Shining Lights and Dark Stars

Monday, November 5, 2018

The final chapter of the Doomsday Dawn playtest adventure is here, "When the Stars Go Dark." Your heroes have spent the better part of a decade researching and struggling against the forces of Night Heralds. As the ancient countdown clocks race to their final moments, do your heroes have the courage and skill to save Golarion from a nightmarish fate?

While there's still much to be learned from the playtest, this final segment takes us up through the highest levels of play, wrapping up the "scripted" component. If you haven't completed your run through the previous parts, you still have until the end of the year to play and tell us what you think. Once you've wrapped up "When the Stars Go Dark," make sure to go to the following surveys and give us your feedback on Part 7 of Doomsday Dawn!

Player Survey | Game Master Survey | Open Survey

Gigantic Update 1.6

The final chapter of Doomsday Dawn brings with it the final planned update for the Pathfinder Playtest, Update 1.6, and it's a big one! Now, this doesn't mean it's the last time we're going to tell you about changes and updates—far from it—it just means that this is the last chance we have to make an official update and ensure that all of you can access and use the updated rules in your playtest games.

Stay Classy

Update 1.6 focuses on a variety of classes, in particular addressing some of the systematic class-related topics you've shown us throughout the playtest so far. This isn't the end of the story for any of these classes, but they're the next step along the way, with some useful tweaks and additions we'd like you to test. There's a lot, so I'll give a brief overview class by class.


First off, we've implemented some of the alchemist changes originally seen in the Resonance Test, so the alchemist now can use infused reagents to create alchemical items for free each day. Also, many of you said that you wanted more versatility in building an alchemist who might focus on alchemical items other than bombs, so we've given the alchemist several fields of research specialization, as many players suggested. All the bomb improvement class features have been moved to the new bomber research field, and if you want to be better with mutagens, or healing items, or poisons instead, there are research fields for those, too! Your research field grants you a variety of benefits, including eventually being able to use Quick Alchemy for free on select low-level alchemical items from your specialty!


We've heard you say that the barbarian's rage is weirdly predictable and static, so we're trying out our most experimental change of all: after each round, you roll an increasingly harder flat check to stay in rage (don't worry, it starts at 0, so you always get at least 2 rounds of rage). Let us know whether this helps give rage the feel of a more uncontrollable and emotional event rather than a predictable ebb and flow!


Thanks to some extremely good dialogue on the forums about confusion with bardic muses and their associated feats, we've revamped the way these are constructed. Now, each muse's feats are limited to that muse, but we've added a new feat to let you keep all the flexibility you had before. Taking the Multifarious Muse feat lets you gain a 1st-level feat from a different muse than the one you started with, and qualifies you to take that muse's feats in the future. In essence, this keeps all the benefits of the old system without any of the confusion of the prerequisites; plus, it's even more flexible if more 1st-level feats come out for any of the muses later.


There's only really one feature for one class that you've all told us time and again is too much: clerics get too many uses of channel energy. We've reduced that, but rather than leave clerics hanging, we've instituted a change to somatic components such that you can now perform them even with your hands full. This mainly benefits two-handed clerics and weapon-and-shield clerics (as well as those types of paladins), who now don't need to take feats specifically to avoid this issue.


We've increased goodberry healing as well as animal companion Armor Class opportunities (especially if you don't want to use a lot of barding). But the biggest change for druid is a major revamp of the wild order. Once again, this took a lot of data from you all; those of you who participated in forum threads about the wild order will see that many of those ideas made it into this revamp.


Fighter is one of the classes that you've been saying is in the best shape, but that doesn't mean there aren't changes to be made. As a start of an examination on opens, we've separated stances from opens. While you can still use only one stance per round, stances are no longer opens, which means that you can stance up and follow it with an open. This change also helps monks, though they have fewer opens.


Speaking of monks, at your suggestion, we've increased the power of ki strike, but we've also opened up other avenues into gaining a ki pool. Want some huge mobility and defense rather than an offensive boost? Try Ki Rush!


This is a biggie. The numbers are in, and you've made it clear that we should change the name of this class so that it can handle champions of deities of all alignments, and have said that you want the lawful good version to keep the name "paladin." We haven't changed the class name just yet, but I want to make it very clear to everyone who wants the "paladin" name to remain on lawful good that this is only temporary for the purpose of making the update manageable—we're not going to make you all go through your playtest books and change the name of the class every time it comes up; we'll handle that for you in the final book! The basic deal is that we've left the lawful good option—the defender—and also added the redeemer and the liberator, who swap out the last two edicts from each of their codes for some particularly neutral good and chaotic good edicts (instead of the lawful good edicts to obey authority and act honorably). Each version keeps lay on hands, but the three variants have different reactions, with the lawful good defender retaining Retributive Strike. Speaking of which, we've revamped Retributive Strike, allowing you to protect your ally within 15 feet even if you can't reach them, and we've added a 1st-level class feat to let you use Step or ranged weapons to counterattack on behalf of an ally within that range. There's a bunch more feats supporting the new paladin versions too. Lastly, everyone now gets the lay on hands upgrade that was in Hospice Knight for free, so that feat is no longer with us.


Everyone's presented significant analysis on the pros and cons of Hunt Target toward various play styles, so we've made some changes to give you more flexibility, while also making Hunt Target less complicated at its baseline. Essentially, you choose what kind of ranger you want to be, either making a flurry of attacks at your target, making fewer but more damaging attacks against the target, or gaining advantages on a huge number of skills against the target. Also, you can use Hunt Target in exploration mode while tracking the target and have it ready ahead of time!


You've responded extremely positively to the three choices for rogue's technique, so much so that we feel comfortable expanding them out. Now each rogue's technique has a few technique-specific feats!


We've added the diabolic bloodline into the mix for all your infernal needs. Additionally, we're expanding the role of the sorcerer's 10th level feats (which currently include only the 10th-level bloodline power feat) by adding a feat that makes all your bloodline spells spontaneously heightened all the time.


Wizard is an enigma, ranked high for power among the classes but the only spellcaster ranked as uninteresting; the other four spellcasters top the chart of most interesting, followed by alchemist, while the wizard is several classes down. We've decided to double down on the wizard's role as the consummate flexible prepared spellcaster, basically, the character who can think ahead and turn their ability to prepare and adjust for the situation into a major strength. How? Well for starters, everyone has been loving the Quick Preparation feat, to such an extent that we decided to just give it to wizards for free! Secondly, at higher levels, we're adding some preparation flexibility across your spell levels, allowing you to pull tricks like using up two of your 5th-level spell slots to prepare a 7th-level spell.

So what do you think? Let us know how these new adjustments have been playing out as you finish off Doomsday Dawn and save Golarion, or as you run any other playtest games. The playtest will still be open through the end of the year, so don't worry if you haven't been keeping pace. See you Thursday for the Twitch stream of "When the Stars Go Dark!"

Mark Seifter

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Playtest
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13 people marked this as a favorite.

As the stars wink out, may the heroes hold onto the light!

Thanks Mark! Big hopes for the final version!

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Hmmm... 1.6 link doesn't work. 'XML does not seem to have any style information associated with it'.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

This is the second time a designer has talked about the heat death of the Pathfinder Universe.

The suspense is killing me.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Link to download the update doesn't seem to be working.


This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.

<Message>Access Denied</Message>
CxRMNzHLyfXW2hN9rX7YRTm0utN6cYygtbupFqq0ToMj9GKVdV6HPs2rGt/XvDoM7VfQ+4ecx40 =

Thanks for the update. I'm looking forward to reading it - especially those Wild Order changes for Druid!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Keeps giving an access denied.

Sounds promising. Sub-classes and all that.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

These sound great. Looks like everyone got some love. Awesome.

I have been waiting for this all day and now cannot open... noooo!!! We are gaming in 2 hours and I was going to surprise my gamers with new stuff to play around with!

Ditto, access denied here.

Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Same here, access denied.

cant download either, same xml error

"Paladin" finally caught up with the 90's!!! Oh's 2018.

Thanks for this Paizo.

So is the class going to have a catch all Divine Champion name, with the LG sub- being the paladin which has a placeholder name of defender? And the NG/CG versions (liberator/redeemer) being placeholders too?

Also getting download error. I'm very excited to see the update, though!

Also not able to download

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Same access denied error from the download link:

On the playtest downloads page here:

Looking forward to reading the update. But the changes described in the blog all sound great.

I don't got lucky or they fixed it but it just downloaded for me. ;)

It finally worked for me, try again.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I did "Open Link in New Tab" and it finally downloaded.

Not a fan of the new Rage mechanic. I dont like random.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Richard Crawford wrote:

This is the second time a designer has talked about the heat death of the Pathfinder Universe.

The suspense is killing me.

I am eager to find out if the universe Pathfinder is set in has proton decay.

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Yay! Paladins are freed from LG... Boo paladins are still crammed into tank role that does not thematically suit them. Where are the smash the heretic options? Where is divine judgement and wrath? Not to be seen here, apart from a very lackluster 9th level DOT.....

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Still no proactive Champaladin smite, they're still weirdly locked into a reactive role. Bleh. Well that's a bummer.

Jumped straight to looking at that first, so now to look over everything else... I do like somatic components being made easier for everyone though. So a wizard holding a fetish or orb or a staff that's not an Official Magic Spell Staff (TM) can actually cast spells now, that's a plus.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder PF Special Edition Subscriber

Downloaded without any trouble. Thanks for all that work and responding to that massive feedback!

Would it be possible to have new survey for a perspective that includes all updates?

1 person marked this as a favorite.

bravo on the monk changes. I still wish master many styles was lower.
never thought I'd see the day when a cleric was nerfed for being a healer. so we added more ways for everyone to heal, so therefore we must nerf the cleric, interestig.
the paladins seem weird. the redeemer sounds like a saint, and the liberator seems paradoxical. philosophically and metaphyscially it doesnt make a lick of sense.

A vigalante class seems a more better fit for a CG chassis character.

and Saint class seem a better more apporiate fit for a NG chassis.

I'm really liking that Smite Evil feat on the paladin.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Oh look, more caster nerf... so Cleric's have to have a Charisma bonus to get any healing unless they memorize healing spells, with fewer spells slots than 1E...

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Does Retributive Strike still cancel the damage from an attack if the attacker is downed by the strike? That was one of the coolest things~

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Why does the splash damage of alchemical items not scale? I do not understand the logic. If the logic is that the bombs would be overpowered if the splash damage scaled automatically, then supposedly, the bombs would be overpowered at 1st level with their 1 splash damage. So why not simply have the splash damage scale automatically?

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

10 people marked this as a favorite.
gwynfrid wrote:

Downloaded without any trouble. Thanks for all that work and responding to that massive feedback!

Would it be possible to have new survey for a perspective that includes all updates?

One of the few remaining surveys I want to make sure we get out there is one talking specifically about the changes in the updates.

Just because it is in an update does not mean it is final. The updates are specifically so we can test out additional rules for the game.

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Haven't read it yet, but thoughts based on the blog post...

Alchemist: No more using Resonance, YES!

Barbarian: Meh, the old way didn't bother me but this is fine.

Bard: No opinion other than clarity is good.

Cleric: Less Channel Energy, stronger in other ways. Paizo did exactly what I wanted here.

Druid: Sounds good, no strong opinion.

Fighter: Being able to stance->open->press is awesome.

Monk: Yes please.

Paladin: I appreciate additional options for players that want them, and I'm not going to express anything resembling an opinion on this one for safety reasons. :P

Ranger: "Also, you can use Hunt Target in exploration mode while tracking the target and have it ready ahead of time!" *screams of joy audible from orbit*

Rogue: More options are good.

Sorcerer: I like this, but I hope more feats for heighten flexibility will show up.

Wizard: Interesting! And unexpected. Really want to see the full details on this one.

9 people marked this as a favorite.

another bunch of cosmetic changes, I see. Nothing too inspired and a few of them heading in the wrong direction

The Chirurgeon seems to have an underpowered base benefit; it is not that hard to raise Wisdom and invest in Medicine given the way ability score boosts and trained skills work, so the benefit of using Crafting in place of Medicine is marginal.

Meh, cant say im happy about the change about the paladins, but banning a class is still pretty easy, so whatever i guess.

Guess the numbers speak for themselves, thank god i dont play PFS.

20 people marked this as a favorite.

After reading the Wizard changes, I'm thoroughly convinced Paizo has lost the plot.

"Wizard is an enigma, ranked high for power among the classes but the only spellcaster ranked as uninteresting"

How did you decide to fix this? By making the wizard MOAR powerful!!!

At this point, the only reason to play an Arcane Sorcerer over a Wizard is role-play.

I'm also convinced that they completely misinterpreted the feedback on Quick Preparation.

Everyone picked Quick Preparation because it was TOO GOOD. It essentially makes you as flexible as the Sorcerer if you have even the slightest idea what to expect.

Wizards AREN'T supposed to be super flexible on the fly.

I'm also thoroughly upset that you took Versatile Spellcaster, a spontaneous caster only feat from 3.5, and made it a Wizard Class Feat. The SORCERER needed the boost, not the Wizard.

And having an optional Class Feat the lets you spontaneously heighten your Bloodline spells is like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. They should be able to spontaneously heighten AT WILL by default.

SORCERERS are the versatile casters, not wizards.

7 people marked this as a favorite.

I do not like this direction for the barbarian's Rage. It is very fiddly to track and can easily be forgotten.

Why does the monk's Ki Strike damage not scale? 1d6 damage is a fairly strong whallop at 1st level, far less so at the high levels.

5 people marked this as a favorite.

For the most part, the Changes are looking great. Can't wait to use them.

However, I still can't help but feel the Cleric got beat on hard with the nerf to channel energy. Thats a huge hit that forces them to be way more MAD than before. Not a fan of this direction at all.

I'd rather re-add Bolstering to out of combat healing than nerf them that hard. Healing is super important in combat, and there are plenty of better ways to solve the out of combat healing dilemma.

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Should the extra +1d6 damage from Hunter's Edge (Precision) not scale? Again, it is strong at 1st level, much less so at 16th level.

Liberty's Edge

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Good changes, but I'm SAD to see that Monk Unarmed Strike Training still lags behind the Fighter. This would have been a GREAT time to put this in, esp since they're now losing their niche as the Class that can roll the most attacks in a round.

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Why are they giving wizards Quick Preparation at 1st level automatically? The commentary was that it was an incredibly strong feat with the potentially to greatly warp the playstyles of wizards (well, outside of the usual Paizo-written premade adventure fare, anyway), thus warranting a downgrade. It definitely did not deserve to be handed out for free to all wizards.

Silver Crusade

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber


The Good:

  • Everything with Alchemists is a good change. I'm excited to play this version of the Alchemist.
  • Rangers being able to declare a creature they're tracking in Exploration Mode their hunted target.
  • Hunters edges are great. One of my players was a halfling ranger with a sling-staff focus, and Precision is way more useful than reduced MAP.
  • Paladins no longer needing to be glued to the companion they are defending.
  • Wizards getting to trade up lower level slots for higher level spells.
  • All wizards getting to switch out spells during the 10-minute post battle cool-down.
  • Nifty Druid Changes.

The Bad:

  • Sorcerers are still getting the short end of the casting stick when compared to a wizard. Wizards are better at being adaptable than the sorcerer is, what the darn heck?
  • Seriously, spontaneous casting is not a great advantage. Why can't Sorcerers spend multiple lower-level slots for a clutch higher level spell, this makes way more sense.
  • Sorcerers have to wait until level 10 to spontaneously heighten their bloodline spells? Until then sorcerers can spontaneously heighten as often as a bard.
  • Cleric channel has dropped down by a lot. While I understand the reasoning it now requires a secondary focus on Charisma to be useful.

5 people marked this as a favorite.

First impression: I like the newly re-writen alchemical items, though I think that all bombs should scale splash damage with their tier—let them inflict splash damage of 1 per die of regular damage.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Is there any way for non-mutagenist alchemists to get access to mutagens? Because if not, it seems bombers have completely lost access to item bonuses for their bombs.

Also, do Perpetual Infusions/Potency/Perfection work with Double Brew/Alchemical Alacrity? Because if not, it looks to me that the Perpetual bombs are still weaker than caster's cantrips.

28 people marked this as a favorite.

So...the barbarian has gone from 3 rounds of raging to 2-5 rounds of raging (average 3.4) and we have thrown in some randomness and extra dice rolling to boot.

Ok, serious question guys. Did literally anyone say the following: "Y'know, I am not a fan of my class features switching off every 4th round. You know what would make it better. Lots of flat checks and unpredictability"?

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Regarding Monk: Ki Rush is a great change, but strength based monks still have some serious AC issues. They have to pump up dex to raise AC since they can't wear armor and that still leaves them with much lower AC than any other class. And on top of that they need CON since they're a melee class. Which leave very little for WIS; meaning they will not be able to use defensive abilities like Ki Rush very often.

So str based monks still seem like they're just going to get crit out and die.

4 people marked this as a favorite.
thflame wrote:

I'm also convinced that they completely misinterpreted the feedback on Quick Preparation.

Everyone picked Quick Preparation because it was TOO GOOD. It essentially makes you as flexible as the Sorcerer if you have even the slightest idea what to expect.

Agreed here. Quick Preparation is too powerful. I'm utterly baffled by why the devs thought giving it out for free was a good idea.

I'm pretty happy with the rest of the changes.

Alchemist: Yay, no more resonance! Addition of more alchemical items is always welcome, too.

Bard: No complaints here. Seems to be the same mechanically, for the most part, just easier to understand. I would prefer if there wan't a feat tax on mix-n-matching Bard feats. (Druids have the same "choose a path" thing, but give out bonuses for sticking to one rather than taxing you for straying.)

Barbarian: The rage mechanics I'm iffy about... seems unecessarily complicated. One of my players is using a Barbarian for Part 7, so we'll see how it plays, I guess.

Cleric: Glad to see Emblazon Symbol given out for free, basically. Very nice. The channel energy nerf is okay.

Druid: Buffs for wildshaping, hooray!

Fighter: Nothing much substantial, but using an Open and Stance in the same turn is nice.

Monk: Easier entry into ki pool - nice.

Paladin: Fairly pleased. Nice to see Smite Evil come back. Nice to see other alignment options. I think some of the CG feats may be too situational... but some of them are also very useful, so I think it balances out. A lay on hands buff is also very welcome.

Ranger: More options, more good.

Rogue: The non-finesse options got fleshed out some. Cool.

Sorcerer: That level 10 feat is pretty neat. Sorcerers needed some more feat options badly. This also makes spontaneous heightening a little more bearable.

10 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't understand why wizards are being giving even more versatility over sorcerers then they already have, everyone gets the ability that turns wizards into sorcerers for free and they get a old feat that was for sorcerers and other spontaneous casters?

Versatile spellcasting would have been a really cool tenth level sorcerer feat and instead you gave that to wizard and gave sorcerer something that really honestly feels like it should just be baseline, the more I play the more i have come to dislike "spontaneous" heightening, which is frankly anything but. If it could at least be chosen as needed when circumstances arrived throughout the day it would be one thing. But instead it feels like an obnoxious wizard feature in the sorcerer and bard class.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Overall I really like the changes to all the classes. I would still prefer to be the lawful good paladin, but more options doesn't hurt me. The barbarian rage change, might be annoying to keep track off, but it's a fun feature.

I agree with others that sorcerer might be a bit too unfavorable compared to wizards, not sure how to change that, maybe give them another spell slot (but that might be a bit too much).
Paladins getting an extra reaction for shield block is cool, but it might actually come online a bit too late (since I imagine you will use a paladin reaction almost every single turn now). Btw can use paladin reactions even if they miss the attack now, the wording is changed, but that might make it too powerful and more of a guess when to use the reaction.

My favorite changes are the increased flexibility for rogues, the hunters edge change (and letting you hunt target in exploration or at any range) and animal companions getting a buff to let them be less of a healing drain.

Overall I think this is some really cool changes and hopefully i'll play a bit with it over the next few months.

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