Nar'shinddah Sugimar

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A lot of great comments in here, both for and against my proposals. I am going to try to respond to as many of you guys as I can, but thanks to all of you for your feedback.

MER-c wrote:
If you want my honest opinion, I would not play what you have presented, I think it's just a list of things people want to have so they can play ever more powerful characters and find new ways to subvert the intended goal of telling a story.

It's funny because the other place I posted this, I got accused of trying to take away everyone's super-powered badass characters just for reducing the level bonus.

But I can understand how you would come to that conclusion. Ultimately, I am not trying to make characters more powerful, but I am trying to broaden the sources of character power.

Power that comes solely from your level is boring, particularly when it dwarfs actual character build choices. A reduction in the class bonus makes all other bonuses more significant in the balance of the game, and broadens the range of potential encounters. That range increases just a little more with the health and stamina proposal as well, since you get a bit more durability at level 1 and less increase per level thereafter.

Power that comes from your class is great, but is inherently limited to the theme and role of the class. This was (mostly) fine in 1e, because no matter what class you played, you had feats at every other level which were usually used to increase your combat abilities, and could do so in just about any way you could imagine. Characters of any class could take archery feats, or teamwork feats, not just the ones that had that as part of their planned role. But in 2e, the general feats and skill feats are designed to be less combat oriented, with all that combat focused stuff being rolled back into class feats. Classes no longer feel like a chassis on which to build a character, they feel like a limitation you impose on yourself at level 1. The design of the game is telling you that you are to stay in your lane and play what they tell you to play.

In essence, my feat proposal is saying that instead of taking the combat focus out of general feats and throwing it into your class, we should put it into a separate feat progression. In doing so, you don't increase combat power as much as you increase variety of build options.

Power that comes from ancestry feats also become a restriction when you are forced to take them as you level up, even if they do not really belong in your character concept. This is where the idea of heritages/heritage feats is a good one, but one which should be expanded to make ancestries more meaningful right out of the gate. Since they can represent innate abilities, they don't really clash with character choice in quite the same way. And while some people seem to want ancestry to become little more than a cosmetic choice, I and many others have always liked playing interesting races just as much as interesting classes, and the mechanics are critically important to that kind of enjoyment. That's why many people who dislike the current state of ancestries complain that you basically only get to be an elf/dwarf/gnome/whatever at level 17.

Other than that, the only slight power level increase I think I argued for was reactions for everyone, which isn't really a big boost of any kind, just a better utilization of a lot of wasted design space. Getting a +1 to AC against a single attack because you declared you would use your reaction to dodge, or falling prone to get a bonus against ranged attacks only to have to get up on your next turn, that's hardly the stuff of legends.

As you said, the goal (for many) is telling a story. I firmly believe that the above changes contribute to that goal because they increase the choices players have regarding what kind of characters they will bring to that story.

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The playtest has been going on for quite a while, and after months of discussion and several rules updates, I've had a lot of time to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the system. I think there are a lot of good ideas, and even those aspects of the system which I have issues with, I think can be tweaked to make something really good. And it is for that reason that I am sharing with you an outline of how we can make the best of all possible second editions.

Some of these things I have commented on before, and some are things that have evolved over the course of the playtest. But I present it all together now because ultimately, each element affects the others, and thus a big picture approach is useful. That said, obviously many people will agree with some of my ideas while disagreeing with others, and that's fine too. This isn't meant to be a list of demands for what the system must be, but a vision of what the system could be, a template for the kind of changes that could truly elevate it to greatness.

Before we begin I feel it would be worth noting that most of the changes are in service of the following goals:

1. Increasing player choice
2. Supporting a wider variety of playstyles and story types.
3. Better utilizing existing design space and creating more room for growth.
4. Reducing the gulf between game mechanics and in-universe logic.

As you can see, my priorities here are about not just about improving the design to fit my tastes, but also to make the system as a whole more versatile and capable of appealing to a wider variety of people. Part of the problem with the "try the most extreme change first" method employed in the playtest is that those extreme changes tend to leave a lot less flexibility than moderate approaches, and a system ought to be flexible enough to work for people who have different tastes and priorities. That's why, for example, I am not throwing out the ability score boosts at character creation in favor of rolling stats, even though I have no intention of ever giving up rolling for character creation. Since that is something where the system can already support both playstyles, there is no need to comment.

Now, let's get to it.


Character Creation and Feats

As many people have pointed out, ancestries are damn near empty at level 1, and it is very weird that it will take a dozen or more levels before you can start to actually feel like you are a member of your race. And at the same time, the fact that ancestry feats are mandatory means your character has to develop in a specific way even if you wanted them to be different. While separating feat progressions to better allow flavorful noncombat feats to exist is a good idea, forcing a specific type that players may not want is a mistake. As such, I propose the following changes.

Heritage Feats: Heritages are back to being called heritage feats (for what little difference that makes) and instead of getting a single one at level 1, you now get four. In this way, you can get a fully fleshed out member of your ancestry right at level 1. And because you can mix and match, there is less at stake for each individual selection, and therefore less pressure to pick the optimal choice over flavorful ones.

In addition, the Mixed Heritage general feat allows you to also count as a member of another ancestry, and take up to three of those heritage feats from that other ancestry. This allows for all playable humanoid races to be mixed as half-races. In order to keep half-orcs in core, orc is now a core race.

Ancestry Feats: Ancestry feats are no longer a category. All such feats are now sorted into other feat categories and simply have an ancestry as a prerequisite. You can still make Dwarfy McDwarferson, the Dwarfiest Dwarf who ever Dwarfed™, but you can also play a dwarf that is just a regular guy, or even one who is very un-dwarf-like, an anti-dwarf.

Feat Progression: All those ancestry feats you gained as you leveled up are now replaced with general feats. In addition, we introduce a new category, combat feats. Combat feats are, just as the name suggests, feats that focus on improving combat abilities. This category would not only allow any character to improve their abilities with a bow or sword, but also allows for things like unarmed combat, teamwork feats, and metamagic. It also provides an appropriate place for improving things like armor proficiency and saves for those who don't get them automatically from their class. Anything that is combat focused but not terribly specific to a single class can potentially go here. And by taking the generic combet feats out of class feats, we leave more room for flavorful and unique abilities for each class.

So, you get general feats and combat feats at all odd numbered levels, and class feats and skill feats at all even numbered levels. This creates a nice, smooth progression of 2 feats per level, one of which is largely combat focused, one of which is more likely noncombat.

Backgrounds: You now select three backgrounds, your first, second and third backgrounds. Each background offers three potential benefits, the first being a stat bonus, the second being a skill feat and the third being a lore skill. Effectively, backgrounds remain unchanged except that you get to pick three and choose which gives you the stat boost, which gives you the skill feat and which gives you the lore skill. Again, this allows for more player choice and more flavor, and also prevents the current problem where campaign specific backgrounds eliminate all other options because you only get one.

I also wouldn't mind seeing more variety in the types of things you can get from backgrounds, possibly replacing the skill feat or in the form of a fourth benefit that, like traits in 1e, can be anything.


Life and Death

The dying system in the playtest is one of my biggest sticking points. By completely separating damage from death, they have turned the entire health system into the kind of save or die effect that the four degrees of success system has been working to eliminate, and also created a recurring problem with consequences since there is no lingering damage to heal. The addition of treat wounds was a step in the right direction, but it has a lot of flaws and easily healing to full renders damage meaningless from the opposite direction as well. All these problems can be eliminated while still getting the best of both worlds if we switch to a health and stamina based system.

Health and Stamina: HP gets replaced with health and stamina. You now start with health equal to your constitution score plus your race bonus (now 3, 4, or 5), and this does not scale with level, though certain things may cause it to increase, such as the toughness feat. Every level you gain stamina equal to your Con modifier plus your class bonus, now 3, 4, 5, or 6. Incoming lethal damage goes through stamina first before targeting health unless otherwise stated by a specific effect, such as a coup de grace. Nonlethal damage goes through stamina before piling up in a separate stack, causing unconsciousness if it ever exceeds your current health.

Healing: The fine details of how healing work could go a number of ways, but the basic concept is rather straightforward. Stamina heals quickly and easily, health heals slowly and at more cost. Leaning towards simplicity, I would suggest that healing magic should affect health at a third the rate it affects stamina, and that the caster can decide which to target first. Stamina heals naturally while resting at an hourly rate, health is restored naturally at a daily rate. Treat wounds can speed up this process, though restoring health require medical supplies by default, and cannot be used repeatedly on the same damage. Medicine comes in varying degrees of quality, giving tools to the GM to make restoring health easier or harder depending on preferred playstyles, and in a way that does not affect the balance of in combat healing.

Dying: Whenever your stamina is at 0, you are fatigued (or something like it). When your health is at 0 or below, you lose consciousness. When your health hits a negative value equal to or greater than your max health, you begin saving against death. If you fail the save you die, if you pass the save you live for another round, and if you crit the save you stabilize and make no more saves until you take damage. The DC for the save is determined by your negative health, so the more damage you take, the more likely you are to die. And because there is a decent size buffer between conscious and dying, you won't see people popping up and down over and over again in a single fight.

This system eliminates the arbitrariness of the current condition based system, and creates a better balance between allowing easy recovery between fights to keep the adventure going, while also allowing for some injuries to have a lingering consequences.


Rolling the Dice

The math of 2e is both a strength and a weakness. While it is in a way brilliant and elegant, the entire system is kept in a stranglehold by the balancing issue it creates. Because a crit is always +10 or -10, the DCs for everything have be very tightly controlled, and bonuses have to be carefully guarded. Except, for some reason, we still get a level bonus which trumps all other bonuses combined.

Crits and Botches: The crit system gets a much needed overhaul to free up the math a bit and allow for some flexibility in design. As before, exceeding the DC can cause a crit, but now crits come in multiple levels which are triggered in increments of 5. The effects of crits are written out in a format similar to heightening. If you get a bonus for every 5 points by which you beat the DC it would be crit +1, if you get a bonus for every 10 it would be crit +2, and so on. For the sake of clarity, I would call the levels of critical failure botch -1, botch -2 and so on.

So an entry on treat wounds might look something like this:

  • Success: The target regains stamina equal to their level + their con.
  • Crit +1: The target regains additional stamina equal to their level + their con
  • Crit +2 (Max +2): You may expend 1 use of medical supplies to restore health to the target equal to their Con + the quality modifier of the medical supplies used, and the target becomes bolstered against this effect.
  • Failure: The target regains no stamina.
  • Botch -1: That target takes 1 point of nonlethal damage

    Not only would this allow for a tremendous amount of flexibility in the math, it would even allow for multiple crit or botch effects that trigger at different levels of success. And it's simple and takes up no more page space that the rigid 4 degrees we have now.

    1s and 20s: Because of this, we also reduce the extreme swinging of the dice a bit, as 20s and 1s become a flat +5/-5. Still enough to make them special, but not enough to make them routinely do idiotic things.

    Level Bonus: Level bonus is reduced to 1/4 level. This will keep the basic concept around, but reduces it to a much more reasonable progression, where level provides slightly less of a bonus than going from untrained to legendary. It also greatly expands the flexibility GMs have in putting together encounters without murdering the party or boring them to death. Having a 1/4 level bonus still allows for the party to be special, super powered heroes if you want to play that way, but doesn't preclude more down to earth stories for groups who prefer that sort of thing, the way the current system does.


    Miscellaneous Changes

    The rest of these I would consider to be smaller things, but still too important for me to not mention them.

    Weapon Damage: Damage no longer scales monstrously. Weapon quality gives a flat bonus to attack and damage, while enchantments add cool effects. This not only makes a lot more sense when the quality bonus is nonmagical, it is also necessary to be compatible with the slower rate of stamina gain as described above. Damage scaling from other sources would obviously be affected as well, but that should go without saying.

    Size Modifiers: Size modifiers are back. Let's be honest, this was never hard to keep track of, and it very rarely ever changed. AC and attack go up, weapon damage and carryweight go down, certain specific skill uses are affected. Easy.

    Bulk: Bulk is gone and good riddance to it. This is pretty much the only thing about which I will say I could find no redeeming value. You want a simpler max carryweight calculation? Fine, strength score times X, Y, and Z for light medium and heavy, done. Want to switch to kilos instead of pounds? Fine with me. But this nonsense where nothing resembles a real world weight, and a scimitar is ten times the encumbrance of a short sword and half the encumbrance of a full set of chainmail? No. Just no.

    Resonance: Resonance, at least as it was, is gone. Individual magic items have their own limitations, whether that means that they are consumable or used x times per day. I would also prefer worn equipment be slot based, but I am not going to fight and die for that alone.

    Reactions: We want more of them. Everyone gets a few basic reactions just for being alive, conscious and capable of reacting to their surroundings. Things like hitting the deck, attempting to dodge or parry for a small AC bonus against a single attack, and taking a step can now be done as a reaction by anyone. As you you level up and gain feats, you can get more reactions and improve the ones you already have, but at least these basic things are always available. No more characters going into a vegetative state between turns, and consequently, all the more incentive for players to stay alert as well.



    And that's my list. Obviously there are a lot of little things that I could probably nitpick,* but these are the big system-wide things that I feel the need to comment on. Because while there will always be nits to pick, these are the things that will likely change whether my group and others like them decide to move over to 2e, or write it off as 4th edition all over again. And I don't say that lightly or maliciously, but as someone who genuinely sees parallels to the very situation the brought me into Pathfinder.

    2e needs to be a well designed system, and one which can appeal to many types of players and groups. Not only does it have to compete with D&D for the attention of newcomers to the hobby, it also has to compete with many other systems to hold onto existing players, and compete with it's own first edition. If 2e is not an improvement in the eyes of those who have been playing it, most will either stick with the current content and maybe hope for continued support and/or a system reboot from third party devs, or they will migrate to other games. God knows there is no shortage of games that I want to play but haven't had time for.

    Pathfinder has been able to keep me coming back because it is a system where I can play damn near any character I want in damn near any type of story I want. It is that variety that keeps me coming back, and that is the element that I want to make sure 2e retains. Without that, there is nothing to separate it from games like Shadowrun or VtM, which are certainly fun, but too restrictive to be the default option for the next big game your group plays. Even a very well designed 2e would only ever see a little use at my table if it continues down the path of limited story and character choice. If I'm going to be shoehorned into something, I'll choose to be shoehorned into something new that suits my mood at the time, such as Mistborn or Dresden Files.

    And that would be a shame, because I do see great potential in PF2e. I think this could be a great system, which is why I've posted this overly long manifesto on the subject. I want to see the system become the new default game at my table. I want it to be the system that I bring new people into. I want it to be the system that I can master over the next decade. And I want it to become so dear to me that I can have reservations about switching to a third edition.

    What do you guys think? Does this sound like a system you'd want to play or am I butchering an already good system? Are there sweeping changes you think could make 2E better? I'd love to hear it.

    *I could make a pretty big list of things that should be free actions but aren't. It's enough that I think it might be good to bring back swift actions, if only so we have a fifth action per turn reserved for paying these types of action taxes.

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    Ironeye wrote:
    Igor Horvat wrote:

    I would still prefer if we get lots of ancestry features at 1st level and any feat tied to ancestry should be some kind of upgrade of default features.

    Having run the game for complete newbies before, I'm glad the ancestries are slimmed down. The players got really frustrated with all of the miscellaneous abilities they needed to write down before they got going, the vast majority of which never came up.

    Speed, HP, size, and attribute bonuses/penalties are frequently relevant. An AC bonus against specific enemies, the ability to talk to burrowing animals, and proficiency in specific weapons are all just wastes of character creation time unless the player actively wants them.

    I'm totally in favor of giving one or two decisions at level 1 that let players choose something that THEY find compelling rather than loading people up with several lines of extra, irrelevant text to copy down before they can start playing the game.

    The problem with 1E was that it started with locked in, predefined race traits, and then grafted on a system of alternate traits. This made things complex for new players to follow and put a tremendous strain on system balance.

    2E is in a great position to fix this by building the system from the ground up so that all you have to do is select the racial features you want from a list. Call them heritages, feats, traits, whatever, they are all the same thing. Selecting two to four things from a list is not harder than selecting one. Having more than one to choose actually lowers the stakes a bit, so new player don't have to worry about wasting their one and only choice on something they end up never using.

    It eases balancing pressure as well. Let's be honest, if you only get one to choose, and they aren't all garbage, you're going to see a lot of people taking the optimal choice, a few people taking the next best thing, and everything else was largely a waste of paper. If you have four choices, everyone will take the optimal thing, and maybe the next best one, but there will still be room for the sub-optimal but flavorful things and the situational ones if you want them.

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    Captain Morgan wrote:
    Makeitstop wrote:

    Sounds like a step in the right direction at least.

    I'd still prefer at least two heritage feats selections at first level, if not more. Ancestries just feel so empty compared to 1E races, and combinations of options are far more interesting and satisfying than singular choices. While we obviously have to wait and see the actual rules update before coming to any conclusions, this still sounds like far less than I would have liked.

    I can't think of a good reason to give folks 2 heritages, TBH. At least not when you still get a 1st level ancestry feat and heritages may be mutually exclusive.

    Now, you could argue they should still get more ancestry feats, be it at level 1 or later, but multiple heritages? Nah.

    If heritages are whole collections of features, essentially making them a complete sub-race package, then yes, one would be enough. But if we are talking about essentially one trait? Yeah, that's a waste of design space.

    And it leads to the weird situation where the whole race is either the kind that has low-light vision or the ones with fangs, but no overlap between them. When you can mix and match, the race as a whole feels a lot more organic and plausible.

    And quite frankly, more choices, more mechanics, more flavor, that's all more fun.

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    Sounds like a step in the right direction at least.

    I'd still prefer at least two heritage feats selections at first level, if not more. Ancestries just feel so empty compared to 1E races, and combinations of options are far more interesting and satisfying than singular choices. While we obviously have to wait and see the actual rules update before coming to any conclusions, this still sounds like far less than I would have liked.

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    I've come to similar conclusions about the crit system and its effects on the math of the game. It's too rigid, and has a stranglehold over the system.

    My solution would be to adjust crits to +5/-5, and to express the effect of those crits in a similar format to heightening, with multiple levels of crit being possible. If you get a bonus for every 5 points by which you beat the DC it would be crit +1, if you get a bonus for every 10 it would be crit +2, and so on. For the sake of clarity, I would call the levels of critical failure botch -1, botch -2 and so on.

    So an entry on might look something like this:

    Success: You deal damage normally.
    Crit +2: You deal an additional damage die on top of the normal damage.
    Failure: You deal no damage.
    Botch -4: You drop your weapon and are filled with immense shame at your failure.

    Not only would this allow for a tremendous amount of flexibility in the math, it would even allow for multiple crit or botch effects that trigger at different levels of success. And it's simple and takes up no more page space that the rigid 4 degrees we have now.

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    Yeah, I would be all for things like tiefling and aasimar being half-ancestry feat chains which can be applied to any ancestry, since their other half is something which is unlikely to ever be playable. But doing it that way for things that are already playable seems like an inefficient way of doing things. I mean, I wouldn't object to them making a half-ancestry feat chain for every single playable ancestry they introduce over the life of the system, but I doubt they ever would.

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    Quandary wrote:
    Makeitstop wrote:
    Quandary wrote:
    I don't think they want to return to negative HPs which equate 1:1 with damage...

    It seems pretty apparent that they don't, but I'm going to keep arguing that they should. The dying rules are needlessly complicated and completely rob the game of any sense of reality. They aren't more fun, they aren't easier to run and understand, they are just more random and convoluted.

    Is counting below zero really that hard? Was the possibility of being killed instantly upon being hit for ridiculous amounts of damage so bad that it was worth the chance of dying from a tiny flesh wound because "lol, rolled a 1" and eliminating the possibility of predictably leaving downed characters alive?

    OK, just to clarify this (feel free to have different preference), the REASON I see for not tying CON score or modifier to damage/HPs directly (ala negative HPs) is the numeric relationship doesn't stand. Damage expectation and CON score or modifier don't scale identically from 1st level to 20th level, so even if apply perfect ratio at 1st it won't track damage expectations. It's fine to want some relationship or involvement of CON, but that's why a DIRECT relationship like negative HPs is problematic.

    I fully recognize that negative Constitution being the point at which you die leads to a scaling issue. There are multiple possible solutions to that issue however, which do not require getting rid of negative HP altogether.

    The most basic solution would be to make the death point scale, as Fuzzypaws suggested. It's the simplest and most direct approach.

    Or, you could rebalance damage to not scale, though I imagine that would not be very popular.

    Alternatively, you could keep the concept of saves against death, and initiate them either while in negative hp or while at or past your negative constitution. This can be done with an automatic point of death if you like, or with no hard limit on how far down you can go, as I tried to suggest earlier. This way you still get the save, but it isn't as easy to pop back to 1 hp, and you have an actual number to represent how hurt you are which can be used to determine a DC. A hybrid of the two systems which mitigates some of the issues of both.

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    Quandary wrote:
    Makeitstop wrote:

    Adding a wounded condition is an interesting choice, but it's also one which continues the trend of completely separating damage from consequences. [...] If it at least applies a penalty to all your d20 rolls or something, then it might at least seem like you are actually injured in some way.

    I think this would be better handled by just having a small amount of nonscaling health (possibly equaling your constitution score) and having what is now HP become stamina. Stamina heals easily, health does not. Hit 0 health and you fall unconscious. If we must do away with the "negative constitution score = death rule" and have saves, then have the DC be based on your negative health points, probably half rounding down.

    I don't think they want to return to negative HPs which equate 1:1 with damage...

    It seems pretty apparent that they don't, but I'm going to keep arguing that they should. The dying rules are needlessly complicated and completely rob the game of any sense of reality. They aren't more fun, they aren't easier to run and understand, they are just more random and convoluted.

    Is counting below zero really that hard? Was the possibility of being killed instantly upon being hit for ridiculous amounts of damage so bad that it was worth the chance of dying from a tiny flesh wound because "lol, rolled a 1" and eliminating the possibility of predictably leaving downed characters alive?

    As a player, I like knowing that if I die, it was because it was the logical result of the choices made and actions taken in combat. As a GM, I like being able to know that I can make my PCs feel like they are in danger of dying while still having the ability hold back when appropriate and not turn my campaign into a random and senseless slaughterhouse. As an amateur game designer, I like having a continuous progression from healthy to dead with many layers of gradation, rather than an abrupt switch to a completely different system that makes things binary.

    It's odd that they can recognize that getting hit by a fireball is a lot more fun than getting hit with a save or die spell, but not see how turning everything into that save or die effect could be seen as a mistake.

    I'm not sure to what extent I'm in the minority on this, and I do doubt that Paizo is likely to consider going back to negative hit points without a huge push from the players. But for me, outside the playtest, I wouldn't touch these rules with a ten foot pole. Either it gets homebrewed out or I play something else. It's a deal-breaker.

    Quandary wrote:
    ...but I think relating CON bonus to Wound capacity (e.g. baseline 3 Wound capacity, increases if CON bonus is 4+), and Wound level + Dying state dictating DC (rather than tracking DC from killing blow) is interesting way to go that makes CON more relevant

    If nothing else, basing the DC on your condition rather than on the enemy that put you there is an obvious improvement.

    And part of the reason I like constitution score for health and HD x level for stamina is because it leaves constitution relevant, but also makes the HP difference between wizards and barbarians make a lot more sense. Of course a physical powerhouse that juggles boulders every morning is going to a lot more stamina than a guy who spends his days sitting in a chair reading books. But the difference in their ability to survive a knife to the gut is going to be a lot smaller.

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    Adding a wounded condition is an interesting choice, but it's also one which continues the trend of completely separating damage from consequences. It's just an arbitrary counter for how many times you can cross an arbitrary threshold. If it at least applies a penalty to all your d20 rolls or something, then it might at least seem like you are actually injured in some way. But even then, you are getting the same injury from being pricked with a needle for 1 point of damage as you do for being crushed by a 16 ton weight, as long as it takes your last hit point.

    I think this would be better handled by just having a small amount of nonscaling health (possibly equaling your constitution score) and having what is now HP become stamina. Stamina heals easily, health does not. Hit 0 health and you fall unconscious. If we must do away with the "negative constitution score = death rule" and have saves, then have the DC be based on your negative health points, probably half rounding down. No more meaningless DCs or condition stacks that are completely divorced from the events that caused you to be dying in the first place, and no more popping back up because you are only ever 1 hp away from fighting condition.

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    Mark Seifter wrote:
    Even if it's not "official," we can potentially try to build the half-ancestries in a way that they can be used like Kai wants. For instance, you could get those up and running with a minimum of tweaking and no deep game design necessary with the current version (and that means we could use the paradigm to do just that ourselves for ancestries that have traditionally spread beyond human in Golarion, like aasimar/tiefling/other planar scion).

    The solution I've been pushing would be to have everyone get two (or more) heritage feats at level 1, and then make an ancestry feat called mixed heritage which lets you take one (or more) of those heritage feats from another ancestry and become a half-whatever. That kind of set up would make all the playable races mixable by default, with no need to individually create half-ancestry feat chains. More choice for players, less work for designers/homebrewers, everybody wins.

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    All it would really mean is that when you first add a larger HD class, you gain bonus HP equal to the difference and then roll your old HD size for one level. Which is fair, logical and balanced, but not very intuitive.

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    Asuet wrote:
    Makeitstop wrote:
    You may not be interested in playing a helfling, lizardforc, or Gnobold, and you may choose to disallow them from your table. But if other people want to play them in their games, why is that so bad? Why shouldn't the system provide the tools if it can be done so easily? What's the downside, that it involves giving out the additional feats that you yourself said people are demanding?
    My position is not that half-x shouldn't be represented in the game. You completely misunderstood my position. My point is that any half-race you add later on can be easily implemented under the current ruleset. And you don't need more feats for that. Want to play a lizard-orc? Homebrew a feat into the orc ancestry feats that's called half-lizard and add some characteristics of lizards. Easy. No need for any additional feats.

    If I have to homebrew the feat, that is a new feat needed. One of the advantages of using a standardized system is that the every new ancestry you add comes fully equipped to hybridize. No new content required, official or homebrew.

    I mean, you could also take magic out of the game and say it's ok because you can homebrew it back in. Just because you can homebrew something doesn't mean the system wouldn't benefit from supporting it officially. Otherwise, what is even the point of having a system?

    Asuet wrote:
    Grimcleaver wrote:
    I like this. I think it's a good step toward making Golarion a bigger world with more race combinations--which feels like a win to me.
    It makes the world silly in my opinion. Where do you draw the line? If every race can interbreed, can i have a half-dog half-cat familiar? Having some possibilities of building half-races is fine but it shouldn't be the default.

    You can have official guidelines for what is and isn't common in Golarion, just as we do for other things in the system.

    And the line is drawn at playable races. Do dogs and cats have heritage feats? If not, then you can't mix them.

    Nor would this make them the default, it would make them an option baked into the game.

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    Is there a huge purple guy working at paizo? Because someone there seems to be obsessed with making everything perfectly balanced no matter the cost. Your tiny little goblin has to hit just as hard as the half-orc next to him. Just like they can't have any racial traits to distinguish them from each other. If only they'd apply this same reasoning to classes, we could solve the real balance issues by making everyone a commoner.

    And we can't have size modifiers to AC and attack anymore because the crit system would be skewed by it. But we aren't going to add new bonuses and penalties that do fit in the system, like modifying health or saves or anything like that.

    Hell, speed, one of the few remaining things to separate races, isn't even loosely connected to size anymore. Which begs the question, why are gnomes slower than halflings and goblins?

    All that's left is carrying capacity, and even that only applies indirectly since the capacity doesn't change, just the equipment weight. Which means the goblin is now the pack mule since he has the same carrying capacity, but isn't as weighed down by gear. Assuming you even track weights, as many if not most tables don't. God knows I won't be if Bulk stays in the game after the playtest.

    In short (no pun intended), there might as well not be a small size category anymore. Which makes those characters far less interesting, and does nothing to make the game more fun. It's not even really any simpler to run. And it is another element that completely severs the role-play from the game.

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    Asuet wrote:
    Only humans get access to half races because further down the road the other races will get feats for their subraces. Elves will get feats for aquatic elves, drow, etc. Your proposal is just another thread to plead for more feats to spend at first level. No thanks.

    It's not just a plea for more feats, it's a proposal for how to use those additional feats that people want in order to provide more options to players, and easily cover all the possible combinations of races.

    There is a long history of people wanting to play half-races that aren't currently part of the game. You can find numerous homebrew solutions for individual concepts, but there is simply no way that Paizo is going to be able to design every possible combination for every playable race that comes out over the life of the system. Doing it this way takes care of all the work, it becomes automatic with every race that comes out.

    You may not be interested in playing a helfling, lizardforc, or Gnobold, and you may choose to disallow them from your table. But if other people want to play them in their games, why is that so bad? Why shouldn't the system provide the tools if it can be done so easily? What's the downside, that it involves giving out the additional feats that you yourself said people are demanding?

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    Totally agree. One background is OK, two would be better, three would be great. Combinations of background elements are far more interesting than just one. You could be a nomad, or an orphaned nomad acolyte. One is throw away detail, the other is a series of details which tell a story.

    It's not like it would be hard to do it without changing the game balance either. Right now all backgrounds give a stat boost, feat and lore skill. You could easily divide that into two or three different types of backgrounds and have players pick one of each at character creation.

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    If goblins can be core, I see no reason why Orcs can't. Especially if we are going to have orc feats for half-orcs, why not just go all the way?

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    Another version of how this could work, perhaps more conservatively balanced:

    Once again, everyone gets two heritage feats and a regular ancestry feat at level 1. And then add the following feat as an option:

    Dual Ancestry: Either your parents were of different ancestries or one or both were of mixed heritage. With GM approval, you may select one ancestry other than your own. You gain the corresponding trait for that ancestry, must select one of that ancestry's heritage feats at level 1 and may select ancestry feats from either ancestry whenever you gain ancestry feats.
    Special: This feat which can only be taken using your level 1 ancestry feat.

    It's simple, it's universal, and it balances the flexibility of the half-races with a single feat tax, just like the half-race feats now or the adoption feat.

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    I've been saying for a while now that all characters should get two free heritage feats at level 1, in addition to everything else. This would give some much needed flavor and better represent the kind of inherent traits that they are meant to be.

    I'd also let characters take one of those heritage feats from another ancestry (with GM approval) in order be a half-race. That way half-races would actually feel like half-races.

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    Really all you need to do is have the words GM approval in there to set player expectations properly. And you can have guidelines for Golarion, but the system need not restrict everyone else should Paizo decide to keep the Dorcs and Three-Quarterlings out of the official setting.

    The beauty of this set up is that it would integrate the rules for whole and half-races, so that no additional work is necessary for any given combination. The system can remain open and setting agnostic and support the most possible options without needing to create special content specifically for it.

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    I see great potential in the idea of using feats to create half-races. But to fully realize that potential, we need to integrate them into the rules for normal races.

    Currently, only humans get access to half-races, and only half-elf and half-orc, and only by spending their one 1st level ancestry feat. It's unnecessarily restrictive, and it turns iconic core races into feat taxes.

    So, I suggest a slightly different system: Everyone gets two heritage feats at level 1. One of these feats must come from your ancestry, but one can come from any other ancestry with GM approval. If you pick a heritage feat from another ancestry, you get the corresponding trait and are a half-race.

    To balance this, I would also suggest giving those who pick both feats from their own ancestry their choice of some bonus proficiencies (or perhaps even a signature skill) from a list of things associated with their ancestry. The elf who picks a human heritage feat can get access to human stuff, but the one that stays pure elf might get those sweet elven archery skills.

    A system like this would make any combination of playable races possible using the same rules as making normal characters. And it would make half-races actually function like half of one thing and half the other. It would also have the added benefit of giving ancestries more impact and flavor right at level 1, something they are currently sorely lacking.

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    I like the idea of these archetype feats. The flexibility is great. I only have 2 objections:

    I hate the idea of them replacing the type of archetypes we had in PF1 rather than simply being a separate thing with a similar function (which could still happen at some point).

    And I hate the dedication mechanic, particularly if this is going to be the way all archetypes work. One of the great things about archetypes was making them stack, making an even more unusual character that combined concepts. In this otherwise very flexible system, I go from being able to do two things at level 1, to doing two things at level 8 (based on the feats shown so far anyway). And all because you don't want someone dipping those archetype feats one after another, as though they weren't costing you a feat or were somehow just better than regular feats. It's not like we didn't have feat trees before, what would be so bad about letting someone take the entry feat for one archetype at level 2, a different archetype's entry feat at 4, and if they are so inclined, another one at 6?

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    I like a lot of this. More monster abilities is always a good thing, and I can get behind combining energy resistance with damage reduction.

    While I like the idea of weakness, I do think a single static number on all attacks of the appropriate type is a little too simplified. An attack that deals 1 point of damage with a dagger should not get the same boost as the attack with a greatsword that deals 15.

    A simple solution would be to add a rule that bonus damage from weaknesses cannot exceed the normal damage of the attack. That way the 1 point of slashing damage remains proportional, but there's still a diminishing return which favors multiple attacks over a single gigantic attack.

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    Xenocrat wrote:
    Makeitstop wrote:
    I'm assuming the lack of a mention of mounts is because there is going to be a blog about companion creatures at some point, and not because the iconic paladin mount has been quietly done away with.

    It's right there in Paladin features.

    Leading up to that, you gain a bunch of fun smite-related boosts, including the righteous ally class feature that you saw mentioned in the code. This is a 3rd-level ability that lets you house a holy spirit in a weapon or a steed, much like before, but also in a shield, like the fan-favorite sacred shield archetype!

    Completely missed that one word. Even ctrl F'ed for mount, animal, and companions before I said anything.

    I may be blind, but at least I know I'll be able to get a seeing eye horse.

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    I'm assuming the lack of a mention of mounts is because there is going to be a blog about companion creatures at some point, and not because the iconic paladin mount has been quietly done away with.

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    Alright, I've put together a short list of universal benefits, as well as class feature things, which are available to anyone whose favored class grants the feature. All of these bonuses are the equivalent of an existing bonus except for the armor one, which I had to make for this, and arguably the feat, though many 1/6 bonuses are interchangeable with feats so I've always seen that as the balance on bonuses anyway.

    Universal Favored Class Options
    The following bonuses are available to all characters, regardless of race or class.

  • +1 HP
  • +1 Skill Point
  • 1/6 feat
  • +1 to base speed (has no effect in combat until selected 5 times)
  • Reduce the weapon nonproficiency penalty with a single weapon by 1. When the penalty reaches 0, you gain proficiency with that weapon.
  • Reduce the armor check penalty applied to attack rolls for nonproficiency by 1/2 for one of the following categories: light armor, medium armor, heavy armor, bucklers, light and heavy shields, or tower shields. When you select a single category to benefit from this bonus four times (two for bucklers), you gain proficiency with that category. You cannot select a category of shield or armors if you are not already proficient with all lighter categories.

    Class Specific Bonuses
    The following bonuses may be selected if your favored class grants the applicable feature

  • +1 hit point to companion creature
  • Add one spell/formula to book/known. This must be at least one level below the highest level you can cast/create.
  • +1 round of Bloodrage
  • +1 round of Performance
  • +1 round of Rage
  • +1 round of Raging song
  • +1 to Arcane Reservoir maximum
  • +1/2 Bomb per day
  • +1/3 Inspiration point
  • +1/3 Phrenic point
  • +1/4 Grit/Panache/Luck
  • +1/4 ki point
  • +1/4 use of Martial Flexibility
  • +1/4 Arcane Pool point
  • +1/6 daily Arcane Reservoir points

  • 3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Voss wrote:
    Hmm. Silver standard sneaking in there at the end.

    I REALLY hope this is the case. I doubt they'll do it, but I would love it if they would make gold valuable again and stop having me become obscenely wealthy by level 2 or 3.

    Also, as others have stated, adjusting your grip should not cost an action, it's unnecessary and punitive.

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    1 splash damage is kind of crap at level 1. At level 11, it's a joke.

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    Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

    I like very much what's previewed here.

    Makeitstop wrote:
    Now if psionics could just officially be part of the rules ecosystem alongside this, I'd be quite happy indeed.
    I'd be fine with Paizo incorporating psychic magic early into PF2E, but based on past statements from Paizo design peeps, I don't think I'd like how they'd change psionics. I much prefer Dreamscarred's psionics over anything Vancian. I like fiddly bits and power points too much.

    Well, I wouldn't consider it to really be psionics as we know it if it wasn't actually implemented with power points and the like. Ideally, I'd like Dreamscarred to make it in partnership with paizo, effectively making it 1st party material.

    Unfortunately, as you said, I'm pretty sure that there's enough resistance to the idea of psionics itself inside paizo that this would never, ever happen. But a man can dream.

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    Flexibility is good, scalable spells are good. Seems sort of like they took a step closer to psionics, but just a step. Overall, it sounds good, though as always, I reserve judgment until I've seen the whole thing and not just a sneak preview.

    Now if psionics could just officially be part of the rules ecosystem alongside this, I'd be quite happy indeed.

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    bookrat wrote:

    I'm not a fan of crit confirms. I love seeing the excitement on my players faces when they roll a Nat 20, and I hate seeing the disappointment when they fail a confirm.

    And even when they do confirm, it just isn't as exciting as the Nat 20.

    I feel the exact opposite. Rolling a 20 is ok, but nothing special. Rolling a 19, and then getting a shot at critting gets me excited. Sometimes you fail. Sometimes you succeed. But that moment is engaging either way, and it is the possibility of failure that makes the successes so special.

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    Rysky wrote:
    Uh, you're still technically dying from the attack that dropped you.

    And I'm fine with dying, when it makes sense. But this whole system creates a really unnatural separation between the killing blow, and actually dying. Now it matters what enemy you were fighting and what his attack roll was and what you roll on your save, when before it all came down to how hard you got hit.

    And it's fair bit to disingenuous to claim "the boss monster gets to change the rule for not good reason" when A) there is a rule, B) there is a reason, and C) we know neither of those at this time.

    There's nothing disingenuous about it. We know that the save against death has its DC set based on what creature you are fighting. And that should be irrelevant because what should matter is the damage you are dealt. That's why we have hit points and damage. How they come up with the scaling of the DC may be defensible, or it may add layers of silliness to this design decision, but it can't take away the base level of silliness that has already been revealed.

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    More complicated. Less fun. Less fair. Totally immersion breaking and arbitrary.

    I can't think of a single positive about all this.

    I can survive getting pummeled with enough damage to drop me 10 times over, and make a single save to be back at 1 hp. Or I can get critted by a kobold for 2 points of damage that brings me to 0, roll a 1 on my save and die instantly. Given that massive overkill usually happens because of unfair encounters, while crits make up a disproportionate number of finishing blows, this seems like it is meant to replace a few harsh and frustrating but realistic deaths with unfair deaths that are somewhat more common, completely pointless and unavoidable.

    Here's an alternative. Bring back negative hit points, get rid of bleeding out and stabilization, and let the dice fall where they may. It's simple, it's fair, and it works.

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    My guide to creating a homebrew campaign, particularly the world building and story planning.

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    So, I've got a list of the house rules I'm planning on using in an upcoming game, which you can see here

    I'd love feedback and suggestions in general, but the big thing I'm interested in is my health system, Health and Stamina. It's a revised version of wounds and vigor mixing in wound thresholds.

    One thing I should mention right off the bat is that I have a spreadsheet to track the party status which auto-calculates the threshold penalties, and I'll be displaying the penalty right on top of their tokens on roll20, so keeping track of it shouldn't be a problem.


    Health and Stamina

    Determining Health: Characters get health equal to their constitution score. Creatures above medium size get a size bonus to their health (Large +4, Huge +8, Gargantuan +16, Colossal +32). Size bonus health is lost first, and missing size bonus health which would be eliminated due to size reduction is converted to nonlethal damage.

    Determining Stamina: Characters get stamina from hit dice, gaining max stamina at level 1, and rolling for stamina every level thereafter. If a character rolls a 1 for stamina, they may make a single reroll. Stamina damage which goes past 0 is converted to health damage.

    Nonlethal Damage: Accumulates as normal in a separate stack. Characters also take nonlethal damage equal to half the health damage inflicted in a given attack rounding down. If nonlethal damage accumulated ever exceeds your current stamina by an amount equal to or greater than your constitution score, you fall unconscious. Nonlethal damage beyond max stamina + constitution is converted to stamina damage. Nonlethal damage is healed normally, even when targeting health points health points.

    Health, Stamina and Nonlethal Thresholds: As characters get more tired, injured or woozy, their ability to function decreases, and thus they take a threshold penalty on all d20 rolls, as well as to AC and CMD. Characters below half stamina or health take a -1 penalty. Characters at 0 stamina or 0 or lower health take a -2 penalty instead. A character whose nonlethal damage exceeds half their maximum stamina takes a -1 penalty. Threshold penalties from low health, low stamina and nonlethal damage stack, up to the maximum of +5 (though most creatures beyond low level can’t get more than a +4 without falling unconscious)

    Attacking Health Directly: One point from each sneak attack die rolled is automatically health damage. Similarly, one point of damage from any attack against a flat footed character is converted to health damage. Opponents struck by a confirmed critical hit take health damage equal to the critical multiplier of the weapon. Negative energy (or positive energy where applicable) can target health directly, inflicting one point of damage per die. Creatures with no stamina and helpless opponents may have their health attacked directly.

    Low Health and Death: Characters at 0 health or less become staggered. Taking a standard or move action while staggered causes them to take 1 point of health damage and make a constitution check to avoid falling unconscious. The DC of this check is equal to 5 + the number of negative health points they currently have. Don’t forget that threshold penalties also apply!

    The Chunky Salsa Rule: Anything that would reduce your body to the consistency of chunky salsa instantly kills you regardless of what the rules say. This also applies to other extreme effects, such as falling in lava or getting cut in half lengthwise. (Note: For the most part, this rule is only there to prevent metagaming holes in the rules or just doing really, really stupid things, I promise not to abuse it.)

    Bleeding out: No longer a thing. Characters who are unconscious only suffer additional damage if it is caused by something such as an attack or bleed damage.

    Healing Spells and Positive Energy: Healing spells can either be applied to health or stamina, not both. When healing stamina, they heal the full amount. When healing health, they restore 1 health per die, and an additional 1 for every 10 points in flat bonus. So a cure moderate wounds spell would restore 2 points of health at caster level 9 or below, and 3 points of health at caster level 10.

    Rest: An 8 hour uninterrupted rest restores half your stamina and your con modifier (minimum 1) in health. A full day’s rest restores all of your stamina and twice your con modifier (minimum 2) in health. A successful heal check to provide long term adds one additional health for 8 hours rest and 2 health for a full day’s rest.

    Favored Class Bonus: Goes into stamina if selected.

    Fast Healing: Fast healing adds 1 stamina per round, and 1 health per minute. Creatures with fast healing higher than 1 gain their health back at a faster rate. For amounts which cannot be evenly distributed, apply the remainder first. So fast healing 2 would be 1 health every 5 rounds. Fast healing 3 would be 1 health after 4 rounds, then 3 rounds, then 3 rounds. Fast healing 4 would be 1 health after 3 rounds, then 2 rounds, then 3 rounds, then 2 rounds. And fast healing 5 would be 1 health every 2 rounds.

    Damage Reduction: Attacks which inflict both health and stamina damage apply damage reduction together, subtracting from the stamina damage first.

    Hit Point Trigger Effects: Effects that trigger on 0 hit points (such as disintegration) now trigger on 0 health.

    Breath of Life: Heals up to 5d8 + 1/level points of damage until it brings the character back to life. As soon as the character is alive again the spell reverts to healing one point per die, as with other healing spells. When below negative constitution, apply caster level points first, then dice from highest to lowest. If the die that brings the character back from death exceeds the required amount to bring the character back to life, it also applies 1 additional point of health.

    Constructs: All health, using the normal hit point rules for constructs. Suffer no threshold penalties and die at 0 as usual.

    Undead: Charisma for health (representing the magic binding the undead form), stamina points from hit dice (representing the magical aura between the bindings which helps operate the actual corpse). Suffer no threshold penalties and die at 0 as usual.

    Toughness: Hit points from Toughness are divided between stamina and health in a 3 to 1 ratio. It adds 1 health at levels 1,5,9,13,17, and all other hit points from the feat are stamina points instead.

    Die Hard: Die hard removes the constitution check to avoid falling unconscious, and the nonlethal damage from health damage above 2.


    Let me know what you guys think.

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    I'm starting a new campaign in the not too distant future, and to help my players develop their characters, I put together 20 questions for them to respond to. By filling in a reasonably complete answer, the players not only flesh out their character on several levels, but also earn rewards.

    Everyone's really enjoying it and putting in a lot of effort. And since others might find the basic concept to be helpful, I figured I'd share.

    So here's the google doc link: 20 questions for new adventurers.

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    In my sky pirate setting, orcs were the working man, enlisted soldiers, and generally the lower class of the empire run by the elves. This wasn't a great lot in life, but a lot more sympathetic than the usual barbarian horde. And they did have advocacy groups, and even political radicals. And of course, the brilliant scientist who leads the empire's R&D and single-handedly lead to their immense technological advantage over their rivals is a half-orc.

    I've also had a setting where the hobgoblins are essentially the roman empire, now in decline but largely responsible for uniting and civilizing much of continent.

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    UnArcaneElection wrote:
    Definitely a powerful race, but I like how fleshed out the background is.

    Yeah, my goal was something that fit in with the featured and uncommon races. Having run a campaign with the base version for two years, they worked out well.

    Also, glad you liked the fluff. I put a lot of effort into it.

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    Update: Improved the fluff slightly, particularly the intro.

    Also, clarified the rules on deep rage and barbarian levels, and added a one at a time restriction on hexed bullets.

    Finally, I added 3 traits and a long list of favored class bonuses.

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    Update: Changed the powerful frame ability to no longer reference the fighter's armor training ability, and instead spelled out the effects to avoid any confusion. The only mechanical difference is that narok don't actually have armor training, so things like a Sash of the War Champion no longer work without fighter levels.

    Also made a few tiny changes to the wording of some feats, nothing noticeable. And tweaked a few bits in the fluff to be more compatible with other race documents.

    Finally, added 3 traits and a bunch of favored class bonuses.

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    Based on feedback, I have updated the Reaping strike feat to have slightly higher prerequisite and added combat feat tags to it and tripping tail.

    I have also updated the height/weight tables to account for extremes while still maintaining a normal range in the middle. It's a little out of the ordinary, but then, do people even pay that much attention to height/weight tables?

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    Alright, so some major updates in the last couple of years, most of them quite recently.

    • I've separated the sleeping part of statue form into a separate trait, if only to improve readability.
    • I've eliminated the wing deformities alternate race trait as it was a balancing issue and added little to the race.
    • I've replaced the recessive traits feat with the mask of flesh alternate race trait, leading to a better balance and more flavor.
    • Speaking of which, the monstrous traits feat actually fleshes out radical physical alterations I wanted to be possible, but was too lazy to write up until now.
    • 8 other new feats
    • 3 new traits
    • One favored class bonus (will do more as they come up).

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    Ciaran Barnes wrote:
    I'm still curious what the total RP of this race is. If you answered that question before, I'm afraid I missed it.

    Ask and you shall receive

    The RP value actually breaks down as follows:

    • Ability Scores 0RP
    • Type: 0RP
    • Size: 0RP
    • base speed of 30: 0RP
    • Climb speed of 15: 2RP (Normally for a 20ft speed)
    • Swim speed of 20: 1RP (Normally a 30ft speed, race builder says 2RP, race entries all say 1RP)
    • Languages: 0RP (normally not as many languages, but squeezing a lot of homebrew race languages in means every race should have more)
    • Natural Armor: 2RP
    • Resistant: 2RP
    • Natural Attack: 1RP
    • Skill training: 1RP
    • Arcane Shamanism: 2RP (as the far superior enclave protector)
    • Low-light Vision: 1RP
    • Amphibious: 2RP

    Total: 14RP (and several of those have asterisks next to them, so I'd argue it should be rounded down to 13, but whatever).

    So it's not strictly core, but it's comfortably in the drow/tiefling/aasimar zone I like so much.

    Even if swim and climb speeds only cost 2 RP, its no stretch of the imagination to say that the developers made a mistake. 2 RP is the same cost for gain a +2 bonus on Climb -or- Swim checks. You have exploited this by taking both. You can say that past a certain level climbing and swimming don't matter because "magic", but they are potent at low levels and can negate the need to use spell slots at higher levels. Plus they are movement rate and don't require a standard action to activate. Some lizards can climb and swim, but these guys aren't lizards. They are humanoids.

    I would argue that the mistake is more in having all +2 skill bonuses being equal. I would barely consider a +2 to swim to be worth even 1RP. But according to the race builder, a +2 to appraise and a +2 to perception are equal.

    Anyway, I consider the move speeds to be at the core of the design. It captures that amphibious swamp dweller idea really well. Hell, the beastiary lizardfolk even have a version with both a climb speed and a swim speed. They aren't going to be the best at either (in fact, they can't climb any faster than any other race with a base speed of 30, they are just less likely to fail) and it's not like you can use both at the same time, so it's not like the combo is worse than the sum of its parts.

    In short, I get the objection, but I think it is acceptable as is, and gives the race a lot of flavor.

    The game has way too many languages as is.

    Agreed. But it's a drop in the bucket at this point, and makes sense from a lore perspective.

    Cityfolk should be rewritten so as to say Komodo instead of cityfolk. I'm not a fan of granting skills as class skills as part of a race. At the very least it should be done minimally. Some Komodo can use this to gain a free +3 when the spend a skill point. For other Komodo, this will provide no benefit because they already have it as a class skill. I prefer the flat +2 to skills to show that a race is actually better at that skill than others. It helps those who have it as a maxed out class skill, and for those without it as a class skill it still gets a +2 instead of a +3.

    I prefer to keep it specific, if only to keep the distinction between cityfolk and tribals completely, unmistakably clear. It's not the normal way to write it, but I'd rather have it break with tradition than deal with anymore confusion.

    And as I see it, class skills are good for cultural things, bonuses are good for inherent abilities. A society which teaches all of its children how to sneak and hide would not make them better at sneaking than a well trained ranger, both are getting training. A race which has camouflage is going to be better at sneaking with or without training.

    And +2 is generally more powerful because if you don't have a class skill, it can easily be made a class skill with a trait. Already having a powerful race, it made sense to pick the overall weaker option.

    Arcane Shamanism seems odd to me because 80% of their population can summon fog and an invisible dude daily. Racial traits that are similar to this one usually have only one 1st level spell. The bonus on conjugation spells seems unneccessary. The ability score bonuses already this race steered towards playing a wizard, and this bonus reinforces that.

    The specific spells they have are basics taught by the shamans as a survival skill. Detecting magic and poisons can help you avoid a threat in a supernatural swamp. Obscuring mist is a fairly simple way to hide or escape from danger. Unseen servant, well, that's an all purpose utility thing, and is about as shamany of a spell as you can get. These four spells can very plausibly save someone's life in the wild without getting overly powerful.

    As for the conjuration bonus, it arguably applies to any spellcaster, and would have the same effect if they'd had a bonus to wis or cha. All part of the "potentially good at more than one thing" design.

    Amphibious - combined with the swim speed - eliminates one major hazard from the game: exploring and fighting in or under the water. I think this is an important hazard, and it bothers me that a very dangerous thing can be completely safe.

    I feel there is a place for amphibious races, and in fact, one of the things I've been trying to fix is the lack of good amphibious races. I mean, who the hell wants to play a gillman? "Here's your race, you can breathe underwater, aboleths can control you, and you die within hours of starting most adventures because they tend to be on land."

    And in my experience, water hazards don't come up that often in most campaigns. When it does, I'd see it as a time for the amphibious guy in the party to shine, not the ruination of a hazard. And it's not like you can't make water dangerous for reasons other than drowning.

    And let's be honest, a lot of races completely negate hazards. For example, elves completely negate sleep as a hazard. Hell, anything with darkvision is negating what should be a very common, very serious hazard. And they give out darkvision like candy, even humans can get it with an alternate race trait.

    All in all, I think this race is too powerful. But then again, maybe you aren't going for something on par with standard races.

    I like my races in that 10-15 RP zone, comfortable in a party with, say, a dwarf, a tiefling, an aasimar and a tengu. I think I hit that mark.

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    One more tiny revision. I have made the Cityfolk alternate race trait a default race trait, and moved the old skill training to the alternate race traits under the name Tribal Komodo.

    This probably should have been done a long time ago since the cityfolk would be the most commonly encountered komodo, and the easiest one to explain as player characters as well. Plus now perception isn't a class skill by default, only through an alternate race trait.

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    The cityfolk alternate race trait replaces perception and knowledge nature with diplomacy and knowledge local. So the between worlds gives a +1 to both of the knowledge skills and allows you to make whichever one isn't a class skill into a class skill, bridging the gap between the two sides.

    Or you could be a deepkin and have neither.

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    OK, so it's been a long time, but I've made some updates and things are much more finalized.

    First of all, I've adjusted some of the feats and alternate racial traits, though nothing too major. Breath weapon got changed to actually scale a little with level, and an improved version was added. And the deepkin now get the full 30 ft swim speed, since it seems like a better fit for both lore and balance.

    Secondly, I've touched up the lore and languages to better integrate them with the other races I've made, who are all going to be getting similar tweaks as I prepare my new setting. Also added height, weight and age tables.

    And finally I've added three traits. The only thing really missing is favored class bonuses, but because there are so many classes, I'm not planning on making them until they come up.

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    Thanks for the support guys

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    For your gamin enjoyment, I give you the Sicari, the final addition to my 10 race collection.

    The sicari are a race of monstrous humanoids who come from an alien world. Forced beneath the surface by radiation flowing from a distant blue sun, the sicari live in a cave system under siege by a demonic horde. Due to the harsh realities of their crapsack world, many sicari embark on a dangerous journey to hidden gateways between worlds, in search of a better life.

    But life on the other side has its own downsides. Sicari are often alienated as outsiders, and those that fall into a mercenary life often give the rest a bad reputation. But those sicari who do manage to find a place will treasure their home, knowing all too well what they sacrificed to get here, and what they have gained in return.

    As always, I appreciate any feedback you guys have.

    In terms of balance, it is impossible to determine their exact RP score as there are no parallels for most of their abilities. I would spitball them as being about a 12, but I'm fine with anything in a 10-15 range. I want something that would fit comfortably in a party with humans, tieflings and aasimar, but not something as powerful as, say, svirfneblin.

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    Alright, I've made some revisions:

    After careful consideration, I have decided to take the 6th and 14th level combat style feats from the ranger, and give them diminished casting, slightly offset by getting a wizard spell matching the breath weapon element once every two levels starting at level 5.

    Also, took the 4th and 10th level hexes from the shaman.

    Finally, due to popular demand, I have added an alternative to size increases. You may now get a +2 to str and dex, and a +10 to base speed if you choose to stay the same size.

    This is in addition to the previous changes I made, lowering the base con by 2 and removing the bonus teamwork feats from the cavalier archetype.

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    Lord Fyre wrote:

    I must quibble with your first statement "It's a well-known fact that the drake archetypes are really bad."

    I am not seeing many complaints on these boards. How are you justifying such a sweeping statement? ** spoiler omitted **

    I've seen it discussed here and several other places, and every time it comes up, the consensus is that they are garbage. Sure, sometimes there will be a tiny minority that says it isn't so bad, but the vast majority have always found it to be disappointing.

    Hell, the best defense I've ever seen of the drake archetypes is that they ought to be crap, because anything that cool would be too popular if you didn't make people pay dearly for it.

    The fact is, the drake, as published, is inferior to an animal companion. And the archetypes give up half their class features for that inferior substitute.

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