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CorvusMask wrote:
Orthos wrote:
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
My main takeaway is that even people who are vociferous about the behaviour of WotC are all too ready to forgive given enough concessions are made and “go back to playing beloved DnD” because this is all too stressful.
This is definitely the impression I got with some of the conversations I had about this on the D&D Reddit. There are a lot of people who are already to say this "doesn't matter", this "doesn't affect players/customers", that any opposition like the ORC "won't go anywhere", and that WOTC is "perfectly within their rights", this is "all going to fly", and "the complainers will get bored in a month and everything will go back to normal".
Regardless of topic, there will always be vocal people who are like "DOING ANYTHING IS POINTLESS, DON'T EVEN TRY". Advocating for apathy is common regardless of whether topic is politics or entertainment x'D

"Their third capitulation and backpedal is definitely going to be the last, no point in continuing to push despite the fact that we've been winning for two straight weeks now."

They can't actually be being paid to suppress dissent, right?

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Aotrscommander wrote:

And the computer games industry couldn't get THAT to fly. It blew up in their faces sommat rotten.

This whole situation could be summed up as a absolutely phenomenal example of "Failed to do the research/failed to learn from history."

It's gross incompetence by whomever is directing things over there. They easily could have looked up what happened the last time something similar was tried.

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Aotrscommander wrote:

WotC really don't understand what roleplay is, do they?

They really ARE trying to make a computer game without making a computer game.

And it's clear they don't EVEN understand computer games, because making AI that is any good is EXTREMELY difficult and expensive (as anyone who has looked at basically any game of any complexity will find, there are always compalints of "AI is dumb."

They really cracked the code here, so to speak.

Except they also forgot the part where most recent CRPGs live and die based on whether they have a dedicated mod community to keep them going...

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Leon Aquilla wrote:
Pure rumors from unconfirmed leaks says that they may possibly be postponing the roll-out as they're noticing the massive wave of Beyond DND cancellations. But take that with a truckload of salt.

It's gonna be a bad look if those leaks seem prophetic at 3 EST though.

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Coridan wrote:
I think accepting the idea of "corpos being corpos" is the path that leads us to Cyberpunk dystopian nightmare.

I'd be less angry if it were clear that their decisions here were going to be financially beneficial to them, ultimately. Like, if you're going to be Corporate-Evil at least be competently Corporate-Evil.

All their succeeding in doing is blowing up their own community and converting friendly competition into active competition. I dont see how this "works out" for them in the long run.

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David knott 242 wrote:

The only parts of the OGL 1.1 that are of any relevance are that they are apparently claiming that OGL 1.0a is no longer authorized for any purpose and that they can change any terms of the new license with only 30 days notice. Other things in that license are just examples of the bad things they might do under the new license. In other words, the new license basically boils down to WotC saying "Trust us". Is anyone insane enough to do that now?

I wouldn't have particularly cared if they had put out a new version of the OGL that was mustache twirlingly evil and utterly kneecapped themselves in regards to their new edition of DnD - if they want to cripple themselves, whatever, they can do them.

My issue is, as you said, entirely to do with them trying to burn 1.0a in the process. It's a wholly unnecessary and entirely evil attempt to burn the industry and community in an attempt to eliminate competition (since they apparently can't stomach the thought of providing a better product).

If they walk away from trying to deauthorize old versions of the OGL, whatever. It's their problem.

Though any content creator would be crazy to trust them going forward...

There's no trusting WotC Hasbro anymore. None.

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Dancing Wind wrote:
Nocstar wrote:
Of course, fans always have the option of a mass boycott of all Hasbro/WotC products. Corporations tend to listen when their bottom line starts taking a hit.
Most ttrpg "fans" actually support WotC. There's a reason DnD overwhelms the rest of the table-top RPG market. Why would those folks boycott?

Do they support WotC?

That's why you get mad, post everywhere, raise a fuss.

We have news sites picking this up and youtubers with millions of followers talking about it.

A lot of people settle for 5e because it's "easy" - but if they're aware it's not the only option, it's not actually that hard to get them to move on.

Yoshua wrote:

The cash grab is poorly timed. If they planned on revoking the OGL 1.0a they shouldn't have even given an inkling until after the movie was released.

Now if the movie does poorly they won't know if it is because it is crap or because they bit the hand that feeds them.

Paramount+ - I already subscribe and am unsure if I would tune in to this if they go through with the leaked OGL 1.1, and I am not even a DnD player.

Alternate take - this is extremely conveniently timed, as we have all these extra avenues of expressing displeasure.

It's nice to think that maybe we could persuade enough people to threaten to boycot these alternate forms of media that Hasbro might take notice.

Probably not, but the internet is a surprising place where sometimes you can get a lot of people to do a thing if it doesn't require too much work.

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pres man wrote:

So who else is excited to hear that D&D is going to have a live-action show on Paramount+.

*Quickly ducks out before getting clobbered by thrown DMGs*

Yep, I cancelled my subscription and in the reason indicated that they should ask Hasbro/WotC about the OGL, and explained that I would not currently support DnD directly or indirectly.

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breithauptclan wrote:
12Seal wrote:
Can't help worrying that Golarion and the Pact Worlds may end up as Hasbro IPs, since it started as a D$D setting and has been OGL for so long.

Again, disclaimer, not a lawyer and I am more familiar with open source software licenses than the OGL.

First, the OGL is a distribution license - not a copyright.

Hasbro would have to sue in order to enforce their OGL 1.1 license. And trying to sue for violations of the OGL 1.1 on content that was published under the OGL 1.0a license isn't going to hold up well. That is the retroactive rewriting of the agreement that violates the very foundations of contract law. So they can't retroactively claim that the Paizo setting copyright belongs to Hasbro under the terms of OGL 1.1 now when it was created under OGL 1.0.

It is more possible that Hasbro could file suit that current content in the Pact Worlds setting needs to be published under OGL 1.1 going forward - but that can be handled by removing any Hasbro/D&D proprietary content from the setting and publishing it under a non-OGL distribution license or simply under their own copyright with no redistribution license.

Yeah, also not a lawyer, but I'd guess that Hasbro/WotC ultimately doesn't want to force things in front of a judge who might actually rule on the situation.

Changing the OGL like this seems to be a strong arm tactic to force other people out of the market (or to make it more expensive to sell/market their existing products, by virtue of adding legal costs to consider whether those products are now a liability) and to be able to restrict future products.

If Hasbro comes at other folks over this, it seems likely that their goal will be captivation or a settlement out of financial necessity well before things make it to a ruling.

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mikeawmids wrote:
How will this effect Youtube channels and podcasts that play 5e? I listen to Oxventure, Dragon Friends, Adventure Zone, Dungeon Dudes (among others), will they be able to continue producing new episodes after 13/01/2022 if they make money via adverts, merchandise or live shows?

They probably need to hire a lawyer to answer that question.

...which is, sadly, a summary of the base layer of why all of this is such a problem.

The vast majority of the "industry" now needs to lawyer up just to keep going.

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mikeawmids wrote:
My interpretation was that the OGL is now a ticking bomb. Maybe it goes off on the 13th of Jan, as indicated in the leaked documents, maybe it gets delayed to some undetermined point in the future, but sooner or later it is going to explode. If nothing else, this is a wake-up call that Hasbro is out to get you, and severing yourself from the OGL is both urgent and necessary.

Oh, definitely. They've essentially torched any trust or goodwill with most 3rd party developers essentially overnight, as well as the security and confidence of the industry.

Gasoline, match and maybe a little bit of extra fuel just to be sure.

Walking it back at this point may prevent the whole DnD brand from being tainted in the minds of a significant portion of the RPG community for years to come, but it seems to me like their professional relationships are going to be unsalvageable for the foreseeable future.

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Vardoc Bloodstone wrote:

So this may be a hot take - but I think we should all chill and hold off on the torches and pitchforks.

Contracts, intellectual property, and licensing law is not for the faint of heart. There are a lot of doom-and-gloom articles and posts out there, but most of them are from folks who have no idea what they are talking about. The best one I saw was with an actual lawyer on Roll For Combat, and even he had a lot of qualifiers to his thoughts. He did seem to believe that this isn’t the end-of-the-world.

So I totally get the concern over our favorite hobby. But I’d wait until something official comes out (not a leak), and/or when Paizo comes out with something official.

Taking action after a fire has started is the least effective time to take action to keep your house from burning down.

There will never be a better time than now for more and more people to voice their anger over this - yesterday would have been better, but tommorow is definitely worse.

If enough people get mad about this that it makes Hasbro blink and not move forward, that is absolutely the best result.

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RPGnoremac wrote:

This does give me a random though, with how spells scale in PF2 why didn't they just give players fireball/lightning bolt at level 1 at 2d6? Video games do this for the most part and everyone loves those lol. I feel it would have made casters much more fun early on. Would a level 1 2d6 fireball really be too strong? or at level 3 a 4d6 fireball?

Tradition, probably, is the primary reason. Fireball and Lightning Bolt are and have always been iconic 3rd level spells, with Burning Hands and Shocking Grasp being rhe 1st level nukes.

Beyond that though, there's more to spell progression than just damage numbers - higher level spells inherently add more ability to affect changes in The World, going from close and limited areas with first level spells (burning hands, color spray) to bigger areas at range (fireball, hypnotic pattern) to truly epic at high levels (Meteor Swarm as compared to fireball).

Remember that not every interaction is intended to necessarily be scaled to the party. A seventh level party still deals with 1st level bakers and bartenders, meaning a 1st level charm spell still has a place in the world. Meteor Swarm is more than just a number of dice in damage - its the narrative power for a Wizard to lay waste to an entire company of soldiers or a village.

A 1st level spell shouldn't necessarily have the narrative potency of a Fireball.

One oddity in 2e is that encounter design at low levels inherently disfavors casters in an unintentional manner by its very nature, in a way that's likely unintended but also more or less unavoidable.

While at mid to high levels encounters are typically built with creatures from four levels below the party (-4) to four levels above (+4), at level one the potential range of creature foes at low levels is much less - at level one, you are limited to -2 foes on (creature -1?) on the low end.

This means a lot of low level encounters tend to feature higher level opposition, and the power if casters is a lot more clear against lower level foes.

It takes a decent amount of play experience in the system to understand how to most effectively play a caster into higher level opposition, and to start really appreciating how crippling something like "Slowed 1 for one round" on a successful save is toward a level +3 or +4 boss.

Spellcasters are definitely less powerful than in previous editions, but they still end up carrying parties once they find their rythym - and I've found that for "2nd campaign" players, they can find that well before 5th or even 7th level. My Cleric was pretty dominant via spellcasting at 3rd level.

There are still extremely effective spell options available as first and second level spells, but its more work than it used to be to really shine and casters never really get to the point of dominating the whole game any more.

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The Raven Black wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
RealAlchemy wrote:
I admit I'm a bit late to the party, but one way to avoid combining encounters to the point of an auto-tpk is to not necessarily send everybody from the next room at the PCs at once. Something along the lines of Grog! Go see what those idiots up front are brawling about! Don't make me get up and put down my mead! And then send over only one guy. Which is also a hint to the PCs that somebody noticed them.
The issue I run into with this sort of tactic is that you can end up feeding a later, generally more difficult, encounter to your party piecemeal and everything ends up easier.
Grog's twin brother Grag appeared in the next room to keep its difficulty intact ;-P

Nope, absolutely not, never.

The "Bad Guys" having arbitrary, undefined, or unlimited resources is an absolute no for me.

One of the big restrictions on Bad Guys, that an rpg like this allows you to implement, is the idea that the bad guys are laboring under the same fundamental challenges as the players.

If the players clear out half a dungeon, the bad guys only have their surviving assets with which to secure the other half unless they can somehow receive outside support - persistent influence in the world is one of the big advantages of tabletop rpgs and I would not deprive my players of it.

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graystone wrote:
Caralene wrote:
I love the high risk high reward feel of deciding its worth risking destroying a shield to block the damage that could otherwise down me.

Some people like "high risk high reward" and others don't. It wouldn't be such an issue if it felt truly optional: several classes start with shield block and to use it, you're either using one of the limited options that actually have staying power or treat the shield as a consumable item [and some people also don't like those in general too].

How many 1 bulk shields do you carry around in case you high risk goes wrong?

The fact that several classes start with the Shield Block feat does not obligate them to use it, nor does it mean that they are "wasting" it by not doing so.

The Shield Block feat essentially replaced Shield Proficiency- its no less optional than any of the other weapon or armor proficiencies you choose not to utilize.

Which is to say, its absolutely totally optional.

RealAlchemy wrote:
I admit I'm a bit late to the party, but one way to avoid combining encounters to the point of an auto-tpk is to not necessarily send everybody from the next room at the PCs at once. Something along the lines of Grog! Go see what those idiots up front are brawling about! Don't make me get up and put down my mead! And then send over only one guy. Which is also a hint to the PCs that somebody noticed them.

The issue I run into with this sort of tactic is that you can end up feeding a later, generally more difficult, encounter to your party piecemeal and everything ends up easier.

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Cyouni wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
If you want shields to work as large AC buffs plus infinite-use DR X/turn, the numbers are going to have to go way down - just see the Indestructible Shield for example, which is both Rare and has 4 less hardness than the lower-level Sturdy Shield.

May as well remove the "use your shield infinitely" feats then, if fighters aren't meant to use it infinitely.

Because holy cow do they get a lot of reactions to use on Shield Block. Twice per round.

No one is going to take a "get a free bonus reaction to shield block every turn" feat if they're only meant to shield block once a fight.

You know they can just not take that if they don't want to focus on blocking? And that also lets them Reactive + Block, AoO + block, etc. For example, with Reactive, that lets them use all 3 actions without ever having to worry about raising their shield. That effectively turns it into another attack at second MAP.

Just because they get a second reaction that can only be used to block doesn't mean the first one has to be stuck doing that as well.

And the great thing about The Design is that if they DO want to use both Reactions Blocking, there is a Common rarity shield option which allows for them to do just that for multiple rounds of combat.

But as it stands, the design is absolutely about tradeoffs, through and through. As you've noted, there are clearly different types of shields and not all are intended to be used to Block / Block repeatedly.

Its fine for people to not like The Design, but its more questionable when its declared as flawed or broken. It may not be perfect, but it is perfectly functional - especially now that the extreme outliers have been patched with errata.

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Sporkedup wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
Sporkedup wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
Theres one encounter in book 4 thats built as a TPK machine, but thats mostly due to the involved monster being badly written and totally OP.
Wait, what encounter is that? My players are just now hitting the last chapter and this book has been largely very smooth sailing.
** spoiler omitted **

Oh! Good catch. I was moving it till later in the adventure anyways, as I thought it would fit better ** spoiler omitted **

Good to know--I'll carefully review before I set that one up in a way that could wreck my players, haha.

I'll say this - if I were going to run AoA a Third time, I'd just remove it and replace the encounter with one of the suggested "filler" encounters from later in the book.

Loreguard wrote:

A very interesting tactic. I kind of believe that there should probably be a caveat that the temporary HP granted by Reinforcement can't exceed the shield normal HP, or your 1st level wooden buckler becomes awfully strong when reinforced by a high rank crafter. (hmm... maybe that is ok, I'm not sure)

Would you only allow this to...

I mean, I personally wouldn't allow it ;)

That said, when considering the concept I think you definitely want to target Shield Durability (ie Hp) and not effectiveness (hardness), and I like the idea of tieing it to an already existing mechanic (Crafting and Repair).

If I were going to "finish" this feat, I'd probably actually add "The DC of this check is equal to a standard DC of your level." to make it non-trivial to just auto-critical a check on a Steel Shield to make it nearly unbreakable. If the DC is independent of the shield in question, that sort of thing is probably fine.

Id probably either limit it to Just One Shield At a Time, OR once per Shield per day - though arguably since Repair takes 10 minutes, it may be fine to allow one person to Reinforce multiple shields so long as the GM remembers the time it takes is intended to be the meaningful limitation.

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Sporkedup wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
Theres one encounter in book 4 thats built as a TPK machine, but thats mostly due to the involved monster being badly written and totally OP.
Wait, what encounter is that? My players are just now hitting the last chapter and this book has been largely very smooth sailing.

Age of Ashes 4:
The Grikkatog. If you run it with its full capabilities as written in the Bestiary, it can devour the PCs with impunity as soon as they set foot in the Gug Warren.

Its essentially impossible to find if it moves, and with all the walls and buildings it can hang out in safety and just hound the pcs until dead.

I ran it as an arrogant, foolish, maniacal coward in order for my players to have a chance.

See the fairly recent thread in Advice for discussion on this creature.

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Harles wrote:
Sporkedup wrote:
Wait, you're telling me you experienced a TPK one out of every four fights in Age of Ashes, even with a spare person? That is not a complaint I've ever heard before. Certainly not a scenario my table experienced, though we're only 75% of the way through book 4.

Yep. Running it as close to RAW as I could do - adding no extra monsters or anything. We finished book 2 before the group fell apart.

We took great care to make sure everyone had their characters put in Pathbuilder correctly and all the automation on Roll20 was good. We had the right amount of magical gear and equipment. We used Hero Points, used separate initiative for all combatants (instead of grouping like monsters together).
We had about half the players who were extremely occupied with reading rules, making sure everything was as advantageous as they could figure out - and they'd pass along their suggestions to the other half of the party who were more casual players.
Though the party configuration changed often due to the TPKs we'd usually have something like the following: arcane caster (wizard/sorcerer), champion, fighter, divine caster (cleric/druid), and a bonus character (typically something agile like a monk or rogue).
I just don't get it. I've seen games where life is cheap (like OSR-type D&D games), but never something where it takes so long to make a character, requiring such an investment, to have your character frequently die after a couple encounters.

I'd be seriously interested to see what's actually going on here. I've run most of Age of Ashes twice now with fairly distinctive party comps, and most of the "player characters threatened with death" happened in book one, in one of two encounters at the end of the book.

Theres one encounter in book 4 thats built as a TPK machine, but thats mostly due to the involved monster being badly written and totally OP.

Most other player character deaths/near deaths I've seen have been due to how deadly poison and persistent damage can be.

Champions in both campaigns are seriously effective at mitigating the threat of death for their parties.

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Fumarole wrote:

I added this feat to my game. My players have yet to reach a level where they can take this, so I have no idea how well it would work in action. There is a fighter in the party, but he seems to be focused on 1- or 2-handed weapons, as well as reach, so he may not go for it.

Durable Shield
Champion 8, Fighter 8
Add your armor proficiency level to your shield’s hardness (+2 for Trained, +4 for Expert, +6 for Master, +8 for Legendary). Your shield’s HP and BT are not changed. This stacks with Shield Ally.

This will mostly result in shields that are currently good at blocking getting way better, and shields that are bad at blocking getting marginally better, but still being pretty easily broken in 1-2 hits.

If you want to go the stats modification route via a feat without significantly affecting power level, I would reccomend something like the following.

Shield Reinforcement - General 3
Requirements - Expert Crafting
You are adept as adept at reinforcing shields as you are repairing them. You can use the Repair action on a shield that already has its maximum hitpoints to Reinforce it, and when you do it gains "bonus" hitpoints equal to the number of hitpoints it would gain from the repair check. These hitpoints are lost before the shields normal hitpoints, and do not affect the shields BT or HP.

By increasing the effective HP of the shield, you don't increase the effective Resistance of the shield (a dramatic balance shift) but you do allow it to survive more blows.

Tieing this to an existing action and skill also allows for continuity and consistency in how things already work.

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Staffan Johansson wrote:

But that's not how the APs are written. They are definitely written with XP in mind, and with fairly low tolerances for missing things that might give XP. I know in the Show Must Go On, there was even text at the start of chapters 3 and 4 that said something like "By now the PCs should be 3rd level. If they're not, throw in some random encounters on the way so they can level up."

I mean, theyre written for Exp because that is the default.

But they also provide you with the appropriate Milestones, as found on page 3 of the Show Must Go On.

Milestone leveling is fully supported as written ;)

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Staffan Johansson wrote:

3. Say "This AP assumes you're using milestone leveling, and you'll level up once between each chapter. If you insist on using XP, there will not be enough presented in the adventure itself, and you'll have to add bonus awards and/or fights."

All of the 2E Adventure Paths tell you precisely when your party should be which level, meaning that Milestone leveling is essentially fully supported. by default. I'd absolutely recommend it to any DM over tracking experience points.

Draco18s wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
Pre-Errata, maybe. Neither of these shields is in danger of being destroyed by anything short of a crit, at any level - and both have superior hardness to the Spellguard shield to boot.

Ok, yes, they did get a boost with the errata.

But that still leaves the Jawbreaker Shield (60 hp+hardness), Dragonslayer's Shield (58 hp+hardness+elemental), and the Nethysian Bulwark (50 hp+hardness) which are equal to or worse than a fully refreshed Spined Shield (60 hp+hardness+spines) despite being double (or better) its level.

The Exploding Shield is also Bad At Blocking and You Block With It, but its supposed to be destroyed, so...whatever. Its also dirt cheap.

Nethysian Bulwark thrives on being broken in a single blow, without being Destroyed. Its stats are ideal for that, tuned for that even, and it isn't destroyed by average (High) Strike damage from anything below level 23 - and even level 23 and 24 things will reliably skew below the 50 damage needed to destroy it outright.

The Jawbreaker has plenty of utility to go along with its serviceable defensive stats. I'm not sure what the issue is with it - its not a Sturdy shield, but it has some flavorful abilities that aren't awful. Its not something you really go out and buy in most campaigns - but its absolutely worth using if you find it (which is probably why its Uncommon).

Dragonslayer's shield blocks elemental damage - which is unique utility in addition to its helpful bonus to will saves vs. dragons.

Draco18s wrote:

You keep using the one shield that matches your argument really well and keep forgetting that other shields exist.

Like the Forge Warden. Or Arrow Catching.

Both of which are designed to be blocked with yet can't take a hit any better than Spellguard.

Pre-Errata, maybe. Neither of these shields is in danger of being destroyed by anything short of a crit, at any level - and both have superior hardness to the Spellguard shield to boot.

This complaint is obsolete.

Special Material shields remain the primary outlier, and I still have the suspicion they were included so that GM's could answer the question "What are the stats on an Adamantine Shield, and what does it cost?" more than it was for them to be usable... which is a shame, but I don't see any other explanation that explains their complete lack of usability.

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Now that they've added loot summaries to the start of chapters, the next bug Quality of Life add I'd like to see is "Rest" Summaries for encounter areas / dungeons.

Preferably in the same place they put all the details for walls and ceiling heights and such.

Something like,

"During Exploration in this area, the players should not have issues taking 10 minutes to search rooms or refocus after encounters. However, if they linger in one place for longer consider having one of the more mobile encounters engage in a patrol that might result in the encounter happening in a less flavorful position for the players.

The Players should have an opportunity for a single Long Rest while exploring this area, generally between the first floor and the basement - even if the Villain discovers their attack, they lack the resources and manpower to replace their lost allies and assets on short notice. However, after the first day the villain will begin consolidating their assets and the players should understand that additional long rests might allow them to make a clean escape."

Or "This area is intended to be cleared by the Party quickly - they may have time to refocus once without severe consequences, but they should understand that taking longer than that may allow their opponents to either secure additional allies or escape entirely."

Maliloki wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:

I believe that on addition to players apparently just not liking it much, a core design issue was that it didn't allow for a shield to be destroyed outright under any circumstances, regardless of how much damage was taken - which was determined to not be undesirable.

If I were going to go full houserule on this subject, which I generally don't, I personally think I'd change the "Destroyed" state of items (not just shields) to ultimately be repairable - but such repairs would be a downtime activity (requiring at least a day) instead of an exploration activity which is valid for merely Broken items. The goal being to fix, in general, the disproportionate damage that players (and only players) suffer when items are completely destroyed instead of just broken. Maybe there could be an associated...

The bit I bolded would be a feature for me/my table vice a flaw.

Just changing the destroyed state to a more severe type of broken doesn't really fix one of the main issues I have (scalability). It was the same issue I had with just removing the Break Threshold and 0 hp being broken (which has a similar type of rolldown to some of the blocking shields as the original house rule I linked to that kicked this whole thing off).

I suppose I dont really get the issue with scalability. Its pretty common for items - specifically weapons and armor - to have to be functionally replaced (even upgrading a given item to the next tier of effectiveness, ie going from striking to greater striking, is functionally the cost of entirely new item) in order to remain "viable" relative to the expectations of the game.

Why shouldn't Shield Blocking require an ongoing investment in a new shield, ideologically, to remain a viable option?

Is it just that its only the Blocking element that doesn't scale, since things like the Spellguard shield do scale since its +2 to saves is equally valuable at all levels of play - where its ability to Block does not?

It seems pretty clear to me that for items like the Spellguard Shield, its only allowed to block because it is, in fact, a Steel Shield in addition to its other properties - NOT because you are intended to Block with it regularly. Blocking with it is essentially a flavorful perk in addition to the save bonus and not real functionality.

Maliloki wrote:

That's kind of why I asked the thing I did.

If a "non-blocking" shield is potentially okay for blocking one average hit around the level you get it (an no other way to improve that shield like like weapons and armor), is there anything wrong with saying that it can just block one hit that deals damage greater than it's hardness between repairs without being repaired for it's entire lifespan? With a second block giving roughly a 50-50 chance of simply being broken...

As noted previously, thats pretty similar to the Dents system we had in playtest. If you can find a copy, I'd reccomend checking it out - it wasn't really bad or anything.

I believe that on addition to players apparently just not liking it much, a core design issue was that it didn't allow for a shield to be destroyed outright under any circumstances, regardless of how much damage was taken - which was determined to not be undesirable.

So we ended up with a system that is relatively simple to play (beyond tracking an extra hitpoint pool), but where its maybe a bit too easy for a shield to be destroyed outright.

Theres nothing "wrong" with the house rule format you've presented - for me though, its extra complication on top of a system which is currently very functional if not 100% perfect, and which power balance wise is already top of the chart for optimization which makes me extremely leery of any fix to the shield system which makes shields at all stronger.

If I were going to go full houserule on this subject, which I generally don't, I personally think I'd change the "Destroyed" state of items (not just shields) to ultimately be repairable - but such repairs would be a downtime activity (requiring at least a day) instead of an exploration activity which is valid for merely Broken items. The goal being to fix, in general, the disproportionate damage that players (and only players) suffer when items are completely destroyed instead of just broken. Maybe there could be an associated gold cost as well... but more of a fee, than a need to replace the item entirely.

WatersLethe wrote:

Do what I do: Make it impossible to permanently destroy a shield in one hit, then wait for more shields to be added to the game.

Like Krispy said, the +2 AC from raise is nice. Having the option to temporarily break your shield for a reduction in a big hit can actually come in handy when you're not weighing it against the entire value of the shield.

What has always bothered me the most is that shields have a limited shelf life like no other magic item (use them a couple levels after you find them and you're just asking for them to get destroyed) and they put you in uncomfortable, meta-gamey scenarios with relative frequency.

A blanket "no shield can be permanently destroyed in one hit" rule does a lot of work, and as more balanced shields come out dedicated shield blockers get more realistic options.

Yeah, I was kindof sad when this was added as a 12th level dedication locked feat instead of as a level 7 talisman (where I would have personally put it) in the APG.

I think this materially addresses a lot of people's concerns about "not being able to block" with many shields, without erasing the substantial and meaty choice of having to weigh Shield Blocking usability and utility.

A 7th level talisman would really come online around level 10 where its cheap enough to buy in numbers right as average damage from enemy strikes is beginning to threaten some of the lighter magical shields. It'd require significant time cost to reset, without being completely onerous.

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Stack wrote:

Obviously you keep a special shield in one hand and a sturdy shield in the other.

Which is idiotic looking.

Or, you know, choose one benefit or the other (blocking or utility) but not both?

The design intent appears to be that you must choose between benefits - not for you to be able to get everything you want with no compromises.

That's also the fundamental building block of most RPG design in general, with choosing to excel in one area costing you strength in others.

If you want Shields that don't compromise on durability for utility, by all means make that happen in your home game - but that sort of "characters get everything they want with no compromises" design is pretty antithetical to the design of most games, and feels unwarranted to me in PF2E where shields in general - including non-sturdy shields - are already a pretty optimal choice for many characters (essentially any character with the actions or feats to support them).

Maliloki wrote:

But you're not choosing between blocking a lot or blocking a little. You're choosing to be able to block at all vs quite possibly losing the ability to use the shield at all if you do once.

Given that most encounters run around 3 rounds, this is in general exactly the choice you are making in the system as it stands. Block a little - once or maybe twice - and give up your shield for the encounter, OR block without restraint by taking the Sturdy Shield which has that as its function/perk.

Most characters won't have enough reactions in an encounter to make more than 2-3 blocks viable anyway, meaning that if shields other than studies could survive that while still functioning you've essentially removed the Choice between base function and utility that currently exists.

Maliloki wrote:

I still HATE that an entire archetype and a good chunk of shield related feats are effectively reliant on you using a single specific magic item for it to be effective. Nothing else does that.

This also isn't really factual. The Sturdy Shield may be the best shield for blocking - and given a range of choices for any given thing, something is always going to be the best - but its hardly the ONLY viable option. Its just the Common, Intended to be available option to ensure Shield Builds have something to work with.

The Spined Shield, Force Shield, Dragonslayers Shield, Forge Warden, Arrow Catching Shield (post errata, apparently), Jawbreaker Shield, Medusas Scream (and Greater), Reforging Shield (especially this one), Nethysian Shield, Indestructible Shield and Shield of the Unified Legion - quite a range, now - all have stats that provide useful damage reduction at their level.

And you should never have a shield completely destroyed, since you are intended to know how much damage you're blocking when you declare the reaction.

I think you may be undervaluing the benefit of discreet utility and defensive benefits in addition to the totally optional benefit of a surge of hitpoints/resistance.

Shield Block isn't intended to be an "always" solution or reaction, its pretty clearly intended (based on reviewing the available shields and the fact that most will break when blocked with more than once) to be a choice to sacrifice your persistent AC bonus in exchange for a few extra hitpoints right now - With the exception of those Shield choices specifically designed to support the Shield Block mechanic specifically, best among which is the Sturdy Ahield.

Maliloki wrote:

But it doesnt really do that. It only blocks 10ish points of damage a couple times before breaking and becoming a useless lump on your arm against average damage of around the shield's level (if it doesn't get outright destroyed). That's hardly worth something that costs as much as a permanent magical weapon that is practically being treated like a consumable when a lot of classes can do similar levels of damage mitigation (usually through temp hp) every round for a MUCH lower overall cost.

Shield Block is especially weak compared to the Champion's reaction which can be used an unlimited amount of times, blocks WAY more damage, can be used at range, isn't reliant on a physical attack, doesn't weigh anything, doesn't cost an action on your turn, AND has additional effects beyond mitigation.

It also doesn't explain why there are so many feats (and some magic items) that encourage you to make shield blocking a tactic but is COMPLETELY reliant on you using only one type of shield (which will still become broken fairly quickly).

If shields weren't meant to shield block, I just wish they'd have not made it a general thing and instead made the ability to shield block a special ability of the shields...

In general, the hardness of a Sturdy shield is equal to or greater than the damage reduction of the Champion's reaction power at the same level of the Shield. I show that the Champion Reaction catches up at level 13, and pulls ahead at 16. The idea that a Sturdy Shield 'only' blocks 10 damage isn't factual for half the levels of the game.

Not to mention that Shields aren't competing with Champion's Reaction - they can be used by any class with a modest investment. They happen to synergize particularly well for Champions because it allows Champions to set up no-win scenarios where their opponents can't attack anywhere without their attack being mitigated.

As well, you're not considering what the damage reduction actually represents - its 8-20 damage reduced against an attack that is unlikely to be a crit, meaning its a significant portion of the damage dealt by the attack reduced. Further, due to the nature of Raise Shield - its probably mitigating their most damaging attack, since subsequent attacks getting through is unlikely and unreliable to begin with.

Plus, fun facts - if you compare the hardness of sturdy shields to the High Damage Strike damage value of equal level creatures, their expected damage mitigation on a Shield Block ranges from just over 50% at low levels and remains just under 50% of the expected damage per strike. About 50% of the damage of an attack that gets through is extremely powerful, and nowhere near minor.

At mid to high levels, a Champion or Monk with a modest investment in Shields and a Sturdy shield can solo an equal level or level +1 foe in many cases and come out of the fight with no loss in hitpoints because of their mitigation and completely renewable self healing.

Its gross to watch in play.

Shield Block is not a "free" mechanic, nor is it supposed to be based on what can be intuited from the balance of the Bastion Dedication - the ability to block with a low hardness/hp shield once per combat is considered equivalent to a 12th level class feat.

That is entirely consistent with how incredible powerful I've seen them being. Like many things in Pathfinder 2E, you have to look at the whole picture and actually witness these mechanics working in encounters to really appreciate exactly how powerful Shield Block with a Sturdy Shield is, and to appreciate why its so costly both in item and opportunity cost (IE, the cost of not using another shield).

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Blue_frog wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

I sort of disagree with the assessment of the combo. Bond Conservation is a good feat for universalists. The problem is the Universalist itself is abysmal. You're reducing your total number of spells per day, limiting yourself to only preparing two/three spells per level (though the ability to pick what you recast later makes that one a bit of a wash), and giving up your focus spell. That's rough.

That someone at Paizo legitimately thought losing all of those things for Eschew Materials was a good and balanced trade is, frankly, a little bit scary tbh. It is what it is, though.

I'm pretty sure the incentive is supposed to be the super drain bonded item and eschew materials is an extra bonus. A Universalist should be focused on evergreen spells that you still want to cast well after they've been outscaled; using Command to make an enemy drop their weapon will always be good. Don't think I feel comfortable arguing this is better or equal to the Spell Blending Specialist, but it's sure not nothing.
Enhanced command (level 5) is ok, but in my opinion the regular one is pretty bad. No effect on a save is a dealbreaker, and even on a failed save you trade two actions for two actions, which is a crappy deal - unless it's a boss, who'll probably save.

Forcing someone to drop prone is either a lot of damage or a serious debuff if you have AOO's in your party composition. It won't fit in all party comps, but I don't think its particularly bad for a 1st level slot in many cases.

A lot of spells - like Command and Fear - are great replacements for a Athletics or Intimidate specialist, if your party doesn't otherwise include those.

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Maliloki wrote:

It's weird (this is not meant to be sarcastic or passive aggressive or whatever...tone is hard in text form), but my table hasn't found this change to make shields overpowered. In fact, none of them are planning on making a shield user in the next campaign and the one who is using the shield has sworn them off for a while due to the action tax on their use.

The +2 bonus to AC from Raise Shield is solid, but you can get that, or almost that, a number of other ways (a weapon with the Parry Trait or feats that let you fight defensively with a particular weapon style. There might be something else too).

The shield block is nice, but it doesn't actually block all that much damage and most martial characters have other options to...

As a GM, my experience is that a Champion with a Sturdy shield is, for all practical purposes, unthreatenable in any reasonable and level appropriate encounter that relies on physical damage. Their AC becomes so high that even hitting them becomes unreliable, and anything that then gets through they mitigate by blocking.

A monk built to take advantage of Shields plays essentially the same way - though they dont have as good a way to funnel attacks into themselves.

There simply aren't enough rounds in most encounters to accumulate enough damage to drop such a character - which is fine, since they built that way and made sacrifices to achieve it.

As it stands, these characters have to balance Shield Block against the utility of something like a SpellGuard shield with its amazing and otherwise unprecedented stacking bonus to saves. They also have to take the shield over a harder hitting weapon (well, not monks) and use some actions to make it work.

This is the first level of compromise that gets removed by buffing all shields - now, one doesn't have to make the compromise of utility or shield stability for this level of survivability.

Anyone else using a Shield isn't quite as "immortal" (the difference in AC for other classes is significant), but it still mostly mitigates expanded crit ranges for anyone who only ends up a Master in AC and hugely increases survivability in squishier characters. If they do invest in Shield Block and a Sturdy shield, absolutely anyone can be pretty sturdy.

The main cost here isn't so much the general feat (which is more costly than a Skill feat, but less than a Class feat) but the actions and moreso the item cost associated with needing a Sturdy Shield to make blocking a reliable ongoing mitigation strategy.

Most of the alternatives to shields like the Parry trait and Shield Cantrip only provide a +1 bonus (which is deceptively inferior to a +2 bonus - weirdly, I'm pretty sure its close to a 10% reduction vs a 25% in many cases) and come with their own restrictions and opportunity costs. Worse, none of them work with Bastion which allows for anyone to get Reactive Shield and get +2 AC for their Reaction which is a huge boon for many classes that don't get access natively to a good Reaction themselves.

I'm on 4 campaigns of experience now, and what I've seen only reinforces that the core design of shields leads to a lot of choices regarding them - which to use, how many resources to dedicate to them, whether a character wants to invest in blocking in addition, if its worth a dedication - and has seen more and more players adding them (or at least a lesser version) as a core part of their kit because of how shockingly good the +2 AC is.

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Castilliano wrote:

Most enemies have languages, most others can express distress, so I don't understand the "We don't know what that kerfluffle is next door" when your allies should be telling you exactly what's happening.

"Oh no, a paladin!"
"It burns! It burns!"
(refer to YouTube videos showing a mother animal crashing through the trees in response to their child's cry, even if the baby's safe.)
Combat's typically far more than the sounds of horseplay and banging, especially cinematic fantasy combat.*
Add that Perception quickly ramps up with level to beyond our mundane abilities so these folk can discern even more than we would.

The best example I can think of living somewhere urban is, "Were those gunshots - or just a car backfiring or fireworks?"

Generally, I think you'd be disappointed by the number of thinking, rational people that decide that sounds indicating danger or violence are non-dangerous sounds instead, because they perceive it to be safer for them and because such a determination lets them avoid being involved.

Animals, as you note, are actually far more likely to react with violence if something they care about is in danger - but far more likely to flee potential danger if they can avoid it and have no stake in it (ie, territory) than sentient creatures.

Remember as well that very few dungeons (excepting like, Hobgoblin dungeons or similar) are full of creatures that have anything resembling military training or conditioning. Most are populated by armed rabble or cultists, independent dangerous creatures that are by nature selfish and cruel and don't care about their 'allies', or mindless dangers that aren't going to react to much of anything.

I'm not saying people can't run their home games how is best for their players - I'm just saying that I dont find dungeons where creatures take hours to venture out to find out "what that ruckus was" particularly hard to believe. In many cases, thats a far more relatable reaction than goblins, cultists, or other bad dudes springing into action unless an alarm has specifically been set off.

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Definitely would not recommend a change like this personally.

Shields are already extremely strong, before Shield Block is even considered - once its considered, there's a very strong argument for the status quo of limiting Shield Block to Sturdy Shields and a few specific shields intended to work with it. Shield Block on a Sturdy Shield essentially doubles the already strong damage reduction provided (passively) by Raise Shield.

Letting all shields block like a Sturdy Shield is a massive buff for Shield users, and Shields already are a massively strong use of an action - they don't really need buffs.

Its your table, and you can do what you want - but your houserules make shields absolutely insane, and a player would be crazy not to try and build a Shield into any character they make, with Bastion dedication as well if they can make it happen.

If you really hate how Shields work currently, I'd recommend the much more moderate solution of either making the Bastion feat Shield Salvation a General 3 feat to follow Shield Block, or baking it into Shield Block. That lets you block once per encounter without losing your magical items, without making an already strong choice massively stronger.

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The ability for living, thinking beings to decide something scary is someone else's problem, so long as they can't physically see it, is no joke.

As irrational as it is for an observer, it is absolutely realistic for something to actively decide that those sounds that sound like combat? Its probably just those guys arguing over something stupid again.

I mean, after all imagine how silly they'd look if they burst in there, ready for violence and it was just a card game gone bad?

Awkward or Negative events being "someone else's problem" is a Very Real problem that results in Very Real dangerous encounters going ignored and unreported all the time.

I dont find it particularly unreasonable for monsters or inhabitants of dungeons not to meaningfully respond to something happening rooms away...

PossibleCabbage wrote:
AC is always the thing I'm going to prioritize on my Animal Companions first and foremost- I just don't want my bear friend or my kitty friend or my vulture friend to get hurt, if I can avoid it.

In addition to Armor class progression, I tend to try to ensure my Animal Companions is never the first one into combat - let the the big, metal encased fighter types take the first round of attacks, then send my precious animal bud into flanking.

Then force the enemies to decide if they're going to try and fight the humanoid characters actually representing a threat to them, or waste their actions trying to deal with the Animal annoying them, but which doesn't live up to being a real threat...

Tactically, attacking an animal companion is generally a waste since removing them doesn't significantly reduce the number of threatening foes on the field...

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Zapp wrote:

We're talking about the fifth and equal member of the party, and a trusted friend.

Companion characters are not designed in any way as being equivalent to a extra member of the party mechanically.

They are designed to simulate an extra party member narratively, but that doesn't include the sort of mechanical balance you appear to be setting the bar at... and it should not.

If you want your companion to be another party member, ask to play a second character. That isn't what an Animal Companion - or any other companion - is designed to be

Zapp wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
Zapp wrote:

The sad conclusion is that playing with the Core Rulebook, there effectively exists no reason to play a Wizard at all, unless you're so excited to play one you're blinded to actual performance analysis.
I'm 100% dead serious when I say this - I haven't seen a single case where I'd actually prefer a Arcane Sorcerer or Witch over a Wizard. They just don't offer anything that looks like it will actually surpass the extra spell slots and power of a thesis.


I have never even mentioned Arcane Sorcerers or Witches.

You said there was no reason to play a Wizard. I countered that in my opinion, they're the best Arcane caster available.

Also, I've run AoA twice now, and I can safely say both parties I ran for would have benefitted greatly from having a Wizard with any level of system mastery over their next weakest party member, a great deal.

In the party with a Bard, the Bard would have been able to be even better if they weren't devoting significant resources to being the parties utility caster in addition to being a Bard. It cost them significant spells known, and also cost them actions using magic the party needed instead of crippling Bard stuff in some scenarios. A Wizard would have been the perfect 4th party member after Fighter/Champion/Bard.

In the other party, the Arcane Sorcerer was often left saying, "Wow, this would be easy, if only I had access to spell X. I even wanted spell X, but I had to choose between X and Y and made the mistake." Had they been a Wizard, they could have had a spellbook with both.

You're talking about APs at low levels, and damage and survivability mattering... well, both my parties did fine with only a Wizards level of offensive ability, but without the Wizards flexibility and options. A Wizard would have been better than the Alchemist (by a lot) and no worse than the Arcane Sorcerer (literally the same).

Age of Ashes is pretty demanding at low levels... when you don't know PF2E yet. If either of my parties were to do it again, I have little doubt they'd crush it - regardless of class choice. And a well played Wizard would be an asset in any case.

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Temperans wrote:

At level 20 when the campaign is over and it required that you spent 5 feats to multiclass into a divine or primal caster.

I mean, its not like you only get benefits at level 20.

You gain access to divine cantrips and the entire Divine Spell List for the purpose of items like scrolls and staves when you take the first Dedication feat.

And you gain access to lower level divine slots for your entire career, as you add more and more spellcasting dedication feats.

Sure, the 'I get 3 8th level heals' thing is only in effect at 20, but acting like thats the only benefit here is extremely misleading.

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Also, the fact that cantrips like Inspire Courage trump full-on buff spells like Heroism is, in actuality, a breach of intended design. Spells are supposed to surpass cantrips and focus abilities, because they are far more limited in use each day. This has been the design for balance since the original playtest, and across the entire board besides this one instance, that balance is in check. Not to mention, an ability that can combine both cantrips and focus powers to overpower any spell combination is broken to the point of either buffing everything else to compensate, or nerfing the outlier. And guess which is much, much easier to do at this point in development.

I think its important to keep in mind that the relationship between Spells, Focus Spells, and Cantrips varies based on the class in question.

Electric Arc and Inspire Courage arent really comparable because both are Cantrips - that was just a common mechanic to use since both are repeatable magical effects. Not an indication that all Cantrips (or Focus Spells for that matter) are of relatively equal power.

I do, personally, wish the gap was less large in this case. The gap between Bless, Heroism, and Inspire Courage/Heroics is too large as it stands - you can't even really be a "bad" bard by using these spells, the only real substitute is to multiclass Bard...

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Old_Man_Robot wrote:

Why are you okay with power disparity is the question.

I'm okay with a general power disparity because Perfect Balance isn't an attainable goal, and someone is always going to be the worst class.

Always buffing whoever is currently the worst leads to power creep (by definition, since you're always buffing whoever is currently in last place), which most people consider to be undesirable.

Much better, IMO, to ensure that all classes are in the "playable" range and buff anyone who falls short to be somewhere in that range.

If we have one or two outliers that are in the "overpowered" area outside of that range out of all the classes, and that number isn't growing? Its probably not worth worrying about it, except as education so GMs and parties can be aware of how Bards (and maybe Fighters) change the game.

Again, I'm risk averse - and making sure all classes are at least viable is a realistic goal that doesnt guarantee constant power creep.

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demon321x2 wrote:

The big benefit a prepared caster has is he can change his role, but how often does your blaster wizard suddenly need to change roles and be a supporter?

In any case where we have a day or two (which is surprisingly often) to make preparations before venturing into... well, anywhere... a Wizard should be a diviner for a day. Find a nice place to hide near your goal, and start up with the Clairvoyance and Prying Eye and make yourself a map, identify your foes, and make preparations.

That capability costs a Spontaneous caster valuable spells known - it costs a Wizard two entries in their spellbook, even if they are typically a blaster.

Time to prepare and scout massively favors Wizards, especially since neither Clerics nor Druids get the really good divination spells.

Just one example. They can do the same thing for infiltration, social scenarios, Battlefield and architectural engineering, etc.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

So, since Wizards and other Spellcasters are "just fine" and Bards are so OP that parties lose out on them so much in place of any 4th member, should we nerf the Bard?

I won't say yes or no. But I will suggest that if people are saying Bard is bonkers OP that they trivialize encounters, it's not such an insane idea to propose.

Its hard to argue for nerfing a class thats OP by making other players better.

Until you want to do that as a non-bard, and realise bards are waaaaay better at it.

I'm undecided on that front. I'm risk averse at heart, and the game is largely functional and nerfs that big risk unintended consequences.

I favor marginal boosts to other casters that correct some of their issues through new content over time, with the Bard as a cautionary goalpost to avoid going quite that far.

That means I'm pro things like new Transmutation Cantrips for Wizards, new feats that expand on school specialization or thesises, or which expand spell access where appropriate (it wouldn't break anything for Transmuted to have feats to open up capability similar to Wild Shape).

I'm against Errataing the base class for Wizard, because as printed I feel it falls into the range of "healthy", if flawed. It doesn't need math fixes, or proficiency fixes, or anything like that IMO.

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
Add to that that I'm not reluctant to use items or consumables to supplement a characters capabilities, and my conclusion is more or less that the advantages of a Wizard are in play more often than their competitions advantages.
This might be another data point in whether or not someone enjoys the wizard class. If you think consumables are funny shaped gold pieces, like I do, rather than power projectors, then your likelihood of enjoying wizards in particular and casters in general is lower.

The problem here is resolving this. You cant balance any spellcaster assuming that consumables dont exist, because the fact is they do exist.

And they do significantly affect what characters are capable of.

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