I agree that splitting PF into "Basic" and "Advanced" editions is probably a poor business choice, but I would definitely like the Beginner Box's design principles to carry to the next revision of Pathfinder. That is to say, more or less the same rules written for clarity and simplicity, at the expense of covering specific corner-cases.
Ooh, and more guidelines / tables for improvising skill DCs! That's one thing 4th Edition does right that Pathfinder doesn't.
I think probably the best way to do things is the way the Basic Box does things - keeps things simple and clear, letting the GM handle edge cases.
Here's an example: In the full game, the burning hands spell states that it can set unattended objects on fire. The fireball spell specifically states that the fire doesn't last long enough to catch objects on fire. The scorching ray spell doesn't say either way.
The Basic Box handles this by only providing the basics of what the spell does, leaving the GM to decide whether or not any of these spells will catch an object on fire.
I think leaving out these edge cases is a good idea - it lets the GM decide what can and can't be done with a skill, spell, or ability.
Sure, if you leave out the edge cases, that invites players to abuse vague rules. This is good - this encourages players to think creatively. And if the rules are vague, this allows the GM to "veto" unreasonable uses of skills or spells without the players bringing up "but the rules say I can".
I'm currently playing in a couple of 4th edition games. While 4E is fun for what it is - a fantasy-themed miniatures combat game - it's definitely very restrictive, which makes it very hard for me to play it creatively. Every ability has exactly what it does spelled out with unquestionable clarity - sure, I can teleport, but I can only teleport next to an enemy, and only when they attack one of my allies. Why can't I mark an ally, and teleport to his side when he attacks one of my enemies? The answer is simple: the rules don't say what you can't do, but restrict you even more by clearly stating the only things you can do. 4E breaks down almost immediately under lateral thinking.
I think simple and sufficiently vague rules, like the ones the Pathfinder Beginner Box has, are the key to making a fun and flexible role playing game. The GM can say that no matter how good at swimming you are, you sink if you're in full plate armor. A player can say he wants to use scorching ray to ignite a barrel of gunpowder. The rogue can attempt an Acrobatics check to leap on top of the ogre's back. If you fall into lava, you die, no save. Sure, you can do these things in the full game, but that requires you to ignore existing rules while inventing new ones, which can be stressful, especially if your players become upset that you're "breaking the rules" against their favor.
Sure, making your own rulings on the fly can be hard work, but memorising and referencing rules that try to cover every edge case - often under the scrutiny of players who know the rules as well or better than you do - can be harder work.
I think I'm going to do a lot of running in the Basic Box, and as such I made a Google Docs template useful for converting monsters from the full game, making custom monsters, or NPCs. I'd like to share it with all of you!
I believe you can save a copy to edit yourself. I hope this helps out any GM on the go who wants to slip a couple of custom creatures into their adventures!
If you're a magus with two levels in alchemist with the Vestigal Arm discovery, can you use one of your hands to cast a spell and the other two to fight with Spell Combat, wielding two weapons, since you now have three hands?
I'm not planning a build like this or anything, I am just wondering if anyone else thought up this combo yet.
And alchemist can get this at level 2, and a second one at level 3 with the Extra Discovery feat. Just have extra arms work like these arms and make it cost roughly the same as a human bonus feat.
I think a monk/paladin would be a great way to go - especially if you can snag the Serenity feat. I don't think you'll be as gimped as people say you will be; people tend to get a little panicky when sub-optimal choices are made, but the optimal choice is not always the funnest one, and just because you aren't the best doesn't mean you'll be useless.
Pretty much everyone agrees that the Martial Weapon Proficiency feat is more or less totally dumb. Would it make it more worth it to instead have the feat apply to all the martial weapons in a given fighter weapon group? So instead of picking Martial Weapon Proficiency (Greatsword), you could pick Martial Weapon Proficiency (Heavy Blades), and get the Greatsword, Greataxe, Bastard Sword (2H), Longsword, and so on. This might actually encourage people to take the feat, especially combat classes that don't get a lot of weapon proficiencies they might want (Inquisitor, Alchemist, etc.)
I'm thinking this is how I'm going to handle it in my games. What do you all think?
Erik Mona wrote:
I'm just sayin'
Really easy to run monsters with all their abilities lined up there
Not havin' to worry about hit dice or boat loads of feats
Allia Thren wrote:
You don't have to take the slower action, and putting away the shield quickly is where it gets its use.
To be fair, a 1st level NPC can't afford all that equipment.
Good luck fighting the angry monkey that you have ~35% chance to hit. Hope the spellcasters have blasty spells.
It only does 1d4 damage, and a fighter who hits it will kill it instantly since it only has 8 HP.
Level 1 Human Fighter with 16 STR, a greatsword, Weapon Focus, Power Attack, and Furious Focus (not even an optimal selection, I believe) attacks at +5, hitting on a 14 or better - 35% chance, just like you said. But he does 2d6+6 damage - the minimum damage is enough to kill it. Since the monkey only does 1d4 damage and otherwise has no special abilities, I think it's a CR 1/2 monster - just one that's skewed towards AC defense. In any case, I'd rather fight this monkey than an NPC first level fighter (another CR 1/2).
I think people take a bit too much issue with successful Stealth granting you invisibility, and not taking noise into account. Form my perspective, New Stealth is all about moving silently. Consider these two failure situations under the proposed new rules:
1. You are hiding around a corner, or in some other situation where it would be impossible for who you're hiding from to see you. If you succeed at the check, they do not know you are there. If you fail, you make noise, and they hear you, knowing you're around the corner. If you have a turn before they get there, you may still have a chance to find another place to hide before they arrive (perhaps in a locker or under a box?) since you still have total cover from them (however, they will likely be suspicious if you are missing when they arrive, and more thoroughly search the area). If you do not have a turn before they get there, however, they turn the corner and see you, revealing your presence.
2. You are sneaking through an open area, using stealth to move across a hallway where guards are stationed. If you pass, you succeed - since you moved silently, you never alerted the guards to your presence. If you fail, you make noise, and they immediately turn to see you, revealing your presence.
A successful Stealth check under these rules makes you silent AND invisible to those you check against - it's just that invisibility doesn't mean much when you're around a corner or behind a wall where they can't see you anyway.
That being said, I think it needs to be emphasized that a successful Stealth check makes you invisible AND silent.
Alas, using Pathfinder to model my insect hunting based campaign will never work! My players will weep when I tell them they will never be able to play as rhinoceros beetles and cicadas.
(Just being obnoxious. Ignore me!)
Halflings, being small, also get a +4 size bonus to Stealth, so they can sneak more reliably. I think the reduced movement speed is a fair trade-off, and gives incentive for medium-sized races to play sneaky characters.
Also, keep in mind just how far 10ft. really is in real life. To cross that distance in about three or four seconds without your target hearing you coming, and quick enough so that your target doesn't chance looking around - all while being about half the size of a human, is quite a feat in and of itself.
Under the current rules as written, sneaking up behind someone is impossible.
The key difference between the new Stealth rules and the old ones is that your stealth does not expire immediately if you enter an open area. Even in bright light, your stealth does not deactivate until the end of your turn - and if you get to a shadowy area or behind cover before then, you can keep using stealth. You can finally dart between the shadows unnoticed!
You can't make a stealth check in bright light without cover, but making a stealth check means "initiating" stealth now. In broad daylight, you can sneak up on someone from behind a barrel or something and sneak attack them in the back before they know what's what.
I do think a special exception should be made for Sleight of Hand checks - sneaking up behind someone and taking their stuff is pretty iconic.
4th edition handles this as "Passive Perception", which is something I always liked.
Perhaps when you sneak, you roll against a DC of 10 + your opponents' Perception modifier - any creatures whose DC you don't beat spot you.
There's precedent for this in the system - Feinting is rolled against a flat DC rather than being an opposed roll.
I also like the idea of not having to make new checks unless you take other actions, such as moving - if all you do is hold still, having to make a new check every single round could be cumbersome.
So a wizard casts Invisibility on a party member at the start of a dungeon crawl, and so long as that party member restricts him or herself solely to sniping attacks, for as long as he/she keeps making those stealth checks the Invisibility spell keeps running and running and running until the duration regularly expires?
Invisibility spell wrote:
The spell ends if the subject attacks any creature.
If something is repeatedly striking me from the same space and hiding again, I am either going to move out into the open where they can no longer hide, or attack them with a readied action. If they're being particularly obnoxious about it (blur spell, which might get errata'd into not allowing stealth), I'll grapple them. Once they attack me they lose stealth, and I can bring down the hammer.
A very defeatable "infinite invisibility loop" that only works under very specific circumstances is not that powerful in a game where greater invisibility is a thing.
Personally, I really like the new rules - they allow you to play out a "Metal Gear" style stealth scenario on a battle mat, which was previously impossible. I can't wait to give them a try - I'm currently running a two-person evil game where the party leader is an assassin, so I'd love to run an adventure where the challenge comes from distracting guards and taking different routes rather than just asking for a bunch of stealth checks over and over.
Using a large bastard sword is very flavorful and cool, even if it is'nt optimal. A character who has a sub-par but unique build can still be enjoyable to play (I have played a few such characters myself).
The missing feat and slightly worse damage over time isn't going to make THAT big a difference in actual play. I'd think it'd be worth it just to have the NPCs of the world marvel at your gigantic weapon, and hear all the rumors that continually exaggerate its size.
I do a question about it - do you need a free hand to cast the spells and then shoot them through the gun, or can you use your gun hand instead?
This archetype does lose out on quite a bit, but I think it's still viable if you one-level dip with Gunslinger and then go Eldritch Knight the rest of the way. You don't even really need to pump your Wisdom too much, since Amateur Gunslinger becomes Extra Grit when you take that level.
As for a one-level dip into Spellslinger - technically it's legal, but I can see it not being within the intent of the class, even though it's a huge benefit. The assumption with Pathfinder seems to be avoiding multiclassing - I think the Synthesist summoner makes this assumption too. Personally, I wouldn't take the one level dip, just because having the vestigal first level wizard spells at caster level 1 to worry about bothers me. (Though I guess I could just prepare Feather Fall in all of those slots and not have to worry about falling ever.)
I do think this may have been served better as a magus archetype, though.
Another thing I do is move all level 11 class features down to level 10 as a "capstone", as almost every class gets something really neat at level 11. Gestalt characters, who cap out at 8, miss out on this benefit.
Being eternally two levels behind also means they miss, at the very least, a spell level and 2 BAB.
After characters hit the cap, they gain bonus feats instead of levels, E6 style. At this point, gestalt characters no longer take the 1/2 EXP penalty, since they gain the same benefits as single-classed characters do.
I do more or less the exact same thing in my games, allowing "gestalt" multiclassing in exchange for halved EXP and barring entry to prestige classes or traditional multiclassing.
I worked out the math; a character who earns half EXP stays one level behind for the first few levels, and two levels behind for more or less the rest of his or her career. I think this is a reasonable tradeoff - you'll always be at least two BAB and a spell level behind.
Here are the only things I do differently from you:
- You use the higher of the two hit dice
It's not exactly a matter of inspiration so much as wanting my products to be as compatible with Pathfinder as possible (not that I planned to do a goblin set, since that's already covered in the official paper minis line).
The reason why I thought it was a gray area is that the text describing the distinct versions of these monsters is OGL much of the time - though I imagine a "Section 15" copyright notice would be necessary if one were to claim the text as inspiration.
The race seems a bit fiddly - I'd reccomend either giving them Negative Energy Affinity or axing the Living Dead class feature. The Dhampir handles this the former way.
They get a lot of save bonuses against a lot of stuff - that's a huge list, which could prove cumbersome and fiddly in play. I'd go the halfling / alt half-orc route and give them +1 to all saves, or narrowing down the list.
Ancestral Knowledge is a neat, flavorful ability.
Memories of Past Lives has got to go. It is much too wide open (especially because it doesn't specify that you need to meet the prerequisites), so a player could halt the game to look for the best feat possible to use. Similar abilities are in the game, but not granted until at least level 8 (see: war domain cleric). Ax this ability completely.
To make up for getting rid of or toning down these abilities, I'd recommend giving them a spell-like ability - perhaps speak with dead or true strike once per day.
As for the favored class bonuses, either:
+1/6 additional magus arcana (Based on human rogue favored class option)
I'd recommend against letting the enhancement bonus go up as a favored class option, as there's no other way to do so in the game.
Ranger Archetype: Wrangler
While many rangers trek through the wilderness, clearing a path for their allies through the thick underbrush, a few rangers prefer to protect the open plains, guarding and shepherding livestock. These wranglers develop the skills necessary to immobilize these animals for their own good, and can easily adapt their talents to deal with less savory creatures.
Roper (Ex): At 1st level, a wrangler gains Exotic Weapon Proficiency (lasso) as a bonus feat. The DC to escape a wrangler’s lasso is either 15 or 10 + ½ the wrangler’s level + his Wisdom modifier, whichever is greater. This ability replaces wild empathy.
Lasso Expert (Ex): At 3rd level, a wrangler may turn any rope he is holding into a lasso as a standard action, and can slide a tightened lasso back open as a swift action. This ability replaces endurance.
Hogtie (Ex): At 7th level, a wrangler’s control over his quarry is supreme. He may perform a drag or trip combat maneuver against any foe he has entangled in his lasso, even if he is not adjacent to the creature. When grappling a creature he has entangled in his lasso, he takes no penalty for grappling one-handed when holding the lasso, and can use the lasso’s rope to tie his pinned opponent. This ability replaces woodland stride.
Thoughts? I always thought that the ranger could make a very effective "cowboy" character, and thought an archetype based around lassoing your foes would be neat. I explicitly made sure it could combine with Horse Lord, and I'm pretty sure Ultimate Combat is going to give us a firearms combat style for the ranger, so there you go!
So, what do you all think?
Considering that you seem to have only responded to the part of my post where I politely conceded that grappling wasn't super amazing at everything, I think my case is still valid. For the record, I tried.
Also, if you're a badass level 9 warrior, grappling a wimpy CR 4 bear is cake to you. Just don't try and hug the horrorterrors.