Ongoing Changes

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The playtest of the new version of Pathfinder is well underway, and with it comes a variety of changes to the game and how it works. There are a number of parts of the game that we're looking at for revision, but we want to get a bit more data in on them first. Signature skills, ancestry benefits, and multiclassing archetypes are all under review, and some of these systems might need additional testing before the playtest process is over. As we get closer, we'll let you know what changes you can expect to see.

While we're on the topic, it's important to note that there will be other parts of the game we'll be changing between now and the final version, but that some of these parts aren't really very practical for us to test. Take the introduction to the book, for example. From all your early feedback, we've realized a number of ways in which this chapter could be improved, from including more examples to reorganizing some of the information to help folks learning the game. The team is already hard at work figuring out a better structure for the chapter and we feel that when you get the final version, the results of your feedback will really show.

While I have your attention, there's a matter of presentation that we're contemplating changing, but we want your thoughts before we do. It has to do with saving throws. Currently, there are a lot of spells and effects in the game that look something like this.

Fireball Spell 3

Evocation, Fire

Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting

Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst


A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage; creatures in the area must attempt a Reflex save.

Success The creature takes half damage.

Critical Success The creature is unaffected.

Failure The creature takes full damage.

Critical Failure The creature takes double damage.

Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

The degrees of success for the saving throw are pretty common throughout the spells chapter. In fact, they're so common that we thought it might make sense to simplify the process a bit. So, if a spell or effect is one where you take half damage on a success, take no damage on a critical success, take full damage on a failure, and take double on a critical failure, we're contemplating calling that a basic saving throw. Using this sort of scheme, fireball might look like this.

Fireball Spell 3

Evocation, Fire

Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting

Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst


A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage to creatures in the area, depending on their basic Reflex saves.

Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

That version is a lot cleaner and it takes up quite a bit less space, but this would be another term that players and GMs would need to learn. What do you think of this kind of approach? Let us know in the comments below whether or not basic saves are a thing you want to see in Pathfinder.

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

Join the Pathfinder Playtest designers every Friday throughout the playtest on our Twitch Channel to hear all about the process and chat directly with the team.

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I like the compactness of it.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Happy to hear that, all the abbreviation/heading options seem like they'll make it far more confusing.

You're probably all over this already, but if you do add a "Basic Saving Throw" as a concept, make sure to add it to the index so it's easier for first timers to work out what it means - both under "Basic Saving Throws" and "Saving Throws". Also capitalize so it's clear Basic has a rule meaning & isn't just the literal meaning of the word.


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Voss wrote:
There is a big clarity vs. 'space saving' issue afoot, and it looks like clarity is losing badly, especially if we're shrinking down to single letters masquerading as abbreviations and no punctuation to separate clauses, or worse, randomly ordered multipliers.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
I dont think I ever suggested shirking down single letters or abbreviations. I appreciate the thoughts here folks, but that does not work for us.

I used single letters masquerading as abbreviations in my example, so it is my fault. I had a chain of thought before doing so, so let me explain it.

I started with slashes:
Saving Throw Reflex (double damage / full damage / half damage / unaffected)

Then I realized that I had written my example in Critical Failure/Failure/Success/Critical Success order, which is not the standard order. So I corrected it to Success/Critical Success/Failure/Critical Failure order:
Saving Throw Reflex (half damage / unaffected / full damage / double damage)

But I saw finding the Failure result, the second most likely outcome, required counting to the third entry. A counting mistake could cause the reader to misread the Success or Critical Failure result as the Failure result. The same could happen in any other order, too. Thus, I replaced the slashes with labels to give clues:
Saving Throw Reflex (S half damage CS unaffected F full damage CF double damage)

Thus, my boldface single letters are not masquerading as abbreviations. They are masquerading as punctuation.

I would accept a claim that "basic damage Reflex save" would not have the order-of-results problem, but really, some people will imagine "Unaffected" as the result for Success rather than "Half damage" when trying to remember the list. Half damage does not feel like success; rather, it feels like partial success, which is not an option.

-----

I thought of an alternative to "basic" that is already part of Pathfinder: evasion.

FIREBALL Spell 3
Evocation, Fire
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst
A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage to every creature in the area. Each makes a Reflex save for evasion.
Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

Evasion is already a class feature for ranger and rogue that refers to Reflex saves.

Evasion 7th
Your senses and reflexes are honed to a razor’s edge, allowing
you to leap out harm’s way. You gain master proficiency in
Reflex saves and Perception. When you succeed at a Reflex
save, treat the outcome as a critical success instead.

Improved Evasion 15th
You become legendary at Reflex saves and Perception.
When you critically fail a Reflex save, treat the outcome
as a failure instead. When you fail a Reflex save against
an effect that deals damage, you take only half damage.

They alter the so-called basic Reflex save, so it makes sense to tie the name of that save to evasion. We would need to change the names of the ranger and rogue abilities, but Masterful Evasion and Legendary Evasion sound good.

This wording would also allow an action, some kind of dirty trick, that stops a creature from using evasion. Helpless creatures cannot use evasion.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Lots of good feedback folks, thanks. This sort of change might seem like an extra thing to learn, but it can also be seen as about 100 things you don't have to learn.

No, no it can't, it's one more implied rule that's not explicitly stated. It can't be seen as that.

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
I dont think I ever suggested shirking down single letters or abbreviations. I appreciate the thoughts here folks, but that does not work for us.

EDIT: Removing more aggressive tone, but suffice to say I think Paizo's ignoring their customer base/valuable feedback and exhibiting a large amount of confirmation bias in these decisions. Your tone comes across as "father knows best", at least to me, and really rubs me the wrong way.


Awesome idea.


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Okay, the idea that the basic Reflex save is simply the untrained version of evasion has made me realize that we have other forms of saves that can be generalized to saving throws.

For comparison, here is the Fear spell as currently written:

FEAR Spell 1
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 30 feet; Targets one creature
Duration varies
You plant fear in the target, with effects based on
its Will save.
Success The target is frightened 1.
Critical Success The target is unaffected.
Failure The target is frightened 2.
Critical Failure The target is frightened 3 and fleeing for 1 round.
Heightened (3rd) You can target up to five creatures.

Next, imagine that we we add the following beneath the saving throw text on page 17 of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook.

Saving Throws
From time to time, your character may need to determine
whether she can avoid or shake off an effect or spell. When
this happens, the GM will ask you to attempt a Fortitude,
Reflex, or Will saving throw, depending on the situation. For
each kind of saving throw, add your character’s Fortitude,
Reflex, or Will proficiency modifier (as appropriate) plus
the ability modifier associated with that kind of saving
throw, plus add any modifiers, bonuses, or penalties from
abilities, feats, or items that always apply, then record this
number on the line for that saving throw. For Fortitude
saving throws, use your character’s Constitution modifier.
For Reflex saving throws, use your character’s Dexterity
modifier. For Will saving throws, use your character’s
Wisdom modifier.

Evasion, Recovery, and Relief
Three common results of saving throws are evasion, recovery,
or relief. A saving throw for evasion tries to avoid damage.
Success deals half the damage, critical success completely
avoids damage, failure deals the full damage, and critical
failure deals double the damage. A saving throw for recovery
tries to reduce the severity of a condition. Success reduces
it by 1, critical success removes the condition, failure
leaves it unchanged, and critical failure increases it by 1.
A saving throw for relief tries to reduce the duration of
an effect. Success cuts the duration to one tenth, such as
changing 1 minute to 1 round, critical success ends the
effect immediately, failure leaves the duration unchanged,
and critical failure increases the duration to the maximum
given by the effect.

FEAR Spell 1
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 30 feet; Targets one creature
Duration by recovery
You plant fear in the target. It is frightened 2 and
makes a Will save for recovery.
Critical Failure The target is frightened 3 and
fleeing for 1 round.
Heightened (3rd) You can target up to five creatures.

BLINDNESS Spell 3
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 30 feet; Targets one creature
Duration by relief
You blind the target for 1 minute, maximum permanently.
The target makes a Fortitude save for relief. The target
is bolstered against all castings of Blindness for this day.
Success The target is blinded until its next turn begins.

Evaison is the name of a ranger and rogue ability to reduce damage from an effect that allows a Reflex save. Recovery is the name of a saving throw for dying.

From Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook Update 1.1 — Release Date: 8/27/2018

Recovery Saving Throws
When you’re dying, at the start of each of your turns you
attempt a special Fortitude saving throw to see if you get better
or worse; this is called a recovery saving throw. The effects of
this save are as follows.
Success Your dying value is reduced by 1.
Critical Success Your dying value is reduced by 2.
Failure Your dying value increases by 1.
Critical Failure Your dying value increases by 2.

Under the Evasion, Recovery, and Relief rules, that explanation would become:

Dying Saving Throws
When you’re dying, at the start of each of your turns you
attempt a Fortitude saving throw for recovery.
Success Your dying value is reduced by 1.
Critical Success You stop dying.
Failure Your dying value increases by 1.
Critical Failure Your dying value increases by 2.


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Consider Magic The Gathering’s approach; putting reminder text (for MTG in italics) on the more common and lower level spells that new players are more likely to encounter.

For higher level and rarer spells the same wouldn’t be necessary as the odds are that by the time a player encounters it, they’ve already learned it well.


Ramanujan wrote:

Consider Magic The Gathering’s approach; putting reminder text (for MTG in italics) on the more common and lower level spells that new players are more likely to encounter.

For higher level and rarer spells the same wouldn’t be necessary as the odds are that by the time a player encounters it, they’ve already learned it well.

And now that 5th Ed is merging with Magic (Ravnica), PF could dip a toe into Dominia!

Kidding.
I remember Chris Pramas remarking that 4th Ed felt a bit like Magic. SWSE does the hand of cards thing quite well (with a few tweaks, SWSE rocks, fun system).

As for the success format, each being a separate line-entry is not working for me.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
This sort of change might seem like an extra thing to learn, but it can also be seen as about 100 things you don't have to learn.

How does removing part of the spell entry, in favor of yet another keyword, equate to not having to learn 100 things?

Silver Crusade

Just another thought on the saving space idea.

Under the Saving Throw explanation, you could include a small table with very common saving throws. The table would have 5 columns, 1 for the type of saving throw and the other four represent the four outcomes: S,CS,F,CF.
Under the spell, item or effect that requires the Saving Throw add the text: Saving Throw [Fortitude|Reflex|Will] (<Type>) or if the Saving Throw is not included in the common table, use [Fortitude|Reflex|Will] (See below) and include the four outcomes inline.

Damage would be one of the common saving throws. As long as the table didn't get too long, it could be useful.


Mathmuse wrote:


Evasion, Recovery, and Relief

I disliked your S/CS/F/CF suggestion, but the Evasion/Recovery/Relief one looks great to me. I'm all for more standard definitions and exception-based specifics.

Grand Lodge

I think that as long as the term "basic save" is introduced and defined as to game impact in the section about saving throws, it will not be a problem. Probably should include the type of basic save (liked the parenthetical note) in the spell blocks though.

So, in the saving throw primer on "how spells work" it'd be easy to indicate that "basic save" is transitive to any spell that says the words "basic save (type)" in it. Then you could have basic Fort, Ref, and Will saves.

That sure would save some word count that could be used for more content which I am a fan of!


I like the idea of more efficiency... one of my many gripes with the current feat system is that the same feat appears multiple times for different classes. But I am also hesitant because I think having variable effects based on save is one of the strengths of the new system, and I think that using a "basic save" shortcut could discourage designers from thinking about how to make spells interesting by varying their save effects.

A number of spells have non-damage effects on a failed save, such as knocking someone prone, deafness/blindness, or fear. It's easy to imagine relatively weak spells that impose a condition effect only on a critical failure, or powerful spells that have some minor effect even on a critical success. Those could also be feat, i.e., "master of flame", your fire attacks do 1 point of damage/die even if a save would result in no damage. (That works fine with the "basic save", but other ideas might not.)

I guess I'm saying: I like a more efficient writing style and don't want needlessly repeated text, but don't use so many "standard" effects that it ends up explicitly or implicitly constraining the design space. (One of my big worries about PF2 is that a constrained design space is considered a feature, not a bug, because it makes Organized Play more predictable and uniform, with fewer odd combos or unexpectedly strong/weak character choices. It would be better to keep the core game as expandable and flexible as it can be, and simply produce a subset of all available rules for Organized Play.)


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tivadar27 wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Lots of good feedback folks, thanks. This sort of change might seem like an extra thing to learn, but it can also be seen as about 100 things you don't have to learn.

No, no it can't, it's one more implied rule that's not explicitly stated. It can't be seen as that.

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
I dont think I ever suggested shirking down single letters or abbreviations. I appreciate the thoughts here folks, but that does not work for us.
EDIT: Removing more aggressive tone, but suffice to say I think Paizo's ignoring their customer base/valuable feedback and exhibiting a large amount of confirmation bias in these decisions. Your tone comes across as "father knows best", at least to me, and really rubs me the wrong way.

I agree. Lots of us think this has been a trend, too.

Sometimes it feels like Paizo gets attached to certain ideas and runs with them, even when there's no good design-based argument for them (at least not one anyone outside Paizo understands) and when the player base is pretty emphatic it wants something different.


modus0 wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
This sort of change might seem like an extra thing to learn, but it can also be seen as about 100 things you don't have to learn.
How does removing part of the spell entry, in favor of yet another keyword, equate to not having to learn 100 things?

You now don't have to read every single spell that does the exact same as every other spell multiple times to make sure it actually does the exact same. That means you don't have to learn whether each spell does something outside the ordinary because if it does it will have entries for that and if it doesn't it won't.

What's clearer for you: "this spell does half a thing on a successful save, no things on a crit save, a whole thing on a failed save and double the things on a crit failed save" or "this spell works like Fireball but it's cold damage"? Or put another way: Would you like to have a table for each spell explicitly stating whatever it doesn't do alongside whatever it does?


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Ludovicus wrote:
Sometimes it feels like Paizo gets attached to certain ideas and runs with them, even when there's no good design-based argument for them (at least not one anyone outside Paizo understands) and when the player base is pretty emphatic it wants something different.

I will caution that we're not the entirety of the player base and it would be a mistake to think we are. Heck in many cases we on this forum ask for completely contradictory things. They obviously can't accommodate what everyone is saying.

Also their job isn't to give us what we say we want, their job is to create a good game that a lot of people will be willing to pay for.


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2Zak wrote:
modus0 wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
This sort of change might seem like an extra thing to learn, but it can also be seen as about 100 things you don't have to learn.
How does removing part of the spell entry, in favor of yet another keyword, equate to not having to learn 100 things?

You now don't have to read every single spell that does the exact same as every other spell multiple times to make sure it actually does the exact same.

What's clearer for you: "this spell does half a thing on a successful save, no things on a crit save, a whole thing on a failed save and double the things on a crit failed save" or "this spell works like Fireball but it's cold damage"?

The first one, because I don't have to then flip to Fireball to learn the rest of the rules for the spell.

For the sake of argument, let's take this to the opposite extreme. Suppose that the spell description for Fireball looked like this:

Fireball Spell 3
Evocation, Fire
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range medium range; Area medium burst
A burst of fire explodes, dealing basic energy damage (fire) to creatures in the area, depending on their basic Reflex saves.
Heightened Standard energy damage heightening applies.

Now you don't have to reread the parts that multiple spells have in common! In addition to knowing what "basic saving throw" means, you only have to learn once that:

  • "medium range" is 500 feet
  • A "medium burst" has a 20-foot radius
  • "basic energy damage" is 6d6 of some specified energy type
  • "standard energy damage heightening" is 2d6 damage per +1 level of heightening.
Think of all the space savings! Now think of all the page flipping you have to do to look up each of these pieces of information if you haven't memorized them all yet.


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Ludovicus wrote:

I agree. Lots of us think this has been a trend, too.

Sometimes it feels like Paizo gets attached to certain ideas and runs with them, even when there's no good design-based argument for them (at least not one anyone outside Paizo understands) and when the player base is pretty emphatic it wants something different.

Speak for yourself, not for "lots of us" and especially not for everyone outside of Paizo. I think the abbreviation system is awful, and the only thing it adds to the given standard/basic save idea is a lot of extra letters.

It's important for Paizo to manage expectations, and if they are already set against an idea, it's more respectful to state it plainly now.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There's certainly a balance between explicitly starting things and hosting them behind keywords. CCGs have to handle this all the time. It's one thing when a keyword will be prominent and exist for a short period of time and quite another if it has to live forever.

Normally I would be against the shortened version because it adds a moment of confusion while you're trying to figure out why it's different. Also it doesn't flow well since it requires you read the text of the spell rather than jump ahead to the success/failure entry you care about.

If you're going to do this there needs to be something in the header that you can quickly look at first too tell you how to interpret below.

Now all that said it might be even better if not so many spells followed the exact same pattern. I would rather have fewer spells that are more distinct than have so many spells that area just an element plus a shape plus a save. It's not exactly the most exciting. Why wait ten more years for 3.0; make the changes now!


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I do not like this suggested change. I am a new player, and there is already so much that you have to memorize and flipping back-and-forth to make sure you understand correctly. I also don't understand the value proposition of saving space.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
The BP wrote:

I like this change, and would add that when a range of results depends on a save that isn't "basic", they should be listed in order:

critical success
success
failure
critical failure

instead of the current order.

I'd like to second that thought - strongly. It seems to be the "correct order".


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2Zak wrote:
modus0 wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
This sort of change might seem like an extra thing to learn, but it can also be seen as about 100 things you don't have to learn.
How does removing part of the spell entry, in favor of yet another keyword, equate to not having to learn 100 things?

You now don't have to read every single spell that does the exact same as every other spell multiple times to make sure it actually does the exact same. That means you don't have to learn whether each spell does something outside the ordinary because if it does it will have entries for that and if it doesn't it won't.

What's clearer for you: "this spell does half a thing on a successful save, no things on a crit save, a whole thing on a failed save and double the things on a crit failed save" or "this spell works like Fireball but it's cold damage"? Or put another way: Would you like to have a table for each spell explicitly stating whatever it doesn't do alongside whatever it does?

Only, now I need to read every spell description to find out if it does damage so that I'd know how to handle the saving throws, instead of quickly looking at the save results list in the spell's description.

And I don't know about anyone else, but I don't tend to memorize spell entries, so I'd be looking up each spell to figure out what exactly it does regardless.

For your question on what clearer, the first example. Because it's right there in the spell entry, and I don't have to bounce around the book looking up how a fireball spell works, then having to look up how basic saves work, just to understand how the spell interacts with saving throws.


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In my opinion, the suggestion like:
"Reflex Saving Throw (S...,CS...,F...,CF)"
aren't that good because they don't solve the problem of still having to read all entries to be sure I get the effect right.
When the spell would state "Basic Saving Throw" or "Basic Damage-Scaling Save" I can be sure I KNOW the effect once I learned it. And that's the goal.
A list, even a compact one, I still have to read through because nothing guarantees that one entry isn't some special effect.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
masda_gib wrote:

In my opinion, the suggestion like:

"Reflex Saving Throw (S...,CS...,F...,CF)"
aren't that good because they don't solve the problem of still having to read all entries to be sure I get the effect right.
When the spell would state "Basic Saving Throw" or "Basic Damage-Scaling Save" I can be sure I KNOW the effect once I learned it. And that's the goal.
A list, even a compact one, I still have to read through because nothing guarantees that one entry isn't some special effect.

Nothing prevents the spell from having special effects on a save, but in that case the "basic" term is pointless and a more universal notation would be more helpful for parsing the new information. If something does have a special effect on a Crit fail, then you don't have to think and can just look at the spell and go "Oh, yeah, it does that, cool." instead of having to either think back to what your memory says (protip: after 4 hours of hard gaming at night your brain is shot and remembering things is way harder than it normally is) or flip through a bunch of pages trying to find the actual table in the book.

Though I guess if you really think about it, learning the "basic" term is a form of gating through system mastery. Except this time around it's not gating because some people don't have the time to learn all the fiddly bits and niche rules that generally comes with system mastery. It's gating because people don't have the time to learn all the syntax and jargon for basic system competency.


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modus0 wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
This sort of change might seem like an extra thing to learn, but it can also be seen as about 100 things you don't have to learn.
How does removing part of the spell entry, in favor of yet another keyword, equate to not having to learn 100 things?

Simply put, it doesn't, but it makes for a good tagline if Jason wants to sell this change. It's insultingly and obviously false, in my opinion.

Someone mentioned that "it's not Paizo's job to make us happy, it's their job to sell the game." I don't disagree with this, but they also seem fine ignoring feedback on here and need to get the feedback from somewhere, and the data they're collecting in the surveys and what they're inferring from it is impressively ignorant from an analytics standpoint. Just a couple of examples from Jason's Paizo Friday talk about data collected on part 1:

1. "We wanted to see how much money you had left over to know if you had enough money to buy everything you wanted." This implying a level of causality of that there's no guarantee of. For example, my first playthrough I wound up with very little gold left because I took the time to purchase individual items, the second time, it was so annoying, particuarly without "packs", that I didn't bother, had a ton of silver left over, and didn't have things like a bedroll, a lantern, pitons...

2. "We'll look at character creation time in part 2 to determine the learning curve" I ran through part 2, and there's no question in there asking if you've even *played* part 1. If time goes down, overall, then you can probably infer that that's due to learning curve (there couldn't be anything else in theory), but building a level 4 is going to take additional time (my time went up), and they have no way of knowing if those who played part 2 already had experience creating a character, or even if those in part 1 did.

Sorry, but this is just extremely ignorant. I'm *not* an analytics expert, but I know that these are some big holes that at least Jason seems to think they'll be able to infer data from...

I'm done ranting. What I've seen out of Paizo so far with how this has been conducted has been horrible. A company I used to have a lot of respect for, generally speaking, I'm finding myself more and more pushed away from.


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So to reverse things, do you need the cs/s/f/cf written out for every attack? Cause I see little difference in the standard rules here. If a spell does damage and nothing but damage, there isn't a need to repeat the same info over again. And if it doesn't have just damage, then you put the results which imo is more clear and less likely to be glossed over, since it has a higher signal to noise ratio


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Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Why isn't this a trait? E.g. Evadable

Evasion
When rolling a save for an effect with the Evadable trait, treat a Success as a Critical Success.

Traits
...
Evadable
The effect has the following additions to each result:
Critical Success Non-persistent damage is reduced to 0.
Success Non-persistent damage is reduced by half.
Critical Failure Non-persistent damage is doubled.
...
Fire
... something about things catching on fire ...


Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Instead of S/CS/F/CF we could have [check][double check][X][XX] for shorthand. Remember this may need to be translated. And in some language success and failure may start with the same letter.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
kitmehsu wrote:
So to reverse things, do you need the cs/s/f/cf written out for every attack?

If attacks had an entry of some kind, then yes. Fewer things to remember, less needing to double-check rules by flipping across pages. The only reason critical attacks can get away with it is because, generally speaking only ONE person needs to learn the rule: the GM. Monsters have "hidden" attack and defense values, and the GM is the absolute arbitrator in those rules.

Spells, on the other hand, require both the players AND the GM to learn how they function because they have a wide range of effects and often players are selecting spells BECAUSE of specific failure or success effects.


I am not completely against using a keyword: I really like "bolstered", for example. On the other hand, if the best we can come up with is either completely arbitrary words like "basic" or "standard", then that is probably a sign that it shouldn't be done by using a keyword. How is magic missile less "basic" than fireball? It would probably be better to have a few more lines then.

I couldn't find out if the 2ndedition CRB is fixed at 434 pages (like the playtest), 578 pages (like the 1st edition CRB), or another size? I always assumed it would be 578 pages


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I like the idea of a short-hand for the usual none/half/full/double tiers of success on checks. I'm not sure I want it tied to saving throws, since that closes the door to re-using that short-hand for non-saving throw checks -- I think some skill checks could use a similar damage (or healing) progression. The difference is that these other uses might invert the success/fails....

We have four main progressions:
none/half/full/double (mainly affects that use a saving throw against damage)
double/full/none/none (weapon attack rolls, ignoring the fighter minimum damage on a miss thing)
yes/no (flat checks, amount others)
unique (more complicated spells/powers)

For saves, something like
Save: Reflex with standard damage tiering


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Red Rabbit wrote:

I am not completely against using a keyword: I really like "bolstered", for example. On the other hand, if the best we can come up with is either completely arbitrary words like "basic" or "standard", then that is probably a sign that it shouldn't be done by using a keyword. How is magic missile less "basic" than fireball? It would probably be better to have a few more lines then.

I couldn't find out if the 2ndedition CRB is fixed at 434 pages (like the playtest), 578 pages (like the 1st edition CRB), or another size? I always assumed it would be 578 pages

Yes, and we all know such terms as Operation Activation action, and Basic interact action are not going down so well. Revolting to look at, and say.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Removing the repetitive four-item list of results for saving throws that follow the same format is great.

Putting descriptions for saving throw formats (standard, or any others that arise) in one place is great.

The top description block for the spell should specify the saving throw format and type.

Separate: As others mentioned, every spell's (including the power sub-type) top description block should have a list of what classes can use it and what level it is available for that class. This was displayed in 3.0, 3.5, and PF 1.0; I am not sure why it has been omitted in PF 2.0, but it causes difficulties.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
RainOfSteel wrote:
Separate: As others mentioned, every spell's (including the power sub-type) top description block should have a list of what classes can use it and what level it is available for that class. This was displayed in 3.0, 3.5, and PF 1.0; I am not sure why it has been omitted in PF 2.0, but it causes difficulties.

It causes people to have to search lists of spells by level and kind (arcane, divine, etc.) to see where it appears. I suppose that's a "difficulty". And yes, listing that information in the spell description is useful and should be done. But this is a very minor thing compared to other problems with spell casting.


Nihiloi wrote:
I do not like this suggested change. I am a new player, and there is already so much that you have to memorize and flipping back-and-forth to make sure you understand correctly. I also don't understand the value proposition of saving space.

I can see that point that anything that makes a statblock shorter gives more room for other content in adventures.


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One more vote for removing the for term list. I suggest calling it a standard save.


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I like the idea, but I'd change the name to "Standard save". Standard makes more sense, as it's the standard way that damage only spells will be dealt with, and "basic" speaks of levels, like basic, medium, expert, legendary, etc.

Otherwise, I love this idea. Very easy to "get" for experienced gamers, which makes it easier for newer players to learn and retain.

As for spells that want all four results listed, I think succes, cri success, fail, crit fail is still fine, because the noncrit results will be far more common (assuming the PCs haven't decided to hunt down and fight a +4 level Dragon).


Mathmuse wrote:


I like Chess Pwn's way of spelling out the magnitudes quickly, which gives more versatility. For example, as Alchemic_Genius suggested, it can adapt to the Fear spell, too.

Then we add Andrew Riebe's suggestion of putting it in a saving throw line for added clarity.

The results look clean and clear.

FEAR Spell 1
Emotion, Enchantment, Fear, Mental
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 30 feet; Targets one creature
Duration by frightened magnitude
Saving Throw Will (S frightened 1 CS unaffected F frightened 2 CF frightened 3 and fleeing for 1 round)
You plant fear in the target. It becomes frightened and possibly fleeing with magnitude based on its Will save.

FIREBALL Spell 3
Evocation, Fire
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst
Saving Throw Reflex (S half damage CS unaffected F full damage CF double damage)
A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage. Creatures in the area take a multiple of that damage based on their Reflex saves.
Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

The keyword "basic" is not necessary and would only add to the jargon to memorize.

I really like this look. It saves space and makes it slightly faster to gather in what the spell does.


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Doodpants wrote:
2Zak wrote:
modus0 wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
This sort of change might seem like an extra thing to learn, but it can also be seen as about 100 things you don't have to learn.
How does removing part of the spell entry, in favor of yet another keyword, equate to not having to learn 100 things?

You now don't have to read every single spell that does the exact same as every other spell multiple times to make sure it actually does the exact same.

What's clearer for you: "this spell does half a thing on a successful save, no things on a crit save, a whole thing on a failed save and double the things on a crit failed save" or "this spell works like Fireball but it's cold damage"?

The first one, because I don't have to then flip to Fireball to learn the rest of the rules for the spell.

For the sake of argument, let's take this to the opposite extreme. Suppose that the spell description for Fireball looked like this:

Fireball Spell 3
Evocation, Fire
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range medium range; Area medium burst
A burst of fire explodes, dealing basic energy damage (fire) to creatures in the area, depending on their basic Reflex saves.
Heightened Standard energy damage heightening applies.

Now you don't have to reread the parts that multiple spells have in common! In addition to knowing what "basic saving throw" means, you only have to learn once that:

  • "medium range" is 500 feet
  • A "medium burst" has a 20-foot radius
  • "basic energy damage" is 6d6 of some specified energy type
  • "standard energy damage heightening" is 2d6 damage per +1 level of heightening.
Think of all the space savings! Now think of all the page flipping you have to do to look up each of these pieces of information if you haven't memorized them all yet.

“Medium range” doesn’t save space nor is faster to read.

“”Medium burst” doesn’t save space nor is faster to read.
“Standard energy damage heightening” doesn’t save space nor is faster to read.

“Basic saving throw” saves AT LEAST three lines of text and is extremely quick to mentally translate to a very simple concept.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Starfox wrote:
kpulv wrote:
Also I really really really implore you to remove flavor text from mechanical text. Put flavor at the end after all of the mechanical text. Fireball is short on flavor text thankfully, but my players and I pretty much have to train ourselves to ignore the first one or two sentences of every description in the book because it's not useful information.
I agree with this, except I'd prefer the description to come first, in italics.

YES...use italics for flavor text! This would help a ton I think


Ed Reppert wrote:
As others have said, a pdf of the rulebook should make extensive use of hyperlinks both between areas of the book and from the ToC and index to the relevant page. And give powers their own description section. Also agree with drakkonflye regarding mathmuse's contstruction of spell descriptions. Although I might word the description of the effect of the fear spell a bit differently: "You plant fear in the target. It becomes frightened (magnitude based on its Will save) and may flee."

+1 for more hyperlinks in all PDFs. Having to manually find the spell after seeing it on a list is really fiddly, even with ctrl+F.

And there needs to be some kind of back button, so you can resume browsing where you left off after clicking a hyperlink, but that might be more of an issue with the PDF reader...


For the "standard" save with success, critical success, etc. doing different amounts of damage:

Save - Reflex (Damage 4 tiers)


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Centuros wrote:
And there needs to be some kind of back button, so you can resume browsing where you left off after clicking a hyperlink, but that might be more of an issue with the PDF reader...

Foxit Reader has this functionality. It is called Previous View and there is a button at the bottom center (Alt + Left Arrow is the shortcut).


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Seems like a good way to save space to me.
I'd rather it be on it's own line, though.

Quote:

A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage to creatures in the area.

Save Standard (Damage)
Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

Or for a spell that applied a condition...

Quote:

A burst of smoke explodes, causing the frightened condition to creatures in the area.

Save Standard (Condition)
Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

I don't mind it being another thing to look up since if it's explained in the same place as the saving throw rules there's no reason why anyone should miss it. Also, there's no reason to be reading spell descriptions without having read and understood all the basic rules first.

PS- Let me take a sec to reiterate what others are saying about the nomenclature choices in the playtest. Stop making arbitrary changes to established words. Make sure everything is concise and makes sense.
There are a few people in my group that are severely turned off by name changes to things that essentially still do the same thing as before.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Tristram wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:


I like Chess Pwn's way of spelling out the magnitudes quickly, which gives more versatility. For example, as Alchemic_Genius suggested, it can adapt to the Fear spell, too.

Then we add Andrew Riebe's suggestion of putting it in a saving throw line for added clarity.

The results look clean and clear.

FEAR Spell 1
Emotion, Enchantment, Fear, Mental
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 30 feet; Targets one creature
Duration by frightened magnitude
Saving Throw Will (S frightened 1 CS unaffected F frightened 2 CF frightened 3 and fleeing for 1 round)
You plant fear in the target. It becomes frightened and possibly fleeing with magnitude based on its Will save.

FIREBALL Spell 3
Evocation, Fire
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst
Saving Throw Reflex (S half damage CS unaffected F full damage CF double damage)
A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage. Creatures in the area take a multiple of that damage based on their Reflex saves.
Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

The keyword "basic" is not necessary and would only add to the jargon to memorize.

I really like this look. It saves space and makes it slightly faster to gather in what the spell does.

I like it too but I would also use Standard to stand in for all the details on the results of the saving throw for Fireball ;-)


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As a writer myself, I've always tried to write by the mantra "say as much as you can with as few words as possible." That being said, in the context of designing a game for potentially (hopefully!) lots of new players, I think requiring them to learn unnecessary jargon in order to save on your word count might not be the best way to go. Even for returning players from 1e, this system is going to be radically different in a lot of ways, and the less they need to learn in order to familiarize themselves with it, the better.

All that being said, one CANNOT dismiss the importance of saving on word count when creating a rules document with a space limit. If the space you save doing so allows you to embellish in other areas of the rulebook where a little extra explanation could really clear things up (nothing jumps immediately to mind, but I'm sure there are at least a few areas), that becomes less a simple decision, more a Sophie's choice. Sacrifice ease of learning in one area for ease of learning in others? That's a decision I couldn't hope to make for you. Y'all know best where space is needed to flesh out this book, and I trust you'll make the call you feel is best.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The more I think about this, the less the Standard or Basic adjective works in my head.

For one, there haven't been any modifiers introduced anywhere else, with the exception of Ranged vs. Melee and those could be addressed as well.

Really all other modifiers are traits. It would be nice if rather than have a mixed trait/adjective system, you stuck to one or the other, with my preference being Traits.

Traits have this nice bit of also being explicit about what it interacts with. If Evadable (or some other name) was a trait, Evasion would be very explicit. You wouldn't need the clunky, "if you could save for half, you take no damage."

Fire trait could read, "you can choose to set things on fire. Unattended objects make a something Save to avoid having the Fire continuous effect applied to it."

There are other traits that could have these basic rules applied to it. Sonic damage might do no or half damage to deaf creatures, for example.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

RE: Standard. I'm a bridge player. If I ask an opponent what his partnership's agreements are regarding leads and carding, I invariably get one word as an answer: "standard". When I ask further it frequently becomes obvious that they have no idea what "standard" means in that context. It's a bad shortcut. I wouldn't use it here.


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SuperSheep wrote:

The more I think about this, the less the Standard or Basic adjective works in my head.

For one, there haven't been any modifiers introduced anywhere else, with the exception of Ranged vs. Melee and those could be addressed as well.

Really all other modifiers are traits. It would be nice if rather than have a mixed trait/adjective system, you stuck to one or the other, with my preference being Traits.

Traits have this nice bit of also being explicit about what it interacts with. If Evadable (or some other name) was a trait, Evasion would be very explicit. You wouldn't need the clunky, "if you could save for half, you take no damage."

Fire trait could read, "you can choose to set things on fire. Unattended objects make a something Save to avoid having the Fire continuous effect applied to it."

There are other traits that could have these basic rules applied to it. Sonic damage might do no or half damage to deaf creatures, for example.

The words "standard" and "basic" have English meanings. Standard means the most common mode. Basic means the most fundamental mode, closest to the foundations.

Neither of them means damage on a sliding scale: none, half, full, double. The words will mean nothing to a new player until he or she looks them up. The words will mean be a vague "someting about more or less damage" to a forgetful player until he or she looks them up again.

Evasion or Evadable means avoiding the danger. Since the danger is damage, it means avoiding damage. The new player knows as much as the forgetful player from the name alone. The forgetful player will be reminded of the rogue's Evasion ability: "Oh yeah, the rogue with Evasion takes no damage instead of half, so I guess my sorcerer takes half."


My response to this is "Simple is better if it works". And this does. Paizo should STRIVE to keep PF2 as simple as possible while retaining the feel of the game. The less we have to look up an over-complicated rule the better.

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