Githyanki

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Do we know when the DVD will be back in stock?


I don't think that a detailed social stamina system is necessarily needed. Let me explain. If a roll is used after a player states an argument (going into as much detail and in-character acting as he wants) to determine if it succeeds, then once the player makes enough rolls to convince the NPC of his points to satisfy the player, the scene can end, irregardless of how much social stamina he has left. The end of negotiations are when the player is satisfied with the results or the NPC calls in the guards. If rolls are used on a point (as in argumentative point) by point basis, the results will suggest an end by themselves while still letting social encounters last 20-30 minutes in real time.


Smurf ify me!


My problem with any of these progressions is that they fix a problem that I don't think exists. Since when are fighting classes overpowered? Last I checked, it was wizards, clerics, and druids that could complete almost any level-appropriate challenge by themselves; why does the fighter need to have his options limited like this?

When I play a fighter, the challenge and the fun come from having to find feat combinations that work well together. The one big advantage a fighter is that he gets a lot more feats than any other class. If he can't use those feats together, then his is worse off than the paladin, who can use here feats along with her smites, or the barbarian, who can rage along with his feats.


I posted most of this in another thread, but I think it helps here.

Arghamer, I think that better roleplaying and greater creativity come when under some constraints. As a player, if I see that I rolled well on my Diplomacy check, I have a clearer idea of how to play that scene. As a DM, if I see that a player failed a check, I can play that scene to bring about that resolution. Both parties can better tailor their efforts if they know where the efforts need to go. In combat, the dice decide almost everything; the players use their own tactical skills to get into position, but the dice decide success. This doesn't stop me from roleplaying in combat and describing what I'm doing. Quite the opposite, in fact, if I see I just barely managed to hit the guy, I can describe in much more exciting detail how I did so than if I had to just roleplay out what I thought should happen. In social conflicts, if I know how well I'm doing, I can come up with better, more interesting roleplay for that situation.

There should be a clear system for social conflict that provides a framework for acting in the scene. An argument can be as exciting as a combat, especially if the parties go back and forth in initiative-based turns with each party member able to contribute (e.g. the fighter holds the man up against the wall while the bard speaks calmly and slowly offering reasonable alternatives to being beaten while the paladin watches for deceptions and subtle changes in response, cuing the bard).

The social conflict rules should be simple; probably fitting onto one page with DCs and uses for various skills, maybe even some feats to allow new uses and bonuses. An effort should be made to ensure that all kinds of characters can have some meaningful impact upon the scene, just as all characters should have some meaningful impact upon combat.

In the interest of backwards compatibility, there shouldn't be a "social hit points" rule for individual characters, as no previously published materials will have them. Instead, scenes in general could have a certain number of "social points" which are deducted until a side wins or stops negotiations. Simple bluffing past the guards could require only 10 points to be made (One DC 10 check). Convincing the warmongering barbarian king to call off the assault, however, would have 150 points to deduct, requiring numerous rolls and assists by the whole party, while the players roleplay what their dice rolls actually mean in terms of action and the story.

The best part about having a comprehensive system is that it allows for all play styles. People who don't want to roleplay social situations don't have to; they can just roll dice. People who want no dice involved can simply ignore the rules, just as one could ignore certain combat rules in the interest of the story or game. Best of all, those who want an integrated system, as I do, can actually have it and have it work well.

Wrecan, I am very interested in seeing an outline for how your system works.


I think that better roleplaying and greater creativity come when under some constraints. As a player, if I see that I rolled well on my Diplomacy check, I have a clearer idea of how to play that scene. As a DM, if I see that a player failed a check, I can play that scene to bring about that resolution. Both parties can better tailor their efforts if they know where the efforts need to go.

There should be a clear system for social conflict that provides a framework for acting in the scene. An argument can be as exciting as a combat, especially if the parties go back and forth in initiative-based turns with each party member able to contribute (e.g. the fighter holds the man up against the wall while the bard speaks calmly and slowly offering reasonable alternatives to being beaten while the paladin watches for deceptions and subtle changes in response, cuing the bard).

The social conflict rules should be simple; probably fitting onto one page with DCs and uses for various skills. An effort should be made to ensure that all kinds of characters can have some meaningful impact upon the scene, just as all characters should have some meaningful impact upon combat.

In the interest of backwards compatibility, there shouldn't be a "social hit points" rule for individual characters, as no previously published materials will have them. Instead, scenes in general could have a certain number of "social points" which are deducted until a side wins or stops negotiations. Simple bluffing past the guards could require only 10 points to be made (One DC 10 check). Convincing the warmongering barbarian king to call off the assault, however, would have 150 points to deduct, requiring numerous rolls and assists by the whole party, while the players roleplay what their dice rolls actually mean in terms of action and the story.

The best part about having a comprehensive system is that it allows for all play styles. People who don't want to roleplay social situations don't have to; they can just roll dice. People who want no dice involved can simply ignore the rules, just as one could ignore certain combat rules in the interest of the story or game. Best of all, those who want an integrated system, as I do, can actually have it and have it work well.


I'm of the opinion that both sides are valid.

Being able to lie generally indicates being able to spot a lie, just as being able to move silently usually goes along with hiding.

At the same time, there are police officers and paladins who can detect lies with abandon, but can't bluff their way through a poker game.

Furthermore, being able to read a person and respond in kind is an invaluable part of making a good offer during negotiations, to the point that one's skill at diplomacy rests almost entirely on this talent.

So, Perception, Deception, and Diplomacy should all be able to be used to detect lies. Possibly, the kind of information one gets from each different kind of use could be slightly different, but, really, this is a rather basic skill that letting more than one party member have easily does not do any harm.


I like the new system, but it doesn't fix a bad problem with the cleric; in fact, it makes it worse.

When I get to play, not GM, I like to play clerics. I like to play the "helps people to die peacefully" cleric of Wee Jas. The problem, though, is that, because of my deity, I channel negative energy. This means that I rebuke undead and convert spells to Inflict.

This is horrible for a PC class. One of the primary roles (possibly the primary role of the cleric is to heal the party. As an evil cleric or, worse, a neutral cleric of a death god, I can't do that well. Trying to design in a positive/negative energy distinction just makes the class more restrictive because, really, you can't effectively play a negative energy cleric.

So, here's my suggestion. Do one of the following:

1) Let all clerics channel both kinds of energy. Let them heal or harm both undead and living creatures. Generally, good clerics won't harm the living or heal the undead, but they have the option to do the other. More importantly, evil clerics can fight undead effectively and serve as the party healer.

2) My preferred option, all clerics can heal the living and harm the undead. Nothing more, nothing less. Feats could expand the options, as could Domains. The Undead or Death domains, for example, could allow you to heal the undead and/or harm the living.

In either case, making a set number of targets would make the power work better, as would making any fear effect simply cause undead to cower or retreat to 30 ft.


In my games, I have frequently used only the Deception (Bluff), Persuasion (Intimidate/Diplomancy), and Perception (Senses and Sense Motive).

It has worked out well. I've been happy with the results. The players simply chose what method of persuasion they were using; it provided no mechanical benefit or difference.

Though, so long as each can to a degree be used for the same effect, I don't mind there being Deception, Diplomacy, and Intimidate, as any given PC will probably only have 1 or 2, not 3.

Sense Motive should probably go into Perception, Deception, or both. Putting it into Perception allows for the lie-detector who can't bluff at all, while having it in Deception allows the obvious connection of knowing how to lie making you good at seeing through others'. The best option, then, is to let both skills detect lies (i.e. I can use my better skill to determine truthfulness, I don't need to have both).


Let me also support Epic Meepo's proposed change (including retroactive skill points for Int increases).

One further change is to allow the saving of skill ranks. This is purely a time-saver for DMs and should be explained as such, but it is much more convenient to simply get a total number of skill points and allocate, especially considering that when a point was spent no longer matters.


Seriously, the sneak damage is not that amazing. By the time rogues get to have multiple attacks and 7d6 or more SA dice, the wizard is casting save-or-die spells and damage is inconsequential. It's really not that amazing.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

The split was made between practical knowledge (that is the art of casting a spell, and the knowledge that goes with it) and the theoretical knowledge (that is, the study of arcane arts, or booklearning).

Practical knowledge would be a perfect fit for folding in the Concentration skill, as it represents your actual skill at casting a spell. This knowledge would also cover identifing a spell by its casting alone. This skill became Spellcraft.

Theorectial knowledge covers many of the things covered by Knowledge (arcana) and would also cover the ability to identify spell effects that are in place. As this is in-line with the other Knowledge skill, it was kept as Knowledge (arcana).

Hope that helps clear up the distinction. I feel pretty good about this split, but I would still like to hear your opinions.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

(note that identifing a magic item could also very well fall under Knowledge (arcana) but it was put into Appraise, as that skill covers estimation, and searching for detail. It is not a perfect fit, but it adds great value to an otherwise less valuable skill choice)

Well, what you say about practical knowledge versus theoretical knowledge is a great intellectual distinction, but what does that mean for the game?

I can have practical knowledge of the theory of performing (psychologically what makes people happy) and then the raw talent and ability to do so, but you don't have a Perform and a Knowledge (Performing Arts) skill division.

The functions of Spellcraft (without Concentration) should be moved to the Knowledge (Arcana) and Knowledge (Religion). Each skill lets an arcane or divine caster, respectively, identify spells. Don't make a distinction of whether or not the spell identified is arcane or divine; determine which skill to use based on the skill user.

Concentration should be separate and possibly renamed Endurance. Any task that involves ignoring distractions (including bodily harm) should have a Concentration check. So casting a spell after being damaged, continuing a lock pick despite being hit, continuing to run over a long period, or completing a combat maneuver despite being hit by the attack of opportunity should all have a Concentration check to perform. Also, the Autohypnosis and Control Shapechange skills should be combined with Concentration, as they all involved mentally and physically overcoming distractions. The skill should probably be Concentration-based, as Wisdom already has an important skill (Perception), whereas Constitution does not.

Alternatively, the Concentration skill should be eliminated and all of its uses replaced by a Will save.


The two biggest problems the fighter faces in combat, in my opinion, are his poor defenses and lack of role.

The fighter's saves are too low to resist even low-level spell effects. Usually, they take him completely out of the picture for the combat. We could increase his saves, but a more elegant solution (and one easier to implement during on the fly conversions) is to give the fighter spell resistance equal to 10+fighter level starting at level 4.

The fighter is quickly out-damaged by the casters and the rogue. This would be okay if the fighter could have some other meaningful effect in combat. Unfortunately, he can't. The fighter should be able to stand in front of the wizard to protect him for opponents while he makes them explode. However, by the mid levels, enemies can fly, burrow, teleport, or simply run past the fighter to get to the more dangerous casters. The fighter needs a way to either make enemies attack him or make it very inadvisable to not attack him. This could be a goad function of the intimidate skill, additional attacks of opportunity, a marking system which lets the fighter do additional damage if the opponent doesn't attack him, or a variety of other things. Additionally, the fighter should get an increasing bonus to damage (something like 2 x fighter level) to help him keep up with other classes.


Perhaps the best option for something along this line is adding an "Aim" combat maneuver.

Aim
Spend a move action to get a bonus to damage equal to you dexterity modifier. Continuing to aim adds this amount for each move action spent. Moving while aiming causes you to lose this bonus.


I have DMed several games with these changes (including Jump in Athletics, by the way) since before 3.5 came out. It has worked wonderfully.


It could allow a new skill trick every time a new skill is gained.

Quite frankly, though, the system really wouldn't.


I also think that only two strata of cover are necessary--cover (+4) for an obstacle in line of effect and improved cover (+8) for near-total blockage. Simply saying, "An obstacle in line of effect" is enough for both the people that use and don't use minis. While the 3.0 system was detailed, it seldom mattered that much for the detail to be there.


As a player, I never want to have to take out a crossbow and miss over and over again. If I want to conceal my magic, that's fine, but it shouldn't be required. I think that the at-will domain and school powers at first level are a great step. I think that a further step should be made by removing some of the higher level abilities and replacing them with more powerful at-will spells.

The at-will powers don't need to be amazingly powerful; they simply need to be enough to continue to have a meaningful effect once the spells are gone. Yes, when the cleric and wizard are out of spells and the fighter at half hit points, the party should rest, but if the wizard has three nifty tools to use at-will, the party won't have to rest once he's out just so the player can still feel like he's having an effect.


Rather than a level limit, I'd rather see effective level limits used. For example, BAB +11 as the only requirement. This way, the requirements really are level limits, but the classes that should excel at certain feats (fighter, I'm looking at you) get them sooner.


One of the positive changes 4e is making is eliminating durations. Spells and effects last all day, one round, one encounter, or until a saving throw is made. In essence, most effects do that in 3.5; they are just hidden beneath formulas. I suggest that the PFRPG adopt a similar model. Cat's Grace lasts until the end of the combat. Mage Armor lasts all day. Ray of Enfeeblement lasts until the target makes a saving throw. Stunning Fist lasts one round. It's basically the same effect, just a lot simpler.


There is a lot of talk about making sure that the PFRPG is backwards-compatible with 3.5 materials, but it is somewhat apparent that not everyone agrees on what that means.

To me, backwards compatibility means that the stat blocks for my adventures are as unchanged as possible. It doesn't really matter if the system for grappling is different, if the rules for trips and disarms changed, if the specific effects of a spell are new, or if the underlying system for determining skill bonuses changed. What matters is that the numbers on the sheet are the same. I can know what the rules for power attack are, so long as there is power attack. If there are slight problems, for example, if the cleric spell list was more restricted and an old stat block gives a cleric a prohibited spell, that's fine. I can ignore or quickly change that problem, but I don't want recalculate bonuses ever. Not just mid-game, but ever. Adding hit points or spell slots is easy, but recalculating modifiers is not.

So, change whatever rules you want, so long as the numbers aren't altered much.

What does backwards compatibility mean to you?


A rope should be like any other piece of equipment. It should provide a +2 bonus when used in a situation in which it is helpful. Binding should be covered using the grapple rules with the caveat that you don't have to maintain the grapple actively (that's what binding does) and that you get a +5 bonus on the check if the opponent is helpless.


Not to discount your comments, but they really aren't relevant to this thread. Your comment that the skill system is broken does not affect whether or not certain skills should be given for free, as far as I can tell. Perhaps you should post those ideas in one of the threads discussing the nature of skill acquisition?


To offer possible free skills for each class:

Barbarian: Intimidate and Survival
Bard: Perform and Disguise
Cleric: Knowledge (Religion) and Heal
Druid: Knowledge (Nature) and Handle Animal
Fighter: Acrobatics and Perception
Monk: Acrobatics and Knowledge (Religion)
Paladin: Knowledge (Religion) and Ride
Ranger: Knowledge (Nature) and Survival
Rogue: Perception and Theft
Sorcerer: Knowledge (Arcana) and Spellcraft
Wizard: Knowledge (Arcana) and Spellcraft


My suggestion was that the Fly skill actually give the ability to fly.


A possible addition to this thought is to eliminate class skills. Each class has 2-3 skills in which it is automatically trained, but it can select any others with its skill slots. To represent the areas in which a class excels, the skills can be free, but anyone can be competent in anything.


With skills, less is more. There shouldn't be a Survival (Urban) when Theft or Knowledge (Local) will do.


Here is my problem with Use Rope--it's not that it's necessarily useless, but that it is too universal. Use Rope is a component of Survival, Theft, Craft(Traps), Climb, and many other skills. Use Rope really should be a part of any skill in which its use is part. Part of my ability as a competitive rock climber is that I can tie the proper knots and operate the rope in the correct manner while climbing. Tying someone up should probably fall under Theft, but making a it a grapple check also works. The BAB part of a grapple check can represent knowledge of how to incapacitate an individual, such as by holding their arms in such a way as to cause immobility and pain. That same knowledge can be used when tying someone's arms together.


I don't care for the elf ears, but the muscle structure is much more pleasing than the frail elf stereotype.

I don't care for the size of the halfling, however. Halflings really should be taller. They should come up at least to the waste average humans, if not a few more inches. Halflings should be the size of pre-teens (ala the LotR movies), not toddlers.


Possibly not in any of the ways already written. However, I do believe that this game should include a way for the players to alter die rolls, whether that be action points, spendable tokens, or something else. The game is more fun when the players can somewhat control outcomes both before and after the die is cast.


It strikes me as interesting that climb and swim have skills that govern them in terms of skill and speed, but land movement, burrowing, and flying do not. I think that each speed should have a skill that determines how fast one can move and with what skill.

Climb and swim work as written. Burrow should operate in basically the same way.

Each character should have a base speed, but Run should allow him to move faster and should be used in places of relative speed, such as races or rushing to escape before the mummy's tomb collapses. Possibly, the base speed should be eliminated and speed be entirely governed by Run checks.

Given that a fly skill exists, perhaps it should replace the jump skill. Not only would the combined skill (I'll call it Fly) govern flying maneuverability, but at low values, it would also govern jumping distance and accuracy. With a high enough skill check, actual flying should be possible. My reasoning here is that, given a mid to high level game, if an enemy or ally spellcaster casts Fly, the melee-focused fighter is useless. Foghter-types approach obsolescence as their levels rise; this would help to alleviate some of that.


I have a problem with just about all of the Combat Feats section.

First, a one of the fighter's only strengths is that he can use multiple sets of feats at a time because he has enough feats to do so. For example, a paladin can progress along the Power Attack feat chain or along the Mounted Combat feat chain, and a rogue can take the Combat Expertise chain or the Dodge chain. The fighter, however, can make better use out of all of the feats because he has enough feats to take two or even three chains. The fighter's strength comes from the fact that he can simultaneously Spring Attack and Power Attack or Spring Attack and Improved Trip. By limiting the number of Combat feats one can use in a round in any arbitrary way, you take away the only real strength of the fighter class. The only way that the number of feats you use in a round should be limited is by the number of actions you have (i.e. I can't use Power Attack and Improved Trip and Spring Attack in a round because I only get 1 attack if I Spring Attack).

Second, as has been said, the arbitrary chaining takes too long. If it takes 3 rounds Spring Attack, I probably can't use it. Any possible chaining should be based on conditions in combat, as a previous poster said. These conditions could be based on the "stance" a combatant is in (i.e. If I want to Cleave, I need to be using Power Attack. If I want to use Improved Trip, I need to be using Combat Expertise). These conditions could also be more standard, ala "If an opponent is flat-footed, you can use this feat." This style encourages chaining of feats in combat while not requiring it--if an opponent is already flat-footed, I can use my feat that requires that condition without having to use my feat to make him so. This also encourages teamwork, one of the positive aspects of 4th edition's design philosophy, by allowing players to combo off of each other (the fighter uses a stunning feat so that the rogue can sneak attack, for example).

Most of the pre-existing feats don't fit well into the chaining structure. The new feats, the Arcane Strike chain for example, do because they were designed to fit. Trying to retrofit sound mechanics to fit a new system probably won't work.

If there is to be a Combat feats mechanic as written, completely new feats need to be made for it or the existing feats need to be heavily modified and combined. As it stands, Dodge+Mobility+Spring Attack or Power Attack+Cleave+Knockback+Stunning Blow might be good feats to which I am limited to using one per round.

Third, this rule is much more punishing to some players than to others. Only fighter-types will really be affected by this rule--casters don't use combat feats enough for it to really matter to them. These rules really only make the fighters' lives more difficult. Also, even with the changes to the casters presented, any of mid to high level can easily outdo the fighters in combat effect. A wizard still swings the tide of combat more than any fighter could. This rule only makes that problem worse.

In summary, the rule as a whole either needs to be dropped or made into a new system which exists in addition to the standard feats system, possibly as a class feature of fighters, with its own set of new very powerful options.


As a personal preference, I think that any DM screens should be made up of three horizontal panels. Most DM screens are too tall--it disconnects me from the players.


I also want to throw in my support of the idea of a slipcase/DM screen/player handout package. I would gladly pay $15-$20 for this package.


Are there any major differences between this version and the original Mayfair edition? Is it worth it to buy this new edition if I already have the old one, or do I only get a prettier rulebook and a frame? Basically, have the rules changed at all?


Has an explanation of the philosophy behind the design of the classes/feats/PrCs/etc. and/or the reason they were included been released/discussed anywhere?


The cover of Dragon 339 advertises an OotS strip, however, no where in the magazine was the comic. Was this intentional or was the comic inadvertently left out?


I would personally prefer the "Campaign Classics" to be a regular article; not because I love classic settings, but because I don't especially like them. I am guessing that something would be updated from about 12 settings in the January issue, and I subscribe to Dragon, so I would much prefer to have a column about one setting every month, rather than a whole magazine I will likely be unable to use. If I happen to find a use for one column, great, but if I don't like the other 11, I just paid six bucks for two hundred words I will use and several thousand I won't.http

Also, I second the review column, but only as either a comparative column with a theme (psionics, weapons, etc.) or as a "this is a good book, take a look" column. I am not the kind of person who can afford to buy hundreds of products (and I assume that most other people are not as well), so I would prefer to be shown something great, which are often hard to find, than to be shown something terrible, which are easy enough to come by.