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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Hm. I both like it and I don't - it's an improvement but I like it more conceptually than in execution. I think my two main issues come down to that you should really have more points (especially with it being shared with class powers), and that in a lot cases the focus effect is really what the item should have been to begin with.

My suggestions for the base would be:

* Make base focus 5 + Cha modifier.

* Each time you pick up a class ability or feat that costs Focus, you get extra Focus.

* Relevant classes like monk can have a feat that lets you substitute a different ability modifier for Cha, and then gives +2 Focus, as a better class version of Extra Resonance. (Edit: Perhaps a more interesting version that feels less taxy would be: You substitute an ability modifier, e.g. WIS for monk, then can advance proficiency in a skill of your choice based on that ability modifier.)

* Do not mix focus and charges. Something uses one or the other but not both.

More specific recommendations:

* Trinkets should have the full effect without spending focus. They are consumed if you don't spend focus as you use it, but spending focus lets you keep the trinket so it can be used again.

* Come up with a more general rule for potions, instead of a bunch of bespoke focus effects, and then set the base item effect to something good. I suggest a universal rule that spending focus on a potion, oil, elixir etc maximizes any dice rolled and doubles duration. There, simple and done. There are a few odd ducks that won't benefit from this, and that's fine! Not everything has to benefit.

* Activated items just cost focus to use. Don't do the thing where you can use it once per day then spend focus to use it more. You just spend focus to use it.

* Spell items like scrolls and necklace of Fireballs just cost Focus to use.

On a final note, Focus is a VASTLY better name than spell points. :) But we don't need Resonance as a name for item slots. Just say you can invest 10 items per day. It doesn't need a name.

-----

On the separate matter of bombs, I've been suggesting higher level bombs for a long time and I'm glad to see them. There are still major improvements to be made, like the splash damage being way too low, but it's a start!

Empower Bombs can then be like Sneak Attack, just bonus dice the alchemist gets to add to bombs instead of a multiplier. The Alchemist should also advance to expert, Master and Legend with bombs. Obviously this being for a bomb focused Alchemist; as I've suggested before, I would still like to see each class pick a path like the druid etc, with the Alchemist having a bomb path sure but also a mutagen path etc. :)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Fuzzypaws wrote:
On a final note, Focus is a VASTLY better name than spell points. :) But we don't need Resonance as a name for item slots. Just say you can invest 10 items per day. It doesn't need a name.

Uh, yeah it does need a name, in your suggestion you've just moved it to Invest/Investiture. Not having an official name for referring to the pool of 10 will just be really awkward when talking about it.


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GM OfAnything wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
I definitely agree that for Focus points to be a good idea, they need to strike a careful balance point. They need to "pop" enough that they are fun to use, but not be so necessary that the 8 Cha Ancient Blood dwarf is an unplayable character.

I like with this system that the dwarf can use as many magic items as their party members. They just resist the effects of magic and don't get as many extra benefits.

You probably won't see a dwarf picked for a class power build, but that seems okay.

Since only 2 of the 11 classes do not have powers that is a huge problem.


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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
GM OfAnything wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
I definitely agree that for Focus points to be a good idea, they need to strike a careful balance point. They need to "pop" enough that they are fun to use, but not be so necessary that the 8 Cha Ancient Blood dwarf is an unplayable character.

I like with this system that the dwarf can use as many magic items as their party members. They just resist the effects of magic and don't get as many extra benefits.

You probably won't see a dwarf picked for a class power build, but that seems okay.

It might actually have been amusing to see certain dwarves being penalized two Resonance Points under the new system, as having 8 vice 10 Resonance Points or item slots would not be all that punishing.


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thorin001 wrote:
GM OfAnything wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
I definitely agree that for Focus points to be a good idea, they need to strike a careful balance point. They need to "pop" enough that they are fun to use, but not be so necessary that the 8 Cha Ancient Blood dwarf is an unplayable character.

I like with this system that the dwarf can use as many magic items as their party members. They just resist the effects of magic and don't get as many extra benefits.

You probably won't see a dwarf picked for a class power build, but that seems okay.

Since only 2 of the 11 classes do not have powers that is a huge problem.

That doesn't mean you have to build for them. There are other class features to focus on as well.


Rysky wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
On a final note, Focus is a VASTLY better name than spell points. :) But we don't need Resonance as a name for item slots. Just say you can invest 10 items per day. It doesn't need a name.
Uh, yeah it does need a name, in your suggestion you've just moved it to Invest/Investiture. Not having an official name for referring to the pool of 10 will just be really awkward when talking about it.

Whether "item slots" have a name and what that name is aren't especially important to me, they already fixed the big one. But if people want it locked down with a name, sure, whatever. :)

Silver Crusade

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

I agree on not being sure why we need the name resonance. Why not simply state as a rule:

Your character can only use ten permanent magic items in a day. You need to pick those out at the start of the day.


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Redelia wrote:

I agree on not being sure why we need the name resonance. Why not simply state as a rule:

Your character can only use ten permanent magic items in a day. You need to pick those out at the start of the day.

With the new resonance you doo not have to do it at the start of the day; you can invest the new shiny toy you just took off of the rapidly cooling bad guy.


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Redelia wrote:

I agree on not being sure why we need the name resonance. Why not simply state as a rule:

Your character can only use ten permanent magic items in a day. You need to pick those out at the start of the day.

I like that the rule has a name so I can refer to it simply. "Are you over your encumbrance? Do you have resonance left?"

I agree that it doesn't need to be Pool or have points, but it is much easier to refer to and interact with a rule that has a name.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wait, someone remind me again why it's advantageous to require locking in the items you're going to be using for the day? I mean, at a max of ten worn items it's almost never going to be a problem, but is it really an issue if the fully loaded warrior takes off his boots of speed to put on some boots of climbing?


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WatersLethe wrote:
Wait, someone remind me again why it's advantageous to require locking in the items you're going to be using for the day? I mean, at a max of ten worn items it's almost never going to be a problem, but is it really an issue if the fully loaded warrior takes off his boots of speed to put on some boots of climbing?

Because being that guy with 10 changes of quick runner's shirt in your backpack is bad design.


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GM OfAnything wrote:
You probably won't see a dwarf picked for a class power build, but that seems okay.

Problem is- Dwarf Clerics, Monks, and Druids are all traditional as those were classes where Wisdom was much more important than Charisma and now they are all power classes.


My first impressions (blog post):

Resonance as magic item slots - I love it! I love that the interference field idea (thought of this the first time I read about resonance :P) is on the table! These are for all intents and purposes just universal magic item slots. I support dropping the point nomenclature and just calling it Resonance. My initial suggestion is that it might feel better to have them start at 5 and then increase by 5 at levels 5, 10, and 15.

Focus Point Use - This is a pretty good improvement over how RP were being used before. Not really down with nerfing some item effects and the Focus effect being the same as before. Focus effects should be better than the original effects of the item even if the item effect has to be nerfed.

Focus Point Merger - Seems fine to me as long as the classes that had some variety of power points get their own source of FP besides the default one. Not sure I'm ok with the them being CHA based. I kinda feel like for each caster it should be based on their key ability score. And I have to admit I have never really liked the idea of martials being able to use a magic resource with out at least having to invest in a feat or have an inherently magical ancestry.

All in all I'm liking what I'm seeing here initially.
Looking forward to researching it more in depth.
Might play the Resonance Test even if I have to do it by myself.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Fuzzypaws wrote:
Whether "item slots" have a name and what that name is aren't especially important to me, they already fixed the big one. But if people want it locked down with a name, sure, whatever. :)

I think it's important because it's NOT "item slots". With just item slots, you could take an item off and immediately replace it with a fresh one, and that is not the case with Resonance.

Which is an important distinction, since that way Resonance avoids the "carrying spare Quick Runner's Shirts" issue.

Shadow Lodge

Mark Seifter wrote:
Redelia wrote:
How do you want us to implement these changes in Doomsday Dawn? Should we play with the new rules, or with the old rules?
You will not be able to implement these changes in Doomsday Dawn. And that's OK; this is a controlled playtest within a playtest, like a play within a play.

BOOO!!! I like the idea of testing out these improved rules, but people have already done Shrieking Peak. The level 10 scenario hasn't been out long - let us test it on that or Doomsday Dawn instead.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Given that they have linked the ability of Clerics to heal to Charisma, I'd say there needs to be a Cleric option where you don't get Channel Energy/Heal and instead get some other ability that doesn't use Charisma at all. That way low-Charisma Clerics can shine. Currently they're a semi-MAD class... and if you want to have a Cleric that heals, you need a Charisma of 16 starting off in order to have sufficient healing abilities to last.

Adding Focus to this with Focus powering Domain abilities and everything else will now kill the concept of the Dwarven Cleric. Seriously, why play a Dwarven Cleric when you are forced to have a 14 Charisma to start, and only 2 Focus Points for Domain abilities, along with only 5 Heal spells? Even once a Dwarven Cleric reaches level 20, they are still down by one Focus point compared to other races... and need to pump up Charisma every single level while other races honestly have no need to increase important stats past level 15 (seeing the 20th level increase would result in an odd value).

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

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. You need to de-link Class Powers from Focus... or allow Class Feats that increase the number of Powers to increase Focus. Further, Focus needs to be based off of the primary Stat - Wisdom for Clerics and Druids, Intelligence for Alchemists and Wizards, Charisma for Bards and Sorcerers. I'm not quite sure what you'd do for Rangers, Paladins, and Monks (and don't quite recall if Rogues have anything that requires Focus), but seeing Rangers and Monks have a history of requiring a good Wisdom, and Paladins a high Charisma, those would likely be the best stats for these classes even with them being non-primary stats.

In fact, I might suggest eliminating Hero Points for use of preventing death, and instead using Focus Points for this purpose. Consider it sheer force of will to keep from dying. Hero Points can resume their old purpose of improving die rolls and adding Actions if they are used at all.


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MaxAstro wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
Whether "item slots" have a name and what that name is aren't especially important to me, they already fixed the big one. But if people want it locked down with a name, sure, whatever. :)

I think it's important because it's NOT "item slots". With just item slots, you could take an item off and immediately replace it with a fresh one, and that is not the case with Resonance.

Which is an important distinction, since that way Resonance avoids the "carrying spare Quick Runner's Shirts" issue.

Wouldn't a Quick Runner's Shirt just be an item you have one of, and spend a Focus each time you activate it? I mean that is the thrust of one of the points made in my post at the top of the page. Get rid of the free 1/day, because doing so both prevents abuse as well as simplifying tracking. Meanwhile, increase the base amount of Focus you get so you don't even need the 1/day kludge.


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Tangent101 wrote:

Given that they have linked the ability of Clerics to heal to Charisma, I'd say there needs to be a Cleric option where you don't get Channel Energy/Heal and instead get some other ability that doesn't use Charisma at all. That way low-Charisma Clerics can shine. Currently they're a semi-MAD class... and if you want to have a Cleric that heals, you need a Charisma of 16 starting off in order to have sufficient healing abilities to last.

Adding Focus to this with Focus powering Domain abilities and everything else will now kill the concept of the Dwarven Cleric. Seriously, why play a Dwarven Cleric when you are forced to have a 14 Charisma to start, and only 2 Focus Points for Domain abilities, along with only 5 Heal spells? Even once a Dwarven Cleric reaches level 20, they are still down by one Focus point compared to other races... and need to pump up Charisma every single level while other races honestly have no need to increase important stats past level 15 (seeing the 20th level increase would result in an odd value).

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

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. You need to de-link Class Powers from Focus... or allow Class Feats that increase the number of Powers to increase Focus. Further, Focus needs to be based off of the primary Stat - Wisdom for Clerics and Druids, Intelligence for Alchemists and Wizards, Charisma for Bards and Sorcerers. I'm not quite sure what you'd do for Rangers, Paladins, and Monks (and don't quite recall if Rogues have anything that requires Focus), but seeing Rangers and Monks have a history of requiring a good Wisdom, and Paladins a high Charisma, those would likely be the best stats for these classes even with them being non-primary stats.

In fact, I might suggest eliminating Hero Points for use of preventing death, and instead using Focus Points for this purpose. Consider it sheer force of will to keep from dying. Hero Points can resume their old purpose of improving die rolls and adding Actions if they are used at all.

Yeah... only 5 free extra max level spells.

Poor clerics, such injustice.

/sarcasm off

Grand Lodge

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Wait- casters are having their spell points removed and simply replaced with Focus Points? This as not mentioned at all in the blog, which it should have been. The new update doc clearly shows that casters will no longer have spell points to use on spell powers, and that now focus points will be used for powers...which means all casters are losing their ability to use spell points, but are instead getting Focus points based solely on Charisma- is this right? If so, that's a massive caster nerf, especially when spell points were based on caster level.

Please clarify if necessary.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
nogoodscallywag wrote:

Wait- casters are having their spell points removed and simply replaced with Focus Points? This as not mentioned at all in the blog, which it should have been. The new update doc clearly shows that casters will no longer have spell points to use on spell powers, and that now focus points will be used for powers...which means all casters are losing their ability to use spell points, but are instead getting Focus points based solely on Charisma- is this right? If so, that's a massive caster nerf, especially when spell points were based on caster level.

Please clarify if necessary.

It does say in the blog that spell points and item uses are being combined but I'll admit it could have been said clearer.

They have stated that there will be changes to non-charisma spell casters that will give them a bit more focus points to use with their class abilities when the full rules do release (if they do go this direction).

also spell points were not based on caster level. The only way to get more spell points was through feats or through improving your primary casting stat.


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shroudb wrote:
There are some examples of "closing his eyes and feeling his body heal up as the potion starts running in his vein"

Exactly, feeling the effects of a potion or drug, nothing to do with concentrating and infusing it with energy to enhance its power.

The closest thing to that I have read in literature is the Water of Life test, in Dune, but that is metabolising and altering a poison.

I like focus points, the Occultist is one of my favourite PF classes, I would just prefer they stay there.


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nogoodscallywag wrote:

Wait- casters are having their spell points removed and simply replaced with Focus Points? This as not mentioned at all in the blog, which it should have been. The new update doc clearly shows that casters will no longer have spell points to use on spell powers, and that now focus points will be used for powers...which means all casters are losing their ability to use spell points, but are instead getting Focus points based solely on Charisma- is this right? If so, that's a massive caster nerf, especially when spell points were based on caster level.

Please clarify if necessary.

Spell points were never based on level. They were a static number of Stat+whatever you got from feats.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Fuzzypaws wrote:
Wouldn't a Quick Runner's Shirt just be an item you have one of, and spend a Focus each time you activate it? I mean that is the thrust of one of the points made in my post at the top of the page. Get rid of the free 1/day, because doing so both prevents abuse as well as simplifying tracking. Meanwhile, increase the base amount of Focus you get so you don't even need the 1/day kludge.

While that's a whole other discussion, Resonance is still important to prevent weirdness like carrying around ten different skill boosters and swapping them out whenever you need to make the relevant skill check, which you could do with a simple "item slots" implementation.


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I wonder if martials like the fighter will be able to use focus for class-abilities. I think some of the "martial" spells such as Bladed Dash should've been martial abilities.


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I like where this is headed, but have a couple questions/issues concerning potions:

1) I don't like how focus + potion = more powerful effect than casting the spell can do.
Example given is invisibility potion. Seems like even raised to 4th it's still only 1 minute duration (just doesn't end when you attack). Is there no way to get the 10 minute scout effect of a focused-potion.

2) isn't it dangerous/terrible to have potion effects different (in general) than their spell's regular effect? Probably don't want to have to have a magic item entry for every single spell that can be put into a potion, to describe how it's different than the spell, and how the focused version is again different. Wouldn't it be better to have a more general rule of "potion does base of spell, focus elevates it to higher level effect of spell"? Or something like this?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It seems like potions in general are not supposed to be spells-in-a-can anymore, and overall I like that.


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One problem I've explicitly brought up in my survey answers was Invisibility Potion duration. The other two I mentioned were trinkets (Fear Gem was the one) and splash damage, as a note.

Even if it's meant for in combat, it's no fun to be that guy who rolls a 1 on the duration and got 1 round invisibility.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
shroudb wrote:

Yeah... only 5 free extra max level spells.

Poor clerics, such injustice.

/sarcasm off

Look at the old Cleric. Channel Positive Energy was 1d6 for every two levels and had a constant area-of-effect. You could use it to heal people/undead or harm undead/people three times plus your Charisma modifier. This was ON TOP OF being able to turn any Cleric Spell into a Cure Wounds spell. A 1st level Cleric could do three Cure Light Wounds spells a day along with between two and seven extra Channel Energy averaging 3.5 hit points PER PERSON - thus for a group of six wounded people, a Cleric could be healing between 6 and 36 hit points at 1st level... and could do this multiple times. Assuming a group of four Heroes, the average healing for a non-Healing specialist could do an average of 100 hit points of healing. 84 of that would be divided among the four characters, with the last divided among three characters.

The new level 1 Cleric could, with a Human Cleric who chooses the Healing Domain, a 16 Charisma, and a Class Feat for extra healing, end up healing one person for 2d8+4 using a Spell Point and several Actions. If they went pure Healbot they could manage 8 Heal spells, and four of them would be for 2d8+4 while the rest would just be 2d8... or 4 hit points if they went for an Area Effect heal. If they went pure AoE healing for a party of 4, they only would heal 32 hit points divided evenly among the four. If they tried to maximize healing, they'd average 88 hit points, divided evenly among all four.

Do note, this is someone who went with a Human that took an Ancestry Feat to get an extra Class Feat at 1st level. If it is a generic Cleric with any other Domain and who didn't specialize in Healing (but still had a 16 Charisma and memorized two Heal spells in addition), it drops down to 36 hit points divided evenly among the four - unless they did an AoE Heal at which point they only heal 32 hit points. The magical healing of a Cleric was reduced to one third for someone who doesn't specialize in Healing.

Oh, and Heal Wands have been nerfed because of Resonance and the like. So you can't even compensate for this with a Heal Wand. Potions also now use Resonance to activate so that 1st level party may very well have someone with only one Resonance point (unless they're playing a Dwarf) for use with Potions.

So you say "poor Cleric, only having 'five' extra spells" - guess what. It is a bigger deal than you're making it out to be. And sure, at high level those Heals can be doing 10d8+7 for an AoE Heal... but the old Dwarf Cleric could be pumping out five 10d6 AoE Channel Positive Energy while also being able to turn probably six 1st level spells into 1d8+5 CLW spells, six 2nd level spells into 2d8+10 CMW spells, five 3rd level spells into 3d8+15 CSW spells, and five 4th level spells into 4d8+20 CCW spells... and also area-of-effect CLW, CMW, CSW, and CCW spells that can be spontaneously cast, while also having Heal spells and area-of-effect Heal spells as well. Nor are those REQUIRED to be Cure Spells - they can be anything the player wants and then changed into Cure spells when needed.

The old Cleric was extremely potent in terms of healing. The new Cleric? Not so much. And when you add in a Dwarf who has a low Charisma, they are hurt even further (no wonder the Dwarven race is dying off....)


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While I like the new Resonance changes (I'd call them Investment Points though) I think Focus points are going to need to go back to the lab. Currently I'm running a storm druid power build where I have 7 points at level 4 (and 2 spare Resonance Points after investments), with this change I'll be knocked down to 2 points (at level 5) that are shared between my powers and my items. Spell points need to be handled differently than rolling them into a completely different mechanic.


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Rolling the points together is fine. Item uses and powers can come out of the same pool. The important thing though is that powers then need to expand that pool. When you learn a storm druid power or wizard school ability or ki power, that needs to give you more focus. :)

It's totally fitting for a supernatural character to some days have more item use, other days have more power use, and still other days balance them, depending on need. The flexibility is a good thing.


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MaxAstro wrote:
It seems like potions in general are not supposed to be spells-in-a-can anymore, and overall I like that.

I like that too, and for magic items to be less formulaic.


Taenarius said wrote:
While I like the new Resonance changes (I'd call them Investment Points though) I think Focus points are going to need to go back to the lab. Currently I'm running a storm druid power build where I have 7 points at level 4 (and 2 spare Resonance Points after investments), with this change I'll be knocked down to 2 points (at level 5) that are shared between my powers and my items. Spell points need to be handled differently than rolling them into a completely different mechanic.

Well without the complete rules it's quite hard to say how it would affect the build. I would almost guarantee that you wouldn't just be stuck with 2 points, your powers would be stronger and the class feats that earlier just gave a power + spell points would get some kind of update as well.

That said, I really don't mind spell points staying and focus points being just for items (but some seem to think that is too many pools to keep track of). But if that change happened maybe the "powers" should be looked at a bit, since some classes "powers" they use on spell points are far superior, which can break multiclassing a bit.


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I dont think items needed this "superpower it with focus" Like, its new and creative, but think the basics of the game should be sorted out first. The issues I THINK the developers are trying to fix with resonance/focus are:

- People spamming wands (Of CLW specifically).
- People swapping equipment to use abilities out to get a lot of mileage. (Quick Runner's shirt and boots of speed been mentioned).
- Each item having their own charges/day to track.
- Magical Christmas tree. Issue correlated to point 2. Trivial one to fix.

So how did we end up with this rigmarole?

I think the second point can be fixed with how they're handling resonance now. You pay resonance to attune and then that item is FIXED for the rest of the day, or at least it'll cost more resonance to swap it.

Point 3 I never thought was that bad, since each item can just have a box in the character sheet with the number written there.
With the new design, each item still has to have that box anyways, except it now just has a cross instead of a number. Wands have like 3 boxes instead. Don't think it meaningfully reduces complexity like old resonance did, so kinda went off-road here.

Point 1 I won't say much here, it's been discussed ad nauseum in these forums. I'd just rather they not exist with how staves are awesome now.

The hype magic item power-up is just a cherry on top. A new idea but I don't going to fix those underlying issues.

Also, I liked old spell points. They were like Arcane pool/rage rounds/performance rounds/Fervor/etc or whatever from PF1. In roll20 you get 3 displays for each token and I picked HP, AC and the "resource pool". It wa svery convenient.


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Nettah wrote:
Well without the complete rules it's quite hard to say how it would affect the build. I would almost guarantee that you wouldn't just be stuck with 2 points, your powers would be stronger and the class feats that earlier just gave a power + spell points would get some kind of update as well.

While that's a fair point, I think it's fairly silly to have no test of a low Cha power build in this micro playtest. I have concerns about reducing the amount of resources that can be spent on powers when spellcasters aren't in the best spot to begin with right now. Those powers were the only thing that that build really has going for it.


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shroudb wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
Wait, someone remind me again why it's advantageous to require locking in the items you're going to be using for the day? I mean, at a max of ten worn items it's almost never going to be a problem, but is it really an issue if the fully loaded warrior takes off his boots of speed to put on some boots of climbing?
Because being that guy with 10 changes of quick runner's shirt in your backpack is bad design.

But that guy who spent 10,000 on those shirts has not spent that money on upgrading their weapon, their ring of protection, their cloak...

More to the point, this blog post feels like a bit of face-saving on the part of the game designers; although they've scaled resonance back far enough that it can now be easily ignored, so I'll take it.


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Vic Ferrari wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
It seems like potions in general are not supposed to be spells-in-a-can anymore, and overall I like that.
I like that too, and for magic items to be less formulaic.

But it does mean every spell in the game, if it's allowed as a potion, needs a new entry saying what it does as a regular (and Focused) use potion.

Also doesn't explain why a focused invisibility potion works better (longer) than any level caster casting the spell itself (as far as I can tell).


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This is part of which I don't actually like bespoke potions. I think all the bespoke items should be alchemical elixirs, powders, oils and whatnot. Whereas I actually DO like magic potions as spells in a can. That would give the two items completely separate design space so they feel different and distinct.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
This is part of which I don't actually like bespoke potions. I think all the bespoke items should be alchemical elixirs, powders, oils and whatnot. Whereas I actually DO like magic potions as spells in a can. That would give the two items completely separate design space so they feel different and distinct.

That's an interesting idea, best of both worlds.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dreamer3333 wrote:

But it does mean every spell in the game, if it's allowed as a potion, needs a new entry saying what it does as a regular (and Focused) use potion.

Also doesn't explain why a focused invisibility potion works better (longer) than any level caster casting the spell itself (as far as I can tell).

That's my point - I don't think every spell in the game is allowed as a potion anymore. In fact, my impression is that there isn't really any direct correlation between spells and potions anymore, other than some potions happening to function similarly to some spells.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
shroudb wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
Wait, someone remind me again why it's advantageous to require locking in the items you're going to be using for the day? I mean, at a max of ten worn items it's almost never going to be a problem, but is it really an issue if the fully loaded warrior takes off his boots of speed to put on some boots of climbing?
Because being that guy with 10 changes of quick runner's shirt in your backpack is bad design.

Should we have lots of equippable items with 1/day uses?

Is it a problem if someone spends all their wealth on using one effect a lot?

If there's an effect that's so strong you don't want someone to freely swap out items to get that effect, even at the cost of all their wealth, is 10 a small enough pool to prevent that? You could have armor, necklace and 8 quick runner's shirts, for example.

Why couldn't 1/day effects carry over between identical items?

Honestly curious about all.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

And that's a good thing. Seriously, limiting potions to specific spells was not a smart idea. It was a holdover from D&D 3.0... which was put in place for Magic Item Creation Expedition. And sure, it meant GMs could easily determine what could or could not be made into a potion or wand... but it also destroyed the magic behind potions and other magic items. It was pure mechanics. Especially as Potions were basically worthless when compared to Wands - you wouldn't want to make them if you could create a Wand because the latter can be used 50 times and cost less per use. Worse, it limited what could or could not become a potion.

Even Paizo felt constrained by this. This is why you saw so many Elixirs starting to crop up as they weren't potions and not constrained by those rules. So having newer Potions be their own things instead of a Spell In A Bottle is definitely a plus in my eyes.


Tangent101 wrote:
Given that they have linked the ability of Clerics to heal to Charisma, I'd say there needs to be a Cleric option where you don't get Channel Energy/Heal and instead get some other ability that doesn't use Charisma at all. That way low-Charisma Clerics can shine. Currently they're a semi-MAD class... and if you want to have a Cleric that heals, you need a Charisma of 16 starting off in order to have sufficient healing abilities to last.

It probably wouldn't be so bad if Clerics had anything resembling a decent number of spells and could effectively heal without channel, but that end was nerfed so hard in the playtest that without some kind of class feature, you're just not an effective healer. That goes for every class that can get access to it some other way (via spell points and such).

It's better to have it split off though. IF Channel also ran off focus points, you'd never see them used for anything else.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
I disagree. The cognitive load is slightly higher due to the multiple resources, but all the absolute numbers are smaller, which is easier for most people (for whatever reason).

We'll just have to agree to disagree on this. I have the same problem with Bulk and the idea that that's somehow simpler.

Quote:
As Rysky notes, it's not actually that space intensive. You can put it all on a single line in most cases.

A pretty dense line, yes. I can see someone who isn't very experienced with wands looking at that and being totally baffled, followed by a 10 minute explanation.

Charges are much more easily explained. So are daily uses.

Quote:
You clearly can have both. Whether it's a good idea is a somewhat different matter, but it's certainly possible.

Fair enough, it is possible. It's a terrible idea, but it's possible.

Quote:

For the record, I'm not sure I like it. The fact that it'

s not notably more complex than PF1 Wands in practice is not actually very high praise, since PF1 Wands were annoying and fiddly. I might well prefer something simpler, personally.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't work, or that it's a sudden sea change in difficulty to use.

It's definitely harder to use and more complex in practice, since wands haven't gotten particularly simpler in other ways. Wands are in this weird area where they seem to default to the most complicated solution possible to whatever problem it is they're trying to solve.

Liberty's Edge

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I like the Resonance change. It's actually pretty smooth in a lot of ways. It barely affects most players and affects almost no one before about level 10. I even like the basic concept of "use Focus to make magic items work better". I think there are some real issues, though.

1) Wands have too many things to track. As others say above, having one thing, then charges, then a focus unlock is just too many things. In this concept, why do wands have to remain as charged consumables, at all? How about ditching charges and every use of the wand is a flat check of some sort (DC of the spell level? flat DC?) to avoid burning out. Spending a Focus lets you avoid making the check. That's a ton less to track.

2) I really, really want to see what the Storm Druid looks like after these changes. The Storm Druid in base really worked well for me, but this change guts it of its spell points and doesn't replace them with anything. I need to understand how that Druid would look under this change.

3) The Leaf Druid is even worse off than the Storm Druid. Triple everything I said about Storm.

4) In the long run, sorcerers feel weird under this scheme. Their spell pool also took a big hit, and since the spell pool was their main fuel for their bloodline, their bloodline is now less usable. It's not a huge difference, but it's noticeable.

5) Powers and items need to be calibrated better. I complained about this earlier, but it still bugs me how uneven the spell point abilities are. We see a shift to strengthen them in the limited ones presented in this playtest, but there are a lot of them and they need to calibrate fairly well against what a martial can do with an of-level magic item, since they're the same fuel now.

6) Probably the thing that's bugging me most is that Focus doesn't advance at all outside of Charisma bumps. Druids and Clerics were already badly MAD before this change and now it's even worse if they want to use Focus for stuff.

I like a lot of the suggestions I'm seeing to walk this back a little more toward where spell points were.

Silver Crusade

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Tangent101 wrote:
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?

(1) Thanks!

(2) This is why I would love to see powers drastically scaled back in any case. I really dislike all the weak "fire a tiny energy blast" or "grow claws 3/day" powers. They're boring and not worth using, so you hunt for the 2 or 3 powers that are worth using and most of the options are useless filler. I'd much rather have a model in which class powers were much more limited and much more impactful—which would fit very well with the tightly limited Focus Point pool, but would be a *very* different class paradigm than Paizo has really ever done. Think about all the years we've been seeing power-heavy classes from Paizo. I'd love if that changed. But it would be a big change!


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I like that Resonance is basically dropped.

I like the change from Spell Points to Focus. That's not bad, decent change.

Why tie it CHA and items though?

Any Race with a CHA penalty is going to shy away from CHA based classes even more now as it's a harsher penalty to them. It's only Dwarf right now but Tieflings later also have this gap to deal with. I'm assuming Teiflings will be in the game(Maybe in a year after release? Dunno.)

And if the "Solution" is to just take a Focus giving feat..., well I didn't like that excuse when we needed to take a Resonance giving feat.

Other note, and not possible in the limited test chart they gave us; Pazio, UM, how does this work with Multiclassing? Yeah I want to make a Cleric/Druid for some reason, what I only have 2-3 focus points to fuel powers from both? Would the combo get extra Focus? Would a fighter get extra focus for dipping into Monk? How far of a dip would you need(By that I mean would you need the Dedication and THEN another feat?)

I'm interested in seeing how this plays out but don't think it's for me. Solved an issue or two but added them elsewhere to me.

Upside is Alchemist doesn't seem as messed over but have to really sit down and read this.


Oof. I took the PSAT last week. Can I not have another test to worry about?


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Tholomyes wrote:
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.

If by "part of the OGL" you mean open content, then yes it is.

_
glass.


So I like that there are no longer item slots, but I wonder if we can do anything with Resonance if I want to wear fewer than 10 magic things.

Plus, having a thing that limits you to 10 of something a bunch of levels before you can have even 5 of it is kind of weird.


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The proposed version feels like the same problems I had with Resonance, except now instead of choosing between Neat Equipment and Consumable Items, now I choose between The Things that Make the Class Iconic and Stronger Consumable Items.

IE, your Paladin is made superhuman by the grace of their deity... unless you drank an empowered healing potion; then the deity leaves the Paladin to fend for themselves.

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