As I read through the playtest rules, one thing has repeatedly tripped me up:
Some traits have important rules implications per se (e.g. stance, concentrate, press, etc.) while other traits are only important if referenced by other abilities (e.g. humanoid, dwarf, mental etc.). Stated differently, some traits actively alter the rules, while others only serve as passive tags to interact with other rules.
The distinction between these two kinds of traits can be summed up as follows: if you can't easily understand how a given spell/power/feat works without knowing the specific rules that govern of one or more of its traits, the presence or absence of those traits is of high importance for rules comprehension. If a given spell/power/feat can be easily understood without reference to its traits, then those traits are of low importance for rules comprehension.
In some cases, a particularly important trait for rules comprehension is hidden in the middle of an alphabetical list of 5+ traits, most of which are just tags. This makes identifying this important trait more challenging and mildly impairs easy rules comprehension.
I think it would be helpful if the notion that all traits are equal rules elements were dropped and a visual layout that prioritized and brought attention to especially crucial traits was introduced. For instance, what if in addition to appearing in the alphabetized list of traits, especially important traits like stance appeared in parentheses next to a feat's name (similar to the presentation in PF1)?
I hate CLW wand spam as much as the next guy, but resonance seems a very convoluted fix to a fairly simple problem. 5E has a system called "attunement" that accomplishes a very similar thing; I'm no fan of attunement but at least it doesn't add any extra book-keeping.
If healing wands are a problem, change how wands work, or change how healing works. The fact that resonance applies to potions might be a necessary balance mechanism, but my gut just tells me "that is so gamey. How would that even work?"
As it stands, I don't think resonance is likely to be a very fun mechanic, nor will it add much to the game except hassle and frustration.
What are your thoughts?
EDIT: I've thought about it some more, and I've come to realize I really only object to resonance and potions. I could get used to resonance in just about every other case, but resonance limits with potions just seems so... bizarre.
EDIT 2: I think resonance works with wands, staves, scrolls, etc. because it makes sense that the magical ability of the person attempting to activate the item would be a factor. It doesn't make sense with potions, because drinking a potion doesn't require the imbiber to speak a command word or do anything special; they just take a sip.
Just take 3 levels of vivisectionist with the extra discovery feat, grow two extra limbs, and dual-wield longbows. That's OBVIOUSLY what the dev team intended!
Actually, does this work? Can you dual-wield longbows with 4 arms and TWF? If so, that's totally going to be my next character! Behold "Bowro," the mighty Vivisectionist 3 / Fighter Archer 17:
4 iterative attacks +3 offhand attacks + 1 rapid shot + 1 many shot + 1 haste = 10 attacks per round!
EDIT: Good point about the extra discovery feat, Cartmanbeck! Thanks!
*EXTREMELY MINOR KINGMAKER SPOILERS NEAR THE END OF THIS POST*
Here's the Race in question:
Changeling (Half Human, Half Doppelgänger)
Human Heritage: Changelings get a +2 bonus to any one ability score of their choice
Medium: Changelings are Medium size.
Normal Speed: Changelings have a base speed of 30ft.
Languages: Changelings begin play speaking Common. Changelings with high Intelligence scores may choose any languages they want as bonus languages (except secret languages, such as Druidic).
Change Shape (Su): Changelings can assume the appearance of a Small or Medium humanoid at will as if using the Alter Self spell.
Perfect copy (Su): When a Changeling uses its Change Shape ability, it can assume the appearance of specific individuals.
Doppelganger Heritage: Changelings gain a +1 bonus on Bluff, Disguise, and Use Magic Device checks.
Doppelganger Resistance: Changelings gain a +2 bonus on all all saves against charm and sleep effects.
Darkvision: Changelings have Darkvision (60 ft)
NOTE: Per the Bestiary entry, Change Shape functions in all manners like Alter Self except that the shape changer does NOT gain a size bonus to his ability scores.
Question #1: Is this race balanced generally?
So as we all know, grapple was altered in pathfinder to allow a grappled character to cast a spell with somatic components as long as it he makes his concentration check, right? The text under the "grappled condition" entry makes no mention of somatic spells, and says that anything that doesn't require the use of two hands can be done in a grapple. AFAIK it was clarified somewhere that casting a spell with somatic components only takes one hand.
But… (and I really did do a double take when I read the below text. I thought I knew how grappling was supposed to work.)
"Grappling or Pinned
The only spells you can cast while grappling or pinned are those without somatic components and whose material components (if any) you have in hand. Even so, you must make a concentration check (DC 10 + the grappler's CMB + the level of the spell you're casting) or lose the spell."
What gives? At first I assumed the above to be holdover text from 3.5 but then I saw the reference to CMB. This entry doesn't directly contradict the "grappled condition" entry, but rather further qualifies it. I know that the grappled condition has been explained ad nauseam by the devs, and has been the subject of some errata, but AFAIK, the above entry on spell-casting while grappled found in the magic section has never been errata'ed. How did this escape their attention?
So am I right to assume this is an oversight, or am I missing something about how grapple interacts with somatic spell-casting?
I'm thinking of making an arcane duelist with a 1 level fighter dip who uses whirlwind attack.
I was thinking of a feat progression along the lines of:
Feats (Not including arcane duelist bonus feats)
Obviously, this build is far from optimized. Still, is it completely terrible? I experimented with trying to add trip in as well, but found the whole thing to be way too feat intensive.
So what do you think? Is this worth trying out? Or will the character be confined to utter mediocrity? Criticisms and helpful suggestions welcome.
Also, if you have any builds for melee bards in general, please post them. I'd love to see what you've got.
Here's the basic plan:
8 levels of Arcane Duelist
Arcane duelist up to level 8 to get Dirge of Doom + Shatter Defences for easy sneak attacks on all those shaken enemies. A typicial combat would involve hasting everyone, putting up Dirge of Doom, and charging into the fray to wreak havoc.
What I lose from not going pure rogue:
What I gain:
There will be a Trapper ranger who will take on trap finding duty. My party will be light on spell casters. I may in fact be the only one. With Bonus Spells and the Bonded Weapon feature of the Arcane Duelist, I'll have 5 daily lvl 2 spells, and 4 daily lvl 3s, enough for lots of party hastes, or self only hastes (allegro). We will be playing in a generally low magic environment, and Sorcerors, Wizards, Paladins, and Monks are unavailable as PCs.
Hit the spoiler to check the build out. Please let me know what you think!
Abilities (20 pt buy)
Feats, Bonus Feats and Rogue Talents