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***** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden 11,915 posts (12,665 including aliases). 138 reviews. 3 lists. 1 wishlist. 29 Organized Play characters. 5 aliases.


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

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Christian Dragos wrote:
I really hope they do playtesting for new classes and races the way they did for Occult Adventures: Playtest a new class and depending on how many scenarios you played you got a special boon and got to continue playing it - updating the PC to how the class was presented in the book.

I'm hoping for something markedly different: more like the way it was done in Starfinder for SCOM. As in, you can bring playtest characters in as a sort of self-built pregens for just one session. This allows people to try out more of the higher level content, so that generates a bigger spectrum of data. It also lowers the stakes for getting your character creation choices right. You can try different builds for the same new class every time too.

Sovereign Court

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Why would you want to have a totally universal game system? Nearly always you can make each individual campaign better by picking a rule set that closely supports the particular kind of game you want to play.

IIRC, Eclipse Phase for example doesn't give XP for killing monsters, but it does give it for succeeding at missions.

An easy fix if you're worried about this is to just no longer do XP; just level people up after about three adventures or so.

Sovereign Court

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Ravingdork wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
How is having people preroll d20s instead of you rolling them not really just a sop to superstition?

It's two-fold.

First, it lets the player feel like it's their own role, assuming they care about such things.

Second, it provides evidence of the roll used for the check in case a player ever feels like you fudged the die roll one way or the other.

Has that ever occurred? Has anyone who's as a GM asked people "roll 10d20 and write down the results for me to use on secret checks" ever been made to give an accounting on how those rolls were then used? Because how would you even do that? How could you as a player say "you didn't correctly use my good roll on check #8" and the GM not just go "yeah I used #9 because your good roll for #8 was used on a save that you passed so nothing happened".

Do you really audit your GMs that way? If you've got that little trust, who are you playing with?

To me it seems like a lot of effort to set up a system that could and would never be enforced so it seems like just a lot of pointless ritual.

This seems like a perfectly normal and plausible scenario to me.

I know I've done similar things before.

"Why did you just up and say the werewolf escaped? I had a real chance of recapturing him! Though he fled into the woods, that wouldn't have slowed me due to woodland stride."

"There were other factors in play that your character was unaware of. With your current abilities, it was impossible for you to keep up."

Sure feels like a loss of player agency. I couldn't even attempt something because of GM say so.

Well, that wasn't handled with maximum elegance by the GM. It sounds a bit to me like "as a GM I made up my mind it would go like this, but now the player pulls out an ability that might foil that".

Could be several possibilities here:
- The GM forgot about the player's ability. This is a good moment to say "hey you really surprised me with that, let me have five minutes to think about that". After that you can come back and say "okay, so you do have a chance, let's see if you succeed", or perhaps "well, yeah, you might succeed, but I really hadn't counted on that and I think the story would be more fun if you don't. So I'm going to just rule that you fail, but you do get a hero point as consolation for me blatantly blocking you here".

- The GM knows why the player's attempt wouldn't work. The more elegant thing here could be to perhaps do an abbreviated version of the scene, where the player still doesn't manage to catch the werewolf, but does gain some clue about why, which gives the players more insight into the adventure plot.

Basically, saying "offscreen you try and try but fail" is a bit too little effort. Saying "offscreen you try and try but fail, because of X" is better, especially if knowing about X is useful. You can still abbreviate a long scene that will just end in failure, which can help limit frustration.

---

On the other hand, if you're actually demanding to audit the GM's written records of all rolls made in secret, then there's been some catastrophic breakdown in trust around the table. In a healthy group the players should be able to trust that the GM has the players' fun as a main objective.

Sovereign Court

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Expectations:

- Patrons will be a big deal. Which patron you have will determine more about which powers you get than in PF1, kinda like a PF1 shaman maybe. Some of your hexes will depend on your choice of patron.

- Patrons are going to have anathemas, kinda like barbarian instincts also have anathemas. It's not just for divine casters anymore.

- Hexes are probably going to be a bit like compositions

- Cackling might work a bit like Dragon Roar in that you prevent enemies from ticking down a condition that normally ticks down every round.

- Use of the Incapacitation trait to avoid PF1 slumber/ice tomb situations where bosses get one-shot before they can do anything.

- Now that undead (and some other creature types) have far fewer immunities, there should be less of those annoying "yeah I know I've been boringly spamming the same hex all session, but the monsters are immune to everything else".

- Witches will probably use the "spooky" occult spell list as a main, but patrons let you dip a bit into the other lists, like a healing patron (some divine spells) or an elemental patron (primal).

Sovereign Court

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Saldiven wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
How is having people preroll d20s instead of you rolling them not really just a sop to superstition?

It's two-fold.

First, it lets the player feel like it's their own role, assuming they care about such things.

Second, it provides evidence of the roll used for the check in case a player ever feels like you fudged the die roll one way or the other.

Has that ever occurred? Has anyone who's as a GM asked people "roll 10d20 and write down the results for me to use on secret checks" ever been made to give an accounting on how those rolls were then used? Because how would you even do that? How could you as a player say "you didn't correctly use my good roll on check #8" and the GM not just go "yeah I used #9 because your good roll for #8 was used on a save that you passed so nothing happened".

Do you really audit your GMs that way? If you've got that little trust, who are you playing with?

To me it seems like a lot of effort to set up a system that could and would never be enforced so it seems like just a lot of pointless ritual.

Sovereign Court

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How is having people preroll d20s instead of you rolling them not really just a sop to superstition?

Sovereign Court

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Wow. This blew up while I was at work.

Dragonstriker wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
I really don't understand what you're talking about here. Are you saying the GM takes away the player's agency by respecting the player's choice to ask a question that turns out to be a poor one?

(...)

Why are you trying to rip off your players? Why are you devaluing their choices in building characters and choosing how to spend resources? THAT’S why it’s removing player agency.

Talk about putting words in my mouth.

I don't see a huge difference between PF1 and PF2 knowledge checks. In both cases, a success earns the player some useful knowledge.

It's long been customary in PF1 to let people ask questions because the idea is that players know best what sort of information would be useful to them. This isn't necessarily a correct belief - I've seen a lot of people ask for vulnerabilities in PF1 while in PF1 monsters with vulnerabilities are quite rare. And some things people never think to ask about, such as "does it have a gaze attack that will mess us up if we come within 30ft?"

Interestingly, PF1 doesn't really codify in the rules that players can pose questions, it's just a service the GM provides to help ensure "useful information". It would be perfectly acceptable by PF1 RAW for the GM to decide by himself what information to give. It would be a breach of the rules though if he gave useless information.

PF2 isn't all that different. The cost of attempting Recall Knowledge has gone up a bit; it takes an action, and there's a chance of misinformation, and success doesn't yield as much pieces of information as a dedicated lore character could get in PF1. So it does seem fair that the GM be extra diligent in ensuring any information really is useful.

Still, we have this habit of saying "so what kind of information would be useful to you?". If a player has a burning question ("will my favorite spell work on it") then there's nothing wrong with that.

On the other hand, the rules don't stop the GM from supplying different information if he thinks it would be more useful. "You don't know if your spell will work, but it has a nasty gaze attack."

Here you basically get an inter-agency squabble:
- The first agency was the player choosing to spend an action on Recall Knowledge to learn something useful. The GM can fulfill this choice to the best by deciding what information to give.
- The other agency in having your choice of question honored, even if it was not actually (20/20) the best question to ask.

That's a very theoretical issue and I don't think it's that relevant. Because the accusation here seems to be that the GM maliciously answers your bad question (fulfilling one of your agencies) while using that to withhold other more useful information (frustrating your other agency). If the GM is actually being malicious though, and hiding behind technicalities, your problem isn't some esoteric agency-theoretic problem, but that the person across the table from you is not being a good friend to play with.

Sovereign Court

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I think a lot of the "too comedy" comes from players playing kitchen sink characters. If you look at the actual scenarios, they range from pretty dark to pretty lighthearted.

So basically, you want to sit your friends down on a couch and ask "hey guys, what kind of campaign do we want to play, cuz we can take it in many directions. But it's on all of us to make it work."

Sovereign Court

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thenobledrake wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Agency doesn't mean all your choices will be good ones, just that you have real choices.
The choice between getting a die roll that provides useful information if successful and getting a die roll that will not provide you useful information no matter how it goes is not a real choice.

I really don't understand what you're talking about here. Are you saying the GM takes away the player's agency by respecting the player's choice to ask a question that turns out to be a poor one?

Sovereign Court

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thenobledrake wrote:

Categorical questions can still be bad questions to ask because if the GM answers them you've not gained useful information about the creature.

And "you can spend an action, succeed at a skill roll, and still get nothing" - which is what happens if a player asks a bad question and it gets answered - is pretty much the definition of reducing player agency.

How do you define agency? The base rules have agency only in deciding whether or not to Recall Knowledge. The GM tries to offer the player more agency by letting the player choose what kind of knowledge he might recall. The player exercised their agency by making a poor choice - but that's still agency. Agency doesn't mean all your choices will be good ones, just that you have real choices. The player could have also said "no I don't want to ask a specific question, just tell me what you think would be useful". The player chose not to do that, and that happened to be a poor choice. But it was a real choice.

Sovereign Court

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I consider the whole "roll me dice that I'll then secretly interpret for you", either with prerolling or with some kind of obfuscated dice tower, to be verging on superstition. I'm not a fan.

Just say "I want to recall knowledge on the shambling corpse" and I'll look up your skill on your initiative card, roll, and tell you what you think you know.

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

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Evilgm wrote:
Philippe Lam wrote:
The damage dealt to early AL by unlimited replay was telling, and even opening a permanent limited amount would be harmful for PFS.
As I haven't been around for the 10+ years of previous debate and don't really have a strong opinion one way or another, can I ask what was the damage done by unlimited replays in AL?

That's a fair question.

There are a bunch of different reasons, and from the stories not just in AL but previously also in Living Greyhawk. The reasons that stand out to me are:

Most adventures don't stay fresh when replayed.
A whodunnit is never quite as exciting the second time around when you already know who dun it. Likewise with an adventure that tries to put you in an interesting and surprising story/combats.

Most of the evergreen scenarios that Paizo's written try to combat this with having multiple enemies that the GM can choose from or alternate story elements. The ones I've enjoyed most were relatively light on story, but had a lot of possible different combat (Tome of Righteous Repose, Beyond the Halflight Path, and the Wounded Wisp also has a bit of this flexibility but does have actual story). It turns out these scenarios are a LOT of work to produce though. On that note, PFS2 does feature an unusually high number of them in the planned first season, to help keep people going while building up the catalog.

Being the new player among replayers can be terrible
Sure, some people are good sports and won't spoil things. Unfortunately, not everyone is good at that. And Paizo puts quite a lot of stress on avoiding spoiling things for others if you're replaying, which I think is easier because people are "on notice" that replay is not a common thing.

The worst stories come down to a table of people all replaying it except for one player who hasn't played it before. The old players are telling the GM to hurry through the story blah blah that they've all heard before, or telling the newbie that "don't do that, we already know what the optimal tactic is, you should..."

It's only a bit better if they're all trying to avoid spoilers. Then you have four people all keeping tight-lipped and acting dumb while the new player is trying to do the RP encounters and making choices. Adventures are meant to be collaborative, not four people keeping mum while watching the last one being in the spotlight.

It crowds new players out of signups
Usually, you have a handful of people willing to GM, and a lot of people looking to play. The regular players generally know best how the signup process works, when new offerings go up and all that. So if they can replay everything all the time, they tend to be in the front of the queue for signups. This leaves new players to sign up for whatever is left - sometimes nothing, or that table with with the GM or powergamer everyone else is trying to avoid.

Scheduling games is hard, I know. We had a tough time of it in our lodge and one of our guys made this tool to help find scenarios that a specific group of people can all play freshly.

It can turn playing into a chore
I mean, people are split all over on whether they like playing low level stuff. Some people prefer high level stuff. Some people just think that characters aren't properly coming unto their build until [insert number here]. With unlimited replay, it's easy to slip into a mindset where you're not showing up to the game session to have a good time, but just to get a piece of paper with XP on it that will hopefully let you have a good time in a different scenario.

Likewise, there's less pressure on GMs to offer new scenarios. Some GMs enjoy running a scenario many times. That's quite okay if it's for new audiences - if there's a story you enjoy telling, get really good at telling it. But it can also cause stagnation - when GMs don't prep new stuff because they can easily fall back on stuff they've already got lying around. And you show up to game day and end up going home thinking "well, I didn't actually play any scenario I wanted to play today, but at least I have XP". That's sounding more like going to work.

When people can't replay all that much, schedulers are pushed not to schedule the same thing too much.

---

Limited Replay Is Not Evil
I've sketched a lot of things that can happen when replay is too plentiful. That doesn't mean all replay is bad. I've used enough of it over the years. It can be fun as a player to replay a good scenario and watch other people have the thrill of discovery for the first time. Or to go into a scenario that's particularly fun with this special new character you have. Or to cross swords with that notoriously hard boss again. Or because you want to play something with a select group of people who only rarely meet up.

The key with these things is moderation. Too much replay is awful, especially when you get a lot of replayers all at the same time. But when Paizo gives you only a handful of precious replays, you have to choose carefully what you want to spend them on because it would be really fun. And it means GMs and organizers can't just dictate what's on offer without thinking about their audience.

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Hmm wrote:
As much as I would like to unite the two systems, I would not adopt everything from PF2 into Starfinder. I like having a ton of quirky race options from the very beginning, and am still adapting to how PF2 handles ancestry feats. I don't think it would handle the truly weird Starfinder races very well.

I think it'd be doable enough to do weird races in StarPathfinder. I'm actually a little overwhelmed by just how many new races Starfinder has pushed (about 100 playable races so far). Many of them have about 1 page of fluff and a sidebar with crunch.

Pathfinder 2 seems to focus more on investing in depth on races; each ancestry is several pages of material, with the possibility of further extension with more ancestry feats down the line.

The modularity of Pathfinder 2 ancestries could actually work quite well for Starfinder as well, and the setup pushes writers not to try to just put in a short shallow sketch of a race.

So my dream would be maybe 30 playable races but each of them with three times the amount of content that a Starfinder race typically gets right now.

Hmm wrote:
Also, I would have liked to see PF2 adopt Starfinder's Stamina system. I am still scratching my head over the question of why they did not.

Well Stamina doesn't just come on its own. It brings with it:

- A split in which class heals damage and which one heals stamina. (I like this, but some others hate it.)
- Resolve points. I think they're great because they give every class a clock that ticks down to needing long rest, instead of only the spellcasters.
- Abilities powered by resolve (like Channel Energy); basically all forms of healing either cost Resolve, or can't be used until the next time you spend Resolve to regain stamina (Inspiring Boost).
- Building off that, other abilities that are "once in between rests".
- Other abilities that spend Resolve.
- (Also: batteries. Limited but rechargeable.)

Don't get me wrong, I think it's brilliant. It limits the amount of power you can spend in just one fight, while giving you power in multiple encounters. So it quite elegantly circumvents the PF1 tendency towards 15 minute adventuring days. Steady countdown instead of one nova from 100 to 0.

Pathfinder 2 achieves much of the same though:
- Treat Wounds means that hit points are a "per encounter" pool, not a "per day" pool.
- Focus Points give you per encounter powers, but with the ability to hotwire one ability more if you really need it; but it's hard to get back more than one per encounter.
- Cantrips that can be used all day. This slows down casters running out of juice.
- Hero Points are also somewhat tied to how much you do in a day. A day with many encounters probably takes several sessions and therefore involves hero point refills. Hero Points are decoupled from stats so no more agony for solarians and envoys who can't really afford a healthy-resolve-high charisma.
- Pathfinder 2 has a really extensive 10 minute economy. Lots of 10m stuff may be needed after a fight. Banging out shields, treating wounds, examining loot, thorough searching, item identification etc.

I think they're both valid solutions. I'd say Pathfinder 2 invests more in "time as an essential resource", where as a GM you can twist the screws by reducing how much time you can spend in between encounters. In Starfinder it's either nothing, 10m or long rest. On the other hand, Stamina is less bossy in what skills absolutely must be present in the party.

Sovereign Court

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Gaterie wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Is someone guilty just because they have evil thoughts, or do they have to commit actual evil deeds?
How can anyone be evil if he doesn't commit any evil deeds ? O_O

That's something philosophers have been fighting over for centuries. Is a good deed done with selfish/evil intent good or not? Is someone who does evil things for good reasons evil? It's all rather complicated.

In Pathfinder, you can be evil just because your statblock says so. Doesn't mean you've done any harm (yet).

In the justice system most of us are used to, you're not guilty of anything if you thought about doing a crime but didn't do it.

Don't turn Divine Lance into Thought Police. Unless you're Evil and want to weed out the undercover Chaotic Good infiltrators in your cult.

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The ShadowShackleton wrote:

To me the real question is “Why does the party have to know everything there is to know about the monsters they fight for the game to be fun?”

That was one of the things I liked least about PF1 by the end.

This sometimes got so bad. You're playing a PFS1 group special so you want to move through encounters at a brisk pace so you get to see everything. But you have a bunch of wizards at the table who all learn multiple facts about each different monster in each encounter and then they have to agonize over which of twenty spells to use, to get that last extra 1% optimal performance.

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Is someone guilty just because they have evil thoughts, or do they have to commit actual evil deeds?

If someone may be evil, but you don't know if they're actually guilty of anything, do they have to "self-incriminate" by undergoing a possibly lethal experiment? Someone who's maybe evil but hasn't committed any crimes could still die.

Using Divine Lance that way doesn't seem very lawful or good to me. Now, chaotic evil people can also use divine lance and I guess for them it's a great acid test...

Sovereign Court

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Franz Lunzer wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

How are you finding the “false information on a critical failure” mechanic?

...
For me, players researching backstory or plot is golden. I’d be really leery about introducing random disincentives to trust what they’ve learned.

(Not the one the question was pointed at, but here's my point of view nonetheless)

I'm on the fence... If my player's were to recall knowledge on a fire giant and get a crit fail, would a "they have a minor resistance to acid, they don't feel the burn" be okay?

It strikes me as something the characters (if not the players) can believe and it's not too out there. Characters working off that misleading info might still use acid attacks.

In the end (much like secret rolls) it falls down to the GM knowing their players.

Suppose you have an ooze that splits into two (bad!) when attacked with piercing or slashing weapons, and that does a bit of acid damage to wooden and metal weapons. The party does have wooden clubs though.

Critfail could even be the truth, but incomplete, and sets you on the wrong path: "Attacking this ooze with wooden weapons can damage and possibly destroy them".

Even if someone else does succeed at the roll and knows they shouldn't use piercing/slashing, now the party will be agonizing over whether to risk their clubs. And the bad information sounds plausible because it's true, just misleading.

Sovereign Court

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These seem a little powerful:

* The Bone Blade doesn't give 1.5x weapon specialization. Only natural weapons do that, to compensate for being a 1d3 unarmed strike weapon, that scales up only very slowly with Improved Unarmed Strike.

* The retractable claws are Operative but yet you allow 1.5x weapon specialization, instead of the usual 0.5x weapon specialization.

* What proficiency covers these? Basic or advanced melee?

* Can you add fusions to these implants? Natural weapons somewhat justify their 1.5x weapon specialization by not allowing fusions, so DR and incorporeal require extra feats etc. to overcome.

* Does it take an action to ready these? It seems to be (intentionally?) very hard for operatives to draw hidden weapons (always swift or higher) and make a trick attack in the same turn (requires a full attack, so need weapons already drawn).

Sovereign Court

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Mark Seifter wrote:
To have the world be affected by where a weapon is printed on the weapon table is more like if we printed "A goblin can indeed intimidate hill giants.

You say this as if it's totally obvious, but a lot of stuff actually depends on where something is printed in the table:

- If a weapon is printed in the simple weapons section it is governed by simple weapon proficiency
- If a weapon is printed in the uncommon weapons section is is not accessible by default
- If a weapon is printed in the ranged weapons section you can only use it at range

So it's not really such a strange thing to conclude "if a weapon is printed in the melee weapons table, it's a melee weapon".

Thief Racket wrote:
When you attack with a finesse melee weapon, you can add your Dexterity modifier to damage rolls instead of your Strength modifier.

The thief racket doesn't ask if you're making a melee attack, it's asking if you're using a melee weapon. There's nothing that I can easily spot that stops a dagger from being a melee weapon just because you happen to be throwing it instead of using it for a melee attack.

If a thrown dagger doesn't count as a melee weapon while throwing it for the purpose of the Thief racket, then does a Disrupting, Ghost Touch or Keen rune also not work if you're throwing the dagger, since it must be etched onto a melee weapon?

If the intent was that Thief Racket only apply to melee attacks, maybe it should have been phrased:

If you make a melee attack with a finesse weapon...

instead of the current text:
If you make an attack with a finesse melee weapon...

Sovereign Court

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DeaconKC wrote:
Thank you, I just heard several folks on another forum who were saddened by the change on PF2. As I never played PF, were the changes so drastic?

The changes are absolutely huge, but whether they're a good or a bad thing is a matter of taste. Personally I'm really liking PF2. Looking at it, a lot of Starfinder looks like spinoff from research into PF2.

- Starfinder and Pathfinder 2 both consolidate the skill list
- They both guide the GM with skill DCs appropriate to particular levels, but the Pathfinder 2 ones are much better balanced between classes. Starfinder has a big imbalance in how skills scale between operatives and soldiers/solarians.
- Both of the games have gotten rid of having a mandatory healing character in the party (PF2 has Treat Wounds, Starfinder has Stamina).
- Both of them use pseudo "per encounter" powers: Starfinder has a lot of "can't use this again until you recover Stamina", PF2 uses Focus Points for those.
- It's easier to have ranged attacks in both of them; Starfinder got rid of Precise Shot and gave everyone gun proficiencies, PF2 makes it easier to get cantrips that do decent ranged damage and can be used all day.
- Both of them have a cleaned up action economy. No more "not an action-action" 5ft step stuff. PF2 copies the Reaction concept from Starfinder, but goes further by getting rid of the differences between Move, Standard and Full actions. The three-action economy is the one thing almost everyone loves about PF2, even the people who hate everything else.
- Both of them drastically remove the number of Attacks of Opportunity that happen, making combat more mobile.
- Both of them have much more calibrated to hit/AC math that makes it far easier for the GM to get to the sweet spot with combats.
- Starfinder already increases the typical amount of skill points compared to PF1 fighters, sorcerers etcetera; but PF2 goes even further in making most classes skilled enough that everyone gets to play a role in skill challenge encounters.

So yeah, big drastic changes but I rather like them.

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I was working on this recently because I was making a combination of initiative/secret check cards, that you can turn into a stack to run a combat with. The stuff I put on was:

* Character name
* Perception, and TEML boxes, because that can matter for detecting some traps/hazards
* Saving throws with TEML boxes, although I might cut those TEML boxes later because they don't seem to be important for which saves you can attempt. I might put in a way to mark "treat success as crit" abilities though.
* The usual set of Recall Knowledge candidates: Arcana, Nature, Religion, Occultism, Society, along with TEML boxes in case a check is Expert+ only.
* Stealth, mainly for rogues using it for initiative
* Diplomacy, for Gather Info checks in scenarios with critfail effects

Cut for space, because I don't think they come up often and I don't think I often need to hide the fact that I'm making one of these secret checks:
* Survival
* Crafting (identify alchemy)
* Deception (does he believe your lies)
* Medicine (cause of death)

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Kerrilyn wrote:

* There's no take ten (I think? mog?)

Yeah, the new design is more "we wouldn't asking you for a check, unless we wanted the outcome to be in doubt".

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As a PFS GM you're bound to play by the rules. That's easy if the rules are clear. If the rules are unclear, then you have to use your own best judgement to make a fair and reasonable ruling.

This is a case where the rules are legitimately unclear. There are several theories about how Battle Medicine is supposed to work:
A) It doesn't require hands or a healer's kit because they're not listed in the requirements.
B) It does require them because it's mimicking Treat Wounds, and Paizo either forgot to say that (which happens sometimes) or thought it was obvious (turns out, it wasn't that obvious).

Until we get a FAQ, we don't know which of these theories is correct. There are arguments to be made in good faith for both of them. In long discussions, no one side has been able to sway the other.

You have a lot of people saying that obviously their interpretation is correct, that the issue isn't confusing or ambiguous at all. But that leaves you with the big question: then why are so many people disagreeing? Are they all stupid or malicious? I think the more likely reason is that the issue is just unclear.

So, as a GM, what are you to do? Until Paizo gives us an FAQ to settle things, you just have to make up your own mind. Tell your players that after thinking the issue over and looking at the different arguments, for now your ruling is [x]. You can freely admit that you're not certain, but that you have to decide something, and this is the best judgement you can make. Try to communicate this to them before the middle of combat where it can be a matter of life and death :P

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Dekalinder wrote:
DC not scaling automatically with level was one of the major opposition point brought up by dev against the concept of threadmill. In the end, I still see a threadmill.

Yeah I pushed this topic heavily in the playtest. And I have to say, there is a big difference between the playtest and the final version:

* The introduction of Simple DCs as a prominent tool for setting DCs. This guidance was largely absent in the playtest and as a result the playtest leaned more heavily on level-appropriate DCs. Simple DCs as well as static DCs for known tasks that don't depend on the quality of the enemy, do a lot to feel like the world isn't just a treadmill.

* The DCs on the level-based DC table were re-scaled to focus more on trained/expert, instead of being set up to challenge a master/legendary character. The playtest was particularly treadmilly because only by running as fast as you possibly could, could you stay in place. In the final version, someone investing in a skill will eventually start getting relatively very good at the skill instead of just staying average.

There was a lot of talk in the playtest on how you should set DCs. Ostensibly, you would use level-appropriate DC benchmarks to figure out what DC you need to put in a challenging problem, then go shopping for a task that has that DC. "I want to challenge my level 10 party with climbing", and then you go figure out what kind of wall would be challenging to a level 10 party. It's probably covered in barbecue sauce and guarded by a dragon. But what happened a lot in practice was doing it the other, wrong, way around: I got this wall and I want it to be challenging, so what DC to I give it? And then the DC just becomes arbitrary, not linked to the flavor of the challenge anymore.

The risk of this kind of bad writing still exists, but I think the addition of Simple DCs has given good writers more tools to avoid it.

And then we come to PFS. PFS is weird because you're trying to write the same adventure for characters of different levels. One of the design goals for PFS adventures is that people basically experience the same story regardless of whether they play the low or high tier. So while minor details can vary ("in high tier, the butler has had a bad day, and the Diplomacy DC is 2 higher") it's not easy to put in completely different problems to justify high enough challenges. Word count limits really are a thing.

Take a scenario like Trailblazer's Bounty for example (I helped playtest it so I know some about how it got written). It involves a trek across terrain where at some points you get to examine an area to determine how suitable it would be. There's like 7 different things you can examine in an area, spread out across a range of different skills so that many different characters can contribute. And some skills are easier (specific lore) and others are harder (more ambitious task), and then you have perception that should be a bit harder still because everyone has it and this is a "everyone can try" check, so it's easy because so many people are trying.

Now imagine having to justify higher DCs for each of these. That gets very hard. If you parenthesize all of them the section will start to resemble LISP code. So what are your practical alternatives as a writer?

- You can just not justify it. People are playing only one tier at a time, so as a player you don't actually see this. And because of the way DCs have been scaled, it's not actually a treadmill; as you go up in level, you start to pull ahead of the level-based DCs in the skills you specialize in, while staying on track fairly easily on your trained skills.

- You could keep the DCs the same, so that people in high tier just score more successes than people in low tier because they win more checks. You could balance that by requiring more total points at the end of the adventure for full rewards. But the downside of this is that at one tier it's either like a cakewalk (if you use the low-tier DCs everywhere) or at the other it's a grind (if low tier has to play against high-tier DCs). Even if you only need a handful of points for full reward, is it really fun to miss most of the checks because you're playing up?

So I would say: what PFS is doing is not "pure" by design standards, but I think it's a defensible pragmatic choice to do it that way, and it's not actually unpleasant for players.

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I think a lot of the time isolating the magic wazzit isn't all that complicated.

Instead of standing in the middle of the room, stand in the corners, narrow itd down to a quandrant.

When trying to decide which of a bunch of scrolls are magical, put them in two piles and test for each pile if there's magic; keep splitting until you isolate. You can give some algorithmic complexity bounds for how long it should take, but basically, you can cut it down to a few minutes.

The only tricky situation really is small rooms where you can't split stacks of items.

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I don't think there's anything in PF2 that only one class can do. But some classes are obviously at an advantage.

I think Wizards can do well at adapting: they start out strong on some knowledges, have a lot of skills to be at least trained in, can change their spell selection. As a spellcaster you also often end up using two actions for a spell which means you have one left over that you could use for Recall Knowledge. A wizard should often be able to discover the weaknesses of a monster and have some way of exploiting them.

Sure, an alchemist can do that too. Like I said, no unique jobs.

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citricking wrote:
Electric Arc seems far better than other cantrips. It seems balanced if it only hit one target. Is it really meant to hit two targets?

Each of the elemental cantrips has a different strength:

Ray of Frost has a lot more range
Electric Arc targets two enemies
Acid Splash deals splash damage, which is extra effective against swarms
Produce Flame also has a melee mode

So yeah, I don't think it's a mistake.

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gnoams wrote:
Interestingly now while cantrips scale and are semi useful throughout, other spells don't. Low level spells become trash as you level up (originally it looked like they buffed low level spells to continue to be viable, but looking deeper they actually nerfed them to be worse than pf1), the difference is now many of them can be prepared as higher level spells and still be good. Low level damage spells will remain a piddly amount of damage and eventually be worse than cantrips, while low level incapacitation spells will no longer affect the enemies you fight. Low level buffs will give poor bonuses unless you heighten them to higher levels. However, there's a few low level spells that retain their effectiveness, so you will spend more time hunting for those as well.

I would say that you're not supposed to prepare the same low-level spells throughout your career. Damaging spells are usually going to come from your high-level slots.

But save DCs are no longer based on spell levels, so low-level slots that inflict a condition age quite well now, they effectively have the same save DC as your highest level spells. Grease for example ages pretty well.

I think this is kind of a feature. The "style" of a high-level wizard is that he can afford to use his low-level slots for utility spells, because a) he's got enough of them, b) they're only so-so for offensive purposes anyway.

So two spells may be both level 1, but one of them was intended for actual level 1 wizards and the other for level 9 wizards looking to get some utility out of low-level slots. The second spell looks rather bad to a level 1 wizard but makes sense for the level 9 wizard.

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Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
OP here... I don't think that the table acting on that is cheating,

If they use information that they shouldn't have, that would be cheating. However...

Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:


and I'm not sure it plays out as some have pointed out here. I'll give a more concrete example.

P1,2,3,4 - creature is undetected to all, sneaking behind some barrels.
P1 - seeks the creature and manages to change it's status to Hidden.
P1: "So do I find anything out"?
GM: "Yes, the creature is now Hidden to you, but not Undetected."
P1: "Hidden?, so that means I know which square it is on and won't have to randomly target squares to find out?"
GM: "Correct".
P1: "So...which square then?".
GM: "Err... here" -> points to the square.
P2,3,4 - now have to pretend they didn't hear the conversation at all.

If P2,3,4 originally INTENDED to hit that exact square behind the barrels (just because it seemed a logical place), they now can't do it without being suspect of cheating/metagaming by the internetz.

They'd already made their decision to target that square without using "dirty" information. The problem is what kind of convenient process to use at the table to administer that fairly.

Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
The alternative solution would be to take P1 to the side and tell him in secret without anyone else knowing ("it is the 3rd square to the left of the barrels"), but that just seem tedious.

There's some ways the GM could notify the player, for example slipping a note or sending a text message.

I would be okay with P1 saying "behind the barrels" as free banter, and if there's only one space that could be, then it's easy for the other players to deduce where. If there had been two squares that are both behind the barrels though, it wouldn't be okay to point out exactly which of the two. If you have to give a lot of instructions, then it won't be free anymore.

What IMO the Point Out action is for is when pointing out an exact square is not so easy, for example because it's a wide open room and the invisible enemy that you saw using See Invisibility is somewhere roughly but not exactly in the middle of it. So then you need to point out a precise square with detailed instructions, and in PF1 it always strained belief that that could really be done so easily for free.

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Bob Jonquet wrote:
If someone could link to a place where one of staffers commented on this, IMO it would be a mistake to ignore that, even though it doesn't exist in the FAQ. Though as I said, I cannot recall where it was expressed to me and since I cannot locate the source, take it as hearsay, but I'm fairly sure (enough to express it here, but not enough to bet a paycheck) it was Tonya who said you could not use a Hero Point on earn income checks because they occur between scenarios and HP do not extend beyond the end of the session. I cannot recall if the "fortune" feature is part of the justification. As such, I do not allow HP on earn income or crafting rolls. Of course since none of us can point to an official source and some seem to think the rules as printed are not explicit enough, expect table variation.

I disagree, this hearsay-based "globally consistent rules" thing is not okay.

I understand that getting FAQs all polished up may take too much time. But if as OPF you actually care whether we use hero points, all you have to do is copy Joe Pasini's style: open up a thread and in the first post put your ruling.

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Joe Pasini wrote:
Ron Lundeen wrote:
What's one science fiction/science fantasy sub-genre or trope you think "Boy, I wish Starfinder could handle this better than it does right now"?

Open-ended, planet-of-the-week, scrappy-starship-crew-takes-on-the-galaxy adventures!

(Which is a big part of why I created the Deck of Many Worlds. ...And I've now made this seem like a planted question. Oh well!)

On that note, I think it would be exciting to see APs play up the freedom and field-adaptability that UPB crafting and your own ship design can give you.

When I first laid hands on Starfinder and discovered how much easier crafting was compared to Pathfinder, I assumed that a typical mission might be like "so, we landed on this planet, and it seems the local fauna is immune to X and vulnerable to Y, so before we go into the main area, let's fab some appropriate weapons".

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That list doesn't seem complete.

Arazni (not sure if she still has divine power)
Aroden (probably Starstone-induced)
Nethys (achieved omniscience and through that divinity)
Milani (ascended from minor saint to full deity after Aroden died)
Iomedae
Cayden Cailean
Norgorber

Unity (ran simulations in which it was a god for so long that it became a god)
Hellion (invested with divine power)
Casandalee (invested with divine power, later absorbs Unity's power)

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Excaliburproxy wrote:

Re Ogre talk:

I would argue that even against the ogre, the disarm is probably going to be a bad investment anyways. Damage is much lower risk and will actually end the fight whereas disarming the ogre does not end the fight and requires some characters to burn actions picking up and/or stowing the item (lest they be penalized for carrying a large weapon). Meanwhile, the disarmed ogre can still punch (probs at a d4+7 at +12 nonlethal/+10 lethal) or grab/trip an opponent to open up the target for friends (which he probably has unless this is a fairly routine encounter).

I'm a lot less scared of an ogre punching for 1d4+7, or even critting for 2d4+14, than I am of it critting with that ogre hook for 3d10+14.

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Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
What is the point of the 'Point Out' action? All it does is make an enemy that is 'Hidden' to you, but 'Undetected' to the other players into becoming 'Hidden' for all players. But the only difference between the two statuses is that an 'Undetected' enemy square is unknown (and has to be guessed), whereas a 'Hidden' enemy square is known.

That's a very big deal. If you don't even know the square an enemy is in, you can't really attack them. If you know "it's that square" then you can shoot at that square. There's a 50% chance that you miss anyway, but that's better than first having to randomly guess one out of 8 squares, and then a 50% miss chance (net: 93.75% miss chance).

Also, if you for example have a spell that can make an invisible creature visible, but your spell has only a small area of effect, you need to know where to target it. So knowing in what square someone is, is a big deal.

Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
All the other penalties (50% miss chance, etc.) are the same. Why wouldn't I just go to the enemy that is 'Hidden' from me and attack it

You can totally do that and it's okay. As long as you happen to be a character who feels comfortable in melee. But characters who can See Invisibility aren't always frontliners. But yeah, there are multiple ways to achieve the same end result. I mean, you could also cast Faerie Fire to make the invisible creature visible, and you also wouldn't need the Point Out action then.

Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
, or just yell (as a free action) which square the enemy is occupying

And that, you can't do. Not as a free action. That's exactly the Point Out action.

Bantering a bit in combat is free. Giving precise coordinates isn't.

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Just because we are using the release of the new edition as an opportunity to make errata work better than it did last edition

I honestly hope you manage to.

Last edition, at some point, a lot of effort was spent on trying to find a way to make the Stealth rules in the CRB work better. In the end, it was shelved because it was not possible to accommodate the required extra text in the next printing of the CRB without disrupting page numbering, which would have meant that all page references into the CRB from other books would be thrown into chaos. But seeing a very serious attempt at fixing a difficult issue get shot down on that, was rather heartbreaking.

Last year I ran into Logan Bonner at PaizoCon UK, where he was carrying the book that everyone wanted to look at. I had a short talk with him about what kind of plans you guys had to make it easier to handle changes in the future. Because, to my mind, RPGs need change and maintenance. They're a lot like software, run on the wetware of human brains. They need patches and updates, and if you want to have a long-term product, you need to think about how you can make it easy to do that in the long run.

Mark Seifter wrote:
doesn't mean we're putting the brakes on getting it documented and decided. The ball is rolling, but the design team did lose Stephen just after GenCon, and we also want to make sure we get you the Gamemastery Guide and the APG playtest on time if we can.

All I want is a healthy balance between feeding our hunger for new stuff, and maintaining, even polishing, the existing stuff.

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Let's do a thought experiment into probabilities. We have a level 3 fighter with some friends facing off against an Ogre Warrior (Bestiary p. 252). The warrior has an ogre hook which with its Fatal 1d10 trait is just scary. So we want to disarm it.

Our fighter is level 3 and is an expert in Athletics. He's such a jock. His strength of 18 lets him ignore armor check penalty. So he has a (4+4+3)=11 to Athletics. To disarm the ogre, he needs to critically beat the ogre's Reflex DC of 16, so he needs a 26. To do that he would need to roll a 15+

He's got a non-coward rogue in the party who's flanking the ogre, making the ogre flat-footed. Now he needs a 13+.

There's a bard in the party who intimidated the ogre, making it Frightened 1 and reducing the desired number to 12+. The bard also used Inspire Courage, which works with Disarm since it has the attack trait. We're looking for an 11+ now.

---

So far, we're looking at a party that has done nothing to specialize in Disarm, and they've got it down to 50% odds.

Now we could add some optimizations:
* The rogue could have also been an Expert in Athletics, and used Assurance with his last action to get a 10+4+3=17 result to lower the ogre's disarm DC by 2. This could be part of a general rogue build where you exploit your skills to push people around, so we're still not specializing towards Disarm here; all these abilities are useful in other ways too. But now we only need a 9 to disarm the ogre.
* At level 4, there's some dramatic shifts happening. The fighter decided to dip into the Runescarred archetype and get True Strike. He's also gone up a level. So we only need an 8 to disarm the ogre, and we can roll twice and take the best result. At this point, we're looking at a 87.75% chance of success for a level 4 fighter, with some help, to disarm a level 3 ogre. And still, we haven't had to buy any ability specific to Disarm; all of this still is useful in many other ways.

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Bob Jonquet wrote:
Regardless of rules interpretation, didn’t Michael or Tonya explicitly state that hero points could not be used for downtime and/or earned income rolls? I am fairly certain that is the case, though I admit it may have been verbal (at Gen Con) rather than in the forums which would explain why I have so far been unable to source it.

Verbal communications are, as a managerial tool for a worldwide campaign, basically useless.

On mode practical note, I'm really liking the way Joe Pasini is handling issues in Starfinder right now. When faced with an issue that has spawned a big thread with lots of back and forth, he makes a new thread where in the first post he lays down the issue and his decision. You don't have to dig it out somewhere from the bottom of a 10-page he-said she-said thread.

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p. 278 wrote:
You can Strike with your fist or another body part, calculating your attack and damage rolls in the same way you would with a weapon.

It doesn't say "only some people can also use different parts of the body" or "with special training you can use other parts of the body". Everyone can use other parts of the body to strike.

But, if the table only lists fists, what are the stats for strikes with other body parts? That's answered in the next paragraph:

p. 278 wrote:
Table 6–6: Unarmed Attacks lists the statistics for an unarmed attack with a fist, though you’ll usually use the same statistics for attacks made with any other parts of your body. Certain ancestry feats, class features, and spells give access to special, more powerful unarmed attacks. Details for those unarmed attacks are provided in the abilities that grant them.

So unless you have a special ability that says differently, your kick or headbutt uses the same stats as your fist.

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Zapp wrote:

My intention was not to brainstorm changes.

My example was just to illustrate how things could have been.

This sounds bit like you want to complain to an audience, not hear solutions.

Zapp wrote:
My intention was to confirm the devs really created an option that for all intents and purposes is a trap option (that I hadn't missed anything) and discuss why they didn't instead offer something useful, something that would actually work as a build option?

Well, you heard reasons for why they made disarming hard. And people agree that the simple success effect is a bit lackluster.

So, a build option? No, I don't think you're "supposed" to build for disarm. You also don't have to buy a lot of feats so it's not like you got trapped into investing in disarm. If you're good at Athletics you can trip and shove and if the ideal situation comes up, you happen to be skilled for disarming too. You didn't have to pay extra for it.

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There are, legitimately, different ways to enjoy games. There is some insightful literature on this subject:

MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research

Gaming for Fun (Part 1): Eight Kinds of Fun

The second link mentions creativity in character creation as one of these kinds of fun (#7: Expression). Finding impressive combos and building a clever character around it certainly can be fun. I guess Sherlock1701 might recognize himself in that one. I'm one of those people myself.

Where it clashes though is #4, Challenge. PF2 took a notably different tack on this than PF1, with a stark veer away from "sure thing" stats. On the one hand, it's harder to tank saves and AC so deep that monsters will hit you on a 2. On the other hand, it's almost impossible to raise them so high that they'll never hit. And vice versa. The outcome of every fight is more in doubt.

I personally find that very refreshing, challenging, and fun. But it caters to a different appetite than PF1 did. I'm hoping for a style of adventure writing that takes into account that 100% completion of obstacle courses is no longer to be expected, and that it's more about winning despite some things going wrong along the way.

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Ravingdork wrote:

You decide after damage is known, but before it is dealt.

Pretty sure the devs discussed this in detail on Twitch.

That's nice, but take a look at these shields:

Arrow-Catching If you use it and the attack hits you automatically use Shield Block, before hearing the damage.

Forge Warden To use one of the main features of the shield, you have to Shield Block. But Hardness 6, 24 HP isn't really very much at level 10.

These are shields where using the Shield Block is clearly part of how you're intended to use them, but their fragility compared to level makes them quite bad at that.

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Steve Geddes wrote:
graystone wrote:
For the OP, if you don't care about the fixes as "it matters very little to actual game" the it shouldn't matter one way or the other to you as neither way changes how you play.

It matters in that correcting errors, clarifying confusing points and revising a design philosophy which has resulted in some undesirable consequence is work and effort the design team aren’t spending making new stuff.

I’m resigned to the fact the errata/FAQ process will continue (I think those of us who don’t care are in the minority of the Paizo fanbase). However, it’s not true that it makes no difference to us - opportunity cost is a real thing.

Well this is a sliding scale isn't it? Suppose due to some layout accident the last page of a class got chopped off and they didn't get any class features beyond level 12, would you want it fixed then? Suppose an item accidentally got listed as 20 bulk instead of 2 bulk, making it impossible to carry, would you want that fixed? If Paizo is printing a new run of the CRB, do you want them to fix the typos they know about?

There's a variety of tradeoffs. Does Paizo want to be known as a company that doesn't care about quality control? Does Paizo care if there are rule problems so severe that you can't really have an organized play campaign, because everyone is implementing their own house rules to fix them?

You seem to be proposing a very absolutist position, that Paizo should never work on improving existing products but devote all energy to churning out new content.

I don't think that's a good idea. I think a balance needs to be struck between maintaining the quality of existing product and adding new. Obviously new product is needed to drive sales. But quality of existing product is also important, otherwise people will start quitting the game because it's so broken. Which is also bad for sales.

I also think devoting a certain amount of time to maintaining existing rules helps in honing the design team's mind on what works and what is problematic, and thus makes them much sharper at catching potentially problematic submissions by freelancers working on new stuff.

Compare Paizo to a software company. How would you feel about a software company that only focuses on new products, never fixing bugs in existing software no matter how severe? Would that really result in software you enjoy using?

---

So I think Paizo should consider for each proposed bugfix:
- How hard is it to perform Fixing a typo is straightforward. Adding a missing trait is not hard. Making a class feature table and a list of class features agree is also straightforward. Re-costing an item takes a bit more thought but then it's just a matter of changing a number. But overhauling the stealth rules is hard (which is why it was attempted but not actually changed in the CRB in PF1).
- How much value is created / anti-value removed by the fix Fixing a typo usually doesn't make the book a whole lot better, although it looks sloppy leaving them in. Fixing a completely broken class is quite valuable.
- How painful is it to people currently using the item. People didn't complain when the amulet of mighty fist was re-costed. They hated how the Jingasa was nerfed into the ground. Crane Wing was tricky because the original was broken, the first fix didn't work, but the final version is a good compromise.

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mrspaghetti wrote:

It was my impression that errata/faqs were just normal. In the edition of Hero Games' "Champions Complete" that I have, there are a number of errors in the text that are addressed by errata. There are a couple versions of Axis & Allies I've played that had errata/faq issued, which were pretty important to a consistent read on the game.

I'm thinking any sort of complex rule set is going to have issues that need to be clarified or fixed, that's just life. I'd rather have an official, written clarification/fix from the devs than rely on different interpretations at different tables, personally.

It's pretty normal to have an FAQ for a complex game, just about any serious RPG or boardgame has one. They tend to cover a couple of different degrees of things:

- Simply clarifying something that people had trouble understanding. If a question gets asked frequently, apparently it's not as obvious as the writers thought.
- Plugging holes that weren't known before. Someone came up with a complex rules interaction that wasn't anticipated in development and how you should handle that in the game is ambiguous. Fans are asking the game developers to use their professional skills at game design to come up with an answer that's best for the game overall.
- Rebalancing, sometimes an option turns out stronger than it was meant to be, or crippled by a rule elsewhere that the developers didn't intend to limit this thing. As a result the game is worse, because there's a dominant or useless option.

You also expect several of these things to be incorporated in the next printing of the game, along with typo fixes.

Rebalancing is the tricky one. Sometimes an option is very good and taken by many people. For example, the resonance effect of the Clear Spindle ioun stone essentially gave you Protection From Evil against enemy charm, compulsion, possession and domination effects, all day long. It was pretty cheap too. It was so good that it was considered highly irresponsible for any martial character not to take it. But it created problems:
* It didn't protect against the deadliest spell PF1 NPCs had, Confusion, and in fact gave license to not invest in Will because you were covered against most of the bad mind-affecting spells.
* It created a stark divide between people who knew about it and paid for the books, and more casual players.
* It caused an arms race with scenario writers, where you get suspiciously Chaotic Neutral villains who are up to their elbows in evil acts but are just not evil enough for the item to work. Or you run into plot items that specifically ignore these immunities. Because.
* If the writer didn't want to resort to cheese to overrule this item, then there were whole series of classic monsters that basically couldn't do their job, reducing the richness of the game.

So it was too powerful. It got nerfed hard, going from all day protection to once per day activated (if you knew you needed it) or once-only emergency activation as immediate activation (with lots of questions about whether you could activate it if you didn't know what was about to happen). So it went from a 4000gp permanent item to a 4000gp consumable. And there was much angst on the forums.

The thing is, people rarely complain when a previously too weak to use option gets upgraded. I remember when monks' ki strike was altered to provide special material damage earlier, and to also count as magical for hitting incorporeal creatures. And nobody complained. And the amulet of mighty fists was re-costed from 3x the price of a magic weapon (for wildshape druids with lots of claws) to 2x (for monks who essentially 2 weapon fight with their fists). And nobody complained.

So I think much of this discussion is actually about "we don't want our toys nerfed into the ground anymore". I can sympathize with that, I wouldn't want to see a previously good thing made so much worse that it's now a trash option. But I do think that sometimes it's necessary to take down an item that's being too dominant.

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It sounds a bit paranoid to not want to detail your build because you're afraid Paizo's going to come around and nerf more PF1 things, specifically because you mentioned them.

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Maybe now that the game has been out there for a while and people have had some time to play it and find the rough spots, this is a good time to start planning one.

What should go into it though?

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I think there are about three levels to this:
- FAQ: something is unclear and people keep asking about it, so explain it better in an FAQ entry.
- Errata: there's a mistake somewhere, such as a 20GP that should be 2GP. Or something is missing a trait. There was a plan, but what's actually printed isn't quite according to plan. Next printing, fix it. Meanwhile, have a list of "mistakes we found that will be fixed in the next printing" because it can take a while. This also covers fixing inconsistencies between things in different chapters seeming to contradict each other.
- Design changes: overhauling how something works because the original design is causing problems. This is basically Paizo saying "we changed our mind".

I would say that the first two categories are certainly desirable. The last category is sometimes needed, but preferably only if it really improves the game. I think it was this category that caused the most pain last edition when some option was found overpowered and nerfed hard in a next printing.

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I'm not sure if shields breaking is quite that unrealistic - holmgang apparently involved a specific number of replacement shields per participant in the duel.

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Yeah I think with most touch spells with an attack trait and a save, if you also added an attack roll to them, you'd never want to use them again. It would also be pretty uncharacteristic because all the ranged spells explicitly tell you when you should be making an attack roll.

It's a bit tricky to search for this, but I suspect typically the attack trait goes together with damaging touch spells, and ranged spell attacks that deal damage.

But I'm really not convinced all the spells are 100% correctly tagged.

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Joe Pasini wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
(Disclosure: I HATE the way equipment (particularly Armor and Weapons) is handled in Starfinder.)
Genuinely curious: Why? And what would you change?

I'm not entirely fond of it myself, although I've come around to it a bit. I have a couple of gripes:

* Having to constantly buy better stuff and selling back your old stuff for only 10% is unpleasant. I realize that it has an advantage in WBL handling, because any windfall or setback doesn't have too strong a persistent effect, but still, it's not pleasant to feel like you're throwing away money.

From a certain angle, just about any item you buy is a consumable; an armor that only stays effective in a certain level range is basically a consumable. However, buying ostensibly permanent items with no plan to keep them kinda grates against years of "spend your money wisely" conditioning everyone gets growing up.

* You have to somehow know when you should be upgrading gear. This is not skill that you just automatically get. This is a bit easier with armor, it seems that you do alright if you pick a particular flavor of armor (say, lashunta tempweave) and keep upgrading to the next mark when it becomes affordable and available (level). This tends to keep pace nicely with rising Dex and max Dex on armor.

* Weapons are more problematic; if you see yourself as for example a starknife thrower, there's a jump from level 1 to 8. Thanks to weapon specialization and ability upgrades your damage doesn't fall behind too terribly, but you can't put a lot of fusions on a level 1 item. Also save DCs against crit effects depend on item level. So item levels are important but badly distributed.

* Fusion costs are wonky. It's often cheaper to buy a low-level staging weapon, put fusions first on that, and then more them to your higher level main weapon at the reduced cost. Fusion costs go up very steeply so you can't really leave that money on the table, but it feels like an exploit.

* Fusion seals don't do what they promise, because they need a 24h warmup time.

* Armory had several armor upgrades that do something 1/day, and then also block that armor upgrade slot from doing anything else. This is immersion-breaking, technology doesn't work that way. Fine if the upgrade only works once per day, but why does it block the slot if you can just remove the upgrade with a few minutes' work? I realize designers sometimes want to make stuff limited use and don't want people circumventing that by buying multiples, but this is not an elegant way of implementing such a restriction. Investing things a la PF2 is more elegant, because it's based on a special resource you have as a person. But that only makes sense for magical things, technology is by its nature impersonal.

* As a presentational note, equipment is generally sorted in the book by how it works (magic, tech, hybrid), not by what it's for. But whether something is magical or not doesn't matter a whole lot, so most of the time this just makes it harder to find items while shopping.

* Levels of computers cost money but don't appear to do anything.

* On a more setting-based note, we don't have a great holistic picture of what Starfinder technology is capable of. It seems like AI and uiquitous surveillance and data mining tech is inferior to real life. You don't seem to have a lot of devices with the level of power and versatility of a modern smartphone. Meanwhile energy weapons and space travel is superior. So it's rather hard to say "you can assume these things are generally present in a high tech environment". That cramps the style of classes like the mechanic and technomancer who are supposed to gain some of their narrative power from working with the environment. But with how vague technology is, that environment is a bit of a blank room.

EDIT: whoa, that seems pretty negative when you put it altogether. Please read it with as context that I do rather enjoy the game. It's just not perfect (yet).

Sovereign Court

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Lord Fyre wrote:
Joe Pasini wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:

how portable to you see the Starfinder ruleset is from the Starfinder default setting?

The way equipment was set up and named is a small obstacle here.

I see it as eminently portable (no bias here =p)!

For me, it's just a matter of renaming a few setting-specific things (like doshkos and the Drift), and taking or leaving certain rules elements, buffet-style, to turn the system in a certain direction (excising magic and hybrid items for a less fantasy sci fi, for instance).

Are there other elements that make that more difficult in your view?

Not really. It is just the equipment names/descriptions. (Disclosure: I HATE the way equipment (particularly Armor and Weapons) is handled in Starfinder.)

Once the drift is replaced by a different FTL system, the Starstone no longer matters.

One other game system that blends very well with Starfinder is Stars Without Number. It's got a lot of good bits to it that are quite system-neutral but that can easily be dropped into Starfinder. It has a different take on FTL that puts more topology into the galaxy, and it's got a big toolbox for running sandbox settings and adventures. That then goes quite well with stuff like UBP crafting and all the stuff we can put in spaceships that doesn't strictly have a role in starship combat. So it augments the off-rails aspects of Starfinder very well.

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