Arbalester's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 231 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


1 to 50 of 231 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | next > last >>

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow, it's been a while! So, I figured I'd make a few Subnautica creatures in Starfinder; partially to see how viable adapting the game to Starfinder rules is, and partially as practice making creatures in Starfinder.

I'll start with a simpler one, the Stalker, and go through the Alien Archive's steps, one by one.

Step 1: Array. Combatant; Stalkers are mostly about fighting. I'll also decide their CR here; I'm putting it as CR 2. They're not an insignificant threat, but they are usually the first aggressive creature players run into in the game, so I'll keep it in the lower ranges.
Step 2: Type. Animal seems like the closest fit. Magical Beast is debatable, but they don't have any supernatural abilities, so I don't think it fits.
Step 3: Subtype. Aquatic, if that wasn't obvious.
Step 4: Class. Skipping it. Not the best fit for Stalkers, or most creatures in Subnautica.
Step 5: Template. Skipping it. Also not a good fit. (Notes for the future: Should the Kharaa disease apply a template to the creature, not just a disease track? Or is a disease track the better way to handle it?)
Step 6: Special Abilities. This is the most open-ended step, as far as I can tell, so there aren't any easy choices here. Fortunately, Stalkers don't have any major special abilities; the only one I can think of is to give them a Metal-Hoarding trait, as follows.
(Metal-Hoarding (Ex) If a character uses the Handle an Animal task on a Stalker, they can gain a +4 on the Survival check by offering the Stalker at least 1 bulk of metal (even scrap metal) as part of the task.)
Step 7: Skills. Also gets more complicated. Their Combatant array grants 1 Master and 2 Good skills, while the Aquatic subtype grants Athletics as a Master or Good skill. Also, Alien Archive specifically repeats that these aren't set in stone here; varying the number of skills by 1 or 2 isn't a big deal. Personally, I'll put down Athletics and Perception as Master skills, and Stealth and Survival as Good skills for Stalkers.
Step 8: Spells. Skipping it; Stalkers don't have spells.
Step 9: Final Check. Crunch the numbers! The stat block I came up with is below.

Stalker CR 2 XP 600
N Medium animal (aquatic)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +12
Defense HP 25
EAC 13; KAC 15
Fort +6; Ref +6; Will +1
Speed 5 ft., swim 50 ft.
Melee bite +10 (1d6+6 P)
Str +4; Dex +2; Con +1; Int -4; Wis +0; Cha +0
Skills Athletics +12, Stealth +7, Survival +7
Environment any aquatic
Organization solitary, pair, or school (3-6)
Special Abilities
Metal-Hoarding (Ex) If a character uses the Handle an Animal task on a Stalker, they can gain a +4 on the Survival check by offering the Stalker at least 1 bulk of metal (even scrap metal) as part of the task.

Did I get any of the numbers wrong (or way off)? Can something be changed to make it better, either by Subnautica or Starfinder standards? What do you think?

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Halonut: Yeah, I can see how it would remind you of the Star Forge! (Mild spoilers for Chapter 4, but that's not the last time this adventure path will remind me of KOTOR 1.) That being said, the Star Forge's main threat was its ability to create entire armies and armadas, while this superweapon just destroys suns themselves. Still a major threat, but in a different way.

So, anyone have any ideas of what to add into Chapter 1? I'm debating bumping the Story Exp up to 50%, so I only need 8/10/12/20 encounters for Parts 1/2/3/4 in each chapter. Would that work, or would each chapter be too sparse on encounters?

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Okay, after some reworking, I now have 4 basic rules for my overall AP design:

1) For this entire AP, I am assuming 20% Story Exp; this is exp given purely for goals completed and/or clues found, and is not associated with any CR or encounter. This isn't to say that all encounters must be combat ones; if the PC's overcome the encounter through other means (stealth/bribing/befriending/bypassing altogether), they still get exp.

2) In general, the PC's gain 1 level per part of each chapter. This means that there's enough exp in Chapter 1, Part 1 to take a party of 4 PC's up to level 2, and so on.

3) The baseline "CR unit" for each chapter is the CR equal to the lowest level the PC's are expected to be that chapter. That's CR 1/5/8/11/14/17 for Chapters 1/2/3/4/5/6.

4) Many lower-CR encounters are better than a few higher-CR encounters. I know that the AP has the opposite design philosophy (I'm looking at you, Chapter 3!), but in my opinion, splitting up the exp into more lower-CR encounters has a major benefit: Moving encounters. Instead of forcing each encounter to stay in its room, groups of creatures (especially intelligent ones) can have patrols, or just wander between rooms from time to time, and if they join an existing fight, the PC's are less likely to get overwhelmed. As always, as GM, you need to keep an eye on this, and not simply throw every monster in the building at the PC's at once. However, you don't need to simply have each encounter sit in its room, regardless of what's happening in the room over, simply because having them join the fight would make an already challenging encounter absurdly difficult.

If this is too rigid or formal for you, then I'm sorry, but I need some kind of framework to handle this.

I've already worked out how to modify or move the encounters for the first 4 chapters, but now I need some help filling in the blanks (or gaping holes, in most cases). I'll post my notes for one chapter at a time, so the posts aren't overwhelming. Let me know what you think, or what suggestions you have!

As for format: I'll first go over how I'd move around the existing encounters between parts, and then go through part by part with my notes and suggestions.

With all that said, let's get started!

Chapter 1:

Chapter 1: Incident at Absalom Station
CR 1 Base, 4 Parts

Existing Content: Part 1 can stay, it just needs some expanding. I'd combine Parts 2 and 3 together into the new Part 4. Also, although I don't like moving between chapters, I'd move the ship fight from the beginning of Chapter 2 to the end of Chapter 1. That way, Chapter 1 can end back at Absalom Station, giving the PC's a more natural downtime between chapters.

Overall: Expand Part 1 a little, create Parts 2 and 3 from scratch, make a few tweaks to the new Part 4. My plan is to have parts 1/2/3/4 be investigation/dungeon/investigation/dungeon, just for some changes of pace. Parts 2 and 3 are a great opportunity to show more of Absalom Station.

Part 1 (12 CR 1's)
First off, add exp for the rest of the initial gang fight. Even with the rest of the part, it's still 2.5 CR 1's short. I'd add in another two pairs of gangsters/scavengers and one lone one, either to one of the two existing gangs or as part of another group the PC's investigate. Maybe they look for leads in the bar called Drifter's End, or in Olensa?

Part 2 (16 CR 1's)
This is the first of several gaping holes: After moving the original Part 2 to Part 4, I don't have anything here. Just for variety, how about a dungeon? Maybe the PC's investigate an Armada flotilla that went mysteriously dark (Astral Extractions sabotage, or an extremist splinter of the Hardscrabble Collective?). Or, maybe they head into Botscrap, or Downlow, dealing with hostile scavengers and/or a monster infestation? (Putting some space goblins there may give some story connections to the foolhardy group that the PC's run into in Part 4.)

Part 3 (20 CR 1's)
Another blank slate. I'm thinking more investigation in another section of Absalom Station. Maybe some leads point to a theater in Kemanis, or talking to investigators at the Eyeswide Agency?

Part 4 (32 CR 1's)
Interestingly, simply combining the original Parts 2 and 3 results in almost all the exp you need here. My only tweaks would be to add one more space goblin (because what's one more?) and to make Hebiza CR 4 instead of 3 (again, if the PC's simply agree to her proposed plan, this just means more exp for them). Plus, since the PC's are probably level 4 before they even board the Acreon, this is where the main benefit of running with many low-CR encounters kicks in: The akatas don't have to stay in their rooms. For level 4 PC's, two akatas are a regular encounter, so you have a larger margin of error. The akatas are deaf, so the sounds of combat wouldn't reach them, but they still may check the halls from time to time. Maybe one or two of them sense the goblins hiding in the crew quarters, so when the PC's arrive, they see two akatas trying to break through the door. The only other major change is, at the end of the chapter, have the Iron Rictus attack happen at the end of this chapter, so that Chapter 1 can end with the PC's on Absalom Station, dealing with the impact of what they've found, rather than ending the chapter with them still on the Drift Rock. (Either that, or move the Iron Rictus attack to when they undock to head to Castrovel. Either way, I'm including the exp in this part.)

That's all I have for Chapter 1! What do you think?

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
JJCheatah wrote:
I have a feeling that may run a bit "chunky" on the combat.

Sorry, I forgot to mention: Not all of the CR's need to be combat. Don't be afraid to make some of those story rewards, or even other rewards, depending on your PC's. I'm just lumping them all together right now for ease of presentation.

As for Chapter 1, Part 1:

Incident at Absalom Station:

Nice, you also thought of having Duravor Kreel actually get a chance to do something before the shootout! My plan is to have Kreel meet the PC's at the Lorespire Complex, take them on a quick tour of the place, then head to the docking bays with the PC's to meet a returning Starfinder team, and have the shootout happen then.

Also, I won't have Kreel instantly die, and instead resolve the attacks/damage/dying as normal. I don't like using GM-fiat to kill NPC's, especially if there's no real plot reason to do so. Even if Kreel lives, the fact that he was targeted should be enough to warrant an investigation. Plus, he can help provide some leads on the Hardscrabble Collective, especially if the PC's went out of their way to save his life during the fight. (Story-reason, he's returning the favor. Gameplay-reason, it's a bonus reward for the PCs' helping him while fighting off the gangs.)

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

Here's one way to handle the fact that a Colossal starship doesn't seem like it has as much room as it should: Most of the expansion bays scale with the size of the starship they're installed on. Here's two examples I came up with:

Docking Bay (3 BP, 8 PCU): This can fit one starship of up to 3 size categories smaller, or twice as many starships for each size category smaller than that. If multiples of this module are purchased, they may hold larger starships: 2 size categories smaller with 2 bays, and 1 size category smaller with 4 bays. More than 4 bays cannot hold starships larger than that, but can hold multiple smaller starships.

Vehicle Bay (2 BP, 5 PCU): This functions as a Docking Bay, but can instead hold one vehicle of up to 1 size category larger than the starship, 2 size categories larger with 2 bays, or 3 size categories larger with 4 bays.

To clarify, here is a list of each size category and how many Tiny starships (or Huge vehicles) it can fit.

Bay Capacity:

Tiny: Cannot fit a Docking Bay, could fit a Large vehicle with 4 bays.
Small: 1 Tiny ship using 4 bays.
Medium: 1 Tiny ship using 2 bays.
Large: 1 Tiny ship using 1 bay.
Huge: 2 Tiny ships.
Gargantuan: 4 Tiny ships.
Colossal: 8 Tiny ships.

Compared to the CRB's Hangar Bay and Shuttle Bay, these are larger in capacity, but not to a game-breaking degree (especially since PC's have a prohibitively hard time managing starships larger than Large).

If having a vehicle with a larger size category than the starship it's in seems weird, remember that vehicles use the character size scale, while starships use their own scale. A Large vehicle is roughly 10 feet long, while even a Tiny starship is at least 20 feet long.

As for the BP/PCU costs, I based them off of the Hangar/Shuttle bays, but scaled down to a single bay. (Per bay, the Shuttle Bay costs 2 BP and 5 PCU, and the Hangar Bay costs 2.5 BP and 7.5 PCU.)

Also, I can see that Tryn already thought of a similar idea in his Starship Builders Guidebook, but with different capacity and pricing.

More broadly, could this scaling idea apply to other expansion bays as well, like Guest Quarters, Escape Pods, or even Cargo Bay capacity? Maybe some of those scale linearly (1, 2, 3, 4) instead of quadratically (1, 2, 4, 8). What do you think?

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dead Suns officially only runs from levels 1-12, according to the campaign outline in Part 1. However, the setting information near the back of each chapter gives a wealth of settings, plot hooks, and even characters to work with. With that in mind, I'm working on expanding the Adventure Path to run from level 1 all the way to level 20. First, I'll lay out my experience point roadmap. (I personally don't use exp when I run campaigns, but it's nice to gauge how many encounters to have at each level.)

Each chapter starts and ends assuming the PC's are a given level, and includes enough encounters of the starting CR so that the PC's will reach the starting level for the next chapter right at the end of the previous chapter. (Fun fact: This same math works in Pathfinder using the Fast exp track, since Starfinder uses the same exp amounts for levels and CR as Pathfinder!)

CR's by Chapter:

Chapter 1: Levels 1-4. 25 CR 1 encounters per PC.
Chapter 2: Levels 5-7. 15 CR 5 encounters per PC.
Chapter 3: Levels 8-10. 15 CR 8 encounters per PC.
Chapter 4: Levels 11-13. 15 CR 11 encounters per PC.
Chapter 5: Levels 14-16. 15 CR 14 encounters per PC.
Chapter 6: Levels 17-20. 15 CR 17 encounters per PC.

Assuming a team of 4 PC's, that's 100 encounters in Chapter 1 and 60 encounters in every chapter afterwards. (Using the lower CR's as a benchmark allows me to mix and match encounters more easily, and I don't have to worry as much about NPC's grouping up or calling for reinforcements, since the PC's can handle more of them without becoming overwhelmed.)

In addition, I can mostly follow the chapter's parts, simply placing encounters so the PC's gain roughly one level per part. (Chapter 1 needs an entire part added to it, but otherwise the structure is fine.)

So, my fellow GM's/worldbuilders/writers: What would you add to the Dead Suns AP to expand it? And how would you restructure what's already here? And the other challenge: Since the PC's baseline level will be far higher in each chapter, how would you boost the CR of existing encounters to compensate? I've already made a few basic notes myself, but I'm curious to hear what others think about it.

(Also, I've marked this thread as spoilers, not for any specific event, but because discussing each chapter would require talking about the specifics of characters/events/locations.)

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
It seems disingenuous to me for you to imply that both methods can be used in the same group/game.

My apologies; I didn't mean to deceive anyone, and I hadn't realized that this rule was more optional than I thought. If nothing else, I hadn't known that this method wasn't allowed in SFS.

That being said, I don't understand how it's not compatible with standard point buy for Starfinder. You're trading your character's normal racial ability scores for the human "+2 to any one score" bonus. This allows for more useful race/class choices at the expense of not getting to dump any stat below 10. Is there something I'm missing here?

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
quindraco wrote:
4) Have your professional move the seal to the Swoop Hammer for 1300 credits and 10 minutes.

Oh... I see. RAW, the cost is only based on the item the fusion is going to, and the item the fusion is coming from is irrelevant. That means you effectively pay only 1/2 the price for almost all fusions, minus some overhead (the cost of ammo and lower-level fusion). Yeah, that's going to get houseruled at my table real quick. I don't like this kind of bookkeeping loophole.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Simeon wrote:
Not sure what to do for the vehicles exactly, but using power armor rules for the PRAWN Suit seems quite logical.

Oh, duh! The powered armor rules would be perfect for the PRAWN Suit! To be honest, I keep forgetting powered armor exists in Starfinder. Not because it isn't awesome (it is!), but because there's so little of it so far. Thinking more on it, the Seamoth and Cyclops are best handled using the vehicle rules, while the Seaglide (if you wanted to include it at all) is probably a technological item that provides a swim speed.


Thinking more on it, Remove Affliction would work fine as-is; strictly RAW, it resets the disease track, but doesn't prevent immediate reinfection, meaning the players have a way to keep the disease at bay without instantly curing themselves for good. If the adventure is for lower levels, where Remove Affliction isn't so easy to access, maybe allow the PC's to notice the glowing Peepers with a Survival check, and use Life Science to get enough enzymes to duplicate the effects of Remove Affliction on Kharaa only. (Plus, that would give the PC's an incentive to figure out where the glowing Peepers are coming from...)


For the cyclops shield blueprints, just check the databoxes in wrecks. I won't say which one, as to avoid giving out more information than wanted (and partially because I forget). As always, if you really want to know, check the Subnautica Wiki; it has a good database of wreck coordinates.

And concerning landing outside of the crater: I hadn't thought of that! Maybe that's what happened to the rest of the lifepods. As for the PC's, that's another thing the GM would either need to make sure the players know ahead of time, or figure out how to inform the PC's that almost everything outside of the crater is the "Fun Zone". That, or just add your own areas and content to fill in the rest of the planet; the only catch would be figuring out how the Kharaa changed those areas, or how those areas avoided infection in the first place.


That reminds me, I love Subnautica's description of Blindsight(sound), in the Reaper Leviathan's databank entry. To paraphrase: If you can hear it, it can see you.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In case anyone is wondering, here's how I work with the ability score arrays. As an example, I'll use a Technomancer for the Focused array and a Str-based Soldier for the Versatile array.


Level 1 (Focused)
Str 10
Dex 14
Con 10
Int 18
Wis 11
Cha 10

Level 20 (All increases to Dex, Con, Int, and Wis)
Str 10
Dex 20
Con 18
Int 22
Wis 18
Cha 10

With the three Ability Score Boosts
(+2 to Wis, +4 to Int, +6 to Dex)
Str 10
Dex 26
Con 18
Int 26
Wis 20
Cha 10


Level 1 (Versatile)
Str 14
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 11
Cha 10

Level 20 (All increases to Str, Dex, Con, and Wis)
Str 20
Dex 20
Con 20
Int 10
Wis 18
Cha 10

With the three Ability Score Boosts
(+2 to Con, +4 to Wis, +6 to Str)
Str 26
Dex 20
Con 22
Int 10
Wis 22
Cha 10

Both characters end up with a +8 modifier in their key ability score, as well as the score used for most of their attacks. Also, the Soldier is Dex-capped for heavy armor(+5), and the Technomancer is Dex-capped for light armor(+8).

Did I do the math right?

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow, I had completely forgotten to check the Aeon Stones. I hadn't realized that those two stones were so cheap in Starfinder! Personally, I don't use them much, as I don't like the idea of putting major magic effects into a fragile rock that has to be exposed to work. (We've already started seeing Azlanti Star Empire tech in Alien Archives; maybe there will be other Aeon Stone integration later.)

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

So, here's an idea for a module/short adventure path in Starfinder:

The PC's are hired by a major corporation to travel with/in their starship to a region of the Vast, to assist with scanning for notable planets and placing a network of Drift beacons to make it easier for other ships to follow. However, just as the ship exits the Drift and enters orbit around an oceanic planet, a massive energy blast rocks the ship! The PC's manage to make it to the escape pods and launch to the planet's surface, minutes before the entire ship breaks apart and crash-lands. Getting their bearings in the escape pod, now floating on the ocean surface, the included PDA informs them (paraphrase as needed):

PDA wrote:
You have suffered minor head trauma. This is considered an optimal outcome. This PDA has now rebooted in emergency mode with one directive: to keep you alive on an alien world. Please refer to the databank for detailed survival advice. Good luck.

In summary, the players play Subnautica as a Starfinder adventure! So, what all would need to be changed between video game and tabletop? Here are some of my thoughts:

1) Base building and item crafting aren't usually a major part of Starfinder. GM's would either need to gloss over/handwave much of the base-building, or remove most of it (maybe major parts of the ship are still useable as rooms).

2) What happened to the PC's ship, both during transit and post-crash? My thought is to have their ship docked inside the corporate ship during transit, and then damage it during the blast/crash, but not obliterate it. (If it was docked during the crash, maybe the larger ship protected it from the worst of the damage.) However, its engines are definitely nonfunctional and in need of major repairs.

3) How does the GM make sure the PC's get the message that they can't just relaunch a ship immediately, so they don't try to just quickly fix their ship and take off? (Informing the players is easy, if they're willing to go along with it; informing the PC's ingame is harder.) Maybe make it clear that the energy blast was not an accident, and came from somewhere planetside?

4) Subnautica famously doesn't have lethal weapons beyond a survival knife, but Starfinder PC's are much more heavily armed. For me, the easiest way to adapt this is to just let the PC's fight creatures if they want, and make a Wandering Encounter table or two.

I know I already warned about spoilers in the title, but I'll still hide the rest of this list, in case anyone stumbles on it.

Subnautica spoilers:

5) Having there be no other survivors may work in Subnautica, but would mean a pretty lonely adventure path here. The PC's could spend some time tracking down other escape pods, contacting/rescuing other crewmembers, and gathering them to some landmark. Maybe the other crewmembers help build a makeshift village, and gather supplies?

6) When/how do the PC's find out that they're not the first ship that crashed here, and that the corporation had a secondary objective to check this planet specifically for survivors? The fact that the corporation brought a lot of equipment for an oceanic planet may be the first hint, but the PC's could find out the rest from ship logs (and the captain or high-ranking crew, if they survived). Also, maybe in this version, Bart Torgal is still alive down in the Deep Grand Reef, becoming a good source of information if the PC's can get down there and rescue him!

7) Should the Kharaa just be a plot point, or should there be actual stats for it as a disease? Also, how do you handle the fact that Starfinder has more ways to cure diseases than Subnautica does? It'd be a short adventure path if the players just cured themselves right before accessing the Quarantine Enforcement Platform, but it feels too much like a railroad to declare the Kharaa as being unaffected by Remove Affliction. (However, Remove Affliction is instantaneous, and since the entire planet is infected, the PC's will get reinfected almost immediately.)

8) While the disease can't kill your character in Subnautica, it would be odd for the PC's if the disease suddenly paused mid-infection. On the other hand, it seems mean to put a ticking clock on each of the PC's that requires plot points to get rid of. Then again, Remove Affliction can at least reset the disease's progression, so if the PC's have regular access to that spell, it could ease up on the time pressure.

9) As usual for an adaptation, statting up each creature/vehicle.
Creatures: Stalker, Bone Shark, Gasopod, Crashfish, Crabsquid, the Reaper/Sea Dragon/Sea Emperor Leviathans, maybe some of the others.
Vehicles: Seamoth and Cyclops. Maybe Seaglide and PRAWN Suit? But how to stat those?

Overall, I think this could be a lot of fun as an adventure! Anyone else think so?

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Most of the "wilderness/castaway scenario" discussion has been about how much easier it is in Starfinder, since all armor gives you at least 24 hours of air/temperature/pressure/radiation protection, made indefinite if you can get to a working recharge station (like your ship) once per day.

However, another part of survival suddenly became harder in Starfinder: Food and water. The two biggest changes are:

1) Create Water and Create Food and Water have both been removed from the CRB. A lenient GM could houserule them back in, but RAW, spellcasters no longer have a "Cure Thirst" cantrip. (Token Spell can still flavor food, at least, so spellcasters still have their spice-rack-in-a-box cantrip.)

2) Ring of Sustenance is still in the game, but item slots are much more valuable. You only get two slots for any worn magic items, and most classes will still want a Ring of Resistance, even though it's no longer mandatory, meaning the Ring of Sustenance is now competing with every other worn item in the game for the one remaining slot.

Anyone else notice these changes? Together, they do raise the stakes in a survival setting. That being said, most parties will still have at least one member with Survival, so on non-barren planets, this is less of an issue. Still, even though all players now have effectively permanent Life Bubbles (and the spell itself is only 1st level now), that doesn't mean all survival situations have been trivialized.

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

Something just hit me a few days ago: When creating your character, if a certain Race or Theme seem awesome except for the ability score adjustment, you can basically ignore it. Just using RAW, take one of the three quick pick arrays in the CRB, pages 19-20. It's even written there:

CRB pg19 wrote:
Under this method, choices like race and theme don’t affect your ability scores—you just choose which score goes in which ability, and you’re good to go.

(Personally, the Focused and Versatile arrays are both solid for most characters, especially Focused for spellcasters and Versatile for non-spellcasters.)

Also, with GM's permission, you could create your own "premade" array, basically choosing your own Race and Theme ability scores, regardless of your character's actual Race and Theme. Anyone else notice this?

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you don't know about this already, let me direct you to The Official Pathfinder SRD. It's completely free and legal, and hosted on this very website. It contains almost all the written rules and stats for every single hardcover book and bestiary Paizo has ever published for Pathfinder. It isn't formatted as nicely as the books, and is missing all the fun pictures, but it's a great reference, especially if you don't want to buy 10 books just to try an AP.

Not to talk you out of buying Pathfinder books, but if you're nervous about spending that much money, it's nice to know that you don't *have* to buy all the books if you don't want to.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm in the Sacramento area, and I'd be interested in a face-to-face campaign. I'm thinking about GM'ing a Pathfinder AP, probably either RotRL or CotCT.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I dunno, horror isn't really my thing. I may just sleep through this one and check out the next hardcover... zzzzz...

Paizo Blog wrote:
[...]a dragon that turns into a tyrannosaurus rex every full moon[...]

*Snort* zzzhuh, what? Wait, WHAT?! You know, especially with the breadth of horror covered, this just got back onto my "buy" list.

Plus, one group of my friends has never played Pathfinder, but loves the board game Betrayal at House on the Hill. This may be the book to get their attention...

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Paizo Blog wrote:
[...]at least one established Korvosan NPC who may or may not have a brand new secret (and a lot of brand new powers) to be surprised by!

Here's my guess as to who and what:

New Secret:
Trinia is, or becomes, the next Blackjack. Either she's already training with Vencarlo, or she becomes his apprentice after the events at the end of Chapter 1. If I ever run this campaign, at least, that'd be my fallback to continuing Blackjack's legacy if none of the PC's want to go vigilante.

Whether I'm right or wrong, I'm ecstatic to see this getting a hardcover, and Pathfinder, remake!

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Okay, Lemmy, I've read through your system, and I have a few suggestions to make. Use them as you will.

Foreward: Several of these changes interlock with each other, so please at least skim all 5 of them to understand how each one would affect the whole idea.

1) Redo the damage die table, and unify it for Light, 1h, and 2h. After rummaging through the Bestiary, Core Rulebook, and looking at dice averages, here's my suggestion for all weapons/attacks of all sizes, with notes as to the maximum damage of weapons for a Medium-sized character:

Damage Dice Table:

N/A (Attack deals no damage)
0 (No weapon damage, only other damage)
1d4 (Simple Light)
1d6 (Simple 1h and Martial Light)
1d8 (Martial 1h and Exotic Light)
1d10 (Simple 2h and Exotic 1h)
1d12 (Martial 2h)
2d8 (Exotic 2h)

Size Categories:

Fine: -4
Diminutive: -3
Tiny: -2
Small: -1
Medium: 0
Large: 1
Huge: 3
Gargantuan: 4
Colossal: 6

So a Colossal 2h Exotic weapon maxes out at 10d6 for weapon damage.

2) Make only one 0-CP be a freebie, then 1 point for the 2nd one and afterwards.
Reasoning: Two 0-CP's seems a little excessive, given how many features are 0-CP. If nothing else, that means I can put all three damage types as (or) on a weapon practically for free.

3) Improved Damage Die can only be taken twice; it costs 1CP the first time and 2CP the second time, for a total of 3CP for +2 damage die steps.
Reasoning: Damage dice aren't everything, especially at higher levels, so I don't think Improved Damage Die should be valued so highly.

4) The Bludgeoning template for melee weapons is be 2 die steps higher on damage, not just one. However, it cannot take Improved Damage Die at all.
Reasoning: With the above change, this gives Bludgeoning 3CP in free upgrades, which balances it with Slashing and Piercing. However, it would wind up at max damage already, so it cannot improve damage dice further with Improved Damage Die.

5) With the damage die progression and the limit on Improved Damage Die, redo the Slashing/Piercing Template damage. Here's my suggestion:

Weapon Damage Templates:

Light: 1d2
1h: 1d3
2h: 1d6

Light: 1d3
1h: 1d4
2h: 1d8

Light: 1d4
1h: 1d6
2h: 1d10

As mentioned above, the Bludgeoning Template is 2 steps higher than the above templates.

EDIT: The above changes focus on the melee weapons; I've only just started to look into the ranged weapons. If one of the above changes would unbalance some aspect of ranged weapons, I wouldn't know yet.

I know that's a lot to read, but what do you think?

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Set wrote:

While I was not a fan of the Magic the Gathering card game, the world was super-evocative, and I wouldn't mind playing a Pathfinder rules game set in that world, with an assortment of thematically appropriate green, red, black, white and blue spellcasters.

You know, there is someone else on the forums looking to put an MtG setting in Pathfinder. Here's the link to the topic in Homebrew.

Infinity Archmage

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

170. Word has been spreading of the mighty dragonslayer for hire, who has been roaming the rural villages in pursuit of dragons to slay. Luckily for him (and the PC's), there have been numerous dragon attacks over the last several weeks, far more than usual, and many villages have paid for the dragonslayer's services. Truth is, it's the same dragon attacking each village, just in different disguises, and it's working a two-person con with the "dragonslayer" in exchange for half the pay. Any PC's helping to defend against one of the dragon attacks may realize that something is amiss...

170a. As 170, but the dragon is voiced by Sean Connery, in case some players don't get the reference.

171. As 170, but replace "dragon" with "big scary monster". Could be a wildshaped druid, or a polymorphed wizard, or even a heavily disguised familiar.

172. As 170, but the hunter/monster bond is more than just a business partnership; it's a summoner and his/her eidolon. The powerful conjuration spell the "hunter" casts to "banish the beast" is, in fact, simply unsummoning the eidolon, combined with a variation on Magic Aura (and/or disguised spellcasting) to make it look like an actual spell.

173. Run as a variation on 170, or as a sequel: Hearing of the monster attacks, actual adventurers/monster-slayers get involved to hunt down and kill the beast. Both the "hunter" and the "monster" risk losing the con, and possibly their lives! For more mercenary PC's, they're willing to part with some of their saved wealth if the PC's can help them get away from the real monster-hunters, preferably without giving away the con. On the other hand, more straightforward PC's may want to see them brought to justice, which would mean facing off against an unusual pair of con artists and disguise experts.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

World-building is never easy, but it's worth it, in my opinion.

Oh, and I know it was a while ago now, but something's been bugging me: I owe you an apology. I tried to steer the discussion back to Pathfinder, and then mentioned two other game systems. That was hypocritical of me; I'm sorry.

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

Let me see if I can shine some light on this:

The "Linear vs Quadratic", as others have said, refers to the overall power of each class as they level up. Fighters get more powerful linearly (flat damage bonuses, more feats), whereas spellcasters get more powerful quadratically (each spell level is far more powerful than the last).

Basically, starting at about 6th level, spellcasters make fighters completely obsolete. There is nothing a fighter can do that a spellcaster can also do, and much more.

For example, there are many low-level spells that make entire skills completely useless.

The 1st-level spell Disguise Self, and especially its 2nd-level version, Alter Self, make the Disguise skill completely useless. Who needs lots of makeup and a wardrobe when you can snap your fingers and look like anyone?
The 2nd-level spell Invisibility makes Stealth almost useless, or at least shuts down the whole "can he see me or can he not" debate. Combine with some spells with the Silent Spell metamagic feat, or a Rod of Silent Spell, for extra hilarity.
By 3rd-level spells, the Fly spell allows for fairly long-duration flight. It makes the Climb skill pointless, and shuts down parts of Acrobatics. (You do need another skill, Fly, but it's far more versatile than Climb, which requires a vertical surface nearby.)

On the Cleric side of things, it's kind of odd that Clerics get Heal as a class skill, since they basically don't need it at all once they get 2nd, and especially 3rd, level spells. Even the first-level Cure Light Wounds can heal far faster and more effectively than several days of bed rest, and Remove Disease uses a caster level check, not a Heal check.

So, that's... *counts up on fingers*... 4 skills rendered completely useless so far, and I haven't even gotten into the 4th-level spells and up. Please note that, since fighters don't have spellcasting, they either need to put some ranks into those 4 skills if they want to be even half as good as a spellcaster, or they need to ask their spellcaster friends for some buffs.

The best summary I've heard of the problem comes from Jiggy. It was originally posted in this other thread.

Jiggy wrote:

Ultimately, having a "fantasy" setting just means there are things in the setting that go beyond reality. In a sense, the setting has two types of things in it: the mundane (that which is comparable to reality) and the fantastic (that which exceeds reality).

Now, different fantasy settings (which, remember, means "settings in which some things go beyond reality") will have different ways of determining how someone (or something) is allowed to exceed reality, to make the jump from being mundane to being fantastic.

In some settings, the necessary element to move from the mundane to the fantastic is simply magic. The Harry Potter universe is a perfect example: the fantasy setting is literally "reality plus magic". If you're a spellcaster (or magical creature), you're part of the fantasy story. If you're nonmagical, you're part of the mundane background; you're what the reader/viewer compares the magic to in order to see how much more fantastic it is than you are.

In other settings, a person could exceed reality and move from the category of "mundane" to the category of "fantastic" by any number of means: magic, training, enlightenment, divine parentage, and so forth. This type of setting is where you see people like Pecos Bill, who could lasso a tornado just by virtue of being a badass. Thus, his badassery was able to elevate him from "mundane" (realistic) to "fantastic" (beyond reality).

Both types of settings are fine. They tell different types of stories, and neither can really fill in for the other.

But there's an extra complication when you're talking about a game.

See, in a book or film or TV show, you can mix fantastic characters with mundane characters as you please, because you can carefully sculpt the action to have the result you want. In Avatar: the Last Airbender, the setting is of the first kind I described (only magic gets to exceed reality and be "fantastic"). However, the core group of protagonists includes both fantastic and mundane characters—there's even an episode about one of the mundane characters dealing with that gap. But since it's non-game fiction, the authors were able to create circumstances where the mundane characters could contribute meaningfully to the story through clever scripted use of circumstantial carefully-placed resources.

But in a fantasy game, that's a LOT harder to pull off. Even if you carefully sculpt situations where the muggle can help save Hogwarts, it will often feel hollow and contrived. Typically, it's no fun to have one player playing a fantasy hero and another player playing a mundane, non-fantastic character in the same game.

The ideal, then, is for every player character to be able to be "fantastic", to exceed reality. It doesn't matter which kind of setting you're using or what the requirement is for moving from mundane to fantastic; it just matters that each player has equal access to it. If exceeding reality requires a gift from the gods, then every player character should receive that gift. If exceeding reality requires being taught by a fantastic mentor, then every player character should have such a mentor. If exceeding reality requires access to magic, then every player character should have access to magic.

So again, it doesn't matter whether or not magic is the only way to go beyond reality and into fantasy. All that matters is that every player character gets to go there. The setting's definition of fantasy must be something within every player's reach.

And that's where the problem comes in: people who want a setting where X is required to exceed reality, but where not every player gets to have X. In the case of discussing Pathfinder, X is usually magic: people say that they want their fantasy to be defined as requiring magic in order to be fantastic (which is fine) but then fail to realize that some game options lack the very thing they defined as necessary for fantasy and are therefore by definition not fantasic!

The end result is this: if you want a setting where only magic can exceed reality, then fighters are not fantasy heroes, and you're just fooling yourself to say they are. If you want nonmagical characters to be capable of fantasy, then you have to allow nonmagical things to "go fantastic," to exceed reality. You've got to pick your direction and commit; trying to claim one setting while enforcing the mechanics of the other is why we keep having these arguments.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So, I've spent more time going through the whole thread so far, and here are more questions/comments.

1) Ah, and NOW I find the old post about firearms. Sorry I missed it earlier!

2) What playable races are there? There are the big five, obviously: Krodanoi, Syldanar, Myrdanar, Rhuz, and Humans. I've heard you mention a few others: Gnostra, Chirops, Fabricants, Forgecursed, Ghouls, Vampires, Harpies... anyone else so far? And are those minor races playable out of the box, or only with GM permission? (Ghouls, Vampires, Fabricants, and Forgecursed sound pretty GM-permission-only, or at least "warn your GM first... and hide your cheeses".)

3) The big one: Why e6?
I understand one of your design goals:

Umbral Reaver wrote:

Another design goal, now that I remember: Player characters should never reach a point where, without influence, they can bully low-level NPCs without consequence.

At level 10, you might be twice as tough as you were at level 1!

That being said, Wounds/Vigor and especially SoP remove most of the quadratic power from a campaign. So while a level 15 or even 20 character is definitely powerful, they're not plane-shatteringly powerful in the way that a Vancian caster is, especially if you leave out the Advanced Talents. With Wounds/Vigor, even high-level characters have to worry about unlucky crits, since your Wounds pool rarely increases. And if you have AC partially scale off of BAB, which is linear, then even high-level characters with Low BAB still have to worry about being caught in melee. And without Vancian magic, they can't just drop 2 walls, 3 summons, and a fly/teleport spell to get out of range... at least, not without burning through most of their spell points for the day.

Confession: I've never played an e6 campaign in my life, but I find the concept odd. Most character builds don't really hit their stride until level 5 or so, and are usually gaining core features all the way up to level 15. In fact, when I GM, I usually just blitz the first 5 levels; frankly, I find them kinda boring. Maybe I've just never run with the right kind of group. So, in my personal "If I took over Deutero" fantasy (A fantasy fantasy, if you will), I'd run the full level-20 spread, but ban all Advanced Talents in SoP; or at least only make them available through costly, complicated, and usually dangerous rituals.

In Summary: From my point of view, it seems redundant to use the e6 rules on top of the SoP magic system; SoP already smooths out the power curve dramatically, so high-level play doesn't turn into Rocket Tag. Why would you then also remove high-level play itself, at least as an option? I'm sorry if my above criticisms sound discouraging; they're meant to be quite the opposite. Your worldbuilding is amazing, and I love how the different races and societies work. I'm just a little confused and curious about some of your design decisions.

P.S. I know this is from over a year ago, but nobody else mentioned it, so I will.

Umbral Reaver wrote:
Edit: Ooh, another idea for a ghoul talent: Cloak of flesh. Instead of devouring a body, you incorporate its flesh directly into your own, taking on the appearance of that person!

Did anyone else suddenly get the idea for a ghoul antagonist that kidnaps people just to use this ability... perhaps imprisoning them in an underground pit first, and requiring some alchemical substance to be applied to the still-living victim's skin first.

P.P.S. Continuing my If I Took Over Deutero fantasy, I would definitely make a reptilian race. Probably two races; one based on kobolds (more underground, intelligent and creative), one based on lizardfolk (more aboveground, strong and industrious). Because reasons. But that's just me; I know you're not looking for more things to add to the setting, and I don't want to disrupt the awesome stuff you've already got going.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thank you! I'm trying to figure out why there wasn't an archetype like this in Ultimate Combat. I mean, the Cavalier seems to be based on the Knight from D&D 3.5 (from Player's Handbook 2, in case you were wondering), and the Knight didn't get a mount as a class feature.
I understand some people wanting a class that has a mount right off the bat, so that they don't have to scrimp and save their first few treasure hauls just to get a mount. That being said, when they were coming up with archetypes for Ultimate Combat, why was something like this not the first thing on the list for Cavalier?

A few minor details/questions:
Armored Mobility: You mean that, past 3rd level, they also gain the fighter's Armor Training class feature? If so, I'd reword the second sentence to something like "At 3rd level, the vanguard cavalier gains armor training, as the fighter class feature." Possibly even clarifying with "using his vanguard cavalier level as his fighter level", to emphasize that the vanguard cavalier also gains Armor Training 2/3/4 at levels 7/11/15.

Spearhead Charge: I'm a little confused on when the +4 to attack rolls would apply. Is that "any enemy not threatened by the cavalier or any of their allies at the beginning of the turn", AND "the target of the cavalier's Challenge, whether they were threatened at the beginning of the turn or not"? If so, you may want to reword the ability to clarify that.

Supreme Charge: The double damage. I assume, like a critical hit, this does not double precision-based damage, like from a flaming weapon? (Also, if I'm not mistaken, the ability name is misspelled.)

Other than those issues, this looks great. Once again, thanks for putting this together!

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmm... now that I've had time to think this over, here are my thoughts.

As always, this is just my personal opinion about what you've said so far, so take it as you will.

Firstly, the main question on my mind: Which classes are you going to allow/disallow? The SoP system, as I see it, chucks out most spellcasting classes, since the SoP classes replace them almost completely. So, which Pathfinder casting classes are in (using their SoP archetypes), and which SoP casters are in? And are there any non-spellcasting classes you're not allowing? I'm guessing Gunslinger, but what about Bolt Ace?

Vitality/Wounds and Armor as DR together make low-level combat much more survivable, so the PC's don't have to run back to town to sleep after every single random encounter. It is a little more paperwork to keep track of (with two kinds of health and two kinds of defences), but that can just take the place of all the paperwork that SoP gets rid of, so no problems there. Mind you, from a minmaxing perspective, this makes Enhancement(Versatile Weapon) almost mandatory; if I played an Arcane character, that would be one of my first talents.

As for the half-DR thing: I understand you want to rein in heavy armor, especially at low levels, but most characters in vanilla Pathfinder don't use more than one weapon, in my experience. Maybe your groups play differently than most that I've seen, but I don't see a whole lot of "walking armory"/"swiss army weapon" characters these days. Then again, just dealing with the full DR isn't a huge issue, so characters going the Weapon Focus chain could just deal with the full DR against most enemies.

About weapon damage types: Again, half DR against full DR isn't a huge deal, but this does make natural attacks a lot stronger. Very few natural attacks deal only one damage type; claws deal two (piercing and slashing), and bite attacks deal all three, which means bite attacks have guaranteed half-DR! It also gives further benefit to that strangely powerful simple weapon, the humble morningstar. It's still a great backup weapon in most campaigns, but with the half-DR rule, it may actually be a better weapon than most martial weapons!

Again, these are just my thoughts on your ideas so far.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Okay, now that I've bought and read through SoP, all I can say is:

Whoa. That definitely redoes the entire Fantasy part of Pathfinder.

Don't get me wrong, I like the concept, but using SoP means a whole different flavor of fantasy RPG. Less tables and rulebooks and more making stuff up on the fly, and responding on the fly. Overall, as I see it, SoP spellcasters are far less powerful than Vancian, but far more versatile, and can last much longer in an adventuring day.

Hmm, has an array of general abilities, can burn resources to make them temporarily more awesome, can pick alternate effects for those general abilities, GM can limit their power and add drawbacks in exchange for useful benefits... anyone else reminded of Mutants and Masterminds?

In fact, chuck out hit points and replace them with a Toughness save, and you've basically got Mutants and Masterminds wearing Pathfinder's clothes.

Mind you, I like the SoP idea; it certainly brings magic and martial much closer in line with each other, especially if you ban or severely restrict the Advanced Talents. No more of this:
Wizard: I leveled up! Now I can breach the barrier between worlds!
Cleric: I leveled up! Now I can bring the dead back to life!
Fighter: I leveled up! Now I can... hit things a little harder. Yay.

Overall, I'm interested, but if you run a game using SoP rules, you'd have to make clear to the players, especially anyone who wants to play a spellcaster, that this isn't Vancian-Kansas anymore. If nothing else, though, now I want to rewrite parts of some of the published AP's with the SoP system, just to see how much they change.

(Shameless self-promotion)
If you're looking for a way to reduce or remove the Christmas-tree effect, there are the Automatic Bonuses from Pathfinder Unchained. If you want, I do have my own rewrite, simply called You Are Not Your Gear. The Google Doc link is here:
You Are Not Your Gear - Version 5
(/Shameless self-promotion)

(P.P.S. Just a guess, but I would suspect that the flavor text at the beginning of Chapter 6 (Magic Items) is something you were more interested in than I was. Not that there's anything wrong with that. My sincerest apologies if I am incorrect, but I feel I had to comment about it somewhere.)

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Spheres of Power? Never heard of it. One sec...


Huh. Interesting! I'll take a closer look at it.

This is definitely going to be a major overhaul, then. Messing with the magic system... mind you, Vancian magic isn't my favorite, but redoing that is going to mean rewriting almost all of the "fantasy" parts of Pathfinder.

That reminds me... what about non-spellcasters? In your setting, are there any PC classes who don't command any magic at all? And if so, how do they compete with spellcasters, especially at higher levels? (I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but in vanilla Pathfinder past level 10 or so, casters beat noncasters. Maybe not in a 1v1 duel, but definitely in the scope of the world they can effect. A high-level fighter may be able to destroy a city in a day, but a high level cleric/wizard can BUILD one in a day.)

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow. This is incredible! You've already put so much work into describing the setting!

I have two thoughts on this:
1) You want narrower fields of magic, harder healing, harder traveling, three different energy resources... have you taken a look at the Iron Kingdoms tabletop RPG? I'm not sure how much in there would interest you, but it does a few things you describe; Priests and Arcanists use the same casting system and don't get very many spells, the only spell in the game that can flat-out heal someone comes with some nasty side effects, and the setting includes some budding magitechnology.

2) I know I've already undermined myself with the above post, but here's my point of view: Your game system is interesting, I'd love to playtest it at some point, but... these are the Pathfinder forums. Personally, I'd be more interested to hear how you'd bring this setting into the Pathfinder rules. How would you redo the Cleric and Wizard? Harder healing is pretty easy, just modify the Wound/Vigor system in Ultimate Combat. Maybe only have one main spellcasting class, kind of a scaled-up Adept, and have the five schools of magic be archetypes/features of that class? Just a few thoughts.

Overall, you're doing great! I'd love to hear more about this!

EDIT: I do have to admit some personal bias towards this setting; I haven't played a ton of MTG, but the idea of 5 main factions and the 10 minor dual-color factions is something I find very interesting.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow. Great work so far! I haven't read everything yet, but I'm impressed, especially with the Scion!

Just wondering, have you ever heard of a 3.5 class called a Factotum? It was an odd base class in a niche book (Dungeonscape, if you were wondering), but it had a similar really-jack-of-all-trades feel about it, where a factotum could basically gain temporary class features on the fly. Mind you, they use a resource that regenerates per encounter, which makes it feel like a prototype for 4th edition. Still, it has some ideas worth considering.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Interesting! The original Bolt Ace did have some holes in it, and this patches them nicely! I like how Sharp Shoot is nerfed to only the first range increment (not really a problem with crossbows, since that's at least 80 ft.), especially once Signature Deed becomes available.

The one thing I'd personally change: Move Crossbow Training up a few levels. Getting Dex to damage on a ranged weapon is insanely rare; to my knowledge, only the Gunslinger gets access to that. The relative lack of damage bonuses on ranged weapons is what balances them against melee weapons, since archers have to constantly choose between Dex for accuracy and Str for damage. On melee weapons, I have less of a problem with easy Dex to damage (like Unchained Rogue, or even just putting it in Weapon Finesse), but ranged weapons already have the benefit of being ranged.

Put it this way: A one-level dip for Dex to damage with any one crossbow? Any Ranger, Hunter, or even Alchemist build I make would almost automatically go for that, and I don't like level-dipping. The regular Gunslinger and Bolt Ace both get it all the way up at 5th level for a reason.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is mostly off-topic, but I just had to add: Jared (from MGDMT) has already tried making an elephantfolk rogue.

The two relevant comics:
MGDMT - Elephant Man 1

MGDMT - Elephant Man 2

Note: MGDMT stands for Manly Guys Doing Manly Things. It's a webcomic.

Back on topic...
Yeah, putting slapping/prehensile on the trunk is interesting, but I feel that's too powerful for a core race. Just put the prehensile trunk in as fluff text; it's interesting, but I don't see a mechanical benefit in it. As others have said, I'd replace it with some kind of mental or skill bonus.
Maybe they get Breadth of Experience as a racial bonus feat?

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Okay, updated the Point Buy table to the following. I'll update the Google Doc in another few days, because I don't want to have to keep relinking it every day or two, especially if there are other parts that need rewriting/explaining.

Level Point Buy
1 0
2 1
3 2
4 4
5 8
6 12
7 16
8 20
9 25
10 30
11 35
12 45
13 50
14 60
15 70
16 80
17 90
18 100
19 135
20 175

Amanuensis - So, for example, your 91-point wizard is 91 points total, which is 76 points on top of the OPB. In YANYG, a 15th-level wizard has 70 points on top of their OPB to spend, making the point buy 85 points total. So it is a nerf to a SAD character (the wizard would have to probably drop Con down to 16, or Int down to 25), but not a severe one. On the other hand, the monk gets buffed from 80 points to 70+15 = 85 points total.

Oh, and a note I should put into the Google doc: Characters may save these points between levels. So if you don't want to spend that one point at level 2, just save it until level 3 or 4. It does mean you have to write it down somewhere on your character sheet; I'd suggest just underneath the ability scores.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Amanuensis - I did some number-crunching of my own on this one. I have at least 5 pages of notes on this (double-sided), detailing various builds at different levels and which point buys would be appropriate for each. That's not to say that I'm right on this one, but these numbers have not just been pulled out of a hat. Yes, most completely SAD characters are somewhat nerfed with the point buy system; less so if they actually increase their secondary stats (like Dex and Con for wizards).

I will freely admit some bias on my part, as I don't like the idea of a character focusing completely on one stat; even my witches and wizards don't put everything they have into Int. And yes, this is also to help the caster-martial class disparity (aka, Operation: Nerf Da Squishies), so that martial characters, and especially monks, don't feel as ability-score starved as their caster companions.

As for the actual amount of points to spend at any given level: Like I said before, I've done a bit of homework on it, but that doesn't mean it's perfect. The main way the final numbers were arrived at was using a hypothetical character build that increased 5 ability scores evenly, leaving the 6th at 10 until the late levels. I then used levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 as benchmarks, rounding the numbers (usually up a little), and smoothing out the power curves between those benchmarks.

I really like this Extended Point Buy system a lot, so I'd like to keep it in. The question is, do I increase the points available, giving MAD characters a definite buff from vanilla Pathfinder? Or do I keep the points where they are, giving SAD characters a definite debuff from vanilla Pathfinder?

See, in vanilla Pathfinder, ability score costs are mostly linear: The stat-boosting gear has exponential costs, but the +1/4 levels and inherent bonuses are completely linear, favoring putting all of them into a single stat. Point buy, on the other hand, is completely exponential, so the ability scores always get more costly as they go higher. I know this is a serious departure from vanilla Pathfinder, but I personally like it, so I'd rather not remove it if I don't have to. That being said, how would you change the numbers? I'll have to go over this with a hypothetical wizard build, and see how the numbers compare.

EDIT: P.S. Are you including the Original Point Buy in the above math? The points everyone starts with to create their level 1 ability scores? The table in YANYG doesn't include those points, so the total points you have to work with at any given level equals the table, plus your Original Point Buy amount, which is usually 15, 20, or 25 points.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Shadrayl - Weak? I wasn't expecting to hear that. I did spend a while comparing it to regular stat boosts at different levels to see how it added up, and this actually comes out ahead of stat boosts and the increase every 4 levels, at least for characters who don't just boost one ability score at every opportunity. But yes, the numbers may need adjusting; I just wasn't expecting to hear that I might need to adjust them to be higher!

Also, standard spells: Are you talking about the rewrite on the animal buff spells, Wish, and Greater Magic Weapon? I tried to make it as little work as possible, but maybe I should simplify the wording. The goal of those rewrites is simply: "Almost every spell that duplicated gear bonuses, even temporarily, doesn't do that anymore."

Hence the no-inherent Wish, the buffed Greater Magic Weapon, and the actually-useful animal buffs. I'm sorry if it seems like a lot of work, but it's just to modify some of the spells to work with this houserule without changing their entire function.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well, with Pathfinder Unchained coming out with its own version of automatic character bonuses, I figured it was time to update my own houserule and clean it up a little. Without further ado, I present...

You Are Not Your Gear

Why the different version names? Well, it's currently Version 5 of the houserule, but this is Version 2 of the thread. I figured I'd start a new thread, rather than necro the old one, especially since now I can put a link to the Google Doc right in the first post. (Of course, if/when I ever make a Version 6, this will all become outdated, but that won't be for a while, right?)

There are three main changes from Version 4:
1) Some rebalancing of when characters get what bonuses.
2) Using this houserule only costs 1/2 of your WBL, not 3/5ths. Less bookkeeping, and only slightly more powerful; still near the power of vanilla Pathfinder.
3) Using an extended Point Buy system instead of enhancement/inherent bonuses for ability scores. Trades one set of numbers to keep track of with another set of numbers to keep track of, but this way your characters don't have to use Sovereign Glue on their belt and headband so that their stats don't suddenly plummet when they get undressed at night.

Several people on the forums inspired me and gave good advice for this houserule already, but I have to especially credit Charender for suggesting the Extended Point Buy system; thank you!

I should mention that I still haven't had time to playtest any of this (I've been rather busy with school and work for the last several months), so this is still all conceptual; I'd appreciate any constructive feedback on these rules.

So, what do you think? Is the Extended Point Buy system too much extra number-crunching to be worth it? Is this too overpowered in an otherwise regular Pathfinder game? How does it compare to the Pathfinder Unchained rules? Please let me know in your replies!

P.S. This is my insecurity talking, but that Google Docs link is anonymous, right? I'd rather not just show my Google account and email address to everyone on the Internet.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I really, really like this idea!

At least, I like this idea as I'm picturing it. And it sounds like almost everyone has a different idea of how "Pokemon-based Pathfinder setting" would play out. Let me see if I can clarify this with a question:

Which part(s) of Pokemon would you put into Pathfinder?

-Is it the combat mechanics? (Fighting mainly with familiars and summoned creatures, possibly with a "capturing" mechanic)

-Is it the ecology/natural world? (Very few "normal" animals, mostly magical beasts/outsiders/elementals, each with at least one supernatural ability)

-Is it the society/cities? (Few cities, spaced far apart, separated by terrain that is difficult to traverse, monster-infested, or usually both, yet still maintain vibrant and thriving economies)

-Is it some mix of the above?

There are a lot of parts to Pokemon, and a lot of parts to Pathfinder. Which parts do you want to replace with which?

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is an awesome idea! Combining tabletop turn-based Pathfinder goodness with some Civilization-esque kingdom-building and technological rediscovery, with a bit of Rogue Legacy with passing character stats/gear/progress from generation to generation... this is pushing a lot of my "like" buttons.

I don't think I'd ever run this system; not sure if I'd even play in it. I just don't have the time to devote to a system this complicated; definitely not during school. Still, this sounds great!

Oh, right, how to improve it. Well... it'll take some time for me to run the numbers to see how fast/slow the game progresses. The "NPC classes only, almost no gear, almost no bonuses" start seems painfully slow, but I'm more used to mid-level play. Besides, anyone rebuilding civilization has got to start somewhere, right? Other than that, no real problems I can think of!

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Whew! I'm back. Thanks to everyone for posting their thoughts and suggestions here!

First up, I have not been idle over the last week. I now present... You Are Not Your Gear, Version 4! Now on Google Docs! Yay! The link is here:

You Are Not Your Gear - Version 4
Patch Notes:
-Players get their +1 Ability Score boost every 4 levels again.
-Deflection and Natural Armor bonuses have been moved up to the higher levels. Sorry, but no +1 Ring of Deflection until level 11. On the plus side...
-Ability Score boosts and Armor/Saves/Weapon boosts have been shifted lower.

And now, on to the replies:

@Mythic Evil Lincoln - Yes, I know, everyone has their own ideas about how to balance and tweak the game, but that's part of the fun of Pathfinder homebrew; you get to see some of the wild and wacky ideas people have come up with. I just figured I'd share my take on the whole mandatory-magic-item thing, and see what parts other people like and what parts they don't. I did rip off your "2 Ability Scores/4 Ability Scores" choice players can make; let me know if you want credit for it.

@Artemis Moonstar and @Larkspire - I still haven't figured out how to do NPC gear properly, and I'm not sure if I'll get around to it. I generally don't allow the Leadership feat in my campaign anyway, so player cohorts aren't an issue for me. As for NPC's the characters interact/fight with... most of them should just use the bonuses for a PC of their level/CR.

@Charender - Doh! Why didn't I think of dropping the duration?! 1 Hour/CL for a buff like that does seem pretty lengthy. I'll make a note. Thanks!

@Dragon78 and @Charender - Your ideas both sound cool, but that's more of an overhaul than I'm comfortable doing. Again, I'm at least trying to keep this near default Pathfinder/PFS levels, so it's hard for me to do major reworks. Both of those ideas sound great, though! I hadn't even considered extending Point Buy past first level, and use that to balance the ability score boosts. I guess it's because Point Buy is still "optional" in the default rules, I hadn't thought about putting it more firmly into the game.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Okay, redid the wording on how the Armor and Deflection bonuses work, and added some notes on how Familiars/Animal Companions/Eidolons/Cohorts might work. The redid parts are below.

Heroic Armor (Ex): Starting at 5th level, armor bonus to AC equal to +1, approx. +2/3 level after 5, to a maximum of +10 at level 19. (See the below table for a breakdown of how it works.) This does stack with the nonmagical armor bonus from armor, but not with Mage Armor, nor with any enhancement bonus to armor. A character using a shield in one hand (but not shields that are not carried in hand, such as the Shield spell) gets an additional bonus to AC equal to 1/2 of this bonus, rounded down, as a shield bonus that stacks with nonmagical shields. (So an extra +1 at 5th level, then +1/3 levels after that, to a max of an extra +5 at level 17.)
Heroic Deflection (Ex): Starting at 6th level, deflection bonus to AC (and therefore also touch AC and CMD) equal to +1, +1/3 level after 6, to a max of +5 at level 18.

So the table has now been changed as follows.
The terms used:
Saves: Saving throws.
Armor: Armor bonus to AC.
Def: Deflection bonus to AC.
Weapons: Bonus to all weapon attacks.
Abi: Ability scores. A () shows the +1 bonuses gained at high levels.
1: None
2: None
3: +1 Saves
4: Abi: +1
5: +1 Armor, +1 Weapons
6: +1 Def, +2 Saves, Abi: +2
7: +2 Armor
8: +3 Armor, +2 Weapons, Abi: +3/+1
9: +2 Def, +3 Saves
10: +4 Armor, Abi: +4/+2
11: +5 Armor, +3 Weapons
12: +3 Def, +4 Saves, Abi: +5/+3/+1
13: +6 Armor
14: +7 Armor, +4 Weapons, Abi: +6/+4/+2/+1
15: +4 Def, +5 Saves, Abi: +6/+4/+3/+2
16: +8 Armor, Abi: +6/+5/+4/+3 (+1)
17: +9 Armor, +5 Weapons, Abi: +7/+6/+5/+4 (+1)
18: +5 Def, Abi: +8/+7/+6/+5 (+1)
19: +10 Armor, Abi: +8/+8/+7/+6 (+1)
20: Abi: +9/+8/+7/+6 (+1)

-How does this apply to familiars/cohorts/animal companions/eidolons? I'm not sure, but here are some quick guidelines (these will almost certainly need refining and polishing):

Cohorts have bonuses as a PC of a level equal to 2/3rds of its own level. (Since it's an NPC, not a PC, it's a few levels behind on the gear. Also, it uses 2/3rds of its level, not the Leadership character's level.)

Familiars and Animal Companions gain the Weapons bonuses, but not the AC, Saves, or Ability Score bonuses.

Summoners may choose how to split the bonuses between themselves and their eidolon. If they have multiple eidolons, and bonuses the summoner gives up applies to all of their eidolons. If the summoner is a Synthesist: While fused with their eidolon, the summoner loses the Ability Score bonuses and the Armor bonus to AC (but not the Deflection bonus).

EDIT: Reworded part of the Cohort description.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@StabbittyDoom - Wait, 5 AC behind how? I'm seeing +5 from magic armor, +5 from natural armor, +5 from deflection, +5 to regular AC with a magic shield. What am I missing? Also, I forgot about deflection applying to CMD; man, deflection bonuses are awesome!

As for magic weapons and DR... hm, I'll have to consider that. Instantly bypassing DR at certain levels does seem kinda silly, but that's actually how the regular game works, except that most of my characters have a +5 weapon by level 15, not 17. It does make Penetrating Strike almost completely useless, but I like the amount of extra work it saves, trying to track who can penetrate what. Plus, it prevents martial characters from having to buy a Swiss Army Polearm just to deal with all the different kinds of DR out there. Still, your idea of keeping it on the weapon-enhancing spells/class abilities has merit. I knew I was making Arcane Pool and Divine Bond(weapon) almost completely useless, and I was trying to figure out a way to keep them relevant. Maybe I'll use your idea!

As for Mage Armor... I personally don't have a problem with it becoming completely useless at level 8. Armorless characters generally have other ways of getting their AC up (or just avoid getting attacked in the first place), and it's not the only 1st-level spell to be awesome in early levels and useless by mid levels (I'm looking at you, Color Spray and Sleep). I figure keeping Shield relevant is a nice compromise for the major casters.

P.S. This is completely off-topic, but the rest of my post is, so...
Having weapons taken away? What, like in the casinos? That's what Sneak is for; 50 Sneak lets you keep some of the bigger stuff. Plus, there are a few awesome smaller weapons out there (even Maria is good for most of the game). Or are you talking about Dead Money? I personally loved that DLC, but I can see why some people hate it; it's not for everyone. (Though I did get a mod to get rid of those godawful invulnerable radios; that was a terrible design choice.)

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@DMKumoGekkou - Thanks! I'd love to see what you think of it after you runs some numbers. Again, my goal is to keep this in line with regular Pathfinder, more or less.

@Dragonsbane777 - Cool idea, but that's changing things a little too much for my taste. I'd love to see how it works out, though!

@Arrius - I thought about that, but there's one issue: How do you make a Google Doc "anonymous"? I have a Google account, but I can't figure out how to make only the doc accessible without linking the rest of my drive. How do most of the Pathfinder guide writers accomplish it?

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

EDIT: Wait, you can't edit posts older than a day or two?! Great; I was hoping to find some easy way to guide people to this post, instead of my old Version 1 post, without having to make a whole new thread. Should I just ditch this thread and make a new one, or should I trust people to be able to find this one, so I don't get feedback about stuff I already addressed?

Okay, now on to the fun stuff! I've spent the last two days refining and polishing this houserule, as well as slightly expanding its scope to include weapons, armor, and the normal ability score increases every 4 levels. Introducing... Version 2!

I've been thinking over what a few people on this thread have mentioned, and after working on it some more, I have now made Version 2 of this houserule. It includes what I did before, but modified and smoothed out a bit, as well as including weapon and armor enhancements in here. Here is the new houserule.

You Are Not Your Gear, Version 2

Drawbacks (Any campaign using this houserule has these drawbacks.)
-Characters only get 2/5ths of the original WBL. (If WBL isn't tracked, characters should get about half as much treasure as they do normally.)
-Characters do not gain the normal 1 attribute bonus every 4 levels. (Instead, it is folded into the Attribute bonus, as detailed below.)
-Spells that give enhancement bonuses to ability scores, weapons, or armor do not function. Wish cannot be used to grant an inherent bonus to an ability score. (These spells are either removed from the game completely, or given alternate functions; see below for some suggestions.)
-Magic items that give an enhancement bonuses or inherent bonuses to ability scores, weapons, or armor do not function. (As with spells, these items should either be removed or reworked.)
-For all magic weapons and armor, when determining the total cost to purchase it (and the cost against WBL), all costs from magical enchantments count as twice as much.

Clarifications (Not actual rule changes, but just to put several important rules here)
-Alter Self, Beast Shape, and the like give a Size bonus to ability scores, not an Enhancement bonus, so it still functions and stacks with the ability score increases below.
-In normal Pathfinder, monks (and brawlers) with the Unarmed Strike class feature may treat their unarmed strike as a manufactured weapon for purposes of Magic Weapon and Greater Magic Weapon. (See page 310 of the Core Rulebook for the descriptions of Magic Weapon and Greater Magic Weapon.) Why am I mentioning this here? Read the Modifications below.
-Technically, you may add enchantments to regular clothing as though it was armor with a bonus of +0, though it must be Masterwork first. Most people don't think of making Masterwork clothing, and it's going to be tough to find a tailor that good in most towns. Still, it's an option for those who want enchanted armor but have class features/spells that can't use armor.

Modifications (Minor rule changes to help this houserule.)
-Armor, shields, and weapons must merely be Masterwork to start putting special enchantments on them; they do not need to be made +1 first. As detailed above, these enchantments do cost twice as much as normal.
-Monks, Brawlers and any other character with the Unarmed Strike class feature (Not just the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, the actual class feature) gains the following benefit: When they have at least one weapon they are proficient with on their person, they may apply the magical enchantments on that weapon to all of their unarmed attacks. They do not have to wield the weapon or even have it in hand, but it must be on their person and not wielded by anyone else. Any enchantments on the weapon that are invalid to apply to their unarmed strike are ignored. (For example, the Keen enchantment can't be put on bludgeoning weapons, and unarmed strike is a bludgeoning weapon, so Keen is ignored.)

Right, with all of that red tape out of the way, on to the fun part...

All player characters gain the following bonuses at the assigned levels. These bonuses are in addition to any gained from race or class features, as normal. As normal, all of these bonuses round down unless otherwise specified.

Heroic Saves (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, bonus to all saving throws equal to 1/3 level, to a max of +5 at level 15.
Heroic Armor (Ex): Starting at 5th level, bonus to AC equal to level-3, to a maximum of +15 at level 19. This does stack with the armor bonus from armor, but not with Mage Armor.
Heroic Deflection (Ex): Starting at 6th level, bonus to Touch AC (but not regular or flat-footed AC) equal to 1/3 level, to a max of +5 at level 18. A character using a shield (But not the Shield spell) may apply this bonus to regular AC (and therefore flat-footed AC) as well.
Heroic Weapons (Ex): Starting at 5th level, all weapons (including unarmed strikes and natural weapons) are treated as +1. That means +1 on attack and damage rolls, counts as magic for DR, does not stack with the bonus from a Masterwork weapon. Goes up by 1/3 levels after that, to a max of +5 at level 17.
Intense Training (Ex): Starting at 4th level, the character's ability scores get bonuses as shown on the below table. (Note that the table shows the total ability score bonuses, not the bonuses per level.) This bonus is a permanent increase to the ability score, does not count as a temporary bonus, and cannot be dispelled. In addition, the increased ability score is used when meeting prerequisites for feats.
Almost Perfect (Ex): Starting at 16th level, +1 to an ability score of your choice every level; this stacks with Intense Training. (This works out to 5 +1's at level 20.) Like Intense Training, this is a permanent nonmagical increase that can even be used to meet feat prerequisites.

To help make things clearer, here is the 20-level progression for these bonuses. For the sake of brevity, bonuses will only be shown when they increase; any bonus not listed at a given level is whatever it was at the previous level. Also, when bonuses increase, the TOTAL bonus is shown, not the increase.
The terms used:
Saves: Saving throws.
AC: Armor Class.
Touch: Touch AC.
Weapons: Bonus to all attacks.
Abi: Ability scores. A () shows the +1 bonuses gained at high levels.
1: None
2: None
3: +1 Saves
4: Abi: +1
5: +1 AC, +1 Weapons
6: +2 AC, +1 Touch, +2 Saves, Abi: +2
7: +3 AC
8: +4 AC, +2 Weapons, Abi: +3/+1
9: +5 AC, +2 Touch, +3 Saves
10: +6 AC, Abi: +4/+2
11: +7 AC, +3 Weapons
12: +8 AC, +3 Touch, +4 Saves, Abi: +5/+3/+1
13: +9 AC
14: +10 AC, +4 Weapons, Abi: +6/+4/+2/+1
15: +11 AC, +4 Touch, +5 Saves, Abi: +6/+4/+3/+2
16: +12 AC, Abi: +6/+5/+4/+3 (+1)
17: +13 AC, +5 Weapons, Abi: +7/+6/+5/+4 (+1)
18: +14 AC, +5 Touch, Abi: +8/+7/+6/+5 (+1)
19: +15 AC, Abi: +8/+8/+7/+6 (+1)
20: Abi: +9/+8/+7/+6 (+1)

Overall Balance
-Although characters only get 2/5ths WBL, with the value from these bonuses, they may be as high as 20% over WBL for some levels, especially levels 12 and 17 or so. However, not all of these bonuses are useful to all characters, so their effective "value" may be lower than calculated. (I mean, come on. Blowing 25k for a bonus to your third-highest ability score? Splitting your leveling bonuses 3/2 instead of 5/0? Most SAD characters definitely have a lower WBL than indicated here.)

-In case anyone was wondering, here is the wealth a character should have left after getting the above bonuses, using WBL for their level.
Wealth Remaining (% of total WBL for that level)
3: 2k (67%)
4: 5k (83%)
5: 6.5k (62%)
6: 6k (38%)
7: 11.5k (49%)
8: 11k (33%)
9: 13k (28%)
10: 17k (27%)
11: 22k (27%)
12: 24.5k (23%)
13: 46.5k (33%)
14: 52.5k (28%)
15: 72.5k (30%)
16: 90.5k (29%)
17: 93.5k (23%)
18: 120.5k (23%)
19: 180k (26%)
20: 350k (40%)

-This does nerf Mage Armor and Shield a bit, though by the time the armor bonus ties with Mage Armor at character level 8, the major spellcasters are going to be on 4th level spells, which is about the time most 1st-level spells become much less useful. The Shield spell remains a great buff, though.

-Technically, this gives all characters infinite +5 weapons, but I don't think that unbalances the game; most martial characters don't usually have more than 2 halfway-decent weapons anyway. As for adding to all natural attacks... that may need playtesting; I feel uncomfortable giving effectively 5 or 6 magic weapons to some characters (Shapeshifting casters and Summoners, mostly). Still, I'll leave it in for now, but it may need tweaking later.

-The weapons bonus means all characters can bypass magic DR at level 5, cold iron/silver DR at level 11, adamantine DR at level 14, and all alignment DR at level 17. They still can't bypass hardness with a regular weapon. (See page 562 of the Core Rulebook for more on automatically bypassing DR.) This does cheapen several feats and class features; monks and brawlers now have redundant class features, but I figure the bonuses balance out. Again, needs playtesting to make sure it's polished.

-As a side effect, I think I wound up balancing the overall game a bit. SAD characters, being forced to split up some of their ability score bonuses, now can't just crank one stat through the roof as soon as they can, putting MAD characters on more even footing. Also, the free weapons and armor, as well as slotless bonuses, should help the gear-hungry martial characters quite a bit, so even at 2/5ths WBL, they can still afford better wondrous items (Cloak of Flying, etc) to give them some more options without relying on caster buffs.

-The magic items needed to replicate the above buffs are as follows:
Saving Throws: +5 Cloak of Resistance
AC: +5 Amulet of Natural Armor, +5 Armor, +5 Ring of Deflection
Touch AC: Part of +5 Ring of Deflection; adding to regular AC replicates a +5 shield.
Weapon: +5 Weapon.
Ability Score Bonuses: Works out as follows:
+9: +6 Enhancement, +3 from +1/4 ability score/level.
+8: +6 Enhancement, +2 from +1/4 ability score/level.
+7: +6 Enhancement, 1 casting of Wish.
+6: +6 Enhancement.
+5 to any ability score: 5 castings of Wish.
I figure a total of 6 castings of Wish isn't out of reach of most high-level parties, and the cost for those castings (150k worth of diamonds) is included in the WBL reduction.
The overall value of these magic items (assuming 1 weapon and no shield) is 530k, which is almost exactly 3/5ths of a 20th-level character's WBL, hence the 2/5ths WBL rule.

-The double-cost and only-masterwork rules for weapons and armor are mainly because no PC is ever going to enchant their items up to even +1, using these rules, since all their weapons and armor are magic starting as low as 4th level. So now they don't even need +1 to start adding enchantments; however, to balance for the fact that, for example, Major Fortification armor is now only priced as +5 armor but functions as +10 armor, the enchantment costs are doubled. It still makes effectively +10 weapons and armor basically half-cost (50k for armor, as opposed to 100k normally), but that's more balanced than quarter-cost.

P.S. Yes, the idea for trading wealth for bonuses, as well as scaling ability scores like this, came from 3.5's (in)famous Vow of Poverty (from Book of Exalted Deeds). However, in my opinion, I modified it so far from the original that I didn't feel the need to credit it. (Also, I didn't want to scare people away from reading this houserule; I know how broken Vow of Poverty can get in a 3.5 build.)

P.P.S. If you know why I named the ability score boosts the way I did, you get an invisible bonus. (NV is still way better than 3, though.)

P.P.P.S. For all the talk about needing playtesting, I'm not actually asking to put together a group to playtest this; at least, not right now. However, if anyone does use this houserule, please give me feedback as to how it went, what needs improving, and what's already good.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow, looks like a lot has happened while I was gone! I haven't been idle; I just finished polishing up Version 2 of this houserule, and I'm excited to share it, but a few things first; there are a few points a few people have brought up that I should address.

One, as to the martial/caster class balance issue: I agree it exists; martial characters have less interesting mechanics and take more work to make more powerful than casters. However, my two counterpoints:
1) Reworking either set of classes is far beyond the scope of these houserules. I'm trying to keep this houserule as simple as possible; there are enough features creeping in as it is.
2) In my personal opinion, the unbalancing isn't bad enough to warrant any major overhauls. Yes, martials are less interesting mechanically, but that doesn't mean they're less FUN; you'll just spend less time on mechanics and more time on fluff text/characterization.

Also, as to the balance of this houserule itself:
Several people have mentioned ignoring or reworking the WBL table itself. I'm trying not to, for another two reasons:
1) I can be quite the Emmet at times, always trying to follow the instructions, so breaking away from the published tables is a bit nerve-wracking for me.
2) Compounding the first issue is that I'm trying to keep this balanced for published material. My goal is that someone using this houserule could run a published module or even full AP with next to no changes in overall encounter difficulty or stats. Yes, I agree that the +1 attack/+1 defense arms race is kinda silly, but that's the system we're working in. I don't have the effort or the expertise for a more serious overhaul, and it's far beyond what this houserule is trying to do.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@Firstbourne - What?! Just ignore the WBL! But... but... that's not following the INSTRUCTIONS!
Kidding aside, I have considered having the bonuses stray farther from the WBL. I'll have to think about it; in the meantime, I wanted this first pass to be close to WBL, to make sure that my bonuses were at least mostly balanced. I'll definitely keep a WBL-balanced version for campaigns that want to stay closer to the core rules, but I may make a second version that plays much faster and looser with the WBL, in exchange for smoother progression by level.

Edit: Fixed a typo.

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@Arrius - Thanks! I haven't heard of the Numen system or Scaling Items... I'll have to look into those. As for the oddities with the Inherent bonus at the endgame levels, that was to keep the bonuses close to WBL.

@Mykull - Hm, I hadn't thought of that. Have the players pick their own bonuses, then have level-based prerequisites to solve people getting powerful magic-item effects too early. Your "all your weapons/armor are now magic" is something I really want to try; I tried putting something like that into my system, but I couldn't figure out how to "price" it by reducing the WBL. Have you considered making your own thread for your idea? Otherwise, some of the comments may get jumbled together here.

@DMKumoGekkou - Hey, someone else ran the numbers, and better than I did! I did a level-by-level WBL-comparison the way you did, but with an emphasis on the Nat/Def/Res bonuses scaling at a linear, easy-to-track rate. My earlier version of this houserule put things much closer to the WBL, but then players have to refer to that 20-level table for everything, since nothing was gained at a flat "+1/X level" rate. Any time I had a choice to go under WBL or over, I always went under, for two reasons:
1) To make the houserule more palatable to most GM's, and avoid the whole "New Houserule: Everyone is 10x more awesome" power creep.
2) Given that these bonuses cannot be dispelled and do not take up any magic item slots, I figured a relatively small "cost" on the bonuses wouldn't be inappropriate.
Finally: This wasn't harsh at all! Constructive criticism like this is exactly what I'm looking for. I know the idea needs tweaking and refining (or maybe even a total overhaul), but I can't figure out how on my own.

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

Overview: A minor houserule: remove four of the mandatory magic items, give those bonuses to all characters passively, adjust WBL as needed. Still perfectly balanced for gameplay, assuming your table doesn't see Mage's Disjunction cast on a regular basis.

Background: I really hate the idea of "mandatory" magic items that give nothing but more +1's, with encounters and CR's basically assuming characters have this gear. With that in mind, I'm proposing a fairly minor houserule. I've heard variations on this before, but I can't find any place on the forums where anyone actually spelled out how it would work, so here's my version, where I deal with four of these magic items: Amulet of Natural Armor, Ring of Deflection, Headband/Belt of Stat Bonuses, and the so-good-it's-required Cloak of Resistance.
(Mind you, I consider Boots of Levitation "mandatory" on most characters I play, but I find yet another +1 to be far more boring than "Gravity? What's that?" Getting a +1 from a class feature is one thing, but I'd like my magic items, enchanted with power, to be something a little more interesting.)

All characters have 1/2 the expected WBL. In other words, however much wealth and treasure they'd normally get, they now get half.

If the previous sentence didn't cause you to run screaming from the forums: Still here? Good. Let's get to the bonuses. All characters gain the following five extra features over the course of their 20-level careers. These are in addition to any class or race features they would normally gain at those levels.

Heroic Resistance (Ex): At 3rd level, the character gains a +1 Resistance bonus on all saving throws. This increases by +1 every three levels thereafter, capping out at +5 at 15th level.

Heroic Deflection (Ex): At 5rd level, the character gains a +1 Deflection bonus to their AC. This increases by +1 every three levels thereafter, capping out at +5 at 17th level.

Heroic Armor (Ex): At 7rd level, the character gains a +1 Enhancement bonus to their Natural Armor bonus to their AC (Just like an Amulet of Natural Armor, this can change a +0 Natural Armor bonus into a +1). This increases by +1 every three levels thereafter, capping out at +5 at 19th level.

Heroic Attributes (Ex): All characters gain an Enhancement bonus to one or more ability scores of their choice, as laid out in the table below.

Almost Perfect (Ex): At 18th level, one ability score of the character's choice gains a +1 Inherent bonus. At 20th level, that bonus increases by 4, to a total of a +5 Inherent bonus.

To help make things clearer, I've outlined the 20-level progression below.
Abbreviations: Res, Def, and Nat refer to Resistance, Deflection, and Enhancement bonus to Natural Armor, respectively. Inh refers to Inherent bonus. Enh refers to Enhancement bonus to Attribute. All numbers given are the TOTAL bonus at that level, not the increase at that level. So at level 14, a character has a +4 Enhancement bonus to one stat, and a +2 Enhancement bonus to a different stat.

Bonuses Gained By Level:
1: None
2: None
3: +1 Res
4: None
5: +1 Def
6: +2 Res
7: +1 Nat
8: +2 Def
9: +3 Res, Enh: +2
10: +2 Nat
11: +3 Def
12: +4 Res
13: +3 Nat, Enh: +4
14: +4 Def, Enh: +4/+2
15: +5 Res, Enh: +6/+2
16: +4 Nat, Enh: +6/+4/+2
17: +5 Def, Enh: +6/+6/+2
18: Enh: +6/+6/+6, Inh: +1
19: +5 Nat, Enh: +6/+6/+6/+6
20: Inh: +5

Game Balance: The above bonuses, when duplicated by magic items, work out to just a hair over 1/2 of a 20th-level player's expected WBL. The cost breakdown:
+5 Enhancement bonus to natural armor bonus to AC (50k)
+5 Deflection bonus to AC (50k)
+5 Resistance bonus to all saving throws (25k)
+6 Enhancement bonus to four different ability scores (180k)
+5 Inherent bonus to one ability score (137.5k)
Total: 442.5k
20th-level WBL: 880k
Yes, these bonuses are slotless and Extraordinary, but I feel this is still balanced by two things: 1) The bonuses are fixed, so less player choice is allowed about what bonuses to get when, and 2) These bonuses are all but mandatory anyway, so getting one of these items lost or dispelled doesn't feel like a temporary setback/annoyance so much as exposing a glaring weakness.

Conclusion:I haven't actually playtested this in a campaign, but since the overall WBL works out to exactly the same as regular Pathfinder, I don't see how it could break anything too badly. I think it could free up a lot of slots for more eye-catching magic items, as well as stop the table from screeching to a halt every time someone casts Greater Dispel Magic (as everyone tries to figure out which magic items were hit), and preventing the classic newbie player casualty, Death By "What's a Resistance bonus?"

Feedback: So, what do you think? Is this balanced? Is this a great idea, or is it terrible? How do you think I can improve it?

P.S. Just have to add: This is the first time I've posted on the Paizo forums in a long, long time.

Goblin Squad Member

As far as I understand it, Decius, that's not the part of EvE Online that Xeen was talking about. Suicide ganking is a separate issue. What Xeen is talking about is the ability for entire corps in EvE to corner the market in specific geographic (cosmographic?) sectors by buying every single unit of a specific good on the market and reselling them for up to five times what they are worth. It is possible to maintain this price gouging if the corp has enough members in different time zones to keep an eye on the market 24/7.

Even in games with more controlled pricing, exploitation is more than possible. The MMO Runescape had this problem for years after their global market, the Grand Exchange (abbreviated to the GE), came out. A quick summary: On the GE, the price of an item was determined by the daily average price of that item. (Maybe it was the weekly value, I can't remember.)Players could not post a price for that item more or less than 5% of the GE price. Over time, if enough players put higher or lower prices for an item, the daily value would change, as would the GE base value.

This had huge exploitation possibilities, arguably even more than the free-for-all PvP area this system replaced (that's a long story), albeit far more subtle. Entire player clans formed for the sole purpose of buying and selling a given item for 5% above daily for several weeks, driving the price up to double or triple what the item itself was worth, then cashing in on the inflated value, repeating with some other item. (These clans were known as "merching" clans or "merchers".) What made the system so effective was that success bred success; the extra money made from the price gouging could be used to make the next price gouging more effective, since you could buy and sell more of a given item at once. Granted, this tactic didn't work very well with extremely high-traffic items or staples used by many players, but that didn't stop some merching clans from trying. Even with a global market, where players didn't have to worry about transporting goods from one market to another, and a quasi-socialist pricing scheme, players STILL found ways to artificially game the market!

Long story short: Yes, merchants absolutely can do some dirty deeds.
Mind you, in both EvE and Runescape, price gouging didn't require the goods to really be transported anywhere to work, meaning that banditry and SAD wouldn't effectively counter them. But that's a discussion for another thread.

Goblin Squad Member

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Wow, haven't been on these forums in months! And we're still thinking about all the things that could be in the game! Glad to see that some things on here don't change.

Gedichtewicht wrote:

oh yes!!!

how about something like
And now for something completly different and totaly this :D

I'll second that idea, with my own spin on it:

GW has already said they will have mass combat/formations in the game. How about formation/mass NON-combat? Like, combined with a music skill, could produce the above link. Or you could use it for parades, or theater productions, or mass demonstrations/rallies! (The famous March on Washington springs to mind.)

And to add even more to the list with one very simple word:
Fishing, swimming, rafts, boats, player-built bridges, sunken-treasure hunting, merchant ships, pirate ships, underwater escalations (Sahuagin: Like murlocs, but a little less cute and a little more drag-you-down-to-the-depths-and-tear-your-limbs-off), and eventually, underwater settlements, even underwater farming! (They're not called kelp "forests" for nothing.)
That would be a truly titanic amount of code and work, and a massive amount of player work to get all the resources, but at some point...

I'd like to be, under the sea, in an octopus' garden, in the shade...

Goblin Squad Member

California, USA.

1 to 50 of 231 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | next > last >>