As of today, we turn our focus to Part 3 of Doomsday Dawn, "Affair at Sombrefell Hall," written by one of the many talented developers of the new edition of Pathfinder, Amanda Hamon Kunz. If you've already played Part 3 of Doomsday Dawn, you can find the surveys at the following links:
Before we move on, we'd like to look back at what we've learned from the first two parts of the adventure and talk about some additional changes we're making to the game based on your comments and feedback.
But first, a few important notes.
First off, you can still turn in survey results for Parts 1 and 2 of the adventure. Although we're moving on, your responses will still be counted and help us make further decisions about the game.
Second, I want to take a moment to stress that the various parts of Doomsday Dawn are meant to be tests that look at various parts of the game engine. This goal was more important to us, in some places, than creating a balanced play experience. This will make certain parts of the adventure a little challenging to run at times, but we hope you'll bear with us. We've tried to ensure you'll have a good time with the adventure, but the test goals have to come first. Thanks for understanding.
Finally, the rest of this blog may contain spoilers for Parts 1 and 2, so if you have not finished those chapters, you might want to go back and do that first.
Deconstructing Part 2: In Pale Mountain's Shadow
In case you missed the Twitch stream on Friday, Designer Logan Bonner sat down with Dan Tharp to talk through some of the things we've learned so far from the survey results from Part 2 of Doomsday Dawn. Here are a few of the highlights, along with a thing or two we might have missed.
As the first part of Doomsday Dawn to be set above level 1, Part 2 was our first chance to ask about archetypes. 15% of you took an archetype, and of those, most were arcane spellcasters picking up the fighter archetype.
This is also the first part of the adventure where characters start play with magic items. 62% of you chose magic armor as your 3rd-level item, but over 10% took a lower-level item or a consumable item instead. We might look into making changes in how you can select items in the future to accommodate players who want more flexibility.
It took players, on average, almost 10 minutes less to make their 4th-level characters that it did to make their 1st-level characters, which is great news.
Resonance continues to be a topic of discussion amongst players, and our surveys are just starting to give us a picture of how it is working in play. Only about 1 out of every 4 players ran out of resonance once during Part 2, and only 1 out of every 10 players failed their check when overspending resonance and became cut off during Part 2 (usually alchemists). Now, the important thing to note here is that this is not really showing us how resonance is being used, merely that players aren't running out very often, so be on the lookout for survey questions in upcoming parts that will delve a little deeper into exactly how you're using resonance at your table.
Finally, this part of the adventure was designed to test the game in situations with complex environmental and tactical challenges. Our results showed that players viewed these fights as a significantly greater challenge than the raw monster numbers—not counting the environmental advantages—would indicate. Players also rated the fights in this part as significantly longer and not quite as fun. Some of this was expected, but when we look at these results by class, things become really interesting, showing us which classes had the most difficulty with Part 2. Barbarians, monks, and paladins, for example, seemed to have a bit of trouble with the manticore fight, since they tend to lack ranged options. This shows us that there are adjustments to be made with these classes to ensure they have some way to contribute.
With the start of a new part of Doomsday Dawn, we also have a number of changes to the game that we want to bring to your attention. All of these can be found in the download below (which includes all of the previous changes in one handy document). Here are a few of the highlights:
First up, we're changing the anathema for the animal totem barbarian to allow you to use whatever weapon you want while outside of rage. When transformed with fury, though, you still need to use those special animal unarmed attacks. Look for a few more barbarian updates as well.
Next, we're adding a longer range to soothe, the occult healing spell, allowing you to use it on targets up to 30 feet away. There's a bard update, as well; they now have a feat to gain access to 10th-level occult spells.
Finally—and this is the big change for the week—we're removing the concept of signature skills from the game. Now anyone can advance any skill up to any proficiency rank they want (assuming their level is high enough for them to do so). In addition, a number of classes are having their total number of starting skill choices increased to at least three, with each also getting one or more automatic skills, to represent basic class training.
This change also precipitates the need for a NEW CHARACTER SHEET! On top of removing signature skills from the game, we are also taking this opportunity to clean up a number of issues with the character sheet to make it a bit more intuitive and easy to use.
As always, none of these changes are final, but instead more steps toward the best version of Pathfinder we can make. Thank you for all of your feedback and assistance so far. We're looking forward to learning more from you in the coming months.
Director of Game Design
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