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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I am wondering about the desire to do long adventuring days and doing whole dungeons without resting - I started gaming with 3.0 where it was spelled out that characters should do 13 CR=APL encounters per level. Consequently it has led to the adventure modules being designed in such a way that a single dungeon (or a dungeon level) more or less got the players up a whole level, containing about 10 encounters. Is that what's still going on here? Where did this tradition come from and why must we keep sticking to it?

When we look at PFS the scenarios usually contain 3-5 encounters. Perhaps this should be the narrative standard for the adventuring day instead? And the bigger dungeons should have safe rooms/means to retreat/longer narrative time limits?

Shadow Lodge

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I want to believe you will actually listen to the results of the playtest and just get rid of resonance with something that both makes sense and isn't shoehorned into the setting(backed up with a few mechanics from PF1 that had nothing in common with it, save for Alchemist who, funnily enough, could still use magic items just fine) but, well... there is precedence you won't.

I hope to be pleasantly surprised. I expect not to be.


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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Sanmei Long wrote:


I am not interested in playing the Dark Souls of tabletop gaming where PCs are forever at a razor's edge, uncertain whether they want to press on and risk a TPK or fall back and suffer storyline consequences while they consolidate resources.

That's a pretty good description of exactly the style I do want my games to be, provided the difference between the risk and the falling back has a reasonable blend of player and DM agency, and strategic choices aren't unduly easy to mess up with bad dice rolls.

I am particularly hoping to see elegant ways of extending that style into high-level play.

Meanwhile, I'm having the same reaction to it as I did when Breath of the Wild came out: it's not the game I started playing. It's not a game I want to play. If I wanted to play such games, I'd be playing something else altogether -- and now my alternative to that "something else altogether" is becoming the very thing I'd prefer not to play.

Well, there's only one outcome of that sort of change: one less customer.


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Landon Winkler wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Since "this dungeon takes between 8 hours and 8 weeks" is kind of a pain to design a narrative around.
This is the big thing I, as a GM, want to see fixed. The PCs blitzing through the dungeon in an hour is fine and so is the PCs breaking for weeks at a time to heal up. The problem is the unpredictability.

That's a hard thing to fix, because not all groups will have an equally good class selection for the encounters, the same level of optimization, or the same level of player skill. Not to mention some groups are just bigger and thus have more of everything (including action economy).

When you're designing something without knowing who will be doing it, you're not going to get standardized time to complete it. That's not fixable unless the game is designed such that you can predict exactly how powerful each character will be and there's no room for deviation.

But I don't think people would like that game a whole lot because their choices would have no real impact.


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scruffylad wrote:
Rather, they are just one way that players are addressing a different problem: how to keep the party going from one fight to the next without having to constantly leave the dungeon to find a safe place to rest. For a lot of adventures it just doesn't make sense, plot-wise, for the party to do that. The villain shouldn't sit there like a lump on a log while the party takes a week to clean out his fortress of evil, two rooms at a time--followed by 8 hours of rest back at the inn. (The fact that the GM can play intelligent adversaries who respond to the PC's actions is one of the great benefits of pen-and-paper role playing. The villain shouldn't just sit back and ignore the slow elimination of his minions, sitting patiently on his throne-o-nastiness and waiting for the party to come for their boss fight.)

The party in my Doomsday Dawn: The Lost Star adventure retreated for a night for some healing, after the paladin ran out of Lay on Hands. I had Drakus the Taker rearrange his minions into a more defensive arrangement before the party's return. I don't know whether that violates the spirit of the playtest, but versimitude is more important to me.

My own classic intelligent response by the villain occurred during the 4th module of Rise of the Runelords, Fortress of the Stone Giants. A key part of the adventure involved a fortress full of giants that is too big to clear out in one day. The rest of my tale gets a spoiler shield:

Fortress of the Stone Giants:
Most of an army of giants was camped outside the fortress in preparation for conquering Varisia. The party tried skirmishing with giant hunting parties sent out to supply the army and retreating before reinforcement could respond. They tried camping nearby, but the giants sent out search parties and found their camp. After that, the party teleported back to Magnimar after their daily raids and stayed in a comfortable inn overnight.

I took a large sheet of paper and drew a map of the inn. During breakfast on the fourth day, a strange group of people wandered into the inn. Then the dwarf among the strangers transformed into a giant and they attacked the party. The wizard leader of the giants had scryed the party, learned their habits, assembled a commando team, and gave his sorceress minion a Scroll of Teleport and instructed her to teleport the team to the inn. The team had a true neutral mercenary giant to neutralize (pun intended) the paladin, a spriggan grappler to take down the wizard, a high-level kobold barbarian from the module, a lamia matriarch sorceress left over from a previous module, and some hounds of Tinadalos.

The party won, because I had made the commando team a little weaker than the party and the lamia matriarch sorceress was already a double agent working both sides against each other. The surprise encounter taught the party to get serious about taking out the leadership of the army of giants.

The non-spoiler summary is that the party tried the 15-minute workday, teleporting to an inn in Magnimar after each workday, and the intelligent bad guy teleported his own team after them.


Moro wrote:
Interesting. Every change you mentioned and labeled "for the better" was a removal of a restriction rather than the imposition of a new restraint such as resonance.

They were the first three things I thought of. Don't read too much into it.


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A few comments.
First, resonance for slot items, to prevent constantly swapping x/day items, makes sense. "Attune" each slot during daily prep. I'm cool with that.

The real issue w/low level items like scrolls, wands, and potions tends to be out of combat use. A wand of burning hands made at CL 1 isn't a concern. It's only OOC items that provide a balance issue, and then, mostly healing. (Things that make skills useless, like Wands of Knock and Potions of Glibness or Spider Climb, are an issue with a different solution - make such spells enhance the skill of the user by, perhaps +1/+2 per CL, instead of providing such a powerful replacement that no skill check is needed.)

So, a simple patch: Item-based healing doesn't work if the CL of the item is more than 2 below the level of the target, because mumble mumble hit points are an abstraction and represent luck, divine favor, determination, and skill and mumble mumble when a high level character "loses" hit points they represent something beyond what a cheap potion/wand can fix. Handwave, but it'll do.

Now, let's talk about one of the points which really bugs me in your post, and in the system: The desire to remove various pools of points and create a "one size fits all" system. This greatly limits sub-mechanics, because if a paladin, a monk, and a wizard all walk into a bar, I mean, all use one pool for "special abilities" (and this one pool grows when you multiclass), then, all such abilities have to be of roughly the same power. No one worries (in PF1) if a Warpriest's Blessings are the same as a Gunslinger's Grit Deeds or a Monk's ki powers. Each pool can be adjusted in size relative to the powers they contain, and, barring a handful of specific multiclass feats, you don't have a Monk/Gunslinger (which is a cool concept, BTW) getting more Ki points by learning Deeds - which is not the case in 2e, where a Paladin who multiclasses to Wizard can get bonus Lay on hands due to all the time they spent *not* studying Divine magic.

People stuck with Pathfinder over 4e and 5e because they didn't want an overly simplified system. I'm happy to see a lot of the improvements in 2e, especially the action mechanics, but I want more improvements that expand, rather than restrict, choices, both at the meta level of character creation/building and at the round-by-round level of resource management. The flatter the design gets, the more that abilities are forced to a uniform power level without the tradeoffs of "many minor/frequent powers vs. few major/infrequent ones", the less interesting the game and the characters become.

BTW, is there any way to get the forums to email me when someone replies to a thread I've posted in?


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Arakhor wrote:
Moro wrote:
Interesting. Every change you mentioned and labeled "for the better" was a removal of a restriction rather than the imposition of a new restraint such as resonance.
They were the first three things I thought of. Don't read too much into it.

No, it just got me thinking of the changes between editions, and how it appears that most, perhaps all, of the more well-received changes boiled down to relaxed constraints as opposed to the uproar I recall over any changes that were perceived as adding restrictions instead.


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Landon Winkler wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Since "this dungeon takes between 8 hours and 8 weeks" is kind of a pain to design a narrative around.

This is the big thing I, as a GM, want to see fixed. The PCs blitzing through the dungeon in an hour is fine and so is the PCs breaking for weeks at a time to heal up. The problem is the unpredictability.

Not all groups use wands or even really realize they're an option. They're taking days to cut through an adventure in PF1. If they don't have a healer, that can jump to weeks.

This means, essentially, time threats in a published adventure have to be "try to convince the party they just got there in the nick of time." Which, even if the GM succeeds at maintaining the illusion, makes the group think they need better healing. So they're spending resources and choosing classes to run faster on the treadmill.

The same unpredictability splits encounter design (because a fully healed party needs a very different set of challenges) and class balance (because daily abilities are tied to the same challenge clock). It even ties deeply into the one encounter adventuring day, because a lot of players eventually realize that the game had ended up running on narrative time.

And the thing that makes me sad about this, as a GM and a developer, is that a lot of the people who want wands of cure light wounds want them because they're trying to do well. They want to not just succeed, but to excel at the challenges that have been put in front of them. But without a set timeline to measure it against, the speed and efficiency they're gaining doesn't actually mean anything. And I'd like to see them getting actual results in the game.

Anyway, I just really think that we need to figure out what people want as a time scale for their adventures (minutes, hours, days, weeks, decades, whatever) before we can have a real conversation about magical healing. Because we don't need wands or clerics to have people heal up as often as the players want.

Cheers!
Landon

As I recall the time variability was to an extent already solved in 4e through healing surges. It has been quite a while since I last checked out 4e stuff, but as I recall they provided both healing between encounters, so that the party didn’t have to spend days resting up every few rooms, and also a cap on daily healing, so that the party couldn’t run through a dungeon in a few hours. They could even be houseruled up or down depending on how quickly groups want to run through dungeons.


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There are a lot of elements to the playtest I really like a lot (Funner action economy! Not being locked into an archetype from level 1 and having flexibility with a class! Each class feeling meaningfully distinct!) and overall I'm fairly optimistic, but I think Resonance is exemplary of my biggest concern:

In places, Pathfinder 2 feels like it's awkwardly straddling the line between being a whole new game and also a linear upgrade from Pathfinder 1. It clearly wants things to work differently, but it's unwilling to rebuild the whole game from the ground up and do things that fundamentally alter the core structure. So instead, it hits a middle ground of putting patch rules on top of existing, familiar systems.

I do wish they would be a bit more bold in their approach to changing how hp/healing works and how magic items fit into the game on a more fundamental level, though I understand their reluctance in doing so.


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I'm not really sure why wands of healing are for sale... EVER.

1)They cause so much trouble for Player mechanics apparently

but more importantly

2) Why would any god want to have their followers make such things and then sell them on an open market? The wands could bought by those opposing the god's principles and used for purposes anethema to the god. This is a foolish thing to do.

3) Why would any cleric want to make a wand of healing to sell so that those who use it no longer have to come to the temples to be healed and thus also have an opportunity to hear the sermons?

When there are no good reasons for such an item to exist other than everyone wants them, its seems like the cost should be prohibitive or they are not for sale at all.

Now if clerics are creating wands for themselves, then the thing to do is make them part of the character class like the Wizard's Makeshift Wand. Not usable by anybody else, don't have to worry that your god's gifts will be misused by non-believers...


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Resonance would work fine if you give us a Stamina system like Starfinder or short rests like in 5e.

The problem is not limiting magic items, that would be a good thing, I hate wand of CLW spam.. But the problem is how to heal out of combat. You force us to stick with clerics in party and even with that we struggle to keep the party going and prolonging the adventure day.

Just give us a way to heal out of combat and Resonance will work fine. Use medicine, short rests, Stamina, whatever. As long as PCs can heal out of combat without burning spells or using consumables that are restricted by Resonance the adventure day will last more than 2 encounters.

Dark Archive

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Grandlounge wrote:

I have another far more outthere option. If you want damage to carry over battle to battle build that system not some work around to limit items. Here is an example that simulates rounds in a boxing match.

HP is changed to Endurance.

Endurance is lost when you are hit and for some special abilities associated with very physical classes (this is based of the kineticist). After each encounter you fully recover endurance after 1 min, but you keep you level non-leathal damage that can not be healed until a full rest.

Damage carries over from fight to fight to fight, healing items are only useful in combat meaning higher level items are better than lower level ones, and the rules are modeled after something real.

I am playing a kineticist since its release.Burn mechanic isnt fun.Dont do it pazio.


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Tridus wrote:
That's a hard thing to fix, because not all groups will have an equally good class selection for the encounters, the same level of optimization, or the same level of player skill. Not to mention some groups are just bigger and thus have more of everything (including action economy).

I agree the length shouldn't be deterministic.

But there's a huge gulf between that and making two choices (wands? healer?) decide between getting through a set of encounters in minutes or weeks.

They're just different games from an adventure perspective. A GM with a wand group can say "the city is burning down, you need to clear this entire dungeon to close the fire portal" and have that be reasonable. Meanwhile, a GM with a no-wand no-healer group can't really say that, but can have a wilderness quest with singularly easy encounters spread out in a very natural fashion and have that be reasonable. And the no-wand healer group can't really do either properly, because they'd be dead in the first case and you're basically wasting your player's time in the latter case.

Sometimes you can sort of fudge it by having a totally static dungeon or villain with a vague plan that looms but doesn't really progress. But I don't feel like we should have to do that every time.

The game shouldn't be able to tell us "this will take three minutes," but I don't think it's unreasonable to ask that it tell us whether we're looking at minutes or weeks.

Laser—Boards wrote:
As I recall the time variability was to an extent already solved in 4e through healing surges. It has been quite a while since I last checked out 4e stuff, but as I recall they provided both healing between encounters, so that the party didn’t have to spend days resting up every few rooms, and also a cap on daily healing, so that the party couldn’t run through a dungeon in a few hours. They could even be houseruled up or down depending on how quickly groups want to run through dungeons.

Yeah, healing surges did a good job getting everything on the same schedule. Regaining all your HP, daily abilities, and surges at the same time worked.

But if you had a game where there weren't daily powers and you regained all HP at the end of an encounter, it'd work just as well. Or if you needed to get to town to heal and regain spells and load up on magical items.

But PF1 sort of had bits of each and which you ended up playing depending on whether your group visits forums and if they like healers. I'd love to see a rate we can depend on and, as you mentioned, maybe even something simple enough we can tweak it for folks who do want different rates.

Cheers!
Landon


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Tridus wrote:
Luke Styer wrote:

I’d be curious how much of the community either “don’t see the challenges” that resonance is attempting to fix or “don’t see them as problematic.”

Because if a big enough chunk of the player base either doesn’t see a “challenge” or doesn’t see that “challenge” as problematic, then it arguably isn’t a problem that needs to be fixed.

I'm not sure they would like the answer to that question. A lot of effort is being spent on something that just isn't that big a problem to a huge number of players.

So, who are they actually trying to solve this for?

Some of us DO view it as an issue and appreciate the effort to fix it.

Shadow Lodge

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Snickersnax wrote:

2) Why would any god want to have their followers make such things and then sell them on an open market?

3) Why would any cleric want to make a wand of healing to sell?

Hmm...

If you'll permit me, I'd like to extend this line of thinking. Why would any god allow scrolls, potions, wands, etc. to be sold? Every objection you've brought up to wands of healing holds true for every other spell in the game. Also, your argument is fundamentally flawed because CLW isn't limited to Clerics; no god is going to take offense at a Bard or Witch making a wand.

Snickersnax wrote:
When there are no good reasons for such an item to exist other than everyone wants them, its seems like the cost should be prohibitive or they are not for sale at all.

As I explained back on page 2, the best argument for it's existence is that it means that no one in the party is forced to play a healer. It also gives the GM more freedom when designing encounters and dungeons, with the tacit understanding that simple out-of-combat deal X damage obstacles are ineffective.

Shadow Lodge

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BPorter wrote:
Some of us DO view it as an issue and appreciate the effort to fix it.

Then why not fix it in your own game? Blanket ban wands of Cure Light/Infernal Healing. There's no need to ruin the entire concept of a consumable, simply to fix something that GMs can house rule.


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Disk Elemental wrote:
As I explained back on page 2, the best argument for it's existence is that it means that no one in the party is forced to play a healer. It also gives the GM more freedom when designing encounters and dungeons, with the tacit understanding that simple out-of-combat deal X damage obstacles are ineffective.

Well, partly. The underlying problem is that non-magical healing is painfully slow, so you need magic to heal efficiently. It's just that playing the healer sucks, because you feel compelled to save your spell slots, and healsticks mean no one's forced to play healer. The real fix to CLW spam is adding some sort of non-magical way to restore a meaningful amount of health, such as by letting you spend 5 minutes with the Heal/Medicine skill and a healer's kit.

Shadow Lodge

Lausth wrote:
Grandlounge wrote:

I have another far more outthere option. If you want damage to carry over battle to battle build that system not some work around to limit items. Here is an example that simulates rounds in a boxing match.

HP is changed to Endurance.

Endurance is lost when you are hit and for some special abilities associated with very physical classes (this is based of the kineticist). After each encounter you fully recover endurance after 1 min, but you keep you level non-leathal damage that can not be healed until a full rest.

Damage carries over from fight to fight to fight, healing items are only useful in combat meaning higher level items are better than lower level ones, and the rules are modeled after something real.

I am playing a kineticist since its release.Burn mechanic isnt fun.Dont do it pazio.

Burn isn't fun, but it is USEFUL. It also puts two kinds of play into the base kineticist: get stronger over the course of the day or start strong and risky.


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I honestly love burn just aesthetically- that one can do their basic schtick all day long with nothing expended, but if you really push yourself you can exceed your own limitations but doing so is exhausting on a metaphysical level.

Specific details of the implementation could have been better, but I adore the concept and wish I could use the mechanic for more classes.


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Snickersnax wrote:

I'm not really sure why wands of healing are for sale... EVER.

1)They cause so much trouble for Player mechanics apparently

but more importantly

2) Why would any god want to have their followers make such things and then sell them on an open market? The wands could bought by those opposing the god's principles and used for purposes anethema to the god. This is a foolish thing to do.

3) Why would any cleric want to make a wand of healing to sell so that those who use it no longer have to come to the temples to be healed and thus also have an opportunity to hear the sermons?

Branding. You sell your deity's wands on the open market with conspicuous iconography all up and down the shaft. People then ask priests uncomfortable questions about why they are using some other god's power. Is their god not sufficient?

Or perhaps your religion can't be openly practiced. Selling those branded wands will not only spread the word of your god's power, it will also slow the trickle of would be followers to the temples of the competition. Why go buy Sarenrae healing spells when you can get some Norgorber wands from a road side shop that doesn't ask questions or waste your time with a sermon?

Shadow Lodge

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RazarTuk wrote:
The real fix to CLW spam is adding some sort of non-magical way to restore a meaningful amount of health, such as by letting you spend 5 minutes with the Heal/Medicine skill and a healer's kit.

You're still going to have complaints, because so many people seem to believe that HP attrition is the only form of attrition.


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Disk Elemental wrote:
RazarTuk wrote:
The real fix to CLW spam is adding some sort of non-magical way to restore a meaningful amount of health, such as by letting you spend 5 minutes with the Heal/Medicine skill and a healer's kit.
You're still going to have complaints, because so many people seem to believe that HP attrition is the only form of attrition.

It's definitely the only form of attrition for martials.

They don't have spell points, because they're not casters, and they don't have resonance in what you want.

Therefore, they have 0 attrition and can keep on going so long as they're alive.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Lizard_SF wrote:
BTW, is there any way to get the forums to email me when someone replies to a thread I've posted in?

The short answer is no.

However, from near the top of the messageboards viewing page, you can select "focus". Foccussed view shows you only those threads you've posted in and those you've read who have had extra posts since last time you read them.

That does still require you to return to Paizo's website though, but you at least don't have to scan through the entire forums if you just want to check on a couple of ongoing threads.


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Cyouni wrote:
Disk Elemental wrote:
RazarTuk wrote:
The real fix to CLW spam is adding some sort of non-magical way to restore a meaningful amount of health, such as by letting you spend 5 minutes with the Heal/Medicine skill and a healer's kit.
You're still going to have complaints, because so many people seem to believe that HP attrition is the only form of attrition.

It's definitely the only form of attrition for martials.

They don't have spell points, because they're not casters, and they don't have resonance in what you want.

Therefore, they have 0 attrition and can keep on going so long as they're alive.

Individual character attrition shouldn't be a real concern if the party needs to work together to defeat most challenges. If your martials can just run on ahead without support then you do have a problem though.

There's also the issue of shields of course. But that's a silly sort of attrition.


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Lausth wrote:
I am playing a kineticist since its release.Burn mechanic isnt fun.Dont do it pazio.

I can't agree more. It's something I hate more than resonance and Bulk... :P

Sanmei Long wrote:
No one really wants to sit in a circle waving a series of wands for 8 minutes

I think an easy to fix this for people that dislike the optics of repeatedly using the wand, allow an out of combat action that lets you spend multiple charges at once.

Dark Archive

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I really don't see why what you're calling the "Christmas Tree effect" is an issue. I've seen no players "[rushing] to fill their slots with items featuring charges or uses per day" in 3 years of PFS and home game play. Certainly I much prefer passive bonuses over uses per day items, even if they are overall weaker.

And I can confirm what some people are also saying: in our PF1 Iron Gods home game, it took us 3 weeks in game to clear a dungeon that was supposed to be a quick and simple run. We didn't have access to a CLW wand, we didn't have any 9th level casters (which I don't think is too uncommon) and because of the way the AP was written, our melee characters didn't have the heavy armour they needed until quite late in our adventuring. In the end, we needed to stop and rest for a couple of nights just to get back to reasonable health, since PF doesn't allow you to just fully heal overnight like in 5e (which I like).

But resonance just makes having a dedicated party healer (which most of my groups fine UNFUN) pretty much necessary if you want to do anything with potential time pressure. I'm fine with taking a while to clear a dungeon, but time-pressure is often a key element of building tension in games, and if you don't have a dedicated healer, giving PCs any sort of time pressure seems entirely unreasonable.

In short: the Christmas Tree effect isn't an issue? A lot of people don't like playing dedicated healers, and it is unreasonable and unfun to balance the game around that expectation, which it seems it is. Resonance just makes this problem more apparent for times when nobody in the party wants to play a cleric.


thflame wrote:
One thing I am trying to implement in my home system is a mana system where magic regenerates like hit points do. It takes a few days to heal wounds naturally, so it makes sense that it takes a few days to regenerate spells naturally. If you "go nova" you can't just rest for 8 hours and be ready to go the next day. You may have to camp out for a week, in which time there is plenty of narrative freedom to have all manner of beasts assail the party.

Sounds like you are doing something similar to 1ed AD&D: It became impossible for a Magic-user to cast a full load of spells two days in a row at 12th level¹ and you were running into limitations for being on watch as early as 5th.

1: You needed 8 hours of complete rest, (i.e. sleep or the like), to recover 5th and 6th level spells plus 16½ hours for the 66 spell levels. Since that put you over 24 hours, you needed to rest _again_ for 4 hours to recover the final one or two spells.

Shadow Lodge

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Cyouni wrote:
It's definitely the only form of attrition for martials.

Except for ability damage, spell effects, and conditions like fatigue, exhaustion, etc.

Also, isn't the selling point of martials that they can go all day? I seem to recall Paizo thinking so highly of being free from the constraints of uses per day and spell slots that they had to nerf the Kineticist into the ground.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I need to ask, how are you controlling the data so it gives valid results?

Resonance use in a party with a Cleric is going to be very different than a party with an Alchemist. Use at low level will be harshly limited by funds as well since the consumables one might carry are relatively expensive.

As people learn the rules, new strategies are likely to be invented. Changes to the rules will cause these strategies to adapt. You get into a situation where the changes cascade and it is difficult to know how to interpret the data.

I like that you are gathering data and analyzing it. Please just have some checks that you have correctly identified cause and effect.


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Ed Reppert wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like hit points sort of imply that a high level character can be pierced by a dozen spears and then do a tap routine every bit as good as they could if they did not have sharp metal and wood stuck in their body.
That is not how hit points work, what they represent, this was all explained over 40 years ago.
I daresay some people playing this game, and probably even some in this thread, weren't even born then. So they're probably unaware of this explanation. And I'm too old to remember it. Can you enlighten us?

While the 1ed DMG isn't quite that old, (1979):

Quote:
It is quite unreasonable to assume that as a character gains levels of ability in his or her class that a corresponding gain in actual ability to sustain physical damage takes place. It is preposterous to state such an assumption, for if we are to assume that a man is killed by a sword thrust which does 4 hit points of damage, we must similarly assume that a hero could, on the average, withstand five such thrusts before being slain! Why then the increase in hit points? Because these reflect both the actual physical ability of the character to withstand damage—as indicated by constitution bonuses—and a commensurate increase in such areas as skill in combat and similar life-or-death situations, the “sixth sense” which warns the individual of some otherwise unforeseen events, sheer luck, and the fantastic provisions of magical protections and/or divine protection.

To give some examples, allow me to introduce Grok. Grok is quite good with a spear, more importantly he is very consistent and always does exactly 10 points of damage.

Let us begin with the lamentably named Unfortunate Exemplar, a peasant with 3HP.

"What do you mean lam-URK!"

As we can see, Mr. Exemplar has a spear clear through him and is rapidly bleeding out. Next we have Bob the warrior, with 20HP. Notice how Bob takes a fairly nasty leg wound because he knew to jump back when Grok lunged at him.

Mandrake here, as you might expect, is a wizard but he's been around the block more than a few times and has 50HP. He is less able to dodge the blow than Bob, but he does have a number of minor protective magics that slow and deflect it resulting in it just putting a gash in his arm.

Finally we have Balka, a priestess of Gorum. She is highly experienced and rather tough with 120HP. Notice how the battle senses granted to her by her Lord in Iron allow her to react even before Grok begins his thrust, deflecting it so that it merely draws a scar across her cheek. Which is why Grok can now be seen leaving the forum at a fairly rapid pace.

In general, the more HP you have the less damage you are actually taking.

Oh, don't worry about Grok: They know each other and this is foreplay for them.


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Disk Elemental wrote:
BPorter wrote:
Some of us DO view it as an issue and appreciate the effort to fix it.
Then why not fix it in your own game? Blanket ban wands of Cure Light/Infernal Healing. There's no need to ruin the entire concept of a consumable, simply to fix something that GMs can house rule.

Do I really need to point out that "just house rule it" can apply in the other direction just as easily?


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I'll state my bias up front: I don't like the resonance system. While I understand what you're trying to address, it's merely putting a bandage on the wound. There's a deeper mechanical issue with the game that I think would be better addressed by removing the dependence on magic items.
Tie the characters' abilities to their abilities, not reliance on potions and wands. Increase the rate of natural healing, the potency of first aid checks, and allow for characters to self heal instead of putting all the responsibility on the divine casters. Other systems including D&D and Numenera have mechanics to allow this. Call them Healing Surges, Recovery Rolls, or whatever. Build in the amount of healing you want characters to have access to instead of rationing potions, scrolls, and wand charges.
And concerning item creation, I'm fine if you take it out, along with all the other downtime mechanics. The adventure is the exciting part of the game. I don't care what the heroes do in their off season. It clogs the game with plodding preparation and turns heroes into magic vending machines, leading to the need for resonance points and further rules bloat.


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It feels like the example from 1979 doesn't hold up if you actually set out to test it.

Like if we have two people who are tied up and someone is shooting them with crossbow bolts from sufficiently close that you cannot possibly miss the level 20 character can survive upwards of 20 crossbow bolts having pierced their flesh, the level 1 character might die after the 3rd shot.

I think the broader point is that sufficiently isolated and stripped of the context of "actual gameplay" all gamist conventions like hit points and spell slots and metacurrencies become silly. We avoid this absurdity simply by not setting out to expose it.


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BPorter wrote:
Disk Elemental wrote:
BPorter wrote:
Some of us DO view it as an issue and appreciate the effort to fix it.
Then why not fix it in your own game? Blanket ban wands of Cure Light/Infernal Healing. There's no need to ruin the entire concept of a consumable, simply to fix something that GMs can house rule.
Do I really need to point out that "just house rule it" can apply in the other direction just as easily?

Problem is Resonance effects more than just CLW. It effects a lot of things and while I would LOVE to see it gone, I question the can of worms fully ripping it out might open when it comes to certain items and or classes.

I mean home-rule banning Resonance would radically change Alchemist in ways that I'm not sure are good or bad regardless of what it does to CLW wands.

I do kinda have to agree with Disk Elemental though. It seems to be a huge problem that everyone complains about to no end.

I see Class bans, I see spell bans, I see homerules, I see optional rules put into effect like Path of War or Auto Progression, I see crazy things like Spheres of Power or even Gestalt games.

And yet I seem to be one of the few people that tinkered with wands. I don't think I'm a very smart or clever GM for doing so but I find it weird that people with more experience with the problem and GMing in general don't seem to have tried to fix the problem other than ramping the damage to almost Instant Kill levels because otherwise what's the point.

There has to be a better solution between "Almost Instant Kill Damage" and Resonance. And even then some of the math here seems to show that it's STILL maybe the best pick up.

Shadow Lodge

Well you could just remove consumables from the game. Boom, no need for Resonance.


I've always liked Resonance (I know, talk about the unpopular kid) but felt like it wasn't going all the way with all the 3/day and similar items. Now Paizo seems to recognise that it's an actual issue, and I like that...

So if the two main issues are half-reaching the solution to the uses/day issue and not feeling sufficient for high level consumable managment, why not do something like removing charges from items and adding multiple costs for activating higher level/power items (2rp, 3rp)? Sounds like it could help in both areas.


Dragonborn3 wrote:
Well you could just remove consumables from the game. Boom, no need for Resonance.

Again while I would like that to a degree; we still have all the Resonance tied to the Magic items that seem to be accepted with varying degrees of like and dislike...

And Alchemist who in my opinion, has it's own class features bicker over Resonance. That and if we remove consumables entirely well we need SOMETHING to put in Alchemist to fill that hole(COUGH Extracts COUGH COUGH)


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Here's a question: Can anyone give a decent reason as to why heightening spells is so limited? Here are two really WTF choices:

1) Sorcerers need to re-learn a spell as a heightened version in order to cast it as a heightened spell.
2) Spontaneous Heighten isn't spontaneous at all. They need to be prepared at the beginning of the day.

If casters are already limited by spells per day, why even bother having a limit on heightened spells? If someone would rather cast a heightened fireball than greater teleport, why should they not be able to? It seems extremely reasonable to me to presume that if a caster knows how to put more into spells like Magic Missile for more missiles (adding in more components), then surely they also know how to put ever-so-slightly-more in (cast as a level 2 spell) in order to get one more.

I for one am house ruling these stupid limitations out of my games, but can anyone understand why they exist at all?


Disk Elemental wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
It's definitely the only form of attrition for martials.

Except for ability damage, spell effects, and conditions like fatigue, exhaustion, etc.

Also, isn't the selling point of martials that they can go all day? I seem to recall Paizo thinking so highly of being free from the constraints of uses per day and spell slots that they had to nerf the Kineticist into the ground.

So the only way to actually add attrition to martials is to have disabling afflictions in every single encounter? That's not really a very good solution.

By the way, did you know very few dragons have afflictions which last past the end of combat? The only one I really remember is the great wyrm umbral dragon, which has energy drain.

Liberty's Edge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I haven't playtested resonance much yet, but I understand the theory from a game-design perspective and like the idea in general. Looking forward to how it evolves. I think part of the community reaction is that it is different and new.

Liberty's Edge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Any chance you guys will do a blog on the +level design to proficiency? I think it is an improvement over Pathfinder 1, but once you start adding level to EVERY roll AND DC, it quickly becomes concerning that it cancels itself out and is really just bloating the numbers, making things harder to understand. Thanks!


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Archimedes Mavranos wrote:
Any chance you guys will do a blog on the +level design to proficiency? I think it is an improvement over Pathfinder 1, but once you start adding level to EVERY roll AND DC, it quickly becomes concerning that it cancels itself out and is really just bloating the numbers, making things harder to understand. Thanks!

Yeah, I find it limits monster threat ranges too much.

With treadmill:

20th-level Fighter (+20) with 22 Str (+6), legendary proficiency (+3), and a +5 magic weapon, has +34 to hit. AC 45. 10 + 20 (level) + 3 (Legendary Proficiency) +11 (magic plate) +1 (Dex)
A Pit Fiend has an AC of 44.

Without treadmill:

20th-level Fighter with 22 Str (+6), legendary proficiency (+3), and a +5 magic weapon, has +14 to hit.
A Pit Fiend has an AC of 24.

Nothing has changed in regards to what you need to roll for a success/crit, etc.

With treadmill:

20th-level Fighter, AC 45, +34 to hit
Pit Fiend, AC 44, +35 to hit
Fire Giant, AC 28, +20 to hit
Ghoul, AC 15, +7 to hit

Without treadmill:

20th-level Fighter, AC 25, +14 to hit
Pit Fiend, AC 24, +15 to hit
Fire Giant, AC 18, +10 to hit
Ghoul, AC 14, +6 to hit


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd like to strengthen and back the points Mr. Radney-MacFarland referred to mentioning the background of, the approach to, and the use of Resonance Points.

As a GM, I deem it worthwhile to get rid off the "christmas tree" and "cure light wounds wand" issues. Players should more rely on class features their characters have access to, on team work, and on the adventuring part of the game.

Please keep the Resonance Points as a mechanic in the PF 2.0 system. Even if you have to alter the mechanic a little, don't leave it out completely.

Just my 2 cp.


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Resonance didn't bother me (but I haven't had a chance to play it) until this:

"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."

That tells me there are issues with the design guides that should be addressed by altering the design guides, not by dumping new and awkward rules on the players.


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CyberMephit wrote:

I am wondering about the desire to do long adventuring days and doing whole dungeons without resting - I started gaming with 3.0 where it was spelled out that characters should do 13 CR=APL encounters per level. Consequently it has led to the adventure modules being designed in such a way that a single dungeon (or a dungeon level) more or less got the players up a whole level, containing about 10 encounters. Is that what's still going on here? Where did this tradition come from and why must we keep sticking to it?

When we look at PFS the scenarios usually contain 3-5 encounters. Perhaps this should be the narrative standard for the adventuring day instead? And the bigger dungeons should have safe rooms/means to retreat/longer narrative time limits?

The original design guidelines for 3e suggested that a typical adventuring day should be four encounters, each taking about an hour of play time - enough for a small dungeon that can be played in a day. You'd generally go through 3-4 of these in the course of a level.


RazarTuk wrote:
Disk Elemental wrote:
As I explained back on page 2, the best argument for it's existence is that it means that no one in the party is forced to play a healer. It also gives the GM more freedom when designing encounters and dungeons, with the tacit understanding that simple out-of-combat deal X damage obstacles are ineffective.
Well, partly. The underlying problem is that non-magical healing is painfully slow, so you need magic to heal efficiently. It's just that playing the healer sucks, because you feel compelled to save your spell slots, and healsticks mean no one's forced to play healer. The real fix to CLW spam is adding some sort of non-magical way to restore a meaningful amount of health, such as by letting you spend 5 minutes with the Heal/Medicine skill and a healer's kit.

Perhaps we could move the burden of healing onto the healee - let's say by introducing some sort of resource that allowed them to heal themselves out of combat. This would retain some amount of attrition, but without making the second and third combat in a day really deadly.

The role of the healer (not just clerics, but other heal-capable classes as well) could then be somewhat shifted toward making people use their own healing resources more efficiently, and perhaps letting them use them in combat as well. You could also shift some focus toward condition relief - anyone can restore their own hit points, but if you get hit with a blindness curse or something like that you might want a healer for that. But then again, perhaps that should be more commonly available out of combat as well - potentially as part of some form of ritual magic system that lets even characters who don't use magic in combat use them for some downtime effects, at a cost?


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I ran my session 1 playtest last night and didn't even think of resonance until one of the players mentioned it.

One solution could be that most level items stop working on being's who are too powerful for them. A level 1 cure works up to level 7 characters, but a level 20 fighter who drinks a level 1 heal gets 1 hit point.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

No one at my gaming table likes Resonance as it is RAW.

That being said, I'd like to fix some of the problems-

1.) Only use Resonance to spiritually link with magic items, and have nothing to do with charges nor throw away items (potions/trinkets), except maybe in their creation. Keep the points relatively low. I'm thinking the EarthDawn Thread mechanic.

Example-
A character would need a Resonance point to link to a Wand. If you use all the wands uses, you could link to another Wand using another resonance point.

2.) I approve of the Stamina / Wounds in Starfinder. This would go a long way to reducing the need of small curing spam, and the need for dedicated healers.

3.) I like the idea that Wands specifically are useful at giving characters access to spell casting of a spell they are not typically having access to, and acting as a beneficial focus if the character does have the spell. That is typically the sort of wand we see in standard fare Fantasy Fiction.

4.) Do away with plus bonuses. They are not all that 'interesting'. instead, magic items are best when they have specific functions: A Sword of Undead Bane, Armor that doesn't encumber you, or a Helm of Invisibility. Do away with the required economy of always having to upgrade or be obsolete.

Just my 2 copper.


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Scharlata wrote:

As a GM, I deem it worthwhile to get rid off the "christmas tree" and "cure light wounds wand" issues. Players should more rely on class features their characters have access to, on team work, and on the adventuring part of the game.

And if nobody wants to play a healer, how does recovery happen? Right now, the answer is "someone takes one for the team and plays something they don't want to", which is what MMOs do, and requires all kinds of cajoling and bribing to make it work at all.

Resonance right now isn't attacking a problem. It's attacking the solution to another problem (downtime recovery relies on consumables), while leaving the original problem in place.

If you run an adventure with strict time constraint where quick recovery is mandatory and your players show up with a Fighter, Rogue, Ranger, and Wizard, they either need consumables or they're going to have a very bad time.

Until the resonance conversation stops trying to pretend that CLW wand spam is a problem itself, rather than a reaction to another problem, resonance is never going to work very well.

Personally, I'd remove charges from wands. Using it costs resonance, but it never runs out. It's now part of your kit, and you thus want the biggest one you can get to maximize effeciency per resonance. There's an effective cap on wand related healing based on how much resonance you have available, but groups without a healer have access to more than nothing. Also make it an item you have to attune to for the day so a party can't just pass one wand around (but everyone could bring their own if they wanted to invest the resources into it).

No more CLW spam, any party can have access to healing, and a GM can at least expect a minimum amount of healing available based on level with some certainty (a party with an actual healer would have more of course, but we already have that).

That doesn't even require drastically changing how the resonance rules work right now, so theoretically they could do it and see how it works in a subsequent playtest.

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