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Wrapping up some playtest experience and sharing some questions, cool stuff, comments, and concerns based on some actual play. Some notes on the setup: There were two groups, one with four kineticists (earth dedicated, fire dedicated, air/water, and air/fire) and one with three kineticists (air/fire, water dedicated, and earth dedicated) and a cleric. We play with free archetype, so some of our experiences will be altered by that from the game's baseline. Everyone was 15th level, starting gear included on-level magic weapon and armor.

-How does Elemental Weapon Work? If you use an Elemental Weapon, does it lock you out of a Stone Shield? If you create a Reload weapon with Elemental Weapon, does it form loaded or do you need the first action to be reloading the weapon? Does the Elemental Weapon inherit runes from Elemental Blasts? If yes, does a Shifting Rune allow for turning your elemental weapon into anything? Are 1+ handed weapons a type of one-handed weapons eligible for summoning with this feat, or are they their own category of weapons? A thrown weapon can be used as a melee or ranged weapon, can it be used for melee or ranged blasts or does it lock you into only one kind? Lastly, aside from mechanical questions of the feat, do kineticists need to be limited to one-handed weapons with Elemental Weapon?

-Stone Shield, Can you do this with Elemental Weapon? Narratively it feels like you can, it feels narratively counterintuitive to say the nebulously gathered quantity of element which can produce infinite elemental blasts can only be shaped into one thing. Mechanically, from what the document says, it is unclear if the gathered element can only be one thing or not. Mechanically, from a game design perspective, it feels like splitting one resource (gathered element) into two resources (weapon and shield) feels like something that needs to be spelled out.

-Can I just Stoke Element as the third action of my turn? It says you can't use another impulse this turn but it has no requirement that you haven't already done so. So does the restriction apply retroactively, or can I do a two-action impulse then Stoke Element?

-Does the last sentence of Deconstruct Element matter? It's an impulse for dedicated gate only, so you have element gathered before you can use the feat. It's not an overflow so you have element gathered after you use the feat. So it looks like the last sentence is superfluous.

Cool stuff: These were things that stood out as cool, innovative, fun abilities the players were using.

Aerial Boomerang - This is cool, innovative, and fun to play with on the map. It was used several times and, power aside, was a cool tactical move trying to setup the best line expecting it to move twice.

Rock Rampart - Me and the player using this were both pretty impressed by this. The balance of needing to sustain it (which also implies it can be dispelled since it has a duration?) works against the generally OP nature of Wall of Stone, and when earth kineticists were carving up the battlefield to control enemies it gave an opportunity for fun strategic moves.

Wings of Air - We were at the level where the whole party got it, mass flight for the party quickly was incredibly useful as I intentionally staged the encounters on maps where land-based move speeds would be trouble. It was a very good buff that opened up a lot of mobility options.

Horrid Ignition - Overall, a very fun blast move. It was a cool non-overflow ability that felt like the signature move for the fire dedicated kineticist, persistent damage and enfeebled were cool debuffs, it was a good 2-action attack. The dedicated fire kineticist thought it was the coolest ability they had.

Kinetic Auras - Auras are a cool focus for a class. Winter's Clutch was the most powerful ability in our games easily, doing 15 damage automatically for everyone. Dust storm was also pretty cool to encourage people to attack the tank instead of concealed allies. I really hope this stays in the final version, and even that the class leans in harder to the aura theme.

Chain Blast - Being able to bounce attacks around the battlefield made for very fun AoE combat. Had a surprising rate of success too, usually it was used against enemies lower-level than the party and we saw 2-3 times where it hit every enemy on the map, and only twice did it fail to hit more than 1 enemy.

Extract Element - Narratively fun, mechanically cool, giving a penalty to AC and Saves is great as is getting to beat enemies up with elements pulled from their bodies. I'm concerned it is too limited for the amount of print space it occupies, since if I hadn't intentionally built this playtest to give lots of opportunities against elementally natured creatures I doubt it would be usuable in a majority of fights. I'd rather it be something more broadly applicable, because it's really fun and I'd hate to see it as something only usable every 6th session.


Does not appear to be a martial: I get it, master weapon proficiency, no spellcasting, the class is a martial. Except, I don't think it really filled a martial role. Single-target damage wasn't impressive, defenses were not impressive (other than basically being immune to fortitude saves), and the auras that encouraged people to target the Kineticist and thus would make it more of a tank were not super impactful. It was a very versatile class with a lot of options, and the damage wasn't non-existent, but it really did not feel like it slotted into any martial niche. It also doesn't feel like a caster, it feels like its own thing. Sorta like alchemist, but easier to play.

Fights take a long time when damage is coming from kineticists: We went through 2 moderate fights, a low fight, and a severe fight. The shortest battle we had was a 7 round severe battle, the other three were 8+ and we called them short for time constraints. I felt confident the party would win the encounters, they had the enemies well under half HP and were not hurting for health, while still possessing an abundance of healing. But it took a long time to carve through enemy HP. For context, usually we go 3-5 fights for any sub-severe encounter, and even severe don't often go longer than 8 for our groups.

Attack of Opportunity didn't seem too bad: I don't like that even the basic melee attack kineticists get provokes attack of opportunity. Two of the fights we ran had AoO, the party took a beating from it but none of the abilities were disrupted and the party still prevailed. It actually felt perfectly usable with Attack of Opportunity provoking on basically every class ability, even coming from a creature lv+1 against the party. I'd rather it didn't, but I don't think it feels too bad.


Kinetic Blasts don't feel great. They're strong weapons on a class that is not particularly good at using weapons, so they don't feel terribly good to use. Maybe my players felt differently, but I know the dedicated fire kineticist was consistently unimpressed by regular fire blasts, and the air/water kineticist bought a bastard sword to use in melee with AoO from an archetype, rather than relying on blasts or elemental weapon. It kinda feels like a cantrip more than a main feature of the class. They're not terrible, but they do seem mediocre on the class.

Solar Detonation was an outright disappointment. I didn't realize how little it actually did until late in the playtest, because I didn't read it in depth. I get that it can't be at-will fireball, but it did very little damage, at short range, with incapacitation and requiring 4 actions to successfully use. The area debuff would be neat, unfortunately it was the last round of the game before there was a decent setup to try it. It just felt bad to use at level 15. It also was the most fire-mage type ability the fire dedicated kineticist had IMO. Other aspects are cool but launching fireball-lite feels like what the draw of pyrokineticist would be, and the only way to do that was an ability that was utterly underwhelming without much real upside in combat. I'd really like to see a better AoE in fire gate in the final.

Assume Earth's Mantle is weird and counterintuitive and hard to pull off. It's a strong offensive buff. It's a strong defensive nerf. It requires wasting a full turn of the fight to apply. It feels like it ought to be a defensive buff because you are surrounding yourself in armor but shutting off runes runs counter to this. I want to like this ability, but it was used once and made very little difference. In the other fights, there simply wasn't time to use it. 3 action abilities are really hard to use for our group.

Action economy feels bad for the payoff. The party had enhanced mobility from Wings of Air, but rarely moved around much despite this because the class demands too many actions. Gather Element is aesthetically cool but feels like wasting an action. The only abilities that were conveniently usable and didn't require careful positioning/planning were the kinetic blasts, which felt mediocre. The Overflows didn't feel like they had much of a payoff at all. When the party had to engage with the fight beyond their class actions, like getting Grabbed or needing to move, they were severely hindered. The fight where people got slowed as the least fun one of the players had ever had in a game of Pathfinder 2e, because it was such an overwhelming nerf on kineticist's ability to function.

Constitution feels bad. The class has no way to use it, so pumping it all the way really only impacts impulse DCs. That and the passive defensive boost to HP/Fort Saves. And HP doesn't even seem impressive since Barbarians can keep pace with Kineticist with only moderate investment. I'd like a way to actively use Constitution or barring that a way to actively use excess HP for something. I wouldn't really like to see the Key Ability Score be anything else conceptually, I just want high constitution to open doors for kineticist and make them feel more kineticist-y, and I don't get that feel.

Conclusion: The class has style and interesting new mechanics, I like a lot about the new direction for the class, but I feel it has slight conceptual problems with constitution as a key score and significant points that feel bad regarding the payoff of core abilities. I'm super excited to see the final version and Rage of Elements more broadly.

I like to think of demiplanes from the Create Demiplane ritual as status symbols more than permanent residences.

An issue I have with LN/LE characters and Gorum is that I think a Lawful approach to values is not one Gorum would appreciate. Lawful characters, to me, are the ones who look to reconcile conflicting values by examining ambiguities in their own values. While Chaotic characters do not look to reconcile conflicting values so much as they accept that one value wins out and the others must be broken. I think lawful characters would see ambiguities in cases of conflicting values as critical to understanding how to act, striving to uphold all values. But chaotic characters would disregard ambiguities as mere technicalities immaterial to their actions. I think Gorum prefers the latter when it comes to the values for his clergy. I think he wants people to abide by the spirit of the rules of battle, and wouldn't care about ambiguities in those rules. But a Lawful character with the same values would see those ambiguities as their obligation to explore whenever possible.

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
keftiu wrote:
There's plenty of 1-20 plotlines and regular-scale player options I'd sooner see first, though. I think Mythic is years off at this point - Paizo only finished out the 'assumed core' books last year.

Not sure if “finished out the ‘assumed core’ books last year” is actually a point against Mythic. Now that the baseline is established, they’ve said straight out that they want for the rulebook line books that would push a particular table towards one direction or another, much as how G&G can add a hefty dollop of steampunk and Book of the Dead allows for “we’re all dead down here”, but also able to be excluded wholesale if a group decides to not go that direction.

There’s also options I’d rather they tackle first, like organization rules, but unlike PF1, PF2 lacks a lot of options that allows players to feel like they can massively optimize or play what I’ve been calling “gonzo” tier, short of legendary skill feats kicking in at 15. And we can’t ignore that there’s a definite market for that, especially among PF1 players (former and current). If Mythic allows Paizo the ability to offer that, again without actually breaking the tight math they’ve established for the rest of them game, that might push it to a bit higher priority than it would have been in PF1.

I also think the success of the Wrath of the Righteous video game might put pressure on releasing a 2e equivalent of mythic sooner rather than later, trying to capture some of the enthusiasm for mythic from the game. Also Book of the Dead's monstrous archetypes might work as a sort of trial run for elements of mythic involving becoming a planar being, especially if the speculation about free archetypes being involved in mythic is on the right track.

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Adding to the lore change conversation, I think having an in-universe shift in the worlds physics would actively discourage converting APs across editions, which seems like an unfortunate move to make given that Kingmaker is being published for 2e.

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Mostly excited for new monsters and new stuff about Geb. Still kinda hoping we'll get more stuff on Worms that Walk, which I know aren't undead but are still persistence after death and pretty at-home among undead in my view. Sort of excited to see how Hallowed Necromancer works out and vaguely interested in the new options to play as monstrous characters. A lot of the preview info was directed more at PCs than GMs so there hasn't been a ton to hook me in the previews yet, but I really like the premise of the book being an in-world text as well as a Rulebook. The new adventure will probably be a neat one-shot too, I might GM that one for whatever the next Playtest will be.

Sanityfaerie wrote:

So... "our party takes a waltz through the hells, murdering Demon Lords" is reasonable for the finale to a home campaign. Would we ever expect to see an AP for it, though? "These five random adventurers slaughtered Treerazer and then went off to just handle that little "Tar Baphon" problem over the course of an enthusiastic walk" isn't the kind of thing you want to have to work into the history after an AP is done. Where could you actually have a 20-25 adventure that was reasonably satisfying, and not get too gratuitous wiht the world-altering?

Also, as noted, a lvl 25 party is taking out Treerazer-equivalents as warm-up mooks. Where are you going to find even demon-lords-in-training (or equivalents thereof) as warmup mooks?

Just a note, we literally did get "our party takes a waltz through the abyss murdering Demon Lords" in 1e without it ending with the party handling that little "Tar Baphon" problem. That was Wrath of the Righteous, and the party didn't even fix the entirety of the problem in the region. I'm fine if we get mythic/epic/whatever rules and it winds up just being for home games (I run those, I like creatures level 26+, not everything makes its way into APs anyways), but the world has already handled mythic adventures without them solving all world conflicts.

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Feather Token Ladder: Emergency solution to vertical puzzles, can work as a makeshift bridge to go across a pit or help you climb to the bottom then walk across, could be broken apart to use as an emergency barricade or source of firewood, overall a fun somewhat cheap trick.

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CaffeinatedNinja wrote:
RexAliquid wrote:
A battle oracle in their curse hits about as often as a barbarian, but instead of rage damage and resistances gets full spellcasting and fast healing. Seems about right as is.

Haven't played them enough to say for sure. But lets say they are about right.

Add a bard. Or heroism. Now the barbarian is a lot better than the battle oracle. See the issue? One can get easily buffed, the other can't.

I'm not especially opposed to the idea of making class bonuses untyped, but I do think you're missing the broader picture of what's available here.

The bard can do a whole lot more than inspire courage, and a common complaint of the class is that inspire courage feels almost obligatory basically cutting you down to 2 actions. If the party isn't reliant on the bard for their status bonus attack/damage they suddenly get more freedom to do what they want with that 3rd action, to try out other composition cantrips or just get 3 actions instead of 2 every round. They benefit from oracle not leaning on their buffs.

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CaffeinatedNinja wrote:

Second, I am really confused why the offensive powers have no scaling?

Healing grace heals you half your level in flat healing, scales with you. Harmful malice gives you 1d4 negative damage, which while nice early is neglible later. Why doesn't it scale too?

Same with Planar Bond and Planar Pain. Planar bond has scaling damage resistance (level +2) while planar pain has +2 status damage.

Same reason Barbarian Dedication, Sneak Attacker, and Bespell Weapon never scale I imagine, because most offensive feats (though not quite all) don't tend to scale with level.

Part of it is that PF2 is really conservative when valuing offensive feats. Another part is that I don't think offensive powerups and defensive powerups serve mirror functions. For buffs applied PCs offensive boosts tend to make fights shorter, defensive powerups do not tend to make fights longer, they make fights less costly to recover from. Which I suspect is why the game is slower to grant scaling offensive boosts via feats, since fights getting shorter becomes anticlimactic more often than fights having shorter recovery times, and small boosts to speed up fights are more valuable than small boosts to speed up after-fight cleanup IMO. Especially with defensive boosts like resistances or fast-healing which don't impact AC since you're still getting hit and crit in the fight, you're just less hurt or getting better.

If you're looking to make the feat that gives a full-level harm spell and a damage buff scale up to +1d10, you should probably also scale Sneak Attacker, Barbarian Dedication, and Bespell Weapon up considerably as well.

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Sanityfaerie wrote:
So... it sounds like there might be a niche for a "Wellspring Mage, but not quite as bad" archetype. Like, for starters, have the slot it recharges into be the "ghost slot" that got taken away initially, and then maybe not eating a cantrip for no reason. It would still be spending a bunch of feats for marginal gain, and you'd be losing control of which slots you cast when, but it wouldn't specifically punish the psychic in the same way, and it would on average break even (mostly) after a standard adventuring day of 4 encounters without having to find stuff to cast a bunch of spells on as soon as you wake up.

This feels more like Wellspring Mage, but missing the point. It reinforces surging as a punishment to the character by focusing harder on the bonus spell slots as a reward for subjecting yourself to the surges. Wellspring Mage but better would encourage you to engage with the surges by having a surge table where each effect would be a benefit to you, but you didn't control what sort of benefit you got. The archetype is less disruptive because it doesn't have effects that are intended to penalize you and your allies. I don't think it needs to be more powerful personally, I agree with SuperBidi that it's fairly powerful as long as you buy into the play style it encourages where you are less concerned with saving your spell slots, but if it needs a power up anywhere it should be in the surge options and not the bonus spell slots.

I feel like temporary spell slots are the last thing I want out of Wellspring Mage. Like yeah, they're the option that gives you power in exchange for what you've given up, but the reason I want to take the archetype is 20-part table of random magic. Wellspring Control helps blunt some of the worst of the bad effects while Urgent Upwelling lets you generate more surges and on occasion pass them to the enemy. The part of the archetype that frustrates me is that the playstyle that leans into the wellsrping surges instead of the temporary spell slots is pretty heavily dependent on the GM. I wish the caster had the ability to direct where the surge was going/who it was affecting after learning what it did, rather than the only option to change details of the surge being the GM if the surge is granted by a powerful creature.

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My biggest want for a kineticist is a blaster with no spell slots, since I have players who want to play blasters and don't do well with spell slots. Behind that, I would really like Kineticist to have some burn-like mechanic as their primary limiter. Magic that is physically dangerous to the caster is a trope that I like and would like to see here again. PF1's burn mechanic wouldn't work with PF2, but I think there's something to work with and trust the developers are more clever than me in coming up with a fun one. Maybe some sort of custom scaling debuff? Constitution or Strength based magic for the kineticist based on the idea that Kineticist magic is rooted in the body and is a physical practice would also be cool.

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Burn is something I really want to see in the 2e Kineticist in some form. Narratively I view kineticist as a good place to implement magic that is dangerous to the caster as well as their enemies, which puts an active strain on their bodies or souls which they push against for more power. I like that trope and would like some burn or exhaustion mechanic to be the primary limiter to the kineticist in 2e, not spell slots like casters. I'm more flexible on focus points, focus and refocus is more temporary and fits some kineticists in my mind, though having spellcasting like monks and rangers as opt-in would be preferable to spellcasting like champions where it is inherent to all of them.

I'd like the class to be able to represent stuff from Avatar: The Last Airbender, but don't want that to be baked into every kineticist and would like some aspects of it to be explicitly opt-in rather than inherent. Marital arts and spiritual discipline are cool sources for kinetic magic, but not the only ones. I'd like some kineticists to feel a lot less controlled, and some kineticists to be good in firefights but bad in fistfights. Also access to the substance of their element as a limiter can be cool but I'd like that to not be the default as a GM, since I then have yet another environmental limiter I need to keep in mind.

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1) Inquisitor. I don't even need Inquisitor as player-facing options, those would be fine but all I'm particularly looking for is making NPC inquisitors because they slot into villainous archetypes better than clerics IMO.

2) Shapeshifter class. Not a spellcaster that can shapeshift, someone who focuses their energies on changing shape and honing that particular skill entirely. Would really like it to not be an extension of druids with the nature theme we got from Shifter in 1e, and having some trickster abilities would be amazing too. This I can do fine with NPCs as a GM, I specifically want the class version.

3) Kineticist as an at-will blaster class option without spell slots. I want this for two of my players in two different parties who really want to play blaster characters for the aesthetic of throwing fire and lightning and rocks at people rather than hitting them with a sword, but also aren't great with spell slots as a mechanic. Focus spells would be fine but not necessary, and I think I'd prefer kinetic blasts hew closer to cantrips than martial stances personally but overall as long as they aren't slotted casters and are blasters I'm fine with it. Spell slots would render the class useless for this purpose and drop it considerably lower on my list of things I want in PF2. Not off the list, but much further down.

4) More guidance on using stuff post level 26 in the game in some way. Mythic and explicitly level 26+ hazards/creatures would work, but I'm also cool if we get robust guidelines for making lower-level hazards that represent indirect means of struggling against the level 26+ creatures that the party cannot handle in a direct fight. Both are cool ideas, just need more to work with for if when my parties turn the campaign towards Care Bears Find and Kill Dagon and I need them to fight against demon lords and not just cultists.

5) More skill feats that are not part of archetypes. Just aren't enough of them, and some skills are more hurting for feats than others. If we're going to get them every other level, I'd like to see a bunch more options for a lot of skills where they get pretty sparse.

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The Oath Wars in Rahadoum are fascinating to me, I like Rahadoum as a nation and would like to see an exploration of what parts of this broke bad enough to lead to the relatively extreme path the nation took towards freedom from religious violence.

Further back, an exploration of the Ghol-Gan empire particularly appeals to me. I think they're neat, it would give room for large-size PCs since the world is built for cyclopes, I'm curious how classes like Champion and Cleric and Inquisitor would change if the religious practice revolves less around deities and more around the Sun and the Moon, would like to see how prophecy as a going concern affects a nation of giants with the gift of foresight, and think it's a good setup for fighting alghollthu who are considerably more active at this point in Golarion's history.

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RAW black powder is "inert and useless" wet, so I'm pretty sure it cannot be used for its intended purpose when wet.

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Cheliax, Andoran, Nirmathas, Molthune, and Isger all don't have much for me in them. The devil as an antagonist isn't really my jam, neither is fantasy US, and I could not tell you what was going on in the other 3 to point out that they aren't my jam. Never left a strong impression on me. Though to Paizo's credit, I do think it would take one solid AP/Adventure pitch to change my tune for any of them. I just haven't heard that pitch yet.

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VampByDay wrote:

I get what you are saying, but I'm saying that an inquisitor's driving force is what they are fighting for, and their spell list should reflect that. If you want a martial druid-ish character that wants to punish those who despoil nature, isn't that character on a sort of inquisition or crusade of their own? If you have a Van-Hellsing-esque character who is on a one man crusade to fight the elder gods . . . isn't that a character that lends itself to using evil to fight evil through occult spells? If you have a person who wants to see arcane magic practiced freely and openly, doesn't it only follow that they would cast arcane spells themselves?

If you don't want to call them inquisitors, I am FINE with that. They could be crusaders, or they could be called magical warriors or any number of other things. It just occurred to me that a magical warrior on a dedicated mission didn't necessarily have to be limited to gods.

I think I did a poor job of articulating my point because I was trying to get at the idea that I disagree with the idea that the driving force can be moved around and still fit the same class, and I don't think these four things are particularly fitting for the same class. The name isn't really the issue, the issue is the concept behind it. Fundamentally the concept the Inquisitor is not carried over in my mind if it isn't an exploration of the different tools of different religions through the Divine lens. The driving force that moves around is the different religions, the different aspects of subtly and conflict Gorum values compared to Shelyn or Norgorbor. But that layer of distinction needs a class to be properly explored, it wouldn't fit in one of four subclasses all designed to fit their own class.

I also don't think the other 3 concepts really fit with one another. The driving force doesn't seem strong enough to carry a whole concept. To me the wavecasting doesn't really fit someone opposed to the censorship of arcane magic or someone on a quest to find and kill elder gods with spooky magics. The latter feels like it is hanging off of the Thaumaturge's conceptual space pretty heavily (other than the using Evil part at least), the former seems like a character arc handled more in intrigue settings that would de-emphasize the martial aspect of a wavecaster. These feel like four different character concepts that don't fit in one class to me.

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So I like pick-a-list classes, but I don't think they work as substitutes for concepts that fit single-list classes. Been having trouble articulating this, but here's my third and best try at it.

I think pick-a-list spellcasters work best if the spellcasting is important but there is a bigger other conceptual and mechanical feature that defines the class. Eidolon or Bloodline or Patron give more flavor to their respective classes than the spell list, the spell list is more of a background thing. What the summoner fundamentally does is not particularly arcane or primal or divine, it's fundamentally a Summoner thing that gets a certain kind of magical spice mixed into the practice by their tradition.

But decoupling tradition from other mechanics, then locking the tradition to one, informs the other mechanics for the single-tradition classes, so those classes feel more like their traditions and help define those traditions as well. Wizard's non-spell mechanics are arcane theses and arcane schools and frame arcane magic as something to be studied, understood academically and then applied to the world. In that way those classes add depth to the notion of what Arcane magic is in the setting and that's something I think is cool. What a wizard does is fundamentally arcane, and the spice mixed in is the deeper layer of schools or theses they focus on.

Extrapolating these ideas out to a new class concept, I don't think Inquisitor is a concept I particularly want to have be a pick-a-list concept. The Inquisitor things that I think would fit the class feel like they'd be better explored as added layers of depth to divine magic than they would as primarily Inquisitor things which have a tradition spice mixed into it.

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This thread feels like a mean-spirited "gift" to drop for the mods during their holiday

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Keirine, Human Rogue wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
If you're in a home game, you can just ask to be a Medium Kobold and say you drank lots of milk. There's no mechanical difference!
Grapple, Shove, Trip beg to differ.
That may be true, but you also lose out on the mechanical advantages of being small size. I have no idea what those are in PF2, but I'm sure there are some related to AC and maybe other stuff?

You're half the bulk, so if you get knocked out and the party needs to run away before they heal you they will be less encumbered doing so. Also being smaller means you fit through smaller spaces relative to medium creatures. Sometimes that is ignoring difficult terrain, sometimes that is facing difficult terrain rather than squeezing, sometimes that is a lower DC to squeeze, and sometimes that is the possibility of squeezing for you and not medium creatures. Wholly environmentally dependent. Very useful for your holiday ventilation shaft antics, somewhat less useful in a fist fight.

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I feel like content that tries to force dark edginess onto itself often misses the mark and becomes grotesque and cartoonish. Maybe it's just me. But some of the old pathfinder lore about certain topics feels like it goes far enough into the edginess of the horrors it is trying to portray that I stop thinking I'm supposed to both enjoy reading it and take it seriously. Evil things become garish jokes either mocking the monsters' absurd cruelty or their victims' absurd suffering, or the reader's discomfort. It's not all of the old pathfinder lore, lots of the old stuff does appeal to me and there are plenty of monsters and characters that fascinate and enthrall me, I just feel like the older style of dark-and-edgy fantasy writing went far enough to come out the other side of horror into comedy. Only without being intentional about who is standing at the end of the punchline.

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Been away from the boards for a while, come back and see that I don't have to write around slavery anymore, and it's because the writers and developers are not interested in telling those stories anymore, that's pretty cool! Honestly one of the biggest issues I have an older AP I've been converting and running is slavery, book 5 wants the party to sympathize with the horror of slavery but the other books pretty much ignore it, and book 3 even gives it an implicit pass by showing slavery on-screen but not providing anything for what to do if the party wants to do something about it. I've landed somewhere my group is comfortable with, but it sure feels awkward to read the AP. Glad the de-emphasis will avoid these in future APs.

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Verdyn wrote:

For those who joined late, this poster used a philosophical discussion and provocative language to derail this conversation earlier (though those posts have now been moderated, thanks mods!) Now they pose a philosophical question tangentially related to the current discussion doing little to tie it into the conversation, and frame it as a question to elicit responses regarding it, which would distract the conversation from its course and bring it closer to another derail. Food for thought.

James Jacobs wrote:

The Geb Adventure Path doesn't assume your party is evil, but if they are, it certainly won't mind. It's set in an evil nation, though, so characters who are eager to defeat an evil nation like Geb would be no more appropriate than those eager to, say, uphold Cheliax's government in "Hell's Rebels" or seek to stop piracy and play "Skull & Shackles."

Which is to say, you could play Blood Lords with good characters, but your GM will need to do a lot of work in adjusting the plot.

If you DO want to play a campaign where your PCs fight against the rulers of Geb and try to bring an end to the nation , then the Blood Lords Adventure Path will absolutely give your GM a lot of stat blocks and locations and NPCs that they can use as a significant stepping stone toward a campaign of their own design though... and that's a use that I feel like folks often forget that an Adventure Path can provide: A GM who wants to and has the time to build their own campaign can use a similarly-themed Adventure Path as, essentially, a nearly 600 page sourcebook to draw material from to build their plots and encounters. In this way, you could build a "play evil characters who take down the Silver Ravens of Ravounel" campaign out of "Hell's Rebels," or a " Defeat the leader of the Shackles" campaign out of Skull & Shackles with a fair amount of work, but not NEARLY as much work as it would take to start from scratch.

As for further details on the Blood Lords Adventure Path... we're months away from starting to drum things up there. Remember, there's two more Adventure Paths and one more Kingmaker to start pumping folks up for before we get to Blood Lords!

We'll get there, but it'll be several months is what I'm saying.

This sounds super cool, I'm excited to GM it in whatever form it takes. Very interested in the plot that doesn't require Evil but is a hard sell for Good. Thanks for the info!

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pauljathome wrote:
Cassi wrote:
. Deities interfering and thwarting each other like gamers at a tabletop (though, probably more Vampire: The Masquerade than Pathfinder or Starfinder) is my jam.
I'm not trying to muck up your jam, but my problem with that is that it is very easy to make the PCs just bit players in the NPC dramas and not the heroes of the story. At the very least, the PCs pretty much have to be demigods or the like if they're going to be anything but pawns.

I think figures like the Empyreal Lords, Archdevils, Demon Lords, etc. fill a good niche for this sort of story. They are deities in a lot of important senses, but are also level creatures with stats (theoretically at least). I think mediate a conflict between these figures is a pretty simple pitch for a lv20 Adventure in 2e if we get a ruleset to take the challenge threshold up to 30 (the upper limit of these sorts of creatures as I understand it).

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Yoshua wrote:
Would have been smart to come up with a new word, fake word like Horcrux but anything is better than co opting people's religious artifiacts.

I think it using existing words instead of defining a new word is more interesting personally. Soul and Cage both have connotations that contribute to the tone of the device, before Harry Potter horcrux didn't and now it's connotations are defined by those books.

Soul is the immortal part of someone, the immaterial piece that is affected by moral decisions, that is with a person's body while they are alive and abandon it for an afterlife in death. Cage is something designed to lock something away against its will and protect people outside the cage from the thing kept within it.

The Lich creates a Soul Cage, they take their immortal and immaterial part of their self and force it in something that prevents it from leaving them and prevents it from reaching them. It fits very well with the image I have of Liches as being obsessed with immortality and afraid of permanent death, and suggests Lichdom is an abusive relationship between the Lich and their own soul, where the Lich doesn't value or trust their soul so they lock it in a cage where it can't hurt or leave them. Those two words imply a bleak and villainous view of the world and of life and death. It feels like a pretty evocative name. That's my read of it anyways.

EDIT: 100% agree about co opting religious artifacts being worse than either existing words or using new ones to be clear, I just prefer existing words to new words when those existing words in the context of something like soul cage v. horcrux

Have the official pages for Blood Lords been created/posted yet? I love the setting, I just haven't seen anything firm on what it is actually about. I assume it's about the Blood Lords and stirring some change in Geb through methods disagreeable to Good people from what I've read, but haven't seen a description of plot/premise beyond the background setting.

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Not sure if Pathfinder is well-equipped for this sort of story, but I'd love to see a Nex AP about fantasy journalists. Urban fantasy mystery about political corruption through the lens of PCs working to empower the public with information in the face of broad and effective magical misinformation. Nex has the super shady political arena and huge city vibes to set the scene for it.

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Soul Cage sounds like a cooler and more evocative name to me in the first place. Clearly explains the concept and creates a visual of the Lich holding their own soul hostage against themselves. I like it.

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VampByDay wrote:
Saranrae is willing to try and redeem anyone who asks for it, including, presumably, mass-murderers and the like.

I'd like to bring this back and ask which specific part of this is an impediment to Sarenrae's moral character. I know some of the canon surrounding her plus her clergy has been errata'd to correct her to a Good character (specifically the Cult of the Dawnflower part), but I'm not clear on things that would make this a character flaw that contradicts Good in canon, or if they are still canon. Not that Sarenrae isn't flawed, just that this particular thing doesn't read as a flaw in Good to me.

I could see the result of "willing to try and redeem .. mass-murderers" being problematic if it was, for instance, immediately taking a bad-faith claim on face value and using it to clear them of any consequences for their actions or position them somewhere where they would be able to harm people. But my understanding of the stance of Sarenrae is 1) She doesn't give unlimited tolerance towards people who abuse the offer of redemption to do Evil and 2) it doesn't inherently mean someone who says they want redemption is immediately free from consequence. And with those, I don't see a problem with this stance. Extending empathy towards people who are Evil in an attempt to produce Good in the world, if you aren't willingly letting that empathy invite more Evil on the world, seems like a Good thing to do to me. Am I misreading the claim here or the current canon of Sarenrae?

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Ixal wrote:
But then some other topics are supposed to be seen through a completely modern lense despite pretty much all PCs being serial mass murderer under modern standards and not to be allowed to do what they do in the APs.

You choose to play the game this way, it does not force you to.

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VampByDay wrote:
As for Shelyn, I mean, yes, some might find it uplifting that someone can love someone for what they were or could be, but . . . well lets face it there are a lot of people out there that would take umbrage if you said "I love this torturing serial killer" no matter how many asterisks you add.

I don't think Good is the same as Things People Will Not Take Umbrage With. Shelyn feels love and empathy towards Zon-Kuthon, her brother who was horrifically mutilated by alien horrors. She also is greatly disturbed by the evil he pushes into the world and takes measures to limit that, like fighting against him, literally disarming him, attempting to cleanse his weapon of immeasurable evil and turn it into a force for good, and guiding her clergy to intervene with his when they worship in LE ways. Will people "take umbrage" with it? Maybe. I don't actually understand why someone feeling an emotion itself is worthy of judgement from others without considering the impact it has on people's actions, but I do understand that some people do. But considering the impact that emotion has on Shelyn's actions and the world at large, it seems very in-character for someone who is Good and supernaturally charged with the domain of Love.

Paradozen wrote:
The magic in Jistka asserts that automatons need the right kinds of food and water for fuel and if they get the wrong kinds they malfunction to resemble humans getting drunk. It is also not a hard scientific explanation, it's a narrative justification to explain a part of the setting that enables the storytelling the authors think is interesting. It's wizard robes and magic words glossing over weird parts of the setting.

I read the Jistka section in a friend's copy of Guns & Gears and realized this was incorrect, it appears they don't need to eat or drink by mechanics or the lore. I missed that line in Constructed Body before. It doesn't say they can't eat or drink, simply that they do not need to, so a more accurate phrasing would be "The magic in Jistka asserts that automatons are able to consume food and drink and if they get the wrong kinds of food and drink, they malfunction to resemble humans getting drunk." I still stand by the overall reasoning though, wizard robes and magic words don't feel less compelling to me than lab coats and technobabble if the science is fictional in the first place.

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Mechanically handwraps do have a slight advantage for some builds because they work on all unarmed attacks while a magic weapon only works on that weapon. So if you grab a ranged unarmed attack from ancestry, a piercing or slashing unarmed attack from a stance, and a backup fist attack for when you need bludgeoning damage, one weapon enhances all of these instead of needing to get your main magic weapon, your magic bow, and your backup magic weapon. Not sure it's a huge boon, but it is an advantage for some characters.

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Seems like a natural progression from paizo's recent moves towards a more virtual-friendly game. They've licensed Owlcat Games to give us CRPGs of popular 1e APs, they've been enhancing the quality of their PDF maps to help VTT users, they officially paired up with Archives of Nethys to create a consistent and official online ruleset, and they worked with Foundry to make VTT bounties. Their biggest competitor has a very successful model for virtual play that gives players the rules and campaign management tools built into one virtual toolset app, Paizo reached out to the makers of that app to try something for their game. It's not like there hasn't been a push to get more virtual products for Pathfinder or anything, and while the pay structure is undesirable for me I understand that D&D Beyond gets pretty great reviews from the people who do buy in.

Doesn't look like it is for me, I have plenty of stuff in Foundry and the Archives of Nethys for now, but for people who like the quality and style of D&D Beyond I hope this new product works fantastically. It might even make the move from 5e to PF2e for groups so inclined easier because there is a comfortable format and quality expectation in Pathfinder Nexus.

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Temperans wrote:

Maybe people missed that there are items like "cookware" that just list the basic stats, no lore, no hand requirements, just bulk, lv, and cost.

Then you have items like the ball that has handedness, lore, cost, bulk, etc.

That is what I was talking about not the fact of "not having the item". But the fact of some items having too much.

Yeah, that is a bit of a shame. We could've gotten, like, 5 items with the same narrative impact as the ball with different formatting. Even more toys for copper pieces.

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LordVanya wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

How does Bender get drunk?

On a complete side note, Bender is not a great example.

Robots in his setting use alcohol for fuel and they don't exhibit any of the symptoms of drunkenness unless they fail to intake the proper levels of alcohol. Some of those effects seem to be side effects of the actual process they use to burn the alcohol while some seem like they must have been programmed in on purpose.

Either way, Futurama robots have logical narrative reasons why they act the way they do based on their, albeit fictional, technology.

Actually, if anything, Bender is a good example for my argument.

Funny, I actually think Bender is a fantastic argument for drunk automatons.

The technology in Futurama asserts that robots need alcohol for fuel and if they don't get enough they malfunction to resemble humans getting drunk. It's not actually tech or hard sci-fi though, it's a narrative justification to explain a part of the setting that enables the storytelling the author thinks is interesting. It's lab coats and technobabble glossing over weird parts of the setting.

The magic in Jistka asserts that automatons need the right kinds of food and water for fuel and if they get the wrong kinds they malfunction to resemble humans getting drunk. It is also not a hard scientific explanation, it's a narrative justification to explain a part of the setting that enables the storytelling the authors think is interesting. It's wizard robes and magic words glossing over weird parts of the setting.

In the context of fiction both make the same sense for me, Futurama is trading "because magic" for "because science". I get not liking the automatons because you don't think the storytelling of constructs powered by food and water is interesting. I just don't get why fake magic having rules and structure in fiction to explain side effects breaks verisimilitude while fake science having rules and structure in fiction to explain side effects is totally fine.

Squiggit wrote:
Gortle wrote:
This is just wrong. If your GM insists that a dungeon has normal height ceilings - very common in games where they are trying for a more realistic medieval feel. Then after a certain level a Giant Barbarians are just done. Then do not have an option to rage and not grow.

Uh... growing larger is completely optional ability. It's a pair of feats some players don't even take and even then both growing to large and the option for huge are things you choose to activate independent of your damage boost.

It's a wildly different beast than a magus without a reach weapon getting smacked by AoOs or a rogue fighting an ooze.

To support this, I've GM'd for a Giant Barbarian who has plenty of room for Giant's Stature and very rarely uses it. He thought the feat looked cooler than the other 6th level feats after getting AoO from free archetype, but wasn't tied to growing big as part of the class fantasy or aesthetic, just thought getting an extra large reach would be useful from time to time. I regularly put the party in locations where there is plenty of room, but he only uses it every few sessions when the party fights creatures that are extra mobile or get in a position where he can block a chokepoint. The actual aesthetic he preferred was he anime oversized weapon look, which he felt was diminished by actually being large sized instead of small. Regularly opts not to take the extra action to grow big unless there's a big incentive to do so. Doesn't seem to mind being in locations with low ceilings (which I don't push them towards, they spend a lot of time outside or in 12-15' tall ceiling areas where Giant Stature is fine). No idea why this idea is, as Gortle puts it,
Gortle wrote:

Ha Ha Ha ha. Thanks, that is just so preposterous.

It's just how my table plays the game.

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Zapp wrote:
(If a Player's Guide would ever tell players they can't play their favorite ancestry-class-background combo, because androids or shoony or druids just don't fit the adventure, I would be shocked to my core.)

Fortunately, the game has a whole system to help you address this with your group! There's a whole rarity subsystem which GMs can adjust to fit their setting and campaign, so if you don't think there are creative stories about Druids in the Realm of the Mammoth Lords you can make it uncommon or rare and tell the players they'll only be able to branch out into Druid if they find somewhere more appropriate for the class.

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My inner child still adores dinosaurs and saurian aesthetics, and the major dinosaur content in 2e thusfar has been Extinction Curse, where they are largely antagonists. I'd love to see a deep dive of Droon with mechanics for heroic dinosaur-themed protagonists and an exploration of a modern empire with dinosaurs as one of the cultural cornerstones. Also some advanced magic and technology with saurian aesthetic qualities would be cool.

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Fantastic News!

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keftiu wrote:
I'd like an organization other than the Magaambya or the Pathfinder Society who has an excuse to range all over Garund. Each of the nations and regions is a lot of fun, but often feel very singular and inside-facing - give me folks who have an excuse to be in Quantium today, Kibwe tomorrow, and Katheer the day after!

I would love to see something like this arise from Blood Lords. Nex/Geb tension is a big deal and feels very much like something that people would organize and recruit aid from across the continent to help deal manage. Could be something similar to the Knights of Lastwall who are actively recruiting aid from places far away as well as dealing with problems nearby.

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Ravingdork wrote:
Are there any static DC items (weapons or otherwise) that could become too powerful with a scaling DC house rule (such as that proposed above)?

I don't think any individual item that is normally balanced for play will cause an issue if it is opened up to scaling. If the item effect is too strong, the fact that it will be too strong and then stop working because you leveled out is only really limiting the impact it has on the system, the actual problem is still in the item's effect you just experience it less later.

I'm considering a houserule for my next campaign that players get a few items that they can replace the static DC with a scaling DC based on the item creation charts though. Opening it up to all items might discourage using higher-level items rather than selling them to buy lower level items for more versatility, but if the party gets a few (I'm thinking one per 5 levels) they can choose a few cool items they found that they want to keep with them through the campaign but they can't just buy a horde of low-level items scaled up to their level.

As a GM I pretty much only like them for times when I give the party above-level treasure so the static DC is pretty great for a couple levels before dropping behind. Otherwise I prefer working with Relics

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For Nexian ancestries we still don't have much on the Ghorans in 2e.

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If we're going to have a game with granular gear like mugs, chalk, waterskins, and sacks in it, I really like having things like balls and pinwheels and waffle irons to make the minutiae fun and colorful. I don't think any of these items are necessarily more useful than each other in my campaigns, I'm just as likely to assume a player has a sack as I am to assume they have a ball when they think it adds to the scene. But having those neat little toys added in if anyone wants to do things. Also for a few urban warehouse scenes I've created, having trivial gear like balls to fill crates and benchmark against would've been neat. I like the ball.

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LordVanya wrote:

Good thing everyone in my group will agree that "it's magic" isn't a good enough reason.

Thanks for the input everyone!

Maybe flesh out how the magic works. Poppets are created as intentional companions to living peoples, designed to look friendly and relatable to the humanoids who create them and acquiring sapience through magical flukes imprinted upon them by the peoples whom they attend. Perhaps the nature of this magic makes them vulnerable to the same things that the people who inspire it, and attacks like disease create metaphysical weaknesses in the mystical bond that animates them. Alcohol intoxicates the Poppet because the Poppet's creators get intoxicated by alcohol and the magic is imitating the people. Tuberculosis plagued the ephemeral spirits that brought them to life, and those animating spirits are weakened in comparable ways when exposed to it. A more verbose explanation than "because magic" even if it is ultimately "because magic".

I know less about automatons, perhaps something similar in the specifics of how the magic works could be arranged for them.

It's also possible that these ancestries aren't a good fit for your group if they break verisimilitude for y'all. One reason some things are rare is to signal that they may not be appropriate for all groups, campaigns, or themes.

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The political scene in Nex fascinates me. It smells of deeply entrenched power being abused for personal interests, which can be turned into satisfying villains to fight against in a political intrigue campaign. A wealthy business interest, an invisible stalker widely believed to be an assassin, two rival fleshwarpers who run independent shady operations manipulate voting blocks, an old power fey leader in power for millennia, the head of obviously untrustworthy Arclord of Nex, and a senior priest of the demon lord of secrets, all serving relatively stable positions in the Council of Three and Nine. Power that has perpetuated itself over centuries that wields a wealth of knowledge and technical skills to further their own ends, at least in my read of the situation.

There are also figures that might make allies if recruited. Elemion represents the people who have to live with the hardships wrought by the ancient Nex-Geb war out in the wastelands. Iranez of the Orb doesn't appear to have much detail at all, so could be an ally if her story gets fleshed out (or yet another enemy). The high priests of Nethys and Pharasma are both from neutral churches that could be aligned with good goals, and one politician seat that rotates frequently enough that they could be elected into power (and even be one of the PCs). If the party has Good goals, these people seem far less shady and more aligned with such goals even though they would need recruiting.

There's a wealth of antagonists alongside a handful of powerful potential allies that might need to be recruited onto the PC's side while addressing problems relevant to the region.

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