The Jezail is a fairly unique gun, being 1h with the Fatal Aim trait, which allows it to be used in two hands to add fatal (and also adds some restrictions to the one-handed use, but).
But I have some questions arising from that and how it interacts with the various gunslinger abilities that call out one-handed weapons.
To start, Ten Paces clearly allows you to draw a Jezail, but would it allow you to draw it into the two-handed grip?
Can you use Pistol Twirl while wielding a Jezail in two hands?
Just a quick thread for one of the important details of a martial class - how hard do your strikes hit?
Since the key stat is not STR or DEX, you're basically behind .5 on average to hit compared to other martials (-1 at 1-4, 10-14, and 20).
You get two forms of damage bonus for your standard martial boosts. First, we have the custom weakness of Esoteric Antithesis, which needs 1-2 actions to turn on against an enemy, and functions sort of like Hunt Prey. It applies to all of our strikes though, and is either the natural weakness of the creature or 2+half your level. The trick here is how much ahead this gets of what other martials can do to apply weakness (well, I won't count alchemist as easy weakness targeting is one of their advantages).
Second, Implement's Empowerment gives a flat 2 damage if we have a free hand (or it's holding an implement we aren't striking with). This scales to 8 by 20.
With the actual benefits listed out, my opinions:
I'm not sure about Antithesis overall. Mainly, it comes down to how easily other martials hit existing weaknesses at later levels. I view this as most comparable to precision ranger. It can take another action to turn on sometimes, but it applies to every hit you make. And it doesn't always equal added damage other classes can't get (a lot of level 20 enemies have more than 12 on their highest weakness already). Possibly this should increase more, to allow forgoing Empowerment for a shield or be ahead of most weaknesses at higher levels?
Empowerment though I'm really wary on. Not having a shield is a potential issue without any other AC boosts available in close quarters. Technically a buckler may work. But... with 8 HP/level... I worry this is going to be difficult to take advantage of. I'd suggest a "Raise a Talisman" feat or something as a shield alternative, but some of the talismans do provide survival benefits... of course I don't think them stacking with a 1/2 circumstance would really be a problem.
Overall, I think that the expected damage of a Thaumaturge should end up fine at first glance, but I'm concerned about the drawbacks and that at late game Antithesis isn't actually going to be boosting damage much compared to other martials.
Looking at the initial options for innovations, it feels like there's a decided lack of options if you aren't going with construct.
Literally every option for the Armor route is some form of resistance. With the partial exception of Complex Simplicity (which is admittedly very nice!) all the options for weapon are basically "add combat maneuver trait(s) and Versatile/Modular".
Meanwhile, the options for the construct are much more varied - swim speed, better land speed, dramatically better senses (low light, darkvision, AND tremorsense!), skills, or built in ranged weapons.
On top of that, weapon innovation gets very few options overall for ranged weapons at all at any tier, and armor feels pretty narrow on higher tiers too.
Let us get more options in our kit. Move more interesting weapon traits up. Add more things. I dunno.
Armor I feel should maybe have things like swim/climb speed as options without taking feats for them? Or similar sensory upgrades as are available to constructs (integrated darkvision unit, some kind of limited blindsense?).
Weapons need more interesting things - the second tier has much more unique traits like being able to get Free-Hand and Tethered/Ranged-Trip. But then it's doing things like... Sweep/Versatile S. And just... why. A reach increase doesn't need to be on the third tier at all, I think - barbarians and fighters both have ways to get better reach much sooner (albeit as feats, but still, they're very early feats).
I dunno. This is half a rant from putting together a playtest char. And I'm looking at Dual Form and basically the only meaningful form change right now feels like if mode 2 is a ranged weapon, because otherwise I just get melee weapon with maneuver traits #1 and #2. There's so much versatile flying around that hardly matters, and the 2-action change cost means I can't do things like beefy weapon/agile weapon so much.
Are there other things you think should be available for these types, or moved around?
I think the Press trait is fundamentally incompatible with Gunslinger. Generally speaking, action economy makes it very hard to shoot twice in a turn without having set it up the previous turn.
Your options (without involving multiple guns, although since you can't quick draw while using a different feat that doesn't change the numbers) are to either start the round loaded and Strike, Reload, Feat, or to Risky Reload/Quick Draw, Reload, Feat. The only way to move during the turn at all is via Running Reload.
Compare this to Fighter, who also has lots of Press feats, but with the exception of Exacting Strike (which is useless if you're not making 3+ strikes in a turn) they all work very flexibly because they don't need actions to reload.
The following feats are all Press:
Two-Weapon Flurry is especially bad, because it's also a Flourish. No Risky Reload option allowed - it is literally impossible to use this if you don't start the turn with two loaded guns (or are doing sword and pistol, granted)
I don't even understand the idea behind Incredible Ricochet. Deliberately taking a bad shot and burning two actions just to set up a shot that ignores cover on a level 12 feat? Ranger gets this against their prey at 14, and it's still Press... but not, importantly, Flourish. Ranger gets to do this after flurry attacks, Hunter's Aim, etc. And has no restriction about having already attacked that target (which makes Press really make no sense there, but).
Assisting Shot is a nice way to support your allies. You have a decent chance to hit on your second attack... except... well, you can't do it every turn unless you're rolling Risky Reload each time.
Glancing Shot is basically the same as an existing Fighter feat, and is perhaps the least bad of the bunch? It's the only one that's serving the role of "not as bad as missing", so if you don't get a second attack anyways it doesn't matter.
I think the action economy costs of firearms and crossbows make them a real struggle to justify putting Press feats on a class focused on using reload 1+ weapons. They are dramatically harder to use in play solely because of that. If they're going to stay, they need to have their power boosted to account for the difficulty in being able to use them more than every other turn at most, but frankly, given the comparables in other classes, I'm not sure that's the answer.
I'm writing this coming off a playtest session of 1-14 with two inventors in it.
Between them, I think they failed 2/3 of their overdrive rolls. One of them hero pointed to dodge a crit fail (and mercifully flipped it up to success).
I don't like that this class feature is unreliable. Yes, variance in outcome is thematically appropriate, but the failure rate and failure states are awful. At level 3, I believe the best possible roll is +11 against DC 18. That still leaves a 1/3 chance you spend an action for literally no result.
Adding 2 damage for a minute is a strong outcome, for sure. The crit success of 4 damage is extremely good, and there are nice class feats to support this, leading to a capstone of being able to overdrive the entire party at once... although the scaling of the ability makes it much less exciting at that point.
For a bit of comparison, look at the Precision Ranger. They get 1d8 bonus damage on their first hit each turn against their prey. That's 3.5 on average. This requires no skill checks and is active indefinitely for a single action that doesn't even have to be used during combat depending on the situation. They can share that for an action per turn at level 8 and permanently by 14 with Shared Prey. It scales up to 3d8 by 20, which vastly outperforms Overdrive's mere 3/6 damage cap (and applies lesser dice on subsequent hits still). Overdrive is behind at level 3 and can't even compete at 20 (the action economy of Hunt Prey isn't a major drawback with two-for-one strike actions and such coming at level 1). I will grant, though, that rangers are more martially focused, so a stronger damage boost is perhaps acceptable.
So this leads me to two issues I have with Overdrive. First, it isn't reliable. Watching a party member burn their whole first turn just powering up their core damage buff because they got unlucky is painful. Second, it doesn't scale well. If you've got 18 int it's a decent boost, but with 16 or less I'm not sure it's even worth using at level 3 (and inventor has lots of stuff that doesn't care about that). And at higher levels I'm not sure it's ever worth the action and roll against a scaling DC that basically requires crafting be taken to master+.
The following abilities are part of the 1e summoner:
(tether part omitted)
Life Bond (Su): At 14th level, a summoner’s life becomes linked to his eidolon’s. As long as the eidolon has 1 or more hit points, the summoner is protected from harm. Damage in excess of that which would reduce the summoner to fewer than 0 hit points is instead transferred to the eidolon. This damage is transferred 1 point at a time, meaning that as soon as the eidolon is reduced to a number of negative hit points equal to its Constitution score, all excess damage remains with the summoner. Effects that cause death but not damage are unaffected by this ability. This ability does not affect spells like baleful polymorph, flesh to stone, or imprisonment, or other spells that do not cause actual damage.
Which is to say, at level 14 the class basically has a single HP pool already as long as the eidolon is out, since neither will ever go down until both do (there are probably some edge cases where it's tactically better to not use Life Link, but Life Bond isn't optional).
So is this really them doing anything new here? Or is it just making something that functionally happened in 1e explicit?
This is not a thread for the debate on how evolutions should be handled. This is for suggesting and discussing changes and additions to the existing evolution feats.
To address one existing issue that's been brought up:
I'm wondering if the size increases should be optional though - allow you to manifest the eidolon without them, but then you don't gain the reach increase (or speed bonus on mounted). The speed bonus on mounted is to cover the redundancy - if you have both, your eidolon is really good at being big and can move a bit faster to compensate for the redundant increase to L.
Edit: For reference, Mark made a post going over the evolutions from the original APG summoner and how they're available (or not) in the playtest document: https://paizo.com/threads/rzs4363f&page=8?Welcome-to-the-Summoner-Class -Playtest#371
So, for the most part I think the way eidolon stats work is great. They should always be fine in combat with a beefy 16/16/16 line.
But they start with very low mental scores. This is mainly a concern for their ability to use skills that rely on them - two of the types start out at 12 in WIS, at least. But that only lets them reach a max of 18 ever at level 15 (as 19 is wasted).
My thought is basically to loosen up the initial eidolon stats slightly by allowing players to assign a small portion of them - give 1 or 2 ability boosts at level 1 and reduce the stats accordingly.
Part of my concern here is that the Beast eidolon starts at a mere 10 CHA. But it gets a dedicated Intimidate ability at level 7. Even if the summoner gets an immediate master in Intimidate there, it's still only going to have 12 CHA backing that. I think that's silly, and it should be able to at least pack 14, if not 16 (at a price).
I'm trying to decide if I like this or not, and there's one use case that came to mind on it I'm unsure about.
The maximum sustained duration is 1 minute. The immunity is 1 minute. Is that from when you cast it or when you stop sustaining it? Basically, can I keep casting/sustaining it in order to give a seamless +1 to a party member so that it applies to longer activities?
Because I want to look at it and be able to just name Discern Secrets as an exploration activity so that the guy in front has +1 perception. Then throw it on the medic for +1 medicine while patching people up (granted, Assurance Medicine is popular). Etc.
Sudden Charge allows you to use it with any special speeds you may have, including a climb speed.
Climbing requires two free hands. Weapons generally also require free hands.
Does this mean Combat Climber is required to be able to Sudden Charge while using a climb speed, and that it is impossible to do so with a 2h weapon, or a shield, etc?
Fire resistance is fairly common, but Moonbeam has this clause:
Moonbeam deals silver damage for the purposes of weaknesses, resistances, and the like.
Do you read this as "in addition to" or "instead of" fire?Do you count immunity as part of this clause?
The wording is inconsistent on the druid orders where they grant the initial focus spell.
Two of them say your focus pool increases by 1, two do not. None of them actually say "you gain a focus pool", though that's covered by the global rules for focus spells.
So does this mean Leaf and Storm druids are starting with a focus pool of 2 while Animal and Wild start with 1?
(Another questionable one is Champion's Deity's Domain, which grants a focus spell but not +1 pool)
Evil effects often manipulate energy from evil-aligned Outer Planes and are antithetical to good divine servants or divine servants of good deities. A creature with this trait is evil in alignment. An ability with this trait can be selected or used only by evil creatures.
Buried in the back of the book is an absolute prohibition on non-evil characters using anything with the evil trait. Both the Demonic and Diabolic bloodlines give abilities with the evil trait, however.
Diabolic's second and third bloodline spells (Embrace the Pit, Hellfire Plume) are both evil, making the feats to take them null (Unless for some reason you want more castings of Diabolic Edict).
Demonic gives the 5th level spell Abyssal Plague, which is also evil. And unlike Diabolic you are forced to take this as part of your spell repertoire, but can't ever cast it.
Should I just avoid these bloodlines for now for PFS2 characters?