Consumable, Magical, Oil, Transmutation

Price 6 gp

Method of Use held, 2 hands; Bulk L

Activation [[A]] Operate Activation


Applying this oil to an item casts a 2nd-level mending spell that repairs the item. If the item was broken, it is no longer broken. If the item has Dents, it loses those Dents. This restoration doesn't restore lost pieces. For instance, if used on a text with missing pages, it wouldn't recreate the lost pages.

A perfect backup when you fail your Crafting check to Repair an Item, or when you need to repair that dented shield in a hurry, the oil of mending has plenty of other uses.

Well, that's it for this week! Join us next week as we take a little walk in the woods.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Senior Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest
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Cheburn wrote:
In PF1e at least, potions have unique tastes. I doubt they're going to complement the soup.

I figure if one of the PCs has Legendary proficiency in cooking we could make it work. Aspics are kind of nasty anyway.


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I notice they still haven't addressed the obvious solution of just getting a couple hirelings as resonance batteries, using your healing wands for you. Henchmen: not just for carrying your crap anymore!


The Sideromancer wrote:
Bardarok wrote:

ORICHALCUM

I like the addition of Orichalcum as an inherently magic material especially if they are upping Cold Iron's place as an anti magic material (maybe sheets of cold iron block detect magic?) it has nice symmetry with mithril vs adamant being extra light vs extra tough metals.
But here's the thing: cold iron isn't just antimagic, it's also anti-antimagic since the hit applies to everything, including increasing the ability to disrupt magic. If Cold iron was true antimagic (and thus could be use to crank specific abjurations through the roof), I'd be more okay with it (especially since there are metals that apply to other forms of magic), but nope, that falls to noqual and cold iron is just pushed to the side.

I see your point. I also just re-read the entry for cold iron and realized that I have been ignoring the +2000 gp for enchanting that stuff rule for... [checks DnD v3 rules] ... [thinks about when I picked up the hobby] ... 16 years. So maybe I am not the best source for special materials rules, I had to look up noqual as well, I never picked up the tech book, not really my thing.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
In regard to a lot of different posts mentioning multi-spend schemes: Investing or activating either costs an RP or it doesn't, at least right now, which keeps it much simpler than spending variable amounts.

I have an alternate proposal that keeps this simplicity. It's a four-modal scheme. Item abilities / benefits are either:

1) Free
2) Invested
3) Activated
4) Limited

Free
Does not cost RP to use.

Invested
Costs 1 RP to use "at will" for the next 24 hours.

Activated
Costs 1 RP to use per usage.

Limited
Costs 1 RP to use the first time. Subsequent times, it costs your remaining RP.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
I notice they still haven't addressed the obvious solution of just getting a couple hirelings as resonance batteries, using your healing wands for you. Henchmen: not just for carrying your crap anymore!

You'll want charismatic ones too for the extra resonance so... backup bards!

"Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out.

Swiftly taking to his feet,
He beat a very brave retreat.
Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin!"

Dark Archive

What happens if you fail the flat check at 0 resonance while using the potion? Did you drink the potion without effect and the potion is wasted? Or did you simply not drink the potion?

What about permanent items that require RP to activate? If the item is limited uses per day, does it count as a "use" if you try and fail?

Does it still count as overspending RP if you try and fail, raising the flat DC of further attempts?


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So, when you etch a rune, it gets de-etched from somewhere else, and because magic, it never gets confused when two of the same rune are near each other, and they get mad when the thing they're being etched on isn't pretty enough? Orichalcum weapons hold runes better, but only certain runes, and they don't fix themselves or make you react faster, but orichalcum armor makes you react faster, fixes itself, and doesn't hold runes any better than other pretty suits? Vorpal weapons take "effort" to vorpalize, in addition to luck? Some runes have uses per day in addition to RP despite RP being shoved in partly to kill sub resource tracking? Magic pictures of fortification make our armor heavier because magic? Both alchemical and magical healing drinks take RP despite alchemical drinks not being magical, and alchemists can't make magic drinks until high levels despite low level magic drinks existing and their schtick being that they have more innate magic aura to shove into drinks?

My face is tired, and my head hurts. I should say something nice to offset my admittedly mean and pointy questions. They're a little more mean and pointy this week. The heat must be getting to me. Uhh… Orichalcum is pretty neat, and so are you. I'm glad it's around on Golarion.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
I notice they still haven't addressed the obvious solution of just getting a couple hirelings as resonance batteries, using your healing wands for you. Henchmen: not just for carrying your crap anymore!

Also a good solution for the NPC that the GM tosses to the group because the PCs can't cast some spell they are going to need to cast a few times- this person has minimal proficiencies, but owns several wands and scrolls. I figure "they supply their own resonance" is a good enough reason for even the murderhoboest parties to eschew "let's kill him and take his stuff."


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Mark Seifter wrote:
modus0 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Except for a particular time when my playtesters explicitly tried to see if they could get away with saving money on CLW wand spam despite being high level adventurers who could afford a better wand, and a few extreme stress test situations where I told them "This is the only fight today. Nova your heart out," my playtest group never really hit hard against the resonance caps, even the ones with lower Charisma.
, then what exactly is Resonance good for?

Well for at least one thing, I can bold another portion of the same quote:

Mark Seifter wrote:
Except for a particular time when my playtesters explicitly tried to see if they could get away with saving money on CLW wand spam despite being high level adventurers who could afford a better wand, and a few extreme stress test situations where I told them "This is the only fight today. Nova your heart out," my playtest group never really hit hard against the resonance caps, even the ones with lower Charisma.

This makes it sound like the playtesters were avoiding the resonance system except when told that it didn't matter. What was the percent breakdown of resonance spent on permanent effects(the item slot problem) and temporary effects(the cheap healing problem and the having too many cool things problem)?


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Overall the weapons look good. It's hard to tell though, without the math. It's really important that weapons be upgradeable. We know the single biggest flaw in Starfinder is the sell for 10%, combined with the general lack of upgrading, means players feel like they are throwing their gear away at the end of every level.

So if runes are readily transferable, and magical and mundane gear can be sold back for at least 50% of their market price, then I think the magic weapons system is great.

Armor looks pretty great overall, despite resonance adding another layer of complexity.

But again, we come to consumable magical items, which are ruined by resonance. As others have pointed out, spending resonance to do cool magical effects when you might need it for healing means much less cool magical effects and quite possibly a horde of unused resonance at the end of the day.

Wands are not included, not surprisingly, since there's probably going to even more controversy when they come out, based on the last two posts.

When there is playtesting on this, lets not beat around the bush, give some scenarios resonance-free wands of CLW, and leave the other players with a big old pack of resonance-costing healing potions, and then gather feedback on which parties felt like they had more fun at the end of each session.

Ending on a high note, I am surprisingly excited that Horacalcum is losing its annoying H and bringing it more in line with standard fantasy materials. Thanks!


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ErichAD wrote:
This makes it sound like the playtesters were avoiding the resonance system except when told that it didn't matter. What was the percent breakdown of resonance spent on permanent effects(the item slot problem) and temporary effects(the cheap healing problem and the having too many cool things problem)?

I figure this contextually depends on:

- what loot you pick up through adventuring
- what magic items there are to buy/make in the course of the adventure
- what is needed to overcome the obstacles the party faces.

If you can do everything you want to do without running into the resonance cap, then that's great. I'm guessing the nova situation worked out like "I could just charge the bad guy and finish 'em off, but I'll just use my sword that shoots beams all the time instead." In a real fight you would be choosier about when you use sword beams.


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Cold Iron isn't an enhancer of disruptive magic. It is a resistor of all magic. It is a mass of undiscriminating static. So if you have a magic effect that interferes with a spell it is still magic so cold Iron still resists like lead in a circuit.

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

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There's a lot to digest in this blog, but overall I'm not feeling excited about magic items and their interactions with resonance.

1) I still don't understand why magic weapons give a bonus to hit, when that bonus is already granted by the item quality. When item quality is already a requirement to increase the potency of the magic on the weapon, this seems redundant.
2) I'm torn about magic weapons granting additional dice of damage. This seems no better than having them grant a flat damage bonus and leads to more variability to damage. It also means scaling damage can get pretty ridiculous when looking at larger weapons (like a Huge giant's sword or a catapult) or high tech weapons (like a fusion lance from an annihilator robot or blaster rifles from Numeria). Increasing hp and weapon damage doesn't seem to result in a better game experience, just one with larger numbers.
3) Complete turn off to have all magic properties come from weapon runes. Having rune magic in the game is great, but having it be the only way magic weapons are made is horrible. Seems limiting from a narrative standpoint. In addition, the rules to add, remove and transfer runes, only enhances the loathing I'm having of the magic item system in PF2. This is more video game feeling than trinkets. That legendary axe you found isn't really that legendary if you can just scoop up the magic it has, and put it onto a stiletto you found, just because you're a dagger specialist.
4) Why orichalcum when horichalcum is already in the game? Just keep the H in front and not change in setting lore just because. Also have to agree with those who've stated that having it take on different properties between weapons and armor doesn't make a lot of sense. Why introduce weird exceptions that people have to keep track of?
5) Disrupting property -
a) seems that this now strongly overlaps with bane weapon (assuming that exists still), doing extra damage in addition to a chance to outright destroy undead.
b) In addition, the difference between a saving throw success, failure, and critical failure is odd. Going from enfeebled 2 to enfeebled 3 doesn't seem like a large change when it's moving from a success to a failure. Compared to a "save for half damage" effect, where the effect is doubled if you fail your save, it's not so much difference to have an additional -1 to stuff for 1 turn. Then if you critical failure, you have a huge step up, outright killing the undead. I'd expect the failure to do something like increase the positive energy damage at least as well.
c) Finally, why does disrupting which can auto kill a target not cost resonance, but later on, vorpal, which also can auto-kill a target (and with a nat 20 also required) need resonance? There doesn't seem to be any discernible pattern of when it's needed or not.
6) Invisibility armor - seems that being limited to the 2nd level invisibility effect is pretty poor for a 10th level item (how I even hate that phrase). It's even more odd when the greater version does this too, even though legacy players expect greater invisibility to be what's presumably now the 4th level invisibility effect. Is there no way to have a better invisibility power on armor, or do you need to go to the cloak of elvenkind for that? Also, what about just stealth improving armor, like shadowed? I would expect that to be cheaper than invisibility, and since you're adding that to cloaks of elvenkind, why not blur the lines even more and have both cloaks or armor provide either option?
7) Fortification armor - after seeing it used multiple times in blogs, I've decided I'm not a fan of the term "flat check" compared to a percentage chance. Not only does percentage chance have a legacy in the game, but it's a common concept in the real world players will be familiar with, while "flat check" is a brand new term which doesn't convey much meaning on its own. As for the armor itself, while I was happy when PF1 removed 100% fortification from that game, having only 20% and 35% at levels 12 and 18 seems like too little.
8) Healing potions - first thought is that for making a big deal about "potions aren't spells in a can" this is an odd choice for an example, since that's exactly what it is. Okay, you say it's an exception based on legacy, so maybe give a pass there. Having 6 levels of it are nice, but why not 9, since there's 9 levels of healing spells in the game now?
9) Potion of dragon breath - I guess "potions aren't spells in a can" simply isn't true. This seems exactly like a spell in a can - the dragon breath spell. While that spell isn't in PF2 core, it's been in PF1 for a long time, and I would expect eventually would be in PF2 as well. Even if it's never made as a spell, it's pretty much a spell effect either way. The 2 action activation after the first seems weirdly expensive, and the explanation that you need a full action to breath in falls flat. Do you need 2 actions to activate most magic items now just because a spell does? The resonance to use each time pretty much negates the you can use it as much as you want in an hour. I'd rather have a one shot potion that's cheaper. The price also seems to be weirdly off. It's the same price as the healing potions of the same level, does the same damage, but can be used a bunch of times, yet it still costs the same?
10)Oil of mending - oh look, it's another spell in a can, when "potions aren't spells in a can". I'm beginning to think that potions actually ARE spells in a can despite being told they aren't. Being an oil technically shouldn't matter either. As for the item itself, it's oddly sparse on details - how big of an item can it mend? Can you use it on a castle wall that's been breached? It's possible that details are part of the 2nd level mending spell, but if that's the case, why does the oil then go on to say "If the item was broken, it is no longer broken. If the item has Dents, it loses those Dents. This restoration doesn't restore lost pieces. For instance, if used on a text with missing pages, it wouldn't recreate the lost pages." Are those details NOT part of the 2nd level mending spell description? I'd much prefer the item to either fully give the effects of the item, or just short hand it as 2nd level mending.


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I don't normally bother replying to these blogs, but this one deserves it. These rules are a real mess. The presentation is terrible and the mechanics clunky and overcomplicated. They smash any sense of immersion, barely work to fix the 1e problem and are deeply incompatible with previous Golarion canon.

2/10. Must do better. Detention. Do it again, see me on Monday.


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Stone Dog wrote:
Cold Iron isn't an enhancer of disruptive magic. It is a resistor of all magic. It is a mass of undiscriminating static. So if you have a magic effect that interferes with a spell it is still magic so cold Iron still resists like lead in a circuit.

This relies on none of the abjurations taking that approach. Which, given that the process works, means that the Runelord of Envy or whoever came up with it is pretty dumb.

Side note: your analogy is terrible. lead is actually a fairly reasonable conductor at 4.55 MS/m, comparable to steel and titanium.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
ErichAD wrote:
This makes it sound like the playtesters were avoiding the resonance system except when told that it didn't matter. What was the percent breakdown of resonance spent on permanent effects(the item slot problem) and temporary effects(the cheap healing problem and the having too many cool things problem)?

I figure this contextually depends on:

- what loot you pick up through adventuring
- what magic items there are to buy/make in the course of the adventure
- what is needed to overcome the obstacles the party faces.

If you can do everything you want to do without running into the resonance cap, then that's great. I'm guessing the nova situation worked out like "I could just charge the bad guy and finish 'em off, but I'll just use my sword that shoots beams all the time instead." In a real fight you would be choosier about when you use sword beams.

I agree They'd be choosier, the question is in what way. If they spend permanent resonance on equipment and save the rest for emergencies only, then all items with a resonance cost but no emergency effect will end up being useless. Things like a magic climbing rope, bag of puppies, twig of tree summoning or whatever else, will all sit unused since they're in competition with life saving or damage burst items.

But I don't know the play test resonance use ratios, so I only have my group to judge on this sort of thing.


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I was at first disappointed with Vorpal at first sight once again, then realized it was no more treated as a "death effect" at all. Finally, I may be able to decapitate Cthulhu at my whim...

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

When I first heard about resonance I was excited because it was supposed to deal with the problems of item micromanagement and bookkeeping.

However, from the previews alone there are multiple items that gain charges or have x/day uses and that sucks. It means Resonance isn’t making life easier, it’s just becoming a worker placement game.

If Resonance doesn’t make my life as a GM or my players lives easier regarding micromanagement of their characters’ inventories I’m going to be real vocal about it In the playtest.

Resonance should be:


  • Invest: Item grants unlimited uses.
  • Spend Resonance: Item does a dramatic or interesting thing Resonance is charges.
  • Item is consumed: Item costs no resonance.

Anything more complicated than that isn’t adding depth, just complexity.

Feel free to look at my history I was a big supporter of resonance and I still would like to b, be, but right now magic items are way overdesigned.

Also I’m with other people about how effects should be listed from Best to Worst or Worst to Best. Instinctively that’s how people are searching for that information.


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Just pull the complete text of the resonance and magic item rules out of the document file you sent to the book printer weeks ago, and throw it online so we can get a better handle on this. You can do it right now, just make it a bonus blog. Since the conversational blog presentation style has obviously completely failed in this instance to properly convey what you want to convey, let the actual rules text from the book do it for you.

You don't have to actually show any more items. Just put the actual rules for items and resonance.


Am I right, in that with mundane weapon quality and enhancements stacking, we can expect a +2 att per "tier" dynamic? Also, can somebody tell me, is the magic weapon 'extra dice' multiply on a Crit, or multiply when using special attacks like Power Attack, i.e. be treated as "the weapon dice is just bigger now"? I haven't been able to tell from bits info revealed so far. ...Probably will take me some time to get used to new terminology, i.e. Quality for tiers of Masterwork instead of "mundane weapon features" which are now Weapon Traits (and Weapon Property instead of Special Ability, although that one feels like easier switch).

Having clearer understanding of function of the Invisiblity Coin and the Cloak and Invisibility Armor, I am open to consideration of Coin NOT replacing their function re: "pre-emptive Invisibility" (which is useful if guards etc would NOT engage in combat, but just move to alert their comrades etc), although question of whether Coin should allow both alternatives is open. I get the value of both action economy advantage of armor AND implications of it's separate activation, cloak "slot" (although since formal slots are removed, would it be plausible to wear multiple cloaks. call it "bundling up"), and not "competing" for armor qualities. Part of issue is not so much balance, but game-play consolidation which exceptional 3/day effect confuses.

The part about (consciousness-not-required) potion-swallower "spending" RP while being fed it (Interact) by ally, makes me wonder if that is/should just general mechanic... The target of spell can choose to supply RP even if "administrator" of spell doesn't/can't. I'm not seeing any reason why that can't be general rule, if it works for Potions, why shouldn't it work for character Invested to Healing Staff but now out of RP but their ally who is wounded has RP to spare?

Comparing Healing Potions and Dragon's Breath Potion, the latter affecting similar HP for similar cost be able to be re-used multiple times (for extra RP), prompted me to wonder why there isn't equivalent mechanic for healing: flavor it as "backwash" or whatever, but what would that lead to? Just a thought that occured to me.

Voss wrote:
It's the idea that 'a deep breath' costs 'an action' sets a precedent. Consider the possibility that precedent sets with underwater encounters. Finding and moving to air pockets to take deep breaths and continue the encounter. Suddenly you're burning all sorts of actions just to focus on the fight for a limited amount of time in the following turns.

Sounds reasonable to me. You're basically getting limited duration 'breathe in water' with limitations. Holding Breath also negates/grants bonus to Smoke/Fire damage and I believe inhaled Poison Saves.


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I've liked what I've seen of most of the previous preview posts but not these last 2 blogs. I can see what you are trying to do with Resonance but so far it looks to be contradictory and clunky due to combining X/day with another resource management system. That combined with the logic issues of having a healing potion you can't drink due to not enough resonance and fact you have to spend two resources each time you use a consumable.

My ideas on how to fix the issue is to have remove the X/day limits. Either lower the power of the magical effect or raise it's resonance cost if it's so powerful. The 2nd thing I would do is let consumables not use resonance. That gets rid of the un-fun issues of trying to drink a potion when out of resonance and dying due to a coin flip.


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Having consumable potions cost gold and resonance per use is an unappealing level of double-dipping on opportunity costs...

Couldn't we instead have flasks that convert water into healing potions at the cost of RP? As well as prefabricated potions which only cost gold because they are intended to be magic you don't have to spend daily resources on!

Otherwise... the only way I can justify the use of the current RP system is to make sure I make a "mana-potion" available; or some other reasonable method of regaining RP spent consumably (as opposed to Invested in permenant items)


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The Sideromancer wrote:
Stone Dog wrote:
Cold Iron isn't an enhancer of disruptive magic. It is a resistor of all magic. It is a mass of undiscriminating static. So if you have a magic effect that interferes with a spell it is still magic so cold Iron still resists like lead in a circuit.

This relies on none of the abjurations taking that approach. Which, given that the process works, means that the Runelord of Envy or whoever came up with it is pretty dumb.

Side note: your analogy is terrible. lead is actually a fairly reasonable conductor at 4.55 MS/m, comparable to steel and titanium.

Okay, bad analogy.

The fact remains that cold Iron isnot an abjuration. An abjuration is a kind of magic. Cold iron doesn't work well with magic. It follows then that cold iron doesn't work well with abjuration.

Liberty's Edge

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I'm not best pleased with having limited use items. Resonance was supposed to get rid of that, wasn't it?

I'm not against Resonance at all, but it seems like the opportunity it presents to simplify costs has mostly been ignored, which is disappointing.

And, as noted, simplified terminology would be great. Can we just retire 'Activations' as something that actually gets listed in paragraphs? It can be the overarching category for Operate, Focus, and other such Actions, but using it in actual paragraphs verges on the physically painful to read.

In short, I'm pleased with the system in general, and think Resonance is a fine idea, but am not pleased with Resonance's current implementation. Or the current terminology being used around items.


Fuzzypaws wrote:

Just pull the complete text of the resonance and magic item rules out of the document file you sent to the book printer weeks ago, and throw it online so we can get a better handle on this. You can do it right now, just make it a bonus blog. Since the conversational blog presentation style has obviously completely failed in this instance to properly convey what you want to convey, let the actual rules text from the book do it for you.

You don't have to actually show any more items. Just put the actual rules for items and resonance.

While I urge Paizo to take your suggestion, we are stuck in teaser trailer mode for another month or so

Unfortunate. No one else in my gaming group has remained interested in the conversational blog reveals. Perhaps they had the right idea.


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I have a strong feeling Resonance is gonna see a lot of changes in the playtest. Or at least I hope so, because wow is it a mess.

This isn't making things less complicated. It's making them MORE complicated. We still have uses/day items, apparently, but now we also have to play a resource management minigame with them AND with half our always active items.

Now, admittedly, I obviously haven't played the game yet, and maybe it's just that the flow of everything is super different, but I'm having trouble seeing how people have not been blowing through RP in the internal playtest. Consider for example a level 5 fighter with Cha 12 (pretty reasonable, given the system doesn't really encourage dumping but it's still supposed to be a low priority stat for her). She has 6 RP, if I'm understanding correctly? Now maybe she has 1 invested magic item, a cool special-effect uses/day item, some of those new trinkets, and some healing potions. And she has... 5 RP to split between those last 3, over the course of an entire day.

Didn't we want to try and *eliminate* the 15-minute adventuring day? Because this is going to exacerbate it a lot. And I see it being especially problematic in PFS, where players tend to rely heavily on consumables since there's no set party composition.

I understand CLW spam is boring and bad, but there have to be better ways of doing things. We already have action economy and silver economy (which looks to be somewhat rebalanced from PF1's gold), and apparently also carrying capacity (sure, a potion is only bulk L, but those add up!) to regulate consumable use; we don't need a 4th system.

So, uh, here's hoping that by the end of the playtest Resonance will look more like rainzax & Dudemeister's suggestions.


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Stone Dog wrote:
The Sideromancer wrote:
Stone Dog wrote:
Cold Iron isn't an enhancer of disruptive magic. It is a resistor of all magic. It is a mass of undiscriminating static. So if you have a magic effect that interferes with a spell it is still magic so cold Iron still resists like lead in a circuit.

This relies on none of the abjurations taking that approach. Which, given that the process works, means that the Runelord of Envy or whoever came up with it is pretty dumb.

Side note: your analogy is terrible. lead is actually a fairly reasonable conductor at 4.55 MS/m, comparable to steel and titanium.

Okay, bad analogy.

The fact remains that cold Iron isnot an abjuration. An abjuration is a kind of magic. Cold iron doesn't work well with magic. It follows then that cold iron doesn't work well with abjuration.

My point is that "doesn't work well with all magic" is not a classification that needs to exist. If we use the idea of high-resistivity materials, it may make them poor wires, but it doesn't mean they are useless in circuit building. If Cold Iron consistently applied a resistance to magic, we would expect anything that wants to apply that resistance to make use of cold iron. That would actually include noticeably more than just magic-disrupting abilities (which I am arguing should fall under its purview if it is to be this magical resistor in the same way that a circuit can be disrupted by adding a section of extremely high-resistivity air in the middle of a wire), it would also form the core of flaming swords not being dangerous to their wielders. I am okay with Cold Iron having high resistance, as long as that resistance is applied. At the moment, It's in the paradoxical state of having both low resistivity (since it cannot be used for components that use high resistance) and low conductivity (since it cannot be used for components that use high conduction).


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
I notice they still haven't addressed the obvious solution of just getting a couple hirelings as resonance batteries, using your healing wands for you. Henchmen: not just for carrying your crap anymore!

I think this is why they made wands ALSO have charges in addition to resonance cost. They thought resonance was perfect until someone figured "Hey, I can get a hireling to do it", which broke the entire resonance system... So they just added charges again.

Charges to limit it being passed around.
Resonance to prevent 1 person from spamming it by themselves.

2 different limiters on wand spam. I'd rather we not have wands at all with this tbh...


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Ludovicus wrote:
One thing 4e vs. 5e taught us is that writing style and visual presentation matters. Open one edition's Player's Handbook, then the other's. Which makes you smile, and imagine going on an adventure?

4e. I wouldn't pick up 5e to smash a bug with. :P

Fuzzypaws wrote:
I notice they still haven't addressed the obvious solution of just getting a couple hirelings as resonance batteries, using your healing wands for you. Henchmen: not just for carrying your crap anymore!

Or familiar or mount or summoned creature or...

Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
True---and none of those magical processes should be referred to as "etching." Just make the method keyword "rune" or "runic" and talk about "applying/removing/transferring" runes.

I see etching mush lime magic tattoos in pathfinder classic: real world you can't transfer tattoos but in pathfinder classic you can. Why should etching transfer be impossible?

worldhopper wrote:
I understand CLW spam is boring and bad

Well I understand some think this is so [including some devs], I don't think this is a universal truth accepted by the entirety of the gaming community. I personally have never found it either of those things.

Liberty's Edge

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So... if you're the healer, everyone else has an ass Medicine score, and you have too many magical items, there's nothing the party can do to stabilise you? They can pour a dozen potions down your throat and nothing happens?

o.0


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Also, not directly related to this Blog, but to Resonance at large...
I'm not sure of the mechanics entirely, but I understand Alchemist uses INT instead of CHA for Resonance,
and can use this same pool for their own Alchemy, i.e. in place of "Not Spell Points" for Alchemy abilities.
(which I would guess means Alchemist abilities can add 2 points per Feat like Spell Point using Feats do,
not sure if they also start higher than 1 to account for subsuming "Not Spell Point" pool as well)

My issue is not with the mechanics here, but the flavor. Alchemy is specifically "Not Magic",
so why would Alchemical prowess be associated with higher capacity to use non-Alchemical magic items?
I can definitely see a future Occultist combining Resonance and Spell Point pools somehow, but Alchemists?
Just not seeing why they don't have CHA based Resonance pool distinct from their Alchemy.
Personally, I would have pegged Alchemy as Occult magic, but if it's "Not Magic" this seems at odds with that.

Even for hypothetical 2e INT-based Occultist, applying BOTH INT and CHA to Resonance would seem best way
to account for combining Resonance and Spell Points (vs. starting at 1 while replacing 2 pools).
Since I'm not clear on mechanics, that could be how Alchemist Resonance works(?), which is better in that
it retains value of CHA to magic Investment/Activation (important for Alchemists considering CHA re: 4-stat boosts),
although still thematically insupportable if considering "Alchemy is not magic" (and not even Wizards get INT to Res).


ChibiNyan wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
I notice they still haven't addressed the obvious solution of just getting a couple hirelings as resonance batteries, using your healing wands for you. Henchmen: not just for carrying your crap anymore!

I think this is why they made wands ALSO have charges in addition to resonance cost. They thought resonance was perfect until someone figured "Hey, I can get a hireling to do it", which broke the entire resonance system... So they just added charges again.

Charges to limit it being passed around.
Resonance to prevent 1 person from spamming it by themselves.

2 different limiters on wand spam. I'd rather we not have wands at all with this tbh...

It's gonna take something else to get a system the players won't "game". Or you can just let people handle it on their tables like they have always done. As for PFS... pretty sure you can't hire wand-slaves in there anyways.


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Oh boy, I actually liked the Playtest blog posts until this one and the one before. So far the whole resonance and item systems seems to be very clunky, unintuitive and adding a level of micro-management without adding any fun. Fixing a "problem" that very far from everyone even considers to be a problem (e.g. a lot of people I know and I are perfectly fine with wands of CLW and Infernal Healing) by adding a clunky subsystem doesn't seem like a good idea.
A lot in this post outright disgusts me: this new vorpal sword (I bet Jabberwock had a great Fort save and the coolest use for the item is to behead huge monsters that tend to have great Fort saves); flat item DCs; having to expend some resource to drink a damn potion; Dents/Repair.
If these two were the first Playtest blog posts, I'd stop reading them long ago.


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Jester David wrote:

So... if you're the healer, everyone else has an ass Medicine score, and you have too many magical items, there's nothing the party can do to stabilise you? They can pour a dozen potions down your throat and nothing happens?

o.0

Well they can start digging the hole... :P


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Kinda disappointed that potions will require resonance. Will alchemical elixirs require the same? Especially when I want to assume that there will be some form of healing elixir as well.

If armor is invested, why isn't "invested" listed in its traits along with "magical" and other traits? Please don't force us to refer to another rule if it can be listed right in the statblock.

Similarly, if using an action costs resonance points, I think the resonance cost should be included next to the action cost. Even if you limit resonance to either 1 point or nothing, placing all the costs of an action in the same place greatly improve how easy it it to quickly scan a statblock and know how to run the item. Being forced to remember another general rule just makes the system harder to learn and easier to forget bits while playing.

Also, I want to like Resonance. I think it has a ton of useful implications for the system. But if you are going to implement Resonance, then commit to it.
One of the goals in the last playtest blog was for resonance to limit existence of item sub-pools. Yet we've already seen multiple items with charges and daily limits in addition to resonance costs. Do one or the other. Don't try to half-implement a system and have it both ways, because that just creates an unappetizing mess.

I get that you want to include legacy items from PF1. I also get that you want using resonance points to be an either/or decision rather than having a (harder to balance) variable cost. But trying to have both a resonance pool with additional things to track per item just makes the system messier to use. If we are going to use resonance, then PF1 items should either be changed to use resonance or be removed. Additionally, lesser versions of items could require multiple resonance to active the same effect as greater items, with the goal being that each improved version of the item costs less resonance and the highest version always costs only 1.


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Jester David wrote:

So... if you're the healer, everyone else has an ass Medicine score, and you have too many magical items, there's nothing the party can do to stabilise you? They can pour a dozen potions down your throat and nothing happens?

o.0

Isn't it awesome? Healing now has a meaningful and life threatening cost which means people won't use healing as much! Except of course they will, because not getting to be invisible per RP use isn't going to kill you, but not being able to drink that emergency potion will. Which means the Christmas tree effect goes away because everyone wants to save the resonance for healing.


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graystone wrote:
worldhopper wrote:
I understand CLW spam is boring and bad
Well I understand some think this is so [including some devs], I don't think this is a universal truth accepted by the entirety of the gaming community. I personally have never found it either of those things.

I agree with those people (it's repetitive and doesn't make for engaging gameplay), but this is not a good fix. 5E's short rest system (or SF's, for that matter) was a much better way of handling healing everybody up after a fight, and if they don't like that either - well, a better solution would be writing adventures that don't require everyone to be at full HP every combat.

Liberty's Edge

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Jester David wrote:

So... if you're the healer, everyone else has an ass Medicine score, and you have too many magical items, there's nothing the party can do to stabilise you? They can pour a dozen potions down your throat and nothing happens?

o.0

The DC to use Medicine to stabilize people is set, and you get bonuses to it as you level. This is not an issue beyond the lowest levels. There's also the Stabilize Cantrip (though admittedly that's something the healer's gonna be the one who has). And attempting to use potions via the 'roll for it' method.

This is a potential issue, but not one that's gonna come up very often. Certainly not all that much more often than it did in PF1.


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ChibiNyan wrote:
2 different limiters on wand spam. I'd rather we not have wands at all with this tbh...

Honestly, I think removing them should seriously be considered if it doesn't work well within system. Or more specifically, removing them as mechanically distinct class of item. They could remain, still calling them Wands but functioning as low-grade sub-set of Staves. With charges/day, no inherent Investiture bonus effect, and no ability to cast the spells with your own slots... which IMHO should not use RP as isn't justified by RP's rationale of 'magical use beyond usage of one's own magic', the bonus 'Spells Known'/Substitution effect should simply be effect of Investiture... which the low grade items like Wands don't need to offer.


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Nope. My appreciation for resonance is most definitely not growing. All the things I previously had a problem with are still there.


I think the logical end result of players attempting work arounds for resonance will be resonance cost being spent by the recipient for beneficial effects, not just unconscious potion use. That'll leave a design problem for area of effect abilities, but it works out otherwise.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Jester David wrote:

So... if you're the healer, everyone else has an ass Medicine score, and you have too many magical items, there's nothing the party can do to stabilise you? They can pour a dozen potions down your throat and nothing happens?

o.0

Isn't it awesome? Healing now has a meaningful and life threatening cost which means people won't use healing as much! Except of course they will, because not getting to be invisible per RP use isn't going to kill you, but not being able to drink that emergency potion will. Which means the Christmas tree effect goes away because everyone wants to save the resonance for healing.

Oh yeah, the blog was supposed to be about the christmas tree effect. I missed the connection, but I'll admit to skimming the last 80% since I had my main comment already in mind after the beginning.


Like with the Resonance post, I think there is still some unnecessary level of detail to these items. To wit:

Quote:
... you can whisper the command word to become invisible...
Quote:
... you can use the breath weapon by spending 1 RP and 2 Operate Activation actions (one to inhale the necessary air and the other to breathe out)

Why is it necessary to whisper the command word (I can't shout it like a barbaric yawp across the rooftops of the world and have it work?) Shouldn't it be enough to state that it takes to Operate actions and 1 RP to use the breath weapon? Is it vitally important that the nature of those actions (inhale, exhale) be spelled out explicitly?

I can't help but feel as if some of these details are being deliberately targeted towards Society play in their efforts to mitigate player vs. DM nitpicking. It feels like overreaching and won't really serve to stave off players who are truly invested in looking for "cheat codes" to do more than the rules allow.

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo)

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You REALLY need to simplify these RP expenditure/action expenditure rules for item usage.

These rules otherwise seem really solid but like...I feel like I need to bust out the formal logic rules to find out how to use some of this stuff and that's with a lifetime of experience playing RPGs.


Jester David wrote:
So... if you have too many magical items, there's nothing the party can do to stabilise you? They can pour a dozen potions down your throat and nothing happens?

I think my previous post up-thread on this was a bit confused (in thinking and wording), but I guess to me the solution to this is: BOTH the administrator (self or other) OR target of activated magic should be able to supply RP to activate effect. Because how does it matter whose hand is tipping the Potion bottle? I mean, you could be paralyzed and telekinetically dominating somebody to pour the bottle... What is fundamental difference re: magical resonance that matters there vs. pouring it yourself, or having ally pour it according to mutual understanding?

The distinction of active user or wearer would remain relevant re: Invested items, the target shouldn't be able to pay Investment cost for something being used by somebody else on them.

Shadow Lodge

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Still overpriced potions and unneeded complexity. Yup, super streamlined and easier than PF1. Oh, wait a minute....


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The Sideromancer wrote:
At the moment, It's in the paradoxical state of having both low resistivity (since it cannot be used for components that use high resistance) and low conductivity (since it cannot be used for components that use high conduction).

I don't think that a single CI component is enough to make the whole item count as CI. A hilt of the stuff would be great for keeping fire enchantments on a sword from creeping over the wielder's hands, but still leaves plenty of normal sword to etch runes into.

A hint of Cold Iron for thaumaturgical flavor should fit in fine with what you are saying. It is only when you are trying to enchantments the stuff directly that there is a problem, hence not being able to imbue as many enchantments onto a blade made entirely or almost entirely from the stuff.


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Bardarok wrote:
Will there be a potion of resonance restoration?

Yes, restores 1 RP, and costs 1 RP to Activate it's Activable Activation Actiony Action. It's called water.

Liberty's Edge

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Dragonborn3 wrote:
Still overpriced potions and unneeded complexity. Yup, super streamlined and easier than PF1. Oh, wait a minute....

Everything but Resonance seems legitimately simpler. Resonance is an unfortunate exception at the moment.


Stone Dog wrote:
The Sideromancer wrote:
At the moment, It's in the paradoxical state of having both low resistivity (since it cannot be used for components that use high resistance) and low conductivity (since it cannot be used for components that use high conduction).

I don't think that a single CI component is enough to make the whole item count as CI. A hilt of the stuff would be great for keeping fire enchantments on a sword from creeping over the wielder's hands, but still leaves plenty of normal sword to etch runes into.

A hint of Cold Iron for thaumaturgical flavor should fit in fine with what you are saying. It is only when you are trying to enchantments the stuff directly that there is a problem, hence not being able to imbue as many enchantments onto a blade made entirely or almost entirely from the stuff.

By the same token, a Throwing or Speed enchantment doesn't need to be on the blade where the CI is (Neither would frost or shock if we could get confirmation that CI is a decent thermal and electrical conductor). If CI's disruption doesn't "leak," any restriction is an engineering problem that can be solved (and considering you need better-made swords to stuff magic into in general, this is not a point against CI). If it does leak, why the **** isn't that leaking used to break opponent's magic?

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