White Dragon

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Hey hey hey folks, more live updates. This is going to be a slow one because it is a 3 hour episode that doesn't have easy rewind and I'm about to go into work. Level 7 characters up in here.

Champions have weapon specialization damage they add on top of strength, no surprise there since fighters and barbarians had similar stuff.

Stunning Fist now seems to trigger where fierce flurry did in the playtest: when you land both flurry strikes on the same target. The target makes a fortitude save to avoid being Stunned, which is now a numbered condition. If I heard correctly, it was stunned 1 on a failure and stunned 3 on a critical failure.

This is nice change compared to the playtest, where Fierce Flurry and Stunning Fist were often at odds with each other. Not sure if Stunning Fist is a feat or a feature.

Speculation: Stunned may have replaced Slowed as the "lose X actions per round" condition, which would be dope for the monk.


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Gonna live post this as I listen through.

Logan on MAD Monks: Strength and Dexterity are gonna be important to all monks, but there are different ways to play to both. Ki powers are optional, and not all have DCs, so not every monk needs wisdom. From this we can infer that while ki power DCs are Wisdom based, the size of the focus pool is not. This is strong evidence that characters only start with one focus point regardless of stats, especially next to Oblivion Oath's Karina.


Players non-lethally took down the Faceless Stalker masquerading as Aldern Foxglove before he could escape the townhouse. I gotta decide what he can reveal to them. He's been reporting to Ironbriar, so he would almost certainly know about the Seven's Sawmill. But I don't see why he wouldn't know about the Shadow Clock either, so a party could potentially skip the Sawmill-- or at least do it out of order.

It is possible that the Stalker's been kept intentionally in the dark about its mistiness's true location. I'm also not entirely clear if the thing has been charmed like the ones in the clocktower were, which could certainly impact what it shares. The thing does try to flee the city rather than return to Xanesha a failure though, so there's obviously a limitation to how much of a puppet he is. I'm sort of leaning towards him being charmed as a way of foreshadowing Justice Ironbriar being charmed. Give some creepy hypnotic dialogue hinting at being charmed yet still fleeing from her. "To know the Mistress of the Seven is to love her. To love the Mistress of the Seven is to fear her."

I'd also like to drop evidence that the escaped Nualia has visited the Brotherhood of the Seven recently per the book's suggestion, and think the Faceless Stalker might be the best opportunity to do that. The party's grudge against her would probably serve to get them to hit the Sawmill first, if nothing else. Not entirely sure what that should look like, though. It could be as simple as mentioning that the last time the Stalker reported in there was an Aasimar Woman with a demonic arm.

Even if the Stalker can reveal the Shadow Clock's significance, I lean against him being able to reveal its defenses. He might be able to provide some insight into the Sawmill's though, which could further encourage the party to stop there first.


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Per Corie Marie's request from #MyPathfinderSpoilers, let's move discussions of the reveals over here.

Blave wrote:

Summon monster got really weak at high levels in the playtest. The stuff you could summon with a 10th level summon monster was barely able to hit a level 20 creature and could hit real epic threats like the Jabberwock on a nat20. That's pretty damn weak for a 20th level ability, that costs your level 20 feat and is usable once per day.

It looks like 10th level slots are no longer gated behind a feat, but I still hope they improved the summoning spells significantly. The dragon summon does look a bit disappointing in this regard, to be honest.

Summon Monster is a 1st level ability heightened to 10th level, not a 10th level spell. If they created a 10th level summoning spell (which is a pretty obvious thing they will do, even if it isn't in the CRB) it would be significantly stronger. Heightened spells shouldn't be as strong as higher level spells. The closest thing we have to a 10th level summon spell is Primal Herd, which does indeed seem much stronger than a Phoenix or a Boar Demon.

Erk Ander wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Divine Lance bodes well for cantrip damage in general. 9d4+Casting Stat is respectable high level damage for something free, and I doubt Arcane cantrips are too much worse.
I am not so sure. Comparte it with a composite longbow at that lvl it 5d8+dex+0.5 Str+Runes (fire, holy etc). Given all that its likely the ranged weapon deals at the very least twice as much damage .Plus the bow has FAR longer range (divine lance should have at least 120). The one downside a ranged weapon has is...ammo.

You ignored the bold bit there. That composite longbow required significant gold investment to upgrade to that point. Cantrips are free. A caster shouldn't be able to do comparable damage at will for free, especially when you consider at will damage tends to be biggest contribution a martial character can make while the caster still has, you know, spells.

If a caster wants comparable at will damage, they need to invest comparable resources at bare minimum. We know a cleric of Erastil could invest in that longbow and further boost it with the Divine Weapon feat, for example. And there may be ways to boost cantrip damage through wands, staffs, or other items.


So the caster dedication feats have a bit of text that reads "You can use wands, scrolls, and staves, but only for spells of a spell level you can cast." Does this refer to spell levels you can cast through your multiclass archetype, or spell levels you can cast at all?

To illustrate, let's say you are a 10th level cleric who took the Druid Dedication. You get a standard staff of fire, which has up to third level spells.

1) Can you just the use staff at will as a caster with 5th level spells? Or can you only cast the cantrip since that's the only primal spell level you can cast?

2) If our caster took Basic Druid Spellcasting, they could definitely cast anything from 3rd level or below from the staff, right?

3) Can you convert cleric spell slots into fireballs through the staff?

4) If the answer to 3 is normally no, what about if you use Trick Magic Item?


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There's a blog post about it. Someone else can link to it, I'm in a rush. But it seems worth acknowledging on this board.


"A wielder who is considered sinful or virtuous (see page 416) with the same type of sin/virtue as a runeforged weapon he wields becomes more aware of danger around him—gaining a +2 insight bonus on Initiative checks and a +1 dodge bonus to AC."

This should be straight forward, except that each type of weapon has 3 different sins/virtues "associated with it. The 2 that are combined, and 1 that is opposed. And the names on the Runeforged weapons don't really clue you in as much I'd like. I think what I'm seeing is that the name of the weapon corresponds to the first of the listed schools of magic, and I'm guessing that this is supposed the be the sin/virtue that resonates in the wielder. So for example:

Dominant/Commanding (opposes transmutation): A union of enchantment and illusion magic, a dominant weapon functions as a bane weapon against transmuters.Enchanment is listed first in the union, and Dominate and Command are both functions of enchantment, so it seems to be the primary school here. So I'd guess that a wielder who embodies the sin of Lust or the virtue of Love gains the initiative/AC bonus.

This system can be applied to almost all of the sins-- except for:

Covetous/Charitable (opposes evocation): A union of conjuration and abjuration magic, a covetous weapon functions as a bane weapon against evokers. Following the formula, conjuration is the primary school, so Sloth/Zeal should be the sins/virtues for the wielder. But the weapon's name clearly refers to principles of envy/charity, as do Jealous/Trusting Weapons. There's nothing among them that actually feels associated with Sloth/Zeal.

Also, it isn't consistent if the names correspond to schools or sins/virtues. For example, Dominant/Commanding feels pretty linked to Enchantment, but not to Lust/Love. One could dominate in a lustful interaction, but Commanding doesn't feel like it would be part of love. Meanwhile, Sadistic/Compassion feels like a clear reference to Wrath/Kindness, but it doesn't actually invoke evocation in anyway.

So yeah, what do?


So the lizardfolk rogue for Oblivion Oath got previewed, and had the following stats:

STR 12
Dex 18
CON 14
INT 12
WIS 10
CHA 14

Which doesn't seem to work with our current ABC method, as far as I can tell. Discuss. Or tell me I'm wrong so I can hang my head in shame.


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There are a few things I've noticed in the playtest rulebook that never got patched in the updates. Some of it seems to just be typos, like the damage progression on Telekinetic Projectile, but other stuff seems to be referencing rules that aren't in the playtest rulebook but presumably were at some point. (For example, the fighter feat Improved Brutish Shove lets you use Brutish Shove against creatures up to one size category larger than you. But Brutish Shove didn't have a size restriction in the first place as written, and the general Shove action works on creatures up to two sizes bigger by default.)

Should we be pointing this stuff out at this stage, in case the editors haven't yet? Or is the rewrite of the book too drastic to bother? For example, I wouldn't do this for anything in the first chapter because I know Jason completely rewrote that.


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I keep seeing new players using their skill increases to train new skills. And it kind of makes sense, since taking a skill to expert is +1 where taking it to trained is +4 and nets you trained only uses. But they don't realize that there is a dozen ways to get more trained skills and almost nothing to get more skill increases. Or how important those increases are for unlocking skill feats. It is a trap. I mean, technically you could want less skills above trained? But I can't think of it ever being a good idea.

Unless skill increases become significantly cheaper than the playtest (which is quite likely to be fair) then I feel like skill increases should only work on stuff that is already trained. And even if they do make those changes, since I also want more feats which scale with proficiency like Cat Fall, increases seem like they are the better option. I guess when we start talking about not adding your level to stuff that might change though.


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The Oracle was probably my favorite class, and I was looking at the Winter Mystery recently and it occurred to me how many improvements I expect the PF2 Oracle to have.

*Replacing X times per day revelations with a shared focus point pool feels way better to me, especially for a caster that is supposed to be spontaneous. I could see Oracles becoming the master of focus spells, given how many revelations they got in PF1.

*Spontaneous Heightening on Heal and Harm seems pretty dope, especially if Harm damage gets buffed like I'm expecting. Very nice for allowing darker themed Oracles to still provide healing.

*Spontaneous Heightening plus easier retraining means I can specialize in summoning without it completely taking over my spells known.

*I get the same spell level progression as the cleric, which will help me feel less like I'm playing a bargain bin cleric in order to get that sweet sweet flavor.

*Revelations to fit with class feats very well.

*Curses offer an interesting alternative to anathema.

*Demoralize makes being charisma based so much better.

There's also lots of stuff I'm just curious to see, like whether we still get a Battle mystery when multiclassing Fighter or Champion can get you the weapon and armor proficiency so easily. Or if they will get Bard or Sorcerer spell slots. I'm also hoping the divine spell list gets improved to make their base line casting more exciting.

Oracles rock my socks and I think they have the potential to rock even harder in PF2.


Once you have finished your actions, time begins to flow again for the rest of the world. If you had created an effect whose duration extends past the end of the spell, such as a wall of fire, it immediately affects others again as normal, though it doesn’t have any of the effects that normally happen when you first cast the spell.

So that means that if you cast Black Tentacles or Scintillating Pattern, which affect creatures when you cast the spell or if they end their turn in the spell, the creatures won't be affected when time resumes? And they will only be affected if they end their turn in it?

Seems a little counter-intuitive given the spell just instantly manifesting around you from the perspective of targeted creatures, but that seems to be my reading.


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I know they aren't for everyone, but they are very helpful to a big chunk of people, myself included. I think it would be really good to put it on the front where we have space for actions and activities, plus reactions and free actions.

For actions, activities, and free actions, you simply need to leave the triple action symbol, but empty like the proficiency bubbles are. You can fill in the corresponding number of symbols, or leave it blank for free actions. We probably don't need anything specific for reactions if they get their own area, as a reaction is always just a reaction.

I dunno, seems like we have the space for it.


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I think if there is a mechanic that could be ditched completely, this would be it. I think I sort of get the idea behind them. It makes elixirs feel less like magic and more like science if the change happens a little more gradually, and there are some tactical considerations to when you drink various types of elixirs, such as more powerful mutagens having longer onset times. It also could serve as a control factor for Quick Alchemy allowing spontaneous access to the entire formula book.

But like... man is it adding complexity. Trackings rounds can already be tricky, especially when temporary conditions are involved. Now tracking how long it takes those conditions to start? Ouch. You don't know how much longer a combat will last, either, which makes cracking one of these open a potential waste of actions and resources.

And mutagens, let's talk about mutagens. As their duration and effect increases, so does their onset time. How often can you predict a combat or a skill check with enough accuracy to know when to guzzle one, or which one to guzzle? They already have drawbacks built into them which hurts their appeal. Do they need this level of complexity? Now, there are Research Fields and class feats which allow you to reduce or ignore onset times. But having to spend resources to remove such a burden seems pretty onerous, and runs counter to a design goal our boy Jason laid out recently.

See, in his January interview with Know Direction, Jason described what his ideal version of Pathfinder looked like. It was something that was easy to learn to play, but you could discover huge depths to plumb. He wanted the complexity to be opt-in. You choose your own level of complexity when you select your feats, rather than expecting a baseline of that complexity as the bare minimum to play. Onset times being a default you can toggle off with a feat is the exact opposite of this. It makes an aspect of the game harder to understand and enjoy unless you opt in to make it easier on yourself, at the expense of other cooler feats.

On a related note, I think elixir bonus types might be suffering from some of this. They always provide item bonuses. Generally speaking, a mutagen will provide a slightly higher item bonus than magical equipment of equivalent level. But this makes it harder to figure out the effects of X elixir on Y party member. I don't even think you'd need to create a new bonus type. Even just making them into conditional bonuses would mean they would mostly just need to compared to spells, which feels a lot more intuitive for a temporary effect from what is basically a potion.

This would probably necessitate lowering the bonus size, because a +5 bonus on top of a +3 from permanent items seems nuts. And this would actually be a downgrade to the alchemist. Currently it can provide a +1 net gain to a well equipped party member and +3 to an under-equipped one, but this change would mean both party members only gain +1. But it might be worth the cost.

So if increasing onset times and scaling item bonuses to stay ahead of equipment aren't fun, that doesn't leave as much to differentiate the minor/lesser/standard/greater/true versions of the same mutagen. So maybe there shouldn't be different versions of the same thing? They certainly take up a lot of real estate right now. Collapsing at least some of the differences between them might let you condense them into single item entries like bombs have, which would be nice.

The main thing the mutagens do provide that doesn't clash with item bonuses come in the form of scaling fringe benefits. Stronger Quicksilver Mutagens make you more and more accelerated, Juggernaut gives you more and more hit points. This sort of feels like the best justification for higher grade versions of these mutagens existing. But I think we could take this further. Instead of making an upgraded quicksilver mutagen, why not make a higher mutagen grant brand new affects?

You could tie this into existing lore and monsters, as well. Create a harpy mutagen that grants creatures a fly speed and talons. A bulette mutagen could provide improved natural armor and a burrow speed. This could also create fun hooks for discovering uncommon mutagens or giving you bonuses to inventing them.

Regardless, I think mutagen onset time should probably be standardized if not axed entirely. If we want to allow for a gradual in fiction transformation effect, "end of your next turn" is about as long as I think it can last and be entertaining, although that particular wording is weird because it means you sort of have it start sooner if someone else feeds it to you. "Start of your next turn" still has that problem. 1 round might be the simplest phrasing. And their duration really shouldn't be less than 10 minutes if it is a major shift in the body. I'd probably use an hour as a default, though.

Instead of having feats that let you ignore onset time, I think a more fun, opt-in mechanic would be letting you extend that onset time. So you can drink a mutagen before walking into a fancy banquet and not have it go off immediately. Or perhaps you can delay the onset time to increase the duration.

Anyway, all that is to say I think the mutagens need serious work, and I hope we get some improvements when the final edition drops!


My players wanted to finish Doomsday Dawn despite the playtest being over. We skipped part 5 because it sounded like a slog, but "pirate gala" sounded fun af to folks.[https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42d4m?Red-Flags-Feedback] I didn't put in the awesome work Lyee did rewriting and expanding on the adventure, though I think they have some great ideas I might steal for my next session. [/url]. In particular I like their idea on lowering DCs to make high level characters feel more competent.

But not being shackled to the survey results liberated me to adapt a lot of stuff on the fly. For example, while the party mostly got failures or successes on the pre-gala gather information checks, the two bards immediately started hobnobbing at the party, which served as a fine way to get bits of information they had missed, like the motivation behind the party and Blackguard's Revenge. The party made lots of friends with guests, staff, and guards, and even though they were largely inconsequential NPCs the bards felt satisfied with their interactions.

One of the bards asked a fellow bartender about a woman who went by K he wanted to make an appointment with, implying it was for a sexual dalliance of some sort. Which made for an amusing intro for the bartender to mention Kasbeel the contract devil.

And because it's essentially a one shot, I didn't feel constrained by things like WBL considerations either. The rogue/pirate decided to gamble at the high stakes card table, and wagered his dagger of venom. As such, I ruled the stakes were a 5th level item. I had him roll Deception against the perception DC of a Masterful Rogue, and he won a hat of the magi, glamour runestone, and a bunch of trinkets.

Other big developments included the rogue deciding to steal some of the tributed treasure from the Blackguard's Revenge, which worked as much more deserved way to get the curse of Besmara then critically failing a gather information check. The sorcerer recognized Necerion off the Nemesis's description, but the Nemesis has yet to be in the same room as Necerion so the party hasn't been made. (Which is good. Her secret disguise check was abysmal and he WILL recognize her.) The nemesis also started a rumor the Night Heralds were coming to steal from Whark-- we will see what effect this has on proceedings.

They seem to have wrapped up their individual party shenanigans and gathered enough info to try and approach Whark as a group now, potentially trying to barter for the Last Theorem. No idea what will happen next, but it was a pretty grand time.


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I have a newer player as a wizard in a converted RotRL game, and she just wants to get new spells. She went and asked an NPC wizard if he could teach her any healing spells. The magical essences and how they intersected with the traditions made for a really solid way to explain a mechanical limitation in fiction. Being able to tell a player "No, because we wizards use the mental and material essence and healing is largely of the vital essence" felt like a much more satisfying thing than just saying "it's not on your spell list."

It also made for an interesting avenue to explain multiclassing in fiction a bit, and the wizard has already started studying up on Sheylyn with the intention to take the cleric dedication at some point.

It's all just pretty neat. I hope the essences get worked into future publications, even if it is just setting books.


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Like, crazy good. So good I can't help but wonder if it was intended to be this good, but it has survived 6 updates, so I guess it's kosher!

Spoiler:
Prerequisites deity with a chaotic, evil, good, or
lawful alignment
Frequency once per round
When you select this feat, choose chaotic, evil, good, or lawful.
Your choice must match one of your deity’s alignments. This
action has the trait corresponding to the chosen alignment.
You touch a weapon. That weapon deals 1d6 additional
damage of the chosen type to creatures of the opposed
alignment. For example, if you chose evil when you took this
feat, the weapon would deal 1d6 evil damage to good creatures.
Special You can take this feat a second time, choosing one of
your deity’s other alignments. When you Align an Armament,
you can choose either alignment. If you Align the Armament
again, the most recently applied alignment overrides the
previous one, so you can’t use Align Armament to make the
same weapon deal both 1d6 evil damage and 1d6 lawful damage
simultaneously, for example.

So what really makes this crazy is that there is no duration listed. That means you can effectively permanently add 1d6 damage to a weapon. That's basically a free property rune. Admittedly, it won't work on neutral creatures, but even damaging all evil creatures is amazing. And then you have to consider weakness: you can now absolutely mulch fiends with this.

But wait, there's more! While you can only apply one alignment to a single weapon, there's nothing preventing you from applying this to multiple weapons. So now all your back up weapons do this damage forever too.

Wait wait wait, it doesn't end there? The text specifically says "the weapon deals this damage." It doesn't say "while wielded by you." So congratulations, you can Align every weapon in your party. Pound those demons into holy guacamole, gang!

So all that makes for a truly stupendous feat that turns your party into the ultimate slayers of [opposed alignment.] I mean, by comparison Blade of Justice requires an action every round (though it can be extended based on enemy actions), only can deal good damage, only applies to your righteous weapon, and will probably deal less damage until high levels. So Align Armament might be too good already. It seems like it would absolutely be a deciding factor in beating Heroes of Undarin, for example.

But where I think it actually starts to break down the game is when you consider that it isn't limited by distance from the cleric. There's no limit to the number of weapons you can Align, and no cost to do so. This means that a single cleric could produce a limitless amount of aligned weapons, and effectively outfit an entire nation. It also means you can get a bargain brand version of the alignment runes that costs nothing to produce, and is therefore probably sold at a relatively low price.

I'm not sure what the actual intention of the feat is, but I can't imagine it was supposed to do all this. The last bit in particular just alters the world of Golarion in a way that the playtest rules and economy doesn't seem prepared to support.

One possibly interpretation that would severely limit this is if the Frequency: Once per round bit applied to rolling the damage. That would mean you only get the damage once per round. You could take it even further and say this is the case no matter how many weapons you've aligned, so if you outfit an entire party the first person to land a hit hat round is the only person to deal the 1d6. The problem is I'm pretty sure that isn't what the feat means by RAW, looking at how other Frequencies and feats are written.

Making the duration last 1 round would bring the feat more in line with other content. Blade of Justice could last longer, but Align Armament would be more flexible in what/whose weapons it was applied to, which feels appropriate for the cleric equivalent of a paladin ability. But if you are fine with how powerful this feat makes a party as written, I still think it needs some kind of limitation to keep Aligned Armaments from showing up in every discount bin in Golarion. A distance limitation could work, or simply making the duration one day.

Until then, go out and smite the enemies of the faith, true believers!


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So I've argued in great detail that skill feats need to be improved. I thought I would put my money where my mouse is, and so I've begun the process of re-writing the general feats chapter. I'm doing this in a way that alters as few rules as possible outside of the feats chapter, so hopefully it can easily be tested out in my own game and anyone else who is interested.

Here it is. . Still a work in progress, but I'm quite fond of some of it. HIGHLIGHTS!

*Collapsed Adopted Ancestry and Cultural Familiarity into one non-skill feat, with a language to boot.
*Collapsed Quick Squeeze, Nimble Crawl, and Legendary Contortionist into one feat.
* Collapsed Powerful Leap and Rapid Mantel into one feat.
* Collapsed the rest of the climb feats into one.
*Collapsed Swim feats into one.

*Wild Empathy is now a Nature feat.
*Fantastic Leap is now a Legendary Athletics feat.
*Arcane Sense scales into the wizard/sorcerer Magic Sense feat.
*Collapsed Ranger Swift Tracker feat into Experienced Tracker. (Could be made into 2 skill feats instead.)

*Battle Cry extends the range of Demoralize by 30 feet.

*Used Occult Skill Unlocks of PF1 to create feats for Occultism and Religion.

*Added Faith Healing, Legendary Gatecrasher, Legendary Understudy, and Legendary Tumbler.

*Altered Forager to allow for usage in Exploration mode or while performing another downtime activity. I'm quite fond of this one.

*Assurance now simply treats failures as critical failures. This is more powerful, but my goal is to make all of the skill feats appealing enough to where mere risk mitigation isn't the most attractive strategy.

*Automatic Knowledge currently doesn't use Assurance, though I suppose it could be added back as a prerequisite. It simply allows you to roll a free action knowledge check when initiative is rolled.

*Removed Student of the Canon, unmistakable lore, Charming Liar, Shameless Request, Hobnobber, and Courtly Graces.

Hobnobber might get added back in. There are a lot of very situational feats like that left, which I can't quite convince myself to remove because they seem handy in certain sorts of campaigns.

Please, give me your thoughts! And forgive any current typos. I'm very tired and just want to get this up before I pass out. Also, nods to Fuzzypaws, at least one of these ideas came from him.


Specifically, for the barbarian, but this probably applies to other characters. Myself and others have complained that the barbarian has a conundrum for it's ability scores. It obviously wants strength, and its class features seem to largely push it towards constitution as its secondary score. But without heavy armor it feels like you need to have a decent dex to not get killed. And that cuts into your speed, which is rough if you're a dwarf who didn't take unburdened for example.

I'm pleasantly surprised to say I think those fears may be misplaced.

I have such a character in my Part 4 Doomsday Dawn party. A dwarf with 18 Con, wearing a chain shirt with only 12 dex. His player opted for maximum dwarf mobility over AC. She's newer, and optimization was less important than character concept. But with toughness and mountain stoutness the barbarian wound up with 172 HP, with an additional 13 temporary HP every rage. Which doesn't seem like it should make a huge difference-- it's only about 18 permanent HP over another martial with the same feat investment who could wind up in heavy armor and thus get hit less. The temporary HP is another 13, and raging resistance MAY take 4 damage off any given hit. It doesn't seem like it should matter.

Until you start fighting pretty out there creatures. Stuff that targets saves or just deals automatic damage. Or a boss monster who seriously out levels you and who laughs at your AC bonus no matter how high it is. or a fight that lasts long enough for multiple rage cycles. Suddenly, the barbarian's staying power begins to show. In my game, the barbarian was still swinging when the Paladin and Fighter were knocked out or at single digit HP. All those little advantages collectively can make up for a lot. If you're taking lots of little attacks, your resistance has more opportunity to shine, and if its one big strike AC may not matter.

It also creates an interesting tanking dynamic. While the fighter and paladin have reaction to keep opponents from moving away or striking allies, or even reducing their damage, the barbarian lacks such tools. But it also has less need for them. In my experience enemies are less likely to target you if they realize your AC makes it a waste. They don't have trouble hitting the barbarian. And between doing the most damage per strike, the biggest potential reach, and the best mobility options outside of the monk, you can't really ignore them.

The other nice thing is that Treat Wounds means your Barbarian is no longer costing the party additional resources to get patched up after the battle, just time. Which also feels appropriate for a class that fatigues itself so much-- they just need a little break after a long fight.

So go out there and take it on the chin, you bloody savages! Bonus points if you can figure out a way to make lighting yourself on fire a viable combat strategy.


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There's been a lot of posts I disagree with about how goblins or resonance or whatever means rewriting canon stories about Golarion. I find a lot of these complaints pretty banal-- I think most PF1 stories works just fine with PF2 mechanics, at least when you look at the "canon" APs and such. Needing a critical failure to achieve the result of a PF1 failure doesn't require rewriting stories, because you can still achieve the same result even if the odds are shifted. It just means the target rolled worse in this case. Fly being a level higher doesn't matter for these purposes, AFAIK. Casters can still fly.

Nor do PC actions matter here. The fact that you can't CLW wand spam in the playtest does not contradict canon. That's a metagame consideration. The stories Paizo actually writes don't involve people spamming low level magic items, nor do I think they revolve around things like rings of protection despite NPCs having rings of protection you can take off their bodies.

But there's a small subset of things that don't translate right now. I'd like to add mine and see if other people have them. I'm hoping this thread won't become a lightning rod for the same people airing the same grievances over and over again. Hopefully my examples clarify the type of thing I want to look at.

1) Enchantment Duration. A few APs I've read involve the old Jafar trope. A enchantment focused caster who keeps high ranking NPCs charmed and dancing on their puppet strings for months on end. This was usually done by the days per level Charm Monster, but in some cases where subtlety isn't needed the days per level Dominate Person[/i] could be used.

The duration on [i]Charm and Suggestion now make the Jafar thing impossible as far as I can tell. Dominate lasts a day, which I think leaves those stories possible... Needing to reapply it every day isn't ideal for remote usage, and critical failures of course make it harder to stick... unless you can order someone to submit to the next casting of the spell.

Now, in PF1, Dominate Person had text indicating it was easy to tell that someone had been dominated by how single-minded their pursuit of your order was. PF2 DOES lack that. Which I guess means you can use it to do the Jafar thing? "Go about your normal business and don't act weird" seems to be an order you can give. If so, that's cool, item 1 might be solved.

The only other long duration enchantment I've found is Gaes, which is obviously too involved for most stories.

2) Teleportation Casting Time means no escape button. Teleport and Shadow Walk both have 10 minute casting times. Lots of reoccurring villains only become reoccurring because they teleport away before they get killed. Currently the only viable option I've seen for that is 5th level Dimension Door with it's one mile range. perhaps followed by an actual teleportation if the party can't track you down for 10 minutes, but that frankly is just a level of mechanical complexity I can't imagine being fun to figure out.

I'm not really sure why this change was made. Teleportation seems to have two big problems AFAIK. Bypassing travel and facilitating scry and fry tactics. I don't see how increasing the casting time solves either of these issues. What it does is make it harder for people to flee, and I don't recall anyone ever complaining it was too easy to avoid fleeing what would otherwise be a TPK. This also makes Dimensional Anchor worse if fewer people will be able to use teleportation effects in combat anyway.

Dimension Door being the only eject button (at least for several levels) CAN work if you assume those NPCs just used that, I suppose. But I have some flavor aversion to giving Dimension Door to creatures with the Nightmare template that Shadow Walked away from battles now are using this other spell. And it also doesn't let you bring any other creatures with you, which really limits the ability for a caster to bring a beloved minion or boss, or for parties to use it to flee.

I really hope this thread doesn't become a lightning rod for negativity. I'm kind of scared to post it, but oh well. I think all of these are pretty solvable issues and I might be overstating the problems in the first place.


So Barbararians, Paladins, Rogues, and Rangers all get an "evasion" mechanic at 7th level. They improve a save to master, and treat a success as a critical success for that save. Nice. (Fighters don't get this exactly, but they go get Bravery at level 5 which is pretty good and have the best offense.)

Let's say this has a value of 2. 1 for the numerical proficiency bump, 1 for the evasion mechanic.

Monks get to improve one save of their choice to master at 7th level, but don't get an accompanying evasion mechanic. They only get +1 from the numeric bump. In order to get their evasion mechanic, they have to take the Monk's Evasion feat or wait until level 11. I think costing the class feat cancels out the value of the evasion mechanic compared to these other classes. I also don't really see why monk's get to choose any saving throw if they only have full support for reflexes for a bunch of levels.

Now, at level 11, the monk gains some value back. They get an evasion mechanic for whatever save they raised to master, and if they took Monk's Evasion (which would otherwise now be redundant) it scales into an improved Evasion mechanic for half damage on a failed save. Cool, it took four levels, but the monk now has a save value of 2. (Of course, other classes got new abilities at 11th instead of just playing catch up.)

Except... at 13th the Barbarian and Rogue get bumped to Legendary and get an Improved Evasion mechanic for free. This represent another 2 value, for a total of 4. The ranger gets this bump at 15. (Ranger and Rogue also get perception bumps at their respective points, which arguably bumps their value up again.)

The monk gets a chance to catch up again at 15th. They can bump a new save to master or a the same save to legendary. However, they get no Improved Evasion mechanic for getting a save to Legendary, only for taking a new save to master. That makes upgrading to Legendary a trap; you obviously should upgrade a new save to master to get another evasion. If you do this, you've hit your value of 4. This is your last save gain barring a 20th level feat.

Meanwhile, the Barbarian and the Rogue are getting another save to master + evasion package at 17th, taking their value up to 6. If you assign perception bumps a value of 1, the rogue is at 8 and the ranger is at 6.

Now, in defense of the monk, they do get an Ac bump at 13th and 17th. One could certainly make a case that an AC bump has a value of 1, which bring them up to a final value of 6 as well. I think that might be the logic, as Paladins and Fighters also get AC bumps but not save bumps past 7th. I can get behind this.

However, I don't think this excuses the monk falling behind between levels 7th and 11th. Expert unarmored proficiency + bracers only takes them to the same AC of equivalent light armor, minus a little touch AC. And this is compounded by bracers of armor lagging a level behind equivalent potency runes.

I also don't think it's save starting at expert is relevant to this comparison. The barbarian and rogue get 2 expert saves and expert perception. The ranger gets all expert saves and expert perception. Also, the feat cost to take a save or perception to expert is so low it might as well not exist by mid-levels.

And we also have some weird false choice feelings in there, to boot. "Choose your own save path" is a cool idea but not if some of those paths are traps or it makes you lag behind the other classes.) The easiest solution would be to have evasion mechanics kick in for free at 7th like every other martial, replace the 11th level ability with something else,* and give monks an Improved Evasion mechanic for any saves they take to Legendary. Bam.

*Three immediate options spring to mind. One is making the second path to perfection work exactly like the first and take a save to master + evasion. This would be the most consistent with the monk's legacy of excellent saves and higher level defenses.

But if that would make the monk's too powerful, you could simply move one of the 13th level features to 11th. It wouldn't represent a long term net gain, the monk would simply get it's bump to AC or unarmed proficiency a level earlier than some other classes. Arguably too tame, with the Barbarian getting Mighty Rage or the Paladin getting aura of justice.

Finally, you could add a new ability a la the aforementioned Mighty Rage example. Not sure what it should be, but you could probably draw inspiration from the class feats. I think Winding Path might make a good candidate to turn into a feature, as it helps the monk do that king of mobility thing.

I'm tempted to house rule this into my ongoing campaign, but I'd like to hear thoughts from others, especially any designers that may be reading.


I've been squinting at this feat trying to justify it. It mostly just looks like a worse AoO. (Which is kind of how No Escape looks too, TBH.) Yeah, it triggers off of verbal actions, but that's a pretty narrow range of spells, especially when you consider not every enemy is a caster.

I was looking at it to see if maybe non-casting things with magical tradition tags (breath weapons, for example) might trigger it, but I'm pretty sure that is a no.

And I feel like it might be OK if this feat was just one most players skip, but it's the only Superstitious totem feat until level 12. And 12 feels really late in the game to give the character it's first exciting, active thematic ability. Especially when they've been playing with such heavy restrictions for so long.


There are lots of monster abilities and a handful of class feats which require "your previous action must have been X." Usually X is a successful strike. That's how grab and knockdown work.

Does said action have to have been this turn? Or if I strike an enemy as my 3rd action, can I grab/knockdown as my 1st action next turn?


I've never felt super satisfied with shopping in settlements in PF1. To illustrate, let's consider Longshadow. I'm currently using this for an AP, but it seems like a pretty typical example.

Longshadow Settlement Statistics:
LONGSHADOW
LN large town
Corruption +0; Crime +0; Economy +3; Law +1;Lore +2; Society +1
Qualities industrial, prosperous, rumormongering citizens

NOTABLE NPCS
Garret Graygallow, proprietor of the GraygallowFoundry (N male human expert 4/rogue 2)
Kizviz, alchemical junker (CN female ratfolk, alchemist 5)
Mayor Thom Crawbert (N male human expert 5/fighter 4)
Meriam Kems, regional scout (LG female halfling bard 4/ranger 3)
Seneka Volsadd, shipping magnate (NG female half-elf aristocrat 2/expert 4)
MARKETPLACE
Base Value 2,600; Purchase Limit 15,000;
Spellcasting 5th
Minor Items 3d4; Medium Items 2d4; Major Items 1d4
SPECIAL QUALITIES
Industrial Longshadow is renowned for its many
forges and smelting facilities. These facilities
add to the overall economy of Longshadow and
improve the morale of its people. (Economy +2,
Society +2)

How it worked in PF1:
First off, let's consider spellcasting services. You can find people to cast up to 5th level spells. That means we have casters (presumably across several classes) of 9th-10th level. The problem is I've never seen that represented in the "notable NPCs" listed in these things, or listed in accompanying Gazetteer. And that level of power definitely seems notable, even if it is for poorly optimized casters who are built for business instead of combat.

But it gets even weirder when you consider the base value, which defines how expensive the items one can find reliably in settlement are. 2600 (up from the basic large town vale of 2000) is our number. Crafting 2,000-ish items tends to require a caster level of 3-5. You can make most 2000 gp +1 items with a CL of 3.

Given how much easier it is for PF1 casters to make magic items, it seems weird that these anonymous 9th-10th level casters aren't producing any CL appropriate items. Especially when one considers the purchases limits of the town is 15,000, which means there are buyers for more expensive items than the base value would imply.

It strikes me as more likely that you'd have merchants whose wares outpace local spellcasters than the other way around. Maybe I'm wrong about that. But if a caster is sitting around waiting for someone to hire them to cast spells, it seems like crafting magical items is the most logical way to make money between clients.

I'd wager the reason for these anonymous casters mechanically existing is so that you can get access to things like Restoration or Remove Blindness or utility spells you need for narrative reasons. But you could accomplish much of the same thing using a merchant who stocks higher level scrolls and has trick magic item. The only reason I can think of to limit the base value is to limit what caliber of items players can access. But money already does that, and in PF2 we have other options as well. (Discussed below.)

Now, as for that base value.. anything below that it has a 75% chance of being found in a town. Which is... odd. Getting 3 out of every 4 items you want doesn't really seem like a satisfying mechanic. If you just give someone a small list of items the town has in stock, they only really need to look up and compare that small list. As is, the system encourages you to read through the entire treasury (or have someone tell you which items you want) and then pick accordingly. A 25% chance of not having an item you picked out is probably realistic, but I don't think it is fun.

Now, there is a randomized number of random items of fairly random prices. Some of those will exceed the base value. They are broken up into 3 categories with pretty blurry cut off points. It feels fairly unlikely that those items will align with what your PCs want if they actually go through and pick their items out, though.

Finally, as written, the base value doesn't differentiate between consumables and permanent items, which means you can pretty much always access extremely high level scrolls from vendors who don't have more than a +1 weapon.

PF2 has several new mechanics that change how we access magic items though.

1) Rarity. Pretty self-explanatory. IMO this can serve as a pretty solid replacement for the 75% rule. Common items can be assumed to be found. Rare items cannot.

2) Formulas. It is plausible that a town might not stock an item but could stock the formula. Formulas are cheaper than actual items and take up much less space. Of course, unless the merchant can build you the item or the PC has the required crafting proficiency, plus the downtime to actually build it, this doesn't help.

3) It is easier for noncasters to craft magical and alchemical items now. Even scrolls can be created by non-casters-- a merchant who buys a wizard's spellbook can and takes the appropriate skill feats can cover you. This means you don't necessarily need spellcasting services which outstrip a base value anymore. A merchant can make you a scroll, even if he doesn't have it in stock.

4) Item level. Right away, this makes it so that consumables and permanent items are kept at a better parity for their relative value and the level of skill needed to make them. It also creates a much a pretty easy cap instead of base value-- just tie it to the level of the best craftsman supplying the settlement.

I think with these variables there's room to create an economy that is more nuanced, immersive, realistic, and (most importantly) fun. You could use a sliding scale based on item level to determine how likely a settlement is to stock a particular item. (Much like your odds of counteracting effects shrink as their level goes further above your own.) Or you could simply set a hard level cap and let rarity be the sole factor in determining availability.

What would your ideal PF2 economy look like?


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I feel like the witch class in general seems like an easy translation to 2e, especially using the bard as an example. It will be a prepared occult caster, with special "hex" cantrips like the bard has compositions. But I kind of wish we had something like Evil Eye already.

Combat based, non-composition cantrips really just deal damage right now. We have Shield and Forbidding Ward for defensive buffs, which are cool. But for debuffs, we really only have Daze and Tanglefoot. Daze's main benefit (flat-footed) is too easily rendered redundant through other means, and Tanglefoot provides a very situational penalty as well.

I think having a more generalized debuff cantrip would be dandy. In particular, it would help alleviate some of the distress folks have over monsters making their saves too often. In some ways, it feels like we have a really good single action debuff cantrip, and it is called "demoralize." And I LIKE demoralize, but it feels like there might be some room for something magical as well.


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Listed in order of importance.

1) Lances have no "wield in one hand on a mount" clause. This just makes the concept a non-starter, so I house ruled the clause back in for my AP.

2) Using a shield+mount leaves very little room for other actions. It makes stuff like Power Attack really hard to justify, or even any press actions. Heck, my game's Cav has only used Challenge once or twice, which is lame for a thing that only lasts a round or 2.

3) Horse's work together and special abilities don't seem to play nicely with each other. AFAIK you can only stride once when working together for the extra damage bump, and you can't use "Gallop" at all. This is completely counter-intuitive-- the more your horse moves, the more potent your charge should be.

4) The Charge weapon trait feels pretty tame. +1 damage per dice isn't bad, but mathematically a d8+1 is the same as using a d10 without charge, and is inferior to a d12 weapon. (Since the horse working together provides the same bump regardless of the original weapon, you do more damage charging with a great axe compared to charging with a lance, and do significantly more damage when not charging. Now, a lance's reach might make up for this, except....

5) Being on a large sized mount negates the benefits of a reach weapon. You only threaten within 5 feet, regardless of what weapon you use. A pretty odd choice, and another thing I've felt compelled to house rule away, at least as far as the lance goes.

The end result of points 1, 4, and 5 put together as RAW is that literally the only reason to use a Lance on horse back is deadly d8, which doesn't compare well at all to just using a great axe for +1-2 damage more on EVERY hit.

6) There's also some reaction glut. The benefit of having a reach weapon is more AoOs, but this is a problem if you also want to shield block. Shield feats are one of the better ways to keep your mount from getting killed.

7) It feels pretty easy to knock a cavalier off their horse between traps, magic, shoves, and trips. You can target both the cav and their horse. This further compounds their action economy problems.

8) Aside from it feeling very difficult to squeeze in Challenges already, the feat is rendered completely obsolete by so much as an Inspire Courage. Not only can you not accept the buff in the first place, but even if you did they are both conditional bonuses which don't stack. Which also means you can't use a Barbarian's rage bonus with challenge, for example.

9) Sudden Charge and various mobility feats don't work with mounts.

10) Does Power Attack adding another dice count for purposes of the charge trait, the horse double charge trait, and Challenge?

11) The mount in general just feels much weaker. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because animal companion's could be REALLY good in PF1, but it is notable.

12) Having MAP apply to mounted animal companions but not unmounted animals feels unnecessarily punitive. It only gets so many actions either way and your mount can't help you flank for example.

Some of these issues can be mitigated by picking the right feats. Impressive Steed helps, extra reaction feats help. And you can avoid feats that add additional actions like Challenge and Power Attack. But some of them are pretty hard to ignore. Lances just aren't good as written, and I'm not sure Challenge is either.

I can attest that dedicated mounted charger damage was out of control in PF1. And I like that lots of the things you needed feats for in PF1 just work out the box now-- Wheeling Charge, for example. In many ways, having the damage be lower on average but easier to deal consistently is an improvement, and crits with a charging lance DO still feel spectacular. But these nerfs have gone significantly too far and really hamper this classic character concept.


Ironfang Invasion has a huge amount of found magical gear, which is awesome. It also has limited amount of opportunities to shop, and an entire militia that needs to be outfitted.

So what did your party do when they found their 10th +1 Cloak of Resistance? In most campaigns, the answer would be "Sell it!" but it seems like in narrative the answer should probably be "equip your refugees/Chernasardo Rangers/militia with your hand me downs." My players did this and they certainly never felt under equipped through books 1 and 2. (The archer ranger in particular was really, really well decked out.)

However, there's no mechanical benefit to doing this, and it would be a shame if players wound up suffering for it later because they took the more narratively elegant solution. Especially when it means skipping a lot of tedious book keeping.

A big part of why I'm curious is because I just converted this game over to the Pathfinder Playtest, which uses the silver standard instead of gold. However, even dividing gold values by 10 doesn't seem to accurately model the change. Items have different costs and the WBL expectations seem quite different. As such, I'm probably going to need to adjust some of the big paydays of book 3 anyway, and I'm curious how other folks were looking at this point in the story.

So did your parties hoard every extra +1 item to sell in Longshadow?


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Being its own action means it can't be combined with other activities or actions, like Flying Kick, which is a bummer.


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We are going to start Part 3 this week, which is explicitly trying to see how well Channel Energy gets you through fights, and 1.6 just slashed the channel uses dramatically. That COULD make it very useful to test the change, but unless the survey adds a "Update 1.6" answer to the appropriate question, that data is probably lost.


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This question seems like it should be simple to answer based on page 191. Let's use a hypothetical fully grown animal companion with a STR mod of +4. A large creature has twice the bulk limit of a medium or small creature, so our horse has an encumbered limit of 18 bulk. Which sounds pretty good, except that heavy barding uses 8 of that, and we can infer from the petrified condition on page 323 that a medium creature has 8 bulk.

So our mount is already only 2 bulk away from encumbered, and this assumes the rider's equipment is already factored into their 8 bulk rating. (Which is a pretty big abstraction to handwave, but let's go with it for the moment because otherwise an armored knight on an armored horse moves at 20 feet and I doubt that is intended. It is possible that a petrified medium creature might turn all their gear to stone, and therefore that shaves off much of the difference between wearing armor and normal clothes-- this allows for more variance in the actual bulk of creatures. But then this becomes a headache.)

The issue for me is the "treats as light" rule. A large creature treats items of 1 bulk as light bulk, and items of light bulk as negligible. So a horse can carry unlimited light bulk items, for example. And it can carry 10 1 bulk items before it actually counts as a bulk. So our hypothetical horse can carry 180 longswords before being encumbered, which is hilarious.

What isn't clear to me is how our horse treats an item of 2 bulk, or 3 bulk, or perhaps more pertinently, 8 bulk. Does the horse treat 8 bulk as 8 bulk, and therefore winds up with 16 when wearing heavy barding and carrying a medium rider? Or does he wind up counting an 8 bulk item as 8light bulk, and therefore the rider and barding only counts as 1 bulk, 6 light?

The former seems rather punitive, and not logical compared to carrying 160 longswords. The latter seems too lax and even less logical-- a horse could carry 10 people on it. I suspect the former is the case, and the obvious solution to me is lower the bulk on heavy barding a few notches. (Also, let's get some more specific guidance on the bulk of people and their equipment.)

To muddle the matter further, the Phantom Steed can carry your body weight plus 20 bulk. That's significantly more than an actual horse can carry based on my calculations but seems like it might be what the game actually expects-- 20 bulk plus a rider seems pretty decent for a pack animal. The way it uses the words "body weight" makes me think the rider's gear is counted against this 20 bulk limit though.

So yeah, what say we all? Does my reasoning check out?


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So it's probably known by now that I'm one of the more enthusiastic fans of the playtest rules. But the feats chapter feels like a misstep. Skill feats are a really interesting design space to have, allowing you to round out your character and let them do cool new things. But I've found they are the most fatiguing part of the process due to a combination of individual feats being too hard to find and not exciting enough.

First off, there are some layout issues making it harder to parse. The chart at the beginning of the table is helpful, but not as helpful as it could be. If I'm curious what my feat options are for diplomacy, I've got to consult the chart, flip to a feat, check the chart again, flip to another feat... I think breaking the actual layout of the skill feats by skills would be helpful. Imagine if the skills chapter listed individual actions alphabetically rather than by their relevant skill.

Feats which can apply to multiple skills can get their own section, and a notation to check that section under relevant skills. So anything for Recall Knowledge or magic recognition would be in it's own section, and Arcana, Nature, Occultism, and Religion would all have an asterisk pointing you to said section.

General (non-skill) feats too would be easier to parse if they had their own section. I also think there might be a way to make it easier to ignore non-options for your particular character. For example, recognizing that I don't need to look at Alertness, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, or Great Fortitude if I already have Expert in them. (Side note: If all characters are trained in all saves and perception, why do the save feats list it as a prerequisite while Alertness doesn't?) I think putting general feats in their own section to prevent the aforementioned page flipping will help with this, but there might be a secondary fix as well, like specifying in the prerequisites that you need to be "trained, but expert or above."

But the content of the feats is also a concern. Let's start with general feats. These are by far the least interesting feats in the book. However, they are as the name suggest useful in the most general sense. With the exceptions of breath control and ride they are all pretty functional. (Breath control is a little too niche, and Ride not doing anything for animal companions is weird.) Improved saves, weapons, armor, perception, speed, HP, resonance, bulk... all good things to have.

Maybe that's an OK place for general feats to be. Functional but boring. Maybe. I don't want to write off the possibility they could be more, but they seem mostly fine.

But skill feats? They have some serious problems. Skill feats are the best reason to allocate your skill increases in a given task, and they should be awesome. The problem is that once you have gone through the trouble of parsing the feats chapter to find most of these skill feats, they leave you pretty cold. In general, they seem to have two big problems: they are too situational, and their mechanics are too convoluted. These two problems intertwine in a variety of ways across multiple feats to create a net effect that I and my players often flip to a feat and say "OK, when is that actually going to come up exactly?"

In my next post, I'm gonna go through individual feats and try to highlight problems as I perceive them, because I hope specific feedback will be more helpful than just general feelings.


So we finished book 2 of the Ironfang Invasion, losing 3 PCs in the process. We are taking this opportunity to convert to the playtest rules. We have done character creation and had 1 low key session so far. We were already using the unchained action economy, and while I like it a lot, I thought it would probably work better with PF2. Plus, people still get confused about caster level. And some of us were just keen to try it.

While the PCs hit level 8 at the end of book 2. However, book 2 says the PCs are established as the most powerful heroes in the region, and that various Chernasardo Rangers who gather to their banner are between levels 1-6. As such, it didn’t feel right to me to bring in a bunch of randos at their levels, so I’m committing one of the biggest faux pas in Pathfinder and using different levels for the PCs. *gasp*

Ironfang Invasions has next to no shopping, instead having a ton of found loot. I’ve had some fun converting items between the editions, with some being obvious, like Ibzairiak’s +1 AoMF granting the effects of a more level appropriate +2 Handwraps. Others were a little more abstract, like taking the +2 Headband of Charisma which boosted the eloquence of Parthuk the Troll and turning it into a Choker of Elocution programmed with Goblin. Some were tough judgement calls, like deciding the Cloak of Elvenkind would be too strong if converted into its new level 10 version. Various items didn’t even require modifications, granting out of combat effects.

As a general rule of thumb, I’m going to assume something like a +2 amulet of natural armor translates to a +2 potency rune, and occasionally adjusting boss loot to more level appropriate options.
We are also using the militia system, which is granting the PCs various boons as they rank up their forces. This has so far included an extra skill feat, an extra skill to expert, and an extra skill to master.
So our party consists of:

Half-Orc Monk 8. He actually lost an arm fighting Ibzairiak, the black dragon final boss of book 2, but also got his +2 amulet. He’s using wolf stance, ki blast, wholeness of body, and wall run. His big skills are stealth, athletics, and acrobatics. Currently using Bracers of Armor 2nd.

Dwarf Fighter 8/Cavalier. He’s taken every Cavalier feat but Banner, and took Power Attack and Shield Warden for his Fighter feats. He’s a master in medicine and crafting, and has taken Magical Crafting to boot. He’s used that to shift runes around to create a +2 Shock Lance and +2 Dragonhide Master Splintmail. (Homebrewing the material was pretty easy—make it master quality minimum and then make it cheaper to inscribe an energy resistance rune on it, just like PF1.) He made the character before the ancestry update, and since he had been built to maximize his saves I let him spend an ancestry feat to keep hardy, essentially. He was very disappointed with the change and it didn’t seem like it would cause any harm.

Human Ranger 7 The previous archer ranger had been training up a protégé in fiction, so I let her come in a level above the completely new characters. This Shoanti nomad has inherited a pretty sweet set of equipment, including a +2 shortbow, +1 longbow, 2 +1 shortswords, and a set of+1 Shadow Studded Leather. The armor and swords were taken off the book 1 final boss, a bugbear slayer. The studded leather was original spiked an fortified. But armor spikes no longer exist, and fortification is much stronger now, so I repurposed it into something that it seemed appropriate for the Bugbear to have instead. Mostly archery feats but also twin take down IIRC. She is dabbling in snares and crafting but mostly focused on survival and stealth. Perhaps the least optimized in terms of ability scores.

Gnome Fey Blooded Sorcerer 6. Focus on intimidation and Deception. Took Animal Speaker ancestry feats to fill the “wild empathy” role, which is super useful in this wilderness heavy campaign. The party seeks to continue treating various dire animals like pokemon instead of killing them.

Halfling Maestro Bard 6. A bit of a wild card—I’m not totally sure what to expect here.

Session 1 was mostly just spent on militia stuff, role-play, and crafting—we were down 2 players so I didn’t want to start in earnest. The crafting rules seem to work fairly well in play—one interesting thing I learned was that if you have multiple crafting projects to get done and don’t precisely know how much downtime you have, it is only worth taking extra time on the last one because you save the same amount per day no matter the original cost of the item.

I also realized afterwards I was letting them convert gold into crafting without paying heed for acquiring raw materials—which isn’t a given since they have very little shopping access. Still, they have lots of gold, gems, reagents, and an excessive amount of extra weapons they’ve picked up to arm their militia. Handwaving the gold cost as an abstraction of all of that seems OK.
Because they plan on outfitting their militia with extra magic weapons and armor rather than selling them, I may need to add some extra wealth. In particular, I’ll probably tweak some upcoming loot drops to beef up these new casters—they need some help since they are under-leveled and the existing permanent items aren’t as helpful to them. Still, there’s some old wands that have been gathering dust that these new party members can finally use.

While the dwarf crafted, the monk and sorcerer went out and fought two red caps. The sorcerer fireballed them for 20 a piece, and the monk one shotted each them with crits. With flanking, he only needed 13 on the dice to do so. Also, Metal Strikes is waaay better this edition thanks to Weakness.

For next session I’ve prepped the rest of the Fangwood encounters. It was also pretty fun to do. I have made an adjusted Book 2 random encounter table using the PF2 bestiary— a few enemies converted directly, but several others are just using tweaked statblocks of PF2 monsters that I have reflavored. I’m treating CR as level and it seems like it should pretty well.

The Ironfang Deserters for encounter A were easy, as level appropriate Hobgoblins are already in the bestiary. I’m going to wind up upgrading that base stat block a lot as the game progresses though. These troops will also clue the party in on a new group of refugees they can take in for encounter B. These folks have been infested with Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing eggs though— using local herbs to cure the affliction is going to call for me to decide on some Skill DCs, and I’m not sure if the original DC 20 checks for this section will feel appropriate. Still, I’m inclined to use them for the moment.

Searching for said herbal remedies will lead to encounter C, a Maenad and 4 charmed dwarven revelers. The dwarves were CR 1 but buffed by the Maenad, so I’m just using the stats of level 2 orc warchiefs. Replacing the weaponry and orc ferocity with dwarf stuff. For the CR 8 Maenad herself, I am using a level 9 Night Hag as the base—I figured the level bump would help make up for the 5 man party. I trimmed a lot of spells, and replaced them with heroism, some food creation spells, charm, confusion, and paranoia. Making the charm spell at will bypasses the plot problem of its reduced duration, I think. I’m not sure if I want to make Infectious Dance an AoO Confusion or if I want to use the less dangerous Paranoia. I think the confusion nerf that they get a save at the end of every round will probably make it fairly reasonable, especially with the bard around. For her Con damaging poison, I’m using something modeled after the Leng Spider, a 3 stage affliction with increasing drain value and confusion at stage 3, lasting 6 rounds.

Debating whether the maenad’s lyre should be master quality or a full blown Maestro’s Instrument for the bard.

Patchy the advanced Dire Bear was originally going to be an Elite Cave Bear, but because she went from a CR 7 base to a level 6 base, it didn’t quite seem to cut it. Instead I’m basically using the numbers of the mastodon and anaconda as benchmarks for level 8 animal numbers and adjusting the cave bear to match.

Finally, somewhere in all this Marrowcrack will probably strike, looking for revenge for the death of her pet gorgon. She’s been chowing down and graduated to a Greater Barghest. She could get real dangerous if she strikes when the party is still worn down from these other encounters. Her at will invisibility means she can really pick her moment.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at! I will update on session 2 after our Sunday game.


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So we finished book 2 of the Ironfang Invasion, losing 3 PCs in the process. We are taking this opportunity to convert to the playtest rules. We have done character creation and had 1 low key session so far. We were already using the unchained action economy, and while I like it a lot, I thought it would probably work better with PF2. Plus, people still get confused about caster level. And some of us were just keen to try it.

While the PCs hit level 8 at the end of book 2. However, book 2 says the PCs are established as the most powerful heroes in the region, and that various Chernasardo Rangers who gather to their banner are between levels 1-6. As such, it didn’t feel right to me to bring in a bunch of randos at their levels, so I’m committing one of the biggest faux pas in Pathfinder and using different levels for the PCs. *gasp*

Ironfang Invasions has next to no shopping, instead having a ton of found loot. I’ve had some fun converting items between the editions, with some being obvious, like Ibzairiak’s +1 AoMF granting the effects of a more level appropriate +2 Handwraps. Others were a little more abstract, like taking the +2 Headband of Charisma which boosted the eloquence of Parthuk the Troll and turning it into a Choker of Elocution programmed with Goblin. Some were tough judgement calls, like deciding the Cloak of Elvenkind would be too strong if converted into its new level 10 version. Various items didn’t even require modifications, granting out of combat effects.

As a general rule of thumb, I’m going to assume something like a +2 amulet of natural armor translates to a +2 potency rune, and occasionally adjusting boss loot to more level appropriate options.
We are also using the militia system, which is granting the PCs various boons as they rank up their forces. This has so far included an extra skill feat, an extra skill to expert, and an extra skill to master.
So our party consists of:

Half-Orc Monk 8. He actually lost an arm fighting Ibzairiak, the black dragon final boss of book 2, but also got his +2 amulet. He’s using wolf stance, ki blast, wholeness of body, and wall run. His big skills are stealth, athletics, and acrobatics. Currently using Bracers of Armor 2nd.

Dwarf Fighter 8/Cavalier. He’s taken every Cavalier feat but Banner, and took Power Attack and Shield Warden for his Fighter feats. He’s a master in medicine and crafting, and has taken Magical Crafting to boot. He’s used that to shift runes around to create a +2 Shock Lance and +2 Dragonhide Master Splintmail. (Homebrewing the material was pretty easy—make it master quality minimum and then make it cheaper to inscribe an energy resistance rune on it, just like PF1.) He made the character before the ancestry update, and since he had been built to maximize his saves I let him spend an ancestry feat to keep hardy, essentially. He was very disappointed with the change and it didn’t seem like it would cause any harm.

Human Ranger 7 The previous archer ranger had been training up a protégé in fiction, so I let her come in a level above the completely new characters. This Shoanti nomad has inherited a pretty sweet set of equipment, including a +2 shortbow, +1 longbow, 2 +1 shortswords, and a set of+1 Shadow Studded Leather. The armor and swords were taken off the book 1 final boss, a bugbear slayer. The studded leather was original spiked an fortified. But armor spikes no longer exist, and fortification is much stronger now, so I repurposed it into something that it seemed appropriate for the Bugbear to have instead. Mostly archery feats but also twin take down IIRC. She is dabbling in snares and crafting but mostly focused on survival and stealth. Perhaps the least optimized in terms of ability scores.

Gnome Fey Blooded Sorcerer 6. Focus on intimidation and Deception. Took Animal Speaker ancestry feats to fill the “wild empathy” role, which is super useful in this wilderness heavy campaign. The party seeks to continue treating various dire animals like pokemon instead of killing them.

Halfling Maestro Bard 6. A bit of a wild card—I’m not totally sure what to expect here.

Session 1 was mostly just spent on militia stuff, role-play, and crafting—we were down 2 players so I didn’t want to start in earnest. The crafting rules seem to work fairly well in play—one interesting thing I learned was that if you have multiple crafting projects to get done and don’t precisely know how much downtime you have, it is only worth taking extra time on the last one because you save the same amount per day no matter the original cost of the item.

I also realized afterwards I was letting them convert gold into crafting without paying heed for acquiring raw materials—which isn’t a given since they have very little shopping access. Still, they have lots of gold, gems, reagents, and an excessive amount of extra weapons they’ve picked up to arm their militia. Handwaving the gold cost as an abstraction of all of that seems OK.
Because they plan on outfitting their militia with extra magic weapons and armor rather than selling them, I may need to add some extra wealth. In particular, I’ll probably tweak some upcoming loot drops to beef up these new casters—they need some help since they are under-leveled and the existing permanent items aren’t as helpful to them. Still, there’s some old wands that have been gathering dust that these new party members can finally use.

While the dwarf crafted, the monk and sorcerer went out and fought two red caps. The sorcerer fireballed them for 20 a piece, and the monk one shotted each them with crits. With flanking, he only needed 13 on the dice to do so. Also, Metal Strikes is waaay better this edition thanks to Weakness.

For next session I’ve prepped the rest of the Fangwood encounters. It was also pretty fun to do. I have made an adjusted Book 2 random encounter table using the PF2 bestiary— a few enemies converted directly, but several others are just using tweaked statblocks of PF2 monsters that I have reflavored. I’m treating CR as level and it seems like it should pretty well.

The Ironfang Deserters for encounter A were easy, as level appropriate Hobgoblins are already in the bestiary. I’m going to wind up upgrading that base stat block a lot as the game progresses though. These troops will also clue the party in on a new group of refugees they can take in for encounter B. These folks have been infested with Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing eggs though— using local herbs to cure the affliction is going to call for me to decide on some Skill DCs, and I’m not sure if the original DC 20 checks for this section will feel appropriate. Still, I’m inclined to use them for the moment.

Searching for said herbal remedies will lead to encounter C, a Maenad and 4 charmed dwarven revelers. The dwarves were CR 1 but buffed by the Maenad, so I’m just using the stats of level 2 orc warchiefs. Replacing the weaponry and orc ferocity with dwarf stuff. For the CR 8 Maenad herself, I am using a level 9 Night Hag as the base—I figured the level bump would help make up for the 5 man party. I trimmed a lot of spells, and replaced them with heroism, some food creation spells, charm, confusion, and paranoia. Making the charm spell at will bypasses the plot problem of its reduced duration, I think. I’m not sure if I want to make Infectious Dance an AoO Confusion or if I want to use the less dangerous Paranoia. I think the confusion nerf that they get a save at the end of every round will probably make it fairly reasonable, especially with the bard around. For her Con damaging poison, I’m using something modeled after the Leng Spider, a 3 stage affliction with increasing drain value and confusion at stage 3, lasting 6 rounds.

Debating whether the maenad’s lyre should be master quality or a full blown Maestro’s Instrument for the bard.

Patchy the advanced Dire Bear was originally going to be an Elite Cave Bear, but because she went from a CR 7 base to a level 6 base, it didn’t quite seem to cut it. Instead I’m basically using the numbers of the mastodon and anaconda as benchmarks for level 8 animal numbers and adjusting the cave bear to match.

Finally, somewhere in all this Marrowcrack will probably strike, looking for revenge for the death of her pet gorgon. She’s been chowing down and graduated to a Greater Barghest. She could get real dangerous if she strikes when the party is still worn down from these other encounters. Her at will invisibility means she can really pick her moment.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at! I will update on session 2 after our Sunday game.


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The former has no armor check or clumsy trait, packs a better diplomacy bonus, doesn't reduce your speed, and gives you fly once per day.

The latter slows you down, still has a -2 ACP, gives you a once per day anti-fear effect, and has +1 more to touch AC.

The former just seems so clearly to be the winner to me. Having them listed next to each other on the treasure table and on the same page of the catalog of items seems jarring.


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Disclaimer: I haven't completely thought this through yet, and the idea might have problems. In particular, removing the attack trait from the maneuvers also currently gives them armor check penalty, which seems undesirable. Let's set aside that for the moment, and revisit later.*

Combat maneuvers have seen some vast improvements this edition. Getting rid of the complicated CMB and CMD and having them all work without feat investment are great changes. And I've seen players, especially newer ones, have fun trying to mix them into their turns. They even occasionally pay off-- shoving creatures off cliffs is great for example.

The problem is that because multiple attack penalties (MAP) applies, they often fail or have questionable utility compared to other options. Furthermore, they have critical failure conditions that strikes, demoralize, and spells don't, like your grapple being reversed or falling prone. This means using them as anything other than an "open" is kind of a trap. (Or, as it turns out, using the Assurance feat, but that's a pretty weird exploit.) This is further exacerbated by several goals only being achievable on a critical success, such as actually disarming or pinning someone, and things like flat-footed not reducing athletics DCs.

Comparatively, the advantages created by combat maneuvers rarely do more than one can create with an action that suffers no penalty or has fewer drawbacks. Examples:

Even a critical disarm has cost that character one interact action to pick it up again, unless you pick it up first, and even that only matters so much if they have a decent back up weapon. Best case scenario is you've set them up to provoke an AoO. (Side note: I just realized that drawing a weapon seems to provoke an AoO in this game, not just picking one up off the ground. Interesting.) You know what else costs an enemy an action? A step or a stride, with 0 chance of failure or penalty.

Trip and Grapple mostly just inflict the flat-footed condition, which can be done by moving into a flank instead or feinting, and it's not significantly better than what you can do with a Demoralize either. Being immobile or prone can be fixed with a single action.

Shoving USUALLY just adjusts positioning, which again, stride or step can often do, and tumble can otherwise do.

Now, there are definitely tactics and teamwork that can improve the rewards of these maneuvers, but IMO encouraging said tactical play is way better than putting finicky penalties that limit it. I think I'm gonna try this as a house rule in my non-Doomsday Dawn game and see how I like it.

*Let's talk fixes to side effects for removing MAP. Remove the attack trait from combat maneuvers, and instead create an "armor penalty" trait for actions that suffer the penalty. This also creates design space for some interesting granularity. Disabling devices and smuggling small objects on your person don't really strike me as things armor check penalty should apply to, although one could make a case it should apply to feinting. Stuff like that.

With this new tag in mind, a better layout on character sheets might be to have a separate box for your skill modifier when subject to ACP. Lacking this already causes confusions when using combat maneuvers in heavy armor, I've seen.

One other interesting design space to work in might be something like the Disarm model of success for other maneuvers. Say tripping without MAP was OP. Make it so that instead of MAP, you knock them prone on a critical success, but a success makes an enemy off balance and makes gives anyone else a +2 circumstance bonus to knock them down. This creates an interesting system where multiple attempts to accomplish a goal, whether done by you or your allies, actually have cumulative benefits rather than simply pass/fail scenarios.

Another way to incorporate this idea into trip actually fits neatly with some other mechanics that otherwise seem like they will rarely be used: Maintain Balance and Arrest Fall. Have a success on a trip give someone the same effect as standing on uneven ground, and any time they take damage or someone else uses an action to knock them off balance (probably with no roll on the tripper's part), they have to attempt an acrobatics check to avoid falling over. You can remove this condition by using a balance action on your turn.

With some of these changes, a few things might need to be tweaked. Feinting might need a buff. A few feats may be less appealing, like enhancements to strikes that move people around and such. But honestly those options could maybe use a buff anyway, or even be removed in some cases. Shoving folks 5 feat for 2 actions just isn't that exciting for a feat, I think.

So yeah, there's Captain Morgan's Hot Take.


Confession time: I don't own the PF1 core rulebook. When I first started playing, my GM loaned it to me, but I mostly learned by reading forum posts and optimization guides, using the d20pfsrd, and using tools like PCGen and eventually HeroLab. By the time it became clear how invested I was in Pathfinder, I knew the basic ruleset so well buying the CRB felt pointless, and it was so easy to google stuff anyway. All my money went to APs and other books.
I can build a character just fine by hand, but I tend to prefer to use hero lab. Either way, I'm looking most of my content up online. Hyperlinking is soooo much easier than flipping pages.

I haven't found the PF2 playtest nearly as confusing as some people have, and I can point at a few ways where it seems better formatted than PF1 seemed on a structural level. Namely class feats and ancestry feats-- their layout makes them much easier to parse than feats/talents/powers/etc in PF1 seemed to be. And I like having all my character stuff in one progression table, rather than just my class specific stuff. When I compare the PF2 barbarian chapter to my Unchained Barbarian chapter (a book I do own) the PF2 version seems to come out way ahead.

There are definitely some things that leave me much to be desired-- powers being mixed in with spells drives me a little crazy. And while I think the general feats chapter isn't TOO bad it feels like it can be improved. But I can't help but wonder if what made it easy to build characters in PF1 had much less to do with book layout and more to do with all those resources I mentioned in the first paragraph. Resources which don't exist yet for PF2 but definitely will. (Heck, they are already popping up-- folks have already made a spell sorter which is way easier than using the book for example.)

So for folks who have the PF1 CRB, was its layout actually any better? Can you point to how? Please note that just saying "it was less confusing" isn't a helpful answer. It can be less confusing for a whole variety of reasons, including that you've had access to other tools for parsing it and that by now you just know it pretty well. If you can point to what you feel worked in PF1, that may actually be helpful to the Paizo team, where just saying the current playtest book is confusing doesn't inform much.


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So the big one is something I was specifically hoping for, although not quite in the form I expected. Heritages feats are gone, and everyone now just picks a heritage in addition to their ancestry feat at 1st level.

Gnomes and Halflings are getting their core chassis upgraded. Sounds like gnomes get a 25 foot move speed and Halflings now get that Keen Senses feat for free.

Unburdened seems to have become an optional dwarf feat so that it isn't a dead feature if you don't wear medium or heavy armor. (Though I suspect this was also because the core dwarf chassis was just too good.)

Various feats are getting pulled out to become heritages or freebies. To replace them we are getting a whole bunch of new Ancestry feats, including higher level ones, 9th and 13th level stuff.

1. Natural Medicine and Battle Medic have been updated to be relevant with Treat Wounds in play.

2. Bravery also reduces incoming frightened condition by 1 before it even hits you to make up for the bad will save. Meaning Fighters are immune to frightened 1.

3. Ancestries now get a 13th level feat that gives you expert in your ancestries weapons.

4. Bunch of 9th level ancestry feats, Mark's says coolest one is Multi-talented. When you take it at 9th level you gain a multiclass dedication feat, even if you don't meet the prerequisites. This includes having taken less than two feats from another archetype.

5. Elven Longevity can get you up to expert eventually, or at least can be upgraded with a second feat to do that and can let you retrain long-term skills. Not sure I understand how the latter works exactly.

6. Half-Orcs and Half-Elves are now heritages, not heritage feats. You get all the benefits and can still pick another ancestry feat.

Not sure if I'm forgetting anything, I don't have time to do a second listen right now. Lots of good stuff though!


My group finished Book 2 of Ironfang Invasion tonight, hit level 8, and voted to convert to PF2. IFI is extremely loot drop heavy since it doesn't have normal shop access. There have been tons of +1 weapons dropped so far, among other things, and plenty of +1 armor as well.

What I haven't seen yet are any +2 enhancement bonuses. The best weapon we have include a +1 Shocking sword, a +1 Adaptive Longbow, and a +1 Amulet of Mighty Fists. As I prepare to convert items over, I have noticed that PF2 has +2 armor and weapons as 7th and 8th level items, respectively.

I'm worried that my players will be behind the game's math curve. Looking at the APB from Unchained, and I think the PF1 curve assumed those items were kicking in a little later because other items were helping to make up the difference.

So I'm sort of thinking I should convert some of those items to +2 versions. Some of them feel appropriate to do so, such as items taken off end bosses, but others don't as much. Should I make sure that EVERYONE has level appropriate potency runes before we begin playing at level 8?

On a related note, there were some casualties in the final battle and there's a suggestion in the book that new characters are probably only level 6 when they first appear due to story reasons, with a suggestion to use some filler encounters to help close that XP gap. Does that seem like a terrible idea for PF2? I'm not sure it is even a great plan for PF1, but I like the idea in theory. Just not sure it will work out in practice.


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I'm making this thread to discuss whether the game would be better if magical items gave access to lots of casting options for all characters, not just casters. I find the idea intriguing, but I'm not sure if it would result in a healthier game.

I spit balled some ideas in another thread about how we could backpedal from the game relying on magic item bonuses. The post is located below, for those interested.

Spoiler:
An interesting conversation here on item bonuses, and it has sparked a couple of ideas for me I want to throw out there. Special nod to Quandary who I think got my brain rolling on this. These changes don't all need to be put into effect but I think many of them would work well side by side.

1)Move skill items, skill feats, and other skill boosters to skill chapter. The idea it that if you want to be good at a skill, you need to read just that one part of the book to have 90% of the ways to improve it. Parsing the general feats chapter is a little overwhelming. Moving the skill feats from one big clump of general feats to being next to the associated skill you are interested in might be GREAT for this. (Only issue I can name would be multi-skill feats like Quick Identify, but those can be left in the general skill chapter and you can just cite a page number in the skill list for the relevant skills.)

I don't know that magic skill items need to be moved to the skill chapter per se, but I think what they should absolutely have a table in the skill chapter like page 160 has for skill feats. An issue with magic items is that it isn't easy to realize these magic items exist in the first place. (Or don't exist, as Deadmanwalking has illuminated.) The treasure level tables are pretty helpful for seeing what treasure you can get your hands on, but item names listed don't necessarily tell me "Oh, I should consider this Demon Mask if I want to be good at intimidate."

2)Cut back on magical item bonuses and have more special Resonance activated abilities. Drastic I know, but hear me out. Paizo has already been making it so that pretty much every bonus granting magic item also packs an additional Activated effect. Why not lean into this for what items do? It pushes Resonance into something that lets all characters interact with magic more freely and universally, which might let you ditch charges on staffs for example.

Also, while there are some pretty intuitive magic items out there, some feel questionable as a mandatory part of building the optimized character. If I want to be the best swordsman possible, I want an awesome magic sword. Checks out. But if I want to be the scariest person possible, I'm always wearing this demon mask...? Not so much. I don't like the idea that I'm wearing this mask all the time in polite society on the off chance I need to coerce someone. But if I don it when I want to cast a fear spell on someone? Much more reasonable.

Main reason I'm not advocating for removing item bonus to skills entirely is because I LIKE mundane item quality adding bonuses. (I wish we leaned further into it, TBH, and quality was the only thing that added to hit while magic weapons simply increased damage for example.) But I'm not sure every skill can plausibly have a mundane item, at least not for all purposes. So it miiiight be OK to have some very minor item bonuses so that your party face can get an equivalent bonus to the rogue getting expert thieves tools, for example.

But if we ax item bonuses, you say, aren't we drastically altering the game's math engine and making all the character's more samey? Not if we introduce a new bonus type...

3) Every skill feat now adds a +1 cumulative "feat bonus" to its skill. This is a biggie. Magic items making the skill DC math run is problematic because it assumes your player will have access to said items, and folks have cited lots of reasons why that might not happen. But everyone gets skill feats, and gets them at predictable intervals. It is incredibly intuitive that the more skill feats you invest, the better you are at a skill. It also further boosts the importance of proficiency indirectly, because those new skill feats you unlock also add to your math.

And I think the basic math might work pretty well. The item skill bonuses seem to cap at around +4. If you assume a +4 item in the 3 legendary skills as the norm, that's a total item bonus of +12. Most characters get 11 skill feats, which adds up pretty nicely. Now, it doesn't account for "hand me down" items that boost skills you wanted to just leave at trained. But I think a much more modest set of item bonuses could help account for that.

Thinking about it a little further, I guess you'd need some way to cap the bonus and keep folks from over-investing into a single skill, especially rogues. Maybe the bonus is capped by the proficiency level to the skill? So having a skill feat in a expert skill gives you an additional +1 feat bonus, two skill feat in a master skill gives you +2, and three skill feats in a legendary skill gives you +3? Leave a +1 magic item bonus in and we are looking pretty good.

You'd have a few narrow areas where an item bonus could take that higher. But does anyone think the game's will be hurt if folks have a Legendary Crowbar that adds +3 to open doors? Most of the mundane item bonuses seem pretty to be too specific to cause real problems, and tend to cover "gate keeping" options that you don't really want the party to fail anyway, like "can we open this door" or "can we find our way with this compass" or "can we disguise ourselves well enough to get into this party."

Finally, there are fringe benefits to creating a "feat bonus." Make class feats that grant conditional or circumstance bonuses into feat bonuses, and you've reduced the odds that someone's build choice is going to lock them out from benefiting from the Inspire Courage their bard buddy just used. Yeah, I know we want to make this a little less Mathfinder, but I think having just Circumstance and Conditional bonuses is making it more confusing because so much overlaps and prevents stacking. Circumstances can grant circumstance bonuses. Conditions can grants condition bonuses. Your specially selected items can grant item bonuses. And your feats grant feat bonuses. Bam.

Anyway, that's a wall of text, and I'm sure smarter people than me can pick apart those ideas. But it seems worth floating for them to do so!

One idea I touched but didn't really expand on was that PF2 has started making even number boosting items grant various activated effects. I suggested that Paizo leaned further into this. I think that idea might be worth exploring.

For an example of what I'm talking about, let's consider the Cape of the Mountebank. It grants you a +3 item bonus to Deception and once per day let's you cast Dimension Door. Pretty cool! But there's various reasons why needing specific magic items to keep skills competitive isn't desirable. What if that item bonus went away, and instead your only limitation for Dimension Door was Resonance?

Lots of items follow this pattern of once per day uses. Some don't have that limitation, but those seem to be higher level stuff like the potency items. What if that became the norm at lower levels? Not everything I'm talking about needs to cast an existing spell per se, but they should have effects that feel appropriately magical.

And since we already know Resonance is being reworked; since it won't be needed for consumables anymore I think we need something for it to do.

Under this model, I think wands would no longer have charges, and instead would functionally just run on Resonance. Staves would be like wands but with added benefits. (I am unsure if they should remain locked to casters or not, TBH.)

Pros:

*Helps alleviate fewer spell slots.
*Functionally expands repertoires for spontaneous caster.
*Gives martials more access to many of the narrative tools that casters enjoy.
*Cuts back on book keeping; no more once per day pools!
*Makes these items extremely exciting.

Cons:

*Huge spike in power and flexibility for parties. Being able to spam dimension door multiple times a day might be broken.
*In particular it is a jump in narrative tools which can make it harder for a GM to plan. But it is probably a little easier to control for your players getting their hands on items that do this rather than just picking spells that do it.
*Level+Charisma might wind up being too much Resonance if each point is this powerful and flexible.
*Could make Charisma into a god stat.
*Increased cognitive load could be problematic, though I'm not sure if it would be any worse than having these items stay once per day. Deciding whether you should blow your once per day ability in the moment is rarely easy.
*Not everyone wants mundanes to become this magical.

One final idea: what if we collapsed spell points and Resonance into one pool, and powers used up Resonance as well? We'd really just have the one pool at that point. It would curb spell item spamming and also give people a little more use from their Powers, which feels a little limited for my liking right now. Big issue would be making every caster need charisma just to use their powers would hurt various casters, especially wizards.

Anywho, that's my thoughts on the matter. What do y'all think?


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This is all just personal opinion, so take with a grain of salt. I was into the original playtest dying rules, and thought they had a lot of potential over negative HP. I think the updates may have focused on the wrong issues. The big problem was bringing people back to consciousness with Recovery saving throws once they had 1 HP was confusing and not always fun. It was easy to skip someone's turn, especially since their place in the initiative changed. And it didn't feel like there was a way to actually help your friend get back in the action. It more was more luck than choice.

But what I really liked was the dying condition persisting even if you were above zero HP and were conscious. This made getting knocked to zero much scarier. If you got healed and woke up, you could choose to immediately jump back into the fray-- and risk getting knocked even further down the dying track. The monk in my last star game choose to do this, and got slapped back down to Dying 3 as I recall. The monk didn't wind up dying, but he took his life in his own hands and very well could have. He could have instead chosen to play dead or hang back or hide, but then his allies would be down a man for a round or two and one of them could drop.

I think making a choice like that is what defines the kind of fantasy heroics we are trying to achieve. It has implications both tactically and about who your character is and how far they are willing to go.

The new dying rules remove the weird "regain consciousness" rolls and that's good. But we are left with a system which seems to have very little preventing "whack a mole." It also means that if an enemy wants to keep you down they better attack you while unconscious. The only thing stopping you from leaping back into the fray and soaking another crit for your party is the slowed condition based on your dying value. And that might work... but I don't think it is as fun. A melee character will need to spend an action standing and probably an action to retrieve or draw a weapon. That's not a very interesting turn.

You know what is interesting? Deciding to leap up from the ground before the Heal spell has finished knitting your wounds back together, with your guts still hanging out, and scream in the face of the enemy. Or to bide your time, let the magic do its work, and look for an opening while your friends fight desperately to save you.

The only big problem I see with a persistent dying condition is people seem to find it confusing. How am I dying while I have 20 hit points and am swinging a sword around? But that strikes me as something that could be fixed by changing the terminology. Call it "Mortal Danger 1" instead of "Dying 1" or something.

So yeah. I say bring back the dying condition persisting past consciousness, and get rid of the slowed condition on the turn you wake up. Thoughts?


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So I'm using the specific example of a Paladin with Blade of Justice and the Holy rune a +3 weapon on the same strike, but I think this question can apply to other scenarios. Let's say our paladin hits a demon with weakness good 10.

1) Does the good damage from multiple sources stack? Does the strike do 1d6+3 good damage? (Pretty sure it does, but can't hurt to confirm.)

2) Do the two sources of good damage only trigger the weakness once for 10 extra damage? Or does it each trigger separately for 20? (I am guessing the former but am not sure.)

3) Does the Holy rune count as adding another damage dice for the purposes of things like Blade of Justice or Charge weapons? (I am pretty sure it doesn't, but can't find the rule I remember for it and am worried I'm thinking of a PF1 thing. Also, sometimes these sorts of things say "the number of weapon damage dice" and other times just say "damage dice.)


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TL;DR: Can each class pick a Class Path early on that gradually grants an entire feat tree’s worth of feats?

So let me start by saying I really like the direction we are going for class feats. I think their layout and silo’ing has made it much easier to parse and select them, with a few notable exceptions like powers, particularly domain powers. I also like that feats DO more, giving you entirely new kinds of actions to perform. There are some duds, and maybe some things which should just be given to the classes by default, but by and large there are lots of feats I want to take at any given level. And I think that good strides have been made in cutting down on feat taxes and onerous pre-requisites.

Some of them are particularly nice because they do a lot of different things and/or scale with level or proficiency. I like those quite a bit. Some of the multiclassing feats really stand out to me in this regard—Dedication feats have loads of benefits, and the “basic X spellcasting” grows as you do.

However… I can’t shake the feeling I don’t get enough class feats. Part of that is that lots of the feats are just that cool and I want them all. But part of this is that some feat trees still exist. And while they feel a lot more logical than PF1 feat trees, I’m not sure I love them.

The Animal Companion feats jump out at me, for example. There are 4 feats to get a pet to its “final evolution.” That’s a pretty significant fraction of your most important character resource. I’m not saying this imbalanced—animal companions could be crazy good in PF1, and they will still be good with all the (probably necessary) nerfs. And one of the big selling points of PF2 is how modular it is. But it is a little bit hard for me to imagine someone who gets an animal companion, as opposed to a much cheaper familiar or bonded animal, and doesn’t want them to eventually be the best animal companion they can be. So why charge 4 feats to fully actualize that? Couldn’t it be one scaling feat?

Barbarian totems are another great example. I can’t think of any person who takes the dragon totem and doesn’t want to breathe fire, fly, and eventually turn into a dragon. That’s why you take dragon totem. So why charge feats for it? Couldn’t there be a single feat that gradually turns you into more and more of a dragon?

Another problem is that PF2 looks to still reward specialization, and it seems like this pushes you to put all your feats into a particular tree or direction rather than branching out. Which is a bummer, giving the great strides PF2 has made in having characters be more well-rounded.

So I think about this, and it occurs to me that there are several reason why they probably don’t want to do to make feats scale this hard. It makes balancing feats against each other harder. Much like free heightening on all spells put too much pressure on sorcerers to only take spells which heightened, this would put a lot of pressure on folks to pick only feats that scale. So you could try and make them ALL scale, but then the feats start getting longer and longer and you can fit less of them in the game. It also makes them potentially more confusing. If every feat gives a player 4 different benefits, some players are inevitably going to accidentally apply the higher level abilities before it is legal to or just forget their huge list of things they can do.

But I think there’s an interesting model on how we could make this work: the sorcerer. I believe bloodlines are the only class feature where a first level choice continues to grant specific abilities at higher levels without needing to continue to buy in, save for barbarian totems. Why can’t other classes get this too? While I’d hazard that not EVERY person who wants a demonic bloodline wants Gluttonous Jaws, for example, every Dragon Totem Barbarian is going to want those dragon powers.

So I’d like to propose a variation on our class structure. In the spirit of PF2’s unified terminology, I will call them “Class Paths.” Every class gets one, though they might have a different name from class to class. A class makes this selection early on—I want to say 1st level for every character but there might be reason to make it second or third for some. When you pick your Class Path, you immediately get a pre-selected appropriate class feat, a power, or something of that nature. And as you level up, all of the feats that would have been part of that feat tree are given to you for free. You are free to spend your feats on other things outside of this specialization, and wind up with a more versatile character without feeling like you are sacrificing core competency.

This is a really easy design space to create content for with our existing system. I also think it will be easy to release more Class Paths later. They are in many ways similar to 5e archetypes, but unlike 5e you still get plenty of choices to make after this selection, and I think it will largely be possible to snag feats from a different Class Path to make your character more unique.

Let’s look at how some of these would look.

Alchemist: Field of Study. Bombs, Elixirs, Poisons. I think this one might need a little work as I don’t know If the current feats support Class Paths as much as other classes do. But this would probably be appreciated by folks who miss PF1 alchemist archetypes by letting you double down on a particular aspect more than the others. If the Elixir path gave you mutagens at 1st level, that might also be neat.

Barbarian: Totem. Any feat with your totem as a prerequisite becomes part of your Class Path and you get it for free. For future proofing, you probably want to list out what feats you get at what level, so you can release more Totem specific feats without making that Class Path broken. The non-totem barbarian feat selection is decently robust, so even without mixing and matching totem abilities I think you’ll wind up feeling pretty cool. A Giant Totem barbarian is going to grow large and later huge without further cost, dragon totem keeps making you dragon-y.

Bard: Muse. Your initial Muse choice continues to you give you appropriate feats. I see no reason you can’t take feats from other muses along the way, too.

Clerics: Dieties and Domains.[/i] Essentially, this would make Domains work a bit more like they did in PF1. You get an advanced Domain power for free eventually, and perhaps a second domain from your deities portfolio.

Druid: Orders. No big surprises here. The Animal Order would give you all 4 animal companion feats, for example.

Fighter: Combat Style. Free hand fighting, Dual Wielding, Ranged Combat, Defender, Heavy Hitter. I think most people will be able to figure out what sort of weapon style they want to use early on. Give them those feats, and then let them pick other stuff to round themselves out. And of course, the fighter should definitely be able to retrain if his combat style doesn’t align with the awesome unique weapons he finds or whatever.

Monk: Martial Arts Style. Crane Style, Dragon Style, Tiger Style, Wolf Style, Monastic Weapon Master, Ki Warrior. I imagine you can tell which feats most of that list correspond to. Monastic Weapon Master would require making some weapon specific monk feats, but that’s easy enough. Now your monk might actually take multiple Stances and switch between them!

Paladin: Righteous Ally. Nuff said.

Rogue: OK FINE I GOT NOTHING HERE USE YOUR IMAGINATION I’m sure there’s something here, I just don’t feel like figuring it out right now.

Ranger: Specialty. Warden, Beast Whisperer, Stalker, Trap Master. I guess you could add Combat Styles, as the Ranger feat list definitely has material to support Ranged, Dual Wielding, and a new Crossbow Sniper, but I thought doing so would make them less distinct from the Fighter. Beast Whisperer is like animal order—it gets all 4 animal companion feats. While I don’t love the Monster Hunter buy in feat, I think the Warden feats have some really cool potential to make a Ranger focused on guiding, leading, and buffing their allies. Trap Master is for snares, obviously. And the Stalker is meant to focus on the various stealth feats like Stalker’s Shot and Camouflage.

Sorcerer: Bloodline. Very little changes here. If anything, you might make bloodline powers something you can feat into from other bloodlines, or give sorcerers another feat or two, or do something else to make this class more flexible.

Wizard: Arcane School See cleric, really.

So, what do you all think?


How do folks feel about everyone being able to roll Lore untrained for anything? I just discovered that was a thing. I'm not thrilled about it at first glance, as it seems to cheapen a player's lore skill which already has such fringe benefits. That being said, if we can already roll Religion, Arcana, Society, etc untrained, maybe this isn't that big of a deal. It just means we have catch all for the few checks that don't fall into those buckets. You may not be able to actually get the information even with a nat 20 though; the GM has leeway to say no in regards to this.

What say the rest of you?


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Since they errata'ed attacking from stealth leaving the target flat-footed, I think the stealth rules in general are looking really solid. Invisibility (and related sight based shenanigans) strikes me as particularly improved. The PF1 invisibility spell gave you a +20 bonus even when moving, which made you frankly undetectable most of the time, especially when used by a monster who was already stealthy. It also gave examples of ways you could still make noise and be detected, but gave no examples of how to modify stealth vs perception bonuses to adjudicate such examples. It also wasn't entirely clear when folks roll-- do you give them free perception checks whenever the invisible person moves? Do the searchers need to spend actions to find the target?

Stealth now feels much cleaner. Sneaking generally requires something that breaks line of sight, which can be cover, concealment, darkness, or invisibility. Once you have that, you can sneak. Once you lose it, you can't sneak anymore. It doesn't really matter WHAT is breaking line of sight. Your stealth check is is all about moving quietly, and you are equally likely to give yourself away stepping on a stick whether you are invisible or not.

And I think making only the person taking an action roll is rather solid as well. Perception roll vs Stealth DC and Stealth roll vs Perception DC strikes me as a good way to emulate how actively searching for someone vs them messing up and becoming noticeable works. The only problem I currently have is monster perception scores seem over-tuned, which makes stealth harder to reliably pull off.

I'm not sure how I feel about hiding costing a separate action. And I think we may need a little guidance on conditional perception modifiers like distance or through walls or whatever. The PF1 list might be a little overkill but it can be important to know whether enemy's can hear you killing their dudes in the next room over, or two rooms over, or whatever. But I think the skeleton we have to work with now seems like a big step up.


We were told during the preview phase that while item slots are gone, certain common sense items would be exceptions to this. You can't wear two sets of magic boots at once, but you can wear as many rings as you want.

Problem: I can't find anywhere this is codified in the rules. The index hasn't helped me find it. Magic items will often have a "worn" tag, and occasionally have a secondary tag like "boots" but I haven't seen anything specifically saying what that means. And I'm not sure all of these tags indicate something which can't be doubled up on. There's a "worn, bracers" tag but it seems like you could wear a second set of those on your biceps or shins or something.

Can anyone give me a page number for these rules if they exist?


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Because everyone is doing them, so why not? I'm two sessions into Lost Star right now. Had 2 more players join the game this week, for a total of six.

Half-Elf Mindquake Alchemist
Halfling Mindquake Aberrant Sorcerer
Half-Orc Pathfinder Hopeful Monk (Dragon Style)
Human Family Friend Paladin (Scythe)
Joined by:
Dwarf Mindquake Barbarian (Ancient Blood, Superstitious)
Gnome Esoteric Scion Cleric of Irori

Character Stuff:Only two members of the group have PF1 experience, and only one of them fully optimized I'd say. So the monk is the only with an 18 strength. Nobody seems to mind that much though. AC values are similarly optimized, with the Monk, Paladin, and Barbarin at 15.

The Barbarian will be intersting. I suggested it to the player and she loved it. The Mindquake serves as a really solid roleplay reason for the Superstition Totem. 0 resonance looks really gross but there aren't enough magic items for it to matter. Not accepting spells on top of that would mean no healing... Except you can just commit Anathema and accept it. Which is kind of OK at level 1 with magic being so rare.

I let the Paladin play a little loose with the backstory, as she's sort of torn between a love of Pharasma and a commitment to Iomadae.

The Monk is played with reckless abandon and intentional stupidity. He's played as a professional wrestler.

The gnome took a familiar and likes to punch people despite 8 strength, but also has spent most of the recent fights hiding.

The Alchemist is a colossal jerk, though not enough of one to light folks on fire often. (More on that later.)

The Sorcerer keeps trying to use Telekinetic Thrust to do stuff other than what it does, but has some great roleplay.

Session 1: We opened with a "Mindquake Survivors Anonymous" support group the Paladin was running. Once the monk was introduced, he immediately tried to wrestle the sorcerer for his belt. Oh boy, PvP right off the bat. XD

The party had lots of questions about this supposed vampire thing, but very little about the dungeon itself. OH WELL. So we got a pretty late start on the actual adventure.

The monk walked straight into the ooze. Because I use the Complex Hazard (pg 341) rules on triggering reactions before initiative is rolled, the ooze got an ambush hit in and then won initiative. So the monk got dropped right away, and the Paladin had to scramble to keep him alive. He regained consciousness mid battle and jumped back at the ooze, getting knocked back out to dying 3. We didn't remember hero points were a thing, so it was very close to lights out. The alchemist learned splash damage hurts allies.

In A2, I realized none of them had dark vision, so the goblins immediately saw them waving the torch around and the PCs only heard them. I had 2 goblins charge into melee and 2 hang back with the shortbows, but all in all the goblins got decimated. The darkness was the only thing that kept them alive as long as it did. Once multiple torches were lit, well, it was lights out for them. (I did enjoy the Goblin Scuttle Reaction though.)

We completely forgot Retributive Strike was a thing this session. They found the Owlbear Claw and Healing Elixir. (The claw wound up sold so they could buy a thieve's tools.)

Session 2: New PCs arrive in A2. They immediately literally race each other to the centipede room. The winner was the halfling. His prize: 9 giant centipedes. Who all won initiative. I only had him step on one for an ambush strike though.

I didn't have them all concentrate fire on him as that would have been a death sentence. Instead I had a few attack him, and the other 6 use their climb speed to bypass him and attack people in A2 and the barbarian in the conjoining hallway.

The cleric spent the first two rounds hiding in a hole.

Once the players get to act, they tore through the centipedes in short order. The raging Barbarian freaked out when the sorcerer used magic missile and headbutted him, which actually knocked the dude out. Good thing it was non-lethal. When the cleric cast heal on the sorcerer, the barbarian ran away screaming. Rage ended the next round, so a sheepish and fatigued barbarian returned.

Lots of people wound up poisoned, with the alchemist rolling the worse and winding up at stage 2. I had a little trouble running the affliction-- mostly figuring out when people should roll their saves and take their damage. Still, I think it worked pretty well. They felt happy when they made their saves, and the cleric used a heal check (plus the alchemist's antidote-- thanks quick alchemy!) to help him beat it.

Retributive Strike kicked ass, unsurprisingly.

The party still had spells and resources left, but opted to leave and rest. After some various RP shenanigans and a reminder from me they could ask Talga about the dungeon, they went back in. They knew about the "trippy mushrooms" from Talga, and actually wanted to go harvest them. But the cleric took the time to examine them from afar and hit the Nature DC, so they wound up sealing the room off with rubble so the monk wouldn't set it off.

The monk did go splash around in the fetid pool though, unleashing 3 quasits. While these guys looked intimidating, they weren't exactly as scary as the one from Burnt Offerings. I had them go right into melee though rather than use stealth. Only one cast fear, and the others turned into a wolf and centipede. The wolf knocked the barbarian down, but the barb then grappled the thing, and trying to break its neck. I had her essentially roll unarmed strikes for that, and she seemed happy with the results.

Retributive Strike once again kicked ass.

I screwed up the Concentration on the shape shift I think. Pretty sure concentration only gets broken if the damage lands while it is being cast with a reaction. I had the quasits get knocked back into their demon forms when the party damaged them. Didn't seem to make a huge difference though.

Party wound up taking way less damage than they did from the centipedes, but it was a fun fight.

I wasn't entirely sure how to relay the information about the changes in the purification chamber to the party, so I had them roll Religion. Someone got a nat 20, so I basically told them exactly how it would work now that the idol was destroyed.

That is about where we ended.

Takeaways: I had lots of fun, and my players did too.

The cramped quarters and larger than average group hasn't given bombs much room to shine, which is a bummer.

I kinda wish more people got reactions out the box. I don't especially want them to be AoO. I liked how mobile the combat was, and was entertained by my players firing crossbows at point blank range. But I think reactions are fun.

I feel like I should point out how good Demoralize can be to people. The -10 attack penalty is awfully harsh and that could make a nice 3rd action in combat.

Also, character creation feels way easier. I think I can walk someone who has never played before through the entire process in an hour and a half.

Dat Retributive Strike tho.

Rage mechanics seem to work pretty well. Even a new player could wrap their head around the 3 round rage, 1 round fatigued thing.

Overall, I have been having a blast with the game and how it has gone so far. 6 players is a lot, and I'm hoping we don't miss the Lost Star's survey window. I don't think it will be 6 players every session though, so it should be a little easier.


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So I decided at the last minute to get the map pack, and I'm left scratching my head a little. Specifically, at what maps were included and which ones weren't. Most notably absent is Sombrefell Hall, which has a very elaborate map which would be awesome to have on hand but will be a pain to draw.

At the other end of the spectrum, Ramlock's tower is so simple and plain that drawing it would be trivial.

There are other examples, but those are the ones that stick out most to me. What was the decision making process for which maps got printed? Were some of them still being tweaked by the time the map pack had to be finalized?


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The arcana skill says:

"If you’re trained in Arcana, regardless of whether or not
you’re an alchemist or a spellcaster, you’re versed in how
to identify alchemical and magic items, even those you
normally would not be able to use."

Except all Arcana has is the "Identify Magic Items" activity, and alchemy isn't magic anymore. The activity never actually mentions alchemy. Also, it says you can't try again for one day on a failure.

And under trained craft uses, we have "Identify Alchemy."

Requirements You must use alchemist’s tools (see
page 184).
You can identify the nature of an alchemical item with 10 minutes
of testing using alchemist’s tools (see page 184 in Chapter 6:
Equipment). The DC of the check is 10 plus the level of the item. If
your attempt is interrupted in any way, you must start over.
Success You identify the item and the means of activating it.
Failure You fail to identify the item but can try again.
Critical Failure You misidentify the item as another item of
the GM’s choice.

I'll note it doesn't say you can "try again in 1 day." It says you can just try again.

Finally, we have the alchemist feat:

ALCHEMICAL SAVANT FEAT 1
You can identify alchemical items quickly. When trained in the Arcana skill and attempting to use its Identify Magic action (see page 145) on an alchemical item you hold, you can do so as a single action with the concentrate and manipulate traits instead of
taking an hour. If you have the formula for the item you are attempting to identify, you gain a +2 circumstance bonus to your check and treat any critical failures as failures instead.

I suspect this is one of those cases where multiple drafts didn't get gelled correctly. If so, errata will be necessary.

But if it isn't, then questions:

1) Can you use Arcana to identify alchemical items?
2) Can you use Crafting to identify alchemical items?
3) Does using Crafting to do so require the Alchemist tools
4) Does the Alchemical Savant feat ineract with questions 2 and 3?
5) If using Crafting, can you just spend another 10 minutes to try again or do you have to wait a day?
6) If the answer to 1 and 2 is yes, and the answer to 5 is no, does that mean the only real use of the alchemist tools in this scenario is to lower the identify time from 1 hour to 10 minutes?
7) If the answer to 6 is yes, does even that become redundant with Alchemical Savant?


So monsters with this ability don't seem to have the once per day limitation of the orc feat. I think this means the only way to reduce them to 0 HP is to do it more than once in a round, so they've already used up their reaction.

Is that the case? If so, kinda neat. Guess you really gotta Boromir a Boar.

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