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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Alyran wrote:

I would prefer wands be limited per day and otherwise not have expendable charges. But then, I've never liked magic items that become useless lumps very much anyway. Single-use items are fine, but in 1e there are plenty of wondrous items that take up item slots and become useless after x uses. I hate those.

shroudb wrote:

at this point, is there even a use for Wands?

I mean, we have perfectly working staves for "casting spells from a stick" with a nice recharge/charge mechanic.

we have scrolls for consumable spells.

I feel like we're keeping wands just to have something called wand, and the only thing it offers is convulted rules to make it work alongside the other 2 items.

what is even their point at this time...

That's actually a good point. They don't serve much purpose in a mechanical sense right now. Could just make them smaller, lighter single-spell staves? While functioning identically.

but those exists already, they are called Staffs.

Right now we have:
Sticks that cast 1 out of a few spells/day for free. And then with 1 focus you can keep casting whichever of the spells you want.
Sticks that cast 1 out 1 spell/day and then with 1 focus you can keep casting that spell. But this one has limited charges and is cheaper.
Scrolls that cast 1 spell and they are done with. But those are cheaper.

so, we have
1 item that casts 1 free +1/focus from a list. Unlimited, expensive
1 item that casts 1 free. Limited, cheap.
1 item that casts 1 free +1/focus. Limited, cheap.

is there even a point to the last one except nostalgia?


Joe M. wrote:
These aren't quite the same "spell battery" that wands are currently and have been in previous editions. But either of those models, in my opinion, works better here—less bookkeeping and more consistent with the way other items work so less to learn.

Speaking only for myself of course, I honestly don't particularly like the spell-battery thing in general. Spell focus giving you access to a spell you normally don't have at a slight cost/with a limitation *CoughLikeStavesDoCough* I could see, but spell battery just, I don't know, always seemed weird.

EDIT @Shroud: First, want to point out that Wands in the current system aren't 1 Free + 1/Focus, they're 1 Free then somewhere between 1 and 9 for 1 Focus, because once you use that Focus you gain unlimited access to its remaining charges for the day.

Besides that though, if we do make Wands function like Staves they do still have a niche. Staves have a bunch of spells on one item (so you don't have to go swapping around) and also an extra buff, but come only in pre-made sets; while a wand would only have 1 spell, but you could get/craft a wand with any spell (and combining the 1 spell and the lack of buff would obviously cost less).


Yeh my bad. I read it wrong, not once... but like 10 times. Is this what a critical fail feels like? lol

So yeah, that's better. But is this the way they want wizards to go? Right now arcanists are wizards with a stick. I mean, that's cool and all. I would get a staff, throw all my commonly used spells on it and never prep those spells again because I can just grab a stick and cast from there.

I can also see this spammed. I have my evocation stick. I have my summoning stick. I have my healing stick. Versatile? Perhaps. And now that I can have 10 rings I can spam rings of wizardry.

And if I were a sorcerer can't i just grab a staff to let me cast the spells that i don't have selected as spells known? It seems that staves start really blending together the sorcerer and wizard roles. I'm not sure that's a good thing.


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You might as well removed Dwarves from the game at this point. A Charisma penalty is just absolutely brutal with these rules on top of the recent changes to the ancestries already knocking them down quite a bit.


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shroudb wrote:
Alyran wrote:

I would prefer wands be limited per day and otherwise not have expendable charges. But then, I've never liked magic items that become useless lumps very much anyway. Single-use items are fine, but in 1e there are plenty of wondrous items that take up item slots and become useless after x uses. I hate those.

shroudb wrote:

at this point, is there even a use for Wands?

I mean, we have perfectly working staves for "casting spells from a stick" with a nice recharge/charge mechanic.

we have scrolls for consumable spells.

I feel like we're keeping wands just to have something called wand, and the only thing it offers is convulted rules to make it work alongside the other 2 items.

what is even their point at this time...

That's actually a good point. They don't serve much purpose in a mechanical sense right now. Could just make them smaller, lighter single-spell staves? While functioning identically.

but those exists already, they are called Staffs.

Yes, that's...exactly what I said? Make them staves with L bulk and only 1 spell.


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Dang. What a disappointment. Hopefully in 3E the Charisma based pool will be gone, and something better will come of it. Basing it off of Charisma is one of the main problems. And will continue to be so, now that you're basing class abilities off of it. MAD is bad. I was hoping that would have been obvious after 1E.


Alyran wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Alyran wrote:

I would prefer wands be limited per day and otherwise not have expendable charges. But then, I've never liked magic items that become useless lumps very much anyway. Single-use items are fine, but in 1e there are plenty of wondrous items that take up item slots and become useless after x uses. I hate those.

shroudb wrote:

at this point, is there even a use for Wands?

I mean, we have perfectly working staves for "casting spells from a stick" with a nice recharge/charge mechanic.

we have scrolls for consumable spells.

I feel like we're keeping wands just to have something called wand, and the only thing it offers is convulted rules to make it work alongside the other 2 items.

what is even their point at this time...

That's actually a good point. They don't serve much purpose in a mechanical sense right now. Could just make them smaller, lighter single-spell staves? While functioning identically.

but those exists already, they are called Staffs.

Yes, that's...exactly what I said? Make them staves with L bulk and only 1 spell.

forum had a weird hiccup.

i had to delete like 3 of my posts because they got spammed, and the origianl one i responded was before your edit that you included my quote in^^


I really want them to limit staves to only be useful by you if you prepared the staff. The extra spell and the spontaneous casting of a staff based on the type is awesome and flavorful. But all that is ruined if the wizard is walking around with 10 different staves in his bag of holding, being able to use a single spell when needed is the reason for scrolls, it shouldn't be required to walk around with staves for every spell type.

I do however love the change they made to let staves spend focus points for extra spells, that might be a way to buff the casters (the issue is whether casters would ever want to spend focus points on anything else than a spell of a high level slot)


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I am not sure how spell points got brought into this conversation, but more then anything that has me worried. I thought powers overall all were a little on the weak side, but some added some interesting benefits and with the right feats you could have a decent pool with some nice class abilities to work with. Now that pool is tiny based on charisma and you have too share it to power up magic items... I don't get it? My initial impression is that you take something that was actually a pretty functional part of the game and chew it up so I can boost a healing potion or use a wand more then once a day. Resonance more then anything had the issue of being framed weirdly, I didn't like the idea that I was somehow powering magic items, but I am much okay with it as a tolerance level, you can handle so much magic on your body at one time or something. Heck I might even be okay with the idea that you can use spell points to help power magic items, but to lose spell points to focus even though I like the idea of baseline magic items that can be empowered, is not something I want in the game.


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Doggan wrote:
MAD is bad. I was hoping that would have been obvious after 1E.

I think they're trying to make MAD less bad by giving out abundant ability boosts. Whether or not that does the job remains to be seen.


shroudb wrote:
Alyran wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Alyran wrote:

I would prefer wands be limited per day and otherwise not have expendable charges. But then, I've never liked magic items that become useless lumps very much anyway. Single-use items are fine, but in 1e there are plenty of wondrous items that take up item slots and become useless after x uses. I hate those.

shroudb wrote:

at this point, is there even a use for Wands?

I mean, we have perfectly working staves for "casting spells from a stick" with a nice recharge/charge mechanic.

we have scrolls for consumable spells.

I feel like we're keeping wands just to have something called wand, and the only thing it offers is convulted rules to make it work alongside the other 2 items.

what is even their point at this time...

That's actually a good point. They don't serve much purpose in a mechanical sense right now. Could just make them smaller, lighter single-spell staves? While functioning identically.

but those exists already, they are called Staffs.

Yes, that's...exactly what I said? Make them staves with L bulk and only 1 spell.

forum had a weird hiccup.

i had to delete like 3 of my posts because they got spammed, and the origianl one i responded was before your edit that you included my quote in^^

Ah, yeah, I did edit that in after the fact. Your post came just enough after that I forgot haha. We good :)


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Like many are saying, I like the removal of the resonance pool and turning it into ambiguous slots for items.

I also like the concept of Focus points, but combining it with Spell points is just a bad plan, and even more so combining it with Charisma.

You'd instead be better off combining Hero Points into Focus Points and having this small pool become a more flexible Hero Point system that allows you to juice your items and actions a bit extra.

This way you don't have to re-balance all the class abilities and stuff, nor items, and can make them that 'little bit extra' that GMs can choose to use to pump the game's excitement a bit by feeding out to the players.

It also makes earning them by doing cool stuff more engaging.


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ChrisLKimball wrote:
I am not sure how spell points got brought into this conversation, but more then anything that has me worried. I thought powers overall all were a little on the weak side, but some added some interesting benefits and with the right feats you could have a decent pool with some nice class abilities to work with. Now that pool is tiny based on charisma and you have too share it to power up magic items... I don't get it? My initial impression is that you take something that was actually a pretty functional part of the game and chew it up so I can boost a healing potion or use a wand more then once a day. Resonance more then anything had the issue of being framed weirdly, I didn't like the idea that I was somehow powering magic items, but I am much okay with it as a tolerance level, you can handle so much magic on your body at one time or something. Heck I might even be okay with the idea that you can use spell points to help power magic items, but to lose spell points to focus even though I like the idea of baseline magic items that can be empowered, is not something I want in the game.

I'm really not sure why removing the "boost your pool by 1" part of feats was necessary as part of the focus change. The more you invest in the powers, the more it makes sense to have a larger pool for them.

Edit: It wouldn't even devalue CHA much since you'd be paying a feat for +1 point and CHA can swing it by up to 8 at max level (8 CHA dwarf vs 24 CHA anything else).


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tholomyes wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
Barizac wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
They could just call it attunement like 5e since most potential new PF players would be coming from 5e anyways. Say you can attune to up to 10 items in a day, attunement takes 10 minutes and is an assumed part of your daily preparations.

I think the problem with calling it attunement is because that's ripping off 5e in a very blatant way.

Pathfinder at it's core is a DnD spin off I don't see a problem with using similar language to refer to the same concept between games. In fact I think it would be good. They already use a lot of the same words for similar game mechanics: Proficiency Bonus, Spell Slots, Hit Points. It's a genre thing so no need to arbitrarily rename things.
I'm no lawyer, but all those terms were things in the OGL. Attunement is new to 5e, thus not part of the OGL. Seems like there could be issues there.

Umm, there is a version of 5e (not the full rules, but a subset that includes attunement) that is under the OGL.

http://media.wizards.com/2016/downloads/DND/SRD-OGL_V5.1.pdf


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Ouranou wrote:
The Kyra pregen has a wand of Heal at 2nd lvl. I thought wands couldn't be heightened? Have I been cheating myself out of crafting heightened wands this whole time?

Heal (the spell) can be heightened to any level 2 through 9. A wand can be made with any spell 1st through 4th level. Including a 2nd level heal spell. It would be a 4th level item. What Kyra has, though, is a 2nd level item - a wand of heal (1st level) so it's not heightened.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Let the resonance test...begin!

Okay Mark, I am prepping to run this tomorrow for a group of players, I promised y'all that I would stick this through to the end. The thing I can't test this with though is either of my core groups. They don't do pregens, it is a non-starter for them, and the classes they play aren't even represented in this snippet.

My main group is a Ranger, a Monk, a Bard, and a Druid.
My secondary group is a Paladin, a Fighter, a Wizard, and a Rogue.

We had a long talk about this with my secondary group though and their concerns mirror my own, so I want to state them, even though I know that it goes beyond the scope of this document.

D - My Paladin player - Liked the idea originally that he got both Resonance and Spell Points. He, like myself, felt that Charisma was always kind of a dump stat in PF1 unless your class specifically used it.

Going over this data with him, he had the same thought I did, "I already only have a few Spell Points (4) at level 1. Now I have to use those few spell points that I have to use items, when before I had 4 spell points and 4 points of resonance. I feel like my resource pool was cut in half as what I used to use resonance on I now have to use spell points on."

I can't refute his logic here. D was already a great pseudo-tank. His AC was lower than it should have been (he had one of the lower AC's in the group at level 1, only higher than the Wizard) but he broke his Spell Points up into 2 "Weapon Surge" that he used as a replacement for "Smite Evil" and 2 "Lay on Hands" he also (after he earned some gold) got a couple of Potions of Cure Light Wounds. He had enough Spell Points and Resonance to handle all of that, now he feels like he'll have to pick between using items and using his class abilities and he's pretty upset.

In this case he's actually asked if we can shelve the playtest game until more information comes out period. I've talked him out of that, but still, it bears mentioning.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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I'm pumped at the possible change in nomenclature. Having both Spell Points and spell slots confused some of my players, and changing the name to Focus Points should address that nicely.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Joe M. wrote:


In kind of a weird quirk, each day when you prepare, you can also prepare 1 staff. This staff generates (i.e., creates itself, without using your resources) a single Focus Point of its own, which can only be used to cast a spell from the staff.

FWIW, I think this is cool but should probably be dropped. It's odd and creates one more little thing to keep track of. Did I charge a staff in my preparation? Which staff did I charge? My instinct (I place a very high value on simplified bookkeeping) is that this should be dropped altogether, and staves should either all auto-charge (rather than 1 character charging 1 staff**) or not auto-charge at all and only cast from wielder resources (spell slots or focus points).

** E.g., if I'm a caster who likes staves, I buy 4 staves, pass around to my teammates who aren't spending on staves, and say "everybody charge 1 so I can have them for the day." This is the kind of silly game dynamic that I think doesn't add to the fun, adds some tedious bookkeeping, and should generally be dropped.

You can't ask a non caster to charge Staves:

Resonance Test wrote:

During your daily preparations, you can prepare one staff.

When you do so, that staff becomes charged, generating 1
Focus Point that is stored within the staff. This point can be
used only to Activate the staff, and it can be spent by anyone
who holds the staff. If this point isn’t used within 24 hours, it
disappears. Only a character whose spell list contains at least
one of the spells in the staff can prepare the staff.

If you're 4 casters, and these 3 other casters all have at least one spell on their list that fit the Staff, AND they don't use one themselves, then yeah, that might be possible... But that's quite a stretch.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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As someone who didn't like resonance in any way shape or form, it's not surprising that I also don't like this revision to the concept. Sure, it's better, but in the same way that being kicked in the chest is better than being kicked in the groin is better.

The mechanics are still over complicated, but most importantly is that the logic in world for resonance and focus in any of these formats is simply nonsensical. Sure, if you want to create a brand new world from scratch and define that magic works this way and everyone has innate magic which interacts with magic items, that's all fine and good, but for the baseline standard of Pathfinder and Golarion, this simply isn't how magic items work. Some 1st level peasant shouldn't be able to focus on a magic potion to make it heal more, nor should a 3rd level fighter, or 20th level barbarian. Having occultists do this as their main differentiating shtick is fine, as is wizards or other magic using classes who invest the feats or archetypes to be better at using magic items, but as a default which everyone can do? No thank you.


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I wasn't sure whether or not I should post my thoughts on this topic. But I decided to because I thought this was a particularly interesting point:

Aashua wrote:
So what exactly is you complaint about the direction of this system as its purely an improvement.

This is certainly one advantage in the playtest being run the way it has been. By posting the most extreme version of the resonance rules, any new iteration is seen as an improvement over what the original rules were vs what expectations might have been prior to the playtest.

If Focus Points were implemented in PF2e in the form they're currently being previewed what we would essentially get is as follows:

Every class gets spell points. Some classes (wizards, clerics, barbarian) are required to have powers that spend spell points on while others (druid, monk) opt into it. Some classes (fighter, rogue) don't get access to any powers and must rely on magic items to get them.

Is that an accurate summation of these rules?


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I think these changes are heading towards a better and more engaging direction.

Magic Items having base effects, and using Points to boost their effects is something I've been calling for since Resonance was announced. Lessing the base effects compared to the older system and PF1 makes sense as well, so agreement there with that change.

I agree that Resonance is a good way to reign in the number wearable magic items, while removing the limits of the slot system, i.e. more freedom to choose which items they want and more freedom to create items that don't quite fit the old body slots of PF1. One example I keep going to is you can now create a Mandarin-type character with 10 magic rings. I'm quite happy to see the system changed this way.

However, I don't think having a flat pool of 10 RP is the way to go. I feel that a pool that scales with power/level would be more interesting. At every level up, you would feel more excited now that your RP pool increases, and you could look forward to acquiring new magic items in the future. It would limit low-level characters from being over-boosted with magical gear (which may be good for some groups, bad for others depending on how they like to play the game). Having the unchanging pool would feel like a boring part of your character, which grows and changes everywhere else.

In addition to that, you might be able to have different RP investment costs depending on how powerful the item is. It woudl give players some additional decision-making as to how they want to kit out their character. Invest in multiple, low-powered items, or go for a single big one? Another idea is that you could have magic item sets: a magic belt X and magic gauntlet Y each cost 2 RP to invest, but if you have both, reduce the total RP cost of them both together by 1.

I do hope non-Charisma based classes will have means of refreshing Focus points (as mentioned in the blog; actually, even Cha-based classes shoudl have refresh methods, just not as frequent). I also hope that the refresh method for each class is different and tailored to the flavor of the class. For example, in PF1, Grit can be renewed by delivering a critical hit on an enemy or downing an enemy, very appropriate for the Gunslinger. Panache can be renewed similar in concept with a critical hit with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon. Although not the same thing, but similar, in Dreamscarred Press' Path of War, each initiator class has different ways to spend a turn to regain maneuvers (Stalker spends a full round to recover and move his speed with bonus to AC and next attack adds deadly strike; Warlord can perform a gambit action successfully to recover a maneuver). I feel it'll be important for characters to have some method of recovering Focus Points if they have to use them for both their powers and to activate magic items.

Anyways, those are my initial thoughts on the changes. Looking forward to testing them out.

Liberty's Edge

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JoelF847 wrote:
The mechanics are still over complicated, but most importantly is that the logic in world for resonance and focus in any of these formats is simply nonsensical.

For the record, I strongly disagree.

JoelF847 wrote:
Sure, if you want to create a brand new world from scratch and define that magic works this way and everyone has innate magic which interacts with magic items, that's all fine and good, but for the baseline standard of Pathfinder and Golarion, this simply isn't how magic items work.

I'm not sure how you can tell in-universe. It sounds like most of the things you can spend Focus on have precisely zero visible world impact. Healing twice as much is nice, but hardly something that is visibly different in-world. Likewise most of the other changes are not something people in-world would be able to distinguish in any meaningful fashion.

JoelF847 wrote:
Some 1st level peasant shouldn't be able to focus on a magic potion to make it heal more, nor should a 3rd level fighter, or 20th level barbarian.

Why not? Mechanically, they haven't been able to before, but that's a mechanics issue, not a world one. All three of them can do so about equally well in the new system, and it's pretty much impossible to tell the difference between someone doing this and rolling really well on the potion in question in-universe.

Is it more of a meta-mechanic than one reflected in the world lore? Perhaps. But it's not one that effects outcomes in any way that couldn't happen with a run of dice luck in PF1.

JoelF847 wrote:
Having occultists do this as their main differentiating shtick is fine, as is wizards or other magic using classes who invest the feats or archetypes to be better at using magic items, but as a default which everyone can do? No thank you.

Occultists, having this as their in-universe schtick, should definitely be unambiguously superior at it, but I see no reason other people shouldn't have such an ability.


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First of all, thank you for listening. This seems like a huge improvement. Limiting items to 10 is not a bad thing and the way focus works seems promising. So this is good.

Having said that please don't nerf magic items any further. Or spells. It's gone too far actually. Focus is extremely limited, I don't want to see a regular potion of invisibility last only 1d4 rounds! I want invisibility to last 10 minutes, because that's how long it takes to infiltrate a location.

^^^And in scenarios, that's what it is typically used for. You asked can we still create stories and scenarios like PF1... well the answer is NO if you continue to nerf magic and spells like this!

So next on the agenda, could you please improve spells and magic in general?

Liberty's Edge

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John Lynch 106 wrote:

If Focus Points were implemented in PF2e in the form they're currently being previewed what we would essentially get is as follows:

Every class gets spell points. Some classes (wizards, clerics, barbarian) are required to have powers to spend spell points on while others (druid, monk) opt into it. Some classes (fighter, rogue) don't get access to any powers and must rely on magic items to get them.

Is that an accurate summation of these rules?

Not really?

It's more like:

Every character gets a Cha-based pool of points that can be used to enhance magic items (allowing extra or better uses). If you get Class-based stuff that isn't strictly spells (like Domain Powers) they generally cost points from this pool to use, but many Classes that give such powers enhance your pool size. A few specific powers (Channel Energy and Wild Shape, most notably), instead use a different pool of points, but they're rare and specific.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

You know who's going to truly benefit from the new rules for Staves and Wands? Dual-class characters who add a spellcasting class as their secondary class.

Look. Just make things simpler. Let Wands have 20 charges each but only can utilize one or two charges a day. And let Staves have the limited number of charges but be more able to utilize those abilities... and then Focus can be used to Heighten those two items by one level per Focus Point.

Also, it's far better to just have more expensive Wands and Staves than go through hoops in order to use them. GMs can lessen the expense of Wands by just having the Wands found have only a couple charges left... meaning players are going to use them as items of last resort.

Finally, you could just eliminate Charisma entirely. I mean, Elder Scrolls Oblivion went from what, eight stats to three in Skyrim. Lessening the number of stats isn't a bad thing... and it would mean folk wouldn't use it as a Dump Stat.

(Also, eliminating Spell Points for Focus Points but not providing a mechanism by which classes that USE Spell Points can increase them is just penalizing those classes. What are you going to do to un-nerf the classes that use Spell Points, give them an extra spell or two?)


Deadmanwalking wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:

If Focus Points were implemented in PF2e in the form they're currently being previewed what we would essentially get is as follows:

Every class gets spell points. Some classes (wizards, clerics, barbarian) are required to have powers to spend spell points on while others (druid, monk) opt into it. Some classes (fighter, rogue) don't get access to any powers and must rely on magic items to get them.

Is that an accurate summation of these rules?

Not really?

It's more like:

Every character gets a Cha-based pool of points that can be used to enhance magic items (allowing extra or better uses). If you get Class-based stuff that isn't strictly spells (like Domain Powers) they generally cost points from this pool to use, but many Classes that give such powers enhance your pool size. A few specific powers (Channel Energy and Wild Shape, most notably), instead use a different pool of points, but they're rare and specific.

Both of these scenarios look identical to me. You've simply restated them to emphasise different parts. If you see a meaningful difference between the two could you please highlight it to me.

[EDIT]: I've changed "Some classes (wizards, clerics, barbarian) are required to have powers to spend spell points on" to "Some classes (wizards, clerics, barbarian) are required to have powers that spend spell points on" to try to clarify if that makes any difference.

Silver Crusade

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I've posted a fair amount on this thread so I'll try to make this my last one.

What problem are Focus Points trying to solve? Why do we NEED them in the game?

Pondering this question, I think these Focus Points might be trying to do two or three different things, mechanically/structurally, and that these roles are in tension as far as the cost/benefit they suggest for FP.

I kind of like FP as a cool hero point style thing of the heroic Moment. High cost, high benefit. But class powers are so deeply built into the structure of many PF clsasses, that seems to push toward low cost/low benefit structure, so it's weird to combine these in one pool. And then using FP as a gate or throttle on magic items that give pretty darn weak effects is an awkward high cost/low benefit (granted, situationally might be key).

(One last time, I really don't love how wands look here—if a lot of this started as a way to limit clw spam, treat wounds probably handles that just fine. So what's left for this to do? Why worry about wand spam, even?)

These all seem kind of in-tension with each other. I'd love to see this resolved in the direction of a consistently high cost/high benefit Wow Moment structure. You'd have to significantly pare back the prevalence of powers but I like that anyway. Real struggle would be to resist more ad hoc pools like Channel and Wild Shape.

So, watching with interest. Will now bow out of the thread

Liberty's Edge

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Both of these scenarios look identical to me. You've simply restated them to emphasise different parts. If you see a meaningful difference between the two could you please highlight it to me.

Absolutely. I'm pleased to clarify. For me, the difference between your statement and mine is twofold:

#1. Primacy. Primarily, and for everyone since everyone can use them for this, Focus Points allow for additional magic item effects. You put the primacy on the spell point stuff, which is only possessed by some people, and your language thus implies that people with Powers cannot use their focus on magic items, which is untrue.

To be clear I do not intend to imply that this false impression is your intent, but it is a consequence of your wording, and, to me, makes said wording not look particularly accurate.

#2. Clarity. Your statement has several things that are probably factually inaccurate (most Barbarians do not have Powers, Wizards probably need to opt in to having them just as they do now), and is generally worded in a slightly confusing manner, as well as leaving out those categories of abilities (like Channel Energy) that do not fall under Focus Points' influence at all.

Again, I'm not implying ill intent here, but if making a statement about a rule as a whole, one should strive to be factually correct.

So...short version: I think mine is clearer and more understandable and yours has some problems with its focus and a few factual inaccuracies.

[EDIT]: I've changed "Some classes (wizards, clerics, barbarian) are required to have powers to spend spell points on" to "Some classes (wizards, clerics, barbarian) are required to have powers that spend spell points on" to try to clarify if that makes any difference.

Probably to someone, but my real issue with that statement is that, of those three, only Clerics actually all have Powers, rather than any issue with the details of the wording (I find both versions equally unclear, and neither necessarily too absolute if they weren't inaccurate).


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Hmm would it be a terrible idea to add effects to all classes using focus. could we use focus to replace hero points? or rather change hero points to be no longer what saves you from death. Would that make it so people would be afraid to spend their focus? A lot of things going on with focus potential.


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Thanks DMW. So powers are no longer fueled by spell points (assuming this goes ahead), they're now fueled by focus points and (some) magic items now grant other uses of focus points for characters who want to expand what they can use focus points on or don't innately have a use for focus points from their class.

This was a concern I had leading up to the playtest. That every class would have a powers that use a point pool (now called focus points instead of spell points). I was pleasantly surprised to see it wasn't in the playtest, although it's now crept in. It's a bit better than I had worried (it's opt in for some/most characters with some classes not having any way to opt in at all at this time). It helps break up homogeneity towards class design. But ultimately I expect most PCs will have a selection of powers from their magic items if not class which effectively means the end result is the same whether it's from class or magic item. The implementation to get all characters powers is certainly clever with a neat twist, but ultimately is not what I want.

Hopefully for those who playtest this rule and provide their feedback it improves the experience they have. But this rule is not for me.


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Stuff I like: Items worn and Consumables separated out. I'm not sure I actually see a meaningful difference between the 13? item slots of 1st Edition and 10 floating points in 2nd Edition, but as it offers a bit more flexibility in builds, I can get behind it. I can see it stops people swapping items in and out all day long, but was that ever really an issue for most groups? Regardless, barring some minor tweaking, the "Christmas Tree Effect" now seems like a solved problem. Which means we can get on with resolving everything else Resonance was supposed to solve, leading me to...

Stuff I don't like: The really low amount of focus. Given that most class powers were hot garbage beforehand, it's going to become really apparent, really fast, what the scant few things that are worth spending that focus on are. Some things, especially as more material is published are going to stand out as the 3 things that you can justify spending a focus point on. What I'd really like to see, but that won't even be considered, is to give out 5 or 10 times as much focus points, and then cost different things that use focus at different levels based on how powerful the effect seems to be. If the baseline focus cost for an item or ability was 5 points and some of the current domain powers only cost 1, I might actually consider using them.

Stuff I either really don't like or I think is great: This does nothing to resolve the out of combat healing issue, the root cause of which is that the effect of curative items is additive while their cost is exponential. Now this means one of two things, either they'll continue to try and solve it without acknowledging the root cause and just cause problems elsewhere in the system without actually solving the problem, which is bad, or they've decided it isn't actually a problem and not every group needs a cleric if they don't want one, and we can all just get on with our lives, which is great.

Liberty's Edge

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Thanks DMW.

No problem. I'm generally pleased to clarify my points. :)

John Lynch 106 wrote:
So powers are no longer fueled by spell points (assuming this goes ahead), they're now fueled by focus points and (some) magic items now grant other uses of focus points for characters who want to expand what they can use focus points on or don't innately have a use for focus points from their class.

It looks like most magic items Focus Points just let you use them more times per day or increase their effects rather than adding new effects per se, which seems a worthwhile note, but this is substantially correct, yes.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
This was a concern I had leading up to the playtest. That every class would have a powers that use a point pool (now called focus points instead of spell points). I was pleasantly surprised to see it wasn't in the playtest, although it's now crept in. It's a bit better than I had worried (it's opt in for some/most characters with some classes not having any way to opt in at all at this time). It helps break up homogeneity towards classes. But ultimately I expect most PCs will have a selection of powers from their magic items if not class which will clever and neat, ultimately is not what I wanted.

That all sounds fairly accurate, at least if you want to have options (not taking magic items with utility effects is also fairly reasonable), though I'm sorry it's not for you.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Hopefully for those who playtest this rule and provide their feedback it improves the experience they have. But this rule is not for me.

I'm sorry to hear that. I personally think it mostly sounds pretty good.

Liberty's Edge

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vagabond_666 wrote:
This does nothing to resolve the out of combat healing issue, the root cause of which is that the effect of curative items is additive while their cost is exponential. Now this means one of two things, either they'll continue to try and solve it without acknowledging the root cause and just cause problems elsewhere in the system without actually solving the problem, which is bad, or they've decided it isn't actually a problem and not every group needs a cleric if they don't want one, and we can all just get on with our lives, which is great.

Uh...did you miss Treat Wounds? The unlimited out-of-combat healing option without a gold cost? This is a solved issue.


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One of these options is significantly less fiddly than the other.

How to track wand use - D&D3.X/PF1E:

Wand of Magic Stuff:
-- Charges - [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []

___________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________

How to track wand use - PF2EPlaytest:

Total Character Focus Points: [] [] [] [] []

Wand of Magic Stuff:
-- Charges - [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []
-- Daily Focus-Free Use? [] -- Daily Focus Activated? []


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Eh neither seem that hard to me.

Liberty's Edge

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Requielle wrote:
One of these options is significantly less fiddly than the other.

Uh...Wands in PF2 only have 10 charges, which makes the actual comparison look like this:

How to track wand use - D&D3.X/PF1E:

Wand of Magic Stuff:
-- Charges - [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []

___________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________

How to track wand use - PF2EPlaytest:

Total Character Focus Points: [] [] [] [] []

Wand of Magic Stuff:
-- Charges - [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []
-- Daily Focus-Free Use? [] -- Daily Focus Activated? []
.
.
.
I think that looks much more on-par in terms of complexity.


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Focus Points sound interesting from a game mechanic perspective but don't make sense to me from a logical-world perspective. I can't imagine how a character decides to 'upgrade' a magic item in the world, in this example:

"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!"

Like, how am I supposed to narratively imagine that? Any reasons I can think of are too weird and against the world if Golarion that I know up to this point.

I actually think PF1 Magic items could be more wild than they are (more towards zany OSR abilities, less 5-10% situational modifiers), so the Magic item (and spell) nerfing that I'm seeing loses my interest somewhat. That quest for balance between classes is flattening the whole system in a way that makes it a very different game.

I play Pathfinder because I like the variety of character builds, and I like the stories that APs tell, and I'm not seeing the former as much with the new multiclass rules.

I remain lukewarm on 2e at this point. It's such a different system that I can't really see it as a natural evolution from 1e.

I hate to sound like a downer. This is the first time I've posted my opinions on the playtest.


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Focus your inner magical energy on the item as you consume it.

Liberty's Edge

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Coffee Demon wrote:

Focus Points sound interesting from a game mechanic perspective but don't make sense to me from a logical-world perspective. I can't imagine how a character decides to 'upgrade' a magic item in the world, in this example:

"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!"

As Vidmaster7 notes, you can pretty easily justify it with 'I concentrate on it to make it last longer.'

That's...really not that hard or complicated.


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Justification for anything is always so easy in a fantasy setting its the modern and scifi settings I have trouble with.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Focus your inner magical energy on the item as you consume it.

Yep, that's what we'll be saying I think. I don't like it. It's not integrated into Golarion lore deeply enough (or at all) so it sounds silly and ungrounded in the world. It sounds like a cludged-on explanation for a mechanic.

"You drink the potion and focus your magical energy on it so it will last longer."

That doesn't feel right, narratively. It moves away from the standard of fantasy RPGs where items do particular things. I get points that give heroes certain abilities (Grit, etc, and plenty of mechanics in other systems), but points that raise item power levels is something new and it doesn't feel right to me.

Just my personal opinion. I understand that many people are fine with it but it feels little closer to the D&D 4e style of play that was too mechanics-centred and lost some heart in the process..


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Joe M. wrote:
I kind of like FP as a cool hero point style thing of the heroic Moment. High cost, high benefit. But class powers are so deeply built into the structure of many PF classes, that seems to push toward low cost/low benefit structure, so it's weird to combine these in one pool. And then using FP as a gate or throttle on magic items that give pretty darn weak effects is an awkward high cost/low benefit (granted, situationally might be key).

This is a spot-on observation here. The problem with using Focus Points to run Class abilities is that class abilities aren't worth it. Why would a Sorcerer want to grow claws if their ability could be better used to enhance a wand or stave? Why would a Cleric want to boost a Heal spell by 2 hit points per die when they could instead use a Staff of Healing for improved effect? And this basically makes all classes but Bard and Sorcerer into MAD classes that need a high Charisma in order to use these abilities... and zero incentive to buy Class Feats that originally gave extra Spell Points because why buy an improved ability if you are only able to use it once or twice a day because you have 2 or 3 Focus Points maximum?

Dark Archive

Ed Reppert wrote:
Ouranou wrote:
The Kyra pregen has a wand of Heal at 2nd lvl. I thought wands couldn't be heightened? Have I been cheating myself out of crafting heightened wands this whole time?
Heal (the spell) can be heightened to any level 2 through 9. A wand can be made with any spell 1st through 4th level. Including a 2nd level heal spell. It would be a 4th level item. What Kyra has, though, is a 2nd level item - a wand of heal (1st level) so it's not heightened.

I had taken the statement: "The spell cannot be heightened." To mean that it could not contain a heightened version of the spell, but I'm clear now. I thought it was a weird restriction anyway.

Kyra's wand is listed on page 8 of the resonance test as:
Spell heal (2nd); Level 4; Spell Roll Cap +10

So it is heightened, but having some items possess multiple types of levels is damn confusing when it's not clear which level is being called out.


Coffee Demon wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Focus your inner magical energy on the item as you consume it.

.Yep, that's what we'll be saying I think. I don't like it. It's not integrated into Golarion lore deeply enough (or at all) so it sounds silly and ungrounded in the world.

"You drink the potion and focus your magical energy on it so it will last longer."

That doesn't feel right, narratively. It moves away from the standard of fantasy RPGs where items do particular things. I get points that give heroes certain abilities (Grit, etc, and plenty of mechanics in other sustens), but points that raise item power levels is something new and it doesn't feel right to me.

Well can't really make a logic based argument against an emotional based one so I don't what else to tell you other then maybe do some reading and try to imagine or think of your own explanation for it.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Coffee Demon wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Focus your inner magical energy on the item as you consume it.

.Yep, that's what we'll be saying I think. I don't like it. It's not integrated into Golarion lore deeply enough (or at all) so it sounds silly and ungrounded in the world.

"You drink the potion and focus your magical energy on it so it will last longer."

That doesn't feel right, narratively. It moves away from the standard of fantasy RPGs where items do particular things. I get points that give heroes certain abilities (Grit, etc, and plenty of mechanics in other sustens), but points that raise item power levels is something new and it doesn't feel right to me.

Well can't really make a logic based argument against an emotional based one so I don't what else to tell you other then maybe do some reading and try to imagine or think of your own explanation for it.

Roleplaying is a creative endeavour, so I would never expect a logical reason to influence my personal tastes anyways - but thanks for trying :) . I'm not asking for help, just giving my highly subjective opinion from a narrative perspective, and based on the styles of games that I've been running for the last 32 years as a DM.


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Coffee Demon wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Coffee Demon wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Focus your inner magical energy on the item as you consume it.

.Yep, that's what we'll be saying I think. I don't like it. It's not integrated into Golarion lore deeply enough (or at all) so it sounds silly and ungrounded in the world.

"You drink the potion and focus your magical energy on it so it will last longer."

That doesn't feel right, narratively. It moves away from the standard of fantasy RPGs where items do particular things. I get points that give heroes certain abilities (Grit, etc, and plenty of mechanics in other sustens), but points that raise item power levels is something new and it doesn't feel right to me.

Well can't really make a logic based argument against an emotional based one so I don't what else to tell you other then maybe do some reading and try to imagine or think of your own explanation for it.
Roleplaying is a creative endeavour, so I would never expect a logical reason to influence my personal tastes anyways - but thanks for trying :) . I'm not asking for help, just giving my highly subjective opinion from a narrative perspective, and based on the styles of games that I've been running for the last 32 years as a DM.

Hmm. Its odd for me because I have been playing for less then that but have no problem imagining the focus thing in my head. no conflicts at all. Old dog new trick kind of thing maybe? I don't know. I've read a lot of books that does a lot of drastically different things with magic maybe that is why its easier? *shurg* I dunno.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Coffee Demon wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Coffee Demon wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Focus your inner magical energy on the item as you consume it.

.Yep, that's what we'll be saying I think. I don't like it. It's not integrated into Golarion lore deeply enough (or at all) so it sounds silly and ungrounded in the world.

"You drink the potion and focus your magical energy on it so it will last longer."

That doesn't feel right, narratively. It moves away from the standard of fantasy RPGs where items do particular things. I get points that give heroes certain abilities (Grit, etc, and plenty of mechanics in other sustens), but points that raise item power levels is something new and it doesn't feel right to me.

Well can't really make a logic based argument against an emotional based one so I don't what else to tell you other then maybe do some reading and try to imagine or think of your own explanation for it.
Roleplaying is a creative endeavour, so I would never expect a logical reason to influence my personal tastes anyways - but thanks for trying :) . I'm not asking for help, just giving my highly subjective opinion from a narrative perspective, and based on the styles of games that I've been running for the last 32 years as a DM.
Hmm. Its odd for me because I have been playing for less then that but have no problem imagining the focus thing in my head. no conflicts at all. Old dog new trick kind of thing maybe? I don't know. I've read a lot of books that does a lot of drastically different things with magic maybe that is why its easier? *shurg* I dunno.

Yeah I think it must simply be that you're better at imagination than I am. Thanks! I aim for mastery one day. I'll try to read more too. Maybe that will help. I only read about a book a week so I'll have to up my game.

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