The Resonance Test

Monday, October 15, 2018

Today, we're happy to release an alternate version of the item Resonance system for testing using the Raiders of Shrieking Peak adventure and an encapsulated set of rules. So, how did we get to this release, how do you use it, what's different, and what do we expect out of it?

The Survey Data

First, let's talk about what our survey data has shown us. All the surveys you've been filling out during the playtest process have helped us immensely, and the Rules Survey in particular is telling us a lot about how the rules are being received. The Rules Survey asked quite a few questions about the Resonance system. As you can probably tell from some of the questions on that survey, we looked at things people in the community were already saying to gauge how widespread those sentiments really were. For example, we had seen a lot of people comment that they thought it didn't make sense for potions to cost Resonance Points, so we included this in the survey to gather more information. The results so far show that 55% of respondents have said that while it makes sense that other items cost Resonance, it doesn't make sense for potions. (26% have said it doesn't make sense that anything costs Resonance.)

The main set of questions we asked about Resonance showed us pretty strongly that Resonance as printed was highly unpopular. Few people thought characters had the right number of points, there was too much tracking, the rules on overspending weren't engaging, and only about 20% of respondents thought the system was a clear improvement over First Edition. When introducing a new system, it's especially important that the system be seen as a clear improvement, or it's not pulling its weight.

However, not all of the feedback was negative. The rules had good ratings on being easy to understand, and there was strong support (both in the surveys and in forum posts we've been seeing) for Resonance as a way to make it easier to track multiple-use items. Though we didn't ask about it directly in the survey, we've also seen solid support for a more flexible system of worn items compared to First Edition's item slots. So, the new iteration of the Resonance system looks to expand on these few elements that were well liked, while reducing the elements that felt like burdens.

How to Test Resonance

I'm going to go into plenty of detail on why we're testing the changes we are, but some of that info is also in the test document. So, if you want to just get on with it and pick up the file, here's how.

To test the new Resonance system, you'll need to download two files: the adventure Raiders of Shrieking Peak and the Resonance Test file. The adventure is the same as the preexisting Pathfinder Society Playtest Scenario (and as we've mentioned before, you can run either version in Pathfinder Society for credit). The Resonance Test file contains the rules for this alternate system, design notes on our intent with various rules, lots of new versions of items, the pregenerated characters to use in the adventure, and a short GM section with the few thematic adjustments you need to make to the adventure and items that appear in the adventure.

When you're done, go to the Resonance Test Survey and tell us what you thought! This survey will give you questions depending on whether you ran it, played in it, read it, or any combination thereof. We expect this survey will remain open till the end of the year like the other surveys.

The Changes

So what did we change? As we said from the outset, the Resonance Points system in the Playtest Rulebook was highly experimental, and it was clear that experiment had failed. Jason quite correctly pointed out that we needed to show where our line of thinking is going in the wake of this and solicit additional feedback—telling everyone to wait for the final rules isn't enough. Hence, this new experiment takes what we learned from play and the surveys and takes a crack at something we think is more interesting and flexible, and that we hope you feel the same way about. Much of what I'm about to say here is replicated in the document, and just included here to give you the full perspective.

This test is checking to see whether some version of the system is satisfying. Resonance has its roots in concepts that appeared in First Edition through the occultist class, resonant powers between certain magic items, and several other places in the lore. Is there something valuable in the idea that items can be made stronger though the user's strength of personality and essence?

First off, let's clarify that while the term "Resonance Points" is still in the document, that's not what's being used to activate items any more (we'll get to those in a bit). Instead, Resonance Points are just to track your capacity to wear items. This aspect of Resonance had a favorable response, and so we're hoping to maintain the flexibility of item choice that comes with removing item slots. However, the point value for Resonance is now different. You get 10. At 1st level, at 20th level. This is because when we use Resonance for just worn items, we're only looking to prevent extreme cases of abuse and discourage extreme item loadouts. For most characters, 10 worn items is plenty. Think of it like Bulk, where the number is high enough that characters rarely need to worry about it unless they have extremely low Strength or they try to carry way too much.

As for getting more out of items, that's where Focus Points come in. This new pool unites two similar concepts: the extra spells you could cast via Spell Points and the extra energy you could put into magic items to get more out of them (think of this along the lines of the occultist's focus powers or the Charisma-based Use Magic Device skill from First Edition). Unlike Spell Points, all characters have Focus Points, and your number per day is equal to your Charisma modifier plus 1 or 2, depending on your ancestry. You can spend a Focus Point to cast a power (in the Resonance Test, this is a cleric's domain power or a sorcerer's bloodline power), or can spend a Focus Point when activating an item to improve its effect.

Notice I said improve it. In this test, items don't normally cost anything to activate. If you use a scroll or drink a potion, you spend nothing but the consumable itself. You can activate your bracers of missile deflection once per day, spending nothing to do so. What you get out of spending a Focus Point depends on the item: A healing potion doubles its healing, the bracers of missile deflection can be activated again, the splash damage from an alchemist's fire has a bigger area, and so on. One of my favorite little distinctions is the invisibility potion. If you only need to move into a combat and make an attack while invisible, you can drink the potion to get 1d4 rounds of invisibility. However, if you have a lot of sneaking around to do before you plan on fighting, you can extend the effect to 10 minutes instead by spending a Focus Point!

The pool of Focus Points doesn't grow as huge as the Resonance Point pool did, since your level isn't added to it and, unlike Spell Points, you don't get more points when you take new powers. The goal here is to make each use of Focus more exciting and interesting. When someone spends a Focus Point, it should be a capital-M Moment. One of the overall goals for the Second Edition is to make your individual decisions during play more impactful and exciting, with fewer set routines. The printed version of Resonance didn't do that, and we're hoping Focus Points give you something exciting to look forward to rather than a chore to carry out. If you look at the cleric and sorcerer powers from the Playtest Rulebook compared to the ones in the Resonance Test, you'll see that they got stronger, because they now cost a more precious resource.

I want to address a couple concerns briefly. One is that classes that thematically should have a decent number of Focus Points will be left out if the pool is Charisma-based. We expect that these classes would have solid methods to adjust their number of points. For instance, a wizard might get some points each day from his arcane focus, or a ki-using monk might meditate to refresh some Focus Points. However, we'd be looking at these remaining Charisma-based, so a wizard who wants to increase Charisma gets a Focus Point benefit from it just like a fighter would. The other concern is that we're weakening items to make room for these Focus Point abilities, such as the shorter duration for the invisibility potion mentioned above. Some of the baseline effects of these items are weakening for another reason. Namely, when removing the Resonance Point requirement for activation, we do need to rein in some of the baseline abilities, since now money is the only limit on how often you can use them. The Focus Point additions are on top of this adjusted baseline power, and if they were removed, the base items would not end up as strong as they are in the current printed version of the book, when they cost a Resonance Point each time.

Will having Focus Points be entirely optional satisfy people's desires for a different system? Will the folks who said spending Resonance on items doesn't make sense think any differently now that Focus is an addition that allows characters to gain more power or benefit out of their items? Will a substantial number of people think that it's a cool system, but that there's still too much bookkeeping? That's what we'll be looking for you to tell us in the survey and your comments.

The Long Term

So, if this test (or parts of it) goes well, what can you expect the long-term changes to be? First off, we need to be clear: Regardless of what people think of the system, there's just no way, logistically, to implement a full change within the playtest period. We might—and I stress might—be able to put out some more samples or previews of where we think we're going, and possibly even guidelines to adapt the printed Resonance system further, but you won't be seeing a total rewrite of the rules.

It's also unlikely that the final items in the book or the final system rules will look exactly like what you see in the Resonance Test, even if the test goes great. Opening up more free magic might necessitate some other changes once players would gain unbounded access to crafting magic items. For example, wands, staves, or scrolls might need to be a higher level or more expensive. And if we get feedback that the Focus Points system should be scuttled entirely, an item like a wand might need to go still higher regardless. We're going to try and minimize that as much as we can, though! Keeping magic items magical and coming to your character when their abilities are still useful is hugely important, and we don't want to go from one system that feels too restrictive to another that feels restrictive, just in a different way.

Some of the terminology and presentation of the rules might change too. "Resonance Points" might make a little more sense if phrased in a different way, such as an interference field that builds up from 0 to a limit of 10 rather than points you spend from 10 down to 0—for the purposes of this Resonance Test, some of the wording was just kept intentionally close to the printed text so it's easier to understand and compare for readers who've been keeping up with the playtest from the start.

We can say with confidence that the printed rules in the Playtest Rulebook won't be in the final version of the book as is. The Resonance Test is an experiment to see whether there's still an interesting idea in there. The most extreme case we might end up with looks more like Pathfinder First Edition, with something like the items you see in the Resonance Test, but with no extra benefits for spending Focus Points.

And all this, of course, relies on you and what you have to say. We deeply appreciate all the time you've put into playtesting this game. If you have time to playtest the Resonance Test, that's fantastic! The playtest schedule is tight, and if you only have time to give the test a read but not to play, that's also so, so helpful. We look forward to hearing more from you as you lament the fates of your characters, struggle against the clock, achieve the impossible, punch holes in the rules, and click through another set of surveys. From Jason, Stephen, Mark, and me, thank you all!

Logan Bonner
Designer

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

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graystone wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Maybe just forbid once per day effects for permanent low level / cheap items :-)
Or have the effects of "low level / cheap items" actually be minor/low level? ;)

What and then have to listen to all the complaints about nerfed magic :P


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Wandering Wastrel wrote:
Ephialtes wrote:
pjrogers wrote:
Ephialtes wrote:

And I tend to agree with many posters here, that Resonance seems to be specifically created to tend to PFS problems.

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If PFS needs regulations, make Resonance a PFS mandatory and if all an option to the rest to discard if not needed.

As someone who primarily plays PFS, I still don't understand what PFS play problem that resonance (in any of its forms) is designed to solve.
Then it even seems to be just a problem of a very small minority of PFS players. In this case I wonder why this rare problem needs such a complicated system ingrained solution at all.

The fact that the new version of resonance has been so vastly scaled back makes me wonder how much of a problem it was in the first place for anyone, not just PFS players. My view when it came out was that it was a solution in search of a problem.

The fact that so many of its proponents have been so quick to accuse the rest of us of badwrongfun didn't exactly help, either.

Hi.

To restate. I am a non-PFS player who had a problem with the way things like CLW wands work.

I can explain, politely and in detail, what aspects I had a problem with and why I applaud Paizo attempting to address those issues, if you would like.

And I promise not to accuse anyone of badwrongfun.


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Glav wrote:

This seems like a good direction.

Consider however that Staves and Wands are in many respects just another consumable. They’re also like s weapon: you pick them up or draw them, and use them.

Why not treat them like weapons too? ..

I want to go the exact opposite way. Remove charges from wands and staves. They cost Focus to use. Period.

That solves the issue of these items being lost investments. A fighter that buys a sword can either upgrade it at higher levels, or sell it and get half the investment back. Wands and staves are lost forever when used.

IMC, consumables are mostly seen as vendor trash.

Malk_Content wrote:
Starfox wrote:

With the current rules for Focus, I feel Intelligence would be a more appropriate stat than Charisma. Sorcerers are all about their own, innate powers. The item-users are alchemists, wizards (and later occultists).

Also, Int is the current dump stat of choice, not Charisma.

It would just be swapping the two though. Give it to Int and Charisma becomes the dumpstat with 0 mechanical weight again.

Charisma has more inherent value. It affects more skills, and many GMs use raw Charisma as a value for initial reaction and general appearance/style. A high Charisma character is a hunk or babe, a high Int character is a geek. :(


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Starfox wrote:

I want to go the exact opposite way. Remove charges from wands and staves. They cost Focus to use. Period.

I would love to see that.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mats Öhrman wrote:
Starfox wrote:

I want to go the exact opposite way. Remove charges from wands and staves. They cost Focus to use. Period.

I would love to see that.

That's a compelling design. I'll likely add to my houserules, if this goes live, that you can buy a Charge wand or a Focus wand, and they don't overlap. The Focus wand will be priced quite a bit lower.


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Starfox wrote:
Glav wrote:

This seems like a good direction.

Consider however that Staves and Wands are in many respects just another consumable. They’re also like s weapon: you pick them up or draw them, and use them.

Why not treat them like weapons too? ..

I want to go the exact opposite way. Remove charges from wands and staves. They cost Focus to use. Period.

That solves the issue of these items being lost investments. A fighter that buys a sword can either upgrade it at higher levels, or sell it and get half the investment back. Wands and staves are lost forever when used.

IMC, consumables are mostly seen as vendor trash.

This is so much simpler than the convoluted stuff we've been seeing in tests. If the goal is to limit these items, it's the obvious solution.


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

Would you go with the current focus rule, which gives a low level player character at most 5 focus points, and that only if he boosts charisma to 18? Note that it is possible for a character to have no focus points. One or two would not be uncommon.


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I won't be testing the new Focus system, my group was completely disinterested. Personally, the only things I liked in this whole document are the expanded bombs, and the changes to Scrolls. I would like the new Staff mechanic if I didn't hate the surrounding mechanics (Focus). The Focus mechanics are ill concieved, and really drive home just how arbitrarially limited magic items are...
Who needs a Hat of Disguise that only works for an Hour at a time, requires a full minute to reactivate, and will inevitably fail in the middle of almost any social encounter? Nobody. That it would also compete with a Bard's Lingering Composition for resources is just cruel. I hate the new wand mechanics so much I simply won't use them. If PF2 is published with this version of wands; they'll be house-ruled out at my table. As a player it'd be a mechanic I avoided entirely, and I generally like tracking details.

Regarding PF1 Wands:
I've played exactly enough PFS to see the 'CLW Wand Problem' in action. No party of four 1st level characters should have access to four different wands (granted two were mine... but even so). It is an economic issue PFS created for themselves.

I've also run more than enough D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder to know that the version seen in home games isn't a problem* or an exploit. GMs are given every tool they need to control the player's access to magical items; including any number of ways of depriving characters of "problematic items". One has to accept the risks when they make exception to the rules for magic item availability or chose not to use the resource management solutions they were given (such ad Green Slime, Fireballs, Rust Monsters, amd Thieves). For their part, player's shouldn't be looked at akstance for making intelligent decisions.

*Except to the degree that WotC shouldn't have made wand charges so much cheaper than potions, and Paizo didn't bother to change it (for reasons I'm not interested in debating).

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I really don't see the need to try to control magic items like this, but that's because I prefer really high magic campaigns. I often give everyone a free level 1 wand at character building when running an AP. I expect there to be more wands than weapons in the party, plus stacks of scrolls, and for them to be used constantly. And that's actually my biggest complaint about all of PF2: it seems to be trying to force much lower magic than I like or find fun. And this is not something that a bit of fiddling with how the limits are placed can fix.


I honestly thought I preferred the first version of resonance points published in the rulebook


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Put me at +1 to not mixing a pool for class abilities and magic items. It looks like a step in right direction, but doesn't fix the issue that items are still seriously underwhelming and further nerfing of the base function does not help that.


I'm going to repost this, because I think it's relevant - here's how I'd like to see it done.

Resonance:

Resonance is how permanent magic items are used.

Consumables are invested at the time of crafting and do what they do, and the Level/Price/Effect reflects this (you could, if absolutely necessary, make some sort of rule about how often the same sort of consumable could be used on the same target, but I think that in the end it would be too much trouble to write and adjudicate).

Permanent items use Resonance for investment or activation much like the original Playtest rules as appropriate (including there being types of items that don't need either). I would avoid using charges in general; if item spamming is a problem I would limit problem items to one use per minute/10 minutes/hour/day as necessary.

Staves being invested and then usable with either Resonance or spell slots is a great system and I'd keep it, but I don't think additional charges or the like is needed (investing still gives access to a cantrip, after all). I'd change typical Wands to a single spell that doesn't use charges, just activation with Resonance or spell slot (time-limiting them if that turns out to be a problem); I don't think investing on top of that is necessary.

Resonance starts out low (basing on CHA is fine) and increases with level, because that's pretty much how magic item access/use works and not including consumables makes that much less of a problem. No overspending. Classes/builds that would be unduly hampered by a lack of Resonance can have class features or feats available to increase their total.

Focus:

Focus is how class features that aren't persistent (or just don't need limiting) are used (unless they are time-limited instead, like Barbarian Rage, if that system is kept). This includes all of them; Bloodline Powers, Domain Powers, Channels, Wild shape, Daily/Quick Alchemy, Ki Powers, Lay on Hands, etc. One pool, one thing to track.

The key to making this work is realizing that a character's Focus can vary by need; not all Classes/builds have to have the same totals and ways to obtain Focus, and some may not need it at all, any more than all classes need spell slots. We saw a version of this with Spell Points; what I'm proposing is similar, just with all the side pools folded into it.

Besides working out when and how much Focus should be provided to each character build, the other major issue with Focus is balancing the powers that it fuels. I doubt that trying to make every possible power equally worthwhile is going to be practical (especially when Multiclassing is taken into account), so a Major/Minor 1-2 Focus per use or Lesser/Regular/Greater 1-3 Focus per use cost system will probably be needed, which will affect how appropriate Focus totals will be designed; it's not the easiest thing to work out, but it's doable (I think. It may be that Multiclassing is going to requite multiple Focus pools to work, but it requires multiple sets of spell slots where that's an issue, so I'm okay with that).


Vidmaster7 wrote:
graystone wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Maybe just forbid once per day effects for permanent low level / cheap items :-)
Or have the effects of "low level / cheap items" actually be minor/low level? ;)
What and then have to listen to all the complaints about nerfed magic :P

They have to listen to complaints no matter which way they go: either for eliminating an entire type of item or lowering the effects. I think lowering would be less objectionable as we're moving to a new system with different math so it's going to change no matter what and they usually err on the low side anyway so it's not much of a drop IMO. It's more that they have to remember to KEEP the bar low for low cost items: the real complaints would happen is they slip up and make powerful super cheap items and then have to walk them back in errata.


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Resonance, being something of a cap at the number of permanent magic items, used for their magical purposes each day is a good thing. I'd include Magic armor and swords in this. A magic sword without resonance, just a legendary craftsmanship (+3 to hit). With Resonance? You get that glowing flavor and wacking stuff with +5 dice of damage. Though is it just me, or is the current Magic armor sort of meh, now that armor class is tied to Level? We need to give Magic Armor more benefit, like Physical DR based on it's Bonus.

I'm seeing Focus should be a flat number, like 3 as a base. Use feats to increase that number, whether they be class or general. I'm seeing a better use for focus though, as something related to a maximize effect. You Hit with a weapon or spell? Either do maximum damage for your strike, or turn a hit into a critical, using a focus.

Another Focus effect would be using an action to Resonate with a just picked up item. That tends to be a heroic thing to do.

Heck, we could combine Hero points effects into Focus, for one less pool. Yes, you put all your might into criting the big bad guy, but no longer have any Focus to recover from that arrow now in your back that dropped you into Death 1. Another level of heroism, Sacrifice.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think I do see one problem with the new Resonance system: You can basically ignore it until you get close to the limit of 10.

When nobody in the party has more than 5 permanent magic items, nobody needs to pay attention to Resonance at all (barring some really weird shenanigans). But once there are party members with 8 or 9 items, that system that most players could ignore up until this point suddenly becomes important.

It might make more sense for Resonance to vary with level so that player characters are typically hovering near their limit most of the time and thus have hard decisions to make.


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David knott 242 wrote:

I think I do see one problem with the new Resonance system: You can basically ignore it until you get close to the limit of 10.

When nobody in the party has more than 5 permanent magic items, nobody needs to pay attention to Resonance at all (barring some really weird shenanigans). But once there are party members with 8 or 9 items, that system that most players could ignore up until this point suddenly becomes important.

It might make more sense for Resonance to vary with level so that player characters are typically hovering near their limit most of the time and thus have hard decisions to make.

It's okay if there are rules that players don't have to think about until higher level. It makes it easier to start out with.

If the Resonance ceiling was dropped down and varied with level, Resonance would instantly rise once more to the top of my problem list and I'd have to start campaigning against it again.

It's fine to say "hard decisions" when you're making a game. When you're actually playing it's totally different, and I would rather not tell my players that they can't equip some new cool item at level 2 because the game designers wanted them to think hard about using loot.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
WatersLethe wrote:


It's okay if there are rules that players don't have to think about until higher level. It makes it easier to start out with.

If the Resonance ceiling was dropped down and varied with level, Resonance would instantly rise once more to the top of my problem list and I'd have to start campaigning against it again.

5 + 1/3Level?


David knott 242 wrote:

I think I do see one problem with the new Resonance system: You can basically ignore it until you get close to the limit of 10.

When nobody in the party has more than 5 permanent magic items, nobody needs to pay attention to Resonance at all (barring some really weird shenanigans). But once there are party members with 8 or 9 items, that system that most players could ignore up until this point suddenly becomes important.

It might make more sense for Resonance to vary with level so that player characters are typically hovering near their limit most of the time and thus have hard decisions to make.

I think Focus Points provide enough hard decisions as is. Doubling up on pools again seems a bit too finicky for my taste (and I wasn't really that much against old Resonance).


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

Spell slots, spell points, resonance points, focus points, whatever. It's all a search for mechanisms to limit the use of magic. Find one mechanism, make it simple, and stick to that. What we're getting here is an elephant: a mouse built to government specifications.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Cyouni wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

I think I do see one problem with the new Resonance system: You can basically ignore it until you get close to the limit of 10.

When nobody in the party has more than 5 permanent magic items, nobody needs to pay attention to Resonance at all (barring some really weird shenanigans). But once there are party members with 8 or 9 items, that system that most players could ignore up until this point suddenly becomes important.

It might make more sense for Resonance to vary with level so that player characters are typically hovering near their limit most of the time and thus have hard decisions to make.

I think Focus Points provide enough hard decisions as is. Doubling up on pools again seems a bit too finicky for my taste (and I wasn't really that much against old Resonance).

Focus points have a completely different problem: At first, they are used to power class abilities, then they are used later on to get more out of magic items. In short, Focus points are doing too much, and Resonance points are doing too little.


David knott 242 wrote:
Focus points have a completely different problem: At first, they are used to power class abilities, then they are used later on to get more out of magic items. In short, Focus points are doing too much, and Resonance points are doing too little.

That's something I am trying to address with my approach.


Hey all! Been a minute since I've visited the forums.
I just spent the major part of the last week or so doing a study of races from OD&D all the way up to and including 5e and Pathfinder 2e Playtest.

In and among that, I also fully read through the Resonance Test document in preparation for playing it. (on my own if I have to.)

It occurred to me that there is a simple solution to the problem of how Focus works in relation to wands.

Forgive me if anyone already made a similar suggestion, but TL;DR the last 6 or so pages in this thread.

Anyway...

Scrolls are back to working the way they always should have.
A one-use spell on a page with no need to spend focus on it.
Love it.

Staves are still a smidge convoluted in their execution.
For all intents and purposes, a staff is an extra spellbook now.
It contains enough magic to sustain the knowledge of certain spells.
The preparation of a staff and the one extra FP it gives is just extra bookkeeping.
I propose that staves should have the invested trait and function like any other magic item.
The access to extra spells in and of itself seems to me like a worthy enough benefit to any spellcaster.
And this change would streamline the rules and reduce bookkeeping as well as maybe some word count.

Then we come to wands.
This is way overly complicated and convoluted.
My girlfriend is an Oracle and functions as the party healer.
Suffice to say she is very familiar with wands.
I explained the Focus rules for the wands and she instantly rejected them.
Then there is the issue of CLW wand spamming as well.
The rules in the Resonance test only make wands more inconvenient to use.
That is not enough to stop them from being spammed; it'll just cost a little more to do it.
And, honestly, what more worthy use of Focus points is there, than enabling the CLW spam to heal your party?
The solution I realized while re-reading the Resonance test is staring everyone right in the face.
Make wands function just like my revised staves.
Like any other magic item, they must be invested.
You are limited to 1 wand at a time.
To use the spell they contain, you spend FP or spell slots.
In one fell swoop, you elevate wands into a more desirable item and restrict their use in a reasonable way.
No more spamming, because to do so means sacrificing your other magic items AND your focus points AND your spell slots.

Does that sound like a better, cleaner set up?


David knott 242 wrote:

I think I do see one problem with the new Resonance system: You can basically ignore it until you get close to the limit of 10.

When nobody in the party has more than 5 permanent magic items, nobody needs to pay attention to Resonance at all (barring some really weird shenanigans). But once there are party members with 8 or 9 items, that system that most players could ignore up until this point suddenly becomes important.

It might make more sense for Resonance to vary with level so that player characters are typically hovering near their limit most of the time and thus have hard decisions to make.

I noticed this too, but it doesn't bother me at all.

However, I wouldn't mind it being more gritty, just to help with the feeling of progression.

Something as simple as a single additional subdivision would be fine.

Lv1 = 5 Resonance Capacity
Lv6 = 10 Resonance Capacity
Lv11 = 15 Resonance Capacity
Lv16 = 20 Resonance Capacity


And as Long as I'm here, let me express a nitpick that I have with this focus system and a possible wild solution I just thought up.

I don't like Humans and other non-innate-magical races getting Focus Points, which despite flavor text are clearly more versatile Spell Points.
And, I think they should be called Spell Points instead of adding yet another term for newcomers to learn.

I also don't like the idea of martial classes running around using spell powers for free when that should be the domain of the spell casters.

So my proposal is this: tie Focus Points to a new skill.

For the sake of discussion we'll call this new skill Thaumaturgy.

UNTRAINED: If you have gained any Spell Points from your ancestry, you may use them to augment magic items that allow such effects or to cast any innate spells you may have.

TRAINED: You gain a pool of Spell Points equal to 1 + your Charisma bonus. This is in addition to any Spell Points gained from your ancestry.

EXPERT: Increase your maximum Spell Points by an additional +1.

MASTER: Increase your maximum Spell Points by an additional +2.

LEGENDARY: Increase your maximum Spell Points by an additional +3.

All classes that have Powers that are used by spending Spell Points would gain training in Thaumaturgy as part of an existing class feature or feat.

In this way spellcasters have baked in Spell Points with a simple way gain more and martials can choose to invest in the most basic version of the system without forcing all martials to be partially magical.


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

Hm. That might work. Have to think about it.


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Redelia wrote:
I really don't see the need to try to control magic items like this, but that's because I prefer really high magic campaigns...

One of the things I do like about the new Resonance (not Focus) rules is that they are extremely easy to house rule. Want more magic items? Increase Resonance. Want fewer: decrease. Want it to escalate over levels? Easy!

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Furthermore, I am of the opinion that Table 10-2 should be destroyed

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