Pathfinder Playtest: Halfway There!

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Hello all!

Michael Sayre here, Design Manager for the Pathfinder Rules & Lore team, and the lead on the upcoming Pathfinder War of Immortals. I’m chiming in to remind you all that we are now a few days past the halfway point of the playtest for the new animist and exemplar classes. If you haven’t seen the playtest yet, make sure to head to https://paizo.com/pathfinderplaytest and download it now! If you have seen the playtest, head to that same link to leave your survey feedback. We’ve already gotten hundreds of responses and we’re very pleased with the positive response. The team has already begun sifting through some of your insights in preparation for the next steps, when we continue developing these classes after the playtest closes.

As normal for these playtests, we’ll tell you a bit more about the insights we’ve derived from your feedback once the playtest closes. For the sake of keeping that data as strong as possible, we don’t want to bias the results by saying too much, too early. There are a couple common questions I think we can answer for you now, though.

Will the animist get more apparitions in the final version? Absolutely! Right now, the apparitions we’ve packaged with the playtest are testing specific dynamics of play, with a focus on specific roles we think the animist is likely to fill. You can definitely expect to see more apparitions in the final release.

Will the exemplar get more ikons and epithets? The exemplar will definitely see new ikons post-playtest, and the chances of new epithets are pretty high, though we’re still sifting through data about the degree to which these mechanics are working for folks. The final form that epithets take based on your feedback might have some influence on how many are published in the final product.

What about new feats? Again, the chances are really high. Some of the feats we put out for the playtest were very experimental, so it’s possible that you might see some feats go away and other feats take their place in the final product. Other feats might have aspects of their level, functionality, or other parameters change. Our playtests are playtests, not previews, so while there’s often certain elements of what we present that we’re pretty confident will stick around in some form for the final version, anything might change based on the feedback you give us and the general satisfaction levels our players are finding within the playtested classes.

Art by Wayne Reynolds, concept sketches of the iconic Exemplar, Nahoa, and the Iconic Animiat Samo

Illustrations by Wayne Reynolds


And that’s about all I’ve got for you, folks! Though, maybe…

So, sometimes we have more ideas than fit in a book, and I’ve certainly had some ideas that I think are fun but unlikely to make it to print. The circus-themed apparition below is one such idea, so you tell me, folks: on a scale of 1–10, where 1 is “evil circus spirits don’t belong in my game” and 10 is “GIMME ALL THE EVIL CLOWNS!!!”, how much do you think something like the Reveler in Lost Glee should be in the final product?

Reveler in Lost Glee

Revelers in lost glee are twisted apparitions that arise in desolate and abandoned places where people once found great joy. They find immense mirth in causing harm or discomfort to others and don’t enjoy being attuned to animists who fail to laugh at their antics.

Apparition Skills Circus Lore, Fortune-Telling Lore

Apparition Spells Cantripprestidigitation; 1stdizzying colors; 2ndlaughing fit; 3rdhypnotize; 4thconfusion; 5thillusory scene; 6thvibrant pattern; 7thwarp mind; 8thquandary; 9thwails of the damned

Vessel Spell trickster’s mirrors

Avatar Ringmaster of the Dark Celebration Speed 50 feet, ignore difficult terrain and greater difficult terrain; Melee [one-action] ringmaster’s whip (reach 15 feet, trip), Damage 6d10+6 slashing; Ranged [one-action] feast of the lost (acid, range 120 feet, versatile void), Damage 6d6+6 acid

Apparition Vessel Spell

Trickster’s Mirrors [one-action] Focus 1

Uncommon, Animist, Focus, Illusion, Mental, Visual

Defense basic Will

Duration sustained up to 1 minute

You are surrounded by up to 3 mirrors that reflect twisted and distorted images of you, making it hard to tell where you actually are within your space and potentially causing those who attack you to hit one of the mirrors instead. You start with one mirror and gain an additional mirror each time you Sustain this spell, up to a maximum of three mirrors. Any attack that would hit you has a random chance of hitting one of your mirrors instead of you. With one mirror, the chances are 1 in 2 (1–3 on 1d6). With two mirrors, there is a 1 in 3 chance of hitting you (1–2 on 1d6). With three mirrors, there is a 1 in 4 chance of hitting you (1 on 1d4).

Once a mirror is hit, it is destroyed. If an attack roll fails to hit your AC but doesn't critically fail, it destroys a mirror. If the attacker was within 5 feet, it must succeed at a basic Will save or take 1d4 mental damage as it believes itself cut by a shower of glass shards from the breaking mirror. A damaging effect that affects all targets within your space (such as a caustic blast) destroys all of the mirrors.

Heightened (+1) The mental damage dealt by a broken mirror increases by 1d4.

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Tags: Pathfinder Pathfinder Playtest Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Great update! And Bwah ha ha, yes, please include the wild clown stuff, that’s amazing


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Hah. As a Gnome and a bit of a prankster, I would definitely be noticing and partnering with Lost Glee apparitions.

Just for the fun of it.

Getting a nice spell repertoire and a sustained version of Mirror Image as a focus spell is pretty nice too.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Love the clowns, but the mirror spell is unironically almost a mechanic I brewed up for a non-caster port of the mesmerist into 2e, and I love that so much because that gave me such good vibes from a designing stand point

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Specialist

16 people marked this as a favorite.

Mike I will make you fresh fry bread if you put the evil clown animist in the book, this is not a joke. (signed, your local clown).


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I love me some clowns but i might roleplay my clown apparition as a bit friendlier. But the mechanics and the scary clown stuff is great still.


The way I am GMing for my Animist I get to choose one of the Animist Apparitions and I would love to have evil clown who makes terrible jokes that you have to laugh at or he will be angry to be one of them.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Sounds like a good apparition to leave without art, since I definitely know folks who wouldn't want such a common phobia showing up in such an unexpected and unrelated place. The apparition itself works well, though, and I know as many folks who'd be excited by it. (They would naturally not be in the same games.)

As far as personal tastes go, I'd prefer it as more of a trickster spirit than specifically circus, but I can just ask for a lore swap from the GM.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

11/10, give us the evil ghost clowns.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

10! Play Extinction Curse. Clowns, yo... there's some messed up clowns...


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I actually really like this as a variant on an urban spirit, but I agree it might be too specific, so maybe trickster spirit like QuidEst suggested?
Also, maybe something from the "spirits" that haunt an old theatre or similar venue as a type of urban spirit? Such a place would have a gamut of emotions and could sway easily between positive and negative energies as needed. Plus imagine the different spells involved: ghost sound, ventriloquism, hideous laughter, enthrall, hallucinatory terrain (gotta set the scene), uncontrollable dance...
Just a few ideas off the top of my head LOL


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'd give the ghost clown a 9, and it's definitely a great apparition idea, but I'd like it more if it was taken in a slightly more positive direction - I find evil clowns to be a bit of a cliché.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

It’s great!

Grand Archive

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

TBF, in the ACTUAL text, there's nothing that specifically says *clown* so that can be any "entertainer*.
(And I like it very much! :O )


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Re: Reveler in Lost Glee avatar - I'm seeing "feast of the lost", but I'm reading "pie in the face".


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Im down to clown


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'd rate evil clown Animus as 9 out of 10.
Very good thematically, but the mirrors may be reworded to be les wordy.

Also, I'd love some eldritch things from the outher dark. You know, sometimes even things beyond a mortal comprehension may need a vessel.

Also, for the Exemplar. I like it. I like it as a light armored, big effects, combatant, but I'd like for a way to be like a paragon of endurance (not by big AC) but feeling like a brick wall

Paizo Employee Design Manager

6 people marked this as a favorite.
pixierose wrote:
I love me some clowns but i might roleplay my clown apparition as a bit friendlier. But the mechanics and the scary clown stuff is great still.

Apparition personality descriptions should definitely be seen as prompts and not limitations!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Hello. Please give Rue the clowns. Thank you

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I once seriously considered writing up an evil clown deity. This might fit the bill.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Me: WE'RE HALF WAY THERRRREEEE! WOOOOAAAAHHHH...LIVIN ON A PRRRRAYYYEEERRR!

(turns around and GF is standing right there looking at me with a raised eyebrow)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I like the apparition flavor and concept; I think it is a must have for inclusion for the class - especially for urban spirits. I even like the mechanics of the vessel spell. But, I hate the flavor of the vessel spell; it is too niche with funhouse vibes. What if it also could be described as distorted reflections in water or ice, through reflected or colored glass, or from a mirage somehow…?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've got a fever, and the only cure is... MORE CLOWNBELL!

(Yes please to clowns)


Please include the PathFinder Nexus link to the Immortals PlayTest material:

https://app.DemiPlane.com/nexus/pathfinder2e/sources/war-of-immortals-playt est

The PDFs are nice, but PathFinder Nexus formats much better on mobile devices.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I rate that spirit a 13. I always love me some evil clowns, and more trickstery apparitions sound great.


1/10. No more clowns or circuses in any Paizo products, please. There's been more than enough.


10/10 why are you punishing us with this!

(Also…Mirror Image as a focus spell? WHOA! Is this the new power floor of focus spells?)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

on a scale of 1–10, where 1 is “evil circus spirits don’t belong in my game” and 10 is “GIMME ALL THE EVIL CLOWNS!!!” I'd give it a 10. I'd remove evil from it though as all clowns are evil; it's just that some are better at hiding it than others.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Clowns!

Silver Crusade

I don't do/can stand clowns, if they are a major feature of the book, I might just have to skip it and ban the entire thing in my APs.

So yeah, I am very much on 1.

Grand Lodge

Evil clown: 1/10
Mischievous spirit of amusing pranks: 8/10


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Clown nonsense is my entire brand as a GM, I desperately require Reveller in Lost Glee to make it to print! Perhaps a clown of Comedy and a clown of Tragedy would be a good pairing to get the best of all kinds of clownery?


On the basis of "The thing that sold me on 2e was Extinction Curse", I will give the Evil clown apparition a 6/10, and a not-strictly-evil version a 10/10.


Evil clown let's go! 10!

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Why are so many Apparitions dark and frightening ?

Or do the cheerful ones avoid murderhoboing (aka adventuring) Animists ?

Sovereign Court

10 out of 10 for clowns!

Verdant Wheel

I'm here for the clowns!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Clowns, everywhere

A Thousand Clowns


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Dis new spirit reminds me of a bloke wot kept poppin up everywhere I went a while. Said ‘is name wuz Coppahwyze or sumfin an tellin me “We all float down ‘ere.”

I says ta ‘im “Look mate I alreddy am a propah fine swimmah, and I don’t know of any children’z parties wot need a clown, so kindly buzz off.”

‘E seemed a little miffed when I said it but seeing as ‘e ‘ad showed up ta my room in da inn un-in-vited (can’t bloody well fink ‘ow ‘e got in dere), ‘e didn’t really ‘ave a leg ta stand on.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dancing Wind wrote:

Clowns, everywhere

A Thousand Clowns

I am intrigued by this clip, as well as plagued by a core memory that has been unlocked involving a flute-centric rap song from 1997. (okaaaayy~)

As for the evil playtest clowns, I can take 'em or leave 'em. So like 6/10. But I am 100% here for the Ringmaster of the Dark Celebration, who is obviously a 30-foot tall demonic Hugh Jackman with a goth remix of The Greatest Show blaring through tinny megaphones behind him.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm not in love with the 'evil clown' flavor, but I really like the vessel spell-- it seems very fun and flavorful, as well as useful. I'd absolutely play it flavored to other supernatural tricksters.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Add another vote to "I want it in the game if the lore is tweaked to make it a more general entertainer/trickster vibe."


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:

Why are so many Apparitions dark and frightening ?

Or do the cheerful ones avoid murderhoboing (aka adventuring) Animists ?

That's been my guess. I suspect that all of the more peaceful apparitions tend to stay at their locus of power, whatever that might be. It seems that peaceful means passive for apparitions, though it'd be cool if we had a couple more benevolent spirits to choose from.

Liberty's Edge

Perpdepog wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

Why are so many Apparitions dark and frightening ?

Or do the cheerful ones avoid murderhoboing (aka adventuring) Animists ?

That's been my guess. I suspect that all of the more peaceful apparitions tend to stay at their locus of power, whatever that might be. It seems that peaceful means passive for apparitions, though it'd be cool if we had a couple more benevolent spirits to choose from.

Maybe the more malevolent Apparitions the Animist ends up with were actually kicked from their spiritual neighborhood.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I love the flavor of the Reveler in Lost Glee, though +1 for leaning more into the general entertainer-focused vibes than evil clowns specifically. I think that'd help make it a little less niche as well as avoid tripping up people with a Nope reaction to clowns.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

If you are going to make it more "general entertainer" and less "evil clown", could you possibly make the Evil Clown part optional? Possibly with an appropriate wandering feat or two?

Honestly, I think that would be cool as a thing to do with wandering feats in general. You have the standard face that the apparition presents to the world... and then you take a certain wanderer feat, and you see a very different side of them. Feels flavorful.


Clown apparitions are evil Mandy!


id rate it as an 8 love the idea


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm not really a fan of the evil clown trope, but I think the specific flavor should stay.

As Michael pointed out, prepackaged flavor is a prompt, not a rule. So why not make the existing lore as evocative as possible while accepting the possibility that some players and GMs will discard it out of hand, instead of writing something painfully generic that no one will find offensive because it doesn't say anything.

Pathfinder has some really good writing when the writers get to actually indulge in the setting, so lean into it.


Give me evil clowns, or give me death!

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
atys wrote:
Give me evil clowns, or give me death!

What about both ? They seem quite compatible.

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