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I'm more on the side of those who want to split the skill in two, such as dividing the device manipulation (Mechanics?) from the Sleigth of Hand part.
This way both skills would have their well-defined field of application and a name without moral or social complications.
Also, there could still be rogues with those skills that are not thieves.

As an alternative, what do you think about Troubleshooting? It's an old proficiency name from AD&D 2nd Edition and is basically a Mac Guyver-style catch-all skill.

Interesting ideas. Some are similar to what I have done in my own homerules collection, so maybe I can add something more to what you've already done:

Point 1: I'd do that for all classes: 2 extra skill points per level. 2 skill points is too low for anyone. That would be an alternative to the "background skills" optional rule from Pathfinder Unchained, though.
To the fighter in particular, I would give good Reflexes save, since it's a class trained to dodge incoming threats anyway.

Point 2: I would rather rewrite most of the feats, since a huge part of them is incredibly underpowered, useless, or giving diminishing returns when going along the feat chain. For example, I have a single feat that gives the benefits of Vital Strike, but you get better benefits based on your BAB (one extra weapon die every 8 points of BAB, better than a standard attack, but worse than a full attack).

Point 3: This would be good as a feat chain of his own, such as a spinoff of the 3.5 Spellcaster Harrier chain, which already does something similar. And PF1 is compatible with most 3.5 feats by definition, so...

Point 4: I have removed DR from the game. A better solution. I only have damage resistance, which halves damage of a specific kind. It works for every class in the same way.

Point 5: See point 2.

Point 6: This is ok as a feat rewriting, but I think a fighter should not get hampered in its versatility on the battlefield, so I would rather have a feat that gives benefits when a fighter uses any weapon from any group he has Weapon Training for, than just a single group.

I also have introduced Weapon Proficiencies by groups instead than just simple, martial, and exotic, and reworked Weapon Training to work for all groups the fighter has proficiency in at the same time and at the same level of efficiency. Obviously, the fighter would start with more groups than anyone else, much like a rogue starts with more skill points or a barbarian with more hit points.

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I really dislike the +level to everything for everyone, basically for the same reasons it doesn't like to many others that posted in this thread: it's a cheap method to give some feeling of "growth" or different strength, but ends up making every character equally good at everything and not that different from everything else of the same level.

I don't remember where, but I proposed a solution to that issue which allows for some really great difference in what a character can do well and what not, but also leaves the feeling of growth that the +level mechanic gives: tie how much "level" you add to the rolls to your level of proficiency, in a way similar to the progressions in PF1.
This system, though, would require splitting weapon and spell proficiency into more "focused" proficiencies, and each character and monster should receive more "free" proficiency ranks from advancement and more "bound" ranks from class and ancestry, being able to decide how to advance and in what.

For example, a fighter could have a Master rank in swords and axes, but only a Trained rank in crossbows, while a wizard could be a Legend with ray spells and strike spells, but as low as Untrained in trap spells or illusion spells.
And the difference could go from having to add just 1/2 level plus half your relevant ability bonus to adding 3/2 level and double your relevant ability bonus or so.

This way, you could have training and proficiency being really significative, but you would also need level to really be stronger.
(EDIT) And you won't need to make a list of what you can do at what proficiency rank, just to decide the proper DC for the task.

Keeping Str (and Cos, and Dex, and HD, etc.) as a reflektor of size has some drawbacks, though: a larger creature would have really high attack and save bonuses, even higher base damage (due to the fact that a high Str score rises both the minimum and maximum damage), nearly impossible to beat CMD, and so on. Also, it would still be susceptible to sudden death through massed attacks by a team of smaller creatures, which is one of the issues that players have had in 20 years of d20 games with huge "solo" bosses, because it would have no damage mitigation coming from size.
On the other end, small or smaller creatures, even with a lower Str score, could become even deadlier with their enhanced Dex score, especially with Dex-based classes like rogues, slayers, gunslingers and some investment in finesse combat. I always found rather annoying that a halfling rogue could one-shot a huge or larger dragon with a dagger the size of my pinky, or that to give a larger-than-Medium creature a chance not to be hit by smaller crestures it would be necessary to stack unbelievably high natural armor bonuses.

Let's say that with this homerule I try to make things a bit more realistic: hitting creatures of different sizes is more difficult (either because they are smaller and more agile targets or because their size makes smaller weapons less effective), being hit by a larger creature still hurts (even if their attacks have a lesser chance to hit you), smaller creatures have to team-up to confront with a larger foe and to use appropriate weapons and strategies, etc.
At the same time, creating monsters of larger or smaller sizes than Medium becomes much easier, and so advancing them or changing form into one of them. A GM would have less troubles with shapechanging characters in their games.

In issue #2, I posted my list of modified bonus types. In that list, two of the most used (and abused) types are gone: inherent and size types.
The first is gone because in my homerule bonuses and penalties only modify rolls or DCs, so a bonus type that only applies to ability scores is useless.
The second one is gone because size as it is in the standard Pathfinder RPG is no more in my games.

Usually, sizes above or below Medium generate tons of modifiers, require tables of conversion, and a lot of other stuff. This, for example, hampers creating new monsters, changing form to a differently-sized one (look at the rules for the Polymorph subschool), having weapons for different sizes and spells with the same effect no matter what the size of the caster, and so on.
Thinking about it, I noticed that all this stuff isn't really necessary. No modifiers to ability scores, no extra HD, no modified natural armor, nothing. You only need to modify maximum load, damage, attack rolls, combat maneuver checks, and STR and DEX based skill checks.

So, I came up with this variant rule:

- You get a -2 to attack roll for each size of difference between you and your target, both larger or smaller.
- The damage you deal to a larger creature is halved once for each size of difference (half for one size larger, one third for two, etc.), while it is doubled if dealt to a smaller creature.
- If you are larger, you get a +5 to combat maneuver checks for each size of difference against a smaller foe. You also get that bonus to CMD. No need to modify anything if you are smaller.
- You get a +5 bonus to STR-based skill and ability checks and a -5 penalty to DEX based skill and ability checks for each size above Medium.
- Carrying capacity already takes into account larger or smaller than Medium creatures, so no need to change anything here.

This set of rules requires work, because it's required to remove all the size modifers that are present in the game, the extra natural armor, the extra HD, the weapon conversion tables, and so on.
Simply said, larger or smaller creatures are built just like standard Medium ones, with the same base scores, the same number of HD, the same Cos or number of HPs, the same base damage, etc.
What governs how many Hit Dice they have is their CR.

Normally, a NPC has a Challenge Rating of Level -2, but most creatures are weaker than that, much like a commoner NPC, so they should have a CR of Level -3.
This means that creatures have the following HD/levels:

Commoner or "average array" monster - CR+3 Hit Dice.
NPC or "NPC array" monster - CR+2 Hit Dice.
PC or "Heroic array" monster - CR +1 Hit Dice.

To this, you just add 1 HD per size below Medium or subtract 1 HD per size above Medium. Recalculate the creature's stats from that.

As always, if someone already posted rules similar to these, please feel free to add a link below. Comments and feedback would be appreciated.

In some campaigns, I adopted a little extra rule to even try a teleport: You must have a focus object (not a perishable one) you have taken with your own hands from the area you want to teleport to. It can't be a personal possession of someone else: it must be an object belonging to the place itself.

This destroys the "scry and fry" tactic, since it becomes impossible to teleport to areas you have never been at, even if you are looking at them that very instant.
It also limits teleportation to areas the caster himself has been before and can't be used with a "generic description" at all, so it requires some adjustment to the "results" table.

Continuing on my giant list of things in PF1 I had changed for my games (and my satisfaction, obviously), here's are my take on how the various bonus types should be arranged and working in the game.
I noticed that most of the various types only work on one score or roll in the game (tons of AC-modifying types, Inherent only for ability scores, etc.), and there's even one, Enhancement, that can even give a bonus to... other bonuses, which frankly I see as an aberration.

So I decided to make some housecleaning and put some order into that mess, which should be one of the basic assets in the game. First, I stated a couple general rules:

- Bonuses and penalties should always have a type, no exceptions allowed.
- Bonuses and penalties can be applied only to checks (attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, etc.), rolls (damage rolls, etc.), and DCs (AC, CMD, save DCs, checks DCs, etc.), again no exceptions allowed.

The main reason for those two rules is to avoid excessive stacking of untyped bonuses and, even more so, of penalties. I also wanted to remove the "penalties are almost always untyped" habit, which makes room for really excessive debuffing in the game, especially against poor, lonely megabosses confronting with cohordinated parties.

Then I devised a new, narrower list of types, which can be applied at (almost) any kind of roll or DC in the game:

Alchemical: This one is pretty unchanged. It comes from interaction with active substances, either magical or mundane in nature. All bonuses and penalties coming from poisons and drugs are os this type.

Arcane: This new type includes all bonuses and penalties coming from magical and supernatural effects that are not of another specific type. This means that magic buffs/debuffs would almost always have a type.

*Circumstance: This one stays as it was, being based on some situational conditions. It now includes some aspects of the size bonus type, which has been removed.

*Competence: Another mostly unchanged type, it comes from a change in the knowledge, training or general skill at performing a particular task. It plays a major role in other homerules of mine, such as shields and defensive weapons now providing competence bonuses to AC.

Corruption: A new type that in some ways takes the place of the old profane type, it implies some physical or qualitative change for unnatural reasons (such as being touched by chaos or subject to some pseudonatural creature's powers).

Divine: A new type that replaces holy type, it comes from receiving some effect from the direct intervention of divine or spiritual entities.

Enhancement: Relatively unchanged, it comes from changing the inherent qualities of creatures and objects.

Insight: Another unchanged type, it comes from changes in awareness or comprehension.

Kinetic: A new type coming from the interaction with some form of external forces that guide the actions of a character or contribute to hamper those of others. It incorporates the old deflection type.

Luck: Pretty much unchanged, it indicates a change in the probabilities of an event to take place.

Morale: Again an unchanged one, it comes from changes in the attitude or self-confidence of a character. All fear effects bring forth morale penalties.

Possession: A new type for when a character is under the direct influence of an entity that operates on its body and mind.

Racial: Basically unchanged, it comes from the very being of the character. It now includes some aspects of the old size type, and replaces the natural armor type.

*Reaction: A new type that replaces the dodge bonus to AC, it comes from modifications in the speed, agility, or coordination of the character.

Tenacity: A new type representing variations in the resolution, ferocity, and resistance of a character. It incorporates the old armor bonus to AC and resistance bonus to saving throws.

*Untyped: This one is only changed in its nature, which is to give a type to bonuses and penalties that can't be limited to another single type. Basically, if something can be related to two or more types or none at all, it belongs to this type.

There's also the Mythic type, for those who use those rules (I do not).

To determine the final modifier of a specific type to a roll or DC, take the best bonus and the worst penalty and add them together.
Bonuses and penalties marked with an asterisk (*) can stack so you add together all bonuses and penalties of that type to get the final modifier.
As usual, bonuses and penalties coming from the same source never stack, not even if of stacking types.

If someone has already published rules similar or related to this one, please feel free to post a link to their work below. Comments and feedback would be appreciated.

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I'm suggesting some modification I did in my PF1 games:

Cos could be used to recover from affliction in general, mostly poisons, diseases, and drugs effects, leaving out only curses, which tend to have specific methods of recovery.

Int could determine the max level of proficiency you can reach, or maybe the proficiency system could be expanded so that it's not class, but player choice to determine what proficiencies you get and how you advance them, just as for skills, with narrower fields than just "martial weapons" or "Occult Caster".

Cha could get Will saves from Wis, since it's better suited to represent willpower, since it represent self-esteem and power of personality, while Wis it's more about senses, empathy and intuition. Cha is the perception of self, Wis is the perception of the world.

As I wrote yesterday, I'm going to publish some modified material about initiative feats (since I moved it to Wis, I went on revising them), in particular the main and most seeked out one: Improved Initiative.

That feat has a weird characteristic: it's one of the worst feats in the game, yet it's also the one feat that most builds recommend, especially for casters or resolutive-attacks-based builds, such as sneak attackers or chargers.

Why is it so bad? Because it only works one fifth of the times for a single roll per encounter (basically, it's ininfluent if you fail initiative by more than 4 points or if you win it in any case, that's 16 values out of 20 you can roll), and its effect can be negated the first time a foe can ready an action against you. Also, since it has no requirements, it can be taken by virtually anyone without any particular investment to do.

So, how do we make this feat really worth of wasting a feat slot on it?
Well, it needs a benefit that works almost everytime you roll for initiative and it needs some requirements to limit its presence in every build in the game (a feat that everyone wants to have is too good, or percieved as too good, to stay as it is). This is what I devised:

Improved Initiative (Combat)

Your quick reflexes allow you to react rapidly to danger

Prerequisites: Dex 13, Wis 13, Alertness.

Benefit: When rolling for initiative, roll your d20 twice and keep the best roll.

This will definetely make the feat better (it works 19 times out of 20), but also harder to come by (it requires some specific character building). The prerequisites are all tied to how an initiative roll based on Wisdom and Perception of your foes would work, with the addition of some quicker that average reflexes.
The changes would make it a tier 2 feat, 3rd level or higher, but a human or a fighter could get it at 1st level, as could any class or race with Alertness as a 1st level bonus feat.

The only feat of the Improved Initiative tree that would really require some adjustment would be its Mythic version, but since I never used that particular set of rules, I can't really work out an appropriate change for it. If someone has a good idea, please feel free to post it in this thread.

Since when Pathfinder Unchained was published, I intended to publish my own series of homerules, variant rules, and optional rules, but events in my life had me delayed a couple years. Now I have the means to start this long work, so here I am.

All my homerules are intended to work with each other as a whole, but many can also work with normal rules, if a GM doesn't want to allow some changes. Basically I revised the Pathfinder ruleset to achieve some very specific objectives:

- Remove inconsistencies (things that contrast with the basic assumptions in the game, that contradict other rules, or that simply make no sense).

- Make useless things useful (for example, combat maneuvers, many feats, some forms of combat, some kinds of equipment, etc.)

- Balance disequilibrium whenever I found it (starting with spellcasting, but not just that).

I paid a special attention to feats and how to balance them. My premise is that feats should be about as powerful as class features that require the same number of levels in a class to be taken, since they are limited in number during a character career and often require to satisfy harsh prerequisites.
Based on prerequisites, I devised a tier sequence to assess the power of a feat. Tier 1 are feats that require no requisites at all or whose requirements can be met easily at 1st level by a generic character (not just a specific class).
Each successive tier either has one more feat as a prerequisite or has a prerequisite that a character can satisfy only 1-2 levels after the lower tier. So tier 2 feats can be taken at 3rd level, tier 4 at 5th level, and so on up to tier 10 for normal play. Obviously, it's assumed that a higher tier feat must give a greater benefit than a lower level one, not just some upgrade or diminishing returns (such as the Weapon Specialization or Two-Weapon Fighting chains).

The first variant rule I want to present concerns some balancing among ability scores, since is evident that some of them are really a lot more useful in general than others. Removing something from the list of things an ability influences to add to some other "poorer" ability was the obvious solution. Here is the result.

STRENGTH - Standard melee combat, (Strength-based maneuvers), (Protection), load limit.

DEXTERITY - Precision melee combat, ranged combat, (Dexterity-based maneuvers), Reflexes ST.

CONSTITUTION - Hit Points, Fortitude ST, (heal checks, affliction resist checks).

INTELLIGENCE - Skill Points, spellcasting.

WISDOM - Initiative, spellcasting, (weapon max range increments).

CHARISMA - Will ST, spellcasting, (magical resonance checks, resurrection checks).

I moved Initiative to Wis just as they did in the playtest for PF2 much for the same reasons: Wis governs senses and intuition, so it's simply perfect for that.
I moved Will ST to Cha basically for the same reasons: Cha better represents the willpower of the character, since it's already a measure of its self-confidence, force of personality, and self-esteem.
The things in parenthesis are things that will be modified or added in future threads.

There's not much to comment yet, but if someone already had similar ideas, please feel free to add a link to his or her post(s). My time for today is over, but next time in this thread I will post some modified feats for Initiative.

What I mean is that if you choose to limit the range of possible scores for a game, there is no need to center the game on the top gamma values.

Your entire math should be based on the average, center score, with heroes going up or down from that in each ability score.

The base of PF2 is 10, but from that, at character creation, you can only go up. The only part of the creation process that takes away something may be race, which can give you a flaw, unless you choose to flaw yourself to gain an extra boost somewere else.
Every "layer" in character creation should give both boosts and flaws: for example, a class gives you one boost to his primary ability score, but should also give a flaw to one that is particularly useless for or not really trained by that specific class.

Going always up in scores makes sense only in games with unlimited advancement like D&D 3.5 or PF1, not in game with a limited range of possible values.
The reason is that unlimited advancement represent evolution in time, while the limited range represent natural potential. And potential rarely changes.

And this reasoning has made me think that probably using the standard checks from PF1 with this new ability system may not have been the smartest of ideas, but I was not thinking about removing ability scores from checks. I was thinking the exact opposite: removing level and ability modifiers, while at the same time completely changing what "proficiency" means.

A check should be an ability check: a flat d20 roll with which you try to roll your ability score or less, much like the old proficiency checks from AD&D. Proficiency could function as follows (just an example):

Untrained: roll twice, keep the worse result.
Trained: roll once normally.
Expert: roll twice, combine the results into a possibly better result.
Master: as Expert but roll three times.
Legendary: as Expert but roll four times.

When you roll more dice, you fail only if all your roll fail.
If you roll both fails and successes, you succeed, but you keep your worst success and each failure drops the score by 1.
If you roll all successes, you keep your best roll and add 1 for each additional success to the score.
You can't go below 1 or above your score with this modifiers.

Rolling high is good, rolling low is not that good, rolling 1 is a minor success, rolling exactly your score is a greater success, rolling above your score is a failure, and rolling a 20 is a major failure (unless you have a 20 ability score, in which case is a major failure only if you roll two 20 among all the failures).

Level in this case serves only the purpose to give the character access to better proficiencies, feats, talents and powers. But level itself could be a score, much like it was in PF1 in some cases, since it too can go from 1 to 20, like ability scores.

YULDM wrote:

I have one more suggestion.

What do you think about this:

Untrained: -4
Trained: +0
Expert: +lvl/2
Master: +lvl
Legendary: +lvl+3

(restricted access to M and L)

It's on the same way of what I had in mind the first time I read the miserable modifiers of the current proficiency system, but I went a bit more extreme in my theorycrafting:

Untrained: 1/2x level + 1/2x ability score (max +12)
Trained: 3/4x level + ability score (max +20)
Expert: level + ability score (max +25)
Master: 5/4x level + 3/2x ability score (max +32)
Legendary: 3/2x level + 2x ability score (max +40)

As an alternative, without changing the maximum values, the last two ranks could be like this:

Master: level +5 + 3/2x ability score
Legendary: level +10 + 2x ability score

All this is based on the BAB progressions in PF1 and so it is somewhat a way to recover some of the past. Fixed DCs in the game should be set upon the Trained or the Expert score, so to have a standpoint to decide what is easy and what is hard.
The point is: Untrained has to really suck, Legendary has to really shine, every step forward along the progression should really be meaningful.

citricking wrote:

I want to say that it's necessary to have high scores in order to differentiate characters.

Negative scores are limited, they feel bad to have such a weakness, as a hero it doesn't make sense to make such flaw required. You could reduce each score I listed by 2 and get the same balance, but I think it feels better to have a normal spread of +0 to +4 (exceptionally -1 to +5) than -1 to +3 (exceptionally -2 to +4).


I don't agree with this, for I know the reason why "heroic" scores skyrocketed since 3.0: Before that, when the top game was AD&D 2nd Edition, characters started to get bonuses not around 12, but around 15, if not more, and each +1 really counted, since the center of the mechanic was to have the lowest possible target number for the flat d20 roll, not reaching a DC with a complex check and tons of modifiers.

Since the d20 System was based on averages, due to the fact that it switched to an "open end" mechanic, having high starting scores was not mandatory or even necessary, but the players, many of which came from AD&D, still maintained the feel that "really high" was good and "heroic", having forgotten the times when a hero wizard may only be able to cast up to 5th level spells or a fighter could be built with a 9 Str score.

PF2 is going back to a very limited range of scores for abilities (20 points, even less than the 25 of AD&D), so it should also go back to more "average" heroes, to have those scores really matter.
If every character in the world always has top scores in everything, you do not get the "I'm an hero" or "I'm special" feel that you get when, among lots of averagely scored adventurers of your class, you have that single, high score in a relevant ability that very few have.

And flaws make you special too. I still remember with a smile the character one of my players was able to play in an AD&D 2e campaign: the cavalier Brian Stormrider. This chap had maxed-out physical scores, all rolled, an almost impossible thing to achieve in that system, and that's the heroic part. He also had 8 Int, 6 Wis and a below-average Cha, scores that the player wanted to keep and that he made really count in the life of his character, giving us some memorable hilarious moments.
The flaws were what made us remember that character, which otherwise would only have been the same old He-Man-in-heavy-armor that is pretty much the standard cavalier/paladin/fighter in the latest modern games.

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Dire Ursus, please remember that PF1 was not created as a separate system. It was just a renewal of the D&D 3.5 open gaming content from the d20 System, intended initially to be used with the advanced D&D 3.5 material that many players not that enthusiastic about 4e were still using.

This means that you should at least create PF1 builds with ALL the 3.5 material that at the time could be used without any change or adaptation, since that material was already available even during the first Core playtest.

Only after the resounding worldwide success of PF1 Core Rulebook and Bestiary Paizo did start to develop new, unique material, pushing the game slowly away from its intended ancestral twin.

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In my (massive) pile of homerules, I devised a new, standardized list of 10 generic damage types. Following that, I had the (probably) insane idea to rewrite all the standard dragons so that each one is resistant to physical damage and immune to one of the other nine types, while at the same time being tied to a specific kind of environment or theme (not color, metal or alignment). I called them "environmental dragons" and they are nine in total:

Fire dragon - A volcano-loving version of the red dragon with more fire related powers, such as people igniting after being hit by its physical attacks, breath weapon, or aura of heat. Obviously it's immune to flame (and not vulnerable to frost).

Winter dragon - A rethinking of white and silver dragons, not as stupid as the first and more ice/snow oriented as the second. He can chill and slow those it hits with its physical attacks, breath weapon, or aura of frost. Immune to frost (but not vulnerable to flame).

Storm Dragon - A conbination of blue and bronze dragons, but with powers tied to lightning and wind, such as a "wind shield" protectimg it and "static discharges" hitting nearby foes. Immune to lightning.

Sylvan dragon - A tweaked up green dragon, turned into a poisonous beast with a powerful, corrosive breath weapon and poisonous bite, claws and defensive spines (hitting who hits it). Immune to alchemical.

Swamp dragon - A renewed black dragon based on decay. It causes deseases with physical attacks and defensive spines. It's immune to void damage, which is also the type of damage of its breath weapon.

Sand dragon - Another combined dragon between what was left of blue and some old oddities from 2nd edition AD&D such as the yellow and brown dragons, all three living in deserts. Its based on a "mirage" theme, with a host of defensive and offensive illusions. It's immune to force, with a force-based breath weapon.

Song dragon - Based on another oddity from the past, it has bardic abilities and sound based powers. It's immune to thunder, with a powerful stunning, thunder-based breath weapon.

Sun dragon - Combination of gold and the old mercury dragon, it can reflect rays and lines effects and dazzle his enemies with sunlight and its reflecting scales. It breaths light and is immune to it.

Blood dragon - A rethinking of one of my favorite dragons, the fang dragon from Forgotten Realms, it's a level draining monster that inflicts bleeding with its physical attacks and defensive spines. It's immune to spiritual damage.

Maybe you can take some ideas for your dragons from those.

A personal note about how ability scores and modifiers are used in this version of the game, inspired by what I read in the other posts in this thread.

There is an evident intention to follow the choices that were made in D&D 5th edition, but there are heavy flaws in the way those choices were implemented in the final Wizard of the Coast's product.

The first flaw is having really high starting ability scores in a game with only 3-4 modifiers for all rolls and DCs, so basically every character starts already well above average in many aspects of the game.
This also contrasts with the really low ability score cap at 20, which in some cases can be almost reached even at first level.
The intention was to replicate the low number of modifiers present in old edition of the Basic D&D games, but in those games, even if there were caps to ability scores, there were only average score generation systems and no way to rise scores, if not through super-risky magic or divine intervention.

The other main flaw is the really high number of boosts from leveling up, even without magical objects or magic to add even more, which allows for multiple maxed-out scores pretty soon in a character's career. This basically trashes the usefulness of having average or low scores in the game, since there is virtually no chance to ever see them used, unless the character is heavily cursed, ability damaged/drained, or so.

If you add that proficiency bonuses are mostly lower than those provided by high scores and their acquisition is predefined, boosting important ability scores is mandatory for any player, since it's the only thing they have real control over, both while they create the character and when they assign level-based boosts. The advantage/disadvantage mechanic worked in this direction too.

If Paizo really wants to follow the same path (something I personally tend to discourage, since there are many more different and better ways to solve the problems of P1), then they should limit the boosts at character creation (or make the starting scores lower) and remove them entirely or almost entirely from character progression. Also, score boosting from magic should be rare, extremely powerful, and possibly really, really dangerous for the character.
And finally, as I tried to state in my previous post, it is really, really important to make every ability score count for at least one or two key aspect(s) of the general game, not just for class features, so to discourage players from going all-in in just a couple class-important ability scores really soon and leave the rest for the remaining boosts.
If leaving a score too low would leave you open to some dire consequences, you'll think twice before considering it for a "dump stat".

Actually, both the "new ideas" about how to assign critical hits/misses are heavily flawed. Besides, they are not new at all, since they were both used in the revised 2nd edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

Having an automatic critical hit on 20 and critical miss on 1 brings up a really awkward situation: an highly skilled character would make less critical hits per successful attacks than a poorly skilled one, with the extreme chance that the poorly trained one could even reach a 100% critical to hit ratio. That would mean that every successful attack of the poorly trained guy would be a critical hit, while could happen that only 1 out of 19 successful attacks on average would be a critical hit for the highly trained guy.
The reverse is true for critical misses, which again is bad, since it could happen that when the highly trained guy fails, he always critically fails, while the poorly trained guy would critically fail only sparingly.

The margin of success has the correct maths: the highly trained should score more critical hits and less critical misses than the poorly trained guy. But the real issue with this system is that if the foes are balanced, there could be no chance for critical hits or misses, especially with a margin of success as large as 10.
Basically, if you hit with an 11 or more, you have no chance for a critical hit, while if you hit with a 10 or less, you have no chance for a critical miss.
Having a system that tries to balance all that it can doesn't help too.

Those issues were solved in the passage from AD&D 2nd Edition to D&D 3.0. The extremely simple solution was the confirmation roll, whose only fault was in the naming: it should have been called something like "critical roll", as a followup of a particularly successful "to-hit roll", to create less expectations and frustrations.

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KujakuDM said wrote:
I would have preferred an update to the core 3rd edition system than a whole new one. To be completely honest.

Me too. I actually did a lot of updating myself, so my current P1 system is basically itself a new edition, but it doesn't look like a hybrid with 5th edition D&D.

A new edition should bring updates, betterments and corrections to the old material, not an entirely new set of material, otherwise it's like publishing the first edition of something else. And that was exactly the reason why Pathfinder RPG was so successful when it came out: it was the old, beloved game with lots of updates, betterments and corrections, not a new game.

That's why I'm having mixed opinions about what I read in the playtest material. Much of it seems like wasted effort to me.

Readying a material component could be done as part of the action required to cast a spell. Maybe that's why it's not an action.

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I think that this issue is caused by two thinghs: too many increments, both at character creation and as you level it up, and a not perfect balance in what ability scores do for all characters, and not just for the abilities of the specific class of a character.

It's far too easy to boost many stats to 18 or more, even with the cap at character creation (which in my opinion doesn't make any sense, but I hate caps anyway) especially if you roll dice, since, for some unfathomable reason, they left the old "4d6, drop lowest" method, which has an average around 13, even if the starting average for all characters is 10. Turning back to a more balanced "roll 3d6" or switching to an even better "roll 2d6+3" would have been better.

Balancing ability scores is more difficult, since you have Str and Dex which have many different uses (attack rolls, bulk points, damage rolls, AC, ranged/finess attacks, Reflex ST, etc.) and really poor scores such as Cha, which is used only for some skills and resonance.
It was a good thing to swap initiative from Dex to Wis (I did it myself in my P1 games), but Cha...
In P1 I also swapped Will saves to Cha, since that's the right ability for that (it represent how strong your personality is, so it's also a representation of your self-confidence) and I added something more nasty than resonance to Cha and the limit on how many range increments a ranged weapon used by that character could reach to Wis (basically it was 5 plus Wis modifier), with the actual max number based on the relevant ability for the weapon used (Str for bows and thrown weapons, Dex for slings, Cos for blowguns, crossbows and firearms had built-in Str and Cos scores respectively, spells used the main casting ability score), so that basically every ability score was involved in ranged combat.
I also had separate ability scores for casting spells and learning them, so even casters had at least two important ability scores to care for.
Some similar tweaking could help in averaging the usefulness of all the six scores and remove the concept of "dump stats" from the game.

Odd scores are the easiest thing to fix: since they are basically useless now and even scores only serve to give you your ability modifier, then why have ability scores at all? Just generate the modifiers as scores, which also would reduce bookkeeping by removing one thing to put on the sheet and several calculations to do.
For example, all scores start as +0 and you add 1 or subtract 1 with each ability boost or flaw respectively. If you want to roll them, you could just roll 2d4-5 six times and then assign to abilities (no need for caps or ignoring class and free boosts, since the average roll is +0).
And if you reduce the number of boosts from class while leveling up, that would help a lot, even if it's hard to determine how many boosts is too much. In this case, one possible solution could be to give a few more feats and put the "free boost to an ability score" among the feats themselves, so that the player would be forced to choose between gaining some new things or just boosting his favored score (a self-balancing rule). Also, reducing the boosts would give more importance to proficiency, that at the moment is really the less important modifier among the basic ones (too little difference between the various steps, just five points between a total sucker and a demigodly legend).

In my P1 games, I used the 3.5 standard for actions such as swapping weapons from one hand to the other, losing grip with one hand from a 2-handed weapon and then regripping it, etc.

Basically, they were all compared to drawing a weapon, with losing grip being a free action. It made sense, since you were passing from "carrying a 2-handed weapon with one hand" to "wielding a 2-handed weapon in combat", while losing grip was basically like dropping the weapon.
A different approach was used for a "bastard" weapon: once drawn, you could swap between 1-handed and 2-handed use as a free action made as part of whatever action you were using to fight with that weapon, since this kind of action is part of the normal use of that kind of weapons in combat.

I think that that old solution is still the best, even with the new 3-actions + reaction system.

Fair enough, each one has his or her own ideas. We are just here to propose and discuss them.

But one point about picks: they were not that heavy at all. They were just as heavy as axes and hammers. Same weight, different shapes, wielded much the same way and with center of mass in practically the same spot. And they were all really short (a bit longer the cavalry types), with really small heads and thin blades (wood-chopping axes are far more heavy and have much thicker and bigger blades), as opposed to what is shown in media and games. There was no need for superbig heads or giant blades to carve through a human skull or smash in a face.

Also, the transition between axe and pick is fairly smooth: there are axes with wide blades, axes with narrow blades, and picks with basically no blades and just a piercing point. The only difference is merely how much edge the blade has.
And if you make your blade lighter and attach a hammer head or another different blade on the other side, you get a warhammer (hammer + pick), battleaxe (axe + pick) or waradze (or whatever you call a weapon with a hammer opposed to an axe blade).

This time I have to quote to answer clearly, since there are too many points I have to address.

Mad, I don't mean to be condescending, but have you kept up with the game?

Yep, I have. And nothing really changed in the way feats and magic are used in it, unless you use some optional rule or variant.


First of all, buff spells...you either cast them before combat, or cast them when not threatened.

SWIFT spells...not an issue. Unless you are ALREADY in the middle of a fight, you just get them off and proceed with your turn as normal.
Instant Enemy is a Swift Spell. It's nigh impossible for an enemey to interrupt it. You can cast it before they threaten you, or after you kill them to do the next one, etc.

The point here is "unless you are ALREADY in the middle of a fight", which is a fairly common situation in my experience, far more common than the situation in which the caster has exactly the spell he needs or knows exactly what he's going to need and has plenty of time to prepare himself and the rest of the group.


Preparing spells is always a balance, sure. But YOU control the balance. If you want to be a skill monkey today, you are. If you want combat spells today, you have them. If you want to travel halfway across the continent, youd o that instead.

So they are 1/day abilities that YOU GET TO PICK. That's incredibly awesome and versatile. And, like Instant Enemy, can be incredibly powerful at the right moment.

Yep, but once you've picked, you're versatile NO MORE. That's what I deem important in a spellcaster. I don't care what you are going to pick tomorrow, because you have to make it alive to tomorrow.

It's only what you can do today that really matters, and you can do only what your prepared spells allow you to do.
Also, you cannot prepare what you do not know.


What you're trying to argue is "Just having spells doesn't mean you're better off" and then you make poor examples, because 'Having spells means they might/can/probably will come in handy if I want them to.'

"Unexpected things happening which totally nerf my spellcasting" is NOT a friendly game. Truly, can you present to me a situation where having Barkskin up is NOT better then having no Nat AC option at ALL? either you're on par, or you're better off then the slob who is not a caster.

Not "if I want them to", but "if the situation at hand in game means they are handy". It happens pretty often in my games that half the spells a spellcaster prepares (or knows, for spontaneus casters) aren't useful at all in a specific situation. I never had to enforce situations to make them "not handy": players are not prescient beings and they tend to stick to their preferred spells when they do not know what to expect, which often leads to many cases of worthless spells in their repertoir.

Also, even useful spells fails, more often than a caster would like. And being fast to cast doesn't avoid AoO or to have to cast defensively.

Regarding the use of barkskin, it's useless whenever a foe uses touch attacks or against most spells and supernatural abilities or against area effects which require ST (such as many traps). In those cases, it's just a wasted slot (or magic item charge).


Example: We're going climbing today. I learn Monkeyfish. We may or may not actually climb. But Mr. Fighter over there with no climb or swim ranks doesn't have the option, does he?

We need to get to city X fast. I memorize Tree Walk. Mr. Fighter travels a week overland to do the same thing as I do taking ten steps.
I have those options. He doesn't. Unless you specifically go out of the way to make sure my spellcasting can't do jack, I will always have more resources and options then a non-caster.
Spellcasting is STRONG.

The fighter, even without ranks, can use ropes and tools for climbing, and also climb with his armor on, thanks to armor trainings. But there is no real reason why he should not have ranks in climb, in which case, he's far better than a druid with that spell (frankly, there are much better options for a druid to climb up something, unless he's really low level).

Also, how many druids would prepare that spell if not completely sure they will have to climb up something that day?

I presume you intended "Tree Stride", cause I could not find any "Tree Walk" spell in the core books.
The ranger with that spell can only pass from a tree to another similar in range, but it's the DM who determines if a suitable tree is in range and in which direction it is. It's not granted you find the tree you want in the direction you want, and you surely cannot jump one week worth of travel with just one spell.
Also, the fighter can ride to his destination and bring along pack animals or carts, if he wants, while the ranger has to walk (since he cannot bring a mount or pack animal into the tree) once he's out of the trees.
The ranger can shorten the distance he has to walk by up to 3000 feet/900 meters per caster level, if he's lucky and there are plenty of oaks,each one in range of the last one along the intended direction (but probably far less than that). At 10th level, this means about 6.3 Km/4 mi at max per casting of the spell. For the rest of the voyage he has to walk (probably through trackless forests) or to cast the spell again.
Let's say our 10th level ranger has 6 spells (16+ Wis) per day and decides to use all of them for Tree Stride spells: he can jump, if he's really lucky, 24 miles ahead in the forest. and then he can walk for another 12 miles (8 hours walk through trackless forest terrain), for a total of 40 miles in a day.
The fighter on his heavy warhorse can also make 40 miles in that same day and he can use a comfortable trail through that same forest. This means both of them will arrive at destination at the same time (again, only if the ranger is really, really lucky in finding the right trees all along the path, otherwise, the fighter on his ride would be faster).
Yes, the ranger could have a wand of Tree Stride, but that would cost far more than the fighter's warhorse and its maintenance.
For that spell to really become more efficient than a normal horse the caster hast to be CL 10 or above and the forest has to be really large and with plenty of oaks. Just being in a jungle or a tundra means that that spell is far less efficient than you could think.

Speaking of bad examples of spell use...

I've learned on my skin to check the numbers before stating that a spell is good or bad. Most of the times it's not as good as players think and not as bad as I think. Most of the times that spell is just good for a few specific tasks, less than useful for some other tasks, and utterly useless in any other situation.

Again, I notice that you guys cannot see the inherent disadvantages of some presumed perfect class abilities, especially spells.

Spells, for example, have a lot of hindrances: You have to know them, you have to prepare them, you have to successfully cast them, they have to succeed (hit, avoid SR, ST has to fail, no hard counters in place), they have to last enough, etc.
If some day you prepare some spells, you will not have access to all the other spells you know, especially if you are a divine caster, which has difficulties being flexible in preparing spells.
Wands and such can be useful, but you have to find or craft them and if the spell has effects based on CL or a save, it's at its minimum. Also, while in combat, you have to drag out the wand you want to use, cast the spell and then put the wand away or drop it, which means you lose actions and maybe run the risk of causing AoO. And wands can be disarmed, stolen or sundered too.

And no, if you have few slots, you do not have access to all your spells. You have only access to the few you can place into those equally few slots, and that's it. It doesn't matter what you can put into those slots tomorrow if today you die because you have made the wrong choices when preparing spells at the required time.
And if you as a combatant rely on your spells to fight better, that choice is always a hard one to make, since you cannot be sure of what you'll really need that day (especially with me as a DM).

And if you are a wizard, you have other kinds of problems, such as carrying around all the books you need to have access to your full repertoire, all the scrolls, wands, trinkets with your extra spells, all the components you need (especially the costly ones), while probably using Str as a dump stat, which means you'll probably won't be able to carry much.

No matter how many spells you can put together between slots and cheap magical objects: every choice you make will negate other choices, so you will be only ready for some dangers and not for the rest.
Also, charged objects sooner or later run out of charges, maybe not at the best of times too.

Besides, it's fairly IMPOSSIBLE to create magic items "while on the road" for it requires a suitable place, all the raw resources ready (not just money, you have to have bought or found what you need beforehand), and a minimum of EIGHT HOURS per day of undisturbed work.

Back to the Avenger/Fighter comparison (thanks for the link, I tend not to use that particular database for consulting and I did not know the book was out).

So, the point of the charging Avenger (12th level for the requirements) is that he has to get at least Mad Rush to pounce an enemy, with a +2 to hit and taking a -6 to AC until his next turn. This is really practical only against single, unaware enemies, since the risk of a really painful retaliation is very high otherwise. This maneuver is circumstancial (not just for the avenger) since you have to move to use it and you cannot repeat it at will against the same foe.

Taking Close the Gap reduces the penalty for Mad Charge to -4, but only if the enemy was really close (again, circumstancial).

Shield of Blades does not negates the AC penalty. It adds a shield bonus equal to the Power Attack penalty (-4 at 12th level), so it is not that good if the avenger also has...

Shield of Fury, which gives Two-Weapon Fighting (yes, they changed the Dex requirements since the playtest), but only if one of the weapons is a shield (and if you have a shield, you already have a shield bonus, which means you get a diminished return from Shield of Blades).

Finally, Cunning Feint allows you to deny the Dex bonus of the foe against your pounce, but he has to have such bonus otherwise you just wasted your best primary attack for nothing (if you can feint at all or succeed, which is not granted).

All these talents would give a charge attack for at least three attacks at -/+3/-2 with the primary weapon and +8 with the shield (plus Str modifier), each one dealing +8 damage, if primary, or +4 damage, if secondary and with an AC penalty of -1 or -2 (same as the shield bonus from his shield, which is substituted by the one from the talent) until his next turn. He could get better chances to hit if the enemy has a high Dex bonus and the feint succeeds.

Forgive me if I do not believe that this "build" can really be that deadly as you try to explain. It's either "spend half your resources to make a special attack which probably wouldn't hit a barn for a significant amount of damage" or "make a charge attack that can deal a bit more damage but leaves you open to heavy retaliation" and everything in between. There's no way a Vigilante can fell a foe with such a tactic, if not by critting all the attacks and having used up almost all his feats to patch up as many holes he could.

Yes, a Fighter is less endowed in skills and "social" class abilities, but I really can't see how a Vigilante, no matter what his talents, could compete with the Fighter as a combatant. Everything the vigilante has is either very limited in scope or very limited in use, very circumstancial, as I keep saying.

And that's exactly why weapon groups proficiency is a better system: instead of learning ONE weapon, you learn a whole bunch of similar weapons, be it for basic proficiency or for advanced mastery.
The fighter would simply start with more groups known than any other class, much like the rogue starts with more skill points per level than anyone else or the barbarian has a bigger hit die than anyone else.
And fighters also get weapon trainings on top of that (and I'm even developing weapon mastery feats which require some degree of fighter training in a specific group of weapons).

As per the technical part, many weapons are more similar than you may think. For example, all picks are are in facts axes, just with extremely thin blades, while hammers are hybrids between axes and maces, but used with the same techniques as axes (you have to maintain alignment of the weapon to hit efficiently, unlike with maces). Also, swordmanship differentiates basically between swords (mainly chopping or thrusting motions) and sabres (almost exclusively slicing motions).
You can wield any axe or hammer with exactly the same moves and stances, as you can any sword or any sabre. It doesn't matter where you aim, but HOW you aim.
Weight is usually not that meaningful too: a rapier weights just as much as an arming sword or a sabre or scimitar, and two handed weapons are also mostly all around the same weight. The reason is simple: there is a soft spot between nimbleness and effectiveness for a weapon's weight, to not become too slow or tiring, while at the same time hitting with the right amount of mass.

Style is something better left for additional feats, instead. You can learn to use a weapon efficiently because it's similar to other weapons you already know, but learning some advanced martial art which uses that weapon in specific ways is a different thing.
For example, a katana is basically a short two-handed sabre and can be used as such by whoever is sufficiently competent with sabres, but using it with kenjutsu or some other advanced katana-specific styles is completely another matter.

I will not quote every single passage, since it would become rapidly a mess, but I'll try to reply as clearly as I can.

Vigilante talents are circumstancial, and that's a fact. Everyone has either limited scope or has some narrow field of usefullness.
You cited Shield of Fury, but it does not all you stated: it gives you Improved Shield Bash as a bonus, true, but you count as having Two-Weapon Fighting only with a shield and it is the only requisite you satisfy for other feats of the tree, since nowhere it says that you satisfy also the Dex requirements of those other feats (so you still have to put high scores into Dex and have high BAB).
Even Signature Weapon restricts the character to the use of a single weapon (which is why I personally consider the whole specialization tree as garbage, even for the fighter). It gives you two feats, but removes almost all your versatility in weaponry.
I don't know the other you cited. I do not have the second playtest material, since I'm not really that interested in this new class (you can put all the icing you want on his cake, but it's still just a wannabe Batman in some kind of sword & sorcery blend), so I can't say if you are using them correctly or not. But I can say one thing: feints in Pathfinder fails pretty easily against high BAB foes, while the -6 to AC from Mad Rush is sure (or -4 with Close the Gap).
Charging, though, is still a pretty dangerous thing to do and it's not a reliable tactic, less so useful in every occasion. If the avenger spends 4 or more out of 10 talents to focus on this only tactic, he becomes even more circumstancial.

Ranger spells... Yeah... How many does he have in a day? On how many targets can he use them? At what level? Can he really cast them while engaging an enemy?
Take Instant Enemy, for example, which become available at best at 10th level (for a 16+ Wis ranger) and has a single target. Again, something circumstancial and limited in scope and uses.
At that level, having 6 spells total in a day is not really that big of a game changer, unless the circumstances are really favorable (read, the ranger has prepared exactly the six spells he needs for exactly the situations in which he finds himself that day).
That's why rangers have skills and other class abilities to make for their somewhat limited area of efficiency in combat. Personally, I find more useful things like Quarry, Camouflage and Hide in Plain Sight, even if they are still restricted to favored terrains.

Regarding the fighter, EVERYONE has a hp pool which is depleted in combat. Only a few classes can replenish that, mostly casters, while everyone else is just in the same situation as the fighter, only with less armor or less nimbleness while in armor.
A wizard can lower the duration of the adventure even more than the fighter, since he has half his hit points and has to replenish his spells too. And let's not speak about the healer/buffer: if he's taken out, the whole party is out of healing.
A wizard has poor Fortitude and Reflexes, which is even worse, since he can get poisoned by a low level cobold and die miserably even at high levels and can die from an AoE attack even if he saves, due to poor hp pool.
A fighter in Pathfinder can participate in every social interaction, if the player just uses a bit of sense into placing his scores and getting his skills. Buying ranks in social skills costs the same for the fighter as anyone else. He simply doesn't get the class bonus (but a lot of classes don't too). There are ways to get more skill points, so that's not an issue too.
Also, it's not that difficult to build a fighter so he can hit things without too many hindrances and overcome highly tactical enemies. Just don't stick to the one-trick-pony trends and stale stereotypes about the class that have been around since 3.5.
Master Craftsman can solve all his equipment problems, for example (even how to heal himself).
A fighter simply has no specialty areas outside of combat, while other characters have one but lack combat-specific perks (or have less, like ranger and avenger). That doesn't mean he's cut off from out-of-combat situations.

P.S. One way to nullify the charging/feinting avenger (but maybe also something else): ready an action so if he engages you, you disarm/sunder his primary weapon. If you succeed, he'll get only secondary attacks and he'll keep his full -6 AC, since he could not forego his first primary attack beacuse he'll have none. Also, you can add a 5-foot step to the readied action, if you have not moved in the turn you readied it (it's not an action), so maybe you can even get away from the charge line.

I don't know if this whole "animation" idea is feasible in Pathfinder or any d20 System game.

The game has a preset degree of abstraction during combat, which is that every character involved is actively moving, attacking, parrying, dodging etc. all the time during a round and in all possible directions, so that's impossible to tell where a character is facing in a given moment of the round (basically, you can't say the troll will attack on his left, because you cant say where his left is in the first place).

Every character which is not flat-footed or somewhat incapacitated automatically sees and tries to dodge or deflect all incoming attacks, even if you do not tell them that they are about to occur.

Also, AoOs represent one kind of reaction to unexpected or unpredictable situations in combat, others being immediate actions and readied actions.

All that matters at mechanical level is to define how an attack or special attack happens, and this usually take one of three forms:

- An attack roll vs. AC
- A combat maneuver check against CMD
- A Saving throw of some kind vs a DC

Every defense, AC, CMD and saving throws bonuses, already incorporate the dodge attempt on part of the defender, so how and when the attack occurs and whether the defender foresees and actively avoids it or not is left to description and roleplay of the results of the actual die roll.

What you can do, is design some special attack to give to your boss with the right kind of mechanic to represent what you have in mind, trying not to be redundant.
For example, a multi-attack against AC is not that different from a Cleave or Great Cleave feat effect, so maybe it doesn't require a different kind of special attack, but a fierce swing which sweeps every character in a cone or in the threat range of the creature requiring a ST vs Reflexes with a DC of 10+ 1/2 HD or BAB of the creature + his Str modifier would be something different enough to be defined "special".
In this last case, the ST represent the attempt to dodge the incoming attack and every character who fail the roll either was too slow to react or didn't see it coming, something left to free interpretation and narration.

To enforce the kind of complex mechanic you described, you'll have to change the whole combat system from the very base, the abstraction level, reworking everything up from that point. So, is it worth to do such a massive rework to achieve what you want?

Be aware, though, that automatically confirmed crits favor A LOT the weaker combatants, since they hit with higher rolls and that means they crit more often when they hit.
The worst happens when a character needs a 20 to hit: he only scores critical hits, basically doubling his potential damage output (which is even worse if the GM uses some sort of crit special effects).

Those were the basic crit rules in 2nd edition and they were changd in 3.0, with the introduction of confirmation rolls, to avoid those weird situations in which a good combatant crits less often per hit than a poor combatant. Going back could not be that good an idea.

Maybe not calling "crit" a 20 could help: it's just an automatic hit (which is already a big deal), and only after the confirmation it becomes a critical hit.

The troubles will not come from the reduced max level, but from what spells would still be available.

It's not the amount and power of a caster's spells which creates problems in game, but what those spells are capable of doing.

The best way to limit full casters is to tone down, revise or remove each single spell on their spell list, one by one, to adapt them to the intended power level you want in your campaigns. It's a bit time consuming process, though.
If you also add different ability scores for knowing spells and actually casting them, it's even better, since it forces players to not go all in on a single score to power up their characters and will reduce the amount of characters capable of casting the highest level of spells. For Example, a wizard may learn spells through Int, but cast them through Wis or Cha (whenever you put willpower: I put it in Cha as a homerule).

In both cases, I strongly recommend to change the way DCs for spells are calculated. Instead of basing them on spell level, use half the caster level.
This has two main advantages: first, it's simpler for the DM and the players to calculate them (especially for spell-like abilities, since you do not have to go check the equivalent spell level), and second, it leaves a great deal of usefulness to low level spells even at high levels of play (which is good, but even better, if you have less spell levels anyway).

I wrote it too, but the feat does a special charge that literally throws the rider off his saddle alongside dealing normal damage to him. Basically, it adds a bull rush maneuver to a mounted charge against a mounted enemy, so it's a very circumstantial and specific case (it's kinda like a joust).

As you can see, it's more complicated than just "I trip him".

Why not making more exotic effects than the usual "get hit, lose that" or "get hit, ignore that" of the standard materials?

Maybe the azure bronze is poisonous for creature with spell resistance and when they are hit, they get an affliction which reduces progressively their SR.

It should be an injury poison with no onset time. It should cause the loss of 1d4 or 1d6 points of SR per tick (your choice). Heal with two consecutive saves. DC 10 + 1/2 BAB of the attacker + Str (for melee weapons) or Dex (for ranged weapons) modifier. Duration of the affliction based on the base die of the weapon (the DM rolls that die on the first hit and each subsequent hit acts as an additional dose of poison adding to that roll).
Lost SR returns at 1d4 or 1d6 points per day (same die as the poisonous effect), double if assisted by a healer.

Since it's a material with at least partial extraplanar origin, azure bronze should be pretty high in price. It's not something you can find at the market or mine from an underground vein.

Bull rush implies you are pushing away an enemy, not make him fall. It's a different kind of maneuver, such as that in the Unseat combat feat cited above.

You maybe try it too, but for very different reasons, such as not only unseating the enemy, but throwing him somewhere away from his mount.
And you can do similar things with the drag and reposition maneuvers.

It all depends on what you're trying to achieve in game, but such maneuvers are more complicated to achieve against a mounted enemy than the trip maneuver.

Unseating a mounted combatant is definetely a simple trip maneuver: you grab the guy and throw him down. Nothing special here, many game situations are just unusual ways to do the normal maneuvers.

The description of some weapons, though, hints at some check to be done when hit while mounted, even if in the rules there is no sign of such checks. But weapons in Pathfinder have really weird and unfitting properties and stats, so maybe that's not that unusual.

Historically, the weapons that were intended to dismount riders were almost all polearms: halberds, billhooks/guisarmes, lucerne hammers, the korseke, war forks and a few others. Glaives were not among those: their spike was intended to puncture plate armor or to catch other polearms.
In Pathfinder they have poor rules though, when they exists.

I see not many reasons to rise to 4+Int the number of skill points for the fighter, at least in Pathfinder.

The numbers are arranged much like the hit dice, that is "poor amount" (2+Int), "average amount" (4+Int), "high amount" (6+Int), and "exceptional amount" (8+Int). Why they choose 2 as a base I don't Know, since pre-d20 system editions had more, but here we are.
How they assigned the amount of skill points to each class is probably due to balance: a class very good at combat or magic would get less.

There are a bunch of ways to rise the total, though, even for a fighter.

The most obvious one is to roll a good Int score or at least not to treat Int as a dump stat.

The second most obvious one is to adopt a race with bonus skill points or bonus to many skills.

A less obvious one is to take bonus skill points as favored class bonus.

The newest one is to use the background skills variant from Pathfinder Unchained, which basically gives 2 extra points to every class for non-adventuring skills.

A more drastic one is to get an archetype that trades more skill points for some other class option.

The extreme one is multiclassing to a class with a good amount of class skills and skill points and/or bonuses to some skills, but in Pathfinder that means renouncing to part of the favored class bonuses.

If after all this you still feel that 2+Int points for low-skills classes are too few, you should rise all skill points total by 2, to preserve the balance (so having 4, 6, 8 and 10).
Tweaking a bit some list of class skills is not that wrong too, but in Pathfinder class skills are not that better than non-class skills (they just get a +3 when trained) and everyone can easily get any skills he wants.
The fighter also has so many feats that he could use one of his 10 character feats to get a +3 to one skill or a +2 to two related skills he should really need.

You seem to miss all the hindrances of the avenger talents, which make them no more valuable than rogue talents or barbarian's rage powers.
None of them is worth multiple feats, just because of that.

For example, the "pounce option" you cited is just a very dangerous form of charge which leaves the avenger with a -6 to AC until his next turn. This leaves him very open to heavy retaliation, if his foe survives or if there are multiple foes.
Also, most of the best talents he gets only give good results against unaware foes, so basically only at the start of combat and only when the vigilante acts first. This is the very definition of "circumstancial".

Regarding the home community, the vigilante has only a couple CITIES in which to use many of his class abilities, and that's a fact. He can attune himself to a new city, but only by renouncing to one of the older ones and only if he spend a week doing so, which means that his overall efficiency doesn't change that much and he's unable to adapt rapidly.

Same with the ranger: outside his favored terrains and with no one to hunt for he's pretty average and can rely only on spells and skills to have an edge on his foes.

A fighter is a very good combatant in every place, against every foe, with no real limitation apart his selection of feats and weapon trainings.
His perk is just that: being very good at fighting in basically all possible occasions, instead of being really good in some limited occasions and fairly average or below average in all the rest.
The classes which have "bursts" of afficiency have some other skills or ability to make up for their limitations, but this doesn't make them "better fighters", just playable characters instead of crappy characters (do you remember the old 3.5 paladin, very good at hitting the first evil enemy he encountered and then completely useless or underpowered?)

What you can argue upon, maybe, is that there are some rather inefficient feat trees or underperforming weapons in the game, which ultimately can hinder some builds of the fighter, but that doesn't mean that the fighter class as a whole is underpowered or useless.
The class represents the master of weapons, armors and armed combat (hence his trainings and loads of feats), not the kings, nobles, diplomats, knights or such very specific kind of characters.
He's just as varied as other classes, especially in Pathfinder, where you also have archetypes to tweak his abilities. No other class is as varied as him in what regards combat, though, because that's what the fighter is built for.

Other classes have bonuses with all the weapons they can use, sure, but at the moment they can use only some kind of weapons (monks, druids) or get their bonuses only in some circumstances (barbarians, paladins, rangers, etc.)
The fighter gets his bonuses when he uses some specific selection of the weapons he can use, so he's kind in the middle, but he's not less efficient than the others: he needs no particular circumstances except for using a selection of weapons, still wider than most of the limited weapons classes.

Also, it's easy to make weapon groups and weapons used to coincide: just limit the use of class bonuses to weapons you are proficient with (and maybe in some cases also to those you are familiar with). For example, a rogue can sneak attack only with weapons from the groups he learned to use, but there could be a talent allowing him to use also weapons he's only familiar with (and another to extend that to improvised and unknown weapons too).

I would really not have characters waste their few and precious skill points in single weapon proficiencies. Skills are far more useful for those. But I also don't want to waste a feat just to get a single weapon proficiency, as in the current rules. Weapon groups solve this problem too: instead of just one, you learn a whole bunch of similar weapons.

Besides, groups are not that dumb: similar weapons are used in similar ways, so what's really dumb is forcing a character to learn each weapon separately, even if they are basically the same thing (for example, long spear, spetum, partisan, and korseke or axes, hammers, and picks).

And introducing weapon groups is but one of the changes I'm thinking of: I'm also reworking two-weapons combat, critical threat and multiplier, armors, shields and reach, introducing weapon encumbrance, etc. This also means changing a whole lot of feats, especially those underperforming relics from 3.5 or those too heavy on prerequisite for the benefit they give (weapon specialization and combat maneuver feats in primis), and rewriting most of the weapons in the game (easier than it seems).

You also have Magus (combat magic), Elementalist (a variant specialist wizard with different focus) or Kineticist (both for elemental magic), alchemist (material magic), Bard (magic songs), Healer (3.5 Miniature's Handbook, but in need of heavy rebuild), Oracle (divination, if you rework his spell list) and Witch (curses and afflictions, also needs a reworked spell list).

I would not use the dread necromancer as a base, since he's more of a villain or a doomed anti-hero, bound to be corrupted and lost. Surely, there should be some kind of necromantic figure among the casters.

The only one of the list I agree upon is the heavy crossbow. The others are bound to suck, because when compared to weapons intended for war are just inadequate (the starknife is just an absurdity).
I would rather rework many polearms and the way reach and cumbersomness work, alongside many weapon properties.

It's the same thing as with the vigilante: he's a circumstance-bound combatant.
The ranger is a hunter and an explorer. He's a fine light combatant or archer, very able when following and engaging a single enemy or some specific kind of creatures on a familiar terrain, but rather average in basically any other combat situation and usually low on defense.
He has some good array of survival and exploration-themed skills and some druid-like spells to make up for his combat limits, so it's balanced in the end. I like more the spell-less skirmisher ranger, though.

I'm thinking a similar overhaul of the system, not by changing the fighter class too much (just the capstones, which I really don't like), but rather by changing some combat rules, the whole weapon list's properties, and a whole lot of feats (especially combat ones).

For example, I can't just understand why the fighter has weapon groups, but weapon proficiencies and fighter specific feats are not based on those weapon groups (like the whole specialization tree, which focuses on just ONE SINGLE WEAPON and gives really lame bonuses).
By using something similar to the old weapon groups proficiencies from AD&D 2nd Edition (a very bad version of which appeared in 3.5 supplement Unearthed Arcana), I could give an edge to the fighter similar to that of the rogue with skill points or the barbarian with his hit die: poor BAB classes would have proficiency in 2 weapon groups, medium BAB classes in 4 weapon groups (with some exceptions, such as clerics), good BAB classes in 6 groups, and the fighter in 8 groups. Also, there would be no "exotic" weapons, just more groups of weapons and more weapons in existing groups. In this system, shields are weapons, not armor, and they form their own group (also, with some changes to their use).
Having weapon groups for everyone, we could introduce some changes, such as:

Weapon Familiarity: every humanoid is familiar with some basic groups of weapons (maces, close, knives), which means that they get only a -2 penalty when using them without proficiency. Good BAB classes are familiar with all weapon groups (this includes Unchained monks).

All feats that apply their benefits to one specific weapon do so with all the weapons in a specific group.

Fighter-specific, weapon-based feats should have as prerequisite a certain level of the Weapon Training class feature instead of just some other feat or a class level, which far too many other classes can duplicate. These kind of feats would basically do what the opener is trying to do with his homerule, just with normal combat feats instead of a new point-based mechanic, and for a whole group of weapons at once (allowing some flexibility).

Obviously, such a reworking would utterly eliminate the need for garbage such as the Weapon Focus/Weapon Specialization tree.

The vigilante (avenger) is by no means a "replacement" for the fighter. He has his own niche, which is being the "Batman" of the community in which he resides. Outside his community, he's just an average combatant with a bunch of useless social class abilities.
The vigilante is a class useful in urban campaigns which rarely move outside the main city base, while a true fighter is boundless and can function at his fullest everywhere. Also, not every vigilante is an avenger; that's just one of his specializations, much like a wizard's school.

The biggest problem I see with the fighter is players who want to have their cake and to eat it too.
The fighter is the master of combat. He shines in combat. He longs for combat. He lives for combat. He gets some skills, but he's basically a fighting machine.
If you choose to play a fighter, you have to accept that your character will be mostly a death dispenser, unless you invest some feats and skill points to give him some other areas of expertise (and in Pathfinder there are also archetypes and other options).
If you want him to be able to do other things, just multiclass it: a fighter/rogue or fighter/bard has all the skills he needs (and a lot of extras too), while a fighter/alchemist or fighter/sorcerer gains some nasty magic to add to his arsenal. Giving him a good Int score will also help: maybe if it's not built like a moron, it will have some other perks up his sleeve.

A lesser problem is that there are many feats, especially those coming from 3.5 which were not properly updated, that are poorly written and/or obsolete, while some combat rules, especially those tied to the weapon types and their functioning, are somewhat inadequate or inconsistent.
Maybe, fixing those things would help (and not just the fighter).

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First impressions out of the box...

I do like the approach taken by the first class, the kineticist, that is to not use spells or spell slots but instead draw heavily on spell-like abilities and supernatural powers, much like the old 3.5 warlock (but with better concept and mechanics)...

I do not like the other five being just other vancian spellcasters with some perks and tweaks... It seems to me that they could just be variant classes for other older classes (psychic = sorcerer, spiritualist = summoner etc.) or class archetypes...
Maybe there could be a way to make these other classes into slotless magic users? The occultist, for example, could gain access to powers through his implements at will, but risking burning those out in a way similar to the kineticist, if he overuses them (they get damaged and can be destroyed, so he loses access to those powers until he's capable of replace the related implement)... And does the medium really need those few spells he can use? His spirits are already an awesome and versatile feature, which could be tweaked so to not need any extra vancian magic (maybe they could just be supernatural powers or spell-like abilities usable at will but at the risk of gaining more spirit influence at each use after the first).

Thought and Emotion components are really a nice addition... They should be used even by the slotless class(es), since they add really a lot of flavour...

Vult Wrathblades wrote:

My suggestion was to make all of the maneuvers only provoke if the CMB roll is failed. Then if you also take the feat you still get your +2 to CMB and CMD and also do not provoke if you fail.

I was just thinking this would open up a lot of options to combat. I dont think you would see a drastic increase in people using combat maneuvers as action economy would still better be served with damage, but it might raise the fun level.

Any thoughts?

I use this method since Pathfinder was published.

It makes a lot more sense, since if you are trying a maneuver, you are a clear menace and you are on the offensive, so you are not really leaving an opening for the enemy to strike back at you... unless you fail and find yourself out of position.

I'm also thinking about reducing the number of feats to master maneuvers. I will surely fuse together the "improved" versions to some degree (for example "Forceful Maneuvers" to comprehend the benefits from Improved Bull Rush, Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder and Improved Drag).
This for two reasons: first, the reduced benefit of taking such feats since you provoke an AoO only if you fail the maneuver, and second, to allow characters to be good at more than just a single maneuver or two (with just 10 feats in 20 levels, having to spend 3 just to master a single maneuver is a "no way" for many players).
I could also substitute the starting feat prerequisite (Power Attack, Combat Expertise, Improved Unarmed Strike) of such feats with some non-feat prerequisite (or no requisite at all), for the same reason. This would allow a character to master a group of related maneuvers with a reasonable number of feats (and a fighter to master all of them, if so he wishes, since he's the master of combat techniques).

The "Greater" feats would stay as they are, just with updated prerequisites, since they represent the true maneuver specialization.

The later printing of the Bestiary does not exclude a possible misprinting or faulty revision, especially since it contradicts a general rule in the core with another one which functions in a very different way.

And that different functioning is what I define a "discrepancy", one so evident, even looking back at how the corresponding parts os 3.5 ruleset where written, that it can't be anything else but a gross refuse.

Since almost all source of negative levels are from some monsters, there should be no need for two different general rules: they could have just made specific rules for those very few spells or abilities that are not from monsters.
Also, there are still no errata at the moment, both for Bestiary and for Core, to solve this discrepancy. If the Bestiary one was the revised version, one of the five version of the Core's errata should have corrected its entry.

Yep... The problem is that we have two general rules, and not a general one and a specific one...

The description of an ability in a specific monster entry may be a specific rule, while the universal monster rules and the special abilities list are the sources for general rules about special abilities... The problem is that, in this case, we have two contradictory general rules where the entries should be the same both in the Core and the Bestiary, as they were in 3.5's Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual...

If it was just a case of a specific rule beating a general one, I would not have posted a request for an official clarification or correction at all...

In the meantime, I will stick to the version I like the most, that is the one in the Core, since it's a far better conceived rule than the too-3.5-like one in the Bestiary: it is not a "save or die" kind of rule, yet it is still a nasty menace, a true Pathfinder-style rule...

This is not about how me or you handle energy drain in the game... I strictly follow what the Core says and I too can tell how every source of negative levels works...

What I'd like to see is some official errata that excludes one or the other version of the rule, so to be sure what the right one is once and for all...

Besides, it's quite some time that no new errata get published, even though there are some manuals in desperate need for some...

Nope, it's not that simple...

As you can read from my quote above, the Core Rulebook refers to BOTH monster abilities and other sources of negative levels... This just cuts away the "bestiary refers to monsters, the Core to others" explanation...

Besides, the "permanentization" after 24 hours was the way negative levels functioned in 3.x, so, to me, that part looks a lot like a refuse of some sort...

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This isn't so clear...

There are two different descriptions of the Energy Drain ability... That one is from the Bestiary, but the one on the Core is very different:

Someone said wrote:

Energy Drain and Negative Levels

Some spells and a number of undead creatures have the ability to drain away life and energy; this dreadful attack results in “negative levels.” These cause a character to take a number of penalties.

For each negative level a creature has, it takes a cumulative –1 penalty on all ability checks, attack rolls, combat maneuver checks, Combat Maneuver Defense, saving throws, and skill checks. In addition, the creature reduces its current and total hit points by 5 for each negative level it possesses. The creature is also treated as one level lower for the purpose of level-dependent variables (such as spellcasting) for each negative level possessed. Spellcasters do not lose any prepared spells or slots as a result of negative levels. If a creature's negative levels equal or exceed its total Hit Dice, it dies.

A creature with temporary negative levels receives a new saving throw to remove the negative level each day. The DC of this save is the same as the effect that caused the negative levels.

Some abilities and spells (such as raise dead) bestow permanent level drain on a creature. These are treated just like temporary negative levels, but they do not allow a new save each day to remove them. Level drain can be removed through spells like restoration. Permanent negative levels remain after a dead creature is restored to life. A creature whose permanent negative levels equal its Hit Dice cannot be brought back to life through spells like raise dead and resurrection without also receiving a restoration spell, cast the round after it is restored to life.

This makes clear that temporary negative levels give a ST each day, while permanent do not give a ST at all...

Could some developer tell us which one is the right one? I like more the one on the Core Rulebook, but at the moment they are both "official"...

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My two cents...

Flurry of Blows: Nice change, which adds attack options to a still too static special ability...

Ki Pool: I'm not sure I like this one. A monk already does more damage with its fists than with any other monk weapon and this change basically removes the only thing that made weapons viable for a monk: to bypass RDs that unarmed strikes were unable to bypass...
Maybe it would have been better to modify the whole monk damage mechanics or making bypassing RD a ki point burning ability (similar to how a paladin's smite ability works)...

Amulet of Mighty Fists: Not sure what to think about this. I always thought that such an object should not exist and there should be other ways to bypass RDs with natural attacks and unarmed strikes. Besides, the rule about enhancement bonuses as equivalent to materials looks really silly to me, since it removes the need for those special materials to exist in the first place: you just need a bigger bonus, like in the past, a thing which was thankfully removed with 3.5 and needed not to be brought back...

Nipin wrote:
Mad Master wrote:

Weakness abilities

Impaired Magic, Lesser (–2 RP): Prerequisites: Spell Resistance, Lesser; Weakness: Members of this race are subject to their own spell resistance. Every time they try to cast a spell or use a magical item they must overcome their own spell resistance (objects use their caster level). This trait do not affects bonuses of the following types from use-activated objects, unless they are generated by a spell or spell-like effect: armor, deflection, enhancement, natural armor, resistance, shield.
A magic item which overcome the SR of the creature keeps functioning until the effect ends, it is removed or it is deactivated. After that, it have to pass SR again.

Impaired Magic, Greater (–3 RP): Prerequisites: Spell Resistance, Greater; Weakness: Same as above, for higher SR.

(These hindrances counterweigh the cost for SR, so having both a SR and the corresponding Impaired Magic costs 0 RPs)...

I would mention that this would be a huge benefit for Warrior races. A Fighter with free Greater Spell Resistance is not much of a drawback. The majority of magic the fighter would use falls into the categories which are specifically allowed (i.e. items). They miss out on in combat healing and a few buff spells (haste primarily) and they could just drop their spell resistance when needed(it is not disallowed by the rules you presented). In exchange they gain a great deal of spell resistance for free.

I would add the restriction that they can not voluntarily lower their spell resistance during combat situations at least. I would also strongly recommend not completely negating the point cost of spell resistance.

It cannot be lowered, just forgot to add that in my post...

You do not consider that this kind of spell resistance affects also non-spellcasting classes, because it negates almost any magical item they could use and any buff they could receive...

Yes, they could use their +5 enhancement bonus from their sword or get that +2 resistance bonus to STs from that ring, but they can't use their weapon's or ring's special abilities, cannot receive protective magic such as energy resistance, remedies such as a cure diseases or a greater restoration, and not even utility magic such as a planar travel spell or a teleport, without having to pass their SR...
Magical afflictions hardly affect them, but once they get in, they are very hard to get rid of... Negative levels from creatures set in normally, but they cannot be removed so easily...
Every single magical item (even a potion) must pass their SR just to function correctly, except for the listed bonuses, and they must use their own caster level to do so, etc...

Even a ranger or a paladin will get a lot of troubles when using their spells or spell-like abilities...

You get a good trait, but also a far more cumbersome hindrance... That's why the cost for the first is canceled by the latter...

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