Staffan Johansson's page

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Ascalaphus wrote:

AoA suffers a bit for me because for the longest time it all seems horribly contrived how it goes from book to book. At the end it starts to fit together but that's a bit late.

To me the comparison to Deep Space Nine presents itself; there, the big bad metaplot doesn't immediately force itself forward, it builds for a bit in the background and only then starts to claim more and more of the limelight in later seasons. That just seems to flow more naturally.

A plot that builds in the background works a lot better on a TV show where the viewer is not directly involved, than it does in a game where the players play what are essentially the lead characters, and basically only know what their characters know.

Losonti wrote:

Counterpoint: rolling a ton of dice rules. Source: I recently finished a 1e campaign as a kineticist, and getting to roll 18d6 every round was a total blast.


Fistfuls of d6es are OK, because they roll well and are easily available in boxes of 12 big or 36 small ones (that way, you can even roll matching dice!). But d4s aren't so much rolled as tossed up in the air, and they usually only come one to a 7-dice set. Heck, I'd have to scour my collection to find 15d4, and they certainly wouldn't match one another.

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Xenocrat wrote:
I wish someone would invent a networked series of devices that could easily calculate such things for us.

Such a thing would be heresy. Computers, unlike non-d10 dice, have no souls and should not be relied on for determining important things.

It's been a while since I last played my elemental sorcerer, but when I did I had recently gotten my hands on the dragon form spell, which polymorphs you into a dragon battle form with a variety of natural attacks that all do more or less the same damage, and with a variety of breath weapons.

One of these is the Brass dragon form, whose breath weapon deals 15d4 damage. I ask you, who wants to roll and count that many d4s? No-one should ever need to roll more than 4d4, tops. If you need more damage than that, use half as many d8s instead or something. Or just use d6es.

Ideally, only d6es should be used en masse as well, and maybe d10s (despite them being abominations unto Plato) because they're both available in bulk. But d4s have the additional advantage of being really inconvenient to roll and count.

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Captain Morgan wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:

I'm of the opinion that if someone is putting in serious resources into being the Best at something, at least outside of regular combat, they should be able to trivialize challenges of that nature with 80%+ rates of success. 50-60% should be for dabblers.

But complex hazards are regular combat.

By combat I mean the typical combat stats. One of the features of Pathfinder 2 is that things like your attack bonus, AC, and saves are pretty much on rails once you've chosen your class. A 10th level martial non-fighter will have an attack bonus of +21 (Expert +14, stat +5, item +2), and there's really not much you can do about that. You might be missing a point or two (if you didn't start with an 18 in your attack stat and/or haven't gotten a +2 weapon yet), but that's what the game assumes and that's what the game will give you.

But skills? They can vary a lot. A 10th level trained character with a 12 in their relevant stat and no item bonuses has +13, while a Master with maxed-out stat and a +2 item hits +23. That's a spread of 10 points, and I'd rather see a situation where the former has a decent chance of success and the latter breezes through level-appropriate situations than one that challenges the latter and makes it impossible for the former to succeed. It is OK for PCs to trivialize things that challenge their specialized skills. If you can get Hardison to a place where he has access to a system, he will be able to hack it.

By comparison, a 10th level creature has a high to extreme perception DC of 32-34, so if you want to bypass them as an encounter via stealth you need a similar result.

Creature Perception is also way too high, primarily for narrative reasons.

In fiction, it is downright common for heroes to be made aware of a powerful threat that's beyond their ability to confront directly, and instead they have to sneak past it (or occasionally use other trickery or persuasion methods). But since most creatures have a high Perception, the effect is that any creature you can sneak past you could probably just kill instead. And that feels wrong.

Regarding skills in general, I read a Twitter thread by Rob Donoghue that noted a critical thing about D&D (and derivatives like Pathfinder) that can be boiled down as follows:

* A d20 makes for very swingy results.
* This works great in combat, where each individual roll is pretty low-stakes because of how hit points work in D&D. So what feels like a small advantage on any one roll becomes a big advantage over the course of a whole fight – particularly when you also include the benefits of teamwork (more actions, bonuses from cooperation, stuff like that).
* This works significantly less well on all-or-nothing rolls, which is what you tend to have with skill checks. They will also be much less subject to various cooperation benefits, because YOU are the only one who can do that thing (unlike fight, which everyone can do in their own way).
* Since much more hangs on this one roll, failing it feels much worse than missing in combat. This means players want to make really sure they can increase their chances as far as they can.
* A possible solution is to turn it into multiple rolls, perhaps using methods like clocks.

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If you do want proficiency to matter regarding hazards, here's an idea:

1. Reduce the DCs to a reasonable level.

2. Require X number of successes to disable them.

3. A successful roll gives a number of successes equal to its proficiency rank. Add an additional success on a crit, or two if you're a master or legend.

So, take that level 10 trap I mentioned earlier, which is supposed to be a Trivial encounter for a level 10 party? By the book it has a DC of 32, or 35 if disabling it is supposed to be the hard thing about it. Maxing out your Thievery gets you about +23, so you have a 60% chance of success. That's 1.67 rolls on average.

If you instead drop the DC to the supposedly level-appropriate 27, the Master now succeeds on a 4, which means 50% chance of 3 successes and 35% chance of 5 successes, for an average of 3.25 successes. If you want it to take the same average time for the specialist, that's 5.4 successes. Let's call it 5, because that still makes it possible for the specialist so succeed on a single roll, make it highly likely in two, and near-certain in three.

But now someone who's not a specialist has a sporting chance. Let's say it's an Expert (+14) who has masterwork but not high-magic tools (+1) and Dex +3, for 18. That's a success on 9+ and crit on 19+, for an average of 1.3 successes per attempt. Now you'll need at least two attempts (and that's if either one crits), most likely four. You'll still manage to beat the trap (assuming you survive), but it's going to take a lot longer.

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Thinking about it a little more, I think part of the disconnect is that some skills are measured against The World, in the form of mostly static challenges where you can easily see how awesome you are, particularly with some skill feats sprinkled in. If you're a Master Acrobat with Catfall, you can jump off a 50-foot building and land unharmed in a three-point pose. If you're a Master Athlete with Water Sprint, you can literally run on water. That kind of thing is awesome.

But other skills are mostly tested against Opposition, meaning leveled stuff where the typical challenges you face will be roughly scaled to your own level. There's no way for the Master Thief to show off the way the Master Athlete does, because everything the Thief does is subject to the Red Queen's Race where you run faster and faster just to stay in the same place. Master thieves should be able to do things like picking locks and disabling traps from a distance by throwing their lockpicks into just the right spots and similar things that are on par with Water Sprint or Wall Jump. If Autolycos can do it on Xena, or Parker on Leverage, a Master thief should be able to do it in Pathfinder.

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Captain Morgan wrote:
I haven't seen many problems with profiency gating, as I've only seen them on hazards which tend to have lots of solutions.

Proficiency gating is bad. Hazards in general have ridiculous DCs anyway (a level 10 hazard will have a Disable DC of 32 to 35 according to the GMG, which is 5-8 points above the 27 of a typical level 10 task, which is already too high). This is compounded by a complex trap being treated as a same-level creature for XP/encounter building purposes, which means that a same-level complex trap on its own is a Trivial encounter, and if you want the trap to be even a Moderate encounter it needs to be level+2. So that Disable DC of 32 just went up to 35. A 10th level character who wants to be the Best at traps would have +23 or so (+16 Master, +5 Dex, +2 item). If you don't have someone pushing their trap mastery as high as it will go, you might instead be looking at +15-16. In the words of Dr. Rumack: "Good luck. You'll need it."

Plus, looking at the guidelines for hazards, level 5+ hazards should require Expert to disable, and 9+ require Master proficiency. Since hazards as established often out-level the party, that means that those are in play from level 3 and 7, at which point you have one (1) skill of the appropriate proficiency level. Better hope you chose the right one.

I'm of the opinion that if someone is putting in serious resources into being the Best at something, at least outside of regular combat, they should be able to trivialize challenges of that nature with 80%+ rates of success. 50-60% should be for dabblers.

Trained proficiency should be for average professionals. Expert is for experienced professionals, the kind where people tell their friends about them because of the quality of the work. Master proficiency should be able to easily perform at an Olympic-plus level, and Legends should be able to do mythic stuff like running on clouds.

I think proficiency gating makes more sense on static, non-encounter based challenges, though. I never got why they weren't used for locks. The multi success model makes locks feel tedious on their own without additional pressures exerted on the party. Plus with the nat 20 upgrading tiers of success, a lock doesn't reliably stop someone even with a high DC.

It shouldn't. Even modern locks really don't keep even dedicated amateurs out, let alone professionals. What they do is delay you, which dramatically increases the chance of you getting caught while fiddling with the lock.

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gesalt wrote:
The rogue thing is just the niche protection so prevalent in the system. You need a wide variety of skills to deal with prof gates and hazards so you're pressured into bringing a skill monkey along to provide 2 people's worth of max skills

Niche protection is bad. Niche protection can work in a game like, say, AD&D 1st ed where there are four primary classes and then some variants on that, but PF2 has 20 classes and counting. Why have 20 classes when every party needs to bring a rogue or investigator to deal with hazards, a bard for the buffs, and a cleric for the heals?

I like PF2, I really do. It is my favorite flavor of D&D. I just wish the system wasn't so tightly tuned to demand specialization while not giving enough resources with which to keep up outside a narrow field.

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Enchanter Tim wrote:

Chiming in since I experienced some of this with VampByDay.

I definitely, extremely dislike gating by skill proficiency. To me, high DCs are ok (though they should be used sparingly). It's a really challenging lock or trap or whatever. Hopefully there's good design around it. But what's really bad is when you roll that Nat 20 and just make the DC only to be told that you don't have Expert in the skill, so you simply can't do it. Everyone is cheering and then you just say no? What?! Way to kill the fun.

I'd rather see proficiency gating work the other way around. You're a Master in Thievery? You automatically succeed in disabling the trap. Otherwise, roll.

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General Orc wrote:
Why not accept they could be the best people? Do not be so biased against them just because they are white males, or assume racism decided this. Do you think biasing against hiring white males and employing a non white male is no less racist or biased?

Here's the thing: diversity is a good thing in itself.

I assume most people here are Pathfinder and/or Starfinder players. We should be familiar with the idea that a variety of skills and viewpoints make for a stronger group than one where everyone is the same. If the party already has a fighter, a rogue, and a wizard, a cleric is probably a better addition than one more wizard even if that wizard is slightly higher level. In the same way, having a variety of backgrounds and experiences represented at the top levels of a company is an asset in and of itself. That's how you avoid groupthink.

Aaron Shanks wrote:

Based on what I have heard from the design team, the core of the Pathfinder game now established. They now create materials that explore new ground and deepen various optional areas.

That said, each product usually touches on the existing classes. Certainly Secrets of Magic supported existing classes, especially with those new spells. If you want rules only from our Design Team then look to Book of the Dead next, which will no new classes. It will surely have new archetypes.

Ideally, I'd like to see some new ground broken within existing classes. As an example: I don't need to see new feats that expand or improve a wild druid's shapeshifting because that's already done*, but I could definitely see a new druid order or two which would then require their own feat support.

* Though I guess that if there's a new primal polymorph spell added, it would be neat to have a wild order feat to access it via wild shape.

Davido1000 wrote:
I like this feat and level 4 or 6 certainly seems like the correct level for it. Maybe give it a requirement that you have to be a 6 HP class to take the feat otherwise it would be a big buff to druids and martials who are dipping into transformation.

Yeah, it would definitely be too much on a wild druid. My thought was that making it a class feat for wizards, witches, and sorcerers would solve that issue indirectly, but I guess there's room for a druid multiclassing into one of those classes to take it. But in order to do that, they'd need to spend three class feats from level 2 to 6 (well, 8 if it's a level 4 feat) on it. I'm not sure if that's enough of a deterrent.

Having played a primal sorcerer for a while (11th level now, though the campaign is on hold for a bit), I was at first really impressed with the polymorph spells like Animal Form. But having played around with them for a few levels, I have noticed one glaring weakness: hit points.

Animal form and its ilk are mostly designed around druids, an 8 hp/level class. Functionally, the intention is to turn the caster into a martial for the duration, with Animal Form being slightly offensively slanted. Martials generally have 10 hp/level, so one of the things polymorph spells usually does is to provide temporary hit points, about 2 hp per level (rounded to a multiple of 5).

But druids aren't the only ones who have access to these spells: wizards, sorcerers, and witches also do. But those are 6 hp/level classes, so turning into a beast (or whatever) doesn't give them martial-level staying power the way it does druids. So I'm thinking that there maybe should be a feat available to these classes that does – something like this:

Resilient Shapechanger — Feat X
Sorcerer Witch Wizard
When you cast a polymorph spell that gives you temporary hit points, double the number of temporary hit points you get.

What would be an appropriate level for this feat? I'm thinking 4th, as that's where sorcerers have their Evolution feats which can direct their future development by quite a bit, and which generally have effects that scale well.

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The Raven Black wrote:

Two things :

First, all secret checks can become non-secret if the GM wishes so.

Second, there is already a similar situation within the RAW, as you cannot use RK again on a creature if you failed a previous RK roll.

Or do you allow a PC to use RK again after a critical failure but not after a regular failure ?

You will generally know if you rolled a normal failure on a Recall Knowledge check, because that will give you no information (or, with Dubious Knowledge, either A or B).

On a critical failure, I would allow another attempt but it would automatically fail.

Also, I think it's kind of dumb that you don't get to try again on a failure with Recall Knowledge. I would see someone making repeated attempts as racking their brain and going "I know I've read about them somewhere, it's right on the tip of my tongue...". Some type of retry penalty might be more appropriate.

The Raven Black wrote:
I do not enjoy that the unarmed builds that have a single unarmed attack, ie most of them, are penalized with one less invested slot just because some very specific builds would otherwise benefit from handwraps for several of them (most often 2 I think).

A very large portion of monk builds have at least two unarmed attacks: Powerful Fist and one granted by a stance. In the campaign I'm running, there have been plenty of times when the monk PC has been using Powerful Fist instead of Tiger Claw, either because the action economy to assume the stance hasn't been there or because bludgeoning damage has been a better option than slashing damage. He recently also took the Wild Winds Initiate feat, giving him a third unarmed option, this time to attack from range. Handwraps help him with all three attack options.

That said, the main reason handwraps are invested is that they are worn items, not wielded ones.

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Rysky wrote:

Having a paragon of Good, something literally made of Good, be a bigot okays bigotry, you claiming otherwise doesn’t make it not be true, and gives a bigots a foot in the door to justify themselves. Trying to spin it as absolutes misses the point. It doesn’t “undo” all the other good he did, but the good he did doesn’t undo him being a misogynist, and we’re left with a god of Good, the biggest Good you can get, be a misogynist. That sends a message.

A horrible one that was excised so you’re beating a long dead and rotting horse.

Thing is, and I think that was the original point of the thread, Erastil is not "literally made of Good". Erastil is a god that's on-balance good, but it's more that when you add up the values he espouses and sum them up, you get a number that's far enough in the positive column to qualify for being Good. But Erastil is not the definition of good.

If we step back from the particulars of Erastil for the moment (because they're particularly infected, and have also been retconned, or possibly that's a double retcon depending on how you look at it), we could instead look at Torag. One of Torag's anathema is "show mercy to the enemies of your people". In Gods & Magic, this is expanded upon: "Toragdans believe in destroying the community’s enemies, lest showing mercy lead to further bloodshed down the line". That is horrifying, and possibly genocidal. I would argue that it's only Torag's focus on defense rather than offense that prevents something like that from actually being Evil, but as it is I'd bargain it down to Neutral. But that doesn't make Torag Lawful Neutral himself, he's still Lawful Good, just with some aspects that are less so.

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keftiu wrote:

To defend the 4e Realms’s honor somewhat: there’s a nation perched on the land around (and into) a massive rift into the Underdark, populated by an alliance of dwarves, renegade drow, and the largest remnant of the god of invention’s faith.

They’re just to the south of an ancient artificer empire recently returned to the surface, a belligerent empire of undead, a merchant republic of geniekin, and a militant outpost of alien dragonfolk.

It ruled.

4e Forgotten Realms was much like 4e itself: perfectly cromulent on its own, but too big a departure from its predecessor thereby alienating previous fans.

Moving back to the original topic: I'm 99% certain that 5.5e will mechanically be the same as 5e. You will see the current ideas about lineages (formerly known as races) incorporated (and likely fine-tuned), as well as the ideas they've been bouncing around about lightening up on alignment for creatures. They'll likely also incorporate the changes from Tasha's into the core classes, as well as the format changes for spellcasters (where many are simplified the same way they were in 4e – instead of a list of a dozen spells and spell slots, give them 3-4 abilities that work like spells but are defined in the actual stat block). But they don't want to invalidate previous product, so I think the changes will be on the scale of 3.5 or less.

Looking through just the core book, I think almost every item that's not a consumable or a structure either requires hands or investiture. The one exception I can think of is free-hand weapons, and the way I see it free-hand is a weapon trait that's accounted for in the weapon's power budget. And a runed-up gauntlet only helps with attacks made with that gauntlet, not any other unarmed attack.

Also, handwraps affect all your unarmed attacks. A monk could in theory get multiple stances that let them use different styles for different situations (just like another character would use different weapons for different situations), and handwraps would help all of them. You also have characters with multiple unarmed attacks, such as some animal instinct barbarians, who gain benefits to all of them. This is essentially the same as dual-wielding, which either requires getting multiple runed-up weapons or a doubling ring (which also requires investiture). This could also apply to e.g. iruxi with the right feats, and probably some other ancestries as well.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

A real, and important, function of unions in a context like this is to create a formal means for employees to bring issues that are in need of redress to management before these issues flare up and become a real problem.

So while certainly something like "an individual employee approaches a manager about a problem" is a way problems *could* be headed off, there are anecdotal reports that "relying on the manager's good will and positive intent to fix the problem" is not working. If you have a collectively bargained contract, and language in that contract to point to, that has more weight than getting an "oh sure, I'll do that."

And as a related issue, they are a means of allowing a benign middle manager to exert more pressure upward to get an issue fixed. If worker Alice comes to middle manager Bob with an issue, and Bob then brings it up with boss Claire, Claire can easily say "Well, that's just Alice's problem. She's gonna have to deal with it.", and then Bob has to inform Alice that her issue isn't getting fixed because he doesn't have the budget for it. But if the union tells Bob about an issue, that's a greater level of pressure Bob can bring to bear on Claire, which means a fix is more likely.

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Anguish wrote:

Silly question... how do we know this unionization thing is real?

Any bozo can set up a couple web sites full of whatever they want. This could just as easily be a random forum denizen manipulating the situation (right or wrong) and not be legitimate at all. With it selling merch - in particular - I'm lacking confidence.

There's a recent four-year-period that has demonstrated that what you read and what is real aren't always in sync.

In short, what if Russia* is behind this.

*Where Russia indicates "outside bad-faith actor of any kind or origin."

Multiple people working for or otherwise associated with Paizo have linked to the twitter thread announcing the union and otherwise expressed their support for it. I mean, it's possible that e.g. Logan Bonner's account has been hacked and/or been a mole all along waiting for this moment, but it does not seem particularly likely.

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ograx wrote:

In order for a union to work and a company to be able to successfully unionize and raise wages the company would need to be profitable and not just barely scraping by.

I don't know if Paizo can afford the wages people are wanting.

I think profit margins are shrinking and Paizo is mostly just paying the wages with very little top end profit as of now.

Could I be wrong? Yes.

To be honest, if a business can't afford to pay its workers a decent wage, they have no business being in business.

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I am brandishing a textbook on BASIC from 1987.
The Fifth Wanderer wrote:
Bah, here's his true weakness - *brandishes a copy of The C Programming Language
graystone wrote:
Hmmm... I'll raise you a COBOL-85 textbook. ;)
The power of the compiler compels him!

Compiles him?

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Nikk wrote:
There's no reason to wade into conspiracy theories. We do not know why Paizo fired a customer service manager, but they probably weren't evil villain mustache twirling. Usually a company fires a manager because there's a problem / problems in the team that the manager has been (repeatedly) unable to resolve. If Paizo has been unable to turn the customer service dept around, its not surprising they would let a manager go. I find it unlikely Paizo expected -any- pushback from firing a manager, much less use a convention in some sort of coverup for it.

If it was just firing a customer service manager, even one held in as high regard as Sara Marie apparently is (I haven't had much occasion to deal with her myself, so I can't really say), maybe. But when two other people resign in support, something real fishy is up.

thenobledrake wrote:

Since there is more than just the accuracy side of the equation, and (at least outside of cantrips) the effects side of the equation is higher on attack-based spells in general a "normalization of attack spells versus save spells" on the accuracy side of things is a reduction in overall balance.

Also I still strongly reject the "it's a fix" answer when it's a 10th level item and the alledged problem it is fixing starts at level 1.

It is hard to compare the damage of attack spells to the damage of save spells, because there are really few spells that hit a single target for damage and are save spells instead of attack spells. In most cases, you either have an AOE spell with a save or a single-target spell with an attack roll. Single-target spells with saves tend to be debuffs.

The only one that immediately comes to mind is Sudden Bolt, which is a 2nd level deals 4d12 damage with a basic Reflex save. But that's an Uncommon spell from an adventure path, so I don't think that's useful as a balance benchmark.

I'd also argue that the problem it's fixing becomes seriously notable at 5th level, when martials are 3 points ahead of casters on their attacks.

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thenobledrake wrote:
Maybe it hasn't been said in this thread, but people insisting attack spells are sub-par when they actually mean they don't like the risk vs. reward of them relative to the safer save spells and insisting on treating the one outlier (electric arc) as if it should be the benchmark everything is balanced by rather than being (a mildly over-powered) outlier.

The risk/reward on attack spells is horrible. I went over it earlier, but I'll provide a shorter version.

1. Attack spells target AC, which is tuned against martial characters with magic weapons. That means that attack spells are, most of the time, about 1-4 points below where something targeting AC "ought to" be.

2. Attack spells do nothing on a miss, while basic save spells deal half damage if the target saves. In order to compensate for that, single-target attack spells should deal ~50% more damage than a single-target basic save spell to be worth it. And that's before balancing them against AOE spells.

3. Intuition would tell you that if you're fighting lots of individually weak monsters, you use your AOE spells with saves, and if you're fighting a single strong enemy you use a targeted attack spell. But single strong opponents are precisely where the attack spells are worst, because of the rapid scaling of AC and the poor attack bonus casters have. You're better off using a basic save spell because that will at least deal half damage, or (even better) use your magic to either buff your comrades or debuff your opponent (slow is great against bosses, for example).

Captain Morgan wrote:
Mutagens break this pattern, as mentioned, but mutagens and alchemists in general are more fiddly than they need to be.

The CRB mutagens are not exactly well designed IMO. They seem like someone started by copying the "base" mutagen and assorted varieties over from PF1, and then someone else told them "Didn't you hear? We're not doing ability score changes on the fly anymore." and then they just rewrote them to get around that but still get the same effect.

If I were re-doing them, I would probably lean on the battleform rules instead of having them give item bonuses, at least for the combat-oriented ones. I'd also remove some of them, to get maybe something like this:

Feral: Improved senses, faster, possibly natural weaponry.
Brutal: Big, strong, tough, hit hard.

I'm not really sure I'd make ones for mental stats, though I could see one that makes you more charming and suave. If the first two are the Wolverine and Hulk mutagens, the social one would be the Stefan Urquelle mutagen. I don't think I'd include a smart one, because alchemists are supposed to be smart in the first place – the point is that you use your smarts to compensate for your normal shortcomings, not that you use them to cycle yourself to greater heights of brilliance.

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Ventnor wrote:
I mean, there are some items that boost ability scores directly, called Apex Items. They’re not available until level 17 or so, though.

From an ease-of-use perspective, there's a big difference between modifications you make "off-screen" (like leveling up or adding magic items) and those you make at "run-time" (like casting a spell or drinking a potion).

HumbleGamer wrote:

Overall, I think the monk unarmed attacks are better than weapons:

- You save a feat ( monastic weaponry )
- Your strikes counts as magic/silver/coldiron and endgame also adamantine.
- Plenty of stances which gives damage from 1d4 to 1d12, depends your character
-Being in a stance, unlocks class feats only usable in that stance

The only weapon I'd probably consider is the Bo Staff ( because of the staff acrobat dedication, which goes good with the monk, and also doesn't stop you from using unarmed attacks in addition to bo staff strikes ).

You make a good point, but there's one thing to consider: Monastic Weaponry gives you options. While, say, a wolf jaw strike is individually superior to both butterfly sword, bo, or monkey's fist, Monastic Weaponry lets you use whichever of those suits the situation.

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whew wrote:
If you're using Gale Blast with Expanded Spellstrike, the tiny area is often more desirable, and not having range is irrelevant.

Perhaps, but spells should be able to stand alone.

That's also why I evaluate attack spells based on their poor performance when cast with the normal poor caster attack bonuses, and not on how they work in conjunction with e.g. True Strike.

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Looking at the SoM cantrips, most seem underpowered even compared to the low power level of the core cantrips. Gale and Haunting Hymn ought to deal regular cantrip damage IMO (d4+stat, +d4/level) – the AOEs are more than balanced by not having any range.

James Jacobs wrote:

We generally don't have room and/or the art budget/time to illustrate every unique character or creature in an adventure, so we have to pick and choose; generally selecting the more important or visually interesting ones.

The pawn sets have their own budgets and are produced later, so from a money and time management perspective, it's a good chance for us to catch up on some "missing" art that otherwise we wouldn't have produced at all.

Also, for hardcover bestiaries, we can't put more than 1 piece of art on a page, so when there's more than 2 creatures on a spread, then by some get left out because of purely physical reasons. And then we can use the bestiary pawn sets to get illustrations done later.

Would it perhaps be possible to have the digital versions of the pawn sets come with full-size images of the contents? That is, instead of just a PDF, also a set of PNGs of each individual pawn?

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Drums, horns. A shovel to diggy diggy hole.

I'm not sure if this is technically errata or just bad design, but:

Haunting Hymn (page 109). is a cantrip that deals casting-stat points of sonic damage in a 15-ft cone, +1d6/2 spell levels, basic Fortitude save. If you critically fail the Fortitude save, you also become Deafened for one minute. This makes you immune to Auditory effects. Which Haunting Hymn is. I don't really know any other spells that make the target immune to it on a critical failure.

Dargath wrote:
About the only way I can would be something like Warcraft Orcish soundtrack like Orgrimmar and the Orcs riding kodo beasts and hammering war music on their drums. That’s like as far as I get. An Orcish War Drummer.

Or dwarven.

Temperans wrote:
1) Some animal companion get 6+1(Con), others get 8+1(Con). I didn't make any typo. I just gave the average values, most have HP >6 but <9. Some have 5 (start with base 4), some have 10 (start with base 8).

What? No. "Your animal companion has ancestry Hit Points from its type, plus a number of Hit Points equal to 6 plus its Constitution modifier for each level you have."

So if you're an 8th level druid with a nimble badger companion (hp 8 and Con +4: starting at +2, increase by +1 each for mature and nimble), your companion would have 8 + 8 * (6 + 4) = 88 hp.

Your companion's hit points per level are not directly related to its species, except by way of Constitution. The number you are referring to are their ancestral hit points, which is a one-time bonus just like dwarves get 10 hp and elves get 6 hp.

3) 70-90% of the Summoners feat are going to the Eidolon, else you are just not doing anything. Summoners simply don't have the proficiencies to do much. So an AC taking 3 feats is better than the Eidolon taking 7 or 9.

Sure, but the eidolon is essentially part of the character. You're spending feats on deciding what upgrades to give your eidolon. A 4th level summoner can either give their eidolon tremorsense, lifelink surge, some skill feats, or whatever. A 4th level animal druid pretty much has to take Mature Animal Companion as their 4th level feat.

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Temperans wrote:
Most AC have 8+Con HP, is their con generally low? Yeah. But that is still 7-9 HP per level.

6+Con, but given 7-9 I think you just typoed that.

Summoners also don't have better defenses. I checked, they have delayed saved progression and no increased armor. The eidolon might be a bit more tanky than a general caster due to eventually getting master in armor. But that hardly affects the Summoner.

They are also a little tankier by virtue of essentially having built-in light or medium armor. This doesn't increase their max AC, but makes it easier to get there.

Also what? The only thing that the Eidolon gets are the Eidolon abilities, and those don't replace having access to actual feats. Most animal companions come with their own built in movement abilities they don't have to spend multiple feats on.

It's worth noting that if you want an animal companion to keep up, you pretty much need to spend feats at 4th, 8th, and 14th level (for mature, nimble/savage, and specialized companion), and that's without getting into things like Side by Side. The eidolon's numbers grow by themselves, so feats are only for adding additional abilities. You also get some abilities for free via Symbiosis at 7th and Transcendence at 17th level.

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Castilliano wrote:
And I don't know anybody giving out stat info w/ Recall Knowledge. Battle Assessment gives that option (to a lesser degree), but only if the GM chooses.

You can often make an educated guess, though. Big burly things tend to have good Fortitude saves and less good Reflex saves, for example.

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Themetricsystem wrote:
Hard disagree OMR - You need to get your own knee reflexes checked if you don't think this is out of line with the rest of the system. This is effectively a +1 - +5 to hit with all Spell Attacks.

But spell attacks are already really, really bad. I will never use a spell that requires an attack roll if I can help it, and there are almost always better options at whatever level I'm at.

There are numerous problems with spell attacks. One is that most of the time, you will be 1-4 points behind an equal-level martial (because until very high level, they increase their proficiency earlier, plus they get item bonuses). Another is a bit more subtle.

Let's say you have two spells available: A hypothetical single-target attack roll spell dealing 10d6 damage (double on crit), or an AOE spell dealing 8d6 (basic Reflex). Your party is fighting a single powerful opponent, maybe your level +2 or so. Which of these spells should you use? You'd think it'd be the AOE spell because that deals more single-target damage, right?

I'm going to assume an 8th level caster with a 19 stat and Expert casting, so their spell attack is +16, and their spell DC is 26. I'm also going to assume a 10th level opponent with High AC and Moderate Reflex save (the baseline in each category), so 30 and +19 respectively. Assuming no other bonuses, the ray will hit on a 14+, meaning a 30% chance to hit and 5% chance to crit, for an average damage of 0.4 * 35 = 14. The AOE spell on the other hand depends on the foe's save, which will: crit fail on 1, fail on 2-6, succeed on 7-16, and critically succeed on 17+. That's 5% chance of double damage, 25% chance of full damage, and 50% chance of half damage for an average of 0.6 * 28 = 17 points. For the ray to catch up, it would need to deal 12d6. And that's to break even on a single target – for a ray to be worth it, I would assume it should do at least an additional 50-100% damage on top, or have a hell of a rider effect.

This is just one data point, but the rough idea should hold across other levels. A spell attack needs about 50% extra damage just to stay even with a basic save against a higher-level foe, let alone actually be a better choice.

But what if I'm fighting something 2 levels below me instead? In that case I'm looking at AC 23 and moderate save +14. So I hit on a 7, and crit on 17+. That's 20% chance of double damage and 50% chance of normal damage, or an average of 90% of full damage. And my opponent critfails on 1-2, fails on 3-11, succeeds on 12-19, and crits on 20, which translates into 85% of full damage. So that's a point for the ray spell, right?

Well, except that if you're fighting level-2 creatures, you're likely fighting a lot of them. Hitting even 2 or 3 of them will make the ray damage seem completely insignificant.

TL;DR: Spell attacks seem like they would be great against "bosses", but since they're all-or-nothing they lose efficiency a lot faster against higher-level foes than basic save spells do.

keftiu wrote:
Strength of Thousands is on-track to be one of the strongest APs K think Paizo has done.

That's good to hear. It certainly seems neat at first glance, but then again so did Extinction Curse. But it seems Mwangi is getting a lot of love now, so I have high hopes for it.

OK, this organization of the store front is a bit weird. Let's say I'm in the market for some Pathfinder 2e rule books. I go to the menu on top of the screen, click on Pathfinder -> Rulebooks -> Second edition rulebooks.

The first thing that shows up on my screen is a subscription option. The second is three sub-categories: hardcover, special editions, and pocket editions. Below that is a list of "see also" things", and only THEN do I get to the actual rule books, after more than one full page on my desktop screen.

Except, I'm not shown rule books I can actually buy. There are four tabs: All products, Recent, Available now, and Pre-order, and Pre-order is the one that's pre-selected. And if I click on Recent, the offers currently on hand are various versions of Book of the Dead, Guns and Gear, and Secrets of Magic, none of which are actually available (well, Secrets of Magic probably will be by the time you read this).

The reasonable thing, assuming you actually want to sell things in the web store, would be to have the actual books up top, and to show me books that are actually available. Books that are only available for pre-order should only show up on the pre-order tab, not under Recent or Available. Recent ought to show the things released in the last, say, six months or so. The default tab should probably be either Available or Recent, not Pre-order.

These are just some friendly tips on how to make your store more user-friendly. I mean no offense – if the language seems harsh, it's probably because it's late and I'm not very good at smoothing out language even when I'm not tired and cranky.

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dirtypool wrote:

I'm afraid I just don't see why the expectation of an Adventure Path would be that the material present an off-ramp from the core gameplay provided by the system. Yes the present different flavor and tone, but they are intended to facilitate Pathfinder's core gameplay.

In short - why would the expectation of an AP about adventuring as a Circus Performer be that you cease being an Adventurer and become a Circus Performer full time?

In a perfect world, all the adventuring in the circus AP would be connected to circusing. I find all the Aroden and troglodyte stuff to be a distraction from what, to me, was the selling point of the AP. It's also, so far (I've played through the first two parts) very dungeon-heavy – over the course of eight levels of adventuring, seven of them have been in an environment where one experience level correlates to clearing either a whole dungeon or one level of one (with two of those dungeon levels being mostly outdoor, but still dungeons). To some degree, this is connected to the mandate that a six-part Adventure Path will cover 20 levels of adventuring, and the AP needs to provide them sweet XPs, and a dungeon is a way to do that with a low page count because you can offload a lot to the bestiaries.

Another thing I see as problematic with later APs (and this goes back a ways into PF1 as well) are the very non-specific player's guides. I remember being really impressed by the player's guide for Serpent's Skull, which had a few paragraphs about each race/ancestry about why a person of that race would be found in this adventure, and then some more info about each class along with recommendations on choices that would fit particularly well into that AP. It was also very clear about the fact that while the PG was set up to give you a reason to be on a ship to Sargava, it would not be a nautical-themed campaign. Modern PGs are less helpful, often leaning toward "I dunno, do whatever. Here are some languages and lores that might come in handy."

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Unicore wrote:
MCing into a martial class is pretty much getting you a second map martial attack that you can use indefinitely.

That depends on what class you're MCing into.

Barbarian: basic rage (which shuts of spellcasting), improved to use your instinct bonus at 6th.
Champion: trained in heavy armor, upgrade to Expert at 14th, and you can take Champion's Reaction at 6th.
Fighter: trained in martial weapons, upgrade to Expert at 12th, AoO at 4th.
Investigator: no fighting abilities in the dedication. Can take Devise a Stratagem at 4th, but won't be able to substitute in Intelligence or add bonus damage.
Monk: Powerful Fist, Flurry of Blows at 10th.
Ranger: Hunt Prey (but no Hunter's Edge).
Rogue: Only Surprise Strike as part of the dedication, and Sneak Attack as an option at 4th.
Swashbuckler: Panache, limited Finishing Precision at 4th.

The only one that does anything useful to combining casting and fighting is fighter, which gives you access to martial weapons.

On paper, the once or twice a day big casting moment looks a lot more impressive, but in practice the caster MC'd into a martial is going to able to use spells so much more often and effectively that they do just fine.

It's not so much the "big casting moment" as it is that going from no spells to mediocre spells is a much bigger change than going from mediocre fight to still mediocre fighting. Particularly since the martial multi-classes are balanced around not being OP for other martials, and so they all have weaker versions of their main abilities.

If anything, the issue is really that casters can get access to the weapon proficiencies that they might gain from multiclassing so easily, that a lot of caster/martial character builds are better off being built around specific archetypes (like what the 6th pillar was trying to accomplish) than they are multi-classing into a separate base class

Again, the only martial multi-class that does anything with weapon proficiencies is the fighter one. And until 12th level, everyone except wizards can accomplish that with a general feat.

Regarding (formerly known as Tenser's) Transformation in particular, I think Righteous Might is a more appropriate model than most of the arcane/primal polymorph spells. Just polish off some of that god-stink, and inter-/extrapolate 7th, 9th, and 10th level versions of it.

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Mark Seifter wrote:

Someone mentioned it earlier in the thread if I recall correctly, but legendary spellcasting is the standard proficiency rank for spellcasters, everyone else gets one rank worse at best. Meanwhile master proficiency is the standard proficiency rank for a martial character, and everyone else gets one rank worse at best.

A spell or focus spell that grants a +2 status bonus to hit definitely seems like a reasonable possibility, though I suppose some exist already.

It seems a little odd to only compare them at level 19-20. For most of their careers, martial weapon proficiency is at or above caster casting proficiency.

1-4: Both trained.
5-6: Martial expert, caster trained.
7-12: Both expert.
13-14: Martial master, caster expert.
15-18: Both master.
19-20: Martial master, caster legendary.

Furthermore, I would think it's easier to "skate by" with substandard casting, by focusing on utility/buff spells instead of offensive spells. As a martial, being able to cast buffs like Heroism or Fly is a significant upgrade even if your casting stat only barely qualifies for the dedication. But being able to Rage or Hunt Prey, for example, doesn't do you much good if you can't hit.

And the multiclass version of these abilities often have a watered-down version by not getting access to other class abilities that reinforce them – for example, multiclassing into Ranger doesn't get you Hunter's Edge, so your Hunt Prey only gets you a bonus to Seeking and Tracking your prey as well as ignoring the penalty for firing into the second range increment, but not additional damage or reduced MAP. This makes sense when viewed from the POV of martials multiclassing into other martial classes – a fighter with giant rage benefits or ranger MAP would be way too strong – but as a caster it seems weak.

Another thing that makes multiclassing into a martial class seem weak is that the good stuff you can get usually comes in the form of class feats, and you're limited to taking class feats that are half your actual level or lower. But with casting, the juice is in the spells, and you're generally only 3-5 levels behind on those. Plus, one feat spent on poaching a class feat only gets you that one feat, while one feat spent on casting gets you 2-3 slots.

These factors taken together make it seem like the multi-class rules strongly favor martial-to-caster over caster-to-martial. Taking a step back, it seems there are a few meta-levels of competency in both the fighting and the casting arena:

1. Non-existent. This is where martials generally are when it comes to casting.
2. Mediocre. This is where casters generally are when it comes to fighting.
3. Good. This is mostly a theoretical level, where I'd put the martial baseline. The only class I'd put here is probably the Champion, because pretty much all the other martials have significant abilities that go beyond this. This is also where I'd put baseline casting, with some classes getting boosts above this.
4. Good plus benefits. Martial baseline proficiency plus a booster like Rage with instinct benefits, sneak attack, and so on. This is where most martial characters are.

The problem I see is that multi-classing takes a martial character from non-existent casting to mediocre, which is a significant buff, but a caster stays at mediocre fighting abilities. If one wanted to change this, I think the best way would be to increase proficiency for multi-classing, although delayed compared to proper martials (I'm thinking something like expert at 8th, and master at 16th or 18th, three or five levels behind, just like martials multiclassing as casters. This way, casters get some decent fighting from their multi-classing, without making it too strong for someone multi-classing martial-to-martial (which wouldn't benefit from proficiency increases).

Cyouni wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:
Which again means visiting Ye Olde Magic Shoppe. "Hey, I got this sword here that says Excalibur on it, but I'm more of an axe guy, you know?"
It's less of issue though since 2e allows moving weapon runes from weapon to another weapon <_<
Which was part of my point. You finally defeat Mordred and reclaim Excalibur, and then take it down to the shop to get the runes transferred to your axe because that's what you have Legendary proficiency in, and you took the Sweep feat as well and that doesn't work nearly as well with a sword.
Well, apparently you retrained your Legendary proficiency away from swords in the meantime, person "reclaiming" Excalibur, so you can just do that again.

Well, Excalibur was my daddy's sword, but Mordred stole it. So I got used to axes instead.

CorvusMask wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:
Which again means visiting Ye Olde Magic Shoppe. "Hey, I got this sword here that says Excalibur on it, but I'm more of an axe guy, you know?"
It's less of issue though since 2e allows moving weapon runes from weapon to another weapon <_<

Which was part of my point. You finally defeat Mordred and reclaim Excalibur, and then take it down to the shop to get the runes transferred to your axe because that's what you have Legendary proficiency in, and you took the Sweep feat as well and that doesn't work nearly as well with a sword.

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Another thing to consider is that if you move and attack, you're fighting the opponent over there, and have already engaged them. This means that they're more likely to keep fighting you, who presumably have lots of hit points and a good AC. If you don't engage them, they are free to engage whomever they want to, and your wizard buddy sure looks like a juicy target with their robes and scrawny body.

This is more true when you have battlefield control abilities like Attack of Opportunity, but true to some degree regardless, because once you're in combat with someone you might as well stay in combat with them.

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CorvusMask wrote:
On complete sidenote, doesn't lot of enemies have +1 striking weapons as well?

They do, but mostly by the time you already have one. The creature creation guidelines in the GMG recommend not giving enemies +1 weapons until level 6, and +1 striking until level 8. Higher-level weapons than that should be part of proper treasure placement.

I realized that I'm not sure where this idea was that you always have to "buy" them came from. Not that it really changes arguments either way (since finding/buying/getting automatically is pretty same mechanically speaking, especially if GM follows tables religiously)

In my experience with APs, there's usually going to be a single striking weapon by level 3 or maybe 4, and at roughly the same time the party will have enough money to buy a second one for a secondary combatant. But there's absolutely no guarantee that the striking weapon you'll find will be one you want. Your party's main melee might be a fighter with a polearm and Brutish and Powerful shove, and then you find a +1 striking starknife, and that means you need to transfer the runes to the right weapon. Which again means visiting Ye Olde Magic Shoppe. "Hey, I got this sword here that says Excalibur on it, but I'm more of an axe guy, you know?"

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GM OfAnything wrote:
Earning powerful weapons by defeating dangerous enemies is absolutely a measure of personal accomplishment. Magic items aren’t only reliant on magical crafters. They are treasures fought for and won.

That's pretty much where I stand as well. Items as treasure you need to find and claim in one way or another, either through force, guile, or being challenged in some other way? Or maybe as a reward for some great quest? That's awesome. Items where you go to Ye Olde Magic Shoppe and plop down a bulk's worth of gold and say "Shopkeep, can you please upgrade this Striking rune to a Greater Striking rune?" Bleh.

In Game of Thrones terms, magic items should be bought with iron, not gold.

I remember one of the things about 4e that were often panned at the time was that the rules suggested PCs give their DMs wish lists of magic items, and that the DM would then take these into account. In retrospect, that's not a bad idea, because it gives PCs what they want without going the long road around a magic store.

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