Priest of Pharasma

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Not to get on topic, but I still track exp for the group and it literally takes maybe 30 seconds to a minute at the end of the session (and a good chunk of that is remembering where my gm screen is for the exp table).

I do not understand the vitriol towards this practice, especially with how easy it is to do in PF2e.

That said, I don't care that people want/prefer to use milestone leveling. It's perfectly fine and I'll probably be using it in my kind of episodic and definitely not secretly Power Rangers inspired campaign that I hope I can hide til the end that I'll be running after we finish AV. I just don't like when they act like exp is the worst/too hard/a waste when it's just a personal preference.


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While I think this is awesome in general, I'm just about done with the second book for AV so this is just shy of a complete waste of money for me which disappoints me immensely because of the amount of time that goes into setting up each floor.

Is there ANY way that the AV Foundry module can get split up so it'll be a little cheaper for the people currently running it?


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theplayerofx wrote:
ok after reading all this is, is this play test going too far in the jokey way. blowing up mines at your feet to jump farther, shooting your sword for extra dmg, running and shooting guns behind you to move faster. like this is some loony toons stuff.

Yeup! The gunslinger is the biggest mixed bag of cool, fine, eye-rolling, and WTF!! options I've seen.

I've only read a little bit of the inventor, and it doesn't seem quite as bad as the Gunslinger, but seems a little more slapstick than I want.

Gunslinger should have been 1 or more archetypes since they don't seem to have enough reasonable ideas for a full class.

Inventor just isn't for me.

Probably gonna pass on this book since I think I'll have enough options that don't bug me as much with the CRB, APG, Character Guide, Ancestry Guide, and Secrets and Magic.

***the above is just my personal opinion, but if you enjoy the crazy of these two classes, that's awesome. No judgement here.


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I prefer PF2e to SWADE, but it's close, so this is very cool.


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Cyouni wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

I think the philosophical argument over whether or not shield blocking is good or strong is kind of missing the point.

Shields are just fundamentally not well designed for the system they're put in. They're Starfinder items with leveled stats, except most shields don't have variants so you're stuck at whatever tier the item came at if you want to use it long term. They're pseudo-consumable in a game that has basically removed the concept of consumable equipment entirely (Sunder doesn't even exist anymore!).

It's an awkward mess all around. The fact that you can make it work if you play correctly is, imo, pretty much besides the point.

Really? How are they different from focus spells, especially one like Enduring Might? Those are also X/combat, with a 10-minute activity to make them usable again.

The only time a shield is consumable is when it's destroyed, which is realistically rarely ever going to happen if you don't want it to. For instance, even the Lion Shield (level 6) can be used against the average damage of a high level 18 creature without being destroyed.

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

Champion's reaction can be used once per round (twice at higher levels) block as much or more than almost every shield with regularity, never break, and has another solid effect. A barbarian's renewed vigor can give them the effects of a shield block (or greater) every single round. A cleric's replenishment of war can give them the effects of a shield block every round without needing a separate action outside of attacking. But I get that there are other trade-offs (the cleric having to succeed on the attack + not having the hp of a fighter/champion or the barbarian having a lower AC - a very big deal).

Lion's shield is hardness 6, hp 36, bt 18. That will be broken by an average hit by level 9 (only three levels higher). Average hit. Above-average will break it earlier (but you get to choose when to block so that's less of a concern). Regardless, you effectively lose one of the core abilities of the shield (with any regularity) within about three levels and no way to improve it to simply keep the "block once before breaking".


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Caralene wrote:

I've seen this mindset consistently grow bigger in the community and I find it very concerning.

Having to take risky and meaningful decisions in an RPG is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing. I love the high risk high reward feel of deciding its worth risking destroying a shield to block the damage that could otherwise down me.

The Dent rule doesn't remove those choices, you're still choosing between blocking a little with an ability vice blocking a lot with little to no ability beyond that. The issue is that pretty much every other combat-related item has multiple levels that allow the item to be improved to keep it at basically the same effectiveness across your entire career if you choose.

As it stands now, rules as written, you can block about once with any given shield around the level that they pop up. A second block will break it. In a few levels, you're now down to blocking once will probably break it, so effectively you don't have a shield block anymore. A few levels more and a single block will quite possibly destroy it if you were to determine it was worth it.

There is no way currently to upgrade any shield except the Sturdy (and Medusa's Scream for some reason) to simply keep the "block once relatively safely." Why are there not additional steps of the Arrow-Catching Shield that keeps it about one step behind the Sturdy since it's only ability is about shield blocking?

There needs to be more shields in the middle-ground, like Arrow-Catching and Reforging Shields (that can block about two before breaking at the level they show up), where they are okay/good at blocking, but also have a neat ability so there are truly options for if you want to block and NOT be relegated to the one shield for your career (and they need improved versions that keep them about one step behind the Sturdy Shield). You'd still block more with the Sturdy Shield, but that's the trade off.

Granted, the numbers in this attempt are off, but the Dent idea just keeps everything at the effectiveness of when you get it (blocking safely once, twice, or thrice depending on its base ability at the levels you originally get it). Effectively giving your shield the EXACT amount of hp it needs to stay at the same level of relevance (as far as shield blocking goes) without overshadowing the shields that are "meant to block"


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So after placing my original post in the wrong forum and getting some very useful feedback from the helpful people here (although I'm sure I frustrated some to no end), I've posted a second version (after a bit of wordy investigations) of what I'm likely to use for shields/shield block. I haven't playtested this yet, but it's more of a simplification vice major change that allows scaling. the potential rune towards the end is a bigger change and could cause problems, but if it works, would make the various shield block feats more attractive as options (outside Reflexive Shield). I think.


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Actions for Reactions...eh. If I were to do it I'd instead make the Ready action give you a second Reaction vice a 1 for 1 trade.

Your shield rules would make shields VERY expensive compared to other permanent magic items. It also does nothing really towards solving the issue of them being "throw-away" items if used for shield blocking since most shields are going to get wrecked pretty quickly a couple of levels after they show up. Even more so with the doubling of cost since it'll be less likely that players can afford to pay for them at the levels they're supposed to start showing up, let alone them be willing to pay that much for them at that time.

Shield runes or some other way for shields to scale with you are absolutely necessary with how many feats Paizo made to modify shield block.


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I do use the ABP for Striking and Resiliency runes and crafting quality for Potency.

Krispy, the reason I have an issue is that shields DONT scale. Except sturdy. And Medusa's Scream for some reason. When you get them, they can block x attacks. That's core to their function. In a handful of levels they can no longer do that reliably (or at all in many cases), but there are no improved versions of that shield. Not to make it better, or even as good as, the Sturdy Shield, but just to keep part of the function of the shield relevant.

Yes, weapons and armor can/have to be upgraded, but you can literally use the weapon you start the game with from levels 1-20 and keep its designed functionality all the way through, PLUS add some wangy s*@+e to customize it further (property runes). You have no such options with shields.

Using the version of the dent system I proposed is essentially using the ABP system to give shields the perfect amount of hp every level to remain exactly as useful as when you get them. It doesn't even make the higher level versions of sturdy shield obsolete as they get hardness increases. Does it have its own flaws - absolutely. I haven't played with the rule at all, and won't for a while since we're so close to the end of the current campaign using the old rule, so it may fall completely flat when exposed to the table, but right now it's the solution that solves half my problem with the games schizophrenic view of shield blocking (ie, read class entries and get told "get a shield, take these feats, you're gonna be able to block a lot" then get to treasure section and it's "okay, we oversold it. You can block a bit with this one shield and a couple others for a few levels"). The other half (being primarily funneled towards Sturdy if you take shield block feats) is partially addressed by it since the middle tier shields remain middle tier, but is really reliant on Paizo bringing out more options. Which they will since we're only in what? Year 2 of PF2e? Hell, they'll probably release something (or enough something's) that makes my issues moot in a year or two (like they did with the ABP in the APG).


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KrispyXIV wrote:


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

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

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

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


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KrispyXIV wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If a Sturdy Shield is good for about 3ish(?) hits around the level that it pops up, isn't fine to just say it's good for three shield blocks between repairs, only needing to upgrade to the higher versions for increased hardness? A fourth time resulting in an almost 50-50 chance of breaking or being destroyed.

The ones that aren't as good as Sturdy Shields, but are still considered "blocking" shields seem to be good for about 2 hits around the level they appear, so 2 hits between repairs and a third has a 50-50 shot a being broken or destroyed.

Divine Shield Ally would increase the number of hits a shield could take by one. Shield Salvation would just mean that once per day if you failed the DC 10 flat check, the shield is broken rather than destroyed. Fortifying Pebble would absorb one hit (or increase it's hardness by 2 if that's thought to be too much). Indestructible Shield never has to make the DC 10 flat check.

It doesn't stop the funneling towards Sturdy Shields if you devote any of your class feats towards improving Shield Block, but it at least means a shield has the same level of effectiveness throughout the entire career of a character as when it first appears. And I don't have a second pool (or third if you use the Stamina rules) of hit points to track per character with a shield. Well, okay, it's still an additional pool, its just one that could be tracked with tick marks.

If you wanted an extra layer of granularity, critical hits could count as two hits. I don't think that's really needed since it's still only blocking the same amount of damage regardless of whether the hit is a critical or not and you're still taking a bunch of damage.


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Also, I'm not trying to be a dick or purposely obtuse. Despite what it possibly seems like, this whole thing has helped me a lot. In understanding and in what my real issue with shields is.


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KrispyXIV wrote:
Maliloki wrote:


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

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

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

I guess I can see that, but it's still annoying that sturdy (and Medusa's to a lesser extent) are the only ones that can scale with you.

What if you ignored HP and just said you can shield block once with shields. A second time results in a dc 10 flat check with success being the shield being broken and a failure being broken.

Medusa's, Jawbreaker, Arrow-catching, Reforging, and Adamantine shields gain one extra time to block before the flat check, while Sturdy gain 2 extra times.

Effectively the same(?) But all shields scale with you without modifying shield stats?


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KrispyXIV wrote:
Maliloki wrote:


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

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

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

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

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

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

Force Shield, Dragons Slayer Shield, and Forge Warden are not blocking shields. Each take 22-24 damage before breaking (just about average damage when you get them) despite half of the Forge Warden's magic triggering on a shield block.

Jawbreaker and Medusa's Scream are okayish. You can comfortably block an average attack and not worry about it breaking. Two is starting to get sketchy. You can throw the Adamantine Shield into this category as well, but it has no cool ability to make up for its lack of blocking.

Reforging Shield and Arrow-catching are just a step behind sturdy shields (of the same level) with an ability and are is a good, but Reforging is a rare option. The Spined Shield should probably go in this category as well (it's very bad hardness being made up for with the extra go from the spines) and is the most interesting of them since you have to weigh offense against defense each time you use it (though I think the champion in my game used it offensively...twice maybe In the several levels he had it)

Indestructible Shield is a rare level 19 shield. It's blocks less than the Sturdy Shield, but can literally block every round of the fight.

The Shield of the Unified Legion is NOT a blocking shield. Average damage around the level you get it means it's close to breaking, if not broken. It's an amazing enchantment, but it's 20th level and if you spent any class feats on shield block while you leveled they're just shy of a waste.

So, four options for actually making use of shield block (and the feats to modify it), one of which is rare, and only one of which you can scale up with you. The other options that are only okay at blocking also don't scale with you (except Medusa's Scream) mean the shield blocking feats are a STEEP price - if not a waste.

I'm not discounting the effects of the semi-passive bonuses you can get from a shield. They're very good, but there are a handful of other options that can ALSO give you the +2 bonus to AC and have different additional bonuses. That and primarily the fact that you're funneled towards one shield that scales with you if you want to use your shield block feats.

The only other tactic that's kind of close to that is finesse weapon fighting, but you can scale all of the options, add other wangy magic, and get an AC boost if you're a rogue or fighter/Duelist/two-Weapon fighter.


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siegfriedliner wrote:
The annoying thing about Shields in 2e is that they have more Feat options than any other fighting style in the game. But once you start investing any Feats into Shields the loss from choosing a non study option grows on a steep linear curve. With something like shield of reckoning and quick block you could have triple the opportunities to shield block but without a sturdy Shield your probably only get one block in before you shield breaks making those Feats almost useless.

This. There's no other tactical option that has that limitation.


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Cyouni wrote:
Maliloki wrote:

Outside of the Sturdy Shield (and about half of those), the vast majority of shields block 10ish points of damage (or less) per block. A champions divine ally absolutely boosts it, but it should be a boost, not the main thing to balance against. A Fighter (and bastion) has a ton of options that encourage shield blocking and is missing the ability to boost the shields hardness and hp.

Even still, my math WAS a bit off.

Additionally, a 13th level fighter with the medusa's scream would have hardness 23 and 156 hp before breaking (they're only master with simple/martial weapons at 13. Legendary with a single group), but your point mostly still stands.

The main point is why is shield block a general thing when it's really only meant for Sturdy Shields? Why not just build it into Sturdy Shields? Why make a bunch of feats and an entire archetype that's built around having access to (effectively) one specific magic item?

Because that actually makes it a choice. You have to choose between the best blocking in existence or other abilities. Do you want the ability to block more, or do you want the passive bonuses of the Spellguard Shield? The defense of the Sturdy or offense of Lion? You can even go with a weaker shield that has better passive bonuses (like the Force or Spellguard shield), and use a different reaction as the primary such as AoO, swashbuckler's riposte, or the champion reaction.

And on average, a shield has Hardness equal to its level. That's still quite a substantial amount. It just can't block quite as much consistently, since a Sturdy Shield's primary bonuses are +2 hardness and double the HP.

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

Most of the non-sturdy shields in the core rulebook have a hardness of 6-10 (average 7.25) and 24 hp (average 28.75). The average damage is 20-24 for those levels, which is about enough to break most shields around the time you get them (only 22 damage is required to break all the hardness 10/24 hp shields, 18 for the ridiculous number of hardness 6/24 hp shields).

Additionally, that doesn't explain the precious material shields, which have no real ability to speak of, and can maybe block once without breaking for a few levels (big maybe). Or why there are so many feats tied to encouraging you to shield block that practically require you to only use one magical shield for them to be of use at all when no other tactical option has that limitation.

Reading the class entries, it's like the game is telling you "hey, grab a shield, take these feats, and block a bunch! It'll be great!" Then you get to the treasure section and it's all "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa! You wanted to block? No, no, no. Don't look at any of these shiny things. ONLY use THIS one, otherwise those feats you chose are practically garbage. Have fun!"

It's this bait and switch that bothers me the most and why I, and many others, have issues with how shield block works with the existing shields.


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KrispyXIV wrote:
Maliloki wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

As well, you're not considering what the damage reduction actually represents - its 8-20 damage reduced against an...

I'll concede most of that, though when shield block gets brought up, champion is the only class that gets discussed so it IS competing with the Champions reaction since its either or for much of the game. The fact that a champions reaction reduces each damage type a single attack deals means you're able to double the DR it does often enough against quite a few creatures, but I mostly get your point.

Anyways, a fighter using a non-sturdy shield can block once before breaking it around the level they get it and a sturdy shield allows for 3ish? A champion with divine ally effectively increases that by 1. Why not just say that and ignore a shields hp? It's way simpler and let's shields scale without requiring any wackiness.

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


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

This 100%. A shielded champion or monk is very difficult to hit, even with an above level monster. In my current campaign the only shield user is the Monk, even without shield block he is very hard to take out.

Shield Block is not a means to consistently reduce damage, that's what the AC bonus is there for. Shield Block is there for emergencies to keep you on your feet for one more round, not as a free boost to your hp.

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

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

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

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

...

Outside of the Sturdy Shield (and about half of those), the vast majority of shields block 10ish points of damage (or less) per block. A champions divine ally absolutely boosts it, but it should be a boost, not the main thing to balance against. A Fighter (and bastion) has a ton of options that encourage shield blocking and is missing the ability to boost the shields hardness and hp.

Even still, my math WAS a bit off.

Additionally, a 13th level fighter with the medusa's scream would have hardness 23 and 156 hp before breaking (they're only master with simple/martial weapons at 13. Legendary with a single group), but your point mostly still stands.

The main point is why is shield block a general thing when it's really only meant for Sturdy Shields? Why not just build it into Sturdy Shields? Why make a bunch of feats and an entire archetype that's built around having access to (effectively) one specific magic item?


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KrispyXIV wrote:


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

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

The way it currently works, I'd favor a free hand fighter over a shielded one (and I love my sword and board characters) because you can get the same +2 bonus to AC and still have the freedom to actually do things. You lose out on some of the few magical shield abilities that are nice, but the dueling feats arent as restrictive and, as before, more freedom. I think two weapon fighting also gets an option to get a +2 bonus to AC. Biggest downside is that the fighter doesn't have a natural, and continuous, damage mitigator outside of shield blocking like a chunk of the other classes do. A barbarians renewed vigor is effectively a shield block every round, for example (yes, I know they lose out on the +2 to AC and are actually at an AC penalty, but still it can be EVERY round without breaking).

Serious query though, how many times in a fight SHOULD a person be able to Shield Block and mitigate 10ish damage before the shield breaks and can't be used for Raise a Shield again until it gets repaired? Let's say for an effect based shield and a sturdy shield of the same level vs enemies of around the shields level.


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

This 100%. A shielded champion or monk is very difficult to hit, even with an above level monster. In my current campaign the only shield user is the Monk, even without shield block he is very hard to take out.

Shield Block is not a means to consistently reduce damage, that's what the AC bonus is there for. Shield Block is there for emergencies to keep you on your feet for one more round, not as a free boost to your hp.

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

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

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

If shields weren't meant to shield block, I just wish they'd have not made it a general thing and instead made the ability to shield block a special ability of the shields they wanted to allow to shield block (in a similar fashion to the Arrow-Catching Shield) and removed all the shield block based class feats.


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KrispyXIV wrote:

Definitely would not recommend a change like this personally.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The shield block is nice, but it doesn't actually block all that much damage and most martial characters have other options to use their reaction on, so shield block isn't always the go to. Using the standard rules, you're only able to block about 10 damage with a decent shield before the shield breaks (if it's not outright destroyed). The Sturdy Shield doubles that if you don't block a high damage critical. Compare that to the champion's reaction that can regularly prevent 2+their level damage of every damage type for an ally multiple times a fight if the front line fight semi-tactically (my group did) without worrying about losing the ability to do so. We were doing it wrong for a while and just taking 2+level off the top vice taking it from every damage type dealt to the other character and it was still ridiculous and better than shield block or the other character using an action to Raise Shield every round.

I do have a more moderate solution in mind after feedback I've gotten (though what I'm using is still working great at the table), but it requires more research. I spent half a day without power due to storms reading, mathing, and writing stuff out and I'm not comfortable with it yet.


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mrspaghetti wrote:
Perhaps the intent of the Shield Block isn't to have it available all the time, so characters have to make choices about when to use it. The Shield cantrip certainly supports a "once per fight" usage idea.

Characters still have to make choices about when to use shield block. They're still limited by the shield's hit points and break threshold and, more importantly, the two main classes that make use of it already have other options for their single reaction (until upper levels) in the form of an attack of opportunity or the champion's reaction (probably a more more broken reaction than allowing all shields to block like the Indestructible Shield, tbh).

Shield cantrip costs no money, has no bulk, requires no hands, can be used against magic missiles (minor boon, but about as good as some of the magical shields in the book), and scales it's hardness with you automatically. And once it's broken (if it's not flat out destroyed since 35+ damage isn't that hard to do in the system around the time most of the shields start popping up), it doesn't sit there taking up your arm like a useless lump until you throw it down on the ground. Nor do you have to run back to town to buy a new one when it would take enough damage to destroy a real shield. Not saying that the 10 minute recharge is good, but it's not quite the same.

I do see the point about it blocking once per fight possibly being the design intent though as it does line up with 99% of the shields in the book (with the other 1% maybe being able to block two blows). My problem is, why lock Shield Block behind a feat if that's the case. Why make it a general thing that's available to do at all. It only blocks 6-10 damage (ignoring Sturdy Shields for a moment) once and then is gone. Just make Shield Block the special ability of the Sturdy Shield (and the Arrow-catching Shield) and call it a day.

Additionally, why are there so many feats that expand how you can use shield block and increase the number of times you can use it? The game seems to want to encourage the use of shield block, but the numbers don't allow it (except for the 18th or 19th level, rare Indestructible Shield).

I've been going through all of the shield based stuff in the book again based on the feedback to see what my group is missing and I've found some interesting things that I'm working on a post about.


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MEATSHED wrote:
...so I feel that just using the by level system you have would be for the best.

Yeah, I meant to remove the bit about tying it to weapon proficiency and leave it only as level based in the post. Got distracted with life and left it in.

That said, the reasoning for tying it to weapons vice armor is shields are big, broad weapons that are designed to block. They are not armor. I don't fully disagree with the thought process though, and I went back and forth on it myself. Level based is better.


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I've made a post about the issues my table has experienced with shields and shield block and how we fixed it.


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Part five is a thing that exists now.


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Part Four is up. Ancestries and Backgrounds


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My third article is up, which goes over the character creation section of the Introduction.


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Second article diving into the Introduction of the Core Rulebook. This has been a fun experience for me (I'm a few weeks ahead of what's going up on the site) and once I get into Chapter Two: Ancestries & Backgrounds I have even more fun because there are actual rules to talk about.


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So I'm starting a blog (Writing Randomness) where I'm going over RPG's (mostly PF2e), comics, and books (occasionally). This is an excuse to really dig into not just the mechanics, but the layout and text of the books. The first post about the Core Rulebook went up today in case anyone is interested.


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Eledriel Darkfire wrote:
Hi, is there a reason this still lists gods & magic and legends as the only possible issues to start with? I‘d like to start this subscription, but with the product that comes out next week, but currently still don’t have the option for it?

I've sent messages twice over the past month asking this very thing.


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Yes it does have all of what was said, but is all of that stuff really needed for this concept? What's in the playtest could be stripped down to what makes it really interesting as a concept and be done as a really good archetype.

Despite the negativeness of my post, I do consider this constructive as I think it really needs to be examined if it NEEDS to be a full class or if Paizo just WANTS it to be a full class.

I know it's GOING to be a full class because they've already made up their minds about it and I'm in the vast minority on this. And that's fine. It's existence as a full class doesn't negatively effect my game in any way, shape, or form.


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I get that this is a class because they wanted 2 classes for the book and it was a full class in 1e, but why isn't this just an archetype? It's just a melee version of the Eldritch Archer archetype. I was pretty excited for it when it was announced, but this is just bleh.


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Was really excited for both these classes, but the Magus is immensely dissapointing and should have just been an archetype (and will be at my table if it doesn't change).

The Summoner on the other hand looks baller (possibly too much?) and I very much want to play one.


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Awesome. Ruins of Azlant is also on my groups short list once we finish up Age of Ashes sometime around the end of the year.

Keep up the good work!


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Bardess wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
Nine alignments => nine subclasses of champion. IMO. How exactly that should work I dunno. We have the three good alignments. I suppose they want to do the three neutral (on the good-evil axis) ones next, and the three evil ones eventually. Or vice-versa. Or not. I dunno.
I am hoping for MORE than one subclass for alignment.

They already do. Kinda. Your choice of deity adds tenants and anathemas to a Champions existing lists of things as well as a bunch of other stuff.


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There any way to opt out of a single item without cancelling the subscription and starting it back up later? Maps are cool and all, but I have zero use for an overly large city map. Map of the whole island? Maybe, but not so big it's unusable at the table.

Hard pass on this.


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Looking forward to potentially using this for the first time this weekend!!


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I've been making the combatant flat-footed if they crit fail because there needed to be some risk about taking a second and third attack. Falls in line with the alternate attacks (grapple, trip and such). Will experiment by trying out this deck for Nat 1's and see how it goes.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Maliloki wrote:
What GM worth anything doesn't already do this.

Given how much of a focus Paizo has made on empowering GMs, if they were going to go the approach of making some races uncommon it would have been great to have had such expectations set in the Core Rulebook.

Perhaps they considered it but decided it wasn't as "no brainer" as the decision to include goblins in the first place?

Page 486 of the core rulebook:

"CHARACTER CREATION
At the outset of a new campaign, the players will create new player characters. Part of that process involves you introducing what the campaign will be about and what types of characters are most appropriate. Work with the players to determine which rule options are available. The safest options are the common choices from the Pathfinder Core Rulebook. If players want to use common options from other books or uncommon or rare options, through play, review those options to see if any of them conflict with the style of campaign you have in mind or might present strange surprises down the road. It’s usually best to allow new options, but there’s no obligation to do so. Be as open as you’re comfortable with."

Yes, it says the 'safest options' are the ones in the core rulebook, but it doesn't mean they're mandatory.


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Midnight Anarch wrote:
Quote:
Uncommon is what we use to indicate that a particular ancestry is not necessarily found (or appropriate as PCs) in all areas of the Inner Sea region.
Shame this approach wasn't used for goblins as they meet the same criteria for inclusion/exclusion to campaigns as hobgoblins or other typically hostile or deviant races. At least it would've put control back into GMs' hands which otherwise seems to be the rule Paizo aimed at in these new 2E scenarios. Fantastic idea though, uncommon ancestries, even if a missed opportunity to smooth dissent and table-issues about goblins.

What GM worth anything doesn't already do this. I originally said no goblins for my campaign, but, based on what happened during the early bits of it, my wife was able to make her replacement character a goblin tied into the campaign. She and I worked together until her character idea fit the world better. I did the same thing with almost half my players because they wanted to make their snowflake "just to be different/weird" characters. "Just to be different/weird" is a terrible reason to let players bully the GM into something that doesn't fit their world or would be a little too out there for the region for the GM to be comfortable with. Meeting somewhere in the middle has always worked well for me.

Players that have a problem with that don't last at my table, but my table is always full with other people asking to play. Players are easy to find, decent Gms are uncommon.


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Quandary wrote:
Maliloki wrote:

"In practical terms, you're really unlikely to run out of Resonance Points unless you're using an absurd number of items, and you're at the greatest risk at low levels. You still have a chance even if your pool is empty, though."

Then what the hell is the point of having a Resonance Pool!?

Let's see, if you can choose between two mechanics:

"You can use magic items in combat, and they work 100% of the time"
"You can use magic items in combat, but they work only 50% of the time (getting worse by 5% each attempt), wasting your action if they fail"
(and if you Critically Fail that item is shut of from usage attempts for 24h)

Which would you choose?
That is the difference between using RP to use an item, and rolling to see if you can use it without RP.

This does get into my question if one can choose to roll to use an item without RP before actually exhausting your RP pool, in order to keep "reliable" reserve for when you really need items in combat etc.

Duh. That was obvious.

What you seemed to completely miss is the fact that they stated in the article introducing an new mechanic involving a "limited" resource was that the "limited" resouce (for clarity, I'm talking about the 100% activation chance) would practically never run out unless you were using a large amount of items, and even then it was only restrictive at low levels. Meaning, to be as clear as I can be since you seemed to miss this part, by their math and how they expect the game to be run, you would almost never have to get to to 50% or lower chance of activation failure because they're not expecting you to run out of Resonance Points in reasonable use.

And based on their wording, it'd be hard to "over spend" Resonance Points before you've actually spent your Resonance.


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"In practical terms, you're really unlikely to run out of Resonance Points unless you're using an absurd number of items, and you're at the greatest risk at low levels. You still have a chance even if your pool is empty, though."

Then what the hell is the point of having a Resonance Pool!?

I'm not saying it needs to be a super scarce resource or anything, but if it doesnt need to be spent intelligently, its a useless mechanic and a waste to keep track of.

That said, I like the Resonance Points idea, the numbers just need to be recalibrated to actually be a meaningful mechanic.


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Secret Wizard wrote:
Maliloki wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
Maliloki wrote:

Ugghhh...Legendary level abilities are a COMPLETE turnoff for my interest in this edition. Not stoked about what it seems like the Mastery levels are going to be like either.

...PF 2e looks like its gonna require as much work to make something reasonable out of it as D&D 5e has.

Same thing but replace every instance of PF 2e with D&D 5E and viceversa.

Oh, I wasn't saying 5e was a superior system. I think PF2 is going to be a better written and better thought out game than 5e is. But if I wanted to play superheroes, I'd play a different system.

I was more mentioning that its looking more and more like switching to PF2 and making minor mods to suit my needs is less and less likely because of the ridiculousness of some of the things they want the PCs to be able to do. 5e does have SOME of that same issue, but nowhere near the same degree as what they're making PF2 lean into.

That, and I've already houseruled 5e into a game that is functional and does a reasonable job at reflecting reality while still giving players ways to improve, stand out, and be badasses. I was hoping that PF2 was going to be a better base system for me to use, but I think its just going to be something to mine for ideas.

ah yeah too bad PF2E can't be houseruled to function.

also you play with 9th level spells. let the 15th level Rogue have a handy bag of costumes that they can quickly pull from.

Of course PF2 can be houseruled. My point wasn't that it can't, but that, based on the scaling of these abilities I'm betting the class abilities have a similar scaling problem (for me) that either doesn't exist in the system I use from the beginning, or I've already made the necessary changes.

I've massively overhauled the spell lists already for better balance and how magic works in my world, haven't looked at the stuff above 5th level yet to see what's available. Beyond that, I don't like non-magical abilities that allow characters to break the laws of physics or common sense. No one is stealing a suit of armor off someone and NOT having that be noticed.

PF is looking like its superpowering its way out of my gaming collection because of its base design philosophy. If you like fantasy superheroes, good for you, but I've spent a significant amount of time and energy getting a streamlined system to make life an actual challenge for my players while still giving them options to improve and be badass.

What I've been seeing in much of PF2 so far has been about making things less of a challenge because players don't like being bad at things and then amping everything up on steroids for combat because that's the only area for challenge.

So, as I said (basically), good luck to Paizo and the fans, but this edition (despite me hoping it's make a better base system for me) is more of a thing to mine for ideas vice switching and spending money on FOR ME (I don't actually care if you like it or think the mid to high level effects are the best thing and really going to bring your game to the next level. I like the world making sense).


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Secret Wizard wrote:
Maliloki wrote:

Ugghhh...Legendary level abilities are a COMPLETE turnoff for my interest in this edition. Not stoked about what it seems like the Mastery levels are going to be like either.

...PF 2e looks like its gonna require as much work to make something reasonable out of it as D&D 5e has.

Same thing but replace every instance of PF 2e with D&D 5E and viceversa.

Oh, I wasn't saying 5e was a superior system. I think PF2 is going to be a better written and better thought out game than 5e is. But if I wanted to play superheroes, I'd play a different system.

I was more mentioning that its looking more and more like switching to PF2 and making minor mods to suit my needs is less and less likely because of the ridiculousness of some of the things they want the PCs to be able to do. 5e does have SOME of that same issue, but nowhere near the same degree as what they're making PF2 lean into.

That, and I've already houseruled 5e into a game that is functional and does a reasonable job at reflecting reality while still giving players ways to improve, stand out, and be badasses. I was hoping that PF2 was going to be a better base system for me to use, but I think its just going to be something to mine for ideas.


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Ugghhh...Legendary level abilities are a COMPLETE turnoff for my interest in this edition. Not stoked about what it seems like the Mastery levels are going to be like either.

...PF 2e looks like its gonna require as much work to make something reasonable out of it as D&D 5e has.


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MusicAddict wrote:
Maliloki wrote:
whew wrote:
Jonathan Cormier wrote:
That low stealth character IS NOT SKILLED IN STEALTH. It doesn't matter their level. They haven't devoted the time to that particular skill nor deemed it important. Heaven forbid players have to make choices about what's important to their playstyle or that they might not be good at everything.
Heaven forbid that a character should learn from their quite common experiences of seeing allies and enemies use stealth?

Heaven forbid the players treat the idea that their base attributes mean something and the fact that they can be increased as their characters level represents the characters learning things.

Or heaven forbid that the character spends one of their skill proficiencies on stealth BECAUSE they've spent time watching, paying attention, and learning from seeing their allies and enemies use stealth.

Alright then, let's remove the level modifier, go the 5e route with more granularity in a sense, -2 to +3 . No level component involved, so our 20th level god like wizard can struggle to climb ropes and ladders without spending a spell slot.

The goal of PF2'S skill system is to have a sense of constant progression, with BOTH skill granularity in the form of life skill rank specialization and skill feats, and tighter math so that challenges for any given character aren't meaningless or impossible for another, merely very easy or very hard.
The first goal is simple, by allowing the bonus to increase every or nearly every other level, whether that's through automatic level based bonus or allowing them to increase their skill every level through choices.

Granularity requires more options than just on/off, there needs to be differences between a person who's good and a person who's near otherworldly. So you want people to be able to invest in varying amounts in a given skill. Not just ability scores and items, you need degrees of proficiency, but the addition of skill feats reduces the weight on needing high...

That's actually what I'm pushing for, more granularity of choice that actually matter. The difference is that I don't see, based on how it's currently written, the need for actual choices of "degrees" of proficiencies in this case as any bonus beyond skill feats chosen are overshadowed by it being completely reliant on level to determine how good you are at the skill (and the skill feats are locked/unlocked based on your level anyways since you can't get to a certain level of proficiency until you reach a certain level barring class bonuses)

What I'm seeing:

- Attribute Modifiers (-5 to +X, but realistically -1 or 0 to +X) = base apptitude in all things. These numbers will get better as your character levels up and experiences the world and picks up little tricks here and their from exposure.

- Skill Proficiencies (Your Level modified by either -2 or +0 to +3) = represents concerted effort in picking up skills. Actual training through learning and repetition. Oh, and it ALSO represents picking things up just by experiencing the world just because we need to double up on that idea because player's don't like to be bad at things.

- Tools (+0 to +3 - or +1 to +3...I can't remember) = represents the bonus you gain to completing a task based on the quality of the tools.

- Skill Feats = Specialized uses of the skill that are locked off based on level of proficiency.

As it's written in the post, there's honestly zero reason to train in much of anything beyond gaining access to the higher level skill feats since your level is added to your skill roll regardless and the proficiency gives a nominal bonus to the roll. If that's the case, just remove the multiple skill proficiency levels/bonuses all together, and have skills either be Trained (d20 + Mod + Tool + Level) or Untrained (d20 + Mod + Tool + 1/2 level or level-5 or level-2 or whatever) and lock off the higher level skill feats based on character level and being trained in the skill since that's the primary way to specialize in a skill in this system. What skill feats to choose becomes the only choice in how to show skill training at that point, which it kind of is as its currently written, it's just hidden a little bit behind "kind of" choices being completely overshadowed by adding your level to the roll.

What I'm saying is that by removing the level bonus to the skill roll, AND maybe increasing the skill proficiency bonus by a little bit, you now make the choice of what you train in actually important whilst not leaving anyone in the dust too much. All while leaving the choice of actually being good at something in the hands of the player. And still having the choice of further specialization through skill feats for even more uniqueness in characters.

(I'm fine with the idea of skill feats being a way of showing further specializing in a skill, btw. My main gripe is the silly need of a +15 or +35 to something if the base DCs are supposed to be flatter. There's no point in rolling after a certain level in that case)

Regardless, I get it. Nobody else thinks the same way about this as I do. I'm done.


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whew wrote:
Jonathan Cormier wrote:
That low stealth character IS NOT SKILLED IN STEALTH. It doesn't matter their level. They haven't devoted the time to that particular skill nor deemed it important. Heaven forbid players have to make choices about what's important to their playstyle or that they might not be good at everything.
Heaven forbid that a character should learn from their quite common experiences of seeing allies and enemies use stealth?

Heaven forbid the players treat the idea that their base attributes mean something and the fact that they can be increased as their characters level represents the characters learning things.

Or heaven forbid that the character spends one of their skill proficiencies on stealth BECAUSE they've spent time watching, paying attention, and learning from seeing their allies and enemies use stealth.


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ENHenry wrote:

In my opinion, the whole "unskilled 20th level guy has a +18" thing works fine - to me, it's actually more believable than believing that a person who has adventured enough to make it to higher level has absolutely no training or experience gained in a particular skill by virtue of all their travels and has a +0 at it.

For one thing, thanks to downtime (and depending on the group, the story narrative), we do not zoom in on every moment of the lives of a PC. They travel, they study, they carouse with the local populace of places they visit or live, and quite frankly much goes on for an active adventurer that we do not narrate in game. (Don't believe me? I'm willing to bet darned few of us narrate our PC's bathroom breaks, sex, pillow talk, every single meal taken, every shopping purchase...)

There are pieces of info, observational lessons, chance encounters, that we engage in every waking moment. I am not a accountant, but I am better at money management at age 40 than I was at age 18. I am not a professional driver, but I am a DARNED better driver at 35 than I was at 15. I never trained professionally in music, but I can carry a tune pretty well and know about use of the diaphragm. I know a little bit of French and German by virtue of friends who speak it. If I watched an EMT perform their job daily for two years, I would pick up on a lot of very basic medical techniques. We learn subconsciously every day about multiple subjects. It models (maybe not perfectly, but better than PF1) what happens in real life, in that just because we don't formally train doesn't mean we know nothing. How much more so does this apply to a high-level adventurer who has been through crisis after crisis to come out on top?

The system already covers these ideas by virtue of the core attributes and the fact that they can be increased as you level up. Being able to kind of carry a tune is your base Charisma. Managing money ...Intelligence or Wisdom. Driving, Dexterity.

Watching an EMT perform their job daily for two years...if you were actually paying attention and attempting to retain the information, that'd be enough for me to call that Training. Otherwise, it's covered by Wisdom (I'm assuming Medicine is still attached to Wisdom).


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Picking little things up based on exposure/life but is of little interest to the character is covered by the inherent attribute modifiers (which increase as the character levels) and the fact that you can make rolls on anything the DM will let you attempt.

Showing that your fighter can bandage people up because of a career of adventuring watching the party medic do it is covered by the fact that you can gain additional skill proficiencies at higher levels. Otherwise, you're junk at it because you never paid attention to what he was doing whilst healing people.

Narrative reasoning supporting player choice. Weird how that works.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Jonathan Cormier wrote:
So...why are skill ranks based on level? It means there's basically no difference between a person who is trained and a person who is a master other than their skill feats chosen if their the same level.

There's a +2 difference. Which actually matters quite a lot in a system like this.

For exampple, assuming DC 20 and a +15 bonus for the Master, he has the following percentages:

5% Critical Fail, 15% Fail, 50% Success, 30% Critical Success

The person with a +13 (due to identical stats but not being a Master...this is actually unlikely, since it involves having invested in an item):

5% Critical Fail, 25% Fail, 50% Success, 20% Critical Success

So that's 10% of the time that they just fail instead of critically succeed. It gets worse without the item.

Jonathan Cormier wrote:
If its based on stupidly high skill checks for the higher level skill feats...why not lower the DCs since they're already blocked off if you don't have the requisite level of proficiency.

Uh...we have no idea what skill checks are required for high level skill feats.

Jonathan Cormier wrote:

Could do -2, +0, +2, +4, +6 or -2, +2, +4, +6, +8 or -2, +0, +2, +5, +10 or something and get your level of the equation.

Regardless, ill probably end up houseruling it to something along those lines anyways.

Removing level reinstitutes the problem this was intended to get rid of. The issue being that, as proved in many games, unless the whole party has Stealth you can't sneak anywhere, because the low guy still has a +0 despite being 12th level.

It's an issue and one they removed for a very specific reason. This version is also much simpler because it makes all Proficiencies work the same, which is very nice from a 'teaching this to new players' perspective.

1) I get that, which is why I didn't really change much as far as what the proficiency bonus was and was intending to kind of split the difference between "level+X and just a small bonus, but have it actually be based on player choice vice default automatic gains.

2) you're correct. We don't. I was basing it off the idea that the only reason you set up a system to give a +15 bonus at level 7 is because the DC's are going to counter it. Using smaller numbers means you can normalize the DCs so a 15 is always the "default" difficulty of average/hard or whatever.

3) Holy balls this idea is part of the problem people have with D&D having become too soft/characters becoming too much like fantasy superheroes.

That low stealth character IS NOT SKILLED IN STEALTH. It doesn't matter their level. They haven't devoted the time to that particular skill nor deemed it important. Heaven forbid players have to make choices about what's important to their playstyle or that they might not be good at everything. If a character is actually skilled in something, they get to take point in that action.

I don't get why being a higher level character automatically makes them inherently better at EVERYTHING vice the things they've chosen to actually work on through Proficiencies/feats/class choices.

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