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****** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden 14,760 posts (15,781 including aliases). 162 reviews. 3 lists. 1 wishlist. 44 Organized Play characters. 5 aliases.


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Sovereign Court

Cyouni wrote:

When I played an Outwit ranger, I ran with a bastard sword and high Str. The only reason it wasn't a greatsword was because I valued the ability to use combat maneuvers sometimes over the ability to do piercing damage. Overall, I think it worked out fine, except for the fact that my horrible dice luck invariably caused me to roll low on everything.

Effectively always having a buckler raised was a nice way to give a bit more defense while still having that d12 damage.

Outwit as a way to maintain some AC while using a 2H weapon? You might be on to something here. "Witty" isn't the first word people think of with a greatsword but it could work. You'd be oddly defensive about who you declare prey though, since it powers your defense while for the other styles it powers the offense.

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As for sightings in the wild, I haven't seen anyone stick with it for more than a few sessions either. But I think that's because they tended to go into it with the idea that they'd be the RK person. But that's not like a full-time party role, it's something you do on the side or divide across the party based on who has Wis and Int. So it feels kinda sour compared to more tangible combat benefits from Flurry/Precision.

But a greatsword with AC and Feint bonus, that sounds playable. Maybe not top-tier, but good enough to function and not something you see all the time.

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I'd also be wary of allowing monk to dual class with ranger, or at least with flurry ranger. Monk/rogue could get a bit extreme as well; monk traditionally has lower damage to compensate for having more attacks. But rogue has sneak attack on every hit.

Caster dual classing I don't think is such a big deal. Yes, you'll have mire high level spell slots. But those spells all cost actions to cast, and that's the real limiting element. Meanwhile, martial classes often modify their attacks in some way, so you could have an attack get boosted by two classes at once.

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So talking about other kinds of armor. Last week we had a thread about Bulwark variants for the other saving throws. I dunno what happened to it, I guess it got moderated off around the corner?

But armor that provides a bonus against some kind of Fort saves, say a hazmat suit that protects against poison and disease, is certainly a possibility.

Likewise, you could have some kind of noqual thread woven through a suit of armor and especially the helmet, protecting you from mental magic (will save vs magic && mental).

Interesting design consequence of that is that it means you do have to choose which save you'll armor against and which ones are going directly on your stats; you can't have both Bulwark and Hazmat at the same time. So that provides some guardrails for balancing it.

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The monk class can definitely do this. But magus also has something to offer. One word really: Haste.

I play a magus multiclassed into monk, and last week we had a big running battle over a pretty large map. Between Haste and Flurry of Blows, as well as spells like Longstrider and Time Jump I was able to be wherever I needed to be. Sometimes that's picking off enemy stragglers, sometimes it's dashing through a Cloudkill (weirdly, it only deals damage if you start in it, so if you're fast enough it's fine), and sometimes it's circling round through a few rooms to come at enemies from behind.

The three-action system in PF2 is great, but abilities that let you do even more like Haste and Flurry of Blows are always welcome. Also, high speed means you don't need as many Strides to get where you need to be. Monk has a lot of this right out of the box.

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SuperBidi wrote:
From the answers, it looks like this proposition was not really a good one. Sorry about that.

I had a hard time understanding what you were originally proposing. It felt a bit like a bunch of solutions looking for problems.

To really fulfill the things people are missing from PF1 I think it's useful to dig a bit deeper into what they're missing and why they're missing them, before moving towards possible solutions.

For example: I think not many people miss long feat chains from PF1, and not many people miss feats that were so obvious to take that you might as well make them permanent class features and cross out a free feat slot there. So what exactly are people missing when they're asking for +1 feats? What kind of game style or experience are they looking for?

I think one thing that a lot of people are looking for is the ability to choose "this particular thing I'm exceptionally good at". And you could say, you do that in PF2 by becoming expert+ in those skills. But the skill DCs tend to rise at a pace that it's actually the stuff you're not getting expert+ in, that you're falling behind in. You're not becoming exceptional in a thing, you're choosing a thing that you stay competitive in.

PF2 is balanced, but that doesn't mean the particular balance point of PF2 is the only possible balance point. It could be balanced at a different equilibrium point.

People say that monsters in PF2 hit so very hard and have such high numbers, but in the end, PCs do tend to win the fight. You have to make a lot of attacks to get some through. Meanwhile, PF2 PCs can actually take a lot more punishment than PF1 PCs. If you didn't win initiative in PF1 or didn't drop an enemy in 1-2 turns, chances were the enemy would kill you. PF2 PCs get hurt more but they're also more resilient.

But while the "make lots of attacks looking for a die roll of 16+" balance point works, a lot of people don't enjoy it. They'd rather have the DC be lower (so they hit more and harder) but then perhaps also make the monsters hit more and harder, or have less HP themselves or such. A bit like Starfinder, where both PCs and monsters have a lot of to-hit compared to somewhat low AC.

In both games the odds in total are stacked to let the PCs win, but in PF2 you also tend to see more misses before you get enough hits to win. So while it's balanced, you still feel like you're failing a lot and that's what is unpleasant.

So to circle back, I don't think the solution to that is +1 feats, I think the solution is reducing monster DCs, to the point where people whose proficiency doesn't change much during levels don't fall behind, while people whose proficiency increases really start succeeding more.

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Very interesting answer Michael, there was a lot there that I'd never really thought about.

I think what I'd like in future armors would be to make it more active. Right now armor mostly just sits there protecting you, you calculate in the modifiers to your stats, and don't really interact with it very much after that.

I don't know exactly what form it'd take, but maybe something like wrestling moves where you can use heavier armor to bump people around or something. Or maybe some reactions usable by anyone wearing it who's trained in that kind of armor, like trying to bounce off a projectile or such.

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Well I play a Starlit span magus with multiclass into monk for flurry, and I end up in melee a lot anyway. But yeah I'm always looking for things that ease the action economy.

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I don't think the rules say one way or the other whether the GM has to reveal the number rolled by the monster, or just the outcome. Although in the "example of play" at the start of the CRB the GM (Erik) does so:

CRB p. 15 wrote:

Erik: Not quite enough—you gain the sickened 1 condition, which is going to give you a –1 penalty to most of your d20 rolls. Next, it lunges at you, trying to bite you!

James: Oh no! I use my reaction to nimbly dodge out of the way.

Erik rolls an attack roll for the ghast, getting an 9 on the die. Looking at the monster’s statistics, he adds 11 for a total of 20. Merisiel’s AC is normally 19, but the Nimble Dodge feat lets her use her reaction to increase her AC by 2 against a single attack. In this case, it turns the ghast’s attack into a miss.

Erik: Does a 20 hit you?

James: Nope, just missed!

Erik: You twist away from the ghast as its tongue leaves a slimy film on your armor. With its final action, the undead menace lashes out at you with its claw.

I've played quite a lot of online PFS with different GMs who all like different settings with regards to how much information they "leak" to the players about the monsters. And I've come to realize that I actually prefer the setting where you get a lot of information; when you see what the monster rolled, and what its bonus was. It's a bit on the edge whether you consider that metagaming: you can figure out whether the monster is actually good at what it just did (high bonus, low roll), or just got a lucky (lower bonus, higher roll). But you're only getting this information when the monster actually uses the ability, not by going behind the GM's back and reading its Bestiary entry. So you're interacting with the scene, and you still have to make guesses about the abilities of the monster that haven't been field-tested yet.

I like this "gradual reveal" effect in play because when you go to use your more precious options (an expensive alchemical bomb, a high level spell slot) you want to have an idea whether this enemy is worth spending it on, or if the chance of it landing are good. So you might first spend a round sizing up the enemy before committing your more limited resources.

Likewise, if you notice that an enemy has scary high numbers, that also gives you the idea that it's time to either retreat or pull out all the stops.

But the key is that this is information that's emerging during actual play. Looking at the numbers is a little bit meta, not that much. Your PC can see how the monster is moving, whether it seems like a practiced high-skill attack or just got lucky. You can see the dice. You're observing the same thing, just through a different lens.

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Look at it from a different angle: what's stopping writers from adding new, interesting armors? It's pretty clear how the balance of existing armors is set up, so adding new ones that are in line with that should be straightforward.

You want to keep the AC value (Dex + Item) in line with the weight class, and the strength/speed in proportion too. But you can certainly come up with new good and bad traits, material options, and specializations.

I view the CRB armors as a basis to work from, not as a closed off set that can't be extended.

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I suspect we have some other feats like Arcane Shroud to blame, that attempt to give you more value for the action you spend going into cascade.

The problem with that though is that it's very finicky because you basically want spells that count for it (has to come from a spell slot, not a staff or cantrip) and be the right school and be useful at that point of the fight and preferably be only 1 action.

A feat at say, level 8-12 that makes going into the basic cascade a free action (but still requires you to have cast a spell previously) would be good.

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Other classes with stances (fighter, monk, ..) get feats around level 12 to enter a stance on initiative roll. Magus doesn't; they first have to jump through a hoop that costs an action, then go into stance.

I like the idea that whatever hoop you jumped through flavors the damage from your stance, but it does end up suffering from the problem that strict 3 action routines are just awkward and fragile.

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Travelling Sasha wrote:
I say this as kindly as possible but imo, having a creature with a gimmick and not being able to use that gimmick defeats its point in the first place. Simply put, an enemy with Posession in meant to take a player out of the game, a Clay Golem is meant to make players waste their healing elixirs, etc. I get it! You're not saying that you don't enjoy gimmicks. A potential solution to these would be toning down these abilities... But again, would they be so memorable (if not frustrating, true) if they were toned down? Wouldn't they become another forgettable creature ability?

The clay golem is an interesting case, because historically, it's been the monster's gimmick that the cursed wound is really hard to heal. It dates back to (if I dig into my bookcase) 2E D&D or earlier, where it required a very high level cleric to fix. It predates the concept of CR in D&D 3.0.

I've ran a really memorable PFS1 game where during this big scenario, in the beginning, the level 11 party fought a clay golem (CR 10) and one PC got a cursed wound (caster level 25 check to remove). The level 11 cleric tried five times and failed each time. Which is a bit unlikely, since not getting a 14+ on five d20 rolls is unlikely. But these things happen. And then near the end of the adventure, there is a minor divine intervention that is scripted at CL 30 so it automatically beats the DC. And because of all this somewhat unlikely setup, that made it a pretty significant event.

The thing is, in PF1, a level 11 cleric can eventually beat that DC, just by trying again and again. In PF2, if the clay golem's counteract level is really 10, then you can't beat it with less than a level 7 healing spell that gets a critical success on the counteract check. But it's a level 10 monster so you could be running into it by say, level 8 or so. So if you get tagged that way you'd be stuck with a wound for 5 levels. That's something no other creature does.

And you have to infer that by carefully reading the subtext in an ability. That doesn't make sense to me - a curse that can mess you up for five levels shouldn't be something hidden in a corner, that should be written in ALL CAPS all over the statblock with an extra paragraph saying Yes, we really meant to do exactly that thing.

Except of course for the technicality - you can't heal it nonmagically, and spells are absurdly ABSURDLY hard, but potions and elixirs aren't spells so technically they work fine. Which again is just so weird that if that were really how it's supposed to be done, it should be said so explicitly, not a clever "oh did you realize this exploit?".

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So I really think it's just an error, not a clever but badly communicated design.

I think the right solution would be to change it to "the counteract level for this ability is 1 higher than normal for a creature of this level" to reflect that it's notoriously hard, but not system-breakingly hard. And apply the same difficulty to counteracting it with potions and elixirs. No tricky byways.

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Fumarole wrote:
Quote:
5)Small pet peeve, fix clay golems. Currently they have a 'counteract level of 10' (their CR) which means you need a LEVEL 9 SPELL (as in, level 17 paladin laying on hands.) to succeed on the counteract check to undo it, or a LEVEL 7 CRIT SUCCEED. Seems beyond the abilities of a level 7 party (which, again, see 1 above.)

Seems to me the counteract level for the clay golem is 5, so all that is needed is success with a fourth level spell or a critical success for a second level spell:

CRB p. 459 wrote:
What you can counteract depends on the check result and the target’s level. If an effect is a spell, its level is the counteract level. Otherwise, halve its level and round up to determine its counteract level. If an effect’s level is unclear and it came from a creature, halve and round up the creature’s level.
Counteracting can be confusing, yeah, which is why I advocate for spell levels 1-20, to match just about everything else in the game, so that no one needs to faff about with the half-level-rounded-up business.

That would be the normal way of things, but the Clay Golem says:

Clay Golem wrote:
Cursed Wound (divine, curse, necromancy) A creature hit by the clay golem’s fist must succeed at a DC 29 Fortitude save or be cursed until healed to its maximum HP. The cursed creature can’t regain HP except via magic, and anyone casting a spell to heal the creature must succeed at a DC 29 counteract check or the healing has no effect. The golem’s counteract level is equal to its creature level.

Either this is intentional (but insane) or it's vestigial from when they hadn't ported over many creatures yet and hadn't come up with a general rule for deciding counteract level for non-spell things yet.

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So here's a sketch for a skill feat to address Will;

Confounding Mantra
Skill feat level 2 / Expert Arcana

As a 1 minute activity you can set up a mantra to run in your mind that provides mental defenses. While the mantra is active you treat your Wisdom modifier as +2 for your Will save vs mental effects. If you're a master in Arcana, treat it as +3 and if you're legendary, +4. Running the mantra takes some of your attention and you take a -2 status penalty to Initiative checks. If you become unconscious, the mantra ends, but you can restart it again by taking another minute.

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Notice that this does trail behind an actual high Wisdom score. The point is to raise the floor, not to touch the ceiling.

It doesn't strictly require a high Intelligence but it does have some synergy with it, because you'll get more value out of high Arcana if you also have good Intelligence. It also plays nicely with taking a wizard multiclass (which requires you to have a certain proficiency rank in Arcana to take follow-up feats).

I went with soft-coded Intelligence to parallel how Bulwark is a "hard" option for the normally "soft" Dexterity; Intelligence is also a bit like the hard rational answer to Wisdom's soft touch.

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For Fortitude I was thinking of something similar with Charisma, perhaps applying to Poison and Disease effects, keeping a stiff upper lip and blurring the boundary between pretending it's not so bad and actually shrugging it off.

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I wouldn't allow total immunity either, or there'd have to be a significant downside too. I think treating your save as one step better is a decent option. You can also go with treating critfail as only fail, or success as crit success, patterned on class save bonus abilities.

So, downsides to having nose plugs. I can think of two:

- A penalty to Perception, because scent can also warn us of important things. So maybe a -2 Perception check to notice things unless those things are exclusively about a different sense. You have difficulty spotting the lightning trap because you can't smell the ozone in the fair. You got ambushed by the several days old tuna sandwich. This requires a bit of discretion to use, I wouldn't apply the penalty to your Sense Motive against Feinting for example.

- You get winded faster. Most sports teach you to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth to keep your wind during exertion. Even if you have a stuffed nose from a cold, adrenaline will clear your sinuses. But if you plugged that? It'd be hard to function at peak performance. How to mechanically implement that though? Well the condition that does a good job of mimicking short term out of breath, fixable with a bit of concentration on your breathing, would be Sickened. Ah, ironic. That's the condition you were trying to avoid. But maybe this is "every three rounds of heavy exertion with your nose plugged, you get sickened 1, with a lower DC to recover". So if they can make short work of the enemy it's not so bad.

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On the whole I think I'd go with simplicity though. Plugs give you -2 to Perception to notice things and +2 to saves against Stench.

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I think a bulwark like option for the other saves is something to consider, but then let's look critically at bulwark:

- It comes with a high Strength price tag, to keep speed and armor check penalty under control.
- Even if you have enough Strength, you still lose some of that precious precious speed.
- It's only on saves against damaging effects. You can still be tripped.
- It trails the highest bonus to saves you could get from ability scores by a bit.
- It requires an armor proficiency that only a few classes get out of the box.
- It's not affordable at level 1.

I think that if you make something like it for other classes, it needs limitations and downsides on the same scale.

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pauljathome wrote:
I have very little sympathy if you're claiming that your character concept NEEDS Str, Int AND Cha

There's nothing about Laughing Shadow magus that actually requires you to go for Finesse weapons, but you have a feat that asks for Deception to Feint checks.

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Well on the one hand it's about Paizo's capacity. But I also think on the consumer side, update fatigue would set in if you did too many small patches.

It's a bit like looking at a heap of unread newsletters in your mailbox. Most of them might contain something you're interested in, but not right now.

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I remember in D&D 2e when liches didn't regenerate new bodies out of nowhere, they animated the nearest unused skeleton within a few miles of their soul cage and went from there.

But why stop at an unused skeleton? Hide your soul in an important document that lots of people see, like a declaration of independence or something. Mask its magical aura thoroughly. If your body gets destroyed, hijack the skeleton of some hapless person eyeing the display case. Relax - the person is still alive and their muscles are moving what are now your bones. Let them act normal, they have no clue. Then, a month later, tear free from their body. It'll be really hard for people to figure out where you've hidden your soul.

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I think this sort of situation was featured in one of the Logan Bonner videos.

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Yeah in theory the book suggests having to whack and scorch a downed troll until they're down to Dying 4, but in practice I've never seen that done. It's just too "gotcha" and tedious. If you get them to 0 while their regeneration's off, they're toast.

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* Beware of single high level monsters. These are "allowed" according to encounter design guidelines, but can feel too strong. The same XP budget spent on multiple weaker creatures is on paper the same difficulty, but in practice usually easier for the players.

* Beware of big level differences between players and monsters. In the beginning, level+2 is a boss. At least until level 4/when players start getting Striking weapons.

* Bosses are more fun if they're foreshadowed. Otherwise it's just a random really strong monster that's suddenly in your face. I think it works best if the players find out at least several hours of real time play that the boss exists and a bit about what it is, why it matters that they're going to end up fighting it, maybe what kind of attacks and defenses the boss has. Ideally, early enough that they can actually prepare something helpful like a detour to get a more suitable weapon.

* Be super liberal with character rebuilds. The retraining rules are fairly liberal already but I personally also allow tweaks to ancestry, ability scores, just about anything. I'd much rather have someone switch their class and abilities while keeping the same backstory, than having to start a new character because they don't like the mechanics of this one. This way you can tell the players they don't have to sweat getting it right from the start.

* Be careful in how you present the pacing of the adventure. Sometimes the adventure is presented as quite urgent ("our friend has been captured by cultists and they're going to do the sacrifice Soon™") even though the AP doesn't really give the GM any kind of deadline. But then the party has to go through a dungeon with a dozen fights. And no party can actually do all of that in a single day. Especially when it can take several hours of Medicine to patch everyone up after a fight. And when spells run out. When challenged on this, Paizo folks have said the GM should always just take the adventure as a starting point and adapt it to fit their group.So it's really important you do that. Otherwise the clash between the expectation set by the story and the mechanical challenge level will just grind up the characters.

* When you start changing the pace of these things, switching to milestone leveling instead of XP is useful, because then you don't have to worry about the PCs missing XP they needed to level up because you cut an encounter or lowered its level.

* You can cut encounters that feel like filler. Some encounters seem to be there just to make sure the overall adventure had enough XP to level up the characters. However be careful not to cut too many of the easier encounters, even those tend to be the most filler-like. Because if only harder encounters remain, the adventure starts to feel more punishing, and that was what you were trying to avoid.

* You can give the PCs some more resources. Our GM did this in lower levels of Edgewatch. Since we were part of the city watch, they provided us with lots of alchemical healing items that would spoil after 24 hours. But those allowed us to push through a dungeon faster, giving you a proper police raid vibe. Much better than a police raid that takes five hours to move through eight rooms to arrest people that patiently wait for you to come to their room :P

* You can keep the urgency of multiple encounters, but just make each of those encounters easier. So if you have to go through four rooms with enemies, just slap a Weak template on all of them. They'll all be easier, but going through so many enemies so fast will still be challenging and it'll be like a hero in a martial arts movie.

* Don't play enemies smarter or better informed than they really are. Dumb bandits shouldn't use genius tactics. In particular, don't let them act with knowledge about what each PC is capable of. They can't see that this guy with a sword (fighter) has AoO and this one (barbarian) doesn't. So either they move very slowly and carefully around everyone, or nobody. If they do know it for some reason, make sure to insert some dialogue so that the players also know that they know and set up the drama!

* Make it doable to learn useful information about enemies. Whether that's taking prisoners and questioning them about what's further down in the dungeon, or using Recall Knowledge.

* Make it possible to act on the information. Players like using enemy weaknesses, so use enemies that have them, and make sure the players can find out what they are, and find the things they need to use those weaknesses. So put some alchemist's fire somewhere close to where they fight the highly flammable plant monsters, some leftover holy water in the altar they search soon before confronting the demon and so on.

Sovereign Court

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I like occasional updates to fix broken stuff. Whether that's broken because it's unbalanced, missing some DC or something, or just not actually able to do the job it was intended to do.

However, I don't think these should be high frequency updates. RPGs are basically software that runs on human minds, and installing updates everywhere is not really any less painful than the constant nagging of various programs on your computer that want you to update them. More painful actually; you can't just click "install", you actually have to read through and re-learn all that stuff to actually really receive the errata. If that happens every week and you have a few weeks where you're on holiday or busy with work or personal life and such and you fall behind... This gets fatigueing.

I'd be behind a nice straightforward periodic upgrade, like there's the Big Summer Patch and the Big Winter Patch or something, with a well-organised changelog and even reference sheets like "if you're coming from printing 2 to current printing 4, here's what changed".

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I'd focus on making sure you always have the central books. If you end up with some secondary books on stock but not the main books that lead someone there, I don't think they'll sell well.

Personally I mainly buy more flipmats than anything else. But there are a lot of them, and some get used in adventures much more than others. Super specific dungeons tend to get used in only one or two scenarios while the generic swamp map has by now been used in a dozen or so.

These days PFS and SFS scenarios list in the online catalog which flipmats they use. That's a way to keep an eye on demand a few months into the future.

The core rulebook is good to have physically, but much of the other stuff is just easier on PDF. Although as a GM I like Bestiaries on paper because leafing through them for ideas is nicer that way.

Paizo's catalog is pretty vast so most stores can't stock all of it. But you could make sure you have your search engines set up right so that anytime someone is looking for a book you don't have, you can get it for them. (Even if that might mean ordering it through Amazon yourself. Keep all the sales going through you.)

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Would a ranged dual finisher require two fully runed up weapons? Because that still doesn't work with thrown weapons & doubling rings, and I don't think there's any alternative that does work?

I think that's a pretty hefty counterbalance.

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aobst128 wrote:
The main outlier for flying blade is dual finisher, which becomes very good with thrown weapons if flying blade works with it. I don't think it's game breaking, but it's worth pausing for it.

I think that fits in the general theme of things that don't focus fire getting a bit more generous numbers.

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Besides "too good to be true" and "too bad to be true" there is also "too weird to be true".

Hitting a ghost with a light hammer (agile, thrown) doesn't work, but throwing the hammer at it does? Because that's dex based and hitting a precise spot, on the ghost that is immune to precision damage? That's too weird to be true.

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Dwarves stand around a foot shorter than humans. Which suggests somewhere around 4-5 feet. With the standard 5 feet reach, yeah the dwarf could try to grab the mitflit.

If the mitflit was a bit higher though, things get harder. You can't jump and grab without having some special ability. As soon as your jump is complete, gravity does its thing and before your next action (grapple), you're back down on the ground again.

There are ways to do a jump and then another action, like the Jump spell:

Jump spell wrote:
Your legs surge with strength, ready to leap high and far. You jump 30 feet in any direction without touching the ground. You must land on a space of solid ground within 30 feet of you, or else you fall after using your next action.

Regular Leap and Long/High Jump doesn't have that "after your next action" clause.

aThe dwarf could move up to the scaffolding, climb it, and grab the mitflit. But considering the mitflit has a much better climb speed, that's not going to be easy.

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Well today I was playing my staff magus, and I'll admit, getting cascade going has tricky action economy. Although that was also due to fights just being over very very quickly.

The one substantial fight against flying enemies though, I started out standing next to the fighter, put magic weapon on his glaive and using that to get my twisting staff cascade going. And then using trip to pull an enemy down to the ground where everyone could get at it.

I think magus thrives on 1-action spells like Shield, True Strike, True Target, Power Words, Guidance (from a pendant of the occult), and particularly, Jump to get cascade going. Jump is very nice because it moves you and satisfies cascade.

Some kind of 1-action cantrip that involves a move and some other benefit would be glorious for magi.

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I can totally see a writer thinking "mummy alchemists, up to their elbows in embalming fluid stuff, that could be a cool encounter" and then having to twist themselves into knots to get around this undead healing trait issue. I think we're better off if it's only preventing them from being healed by positive healing, for NPCs also.

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It looks like it would work.

Now, sometimes when someone is playing a vampire, the moral struggle and drama of having to drink blood is supposed to be a big thing. In a game like that, you don't want to allow Create Food to work. But not all games are like that. Sometimes you just want Bob to be a vampire in a cool trenchcoat and get on with things.

I think this isn't too different from when the GM has a wilderness survival adventure in mind in a brutal desert with no food and the cleric pops out this spell. That one might also need someone to change their expectations.

I think this is one of the strengths of Pathfinder actually. You can play a vampire or do wilderness survival at low level and experience the hardship of getting sustenance. And then at some point (level 5 or so) you overcome that and start dealing with newer, higher level problems. You can see that you're a bigger kind of hero now.

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Counterpoint: with my Starlit Span magus I regularly choose to go into melee because my AC and HP are good enough for it. I'm not better per se at melee although also not that much worse (monk multiclass for flurry). But the real advantage is impact on the battlefield: we have a swashbuckler and fighter, and sorcerer and witch in the party. When I go into melee it becomes much harder for enemies to get around the front line and threaten our backline. And for the frontline many more AoOs and flankings happen.

Although I have to say, this has become one of the most enjoyable switch hitters I've ever played.

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I tried Eldritch Archer investigator before, it was horrible, unbearable action economy. I have another investigator, forensics with melee focus (bloody barbers background, bloodletting kukri, risky surgery...) which works well enough. My AC and HP are normal for frontline. My damage isn't barbarian level but it's acceptable at a typical 4d6+2 when going strategic (level 5).

But I've been looking into picking up another alchemist dedication because I think bombs and strategic attacks combine nicely. If I were to start all over again I might go for a Int/Cha heavy investigator with some cantrips and alchemist dedication, switching to the cantrips if the strategy isn't promising. Ranged does look good for investigators.

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rainzax wrote:

I think OP is missing relevant text:

Basic Undead Benefits
(Book of the Dead pg. 44)
Negative Healing: You are damaged by positive damage and aren't healed by positive healing effects. You don't take negative damage and are healed by negative effects that heal undead.
Negative Survival: Unlike normal undead, you aren't destroyed when reduced to 0 Hit Points. Instead, powerful negative energy attempts to keep you from being destroyed even in dire straits. You are knocked out and begin dying when reduced to 0 Hit Points. Because you're undead, many methods of bringing someone back from dying, such as stabilize, don't benefit you. When you would die, you're destroyed rather than dead, just like other undead.

(italics mine)

I think this means that undead PCs and undead NPCs can function differently?

You can do anything by writing rules to that effect, but then you actually have to do it. The problems are:

- You still get the undead trait which says you are not affected by healing effects. The Negative Healing trait might have been intended to rescope that to only positive healing effects, but the wording could be tighter on that. If it's the case, then that would also solve issues like Remove Curse which aren't explicitly positive.

- Soothe specifies that the target must be a living creature.

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Leitner wrote:
Damn. Lot of great ideas here. Going to just address them one at a time.

I'm just cherrypicking some things to reach to.

* Rarity toggle: I think the default is that Rare items don't shop up by accident, but Uncommon ones sometimes do. Rare items are something you put in intentionally as GM. So you might want to exclude them entirely, or exclude by default but allow switching them in. On the other hand, a "few" uncommon items by default, with option to open or close the sluice gates.

* Sourcebook filter would be very handy though. Especially with some toggles to quickly narrow it down to CRB, central rulebooks, or also allow setting and especially regional stuff. Like, if I'm doing a campaign in the far north, I should be able to easily exclude all the Mwangi, Tian, Osirion etc themed stuff.

* Inventory size: maybe you can say that anything more than X, say three or four, levels below the level of the shop is available for sure (if it falls in the shop's scope) and not worth mentioning. Overall I think you want to be able to present the whole shop on a single screen or (half) page.

* Traits: yeah, for example you might want to make a shop with items with fire and cold traits for an elemental magic item themed shop.

* Name Generator: yeah those are a whole world of their own, a good link to one would probably suffice. Although you could mock it with a list of adjectives and nouns and randomly pair them, and put in a link to a more elaborate generator if desired. I think a few prompts about decor and personality would add a lot of value to this as a "I need something to RP quickly" tool.

* Item Categories: I think it's good to stick with the item categories already used in the book, perhaps grouped a bit by user (weapons close to armor and shields; scrolls close to staves). But overall I think the item categories that exist in the rules make sense and are what people already know.

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Blake's Tiger wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
I think the stipulation about healing in the undead trait really isn't needed. Most of the healing spells that are not supposed to work on them like Heal, don't heal them already.

I think it's more about consistency in creature trait format and spell format.

Constructs have a similar line making them immune to healing effects. If they're mindless, they're also immune to mental effects. So soothe should not work on constructs, either. However, if they left the target line "1 creature," then if you neglect to read the Traits, as many of us do, one would conclude you can heal constructs with soothe even if you remembered that positive energy healing only affects the living.

Interestingly, constructs do tend to list healing immunity specifically in their statblock, while undead don't. Looking at the traits, it says constructs are immune to healing, while undead aren't affected by healing effects. That sounds like a difference but it's not obvious to me what that difference is supposed to be.

I think ideally the undead trait would specify (or put it directly in their statblocks) that they don't benefit from positive healing. That way both Soothe and Remove Curse work.

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Oh I can think of some things I'd like;

Game-mechanically;
* Setting the shop's max item level. Bonus points if it adds in lots of lower level items, and a bit less once you get to the maximum. But in a sensible way; even in a level 1 shop it shouldn't be hard to find basic items.

* A well-chosen selection of mainstream items that have a bit higher chance of being generated. Like, there are hundreds of common level 2 items, but the +1 potency rune is much more important than most of them.

* Use item categories and perhaps traits to theme generated inventory.

* Clearly distinguish item rarity, perhaps a toggle how many non-common things can be generated.

* Good presentation of items (level, type, cost, book+page) and if you can swing it link to a full description (perhaps on Archives of Nethys).

Flavorfully;
* Name generator for the shop
* Some randomly generated flavor prompts for what the shop looks like
* Name generator for the proprietor
* Some RP prompts for the proprietor

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I think hard separation between HP and Stamina in PF2 is not a good thing. Too much of the PF2 design is based on these things not being separate, to just wedge it in with a short house/variant rule and expect it to work properly. It has weird knock-on effects and unbalances things.

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As a side note, Take a Breather without most of the rest of the system is actually close to a house rule I was considering where the HP healed by potions and elixirs is based on your class hit die instead of being the same for everyone, so that a barbarian and a sorcerer need the same amount of potions to go from empty to full.

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That's an interesting way to come full circle.

So I generally agree with your exposition of the rules, but indeed, the CRB basis for definitely picking one interpretation over another is a bit shaky. I think the line in the precision damage about it not being a separate pool of damage gives support to the idea that some other kinds of bonus damage can be separate pools of damage.

I'm not sure if you should group damage into pools by type though. You might be getting some extra fire damage from a flaming rune, and from a fire spellheart, and I think those two stack. But I don't know if they'd merge into a single instance of fire damage or whether that would be two instances of fire damage. If confronted with the situation I'd probably merge them, because otherwise resistances and weaknesses to a particular type of damage become a bit too heavy impact. That also fits with a general trends towards merging same-type damage seen in abilities like Double Slice and Flurry of Blows. It prevents Resistance from making you helpless and prevents you from triggering Weakness an excessive number of times.

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I think the stipulation about healing in the undead trait really isn't needed. Most of the healing spells that are not supposed to work on them like Heal, don't heal them already.

And Soothe probably should have been made to work.

Overspecification just gets you intro trouble.

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I'm kinda surprised to see even three people reporting they've used it, I thought it was an entirely unused rule.

On paper it doesn't look that nice to me, limiting Resolve to your key stat modifier means it's a lot less per day than in Starfinder. Four or five breathers per adventuring day for most of your career sounds a lot like a regression to the PF1/3.x model of four fights per day attrition based difficulty, and that's something I rather like PF2 got rid of.

It feels like something put in to satisfy people coming from Starfinder, but a bit overshadowed by the other out of combat healing options available (Treat Wounds, Lay on Hands, that bard thing, the monk thing, the ioun stone, ...) so it's a bit of a solution in search of a problem.

But there's one aspect of it that I do like: speeding up the recovery time in between encounters.

PF2 tends to balance fights with the assumption that you're at near full strength. Which is great if sometimes you have eight fights in a hefty dungeon, and sometimes you have only one fight during a week over overland travel, or during a weekday game when you only have a couple of hours to play. But it can take rather a lot of 10m intervals to heal up between some encounters, and that can strain immersion. This system scales well across levels because it always gives you a percentage of your HP, not a flat number that can lag behind your vast lake of high level HP.

So overall it seems like this system makes things quite a bit harder for PCs; healing in combat is drastically limited because you can't heal people over half, and it puts a brake on the number of encounters per day. I personally don't like those very much.

If I were to use it I might ignore most of it, except for Take a Breather and Resolve. So ignore the limit on healing over half with Treat Wounds/Heal/etc. It's just that a few times per day, you can recover out of combat faster.

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If it was meant to be a rule change it should have been more explicit about it. I think it's a mistake in the sense that they overlooked the target line of Soothe and the undead trait's interaction with Healing effects.

That said however, if they had been aware of those, it's quite likely that they would have made those explicit changes. There are spells like Remove Curse that have the healing trait, but it makes no sense that undead characters (even bad guys) could never get rid on various minor curses.

As for Soothe: I think the requirement for living targets is overdoing it, and maybe it was meant to be more like a helpful reminder than an extra limitation. Because as a healing effect, it already only worked on living targets. This is a bit like the debate about whether fireball would burn a letter lying on a desk when you bomb the boss because it specifies creatures as targets.

The Divine list has Heal and Harm and actually cares about positive/negative energy. The Arcane list isn't that into undead and prefers constructs. Primal prefers living things only. But Occult is sketchy, positive/negative agnostic, and can create undead. So letting it heal them as well makes sense, especially in the new context of playable undead.

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How it's Played did a segment on this as well. I agree with his analysis, but I find it a bit lacking in that he doesn't really give a basis for how he identifies instances or pools of damage.

So let's see what we can pry out of the text.

- It is possible for an instance of damage to trigger more than one weakness or resistance. The given example is physical damage type (P/B/S) and special material. This is also hinted at as being the most common situation where both properties can hit a weakness. Which is interesting because I don't think something like slashing+cold iron is actually a common combination of weaknesses, certainly not as common as slashing+fire or cold iron+good.

- But it's also implied that not everything is necessarily part of the same instance. Although the resistance to all point makes me wonder about that.

So how would I draw the line? I'd say an instance is a package of damage that can't be reasonably split up. If I hit someone with a cold iron sword, all of that damage is both slashing and cold iron at the same time. So that's one instance. If I hit someone with a flaming sword, some of that damage is slashing, and some of it is fire. So that would be two separate instances, not one instance of fiery slashing damage.

For most types of damage, that's obvious. Only the fire damage from a fire run is fire damage, not all of the damage from the weapon. Only the good damage from a holy rune is good damage, not the rest of the weapon also.

Precision damage would be murky, except that it's explicitly spelled out how to handle it:

CRB p. 452 wrote:

[bb]Precision Damage[/b]

Sometimes you are able to make the most of your attack
through sheer precision. When you hit with an ability that
grants you precision damage, you increase the attack’s listed
damage, using the same damage type, rather than tracking a
separate pool of damage.
For example, a non-magical dagger
Strike that deals 1d6 precision damage from a rogue’s sneak
attack increases the piercing damage by 1d6.

So precision damage is part of the main weapon's damage instance, while also implying this isn't the case for some other types of damage.

Overall the sidebar on page 452 is pretty good at keying in to what might be separate pools/instances of damage; all of those categories, except Precision (which is explicitly not a separate pool) and special materials (which modify, not add).

And yeah it does seem like pool and instance are used interchangeably, they're not fixed keywords.

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So what else is there? Power attack? It adds a die of weapon damage, seems clear to me that it's part of the instance of weapon damage, not a separate one.

Ghost Touch? That's interesting. It talks about making the weapon effective. That'll definitely work for the regular weapon damage, but what about the flaming rune? I think that one's a bit less automatically clear. Since the flaming damage is a separate instance of damage, and not actually weapon damage, does the ghost touch still apply? ETV I guess. I'd personally allow it since I think it takes a too sharp reading to deny it. Also, the opportunity cost of a property rune is relatively high, so I would err on the side of letting it have the full effect you were expecting.

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So the word "instance of damage" appears only twice in the CRB in other ways than the stock phrase "for instance".

CRB p. 453 > Weakness wrote:
If you have a weakness to something that doesn't normally deal damage, such as water, you take damage equal to the weakness value when touched or affected by it. If more than one weakness would apply to the same instance of damage, use only the highest applicable weakness value. This usually happens only when a monster is weak to both a type of physical damage and a given material.

It might be significant that they picked special materials as the typical case where this happens; for example a monster that's weak to both slashing and cold iron damage. I think it's clear that if you hit someone with a cold iron sword, that's one instance of damage that happens to be slashing and cold iron, and this rule says you trigger only one of those weaknesses.

CRB p. 453 > Resistance wrote:

If you have more than one type of resistance that would apply to the same instance of damage, use only the highest applicable resistance value.

It’s possible to have resistance to all damage. When an effect deals damage of multiple types and you have resistance to all damage, apply the resistance to each type of damage separately. If an attack would deal 7 slashing damage and 4 fire damage, resistance 5 to all damage would reduce the slashing damage to 2 and negate the fire damage entirely.

This one is interesting. An attack that deals both physical and some elemental damage is not unusual. Is that one instance? It might be, considering that the next paragraph implies that you need resistance to all damage to resist both types at the same time.

It's not really what I would have expected myself. I would have thought that if you hit someone with a cold iron sword with a flaming rune, that the cold iron slashing damage from the sword is one instance, and the flaming rune is a separate instance of damage. But I'm not so sure now.

This does go both ways though; a monster with multiple piecemeal resistances wouldn't get to use all of them against a PC either, only the biggest one.

And how exactly to calculate that? Suppose you have resist fire 10, resist slashing 5, and I deal you 6 slashing and 4 fire damage. How much do you resist? 4? 5? 9?

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden

When I ran it I think it took us seven hours or so, with in principle good players, medium amount of RP. But it'd simply been more than a year ago since any of them played those characters or PF1 in general, so it took a while to reload all that information back into their minds.

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Yeah but for a crude digging tool it has kinda good weapon stats. It's a lot of traits and damage for a simple weapon.

I'd go with advanced weapon simply because it's obscure and has hefty stats.

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Maliloki wrote:

Not to get on topic, but I still track exp for the group and it literally takes maybe 30 seconds to a minute at the end of the session (and a good chunk of that is remembering where my gm screen is for the exp table).

I do not understand the vitriol towards this practice, especially with how easy it is to do in PF2e.

I think XP based leveling is good in some campaigns. However, in the CRB it's presented as the way to do it, while XP is not actually a wonderful fit for the kind of APs that Paizo publishes. So, vitriol ensues.

Paizo's APs are three or six book stories with relatively clear expectations that "by the time you get to part X, you should be level Y". The story is a bit linear because one book has to lead into another. Also, the story is usually presented as urgent: "the bad guy is about to do some bad things, we must stop him quickly before more bad things happen".

But if really try to stop the bad guy fast and don't go on any of the side quests because you care about the story and don't want to waste time while lives are in the balance, you miss out on XP and arrive under-leveled. Or maybe if you really do a ton of side quests and get XP for them, by the time you get around to the boss, you're a level higher than expected and it's a bit too easy.

So XP doesn't really jive well with that sort of linear adventure. It's an adventure "path" for a reason; there are destinations there.

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Compare that with a more freeform adventure, like the West Marches style sandbox. There is not really a core plotline to chase and hurry along, the PCs figure out "do we think we can take on that dungeon over there?" and eventually feel like they're strong enough to do it. Or decide not to, because it looks too tough. You couldn't do that in an AP; you can't decide "we don't feel confident taking on this boss, we're going to do a different quest first to level up a bit".

So I think XP works much better in a player-driven campaign, than in the story-driven AP campaigns where you're really supposed to be a particular level in that part of the story. At that point it's just more convenient to cut out the middleman and use milestone leveling.

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Blake's Tiger wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
I'd also allow it, for the same reason as staves.

Unrelated the the conclusion, I'm curious what the reason for staves is that is the same for the ring?

I read them as functioning very differently (one lets you cast specific spells from the staff and the other gives you spell slots), so I'm honestly curious.

The argument "against" staves for magi is that staves require you to be able to cast those spells at the exact level of the staff, to use them from the staff. But the magus loses most of those spell slots. If you consider for example the Staff of Divination, it's a level 6 item, with spells of level 1, 2 and 3. Since a level 6 magus doesn't have level 1 spell slots anymore, he'd be unable to use those spells from the staff. When he becomes level 7, he'd also be unable to use the level 2 spells. (Unless they happened to be exactly in the Studious set perhaps.) This is pretty constantly the case with staves: the level of spells in a staff trails your highest level spells a bit, and all staves have spells from level 1 and up.

But magi are clearly meant to be able to use staves, there's a whole Hybrid Study around it. And not a whisper about them not being able to use them fully.

Therefore, by the concept of reductio ad absurdem, if the conclusion obviously isn't right, something must be wrong with the logic derivation or with the original assumptions going into the derivation.

The wording for staves is also from the CRB, which was written three years before Secrets of Magic, and wave casting as a design concept wasn't invented yet. So it's not like the CRB language was specifically intended to mess up magi.

I think rather, the CRB language shouldn't be understand as "you must be able to cast this spell at this exact level" but as "at at LEAST this level".

And taking that to the Ring of Wizardry, it would then ask for you to be able to cast spells of at LEAST that level. Which at the appropriate item level, you can do just fine.

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I'd say alchemical items are different, in that there are really only a few dozen different bombs, even counting all the different leveled versions. And each of them is specifically listed in the equipment tables.

Meanwhile, if you needed a formula for each different spell, or even for each differently heightened version of a spell, that would run into hundreds or thousands of formulae and then the system really doesn't make sense anymore.

Now, notice that for spells and wands, there is a generic price for a scroll of a given level. This isn't the case for bombs; each bomb of a different flavor and grade merits an individual table entry.

So my approach would be to say, "scroll of level X spell" is a type of item for which you can learn a formula, just like "wand of level X spell" is.

And for weapons and armor, specific material versions occur sporadically in the tables, more as examples that "these things also exist", but there isn't row upon row listing each weapon with each possible material grade.

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I'd also allow it, for the same reason as staves.

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I think you can also say "standard grade silver weapon" is an item in the book, you can just have a formula for that.

The RAW really doesn't have a paragraph talking about formulas for special material items directly, so all of this is really just people taking inferences and analogies from somewhat different types of items. You can draw one conclusion, but you can also draw another equally valid conclusion, neither of which contradicts what little RAW there is.

So don't pick an interpretation that makes your game less fun.

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