Today is the day that I make more than one thread. It's a strange feeling.
I have become convinced that acquiring Feats as the exclusive way to increase Ability Scores is not a good idea. This is certainly a biased opinion, because as a pure crafter I find the notion of training Armor or Attack feats to increase my ability scores somewhere between annoying and and rage-quit inducing.
So I've been thinking of things that I believe could help alleviate this problem. - Before I get a bunch of people jumping on me to make sure I am aware that the current ability score requirements will be tweaked: Yeah, I know. These are ideas I want to talk about. Crowdforging and such.
At first I was thinking perhaps it would be better if we simply had more feats under each role, to at least allow us to feel like we are not having to stretch outside of our discipline to advance. If - for example - we added a few feats to the smeltmill that grant Constitution while also granting a minor bonus (reduced refining time for Ingots of all kinds, perhaps) then at least I wouldn't be spending XP unnecessarily on Shield Bash or something else I will get absolutely no other use out of. Perhaps (for refiners) there could be feats that increase the chances of getting a bonus + on their recipes.
I still like the idea - fleshing out the idea of being a Smelter from a 1-feat progression to one where you can further specialize seems like an idea with value. (Obviously the idea would extend to other refining and true crafting, as well.)
But then it occurred to me that while Spells and Maneuvers cost XP to learn, crafting recipes do not - and perhaps they should. After all, right now there is no reason for a crafter not to learn any recipe they come across and qualify for.
Perhaps recipes should cost XP to learn, and perhaps we should get incremental Ability Score gains from Recipes, Spells, and Maneuvers alike.
Why not gain a little Personality from learning Burning Hands? Why not some Wisdom from learning Aid? Why not some Strength from learning Pot Steel Plate?
I believe this would be good for the game - to make the Ability Score gates more easily handled - and more importantly, because it makes sense that these are the things that advance you.
I'm curious if anyone else has had any similar ideas, or if anyone sees any glaring holes in this. (And 'golly, that would be a lot of work for GW to implement' doesn't count as a hole. Any change will require work from the development team - it's up to them to decide if it's too much.)
Right now there are two gates that are driving the game community mad: Ability Score requirements and Achievement requirements.
Why? Well, because we have to cross-train far too much.
I'm not sure we are all convinced that adding more skills (different cross-classing options, wee!) or rebalancing the numbers will do it- so I have an idea on how to fix this: it won't eliminate the 'grind' for that can never truly go away, but perhaps we can make it rewarding. We need a bigger carrot so we don't feel the stick hitting us so hard.
My proposal is this: Ability Score gains from Achievements.
There are a few different ways I could see this going:
Option 1, Related Ability Score Gain for Every Achievement:
Mineral Gatherer 1? You gain .025 Constitution. Mineral Gatherer 2? You gain .05 Constitution. - And so on. (Obviously the numbers aren't specifically important in my example. This seems flimsy to me, and in many ways is similar to simply blending the two Gates into one - not necessarily a bad idea, but if we're going to do that why deceive ourselves about it?)
Option 2, Related Ability Score Gain at Set Achievement Points:
Mineral Gatherer 5? You gain .5 Constitution. Mineral Gatherer 10? You gain 1 Constitution. (This is essentially the same thing, but spaced out more and therefore requiring higher dedication for the rewards.)
Option 3, 'Spend' Achievement Points on Ability Scores:
You have been a good little cleric, breaking skeletons and purifying their graves. You have 20 Divine Achievement points - and now you can spend them!
Go see the Temple trainer, and she will increase an Ability Score of your choice from 10 to 11. For 40 Divine, she could increase one from 11 to 12, etc.
A similar setup would exist for the other types of Achievement Points as well, meaning that you could spend your time doing whatever suits your fancy and whatever Achievements you gain could be spent in one place or another to increase your Ability Scores. This should go a long way towards removing the grinding feel, and allow players to do the things they want to do.
This could also be changed to simply adding the ability to spend from your Achievement Points as a whole - meaning that Divine/Crafting/Adventuring points all count the same. This makes it less nuanced, but it might be better on the balance when you consider how many more things you can do to gain Adventuring points than Divine points. (That said, since you can choose your Ability Score increased, it really shouldn't matter which point 'pool' this would come from.)
In case you cannot tell, this is my favorite of the ideas. It seems like a great way to return meaningful decision to the equation. (I still think you should be able to train a bunch of different feats if that's how you want to increase your ability scores, but you shouldn't feel you MUST do so.) You will not be able to advance any faster, since the XP-rate handles that just fine, so this will not give any player an advantage over another. Also, I think being able to see the Achievements giving them something instead of just acting as a barrier to advancement will have a positive effect or player morale. ;)
Another note I'd like to make is that although I talk about 'spending' points, I think it would upset people if they suddenly didn't qualify for something just because they opted to increase their Strength. (Then again, meaningful choices?) I think a spendable point pool based on your achievement points would be more likely to succeed with the player-base.
So while looking into crafting, it seems to me that it is rather difficult to reach the second rank of the refining skills. The bottleneck in this case is because of the Crafting achievements required and their relative difficulty to acquire in comparison to Adventuring or Combat achievement points.
Crafting a Common, +0 item will get you 1 Crafting point - but only one . In order to gain more Crafting points, you must craft either a Common +1 item, or an Uncommon +0 recipe. (More difficult recipes would grant you more achievement points, but it is unlikely you can learn them at rank 1 of your skill.) This means you must either conveniently find the correct recipe as a drop, or have a friend find it and get it to you.
You must have 3 Crafting points in order to move up to the second rank of that Refining Skill. So you must obtain at least 2 recipes within your discipline before you may advance to the second rank. (For reference, you cannot Smelt Steel Plates as a level 1 Smelter, and that is the material required for the most basic armors.)
Another way to handle this problem is to branch out into 2 other Refinement trees - craft 1 Common +0 item with each, and you will then be able to access rank 2 in each of the skills. This is a very XP-expensive way to handle the issue, but it seems like it may be what those without huge support structures will end up needing to do.
Perhaps I am overreacting, but these strike me as rather large hurdles to get over when you are at a level that you cannot even craft simple armor. (I have not yet examined the other crafting areas for similar problems, as the demand for armor is the most particularly high, but I suspect the issue of reaching 'basic' equipment is not limited to the skill.)
So you need either a huge support system to advance with any kind of efficiency, or you need to stretch yourself incredibly thin with XP and generalize in your crafting choices.
I'm not sure if this is the game working as intended or not - it does SEEM like meaningful choice, but to some degree it strikes me as arbitrarily difficult.
This game contains a large number of interdependent skills, but I'm curious as to just how much 'side work' an ultra-focused character would need to put in simply to continue qualifying for the one or two skills they really want to have.
For example, if I want to be a savant Dowser - making the Dowser still my highest priority, and all advancement decisions are made in light of this desire - how much time will I spend just trying to increase my Personality by learning other feats?
In the current balance of things, does an ultra-focused character like this seem possible, or have we discovered that the way skills are linked will mean that ultra-focus is effectively impossible and everyone will have at least 4 or 5 skills improving in order to advance others?
I think a pure crafter or gatherer should be able to truly be pure, without having to train combat skills to increase their attributes, (especially since recipes seem rare enough that they will be the biggest factor holding back the pure crafters) but I don't know if anyone has determined if such builds will be possible at all.
The Order for Exploration and Settlement of Golarion: River Kingdoms Chapter
This is not a guild, but a proposed Alliance. Our purpose is simple: to spread civilization throughout Golarion.
With the recent population influx, this new chapter was created in order to assist in organizing and accelerating the deeper exploration of the region, as well as providing assistance to those who would like to settle within.
Members of the Order will be expected to pool their knowledge and resources, working together to improve the region's mining and farming efforts. We will clear dangerous regions as necessary in order to defend the common folk, and we will explore new areas, mapping them as accurately as possible.
In addition, we will be actively supportive of the crafting and trade industries, including creating and upgrading smithies, workshops, stables, warehouses and inns. Our highest priority shall be the construction of a stable infrastructure and the facilitation of expansion in this region.
Any parties who wish to ally themselves with our order are encouraged to respond to this notice directly.
I look forward to seeing this region thrive.
- Keign Maredor, Senior Organizer
Alignment: Neutral Good
Purpose: The exploration and settlement of unpopulated regions
Structure: Rank and title is directly related to the influence and skills an individual can bring to bear to meet the purposes of the Order. We intend to forge new ranks and titles specific to the area.
Recruitment: You are welcome to join the membership of the Order provided you support the advancement of civilization as a whole in this region. While we cannot and will not require you to assist everyone with every construction project, a generous and fair perspective is highly valued.
Roleplay: Greater respect and assistance will always be accorded to those who are properly motivated and deeply invested in the area.