So I’ve finally finished my first read-through of the playtest rules (and have NOT yet had a chance to actually playtest, though I hope to soon), and wanted to share my impressions.
I’m honestly quite surprised at the direction the design team has taken. Second edition as it stands now is a BIG step away from simulationism, as evidenced by things like a flat +1/level to most things, abstractions like Bulk, Resonance, and the disconnect between how PCs and NPCs/monsters are built. Granted, there are some places where the design seems to be clinging to simulationism (for example, the main way of increasing melee damage is through magic weapons; I would have expected something like 13th Age, where melee damage scales with level). But, to my eyes at least, the overall direction is clear.
I’m surprised because I believe a similar direction was one of the main things that drove people away from 4E (even if it isn’t always articulated in exactly those terms). Consequently, the 2E transition seems very unlikely to appeal to a substantial chunk of 1E players, and even leave them feeling betrayed (the way they chose to express those feelings is another question entirely, but I digress). Further, this chunk probably includes many of the most devoted fans, who tend to spend the most.
I suspect the design team is too far down the road to radically change direction; otherwise, I might actually suggest they go back to the drawing board and produce a cleaned up, clarified 2E that cleaves much closer to the 1E chassis. Not because that’s the direction that I would personally prefer – it isn’t – but because I’m not sure such a radical shift is the best path for the long-term health of the game. I wonder if they might be abandoning their niche. That is, of course, largely speculation on my part, and I’ll leave it at that.
As to the direction we’re actually getting: The graphic design is a huge step up, the action economy is a vast improvement, and the tactical gameplay seems to be largely intact. Meanwhile, the importance of the character optimization metagame – which I personally loathe – seems to have been greatly reduced.
Again, there are places where I would (and have) suggested tweaks, and I expect to find more when I actually get to playtest. Overall, however, I’m quite pleased. But I definitely appreciate why many people aren’t.
As a GM who has used pawns for literally dozens, if not hundreds of sessions, I wanted to say I love the pawn sets. I'd also like to offer some suggestions as to how you might improve the 2nd edition of the bestiary box.
First, I wanted to start by giving a little background. MY OP experience goes back to Living Greyhawk; I'm a former VL, and a four-star PFS GM. I've started in PFS since Season 0 at Gencon '08.
Second, I want to be clear: PFS has been, by far, the best OP campaign in which I've ever taken part. As a whole it is well run and immensely enjoyable. I'm not posting to complain, but to offer my feedback in a constructive manner.
With those out of the way, on to my point:
I appreciate that PFS is, first and foremost, a marketing tool. However, in order to function in that role, it has to be fun and accessible. Fun, meaning the experience at the table is paramount; accessible, meaning low barriers to entry and plenty of play opportunities. I would argue that pushing new class mechanics into PFS scenarios does nothing to improve the campaign, but plenty to make it less accessible.
I'm no longer very active in GMing PFS. What prompted me to step away was the sheer number of new character mechanics showing up in PFS scenarios, which of course requires the GM read and understand those mechanics. This can be especially painful when this involves reading one or more new classes (Occult Adventures, I'm looking at you). Meanwhile, most or all of that detail is lost on the players anyway; sure, someone might go "hey, that's neat, I want to try that," but often times the underlying mechanics simply aren't visible to the player. The end result is lots of work for the GM with very little in-game payoff.
Leaving new classes and other character mechanics out of the scenario, meanwhile, allows each player to embrace new mechanics to whatever degree he or she desires. It also puts the onus of understanding the new mechanics on those most interested in them, effectively allowing players to self-select their desired level of mechanical complexity. The player could then explain the mechanics if the GM has a question, providing supporting additional resources when necessary. The incentive for players so inclined to buy new supplements is maintained.
I appreciate that there is really nothing to be done for existing scenarios, but if this design philosophy were adopted for future society scenarios (both Pathfinder and Starfinder), I believe we'd see more GMs and increased participation, which is the most effective promotion strategy I can think of. I know I'd be more inclined to GM if I didn't have to learn large, player-facing parts of the latest hardcover release in order to do so. YMMV and all that.
Literally 80% of the recent threads on the front page are spam.
Guys, come one. CAPTCHAs? How about requiring folks to activate their account by e-mail before use? Or better yet, how about both?
Neither of these are silver bullets...nor are they intended to be. Rather, they're intended to push the amount of effort required to spam high enough to make the spammers look elsewhere for easier targets.
The Kineticist wild talents badly need lists which order them by element type and level, rather than alphabetically (ultimately I suppose this is no different than the way spells are listed, but without a few decades of experience to draw from it's pretty darn hard to quickly locate, say, all powers available to a 6th level Terrakineticist). Obviously that will come in the full product, but it would have been helpful during the play test from a pure usability standpoint.
I like much of D&D 5E, but one thing about stat blocks bothers me: They only include a "Saves" line if the creature in question is proficient in one or more saves. Further, when there *is* a saves line, only the specific saving throws with which the creature is proficient are included. In theory, this is clean and consistent. In practice, it makes looking up saves unnecessarily troublesome. Consider this -- in order to find a saving throw:
In D&D 3E/3.5E/Pathfinder/4E:
1. Look at the saves line. You're done.
In in D&D 5E:
1. Check if there is there a saves line. If so, continue to step 2. If not, go to step 3.
In the case of the 5E stat block, if the creature lacks a save entry, *or* the creature has a save entry, but the desired save is not present, you have to look two different places in the state block to find the save.
This could easily be addressed by *always* including the save line, and *always* including all six saves. If emphasis for proficient saves is needed, such saves could simply be written in bold. For the low, low price of making some stat blocks one line longer, you eliminate the need for the DM to check two places for the same piece of information. That seems like a an obviously worthwhile trade-off to me.
Over on the Lone Wolf forums there is a discussion about Hero Lab supporting 5E. The gist is that their hands are tied until you releases news on 5E licensing.
This is exactly what I feared would happen.
You should have learned from 4E and embraced the OGL early and publicly for 5E. Unfortunately, your failure to do so is already having negative effects on your potential customers. And for what? The OGL genie is out of the bottle. The good news is that it isn't too late to make it right. Release 5E under the OGL. Don't discourage third party support of your product by creating uncertainty. Don't hamstring 5E before it is even released. Please.
A D&D fan
This came up at a PFS table I was GMing several weeks back. According to the PRD (and my sixth printing corebook):
"Ranged Attacks: With a ranged weapon, you can shoot or throw at any target that is within the weapon's maximum range and in line of sight."
Surely this should read line of effect, rather than line of sight? Otherwise this implies that shooting a target in darkness or concealment isn't possible.
Obviously in a home game, I just rule this as line of effect and move on, but it would be nice to have the wording changed for PFS purposes.
I'm pretty sure I've posed this question before, but I'm not sure I ever got an official answer. If I did, it has never made its way into the Errata.
Core Rulebook, 6th printing, page 562 wrote:
Weapons with an enhancement bonus of +3 or greater can ignore some types of damage reduction, regardless of their actual material or alignment.
The table on the same page, however, reads "Weapon Enhancement Bonus equivalent"
Clearly these aren't the same thing. A flaming longsword +3 has an weapon enhancement bonus of +3, but an weapon enhancement bonus equivalent of +4. Does such a weapon overcome DR X/Adamantine? While I'm strongly inclined to believe that the answer is no, the text and the table heading disagree.
May I get an official answer (and the wording made consistent via errata)?
First of all, I want to say pre-painted plastic miniatures is an important product for a game like Pathfinder, and I'm very happy to see the need being filled post-WotC. Well done.
Without further ado, here are some thoughts/suggestions:
1. Each set should have a gallery in the main product listing. The gallery should start as "?" mark (or similar), and every time a mini is previewed, it should go into the gallery with the rarity and size clearly marked. Preferably with a link to the relevant preview. If any un-previewed minis remain when a set is released, the gallery should be updated to be complete. This seems like a relatively simple but very useful addition.
2. Paizo needs to own customer service/replacements. This is a Pathfinder-branded product. Your name on the tin, your skin in the game. Not my rule -- that's just how branding works. :)
3. Durability is improved still an issue compared to DDM. I do get that the more brittle material used here probably holds detail better, but there is something to be said for the vinyl-like material used in DDM. You could just toss them into a bin and they simply. don't. break. I get that Hasbro has a LOT of experience making small plastic toys, but is there no way WizKids can replicate?
4. More builder series, please. I know these will get easier as the backlog of sculpts build, but they are a wonderful value. I don't buy by the case, and haven't even picked up boosters for the last few sets, but I always buy a builder mini or two when at the FLGS. It's just such a great impulse purchase...keep 'em coming!
I know this has been discussed before, but I still have a few questions regarding APL calculations. To start off, I'm going to include the pertinent section of the Guide:
Pathfinder Society Guide to Organized Play 5.0 wrote:
Ok, so here is the question: Is the bolded text intended to apply in all cases (and therefore should be broken out into a separate paragraph), or only to Season 0 to 3 scenarios (as the paragraph structure suggests)?
If it is only intended to apply to season 0-3, a group of 8s and 9s playing a season 4+ scenario could be forced to play the 10-11 sub-tier. For example, 3 level 9s (27) and two level 8s (16) would equal an APL of 9 ((27+16)/5=8.6, rounds to 9), and therefore be forced to play at subtier 10-11, despite not having a single character in the subtier's level range. Is that intentional?
Look, I understand that people are excited about an impending new product release and they want to show support for Paizo. But posting a 5 star review of something you (1) don't have, or (2) have had for 15 minutes, makes the review system much less useful for its intended purpose. So please, cut it out.
Registration starting Friday morning at 7:00 is going to be a challenge for slot one Pathfinder Society GMs, who are expected to report at 7:30. While I would suggest a Thursday night registration window in general, if that isn't feasible how about per-registration window for slot one PFS GMs? Pre-reg would go a long way toward alleviating the Friday morning time crunch and improve the slot one PFS experience for all participants.
If I'm just missing it in the ISWG, would someone please point me in the right direction? On the other hand, if it is truly gone, please please please put it back in future printings/versions of the ISWG -- it was fantastic, especially when just starting out with Golarion. Also, smack the person who decided to save two pages by removing it. ;-)
I recently GM'ed a table that got wiped out in the 2nd encounter of the scenario, and I really had no idea how to correctly report it -- even after reading through the Guide to Organized Play again.
Out of five, three died, two retreated with no prospect of success. As I understand it, the two that retreated did not get far enough to earn any XP. Does this mean they can try the mod again another time? If so, how should I have reported the table? I can't just leave them off, because the three deceased characters wouldn't have made a legal table. On the other hand, if I put them on, won't the system flag them as already having played the mod?
I know this has come up in the past, but the chronicle for 4-12: The Refuge of Time demonstrates it has not been addressed. There is a Cloak of Resistance +1 listed for sub-tier 10-11. Why?
It's not like you could conceivably be 10th level and not has sufficient fame to buy a 1,000 gp item, so putting it on the chronicle is pointless. Worse, it is confusing, because a rational person will assume there must be a reason for it to appear, muddying the item access waters. Even if you assume this particular item is a typo, season 4 chronicles are littered with items that have no practical reason for being there.
How to fix it?
I'd suggest keeping a substantial chunk of newly published items closed, and then granted access on chronicles. But I can appreciate that might seem a bit drastic to some. So why not assume that everyone has at least 3 fame per level, and multiply 3 x ((the lowest character level able to play a sub-tier)( - 1)), and drop any items that do not meet the gp threshold for that fame level? I really can't see a downside, or any reason for a 1,000gp item to appear in sub-tier 10-11.
Chronicles should matter and this seems to be some very low hanging fruit indeed.
I’ve never been a fan of the map packs. I’ve generally found them hard to use and easy to damage. The move to plastic coating helped a great deal with the latter, which prompted me to try a maps subscription -- but in the end I just found that, while I love flip-mats, the map packs still weren’t practical, and were going to collect dust. So I canceled my sub.
However, lately I catch myself thinking of ways the product line could be adjusted slightly that would get me to re-subscribe. Since I get the impression that others may share my feeling of “not quite right” with regard to the map packs, I thought I’d share my thoughts here.
1. Map packs are the least successful when they try to be flip mats. That is, when they can only be laid out in specific configurations to create a larger area. You already have a product that does this well. The tiles are slower, move around during use, and generally offer no advantages when used in this way. There are, however, things the map packs would be perfect for:
• Dungeons – Tiles are great for dungeons, because they allow the GM to lay out sections as they are explored. Every dungeon flip map should be a map pack instead.
2. Synergy with the flip mats is good – keep it up – but it should be expanded:
• I would love a map pack that included forest features (trees, ponds, fallen logs, a river, a rocky outcropping, and cave entry, etc.) that were intended to be applied in whatever pattern the GM needs at the moment. Paired with a flip-mat that had one blank side with the identical texture (grass or whatever), these would be an amazingly flexible combination. I imagine getting the color to match exactly would be a challenge, but if you could do it I would happily buy at least half a dozen of these combos for various terrain types.
Ladies and gentlemen:
So as many of you may have noticed, HoustonDerek has returned after an absence of many moons. I have hereby decided that it is imperative to get him to a location where he can be beaten for his long history of trolling the boards. So here is what I propose: We board-dwellers collect enough to send Derek to Paizocon 2012!
I figure we need enough to cover airfare from Houston ($~400), three nights in the hotel (~$400*), and tickets spending money ($200)...so roughly $1000.00?
I'll put up $50. If nineteen others can commit to doing the same in this thread, then maybe Derek can finally get his just deserts. :)
* This is about what it cost this year at the Coast...a venue change may increase the price.
Edit: If anyone has experience and can take care of setting up a "donation" style website, that would be utterly awesome, and a totally acceptable alternative to the $50. :)
1. The concise and clear action types, and the ability to "downgrade" any action for the next, "lesser" type. So clean in play.
2. Fixed hit point progression. Just way too important to be random.
3. Consistency between spell levels and caster levels. A 4th level wizard should cast 4th level wizard spells.
4. Pared-down list of actions which provoke.
5. "Warlordish" leader of men in the core.
6. Point-buy as the default stat generation method.
7. Concise yet specific wording (at least in theory).
8. Some sort of mook or minion rules.
10. Some way for solitary, powerful enemies to have a greater than normal # of actions. This is just so true to comics, movies, etc., and really enables the "big bad" enemy quite well.
More and more threads seem to be getting locked because they have been deemed personally annoying, not because any rules have been broken. Can we please back off that a little bit? It's getting hard to have any discussion at all, especially about certain (not illegal) topics. Plus, it is pretty darn annoying to write a post, only to have it fail to "stick" without so much as an error message.