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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Sanmei:

I disagree. Your deity's divine grace was channeled into the magical elixer you used your Focus on. As you imbibed it, you were charged with her divine sense of strength and purpose.

It works just fine. Focus means different things thematically for different classes but has similar mechanical functions with regards to items. That's OK.


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Gonna need to catch up here. But.
From the wild and semi crazed posts in other places
I STRONGLY suggest creation of a new subforum for the resounance playtest.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
The Once and Future Kai wrote:
90% of my problems with system complexity in the playtest seem to come back to the character sheet.

I found the character sheets for the pregens at the back of the resonance test document to be fairly well laid out and easy to understand. Of course, they don't look a whole lot like the one in the back of the rulebook or its version 1.1 descendant. One thing I noticed: for these level 5 characters, all of the casters' sheets are three pages; all of the martials' are two pages. I suppose it makes sense that casters would need more room, but it did make me wonder how long level 20 sheets would be. :-)

I think paizo should print card decks for every item, spell, and feat (and perhaps all the actions not already covered, too) in the core rulebook, to come out concurrently with the book. And then each later book should also have accompanying card decks. Maybe I'm crazy. :)


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
I'd also get rid of the name Resonance Points and just state that you can invest up to 10 items at a time. It's simpler.

May be, but it doesn't accurately reflect the current rule. You can, at least in this resonance test, use up all your Resonance Points by, during your daily prep, repeatedly donning and removing whatever it is. Knowing that, surely no one would actually do it, but the point is that "you can invest up to ten items at a time" doesn't account for it.


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Doktor Weasel wrote:
I never liked x times a day use items. And now they're mostly one use free plus focus.

You start the day with a fully charged (10 charges) Wand of Heal. You use it once. You use it again, this time costing you a focus point. After that, you can use it as much as you want, until either tomorrow or you run out of charges, whichever comes first. Tomorrow you get to start over if you have any charges left.

Still, it does seem a bit of an odd mechanic.


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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.

It'd be better to just get rid of x per day items and use focus (in a much larger and non-shared with powers pool) in place of those. Using Resonance Points as a limit instead of just "You can have 10 invested items at a time." is overly complicated and is kind of a band-aid for the problem, instead of addressing the cause.

Frankly, I don't really care much about focus to improve items, other than the nerfing of the baseline effect is horrible. What I'd much rather it be used for is a total replacement for all charges and limited daily uses. That would simplify tracking, eliminate the perceived need for the 10 item limit to be points (giving more simplification), get rid of the swapping out of single use items issue and let us get rid of those annoying per day limitations. There would be no advantage to using 5 wands once each versus using one 5 times.

The use of focus for improving items doesn't really fill a need other than a backdoor resonance cost by nerfing things to uselessness without it like 1d4 rounds invisibility. A replacement for limited item uses is actually an improvement though.

I usually just move on and ignore an item when I see "Once per day..." Or "Three times per day..." or "For a total of five minutes per day..." I like gear to work when I need it. And these limits per day are just too fiddly and annoying, and incentivize the switching out items loophole. Moving it to a pool would be better. The pool would have to be much much bigger than focus, and not be shared with powers. That's just the worst of both worlds. I'm not sure how big the pool should be, but it's much closer to Level + cha mod than it is to cha mod + 1 or 2.


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Data Lore wrote:

Sanmei:

I disagree. Your deity's divine grace was channeled into the magical elixer you used your Focus on. As you imbibed it, you were charged with her divine sense of strength and purpose.

It works just fine. Focus means different things thematically for different classes but has similar mechanical functions with regards to items. That's OK.

I'm still seeing classes having to choose between something everybody does and things which make them recognizably what they are, and I dislike that mightily. A monk never had to choose between healing potions and a Ki Pool before; now they do. A cleric wasn't choosing between their domain powers or elixirs before; now they do.

It feels like a push toward homogeneity, a recurring theme throughout second edition.

--

The dwarf Ancient-Blooded heritage also stings that much more by this rule set. Whether it impacts Resonance or Focus Points, either way it's cutting into a resource which is now more heavily limited.


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A very solid improvement


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Sanmei wrote:

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.

Yeah, I'm really not happy about this.


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Data Lore wrote:

Sanmei:

I disagree. Your deity's divine grace was channeled into the magical elixer you used your Focus on. As you imbibed it, you were charged with her divine sense of strength and purpose.

It works just fine. Focus means different things thematically for different classes but has similar mechanical functions with regards to items. That's OK.

My Deity's grace is the exact same as Joe the Commoner's natural charm. Not happy about this at all.

I'm also a little frustrated that we didn't get any kind of response for Paladins specifically as they're hit the most by this.


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MaxAstro wrote:
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.

I can't say I see any issue if someone would/could swap skill items. What actually breaks? What items AREN'T they using if they spent all their money of those skill items?


HWalsh wrote:
Data Lore wrote:

Sanmei:

I disagree. Your deity's divine grace was channeled into the magical elixer you used your Focus on. As you imbibed it, you were charged with her divine sense of strength and purpose.

It works just fine. Focus means different things thematically for different classes but has similar mechanical functions with regards to items. That's OK.

My Deity's grace is the exact same as Joe the Commoner's natural charm. Not happy about this at all.

I'm also a little frustrated that we didn't get any kind of response for Paladins specifically as they're hit the most by this.

This is why one of my suggestions was that they go back to giving bonus Focus each time you get an ability or feat that costs Focus, as they currently do for spell points in the playtest book. It's an obvious fix. :)

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:
I can't say I see any issue if someone would/could swap skill items. What actually breaks? What items AREN'T they using if they spent all their money of those skill items?

My strong hope is that most Skill Items are actually non-magical, making using magical ones special and rare (well, rare in the sense of most people not having more than a couple of them).

It's one of the only ways to make the current skill benchmarks remotely in the right ballpark.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
graystone wrote:
I can't say I see any issue if someone would/could swap skill items. What actually breaks? What items AREN'T they using if they spent all their money of those skill items?

My strong hope is that most Skill Items are actually non-magical, making using magical ones special and rare (well, rare in the sense of most people not having more than a couple of them).

It's one of the only ways to make the current skill benchmarks remotely in the right ballpark.

Wouldn't a better choice just be to re-adjust the table again? I really hate the idea of items baked into the DCs. It makes them simply required items. We're moving away from the Big Six, but creating the Bigger Sixteen. Also, not all skills have mundane items that make sense to give bonuses.


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Doktor:

I agree 100% on scaling DCs and items. I can see the dev design moving in that direction with recent DC adjustments; I hope they continue to drift that way.

DCs should not account for items or stats or whatever. I can kinda see accounting for proficiency but thats it. So, the level 20 DCs should be exactly like the level 1 DCs just with +19 added on.

That way, you get better when you get better.


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graystone wrote:
I can't say I see any issue if someone would/could swap skill items. What actually breaks? What items AREN'T they using if they spent all their money of those skill items?

There's actually an issue that occurs by trying to prevent this, and that is if you make it too hard to add/swap out items during the adventuring day then there go all those scenarios where the magic item that you need/will help you to get through the end of the dungeon are in the dungeon somewhere, since no one will be able to pick it up and start using it then and there, they'll need to go and camp for the evening so that someone can choose which of the 10 items they want to be using they can forgo for the next 24 hours, just so that someone can use the magic widget to get them past the final door (or whatever).

If they are going to seriously restrict the equipping of magic items, I would want that at best, it takes 10 minutes for a point of resonance to become available again once you un-invest an item, and at worst swapping an invested item out becomes a thing you can spend a focus point to do.

Liberty's Edge

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Doktor Weasel wrote:
Wouldn't a better choice just be to re-adjust the table again? I really hate the idea of items baked into the DCs. It makes them simply required items.

I'd be fine with this. The designers, however, have expressed a preference for the items to be included (at least they have implicitly)...but also expressed some interest in mundane skill items being available (this time explicitly).

I'm willing to go either way personally, but was noting where the designers thoughts seemed to be headed.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
We're moving away from the Big Six, but creating the Bigger Sixteen.

I don't think Masterwork Tools ala PF1 generally counted towards the Big 6, nor do I think PF2 mundane skill items would have that issue.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
Also, not all skills have mundane items that make sense to give bonuses.

I'm less than convinced. I mean, special tools for Crafting, books for knowledge stuff, instruments for Performance, clothes for social skills, even cool goggles for Perception.

What skill is there not an appropriate item for? Some are a little stretch to apply to everything, but I'm willing to stretch that far.


Data Lore wrote:

Doktor:

I agree 100% on scaling DCs and items. I can see the dev design moving in that direction with recent DC adjustments; I hope they continue to drift that way.

DCs should not account for items or stats or whatever. I can kinda see accounting for proficiency but thats it. So, the level 20 DCs should be exactly like the level 1 DCs just with +19 added on.

That way, you get better when you get better.

Ehh, given the purpose of Ultimate, I'd say that one should have items baked in. Maybe a few of the lower ones, but to a lesser degree (+2 when you should have +5, for example).


So wait for those of you talking about the potions is it just the empowering you have a problem with? You would prefer not to be able to empower an item my adding your own magic energy?

It doesn't really effect potion use as far as extra charges obviously. Which is actually kind of a thing that worries me. I'll wait and see how it works


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
So wait for those of you talking about the potions is it just the empowering you have a problem with? You would prefer not to be able to empower an item my adding your own magic energy?

For myself, it's more of an optics issue for me. I think it can work mechanically, but the average person powering up a potion just doesn't fit into my idea of pathfinder/Golarion: even classes, like an alchemist, power up their creations when they create them and not later. Even an occultist isn't dealing with consumables. It just doesn't jive for me and I'm the type of person that's fine with 'anime' type fighters. :P


So would you prefer it to just give extra charges or only empower certain items or not empower at all?


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"I FOCUSED on the potion before I drank it and remembered that I should shake it up first to get the best results."


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Ninja in the Rye wrote:
"I FOCUSED on the potion before I drank it and remembered that I should shake it up first to get the best results."

Just don't do that with the explosive ones.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
Wouldn't a better choice just be to re-adjust the table again? I really hate the idea of items baked into the DCs. It makes them simply required items.

I'd be fine with this. The designers, however, have expressed a preference for the items to be included (at least they have implicitly)...but also expressed some interest in mundane skill items being available (this time explicitly).

I'm willing to go either way personally, but was noting where the designers thoughts seemed to be headed.

I think this is one of those times when they should change direction.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
We're moving away from the Big Six, but creating the Bigger Sixteen.

I don't think Masterwork Tools ala PF1 generally counted towards the Big 6, nor do I think PF2 mundane skill items would have that issue.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
Also, not all skills have mundane items that make sense to give bonuses.

I'm less than convinced. I mean, special tools for Crafting, books for knowledge stuff, instruments for Performance, clothes for social skills, even cool goggles for Perception.

What skill is there not an appropriate item for? Some are a little stretch to apply to everything, but I'm willing to stretch that far.

Acrobatics and athletics don't make sense to me. At least not skill wide, it'd be for specific uses. So Climbing Kit for climbing, but what about jumping? Wile E. Coyote style spring shoes? What about for combat maneuvers? And when you've got to have a different item for each use of a skill, it can start to get out of control where you're carrying a whole bunch of junk just to stay up to date on your skills.


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Hmm the item + skill debate is interesting. DCs should defiently not be calculated assuming you have that item that sounds horrible. I'm torn on whether items should give skill bonuses at all. They could just instead increase the scope of the skills. Like double jumping distance make you climb or swim twice as fast etc.


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It looks like a step in the right direction as far as I am concerned.
Not enough to make me thrilled, but an improvement nonetheless.

I don't have a playtest group anymore, but I'll be waiting for further developments.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:

So wait for those of you talking about the potions is it just the empowering you have a problem with? You would prefer not to be able to empower an item my adding your own magic energy?

It doesn't really effect potion use as far as extra charges obviously. Which is actually kind of a thing that worries me. I'll wait and see how it works

It's not really an empowerment, though, is it? Looking at the potion of invisibility, which is the example given above: in PF1, that potion gives you 3 minutes of invisibility (CL 3 spell). In PF2, it gives you d4 rounds - unless you burn one of your precious, precious Points and thereby lose access to other abilities. That doesn't read to me like an empowerment.

As one of the posters on these boards memorably said (my apologies, I forget who it was), a stick that's painted orange is not a carrot. It's still a stick.


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Wandering Wastrel wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:

So wait for those of you talking about the potions is it just the empowering you have a problem with? You would prefer not to be able to empower an item my adding your own magic energy?

It doesn't really effect potion use as far as extra charges obviously. Which is actually kind of a thing that worries me. I'll wait and see how it works

It's not really an empowerment, though, is it? Looking at the potion of invisibility, which is the example given above: in PF1, that potion gives you 3 minutes of invisibility (CL 3 spell). In PF2, it gives you d4 rounds - unless you burn one of your precious, precious Points and thereby lose access to other abilities. That doesn't read to me like an empowerment.

As one of the posters on these boards memorably said (my apologies, I forget who it was), a stick that's painted orange is not a carrot. It's still a stick.

So then you want to go into spells being reduced in power too? One thing at a time please. we were talking about it in a thematic sense. I think for what your referring to there is a few threads already focusing on spells.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Wandering Wastrel wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:

So wait for those of you talking about the potions is it just the empowering you have a problem with? You would prefer not to be able to empower an item my adding your own magic energy?

It doesn't really effect potion use as far as extra charges obviously. Which is actually kind of a thing that worries me. I'll wait and see how it works

It's not really an empowerment, though, is it? Looking at the potion of invisibility, which is the example given above: in PF1, that potion gives you 3 minutes of invisibility (CL 3 spell). In PF2, it gives you d4 rounds - unless you burn one of your precious, precious Points and thereby lose access to other abilities. That doesn't read to me like an empowerment.

As one of the posters on these boards memorably said (my apologies, I forget who it was), a stick that's painted orange is not a carrot. It's still a stick.

So then you want to go into spells being reduced in power too? One thing at a time please. we were talking about it in a thematic sense. I think for what your referring to there is a few threads already focusing on spells.

Yeah the potion worked like that in the Playtest before this update/test, so seperate issue being brought up elsewhere.


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
Wouldn't a better choice just be to re-adjust the table again? I really hate the idea of items baked into the DCs. It makes them simply required items.

I'd be fine with this. The designers, however, have expressed a preference for the items to be included (at least they have implicitly)...but also expressed some interest in mundane skill items being available (this time explicitly).

I'm willing to go either way personally, but was noting where the designers thoughts seemed to be headed.

I think this is one of those times when they should change direction.

Me too, I pretty much despise item bonuses at this point. That so much power comes from item quality, so essential to keep up (and stacking Legendary proficiency with a Legendary quality item is just clunky and lame), and insult to injury is the need for magical weapons to keep up with damage dice; I say scrap that entire deal, and start over.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Wandering Wastrel wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:

So wait for those of you talking about the potions is it just the empowering you have a problem with? You would prefer not to be able to empower an item my adding your own magic energy?

It doesn't really effect potion use as far as extra charges obviously. Which is actually kind of a thing that worries me. I'll wait and see how it works

It's not really an empowerment, though, is it? Looking at the potion of invisibility, which is the example given above: in PF1, that potion gives you 3 minutes of invisibility (CL 3 spell). In PF2, it gives you d4 rounds - unless you burn one of your precious, precious Points and thereby lose access to other abilities. That doesn't read to me like an empowerment.

As one of the posters on these boards memorably said (my apologies, I forget who it was), a stick that's painted orange is not a carrot. It's still a stick.

So then you want to go into spells being reduced in power too? One thing at a time please. we were talking about it in a thematic sense. I think for what your referring to there is a few threads already focusing on spells.

No, with respect it is all of a piece. If the proposed 'fix' to the nerfed potions/spells is to say 'oh, you can use one of your 3 or so Points to power it up' that isn't what I'm looking for. This blog seems like the right place to point (no pun intended) that out.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vidmaster7 wrote:
So wait for those of you talking about the potions is it just the empowering you have a problem with? You would prefer not to be able to empower an item my adding your own magic energy?

I do have some minor problems with the concept of empowering an item with your own personal power.

1. I like items to be external to the character, in general. Potions in particular, I want to be a straightforward effect in a can. Wands, on the other hand, I don't mind being a conduit for some personal ability. That's why I liked that spellcasters always got access to wands without UMD.

2. Using Focus to "unlock" a wand for further unlimited uses per day feels strange, like it's still trying to be an attunement mechanic. I still say: if a device with a bunch of charges is a problem, remove it or adjust its price, but don't jump through hoops to limit it. This focus requirement doesn't do anything for me.

3. I still don't like charisma being tied to juicing up items. I liked when it was the stat for UMD, which allowed you to trick items into believing you're a spellcaster. It wasn't you powering up things, it was your force of will allowing you to fill in things spellcasters have learned to do reflexively.

Overall it's not a show stopper. I would play the game with Focus effects on items. I would probably let people pay to buy a pre-focused potion though, for example, or pay extra to get items that have the boosted effect baseline.


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Sanmei wrote:
Data Lore wrote:

Sanmei:

I disagree. Your deity's divine grace was channeled into the magical elixer you used your Focus on. As you imbibed it, you were charged with her divine sense of strength and purpose.

It works just fine. Focus means different things thematically for different classes but has similar mechanical functions with regards to items. That's OK.

I'm still seeing classes having to choose between something everybody does and things which make them recognizably what they are, and I dislike that mightily. A monk never had to choose between healing potions and a Ki Pool before; now they do. A cleric wasn't choosing between their domain powers or elixirs before; now they do.

Ya, it does seem very odd that some class-specific abilities are drawn from the same resource pool that all characters have, that are required for other, non-character things.

So some class abilities come at a "cost" that other classes' abilities may not.
(non-scientific example):
Class #1 has these unique things they can do : A, B, C
Class #2 has these unique things they can do : D, E, F (but E & F each cost focus).

And if the solution is "Class #2 will get a small boost in focus to allow for their focus-based abilities" shouldn't we ask whether spell points + focus points (or some version of 2-resource-pools) makes more sense (as much as they're trying to avoid keeping track of these things).
Because adding to focus pool then allows them to (for some reason??) be able to do more "non-class-based" focus spending.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
So would you prefer it to just give extra charges or only empower certain items or not empower at all?

I don't know that it fits for any item to be honest: it's all somehow adding and altering something that's already made and finished. Every creature with focus now can fiddle with items that require feats and skill to make, somehow without ANY effort, background or skill but 'just cuz'. It basically requires everyone to have innate knowledge of how each and every item is made, how it works and the personal magic to tweak it all on the fly: that can work but that's not pathfinder/Golarion to me. It's something that would stick out like a sore thumb in the 'go to sleep in PF1 and wake up in PF2' test.

EDIT: it would be slightly better if it was limited to things affecting YOU as it could be seen as you affecting a change on yourself and not the item. With it working on bombs and such though, it's clearly a change in the innate functions of the items themselves and not the person using them.


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I'm still a little iffy about the name Focus Points and the idea of martials being able to boost magic with a mental stat.

Maybe if they were something a bit more supernatural, like "Anima Points" and the total were based on something more amorphous like 1 + Level/4...

Then it could be said that martials are using their 'fighting spirit' to infuse these items with something that is beyond magic! :D

I'm also at the moment an advocate for rolling Hero Points into Focus and unhooking it from Class Powers.


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graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
So would you prefer it to just give extra charges or only empower certain items or not empower at all?
I don't know that it fits for any item to be honest: it's all somehow adding and altering something that's already made and finished.

Yes, concentrating/focusing on a potion is an entirely revolutionary concept, with no rhyme or reason, no legacy, no grounding in the genre this game is supposed to support, nothing, so it's just stupid, as far as I'm concerned.

In the end, I just want them to get to work on honing the core chassis, these resonance shenanigans seem like a distraction/diversion.


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graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
So would you prefer it to just give extra charges or only empower certain items or not empower at all?

I don't know that it fits for any item to be honest: it's all somehow adding and altering something that's already made and finished. Every creature with focus now can fiddle with items that require feats and skill to make, somehow without ANY effort, background or skill but 'just cuz'. It basically requires everyone to have innate knowledge of how each and every item is made, how it works and the personal magic to tweak it all on the fly: that can work but that's not pathfinder/Golarion to me. It's something that would stick out like a sore thumb in the 'go to sleep in PF1 and wake up in PF2' test.

EDIT: it would be slightly better if it was limited to things affecting YOU as it could be seen as you affecting a change on yourself and not the item. With it working on bombs and such though, it's clearly a change in the innate functions of the items themselves and not the person using them.

I agree. If the game is going to be this different in the final from what we were used to, I kinda feel like the setting should be moved forward like a hundred years. Then you can almost hand wave most if it to being "this is how things are done now". Throw in a major event to explain the differences in magic and... hey, wait. Didn't Dragonlance do something like that back in the day?


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Vic Ferrari wrote:


Yes, concentrating/focusing on a potion is an entirely revolutionary concept, with no rhyme or reason, no legacy, no grounding in the genre this game is supposed to support, nothing, so it's just stupid, as far as I'm concerned.

I feel a lot of that response may just have to do with the name and how you're thinking of it. If it worked literally the same but it was "Luck" or "Puissance" or whatever instead, and flavored not as concentration on a potion but instead such things sometimes just being better due to luckily getting a really good potion or things just working better for you due to personal awesomeness... Well, I don't believe you'd have the same problem.


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LordVanya wrote:
I agree. If the game is going to be this different in the final from what we were used to, I kinda feel like the setting should be moved forward like a hundred years. Then you can almost hand wave most if it to being "this is how things are done now". Throw in a major event to explain the differences in magic and... hey, wait. Didn't Dragonlance do something like that back in the day?

Yes, to it, and everyone's dismay. FR paid the price with that Spellplague crap, Ed and RA already started working on sweeping it under the rug, upon mention. Now we have a fractured, in limbo (not literally) FR.


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focus using only charisma seems super weird to me in some cases.

Why is my monk using cha instead of wisdom for his pool?

wouldn't a wizard's ability to focus be really based on his intelligence?

focus points like spell points should be based on the classes primary spell casting ability or wisdom in the case of the monk.

and for melee classes it should be based on the players chioce of mental attribute. since different characters could choose to focus by different means, as an act of will, or a force of personality or a pnomonic pharse in thier head.

I prefer the old spell points. I think resonance being just 10 point is fine. I think focus is unnecessary and a bit immersion breaking, even a game with magic.

they should go with the simple and elegant solutions. remove the wand of cure light wounds, and rebalance magic items, because ultimately that's the issue the magic items were not priced correctly. they already pulled the trigger by redesigning some very powerful spells to be less so, and just de facto removed some, they should just do the same for magic items, instead of creating these weirdly disjointed systems that though are necessary just simply don't flow logically from the world.


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ikarinokami wrote:

focus using only charisma seems super weird to me in some cases.

Why is my monk using cha instead of wisdom for his pool?

wouldn't a wizard's ability to focus be really based on his intelligence?

To make classes more MAD. Makes sense, in this iteration, as everyone starts and ends up with ludicrously high scores.


ikarinokami wrote:

focus using only charisma seems super weird to me in some cases.

Why is my monk using cha instead of wisdom for his pool?

wouldn't a wizard's ability to focus be really based on his intelligence?

focus points like spell points should be based on the classes primary spell casting ability or wisdom in the case of the monk.

and for melee classes it should be based on the players chioce of mental attribute. since different characters could choose to focus by different means, as an act of will, or a force of personality or a pnomonic pharse in thier head.

I prefer the old spell points. I think resonance being just 10 point is fine. I think focus is unnecessary and a bit immersion breaking, even a game with magic.

they should go with the simple and elegant solutions. remove the wand of cure light wounds, and rebalance magic items, because ultimately that's the issue the magic items were not priced correctly. they already pulled the trigger by redesigning some very powerful spells to be less so, and just de facto removed some, they should just do the same for magic items, instead of creating these weirdly disjointed systems that though are necessary just simply don't flow logically from the world.

Hmm... sure seems like Starfinder, in addition to hit points, also did focus/resolve better. In the words of the great power DJ Khaled, "another one."


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Actually, I have to wonder about that.

Why not have Focus Points be used to enhance Class Abilities?

For instance, a Fighter could use a Focus Point to double the damage of their attack. A Wizard could use it to double the damage of a spell. A Cleric could use it to double the effect of a Heal. A Rogue could use it to add +10 to a Skill Roll. And on down the line. It goes from a Magic Enhancer to an Ability Enhancer that utilizes the character's Strength of Personality (ie, Charisma) to increase their effectiveness.

I'm not sure if it should have a generic use, or a specific one for each Class though. Because you then have the question of "why can't a Cleric boost their melee damage?" or "why can't that Fighter use it to boost being silent while sneaking past that guard?"

So you might have maybe three possible uses for Focus: Enhance a Spell, Enhance an Attack, or Enhance a Skill. Spellcasters can do the first, combat-types can do the second, and skill-based characters the third.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The idea you must use a pool of points to utilize a magic item is not a good one. I have been a GM or DM for around 30 years. One of the most rewarding elements of the game is watching a good party utilize magic items properly. The whole purpose of a magic item is to allow a character to do something extraordinary by unleashing an item's power without relying upon his own personal pool of power. Your personal power pool should only be used for class abilities, consider it career development and magic items are the fruits of your labor. Using resonance to limit the amount of invested items a character can use at any given time is okay by me, however, I do not like the idea of telling a character that he has a very powerful item in his possession but because his charisma score is too low, he can't unleash its full potential. In summary: Consumables are consumables, once used, they are gone (Scrolls, Potions, Oils, Elixers). When wands are out of charges they are gone, who cares how much of their magic is used at one time (this is up to the player - conserve or spend, and the distribution is up to the GM). Wands are basically a consumable with an extended shelf life.


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Rysky wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Wandering Wastrel wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:

So wait for those of you talking about the potions is it just the empowering you have a problem with? You would prefer not to be able to empower an item my adding your own magic energy?

It doesn't really effect potion use as far as extra charges obviously. Which is actually kind of a thing that worries me. I'll wait and see how it works

It's not really an empowerment, though, is it? Looking at the potion of invisibility, which is the example given above: in PF1, that potion gives you 3 minutes of invisibility (CL 3 spell). In PF2, it gives you d4 rounds - unless you burn one of your precious, precious Points and thereby lose access to other abilities. That doesn't read to me like an empowerment.

As one of the posters on these boards memorably said (my apologies, I forget who it was), a stick that's painted orange is not a carrot. It's still a stick.

So then you want to go into spells being reduced in power too? One thing at a time please. we were talking about it in a thematic sense. I think for what your referring to there is a few threads already focusing on spells.
Yeah the potion worked like that in the Playtest before this update/test, so seperate issue being brought up elsewhere.

Not precisely - I do have issues with the invisibility potion in the test. In the current version, it's 1 minutes, as per the spell. Going down to 1d4 rounds is not a good change for it. 1 minute/10 minutes would be much more acceptable.


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Tangent101 wrote:

Actually, I have to wonder about that.

Why not have Focus Points be used to enhance Class Abilities?

For instance, a Fighter could use a Focus Point to double the damage of their attack. A Wizard could use it to double the damage of a spell. A Cleric could use it to double the effect of a Heal. A Rogue could use it to add +10 to a Skill Roll. And on down the line. It goes from a Magic Enhancer to an Ability Enhancer that utilizes the character's Strength of Personality (ie, Charisma) to increase their effectiveness.

I'm not sure if it should have a generic use, or a specific one for each Class though. Because you then have the question of "why can't a Cleric boost their melee damage?" or "why can't that Fighter use it to boost being silent while sneaking past that guard?"

So you might have maybe three possible uses for Focus: Enhance a Spell, Enhance an Attack, or Enhance a Skill. Spellcasters can do the first, combat-types can do the second, and skill-based characters the third.

Part of the design goals seem to be "Nerf Magic Items", since they've been trying to weaken them since day 1. This is really what this update comes to, the shoving of spell points in there is just to have less pools, but not really the crux of the experiment.


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ChibiNyan wrote:
Part of the design goals seem to be "Nerf Magic Items"

All magic in general IMO.

The Exchange

I've read the new resonance rules and I'm having a question about the alchemist's Alchemy ability.

It is my understanding, after reading the rules, that the alchemist who crafts his bombs at the beginning of the day using Advanced Alchemy is loosing items slots so he can use his bombs. Am I reading correctly?

If that is so, I'm still disliking those rules because it was THE worse problem for the alchemist in this playtest. It's inconcievable that the alchemist cannot have a cloak because he looses his main ability.

And it's the main problem I see with this resonance playtest in regards to merging spell points and focus points. It's bad enought that the alchemist has been rendered obsolete as a class because of the resonance limiting two separte things and now they want to send the cleric, druid, dwarf, monk sorcered and wizard in the same Nerf-boat.

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