Positives and Negatives

Friday, September 6, 2018

Over the past few weeks, I've been spending some time talking to folks on the unofficial 2nd Ed Pathfinder Playtest group on Facebook. Mostly I've been listening to people's thoughts and anecdotes about the playtest, but I've also been answering a few rules questions and conversing about various subjects. Something that's come up a couple of times in that group and in other forums is how we, the folks at Paizo and especially the design team, respond to criticism.

We are no stranger to playtests. Each time we launch a playtest, we get a pile of feedback, both positive and negative. Both are important. Of course, we all love hearing what you like, and in a perfect world we would bask in the glory of your adoration... but we only create worlds of fantasy, we don't live in one. We playtest to hear what you think about the rules and to get your take on what is sound, exciting, and fun. Sometimes you might not care for our initial design. Sometimes you'll spot problems with the initial design. We want you to tell us. No, we need you to tell us. We're making this game not for ourselves, but for all of us to play!

Case in point—let's talk about Resonance Points.

Yeah, that's right. I'm going there.

Let's talk about exactly what design challenges Resonance Points were designed to solve, as that seems to be a point of some confusion.

First, they're meant to address the economy of lower-level consumable magic items as you level up. This is colloquially referred to as the wand of cure light wounds issue in Pathfinder First Edition, but it's more systemic than that. In short, as you go up in level and your ability to purchase and craft (or find) lower-level consumable magic items increases, they actually become the most economical use of resources. When you are limited only by what you have on hand, the amount of bang per buck makes higher-level magic items nearly pointless.

This problem and the Pathfinder First Edition method of item pricing also played havoc with lower-level items with limited uses per day. Designers, by nature, want you to use the items they created in actual play. But adventure designers are often under budgetary constraints to make not the best item for the story, but the one that does the trick while still conforming to the amount of treasure output in the design guides. These factors often created a race to the bottom, design-wise, spawning tons of these little X-per-day buggers that characters could afford, featuring relatively powerful (and always useful) effects that often became more useful as you gained levels. All of this creates a sort of mini-nova during climactic encounters, as characters spend a handful of swift and immediate actions ramping up to their optimal tactics. This is especially true for classes in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, since they typically have fewer class-based options competing for the use of swift and immediate actions.

Another problem Resonance Points are trying to address is what is often called the "Christmas Tree" effect of games that impose limits based solely on magic item slots. This goes hand in hand with the cheap consumable (or X-uses-per-day items), as many players rush to fill their slots with items featuring charges or uses per day. While slots still exist in the Pathfinder Playtest, they are the exception rather than the rule, and their primary goal is simply reducing redundancies (like wearing two pairs of boots at the same time and similar nonsense).

Lastly, the Resonance Point system is intended to eliminate or at least severely limit the bookkeeping involved in those X-uses-per-day and X-rounds-per-day items. Instead of tracking a bunch of little point pools, Resonance Points can do the job in most, if not all, cases, with the rest limited to once per day. Admittedly, this aspect was not as thoroughly implemented as it could have been in the playtest rules.

Those are the main issues that the Resonance Point system is trying to confront. Are there problems with the current implementation? You bet. The most glaring one is that it's currently not doing a good job of reducing the number of magic item use-per-day pools at higher levels. We're going to need to pound the system into shape a little more to achieve that goal.

A big issue is that a lot of folks just plain don't like Resonance Points. There are many reasons for that. It's new and different from what people are used to. Other folks don't see the challenges this system is trying to tackle, or they don't see them as problematic. More telling is that even many who do understand the issues have some misgivings, feel that this solution is too artificial, or see it as just plain punitive. We anticipated that. But even with all of the issues, we knew that the current design of Resonance Points would give us valuable information about play patterns and consumable use throughout the playtest, and it has done that in spades already and continues to do so.

Better still, it has given us valuable information on how to solve the issues that the Resonance Point system confronts in a better and more pleasing way for the final game. In short, your use of the current incarnation of Resonance Points throughout the playtest helps us come up with better mechanics to use in Pathfinder Second Edition. You've done a great job in providing us that information already, and as we move into higher-level play, that useful data will become more abundant.

So, in the case of Resonance Points, positivity of play and critical comments have guided us in the right direction. We already have a few options on how to either fix or replace the mechanic, and we are going to keep on kicking ideas around as the playtest data keeps flowing in. So keep on filling out those surveys and sharing your opinions. Getting your thoughts on the game and how it plays, no matter how you express them, is what the Pathfinder Playtest is all about.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Senior Designer

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HWalsh wrote:
So I'm urging the dev team, keep something of the Resonance system around and keep it keyed off of Charisma. Don't let charisma become a dump stat again.

Myself, I don't want to NEED every stat. If I'm not a melee weapon user, I'm happy to not need str. If I'm not a 'face' or a caster, I'm happy to not need cha. I don't want to be forced to raise every stat to 14 to get to the bare minimum to start playing. It should be possible to use your basic starting abilities without needing a minimum stat other than your key one.

You're not exactly 'standing out from the crowd' if you need a 14 in every stat for basic function.


graystone wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
So I'm urging the dev team, keep something of the Resonance system around and keep it keyed off of Charisma. Don't let charisma become a dump stat again.

Myself, I don't want to NEED every stat. If I'm not a melee weapon user, I'm happy to not need str. If I'm not a 'face' or a caster, I'm happy to not need cha. I don't want to be forced to raise every stat to 14 to get to the bare minimum to start playing. It should be possible to use your basic starting abilities without needing a minimum stat other than your key one.

You're not exactly 'standing out from the crowd' if you need a 14 in every stat for basic function.

It is virtually impossible to ignore stats unless you are trying to mega pump 4 of them.

(Willing to bet the mega pump are Dex, Int, Wis, and Con in this case.)

I mean, yes it lets a character pick a low strength ancestry and build an Alchemist like this:

01: 08/18/12/18/12/10
05: 08/19/14/19/14/10
10: 08/20/16/20/16/10
15: 08/21/18/21/18/10
20: 10/22/18/22/18/12

But most other classes (say Paladin) have to build like this to be Optimal.

01: 18/12/10/10/12/16
05: 19/14/12/10/12/18
10: 20/14/14/10/14/19
15: 21/14/16/10/16/20
20: 22/14/18/12/18/20

So, by not requiring all classes to spread out a little we create MAD classes and SAD classes and we know from games like Starfinder and Pathfinder 1 what happens when you have MAD and SAD classes.


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What if 10 charisma was the baseline for "how much resonance you need to stay alive via appropriate healing magic" and "more than that" is for if you want to use it for other things.

Like I really wonder how much better I'd feel about it if Resonance was 4+ChaMod+Level (so no one can have 0 resonance at level 1 no matter what) instead of 1+ChaMod+Level.


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Thank you for the good & clear communication.

Personally I interpret much of the negative reaction as being due to trimming the excesses of PF1, of which there are many. By lopping off the most egregious peaks you've inevitably upset many who have grown attached to those peaks. Nearly all of us have become very fond of certain combinations in PF1, myself included, that we have to give up (takes a melancholy look at my very effective PF1 'reach' melee cleric).

Having said that, this does appear to be exacerbated by the 'adventuring day length' problem and healing in particular. Eyeing the competition, we can see that the short rest mechanic is pretty smart.

Personally I would look to increasing non-magical healing via scaling medicine over time, and introducing a few more useful skill feats for it. That and adding some non-magical healing consumables that are more limited than potions, eg: slower acting, or slower to apply, consequentially not usable in combat. This could up the adventuring day length somewhat plus reduce the reliance on clerics in particular. I noticed Jason mentioned this on twitch as a possibility - I'd say: don't go too lightly on changes there. For example:

-

Bandage & poultice
Requires proficiency in Medicine.
Requires Healer's Tools.
Action: 5 minutes.

Make a medicine check, DC = the intended number of hit points you want to heal.
Crit success: Heal intended hit points +1d10
Success: Heal intended hit points
Fail: Heal 1/2 intended hit points, double action duration to 10 minutes.
Critical fail: no hit points healed. 10 minutes lost.

The bandage & poultice is consumed whatever the result.
A specific individual can only be bandaged a number of times per day equal to their constitution modifier, with a minimum of once per day. (Or perhaps a little more than that, tweak as needed, but not based on resonance).

-

That kind of thing. A few others using various herbs found via eg: survival / nature that can have other beneficial healing effects would be interesting too. Cubicle 7's Adventures in Middle Earth (5e OGL) is a nice example of the great flavour possible via this, and also how the reliance on magical healing can be reduced in general.


The problems that Resonance is trying to solve.

Low-level healing spam.

Cha dump stat.

and the Christmas tree effect.

The only one it currently is almost fixing is the dump stat thing. it fixes the problem at early levels.

Suggestion for low-level healing spam fix.

My suggestions on how to fix the problems.
Make the main healing out of combat. Resting let people do short 1 hour rests that heal them for 50% of the full night's rest. there could be a limit on how many times a day you can use it. I would suggest 1+con mod.

A full nights rest would be (1+2*con mod (minimum 1) )*level. (I have not tested this healing amount. It might need to be more.)

You could also get back 1 spell slot of each level limited at the same time 1+cha mod. This would make cha a stat that connects you to the magic in the world and lets you refill your magical energies with it.

A general feat could be Expert rester or something.
It makes you able to rest and get the benefits from con and cha one more time per day.

Suggestion for Cha dump stat fix.
The pool without feats would be +1 cha mod a general feat could add 2 points. This pool is only used to activate N/day abilities on items extra times or powering them up. If you are a level 10 character with a lantern of burning hands that has 1 charge per day and CL 4. You could use one point to heighten the caster level to your level. 10 in this example or you could spend one point to use the power one more time. You could also spend 3 points to cast 1 more time and heighten at the same time.

So it costs nothing to use potions and other consumables. It would be fine if you could power them up with resonance points.

The short rest could refill 1+1/2cha mod points in the pool.

Suggestion for Christmas tree effect fix.
Use the automatic bonus progression system from unchanged but update it a bit. For example, let people pick if they get mental or physical bonuses first.

I have not tested my suggestions but they are other wheys to fix the same problems. The numbers might need to change a bit.


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The Cure Light Wounds Wand spam problem: just noticeable. Could have been fixed easily by improving non-magical healing options (already done recently in Pathfinder 1st Edition) and fixing the pricing of consumables.

The Christmas Tree problem: moderately annoying. Could have been fixed with a bit of work by moving some of the effects of magic item bonuses off magic items -- not to the extreme of Pathfinder Unchained Automatic Bonus Progression, but something in that direction but short of it.

The Resonance system: far worse than either of the problems it claims to solve, for reasons that others have posted above, as well as thematically icky and requiring even more bookkeeping, also as others have posted above. Easiest fix by far is to remove and revert. At the very least, consumables should not cost Resonance.


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Thanks for the insights Stephen.

I'm not sure you are correctly enumerating the reasons folk are finding resonance problematic, or at least not the one I find most difficult.

It is another sub-system. That was supposed to delimit book-keeping. But needs to be tracked, after its score is determined. Now neither of those are incredibly onerous, but they are on top of what we already had, and the book-keeping it was supposed to delimit is still mostly there. That it doesn't come online in a real way at low levels (unless, apparently you are one specific class) also makes me suspicious of it.

It doesn't feel like it helps to streamline the system.

Now personally, its narrative buy in in game world does feel a little ham-fisted and forced, but that is personal taste - I could see some people finding it awesomely verisimilitudinal and a perfect fit.

The problems it tries to solve (CLW-junkies and Xmas tree) never confronted nor interested me. Again, personal experience.

So I'm keen to see Resonance given a thorough pounding into shape or be replaced.


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As for the Charisma as dumpstat - anyone who has a character with a dumpstat is clearly having badwrongfun. Unless it totes makes sense like, for their awesome non-mechanically inspired really humungously tortured and nuanced like, backstoreh!

Exo-Guardians

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Zi Mishkal wrote:

Because I'm genetically wired to try and solve problems concisely and with bullet points, my twenty minute think (while walking after dinner) to fix the resonance "issue".

1. Get rid of wands. completely. Gone. Move all the metamagic rods to wands. Now, wands are more like Harry Potter in that they give you a bonus to your overall spellcasting. Heck, if you really want to crib HP, make 1 wand attuned per character. Wands, btw, are a nasty holdover from 1e AD&D. I've never come across a great mage in fiction or lierature carrying a bunch of kindling in their backpack. Yet here we are.

2. Jack up the price of potions tenfold or more. This will get rid of all the low level potions.

3. double the number of 2e spell slots available. So, instead of 3/level, it's 6/level. And keep the rituals separate from your spell levels. Now your caster isn't constantly looking over his / her shoulder to see if they'll be useful 5 minutes from now.

4. Make the Heal / medicine skill worthwhile. Give it some teeth. Maybe that's temp HP for the rest of the day, I dunno.

but all this still doesn't solve the elephant-in-the-room problem which is the 15 minute adventuring day. Somehow, Paizo needs to come up with a mechanic besides HP as a measure of PC resilience. Maybe at higher levels, martials are great at parrying and can outright deflect hits? Maybe they get an adrenaline rush that gives them some temp HP. Maybe PC HP are divided evenly into 2 pools, one of which heals quickly by itself on the minute scale. But whatever the mechanic, it has to stop the yoyoing between max HP and no HP.

As i said on page one, fix THAT and the resonance problem goes away.

To the HP problem, Stamina was actually a fantastic system, and one that accomplishes exactly that goal, when coupled with Resolve you had the ability to go through multiple encounters, additionally it was used to supercharge some class features, which gave it an opportunity cost between post fight recovery, and more damage, I could see a world where a Fighter could spend a free action and a Resolve point to gain an additional action with witch to Strike or Stride, or for a rogue to spend Resolve to boost their skill checks, or for a Wizard to spend Resolve and cast a spell for one less Action.

Wayfinders

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Resonance has worked so far.


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sherlock1701 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
dying so you have to get a new character is especially not fun.
As though I don't have 3 fully fleshed out backup characters I'm dying to try in play at any given moment. Usually quite happy to meet a glorious demise. Building and experimenting with characters is the best aspect of Pathfinder.

Ughhhh… Totally disagree. In D&D 2E I was all about having multiple characters at the drop of a hat... and if one died in a game I could have another ready in 20 minutes.

Pathfinder?? Creating characters... and sometimes even leveling up characters is a DRAG... It takes me DAYS to work out the mechanics and even they won't end up optimized in any way. Trying to make one from scratch and put him at level 5 or 7 or whatever... that's the stuff of nightmares.

Scarab Sages

Step 1: remove resonance

Step 2: Change hp a bit. Your starting hit dice whatever it might be, let's say 8 for an alchemist, are now your actual hitpoints. That's all you get. The rest of the hit points you get from leveling, and those from your con bonus, are effectively temporary hitpoints.

Once you've gone a minute outside combat those temporary hitpoints are restored to maximum.

Look at the fantasy here. People buy cure wands like candy because they don't want to stop after every fight to heal. They want to keep going as far as they can.

Limiting the amount of healing off of resonance is not a great way to handle that. And hp is a great limiter for a combat encounter - but not for an adventuring day which is why you get so many 15 minute work days. But take a bad enough beating with the above system that your actual hitpoints are damaged and now you need some of that healing.

You could also use some limited healing for traps that instead of dealing damage could reduce your maximum temporary hp.

The point is that, as things are, using hp as a bar for how long you can adventure in a dungeon and then slapping in magic items to artificially increase that bar so you can adventure longer than 15 minutes is not a great approach. You don't see book or movie heroes stopping every fight to use magic. Instead, they suffer some scratches but return to fighting form quickly unless their enemy drops them.

The one thing that players always track is their hitpoints. You can use that system with minimal additional tracking and remove the need for mass healing wands and the 15 minute adventuring day in one fell swoop. Now healing mostly comes out only when it's desperately needed in combat.


rknop wrote:

The problem is that Resonance is a patch on top of a broken underlying system that fixes one undesirable consequence of the broken underlying system while introducing others.

Just consider a potion of Cure Light Wounds and a Potion of Cure Moderate wounds. In PF1e, the former is 50gp and heals 1d8+1. The latter is 150gp heals 2d8+3. It's far more cost effective for healing to buy three lower level potions than one higher level potion; with the former, you get 3d8+3, the latter, 2d8+3, both for the same price.

It only gets worse for higher level potions, wands, and scrolls, as the price goes up approximately as the square of the level whereas the amount healed goes up proportionately to level. This goes for other sorts of things beyond heading, too, but is most obvious with healing as that's the one thing nearly every party needs all the time.

Fix *that* rather than patching on a system like Resonance that tries to patch the problem of higher level items not being worth it. As long as Pathfinder is going to be a game where magic shops are expected and PCs can get whatever they want, the economics of what you for what you get has to make sense. Perhaps make consumables scale linearly with level in price, and reduce expected WBL (and other prices) to compensate. The patch on top just makes it all more complicated, crufty, and, in the long run, more likely to be susceptible to unintended behaviors as optimisations are discovered.

A level 2 potion costs 300... So even worse. But the quadratic cost increase is due to the quadratic nature of XP and character power. It would really be too cheap at 100GP, for example.


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Well, I'm happy the design goals are being put out there so that people can talk about how to achieve them instead of assuming bad faith and ill motives.


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Put me in the "It was never a problem" camp.
Easy healing means less of the 15-minute adventuring day and not forcing the cleric to spend all her spells on healing people. I'm sure I can't be the only person who remembers AD&D days where HP were at a premium and healing was rare. Could you fix it so consumables are a bit more expensive? Sure. Resonances is not needed.

The Christmas tree effect - some of us don't see this as a problem. Some of us like it. Some people don't, but wouldn't limiting the number of items PCs get be a much easier solution?

Easier bookkeeping...I suppose it is easier, but tracking charges and uses per day never seemed particularly onerous to us. No more so than tracking spell slots. There is more to keep track of, sure, but it isn't more complicated. You have character sheets so you don't have to keep everything in your head, after all.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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From what I see, resonance should be an optional rule (maybe used in PFS, I don't care, I don't play PFS). It is zero use for most home games just more bookkeeping. When you play kingemaker-style like my group typically does, you do not run out of resonance any way. And healy characters have been popular around here for ages, partly for RP reasons. We are not video game players, we do not need clicklickclikneverrest mechanics and then artificial means of limiting this clickclickclick. Kills narrative, adds nothing.

As for "slot problem solution": I absolutely prefer the slot system. Under the current PF2 rules, I created a monk wearing 3 pairs of bracers because there were too few reasonably fitting items in the limited treasure lists. It looks way worse than slot system, so no improvement at all.


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Paizo Blog wrote:

Let's talk about exactly what design challenges Resonance Points were designed to solve, as that seems to be a point of some confusion.

First, they're meant to address the economy of lower-level consumable magic items as you level up. This is colloquially referred to as the wand of cure light wounds issue in Pathfinder First Edition, but it's more systemic than that. In short, as you go up in level and your ability to purchase and craft (or find) lower-level consumable magic items increases, they actually become the most economical use of resources. When you are limited only by what you have on hand, the amount of bang per buck makes higher-level magic items nearly pointless.

This problem and the Pathfinder First Edition method of item pricing also played havoc with lower-level items with limited uses per day. Designers, by nature, want you to use the items they created in actual play. But adventure designers are often under budgetary constraints to make not the best item for the story, but the one that does the trick while still conforming to the amount of treasure output in the design guides. These factors often created a race to the bottom, design-wise, spawning tons of these little X-per-day buggers that characters could afford, featuring relatively powerful (and always useful) effects that often became more useful as you gained levels. All of this creates a sort of mini-nova during climactic encounters, as characters spend a handful of swift and immediate actions ramping up to their optimal tactics. This is especially true for classes in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, since they typically have fewer class-based options competing for the use of swift and immediate actions.

Another problem Resonance Points are trying to address is what is often called the "Christmas Tree" effect of games that impose limits based solely on magic item slots. This goes hand in hand with the cheap consumable (or X-uses-per-day items), as many players rush to fill their slots with items featuring charges or uses per day. While slots still exist in the Pathfinder Playtest, they are the exception rather than the rule, and their primary goal is simply reducing redundancies (like wearing two pairs of boots at the same time and similar nonsense).

Lastly, the Resonance Point system is intended to eliminate or at least severely limit the bookkeeping involved in those X-uses-per-day and X-rounds-per-day items. Instead of tracking a bunch of little point pools, Resonance Points can do the job in most, if not all, cases, with the rest limited to once per day. Admittedly, this aspect was not as thoroughly implemented as it could have been in the playtest rules.

I can't help but read this and think of the song There was an old lady who swallowed a goat, she swallowed the goat to catch the dog, she swallowed the dog to catch the cat, she swallowed the cat to catch the bird, she swallowed the bird to catch the spider...

You've invented a new system to solve perceived problems caused by the implementation of a previous system. There are now problems with the new system, and most of the perceived problems with the old system are still there.

Pull out resonance, go back to basics and FIX the underlying issues. Don't put something else on top of them.

Just my 2 cents.


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HWalsh wrote:
So, by not requiring all classes to spread out a little we create MAD classes and SAD classes and we know from games like Starfinder and Pathfinder 1 what happens when you have MAD and SAD classes.

If you don't want MAD vs SAD, you deal with that with in class abilities that use those stats and not by artificially propping them up with subsystems. How does FORCING an alchemist into taking a 14 str solve a wizard being SAD or force the wizard to care about STR? It doesn't which makes the point quite suspect as it doesn't fix anything overall. The alchemist is already behind the casters, why force them to spend points on more stats too?


Brew Bird wrote:
My group has really just begun playtesting, but the only big complaint so far about resonance is coming from my Alchemist player. Having all your class features coming from a single pool (one that all other classes have on top of spell points, spell slots, and the occasional x/day or at-will ability,) just feels really bad. He feels like he's had to ration his resources from level one, in a way no one else in the party has really had to worry about.

Ditto for my group. In The Lost Star, our achemist was completely out by the end. The rest of us were out of pretty much every other resource, but as we had no magic items we had nothing to spend resonannce on.

MidsouthGuy wrote:
I honestly didn't have any problems at all with the way PF1 handled magic items. Resonance, along with most other changes made in the PF2 Playtest, is in my humble opinion, nothing more than a solution desperately in search of a problem.

They laid out in the very blog post you responded to what problems it was intended to solve. You may not think that they are problems, but the devs clearly do.

Personally, I do not much care about most of the dev's problems. The reason I am broadly in favour of (a tweaked version of) resonance is that it solves the "gold = point buy" problem, apparently by accident. Gotta go out now, will expand later.

Dark Midian wrote:
Ding ding ding. Resonance sounds completely devised for PFS play.

I think the opposite - they do not appear to have considered how the current implementation of Resonance will affect PFS play. When you do not know who is going to be at the table with you, each player being able ot take responsibility for their own healing resources is huge, and Resonance as currently implmented breaks that.

_
glass.


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I must be enjoying the game wrong, because I enjoy the use of consumables for buffing as well as filling out all my item slots. The two big "issues" the dev team seeks to fix with resonance aren't issues to me.


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Thanks for the blog post Stephen.

I'd like to bring up a design artifact I call "the curve".

The curve is seen in several parts of P1E. The curve happens with some competing values (e.g. attack vs. AC, damage vs. HP) that do not have a mirroring advancement as level increases. When I level up I gain from +0 to +1 BAB, but my AC may not improve and is mostly governed by gold, and my HP increase but my damage may not etc.

The curve is a pattern where these asymmetrical competing values line up fairly well for a portion of the level range, but there is an area before and/or after that portion where they curve out of balance, favouring one over the other.

Damage vs. HP is a giant bell curve in P1E. Level 1 characters are known to be fragile, with e.g. a level 1 Fighter having about 12 HP, and doing an average of 13 HP damage on a hit with a great sword and 18 STR, without even using a feat like Power Attack.

By level 3, PCs have more than doubled their HP, tending to 210-225% in my experience. The damage they face has less than doubled though, going by this: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/bestiary/monsterCreation.html. On that chart the only time stepping down 2 CR on either High or Low damage doubles or more is going CR1/2 to CR2, which is wonky as it's 300% exp.

Level 1 characters start off relatively fragile in P1E, curve into more robust survivability as they level up, and then curve back into rocket tag at high levels as number of attacks and damage bonuses outstrip HP progression on a full attack.

The curve can lend to players favouring a "sweet spot" range over the full offered spectrum of levels.

P2E seems aware of the curve and to be set on flattening it. PCs gain bonus HP at level 1 to beef them up until they get a few more hit dice to their names. Wizards no longer go from having 2 spells a day at level 1 to 50 spells a day at level 20, which mostly seems good.

I like the concept of resonance. The current implementation strongly promotes a curve though, or even an outright diagonal slash. At level 1, the level many people's playtest experiences begin, PCs have from 1 to 5 resonance points, alchemists notwithstanding (and they have more demands on it). At level 20, they will have from 19 to 27, at an estimation.

This sharp increase in supply, combined with a seemingly standard rule of 1 resonance per "thing", creates an unstable relationship. There's likely a level range where the supply vs. demand of resonance creates a satisfying feeling, not suffocating player choices but functioning as a meaningful limitation. Before that range though, which includes where most playtesters are, resonance will likely feel over-constraining as you have so little and still need to e.g. use healing potions, and past that range it may grow over-abundant and very rarely kick in as a limit.

You've done loads of work to expand the "playable" level range in P2E, but the scaling of resonance does not seem to gel with that philosophy in its current implementation.


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james014Aura wrote:

Please. As others have said, consumables are already an opportunity cost. We shouldn't have to pay the price TWICE for this.

A better fix to the CLW wands is fixing the *pricing* system, since if better wands weren't absurdly expensive in 1e for what they do, my parties would have gone for them faster.

This is a really vital point. The entire "problem" was caused by poor scaling. The cost increased dramatically while the effectiveness increased much more slowly. Make the price to performance ratio better, and it will cease to be a problem.

A cure light wand costs 750 gp and does 1d8 +1 points of healing per charge. That's an average of 5.5 HP per charge, or 5.5*50=275 hit points per wand. Or 2.73 GP per HP. Cure moderate does 11.25 gp per HP. Cure Serious is 12.16 gp per HP. And Cure Critical is better at 8.4 gp per HP. The second best option is three times worse than the best.

For potions, cure light is 9.10 gp per HP, cure moderate is 37.5 gp per HP and cure serious is 40.54 gp per hp. So potions are just horrible price to performance wise. For this reason I've only seen them used as emergency combat healing.

For PF2 Minor Healing Potions are 6.67 sp per HP, Lesser Healing Potions are 6.15 sp per HP, Moderate Healing Potions are 9.30 sp per HP, Greater are 17.39 sp per HP, Major: 48.54 sp per HP and True Healing potions have an atrocious 170.21 sp per HP ratio. Clearly, even without resonance, these are still just emergency combat healing.

And PF2 wands of heal (assuming single targets and a casting stat of 18) 1st level: 3.18 sp per HP. 2nd level: 4.11 sp per HP. 3rd level: 6.79 sp per HP and 4th level: 9.10 sp per HP. So PF2 is a bit better for wands, but still, that level 1 wand is the best SP per HP ratio, just not by as much of a margin. Tweaking the numbers a bit can make the issue go away without resonance.


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glass wrote:
The reason I am broadly in favour of (a tweaked version of) resonance is that it solves the "gold = point buy" problem, apparently by accident. Gotta go out now, will expand later.

Expanding as promised on what I meant by the "gold = point buy problem": If there is no meaningful limitation gold on what magic items you can make use of (and I do not consider body slots to be a meaninful limitation in this context - there are too many of them, and too many unslotted items), then gold becomes a point buy system for buying power, layered on top of the class-&-level system. Which I dislike, because then spending money on anything other than magic items (donating to an orphanage, buying opera tickets, building a castle) is in direct competition with spending on increasing your personal power and survivability.

High level D&D characters are generally absolutely loaded, but they tend not to feel wealthy because they are strongly encouraged by the system to be miserly.

By adding an extra barrier to any given new item increasing your power, Resonance reduces that pressure considerably. An atunement system like 5e would do that too, but the advantage of Resonance is that it has the potential to eliminate the vast majority of daily uses and charges - but of course the system as currently implemented spectacularly fails to do that in practice.

All that said, I do not think potions cost resonance. The brutal action economy will limit their use plenty (like in PF1, only more so). I agree with the posters upthread who suggested moving away from consumable wands. As for out-of-combat healing, my preferece would be to make spamming of low level healing items unnnecessary rather than impossible. Some kind of short rest mechanic would be ideal.

_
glass.


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OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
As for the Charisma as dumpstat - anyone who has a character with a dumpstat is clearly having badwrongfun. Unless it totes makes sense like, for their awesome non-mechanically inspired really humungously tortured and nuanced like, backstoreh!

Not sure if sarcasm? Absolutely all of the dump statted characters I have seen have been excuses to 'pretend' they have a weakness while actually making the supposed weakness irrelevant by either not getting engaged in the situations which challenged it or eliminating them using brute force of their high stats. And the 'backstorehs' have been quickly forgotten after the 1st level, except maybe coming up in RP situations once or twice for s$%#s and giggles.


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HWalsh wrote:

Here is an issue that the Dev didn't mention:

The other problem Resonance ALSO addressed was the weak stat issue.

1. Charisma - Unless you need charisma (Bard, Sorcerer, Oracle, Paladin, Swashbuckler, etc) for a class feature, you don't need charisma unless you are going to be a face character. Meaning it is weak. It is a weak stat. It has always been a weak stat. It doesn't help with Saves, it doesn't help with Combat (for the most part) and it just is easy to dump.

There isn't a reason to rescue charisma. Stats should be there to support the game, not the other way around. Making the game worse just to keep something with no mechanical benefit seems like a silly idea.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also, you just can't roleplay a Cha/Int/Wis 6 person. That would require you to be a table-wrecking in-game a$&+@*&~/idiot, and the only non-versimilitude-breaking in-game reaction would be for other PCs to punch that person in face and dump them for somebody who can actually communicate with other carbon life forms, notice a falling a rock or be able to add 2 to 2 and come up with a 4.


Snickersnax wrote:
There must be other people who are sharing my experience that healing could use a small re-balance (fix battle medic to be more useful, tone down cleric a bit) but otherwise isn't that far off.

Yes, but I came to different conclusions:

1. Improve Medicine in general (including some kind of downtime healing option)
2. Improve other classes healing options to bring them up closer to Cleric

Cleric feels awesome right now. It's fun & impactful. If you want to play a healer (and I'm the player that does), you can feel like a really effective one and still have some spells for other things.

We need more of that, not less. Healers should still be capable of doing other things and not spending every single daily resource they have (spells, resonance) on just healing. Speaking as one, that's a great way to chase healers away from the game entirely.

Wands could be part of the solution, if they're fixed. If they cost resonance to use, they shouldn't also be limited charge consumables. I'm going to want the biggest wand I can get if it's competing with equipping magic items and other things that use resonance, and there's an interesting choice there in how many wands I pack for downtime recovery and such.

But if they're consumables, they're already costing me money every time I use one. As consumables, maybe spend a resonance point to attune to it for the day, after which I can use it as much as I want. That prevents me from using 27 wands in one day but still lets me do my job.

I mean, do we want 15 minute adventure days, or not? If the answer is no, parties need ways to recover HP in downtime. Restricting those will severely harm groups with no healer, and also constrain us healers from using our limited spells on anything else more than we already are, due to each one effectively costing the group healing that it can't afford to spare anymore.


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I must admit I find kinda funny people talking so badly about the CLW wands, cause they are 99% of the time literally the only source of healing of any given group I see in PF1. Hell I for sure, and often I dont see other players, EVER spend spells on healing don't who or what is going to die.
So it is no surprise to me PF2 instantly had issues with this by not giving very easy to achieve comparable solution.
FACT: Often nobody wants to be a healer. The needs to easily allow for this to happen.

Silver Crusade

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To keep it short:

I like resonance, but think it should be tweaked a bit, and should be kept for consumables including alchemical items. I have seen the problems the current system has since 3.0 and changes are very welcome.

Let me be clear, I am one of those people that see the problems and would like a solution.

-

Alchemists: I really would prefer to have them use their own resource pool, otherwise it just feels quite punishing.

-

Healing Cost: Currently, the healing items are a bit too expensive, if you want to try to buy level appropriate healing it is very tough, and my groups have expressed that this forces a group to have a healer - likely a cleric.

-

Nonmagical downtime healing: Battle Medic really does not quite fit the bill as players really don't want to do something risky in combat, but out of combat the amount of healing is pretty pitiful compared to scaling hp.
Natural medicine is a neat idea, but since it lacks scaling I am seeing huge problem with healing down the line, especially since some classes do have a lot of hit points.

Personally, I would like to see a separation between combat healing and out of combat healing. The Starfinder system works locally but it likely is not a perfect fit for Pathfinder right now, though I really like how the stamina pool works in actual play.

-
I kinda feel like a more realistic test of resonance and what it would do is to give players just money and let them spend it to buy items up to their level (not very much unlike Starfinder) thus actually checking if some characters actually need more resonance or not.
Right now I am not seeing a lot of great alternatives for some builds if they do not want to use a weapon or be quite ineffective in combat.


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CyberMephit wrote:
OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
As for the Charisma as dumpstat - anyone who has a character with a dumpstat is clearly having badwrongfun. Unless it totes makes sense like, for their awesome non-mechanically inspired really humungously tortured and nuanced like, backstoreh!
Not sure if sarcasm? Absolutely all of the dump statted characters I have seen have been excuses to 'pretend' they have a weakness while actually making the supposed weakness irrelevant by either not getting engaged in the situations which challenged it or eliminating them using brute force of their high stats. And the 'backstorehs' have been quickly forgotten after the 1st level, except maybe coming up in RP situations once or twice for s%@@s and giggles.

Yes, sorry - the first sentence was mock-serious, the second was straight sarcasm. Your experience has been mine as well, though some have even dispensed with the pretense of "having" a "weakness" - they just straight dumped a stat and never interacted or integrated with it.

/derail


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pauljathome wrote:
But baking in the expected numbers and removing all the boring items doesn't require much additional playtest. The math stays the same, the only thing changing is the WAY that people get their numbers.

Yes, and relying on magic weapons for additional damage dice (to keep up), is not something I am a fan of.


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neaven wrote:

There are people that believe that in order to "truly" challenge PCs, you must specifically wear them down through attrition and that that attrition must specifically be of HP. Limited spell slots? Pah. Timed missions? Boo. Enemies having more time to prepare for PCs? Yawn. Players actually not liking the 15 minute adventuring day? Whatever.

I apologise if that sounds bitter, but I have debated this subject long and hard on Reddit against people who refused to concede that any of the mentioned factors could be used by a GM and stuck super hard to "only HP attrition really matters" in the face of overwhelming arguments to the contrary.

It's not that the only way to challenge PCs is hp attrition. It's that that's the concept 3e (and by extension Pathfinder) was built around.

While Pathfinder doesn't have that bit in either the core book, Bestiary, or GMG (because that part wasn't part of the SRD), 3e was designed around these assumptions:

1. There will be 4 PCs of roughly equal level.
2. Over the course of an adventuring day, they will face about 4 encounters.
3. These encounters should have an encounter level around the average party level - overall 10% with EL lower than APL, 20% "trick" encounters (e.g. figure out how to beat invisibility and it's a cakewalk, otherwise it's hard), 15% a bit higher, 5% much higher (to the point where running away seems wise), and 50% equal.
4a. An encounter with EL = APL should consume about 20-25% of the party's resources - primarily hit points, but also spell slots (some of which would be used to fill up the hit points).
4b. Casting actual spells, particularly high-level ones, become a sometimes thing. You're probably not going to be casting a spell of your highest level or the one below that each and every round, but instead you'll contribute in some minor way.
4c. It's mainly the last encounter of the day that's properly difficult, and it is so mainly because of the attrition suffered through the rest of the day.

Now, one may argue that these assumptions are bad, and make for poor adventure design. I would kind of be inclined to agree - remember that these were the first attempt at formalizing something that was previously up to DM intuition/experience. But they were what the game was built around.

But then that dastardly wand of cure light wounds enters, and makes a mockery of the whole model. The effect is not just that healing becomes easy/cheap - the knock-on effects warp the game in a number of ways.

1. Since hp attrition is no longer a challenge, you need to make fights harder in order to threaten PCs.
2. Out-of-combat traps become mostly pointless unless they are capable of actually killing someone.
3. Since fights are harder, casters will need to cast proper spells more often in order to match the challenges.
4. Since a round where a spellcaster casts a spell is usually a round where said caster makes more of an impact than a non-caster, this skews the game toward making casters shine more.
5. Since casters will be casting more spells, their slots will usually determine the pace of resting rather than hp attrition (or adventure design).

As an example, look at the Vault of Thorns from The Hill Giant's Pledge (because I recently listened to the GCP and was stunned at the difficulty level). It's a dungeon built for a 5th level party. Without spoiling too much, the encounters inside are of levels: 5, 5, 6 (plus difficulty caused by poor visibility), 7 (plus trickery), 5 (plus difficulty caused by terrain), 4, and 7. That's 7 encounters, half of which are higher than "base" difficulty. There's no way a party is getting through that without resting at least once, probably twice.

Now, you could certainly build the game around the assumption that there won't be much attrition, and each fight should be a challenge on its own. Wizards did make that game. It was called Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition, and the main reason Pathfinder exists is that it was not particularly well received. Of course, you can also solve the problem in a different way, which I hope Paizo will be able to do.

Dark Archive

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Remove Resonance entirely. It creates more problems than it solves.
To stop the CLW Wand is one thing - but pressuring people into playing healers is far worse.


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Gorbacz wrote:
Also, you just can't roleplay a Cha/Int/Wis 6 person. That would require you to be a table-wrecking in-game a+%$~~#&/idiot, and the only non-versimilitude-breaking in-game reaction would be for other PCs to punch that person in face and dump them for somebody who can actually communicate with other carbon life forms, notice a falling a rock or be able to add 2 to 2 and come up with a 4.

Not really, 10 is average, -2 from a 6, does not mean you are basically non-functioning in that area, and depending on the actual rolls at the table, you could do better than the guy with a 14.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

A couple notes.

First, I like the suggestion on Trinkets being Bolstered. Thus you get to use the first Trinket for free. Additional uses of that type of Trinket costs Resonance. This makes them more viable and likely to be used - and let's be honest, you're talking one-shot items. Very few of my players in Pathfinder 1 used one-shot items because once they use the item they are gone - my Rise of the Runelords campaign had players with Cure Light Wounds potions that they had acquired in the first Book but still had in Book Four. They had the Cleric's Channel Positive Energy used to heal everyone instead. Single-use items are things resource-conscious people won't use except in a Boss Fight, and adding Resonance to the mix makes them even less likely to use them.

Second. The Medicine skill should be better able to help patch up characters after combat. Non-magical healing, even if it doesn't patch up all wounds, should be a way for players to get around the need for a Cleric.

You might also consider having the Medicine skill able to work concurrently with magical healing - if someone binds wounds and then casts a Heal spell on them, have the Heal spell between 25% and 50% more effective (Critical Failure would negate the Heal spell or cause damage, Failure would be no benefit, Success would be 25% more healing, and Critical Success is 50% more healing).

This should also take time - and time becomes a resource because enemy reinforcements could interrupt healing efforts or the like, so the players might want to retreat to heal up or find ways of barricading themselves in the room while they heal up... or forego the added healing and not use the Medicine skill.

Third. someone commented on the need to "whittle down" character resources. As a GM, I constantly felt like I wasn't doing enough to challenge my players and that they were getting things too easy because people rarely took significant damage. It was rare that anyone went below half hit points. But then my group started commenting on how they were feeling relieved to get through a fight or how it challenged them - they took almost no damage and yet they felt challenged by an encounter.

You don't need to bring someone to 0 hit points to have them feel threatened. Sometimes all you have to do is have a foe that is standing up to their attacks and seemingly no-selling them for the players to start sweating up a storm and wonder if they're going to die next.

Mind you, I used a homebrewed Crit system - I didn't like how crits could instantly kill most players and quite a few monsters. So instead I had crits double the damage dice of the weapon used and just that - not strength bonuses, not magic bonuses, just the weapon dice. If I used crits as originally intended I'd probably have dropped several players to 0 hit points or below... but in my view the players are here to have fun, not get frustrated. So my games aren't as "tough" in terms of taking lots of damage... but still remain less-than-easy in terms of eating resources and challenging the party none-the-less.

---------------

I hope we see several Resonance variations put up in the near future and allow the groups to work with each one to find one that works. Resonance shouldn't be a chore to keep track of either. It should be a fun aspect of the game. Let's find a way to make it so.

Dark Archive

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If the issue was low-level magic items being too cheap, I'm thinking that the answer might be flattening the WBL curve rather than imposing limitations on use. Items have levels now, after all, so we can still gate certain gear to higher levels even if it is cheaper.


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CoeusFreeze wrote:
If the issue was low-level magic items being too cheap, I'm thinking that the answer might be flattening the WBL curve rather than imposing limitations on use. Items have levels now, after all, so we can still gate certain gear to higher levels even if it is cheaper.

I was hoping for no expected wealth value, or magic items; let the table decide how much money and/or magic items they want flowing in their campaign.


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Thinking in another direction... what if x-per-day items were flat-out eliminated entirely? Nothing with charges (no wands, staffs, etc.), just two types of magic items: one-use consumables and permanent effects. If you want to keep wands and staffs around for flavor, give them a different permanent effect instead of extra spell charges--for example, metamagic such as heightening.


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Here's how I would re-work Resonance:
How you get it is fine.. CHA + level flows well with how PF2 works as a whole.
Use, however, I would restrict to activation-based non-consumables.
i.e. if it is a thing that is used once and gone - potions, scrolls, trinkets... it does not interact with Resonance at all.
Also, if it is a passive magic item - armor and weapons - it does not interact with Resonance at all.

But if it is a use/day or charge based item (using PF1 terms here), then it is based on Resonance.
So primarily wands and staves.
Remove charges from these items entirely, and remove use/day entirely. These items draw from your Resonance pool just how the rules are written currently. You want better magic items as you level because when you start off your 3-5 uses of your Wand of Heal 1st level work just fine, but as you level you will want a more powerful effect so you'll seek a higher level of wand. Same for staves.. eventually Burning Hands 1st level just isn't going to hack it anymore so you need a more powerful stave for your limited uses.

This allows for emergency potions and scrolls (and even trinkets) to be available at all times, and a GM can give them in an adventure that requires the party to press on past the usual 3-5 encounters per day (which I think is a very valuable option).


Pathfinder PF Special Edition Subscriber

I'd like to say, I 100% agree with this blog. I mean, I agree that each of the 3 PF1 issues Resonance tries to solve is a real problem:

#1 Low-level magic items crowd out high-level ones, even for high-level characters, because they have a better benefit to cost ratio.

#2 The Christmas Tree effect is extremely annoying. Also made worse by issue #1.

#3 Too many things-per-day to track. Also made worse by issues #1 and #2.

And I also agree that Resonance as designed doesn't fix issue #3, and feels punitive and artificial, especially when it hits one-use consumables.

Looking forward to the fixes you guys are going to bring, or maybe a complete redesign.

Dark Archive

Vic Ferrari wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Also, you just can't roleplay a Cha/Int/Wis 6 person. That would require you to be a table-wrecking in-game a+%$~~#&/idiot, and the only non-versimilitude-breaking in-game reaction would be for other PCs to punch that person in face and dump them for somebody who can actually communicate with other carbon life forms, notice a falling a rock or be able to add 2 to 2 and come up with a 4.
Not really, 10 is average, -2 from a 6, does not mean you are basically non-functioning in that area, and depending on the actual rolls at the table, you could do better than the guy with a 14.

Lucky d20 rolls and role playing your baseline ability scores are not the same. Int 6 is the lowest score that speaking creatures had in the previous editions, most commonly found among ogres. Wis 6 is the lowest score of creatures capable of any planning, only slightly above a giant maggot. Cha 6 beats out a donkey by one point. I’d call these genuine deficits.


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Resonance is a sub-issue in the larger issue of (lack of) healing and 10-minute adventuring days. There are loooong threads about that.

About buffing, this edition nerfs that in multiple ways. The primary way is by not allowing stacking effects - with just 3 bonus types magic can play with buffing is basically in the dump already.

Also, there really are no high-level buffing effects to compete with. Higher-level buff spells generally have the same effect as a lower-level version, but on several targets. That's not typically how magic items work.


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Ikos wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Also, you just can't roleplay a Cha/Int/Wis 6 person. That would require you to be a table-wrecking in-game a+%$~~#&/idiot, and the only non-versimilitude-breaking in-game reaction would be for other PCs to punch that person in face and dump them for somebody who can actually communicate with other carbon life forms, notice a falling a rock or be able to add 2 to 2 and come up with a 4.
Not really, 10 is average, -2 from a 6, does not mean you are basically non-functioning in that area, and depending on the actual rolls at the table, you could do better than the guy with a 14.
Lucky d20 rolls and role playing your baseline ability scores are not the same. Int 6 is the lowest score that speaking creatures had in the previous editions, most commonly found among ogres. Wis 6 is the lowest score of creatures capable of any planning, only slightly above a giant maggot. Cha 6 beats out a donkey by one point. I’d call these genuine deficits.

Yes, you would probably be some sort of monosyllabic type, or something, but still, you could try to role-play it. With rolling, you have the potential for a 3, and some people roll (and role) with that.


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"Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Case in point—let's talk about Resonance Points. Yeah, that's right. I'm going there.

Thank You!

"Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
A big issue is that a lot of folks just plain don't like Resonance Points.

+1! Resonance may attempt to solve perceived problems, but I still don't like it. It's confusing. It's not how magic is suppose to work. It's not fun!

"Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Designers, by nature, want you to use the items they created in actual play. But adventure designers are often under budgetary constraints to make not the best item for the story, but the one that does the trick while still conforming to the amount of treasure output in the design guides.

This is my main problem with all of Pathfinder Playtest, not just Resonance Points, and this is the first time I've seen it in print. Pathfinder Playtest is all mainly about making it easier for designers to create products, not about making it more fun for players to play the game. You're creating a 'balanced is boring' game. The PCs don't feel heroic, then seem balanced and common.

The Playtest has some good stuff - OK some very good stuff. I love the three action rules, they really make sense.

But in the end, I just hope you scrap Resonance Points. The negatives and negative consequences far out weigh the perceived positives. It's not worth it.


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rknop wrote:

The problem is that Resonance is a patch on top of a broken underlying system that fixes one undesirable consequence of the broken underlying system while introducing others.

Just consider a potion of Cure Light Wounds and a Potion of Cure Moderate wounds. In PF1e, the former is 50gp and heals 1d8+1. The latter is 150gp heals 2d8+3. It's far more cost effective for healing to buy three lower level potions than one higher level potion; with the former, you get 3d8+3, the latter, 2d8+3, both for the same price.

It only gets worse for higher level potions, wands, and scrolls, as the price goes up approximately as the square of the level whereas the amount healed goes up proportionately to level. This goes for other sorts of things beyond heading, too, but is most obvious with healing as that's the one thing nearly every party needs all the time.

Fix *that* rather than patching on a system like Resonance that tries to patch the problem of higher level items not being worth it. As long as Pathfinder is going to be a game where magic shops are expected and PCs can get whatever they want, the economics of what you for what you get has to make sense. Perhaps make consumables scale linearly with level in price, and reduce expected WBL (and other prices) to compensate. The patch on top just makes it all more complicated, crufty, and, in the long run, more likely to be susceptible to unintended behaviors as optimisations are discovered.

The problem is not as bad with 2nd Edition prices, but it is still there.

Healing potions on pages 393-394.
Minor healing potion, 3gp, heals 1d8 hit points, 1.5 hp/gp
Lesser healing potion, 8 gp, heals 2d8+4 hit points, 1.63 hp/gp
Moderate healing potion, 20 gp, heals 3d8+8 hit points, 1.08 hp/gp
Greater healing potion, 60 gp, heals 5d8+12 hit points, 0.58 hp/gp
Major healing potion, 250 gp, heals 7d8+20 hit points, 0.21 hp/gp
True healing potion, 1200 gp, heals 9d8+30 hit points, 0.06 hp/gp

Wand of Heal, page 413
Level 2 with 1st-level Heal (1d8+Wis); Price 27 gp; 3.15 hp/gp
Level 4 with 2nd-level Heal (3d8+Wis); Price 72 gp; 2.43 hp/gp
Level 6 with 3rd-level Heal (5d8+Wis); Price 180 gp; 1.47 hp/gp
Level 8 with 4th-level Heal (7d8+Wis); Price 405 gp; 0.88 hp/gp

Now, let's talk about the monetary and healing needs in an actual adventure. Imagine that at 8th level, the king hired your party to clear out a bandit gang on the East Road. He paid you 1,000 gp but the bandit loot was returned to its owners. Months later, at 10th level, the king hired you again to clear out a bandit gang on the North Road. This gang is twice as big and its chief is twice as tough, so the king offers you 2,000 gp, but still no loot. This fits the challenge leveling system in the Treasure chapter of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook: twice the challenge two levels later for twice the reward.

Does twice the challenge deal twice the damage? No, because the party leveled up. The party has an additional +2 to AC, so the bandits hit only about 80% as often. The party has an additional +2 to attck rolls, so they deal 20% more damage and each individual enemy lasts only (1/1.2 = 0.83) 83% as long. Twice the bandits means twice the combat, so the total extra damage, (2)(0.8)(.083) = 1.33, is only 33% more.

On the other hand, the party's hit points increase roughly linearly. 10/8 = 1.25, so they have 25% more hit points from 8th level to 10th level. They are more likely to need some healing before the end of the North Road bandit encounters.

If healing and gold are automatically adjusted by level, then every two levels, the healing per gold piece would be 1.33/2 = 0.67 as much as before. 3.15 hp/gp at 2nd level would become 2.10 hp/gp at 4th level, 1.40 hp/gp at 6th level, and 0.93 hp/gp at 8th level. This is close to what we see in the wands of heal. However, 3.15 hp/gp is a better bargain than the higher-level wands. The higher-level healing is valuable only for healing during combat rather than between combats.

And because the player characters shop for bargains, their money outstrips their healing needs. Lack of funds will eventually no longer limit healing.

Resonance has one major flaw as a replacement limit on healing: it increases every level, too. Suppose at 8th level the party fighter drank three healing potions to heal up while fighting the East Road bandits. Then at 10th level the fighter would need to drink four healing potions instead. Which he can do, because he gained two more resonance with leveling up. He even has a spare resonance to don an extra magic item.

To force the fighter to use more resonance than he gained in those two levels, we would need that an extra 33% would be three more potions. The equation 0.33x = 3 has solution x = 9, which means the fighter would go from drinking 9 potions to 12 potions. If the fighter is drinking 9 potions, then we already have a problem with spamming potions.

The alternative is to make magic items so tempting that he uses at least half of his new resonance on new magic items. If the fighter is drinking 6 potions and that increases 33% over two levels to 8 potions, he will want to upgrade one of the potions he drinks so that he can wear his new enchanted circlet. That is one potion upgraded, not all seven.

By that math, to force the fighter to upgrade all his healing potions due to resonance limits, we want all his new resonance to be spent on new worn magic items rather than consumables. Which means one new piece of bling every level. That sounds like the Christmas Tree effect.


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Starfox wrote:
10-minute adventuring days

LOL You're doing pretty good to last long enough for a 10 min day. Mine have been more like 5 min days. We didn't pay the cleric tax though so the game had to punish us. :(


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As a suggestion, how about changing Resonance from a negative aspect (negative in the same way HP is negative, in that it's a limiting value that counts down) to a positive one? Everyone can use magic gear without investing resonance, but if they DO invest resonance the gear improves in some way, maybe with extra uses per day for some items or a bonus to attack rolls or something. Wands can then be safely based on Resonance without causing massive issues, because it's effectively using a bonus aspect instead of eating into a limited and very valuable resource pool. It even fits the flavor better, as even in PF1e "attuning" yourself to a magic item (the belts and headbands) didn't prevent basic functionality, it just meant they were treated as a temporary bonus instead of a permanent one.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Okay, is anybody able to point out those swift/immediate action items you can nova before a combat, about which Stephen is talking? Because I sure as heck have no idea what he is talking about there...

And count me in the "it was never a problem at my tables" camp for consumables.


Alchemaic wrote:
As a suggestion, how about changing Resonance from a negative aspect (negative in the same way HP is negative, in that it's a limiting value that counts down) to a positive one?

I had considered as part of a house rule to let people spend as much resonance as they want, but if they spend more than 1+ChaMod+Level the magic suffusing their body becomes unstable and they have to start rolling on "magic events" tables, mostly because I love that stuff. Probably it's simpler that if you overspend you take a penalty to your saves vs. magic though.

Or... overspending can leave you with nonlethal damage you can't rid yourself of without resting.


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Swiftbrook wrote:
"Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Designers, by nature, want you to use the items they created in actual play. But adventure designers are often under budgetary constraints to make not the best item for the story, but the one that does the trick while still conforming to the amount of treasure output in the design guides.
This is my main problem with all of Pathfinder Playtest, not just Resonance Points, and this is the first time I've seen it in print. Pathfinder Playtest is all mainly about making it easier for designers to create products, not about making it more fun for players to play the game. You're creating a 'balanced is boring' game. The PCs don't feel heroic, then seem balanced and common.

To be fair, I think it's a valid concern at times. I've tried homebrewing stuff for 5e, and there is almost no design space to work with. But I do agree that nerfing magic items isn't the way to go about it.

As an example of how other systems have dealt with potions, Spheres of Power. They still have the same quadratic effect where you can get more hp/gp with smaller potions. For example, you could buy 4 1d8 potions for the price of 1 2d8 potion. But that 2d8 potion also comes with a rider, which could even be something like "Also heals you of all ability damage and temporary negative levels", giving players more incentive to use them. There's even the option of not increasing the dice healed at all for the price increase and instead having it work on the recently deceased. For example, you could spend 200 gp on a potion that heals just as much as the bargain bin 50 gp potion, but that more expensive one can heal people and stabilize them even if they're no more than 1 round dead.

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