I'm liking Starfinder, although admittedly I haven't had a lot of time to play it. Starfinder provides a lot of new territory to the game in terms of setting and cool new toys to try out.
Pathfinder 2.0 I have different expectations for. I like a lot of the changes, but there are these nagging things from ancient 3.x that are still present that I think we'd all be better off without at this point. Intelligence affecting skill points tends to get very fluid and wonkey at higher levels when intelligence boosting equipment becomes available, and it does feel a bit punishing for the barbarian with only 6 intelligence.
I think a better system would be to have a pool of background skill points that are not affected by intelligence which the player can use to put into a select few skills related to the background.
I went a little off topic there, but it kind of emphasizes what I think the objective should be for Pathfinder 2.0. If they're going to keep the heart of what pathfinder is, the new edition will have to focus on addressing all the gotchas we found over the last decade with 1.0 because the objective kind of makes creating a brand new game difficult. They've hit a lot of them, like CMB and CMD. Others like movement speed, which I tend to care a lot about because of my wargaming background, are sort of half-way there.
1. Please limit the effects of intelligence on skill points: Does it really make narrative sense that a wizard with poor strength eventually outperforms the barbarian in terms of physical skill checks due to sheer number of skill points he has at higher levels, all the while still functioning as a completely competent mage? Because that happens.
2. To position oneself in combat or to disengage/runaway, base speeds cannot be lower than 25 feet (5 squares) and the average speed of normal humanoids cannot have more than a five foot difference. If it is common to encounter standard humanoid races whose base speed exceeds your character by 10 feet or more, compensating for the speed difference in order to run away takes the equivalent of two feats. That handicaps the character in terms of what classes he can viably play. Being limited to only four squares of movement makes flanking or positioning impractical, and tactical minded enemies can literally run circles around those characters.
While anecdotal, all my experienced players stopped playing halflings, dwarves, and gnomes after a few sessions due to combat literally slowing down or going south due to issues with movement speed. I've usually helped players by giving them boots of striding and springing if they're playing smaller races, but it really shouldn't be a requirement. Most of the enemies giving them issues with positioning and movement were just standard goblins and orcs. Think of it this way: If the encounter were against a group of goblin skirmishers who know they are fighting dwarves that are too slow to keep up with them, what are they more likely to do: engage the dwarves in melee or kite them while shooting?
While it doesn't make sense from a roleplaying perspective, Pathfinder is already an incredibly demanding bookkeeping task. It would be simpler to reward players for coming up with interesting back stories for how their character learned the language than to worry about the specifics.
Take it from me: I got interested in the idea of making a fantasy architect with a lyre of building, only to find that I was putting more time into figuring out how all the rules worked than my GM was putting into preparing for the game.
I always take bonus skill points so I can have skills fitting my character's back story. Anything involving appraising goods is particularly demanding because the lowest possible check starts at a DC of 20. With every single skill being subjected to entirely different standards, it can take some incredible house rulings to get things to work right. I shiver at the thought of ever having an intelligence score below 10.
In pathfinder, undead are the product of sinister magic inflicted or taught by fiends, evil aberrations, or dark gods. The magic denies a soul passage to the afterlife while twisting it into a mockery of its former self. Lesser, mindless undead may be little more than constructs, but the spells used to make them have a corrupting influence on the caster's spirit. The magic that creates undead is literally meant to turn something evil, so while there may be exceptions to the rule, they are almost always struggling against the magic that animated them in the first place.
However, some settings will work under other assumptions fitting their story and world. Additionally, there is nothing to suggest a sufficiently powerful archmage couldn't modify the rules of reality in such a way as to allow undead of good or neutral alignments to exist.
According to the rules, a telekineticist could lift a small house by taking the right powers, but the second a kobold as much as touches it with his pinky it becomes immovable. What kineticist needs is the kind of play testing where players ask the question "does this make sense or does it feel immersion breaking?" That helps build core assumptions of how the class should work, at which point different statistics and progression tables can be tested.
The Realms fell victim to misunderstanding by the higher ups. There is a big difference between having a narrative rich setting and a bloated game system. There is no such thing as story bloat: What an author writes about has no more effect on a GM's game than the goings on at a neighboring game table.
Plus I'd say the real problem with Pathfinder isn't rules bloat so much as changing standards. Pathfinder wants to become something different, but also wants to stay true to its goal of being backwards compatible. So it tries to be many different things, and by its nature that means there are best options. Only those options are buried in a mountain of not so good options, and the rules tend to tell you what you can do rather than being a way to express yourself.
Coming back to Pathfinder as a player after a long hiatus, I was tasked with making a sixth level wizard. Many years ago I would have been happy with my options, but I just can't make the characters I want to make with Pathfinder's system anymore. The options appear to be there, but it takes incredibly high stat roles combined with very specific traits, racials, and options to do it. Some of them don't even make sense, like taking "Find your Kin" just to get more skill points instead of taking appropriately flavored background traits. I have to power game just to make a mercantile mage.
The spell system they have is arguably far less problematic than Pathfinder's, but it does have some spots that need ironing out.
First, damage spells don't scale correctly when upcast. There is no reason to upcast a burning hands spell to third level, since fireball easily out damages it. Sleep is problematic due to its power at low levels and its randomness at higher levels. Charm spells should not give target's magical knowledge about who enchanted them. The list keeps going on.
Personally, I think enchantment was a casualty of how they handled animal companions. They wanted some way of balancing it against pets and familiars when there was nothing to balance in the first place.
I'm part of an adventuring team that wants to build a trade route going from Falcon's Hollow in northern Andoran to Druma, and I want to be able to suggest to our GM an adventure appropriate for characters of level 8-9 that involves mountainous terrain. Does anyone know of an adventure that would be appropriate for our level?
I heavily disagree. Just because I can make the halfling rodent wrangler in pathfinder (and I did), doesn't mean he is useful. For the dozens of characters I can make in pathfinder, only a small fraction of those are viable in a game due to the game's mechanics. I can't make a halfling who can dart around, peppering an opponent with ranged attacks without mounted combat due to their low movement speed. Similarly, their damage takes a significant hit for being small. The mechanics start making decisions for the player.
Kurald Galain wrote:
I would probably say the main difference is that 5e gives the player more freedom in terms of roleplaying the kind of character he wants, whereas Pathfinder has very specific builds someone must play to be useful in a group.
Even though beastmaster rangers are somewhat underpowered in 5th edition, I can still play a halfling rodent wrangler with a dire rat companion and be effective as part of the group. In Pathfinder, it's "play a halfling outrider or go home."
The area of Pathfinder I'm most familiar with is the magic system they have employed. The current state of the vancian magic system is akin to my old neighbor's basement from when I was a kid. All the kids would come over to play, but no one would ever clean up. Every five feet was like moving through a square of plastic caltrops, and no one could find what they wanted.
There are just too many spells. Some do the exact same thing as a lower level spell of similar name with a magnified effect, others do something very similar to a different spell, and some spells are misleadingly named (i.e. "Circle of Protection" spells do not work the same way as "Protection From" spells do).
Then we have the ever shifting scale of spells going from useful to useless and vice versa as players advance in level. Sleep is great at low levels, but then you might as well erase it to make room for a useful spell past character level 6. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have things like burning hands whose damage is so low at 1st level there is no reason for anyone to cast it.
When tallying up all the changes needed to make the magic system work consistently across all levels, especially in conjunction with the classes using it and the magic item creation rules, an almost complete revision is necessary. For instance, allowing upcasting of spells to higher level versions of themselves is a fine idea, but when you make the entire system work that way lower level spell slots eventually become useless. You'd need a magic point system for it to truly work.
My opinion on the matter is that Star Wars is one of those settings that potentially get people into playing genres of gaming they haven't before. The d20 system just isn't an entry level system. Its incredibly convoluted and difficult to learn by comparison to other options on the market.
Fantasy Flight Game's Star Wars RPG products are easier to get into than d20, and something like the FATE system or the Numenera system are even easier.
A long time ago, there was a test on the WoTC site for becoming an RPGA DM. They wanted the DM to know practically all the rules from the 3rd edition core books. It took me over 10 tries before I succeeded at the test. I then immediately forgot half the stuff I memorized for it. No one can be reasonably expected to remember all the rules for Pathfinder, even the core rules.
My only experience as of now has been playing a wizard. Most spells work the way they are supposed to except for charm spells due to a single line in the spell description that ruins their intended purpose. Aka, the target knows you charmed them without fail. So until they get around to fixing that oversight, social skills are vastly superior to comparative charm magic in everything except niche situations. Damaging spells end up being about as effective as those in 3.5 despite different design considerations, except for the improved cantrips. For example, burning hands is useful for a time until fireball is available. At least that's how it is for wizards.
Survival is a little easier as a wizard, and scaling cantrips avoid the Pathfinder situation of a wizard being forced to use a sling on downtime. Combat stats are more predictable, but so is combat itself. Limited options tend to make combat a bit samish over long campaigns.
There is a lot to love about 5th edition, but it feels like they are internally struggling against the urge to make things very mechanically balanced when that didn't work for them before. Sometimes it comes through like with the charm spell thing where they make the rules RP for the player, or the strange companion/familiar/pet rules.
There is a feat called Master Craftsman that qualifies the character for craft wondrous item and craft magic arms/armor feats. Master Craftsman lets you substitute your craft skill for caster level when making a magic item. The DC to make a magic item is 5 + the caster level of the item.
However, these crafters take a sizable increase to the difficulty of crafting magic items due to not have spells. Each prereq they do not have boosts DC by +5 to craft the item in question. Still, its better than nothing. Plus, Master Craftsman gives a +2 bonus to crafts and profession skill checks. Make sure your crafter takes spark of creation or a similar trait to boost their skill at crafting further.
Otherwise pray your GM is experienced enough to handle this kind of change. I remember doing this with a guy who didn't know how balance works in Pathfinder and it was... pretty trying lol
I got mine a few days ago from the local hobby shop around my college. The book is interesting, but it didn't really impress me as much as I thought it should. There are some new class options and a few new cantrips in the back, but that is it. There are no new subraces: Only modifications to the tiefling meant to bring it back in line with tieflings of older editions. Those changes are more cosmetic then mechanical, save for tieflings with wings.
That isn't to say I don't like the options provided by the book. Those provided are excellent and pretty awesome to boot. Just as an example, monks of the long death are their own unique type of monk, along with a sun soul monk that can shoot radiant blasts of energy.
I'm actually surprised no new monsters were introduced in the book. The forgotten realms, particularly the underdark, have some unique monsters not currently included in any of their 5e products. If DMs were looking forward to being reintroduced to deep dragons, draegloths, or hordes of gibberlings, we'll have to wait for a future product or convert them from previous editions.
It's otherwise a great introduction to the Realms for new players and a good point to jump in for those who missed out on the 4th edition Forgotten Realms supplement.
The singular thing I can think of that separates a golem from other constructs is that it is brought to life by the binding of an elemental spirit into the golem's body. No other constructs that I have read in all four bestiaries have this quality. The closest would be a soulbound construct that uses a sliver of a dying creature's soul as the animating force. So maybe it could be interpreted as the ability to detect any construct whose "soul" is a bound elemental?
I have a character who is using a possession psychic power to animate a "dwarven battle wagon", for lack of a better term and wants to use it to run over zombies at top speed. According to the rules, it is a huge animated object, although the closest combat rules I can find are for overrun, which isn't really descriptive of what is going on in this case.
First rule, the dragon never fights PCs in his lair. He doesn't want to damage his precious treasure. This influences not only his lair design, but also the area surrounding the lair.
Second rule, they will exercise air superiority, attacking from a distance whenever possible, even waiting for their breath weapon to recharge if they see no reason to dive attack. They will only do dive attacks if the PCs possess sufficient firepower to make waiting for his breath weapon to recharge a less attractive option.
Thirdly, they will not just attempt to hit PCs in a dive attack. They will attempt to scoop up particularly troublesome targets so they can drop them from several hundred feet.
Fourth, since they are fighting the dragon in or around his lair, expect that he has countermeasures built into his lair on top of his already impressive abilities. Usually these lair features will play into the dragon's capabilities, such as his massive strength. A dragon might set up a bunch of boulders in such a way that he can trigger an avalanche on intruding player characters.
In conclusion, fighting a dragon in its own layer should require a great deal of planning on the player group's part. It is far more than simply showing up with swords and spells to kill a big winged lizard.
I love dragons.
This is a product that feels like it needed more play testing before release.
1. Elemental damage is something to be used as a tactical consideration, as evident of enemies having high resistances or total immunities. The kineticist's focus onto one element is easily comparable to playing a Fire Mage in World of Warcraft back at its release and attempting to run Molten Core. Fire does not work well on fire elementals. On the other hand, the physical blasts bypass almost every form of damage reduction, and the damage reduction scaling is far more forgiving than elemental resistances. Plus, an intelligent antagonist with access to magic is definitely going to be stocking up on resistance potions for his minions should a kineticist rely heavily on an elemental blast.
2. Negative emotional effects really shouldn't require more than a concentration check to allow the psychic caster to use his abilities. It is fairly easy to be afflicted with the shaken condition, and intelligent antagonists will play to a PC's weaknesses should they know about them. Telling psychics to bring potions of remove fear is not the answer: It only points to how severe the affliction is in the case of psychic casters.
3. The psychic is great except their spells tend to affect only a single target, which makes them notably worse than sorcerers who have access to both area of effects like grease, clouds, and pits, along with equally powerful single target control spells. More importantly, sorcerers can target a wider swath of saving throws and can select spells that effect all kinds of creatures equally, whereas a psychic has to expend phrenic pool points just to effect undead with a will saving throw, arguably any undead's best save.
Yeah, that's one of the reasons I was asking. The very theme of the book tends to bring the rules into question when things don't add up. Also, undead don't have alien thoughts unless they're from an alien species. They have pretty normal thoughts for diabolically evil creatures minus a few new urges. Either that or they are just roving hate and despair elementals like a shadow.
Alright, so after reading the rules entries for undead and comparing it to constructs and plants, I want to make sure I'm interpreting the rules correctly.
Mind Thrust has the exact same spell descriptor (Divination [mind-affecting]) as detect thoughts and, like detect thoughts, does not effect targets without an intelligence score. That would indicate intelligent undead are affected by mind thrust. Am I interpreting the entry correctly?
I am assuming detect thoughts works on undead given a previous thread on the 3.5 rules from 2005 involving a Dungeon Magazine 126 Waterdeep adventure.
The wording on the emotional component part of psychic spell leaves ambiguity where calm emotions spell is concerned. Whether it is considered harmful or helpful is entirely situational. The same calm emotions spell that stops party members from fleeing in terror is also the same calm emotions that negates the benefits of a rage spell. They also give the tranquility psychic both mantle of calm and calm emotions, which wouldn't make sense if they saw it as a spell that has negative benefits for the psychic (mantle of calm is clearly supposed to be benign).
Has there been a ruling on the effects calm emotions has on psychic spells or is it still left up for interpretation for now?
By the way, has anyone ran into any issues involving enemies making heavy use of the intimidate skill against psychic PCs? Several guides were pointing out that psychics could be effectively shut down from doing anything meaningful with a few well done intimidate checks due to the whole emotional component thing. Its kind of like every NPC thug carrying a reusable wand of lesser silence to use on wizards from the way the guide's are depicting things.
Generally, the kineticist ends up being the weakest link in the book, but it is also my favorite class conceptually. The problem is that any other class can swap out spells or equipment to adapt to combat challenges, but the kineticist's primary weapon (his blasts) are very rigid. A fire kineticist is done the second he is stuck fighting a fire elemental or demon. The option to use the elemental spell metamagic feat doesn't solve the problem because gather power, the ability to reduce burn costs is too obvious to intelligent attackers. It creates this death trap situation where the enemy can force the kineticist to take damage either way.
Burn needs to be errata'ed heavily to be less self defeating and less confusing mechanically. Also, blasts are the kineticist's weapon: They should be able to effect it with equipment choices, feats, or built in class features to work around immunities. Thirdly, gather power shouldn't announce itself with a blow horn.
We have a problem: Phytokinesis along with the pure phyto composite blast are missing from the book. Basic phytokinesis is mentioned in the phytokineticist entry, but is no where to be seen. There are hybrid composite blasts, but no singular wood blast.
Edit: Oh, saw the phyto entry on the front page. Yay!
It's been a long while since i played a game of pathfinder, and I recently joined a group in serious need of additional players. The pathfinder group was initially very undermanned, causing the only two players to multiclass in some very bizarre ways to cover other niches. Both PCs are level 7, one being a rogue/fighter and the other being a cleric/wizard/sorcerer who for some reason likes to stand in melee range. They also have an NPC companion who is some kind of arcane caster lacking serious firepower.
From my first session, they seem to be lacking several things:
They weren't always fighting undead, so I should assume that once this section of the adventure is concluded, our enemies will be more varied. I've begun creation of a level 6 arcanist to help alleviate some of the party's issues, while my brother is making a level 6 shaman.
Some of the questions I'm pondering at the moment are:
1. Would I be better serving the group's needs by playing a wizard as opposed to an arcanist? How important is scribe scroll if I have to cover for most of the group's arcane caster needs?
2. Since they need damaging area of effect spells, if I play a wizard, would focusing on evocation (admixture) as my arcane school be an optimal choice or are there better choices?
3. Of my starting 16,000 GP, how much of it should I dedicate to items for fighting the undead? Should I invest in a lesser metamagic rod of ectoplasmic spell to handle the ghosts or should I leave the undead fighting to the divine casters?
4. On the shaman's side of things, how much of his 16,000 GP should he invest in recovery items for poison, disease, and ability damage? If we're fighting shadows, is investing in a wand of lesser restoration worth it over other options? (Edit: The multiclass cleric shows little sign of having said recovery items).
I'd be grateful for any assistance or additional advice.
I liked the idea of the Spellplague, but in the end, it was implemented so poorly that it came off as being a bit too random and arbitrary in the actual effect it had on the world and the people who lived there. I understand why they didn't deep six places like Waterdeep and other places that they had a lot of background material, but the sheer amount of cherry picking they did when deciding what to keep and what to destroy just ended up not making sense at all. Some areas had entire continents dropped on them while others, including many that logically would have been the most effected by a disruption of magic on this scale, remained virtually untouched. That randomness, coupled with extremely poor explanations of how such a destructive and chaotic force could be so selective, along with basically no real support it for the first few years of 4E was a big reason that 4E failed to gather the level of support that its predecessors had been able to get; having no setting to ground the rules in really did hurt them. Whatever they do with FR, or any other setting, in 5E, I hope they learned from their mistakes from 4E, or it's going to get very, very ugly.
I agree as well, and it isn't just the setting either. For each thing I like about 4th edition, there is something that off-sets my enjoyment, like how every class must have a cheesy one-liner.
The more I read of 5e, the more I'm starting to think that Pathfinder will need to go through an edition change of its own. While Pathfinder does address many of the issues of 3.5, it is a compromise between a new edition and backwards compatibility. As a result, some of the solutions are more stop-gap than ideal. Take 4e skills vs Pathfinder skills. I'm making a guess that the designers probably wanted to do at least as much consolidation as 4e (or some similarly sizable change to skills), but had to settle with less in order to maintain backwards compatibility. If 5e does end the edition wars, my guess is it won't be to Pathfinder's benefit. To be honest though, Pathfinder has a strong narrative, and I want to see it continue to succeed. It's a very strong IP, and could stand on its own even if a new edition of Pathfinder came out. I actually don't use any of my old 3.5 products anymore and only use Pathfinder.
The lawful deities demand that it be done in a very systematic process. "First the subjects in question must take off their clothes, neatly fold them, and put them into a pile organized by color. Then they must position themselves so that their formation is symmetric, except that some asymmetric positions are perfectly acceptable. Please consult your deity's manual on the subject to know what positions are acceptable and which are a big no-no."
Even without the third party support, there is a lot of interesting stuff for Pathfinder. They have a strong lineup of support products and adventures for Pathfinder lovers. D&D seems a bit overpriced for what we get by comparison. Of course, Pathfinder inherited much of its existing rule set, so they didn't need to take as much time developing the game.
That is fantastic to hear. I haven't downloaded the play test yet (scared about getting even more things in my e-mail), but I might just get myself to download it tomorrow.
In general, I just see that 1d4+1 damage once per day isn't anything to write home about, when could just use one of my damage-dealing cantrips or fire a crossbow.
That's what I mean by the progress they made in 4th edition (at least where spellcasting is concerned). WoTC did a good job of handling the damage dealing portion of spells. All they really need to do is extend that to non-combat oriented spells and they could get all the flexible spell selection of the vacian magic system with better balance and playability.
While I didn't like how the powers system worked for other classes in 4th, I thought that the way it divided the spells of spellcasters into at-will, per encounter, and per day abilities was a very good way of handling things. That way, flavorful spells that do not provide that great of a benefit can be relegated to at-will powers, while those of moderate damaging ability could be per encounter, and finally the most powerful spells in the game can only be used 1/day. If they go all the way back to what is essentially another 3.5 edition, they will be losing out on the several handfuls of good things they invented during 4th edition's short existence.
I have definite interest. I have no idea what I'm playing yet, but I generally tilt toward highly skilled characters with social skills. My guess is I'll be one of the following: bard, rogue, witch, or wizard. As for the witch and wizard, I'd show more favor to utility spells than offensive magic. I'll figure out exactly what kind of character I'll be posting tonight, since I don't have a lot of time to think at the moment.
Edit: Just came to me a second ago. A pyromaniacal goblin alchemist. Not sure about the name yet, but something with "boom" in it. :)
I have been reworking a tiefling rogue after I didn't make it into the tiefling S&S game.
Character name: Iuni Seastrider
I'll be finishing up the character sheet on my profile tomorrow.
I was wondering if anyone who has played the first adventure in the campaign could answer a question of mine. I am in the middle of redesigning my tiefling character into a rogue, and I wanted one of my two traits to grant a bonus on swim checks. My question is, which is better for Skull and Shackles? A +1 damage bonus on daggers (which I will be using a lot of) or a one point reduction on attack penalties underwater?
At the rate I'm coming up with different tengu pirates, I'll probably soon have enough to man an entire ship.
Zeneku Knifefeather - Male Tengu Rogue (Has a tendency to hide small knives in his plumage. They are all sheathed, so there is little risk of getting accidentally cut).