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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Paizo Employee Designer

29 people marked this as a favorite.

Let the resonance test...begin!


16 people marked this as a favorite.

Looks better but I would prefer a different approach than 1/day items just being usable more often with Focus. For example, maybe the Bracers of Missile Deflection could be used all day long for a +1 circumstance bonus but if you use a Focus point, you can get a +2 bonus. That way, there is less to track. This is doubly true since its an Invested item.

Anywho, thanks for this. I appreciate you guys being so responsive. (Goes back to reading through Resonance stuff).


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Oops, I failed it. Can I try again?


I am unsure of precisely what we are supposed to do in our other playtests. Are we supposed to simply use the printed playtest rules, avoid playing alchemists, and try to interact with printed Resonance as little as possible? Are we supposed to ignore the existence of Resonance for our high-level characters?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

What would be broken if instead of all the "first use free, second use costs FP" you increased the FP pool by ~50% and made all uses cost FP?

Paizo Employee Designer

14 people marked this as a favorite.
NielsenE wrote:
What would be broken if instead of all the "first use free, second use costs FP" you increased the FP pool by ~50% and made all uses cost FP?

At that point, items can't give you their effect without any focus getting involved in the process and focus goes back to being a stick. Right now, focus is purely a way to get extra benefits, and all items will give you their base benefit without even getting involved with focus.

Scarab Sages

30 people marked this as a favorite.

Woof.

This doesn't really feel any more simple or like it lessened the bookkeeping load at all but I appreciate that you're trying.


Mark Seifter wrote:
NielsenE wrote:
What would be broken if instead of all the "first use free, second use costs FP" you increased the FP pool by ~50% and made all uses cost FP?
At that point, items can't give you their effect without any focus getting involved in the process and focus goes back to being a stick. Right now, focus is purely a way to get extra benefits, and all items will give you their base benefit without even getting involved with focus.

Also at that point wouldn't focus just be the same thing as old resonance aside from there being a different pool for putting stuff on lol.


Question Mark in the main fire ray entry it says you get the persistent damage on a crit but in the premade sheet it says its on hit. Which is correct?

Fire Ray (1 Focus Point, Somatic, Verbal): You attempt a ranged
touch Strike against one creature within 60 feet. If you hit, you deal 5d6+4 fire damage to the target plus 3d6 persistent fire damage. Full rules for this power are in the Resonance Test rules.

-

Attempt a ranged touch Strike against the target. If you
succeed at the attack, you deal fire damage to the target equal to 1d6
plus your spellcasting ability modifier. On a critical success, the target
takes double damage and also takes 1d6 persistent fire damage

Heightened (+1) The ray’s damage increases by 2d6, and the persistent fire
damage on a critical hit increases by 1d6.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Looks much better at a first glance. I'm a big fan of the changes to consumables and magic items in general, *except* for Wands. As-is, Wands still use two relatively unique pools, Charges and Focus. I'm not a big fan of this in general, and them being more like single-spell Staves feels like it would play better.

Also, would it be possible to actually just combine Resonance and Focus together into a pool of 10+CHA+Other "Energy Points" or what have you? This change, while allowing for more crazy shenanigans (which could be a positive), could increase build diversity and would cut down on keeping track of multiple separate pools.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I like a lot of this (it's hugely better than the resonance rules in the playtest rulebook, IMO), but I'm really not in love with having to keep track of the "first use is free" thing on wands. I'd actually rather have wands cost focus all the time, or have them be more expensive but never cost focus. This middle ground where sometimes they do and sometimes they don't seems really fiddly.

Paizo Employee Designer

18 people marked this as a favorite.
GM Eddv wrote:

Woof.

This doesn't really feel any more simple or like it lessened the bookkeeping load at all but I appreciate that you're trying.

Simplicity and lighter bookkeeping are not the main reasons for this test. This is to see if a Charisma-based pool useful for supercharging items is fun.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quote:
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).

CALLED IT

Going to have to read over it in more detail, then run it, but this sounds like exactly what I wanted out of Resonance as a system. Give characters extra boosts that they have to decide between instead of taxing basic competency.


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Why not just junk resonance and resolve the issue by adjusting the cost of wands and other items?

If the problem is people using CLW wands all the time, just stop letting players buy them with Prestige in PFS and up the cost. If the issue is nobody using higher level potions, then adjust the cost of potions.

You've already got several balancing options that do not require you to cludge a secondary rule system on top of an already complex game.


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Can I just say as an immediate reaction that I am very happy with the direction of "smaller pool of more impactful points" replacing Spell Points?

Thanks for that, hope it stays.

Paizo Employee Designer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Aashua wrote:

Question Mark in the main fire ray entry it says you get the persistent damage on a crit but in the premade sheet it says its on hit. Which is correct?

Fire Ray (1 Focus Point, Somatic, Verbal): You attempt a ranged
touch Strike against one creature within 60 feet. If you hit, you deal 5d6+4 fire damage to the target plus 3d6 persistent fire damage. Full rules for this power are in the Resonance Test rules.

-

Attempt a ranged touch Strike against the target. If you
succeed at the attack, you deal fire damage to the target equal to 1d6
plus your spellcasting ability modifier. On a critical success, the target
takes double damage and also takes 1d6 persistent fire damage

Heightened (+1) The ray’s damage increases by 2d6, and the persistent fire
damage on a critical hit increases by 1d6.

Only on a crit, as in the full rules.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Oops, I failed it. Can I try again?

Focus this time!

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

How do you want us to implement these changes in Doomsday Dawn? Should we play with the new rules, or with the old rules?

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like how Resonance is now a limit than a consumable. It keeps the Christmas Tree down (and adds room for really creative crafting options for multiple Resonance items and combining powers), while not relegating out of combat healing to a 15-minute adventure day.

Another Point Pool (FOCUS), on top of Spell Points, Hero Points, Ki Points, Arcane Focus, etc, though, seems like additional book-keeping, particularly for classes that already have 2-3 pools to keep up with anyway (casters). Surely there is someway in the grand scheme of things, to consolidate those daily "cool stuff" pools down to a single pool per class.


Thank you mark that's what I figured but just wanted to make sure.

Silver Crusade

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GM Eddv wrote:

Woof.

This doesn't really feel any more simple or like it lessened the bookkeeping load at all but I appreciate that you're trying.

I'm cautiously optimistic. I think separating Resonance (items-worn) and Focus (magical powers/boosts) helps a lot, conceptually, with the bookkeeping (at least for me).

I also think that combining spell points and resonance-for-use into Focus will help constrain bookkeeping. One pool, a list of abilities that you can use it to power.

(I also like this because it puts a lot of pressure to make the powers *powerful*, given the extremely limited pool. I've been kind of underwhelmed with the powers in the playtest rulebook. I've got cantrips for my all-days: if I use a power make it *punch*!)

Though not everything is tied to the one pool, I guess. There are still, at least for now, individual pools for things like Channel & Wild Shape. Though far less of all that than PF1.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
archmagi1 wrote:

I like how Resonance is now a limit than a consumable. It keeps the Christmas Tree down (and adds room for really creative crafting options for multiple Resonance items and combining powers), while not relegating out of combat healing to a 15-minute adventure day.

Another Point Pool (FOCUS), on top of Spell Points, Hero Points, Ki Points, Arcane Focus, etc, though, seems like additional book-keeping, particularly for classes that already have 2-3 pools to keep up with anyway (casters). Surely there is someway in the grand scheme of things, to consolidate those daily "cool stuff" pools down to a single pool per class.

As far as i can read Focus replaces both spell points and ki soooo.

I would like to see some classes get a bit of a boost to it somehow though I feel like the extra point from getting a new power coulda stayed around.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
NielsenE wrote:
What would be broken if instead of all the "first use free, second use costs FP" you increased the FP pool by ~50% and made all uses cost FP?
At that point, items can't give you their effect without any focus getting involved in the process and focus goes back to being a stick. Right now, focus is purely a way to get extra benefits, and all items will give you their base benefit without even getting involved with focus.

Thanks, I understand the need for the "carrot" versus "stick". And the new resonance test looks very promising to me for consumables in that regard.

I think it still needs some tweaks regarding the book-keeping aspects for the 1/day powers then extra FP to reuse.

Paizo Employee Designer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
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?

Please use the printed rules and updates for any Doomsday Dawn game you'll be giving survey feedback on.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Just to confirm: Outside of running Raiders of Shrieking Peak with certain predetermined pregen characters, we currently do not have enough information to fully test the new system with other scenarios or with other characters, correct?

Paizo Employee Designer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
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.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

5 people marked this as a favorite.
David knott 242 wrote:

Just to confirm: Outside of running Raiders of Shrieking Peak with certain predetermined pregen characters, we currently do not have enough information to fully test the new system with other scenarios or with other characters, correct?

Correct.

Paizo Employee Designer

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Aashua wrote:
archmagi1 wrote:

I like how Resonance is now a limit than a consumable. It keeps the Christmas Tree down (and adds room for really creative crafting options for multiple Resonance items and combining powers), while not relegating out of combat healing to a 15-minute adventure day.

Another Point Pool (FOCUS), on top of Spell Points, Hero Points, Ki Points, Arcane Focus, etc, though, seems like additional book-keeping, particularly for classes that already have 2-3 pools to keep up with anyway (casters). Surely there is someway in the grand scheme of things, to consolidate those daily "cool stuff" pools down to a single pool per class.

As far as i can read Focus replaces both spell points and ki soooo.

I would like to see some classes get a bit of a boost to it somehow though I feel like the extra point from getting a new power coulda stayed around.

Yeah, in a world where something like this was expanded to the full game, monks who go the ki route would definitely get something cool to boost them significantly in that respect.


22 people marked this as a favorite.

Does this whole move to Focus feel a lot like the 50% off sales at shady stores that move everything to 200% the original cost? Like "Oh, cool, this $10 scarf is marked up to $20, but then I get half off!" "Oh, cool, this 1d8 healing potion is cut in half to 1d4, but then I can spend a Focus to get it back to 1d8!"

Silver Crusade

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Might be an easier sell to my players because there’s pregens. It took us a full 4-hour session to level up to 9 for the Mirrored Moon playtest and I am not looking forward to trying to get to level 17.

Paizo Employee Designer

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Greg.Everham wrote:
Does this whole move to Focus feel a lot like the 50% off sales at shady stores that move everything to 200% the original cost? Like "Oh, cool, this $10 scarf is marked up to $20, but then I get half off!" "Oh, cool, this 1d8 healing potion is cut in half to 1d4, but then I can spend a Focus to get it back to 1d8!"

I talk about this specifically in the blog! Search for "The other concern is that we're weakening" and you'll find it.


10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As one of the biggest critics of Resonance, I will say I'm fine with it as a slot mechanic. I see no real issues with that part.

Focus might have some issues. With Treat Wounds taking up a lot of the out of combat healing, I don't think you'll find people being forced to use their focus on wands or maximizing their potions just to stay alive. However, I can easily imagine a item design paradigm that gradually erodes the base use of items until we wind up with the problem of items being effectively useless without Focus.

Thematically, "empowering" non-magical alchemical items still doesn't sit right with me.

I guess it sits in the same design space as Hero Points, which I don't use. A game currency that's poorly defined in-universe, and serves no real purpose other than a designer thought it would be cool to add to the game. It feels like it's pulling something out of your rear when you need it most, rather than relying on creativity and planning.

I'll give it some more thought, but the basic premise of powering up your gear isn't too different from the basic premise of Resonance which made no sense.

Overall a very good change from the original Resonance, and easily drops this whole thing a few slots down my list of major concerns.


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Quote:
Opening up more free magic
Quote:
free magic
Quote:
free

Wait, wands are free? Call the guard, I've been cheated out my hard earned gold!


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Sorcerer, Cleric and Wizard powers get more Ooomph? Yeah!

Focus is CHA based so Sorcerers get more power use than Wizards naturally? Double Yeah, Sorcerers should be much more defined by their blood!

Sounds all very interessting, now lets read the Test :D

Paizo Employee Designer

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Greg.Everham wrote:
Does this whole move to Focus feel a lot like the 50% off sales at shady stores that move everything to 200% the original cost? Like "Oh, cool, this $10 scarf is marked up to $20, but then I get half off!" "Oh, cool, this 1d8 healing potion is cut in half to 1d4, but then I can spend a Focus to get it back to 1d8!"

Healing's not a great example because the healing potions didn't change their healing amount, you can just double the original values. But let's suppose it was halved. Starting from a halved value, the analogous situation would be (using cookies, everyone's favorite thing to share in batches!):

Before you can't have any cookies if you don't have a cookie voucher, and 2 cookies for $1 and 1 cookie voucher (the Resonance Point is the cookie voucher).
Now you can have 1 cookie for $1 without a cookie voucher, and 2 cookies for $1 with a cookie voucher.

With the actual change, it's better than that, though. You get 2 cookies for $1 without a voucher and 4 cookies for $1 with a voucher!


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Glad to see splash damage now explicitly applies to the target of your bomb.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Greg.Everham wrote:
Does this whole move to Focus feel a lot like the 50% off sales at shady stores that move everything to 200% the original cost? Like "Oh, cool, this $10 scarf is marked up to $20, but then I get half off!" "Oh, cool, this 1d8 healing potion is cut in half to 1d4, but then I can spend a Focus to get it back to 1d8!"

Healing's not a great example because the healing potions didn't change their healing amount, you can just double the original values. But let's suppose it was halved. Starting from a halved value, the analogous situation would be (using cookies, everyone's favorite thing to share in batches!):

Before you can't have any cookies if you don't have a cookie voucher, and 2 cookies for $1 and 1 cookie voucher (the Resonance Point is the cookie voucher).
Now you can have 1 cookie for $1 without a cookie voucher, and 2 cookies for $1 with a cookie voucher.

With the actual change, it's better than that, though. You get 2 cookies for $1 without a voucher and 4 cookies for $1 with a voucher!

Mark... do I need to go get you a cookie? Do you have a voucher?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

As one example of the "first use free, others cost"

What if the Braces of Missile Deflection were:
"Activate (Interact); Trigger A ranged weapon Strike targets you and
you aren’t flat-footed against that attack; You gain a +1 circumstance bonus to AC against the triggering attack. You can increase this to +2 by spending 1 Focus Point each time you do so."

There no more once day. It still costs a valuable reaction if you're not using FP.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I don't like the idea of combining Focus and class-based casting (like spell points), unless it decouples Focus points from Charisma. A high-int wizard should not be limited by charisma for activating magical items, IMO, nor should a Cleric's domain powers be tied to charisma.


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Logan Bonner wrote:
Greg.Everham wrote:
Does this whole move to Focus feel a lot like the 50% off sales at shady stores that move everything to 200% the original cost? Like "Oh, cool, this $10 scarf is marked up to $20, but then I get half off!" "Oh, cool, this 1d8 healing potion is cut in half to 1d4, but then I can spend a Focus to get it back to 1d8!"
I talk about this specifically in the blog! Search for "The other concern is that we're weakening" and you'll find it.

Considering that two big issues with Resonance, previously, were that it cost low level characters all their points to use potions and that it made all wands useful only as doorstops, how would forcing the use of Focus in order to get the useful effect of potions any different? Effectively, you either spend Focus on activating a magic item or the item is kinda bad; you've got to spend that Focus to have value in your action economy. No Focus = why bother. Focus, effectively, then, has all the same drawbacks as Resonance did.


I have a player in my games that almost always dumps Charisma, so I'm curious how this change will affect him. What will the minimum number of Focus be? 1? 1+Ancestry? 0?


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I like how the new Focus points sneakily also replaced spell points (and in the process renamed them, which is something else people had been providing feedback on).

From a quick read through, I'm seeing quite a few great uses for focus points. Ancestral Surge, for example, looks fantastic now. There's still an incentive to bump up your CHA, as there are a lot of potent effects to be had if you do, but low CHA is still workable enough. On the other hand, some of the focus point uses looks vastly less effective than others. Liquid ice adding hampered 5 to the individuals in the splash radius is... 'eh'. Its one of those things that might come up as worth it once per campaign.


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There's a lot to like here. I love the split between Resonance and Focus, and I love that you can spend your Focus to amplify the effects of magic items (or in some cases use them more frequently) so freaking much.

As for wrapping up Focus and Spell points together, I'm a little leery of making the quantities of all of the Spell Point powers in the game based on charisma as a stat. But this:

Resonance Test Document wrote:
You might be asking what happens to a wizard, who typically doesn’t have a high Charisma score, but still might have school powers. Since we don’t have a pregenerated wizard in here, we’d like to clarify our intent. Our current thinking is that a wizard might get extra Focus Points by preparing his arcane focus (in addition to the extra spells gained from the arcane focus). In short, classes that have powers will get an ability from the class that allows them to use their powers, but they also still have the option to increase their Charisma so they have an interesting choice in what ability scores they take.

This gives me hope. If it winds up working out that most characters that used Spell Points can still wind up having more-or-less the same amount of Spell Points, then I think this will probably work out okay. But I do worry about the level of scaling somewhat, especially for classes like the Paladin and Monk which currently only cast spells through Spell Points.

The other thing I like very much is unhooking the Alchemist from either Resonance or Focus and just giving them their own pool to power their class features. That was something that has been in my "potential house rules" document for a long while, now, and it's definitely a step in the right direction, in my opinion.

So call me cautiously optimistic! In fact, one non-obvious thing about this change that the efficiency-lover in me likes is the fact that, if all characters start with a Focus pool of some size, then you don't need to introduce the concept of Spell Points in every class which has them, and every time someone gets picks them up.


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Extremely disapponted with the (lack) of Elixir FIXES required to even make the Alchemist class playable.

I wrote a detailed feedback thread on them, but as a single entry:

Either fix or remove Alchemist. He's that terrible at this point and you missed a huge chance to beef up those Elixirs to "usable" tier.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Greg.Everham wrote:
Does this whole move to Focus feel a lot like the 50% off sales at shady stores that move everything to 200% the original cost? Like "Oh, cool, this $10 scarf is marked up to $20, but then I get half off!" "Oh, cool, this 1d8 healing potion is cut in half to 1d4, but then I can spend a Focus to get it back to 1d8!"

Healing's not a great example because the healing potions didn't change their healing amount, you can just double the original values. But let's suppose it was halved. Starting from a halved value, the analogous situation would be (using cookies, everyone's favorite thing to share in batches!):

Before you can't have any cookies if you don't have a cookie voucher, and 2 cookies for $1 and 1 cookie voucher (the Resonance Point is the cookie voucher).
Now you can have 1 cookie for $1 without a cookie voucher, and 2 cookies for $1 with a cookie voucher.

With the actual change, it's better than that, though. You get 2 cookies for $1 without a voucher and 4 cookies for $1 with a voucher!

Yeah, Healing is awkward... It's undertuned without that Focus point... but at least the item stayed the same undertuned as before this. I see what's being aimed at... the blog made it sound far worse than it was going to be with the weakening of items to allow for Focus spending.


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Greg.Everham wrote:
Logan Bonner wrote:
Greg.Everham wrote:
Does this whole move to Focus feel a lot like the 50% off sales at shady stores that move everything to 200% the original cost? Like "Oh, cool, this $10 scarf is marked up to $20, but then I get half off!" "Oh, cool, this 1d8 healing potion is cut in half to 1d4, but then I can spend a Focus to get it back to 1d8!"
I talk about this specifically in the blog! Search for "The other concern is that we're weakening" and you'll find it.
Considering that two big issues with Resonance, previously, were that it cost low level characters all their points to use potions and that it made all wands useful only as doorstops, how would forcing the use of Focus in order to get the useful effect of potions any different? Effectively, you either spend Focus on activating a magic item or the item is kinda bad; you've got to spend that Focus to have value in your action economy. No Focus = why bother. Focus, effectively, then, has all the same drawbacks as Resonance did.

Is what you complaining about that potions are just to weak? If not I'm confused because before.

You spent a resonance and drink the potion to heal 1d8 end of discussion.

and now

You drink the potion to heal 1d8, and if you want you can spend a focus to heal 2d8

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

Paizo Employee Designer

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Dragonriderje wrote:
I have a player in my games that almost always dumps Charisma, so I'm curious how this change will affect him. What will the minimum number of Focus be? 1? 1+Ancestry? 0?

As with anything else, this is TBD, but generally leaning toward minimum 0. Since we're holding off any any class design till we see how the test is received, we haven't looked in detail into, say, what a dwarf wizard might need.


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Aashua wrote:
Greg.Everham wrote:
Logan Bonner wrote:
Greg.Everham wrote:
Does this whole move to Focus feel a lot like the 50% off sales at shady stores that move everything to 200% the original cost? Like "Oh, cool, this $10 scarf is marked up to $20, but then I get half off!" "Oh, cool, this 1d8 healing potion is cut in half to 1d4, but then I can spend a Focus to get it back to 1d8!"
I talk about this specifically in the blog! Search for "The other concern is that we're weakening" and you'll find it.
Considering that two big issues with Resonance, previously, were that it cost low level characters all their points to use potions and that it made all wands useful only as doorstops, how would forcing the use of Focus in order to get the useful effect of potions any different? Effectively, you either spend Focus on activating a magic item or the item is kinda bad; you've got to spend that Focus to have value in your action economy. No Focus = why bother. Focus, effectively, then, has all the same drawbacks as Resonance did.

Is what you complaining about that potions are just to weak? If not I'm confused because before.

You spent a resonance and drink the potion to heal 1d8 end of discussion.

and now

You drink the potion to heal 1d8, and if you want you can spend a focus to heal 2d8

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

Blog post referenced the weakening of some items in order to allow for space to spend Focus to improve that activation. If, and this turns out to not be the case with Elixir of Life, but... IF the healing was dropped in power, then doubled... you'd be forcing the use of Focus. As in, if it was 1d8, but this made it 1d4, doubling to 2d4 (marginally better than the 1d8), then the whole system is a null move.

Take an item like Lion Shield as a better example. It used to be that you could keep spending Resonance to keep getting it to "bite" your enemies. Now, it works just 1/day but for a Focus works for 1 minute. So... it works in only 1 fight, but in that one fight it's cheaper. Oddly lateral move, but overall a downgrade. This is the issue. Magic items creep downward unless you spend this Focus on them. Effectively, Focus is a more restrictive Resonance.

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