kpulv's page

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If you have access to the GM screen it is pretty amazing for how much info it covers.

If you coming from 1e I would watch out for:
* Flat footed is a penalty on the enemy's AC, not a bonus to attack
* Attack of opportunity is rare on creatures and often appears on "boss" type enemies
* Things with the "Attack" trait take the multiple attack penalty
* Maneuvers are a lot easier to pull off than 1e with athletics checks vs. enemy's reflex or fortitude DCs (10 + their save)
* Initiative is rolled when there is an intent to start a conflict. No surprise round. If you want to shoot a bandit with an arrow from hiding, you need to roll initiative before you do. You can grant circumstance bonuses to initiative for well executed ambushes.
* Get familiar with how Hide, Sneak, and the different levels of awareness play out.
* readying an action costs two actions. you use the readied action as a reaction when the trigger occurs.
* at the start of your turn you can delay and be put back into the initiative at the end of another creature's turn.
* you can't go below 0 hp. get familiar with how the dying condition and recovery rolls play out.
* Remember all the basic actions available to you and your players. It's very easy to get into the mindset of "attack attack attack" but you have things like aid, demoralize, take cover, raise shield, seek, feint, tumble through, etc. sometimes that -10 or -8 attack just ain't worth it.
* Establish a party order for exploration mode and scenes where time matters, but you're not in an encounter. In an IRL game, going around the table should work fine.
* Remember the exploration tactics available to the players. some are pretty important like defend, or scout. what you're doing in exploration mode determines what you roll for initiative if an encounter starts.
* Remember that certain skill actions are gated behind being trained in the skill.
* Get familiar with how persistent damage and flat checks work. Characters can help douse flames, or patch up bleeding, or clean the burning acid off which reduces the DC of the flat check, and can even grant the character additional checks to end the damage.
* 10 minute activities like treat wounds and refocus will probably come up a lot. you should probably expect PCs to walk into every encounter with full hp and focus unless they're really pushed on time.
* a lot of monsters have "grab" or "knockdown" and other maneuver type things included with their melee attacks (usually they have to spend an action after a successful hit to auto succeed on the maneuver)
* the four degrees of success matter with almost everything. critically failing a save against a spell can mean double damage. make sure you check for the +10 and -10 on results. (this might feel annoying at first, but you should get a feel for when you should check for plus or minus 10)
* there are no critical confirms.
* critical hits double all the damage except from sources that are triggered from crits, like deadly.

so far one of the most fun aspects I've noticed from the GM side is that it's a lot easier to move the difficulty slider without risking breaking the entire game and killing all the PCs. player characters can't be instakilled (for the most part) so you can push them quite hard and really ramp up the action and drama, but they still have a chance to push back, or make it out of really bad situations alive.

good luck have fun!

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Going from exploration mode to encounter mode by rolling perception or a skill as initiative is an idea that seems really cool, but in practice I feel like my group and I are still struggling to make it come together smoothly. I've been watching and listening to as much 2e content as I can to get a better grip on the rules, but I still feel like I'm missing something.

The idea of using different skills for initiative is mentioned a lot by the team and in the rules, however in play initiative is perception 99 out of 100 times, and stealth is the other 1. Even when it's not perception, characters are still given the option to use perception, and it feels like they always just opt to use perception instead of whatever they were doing. I want the idea of using all sorts of skills as initiative to come into play, but even through the entire playtest it's never clicked for me.

Characters in my games so far end up with perception or stealth as their highest checks. As far as I can tell, what characters do in exploration mode determines what they will roll for initiative if an encounter begins such as a trap triggering, or hostile creatures appearing, or some other opposing threat. Exploration mode has all sorts of cool suggestions for things to do, but the system makes using everything but sneaking or perceiving a suboptimal choice. Scouting gives a +1 circumstance bonus to initiative which pushes even further into "only use perception." The book gives examples of using athletics, or nature, deception, diplomacy and more as initiative, but there is no reason to ever attempt to do so when your perception modifier is the highest. The result is that characters won't do anything interesting in exploration mode because they don't want to be caught with their guard down if they were using any other skill. When I ask my players what they want to do in situations, it's always back to using perception, and then they often feel pigeonholed into it because they aren't aware of how any other skill would help them.

I wish there were more things like the scouting option in exploration mode that gave explicit mechanical benefits to the start of encounters, or it would make more sense if characters didn't end up with perception as their highest modifier. I'm not sure if it's just my particular player characters that are maxing out perception and stealth intentionally due to their historic precedent of being the most important things to have, or if I'm not understanding the system well enough. The idea of backflipping off of a balcony into a tavern brawl using acrobatics as initiative sounds really awesome, but mechanically there's no reason why I would ever do that if my perception is 4 higher and gives me a +1 circumstance bonus.

Does anyone have any thoughts or advice on how to smooth this out? As a GM are there more ways I can think of to begin encounters that will encourage non-perception approaches?

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My group has been using roll20, and we end up making a lot of macros for stuff, so I made a tool that makes writing macros faster for things like attacks, spells, and whatever else. it's available here for anyone to use if they want: there's an example to load that hopefully covers the general idea of how to use it.

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So hard to choose just one thing but... I think I have to go with removing vancian casting. It feels so needlessly convoluted compared to the arcanist style, or 5e casting style.

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I like this change, it makes wizards less daunting to play because of the whole analysis-paralysis of trying to prep all your spells at the start of the day. It also invokes a little bit of the "ritual casting" style spells in 5e that I think are a great innovation.

The sorcerer can then be updated to reflect a new or different advantage of being a sorcerer than a wizard. Maybe they could cast using spell slots they don't have at some risk, or have way more meta magic options from the start, or something totally wacky I haven't thought of yet.

Personally I'd like to see a path where wizards are "by the book" casters, and sorcerers are the wild, untrained casters that can customize their spells a lot more.

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I think it would be cool to see a variant without +1/level, but honestly my group and I don't mind it at all. +1/level already exists in P1 but there it means our characters are trying to make sure they all have the big six magical items to keep up on the expected curve that we should be following in order to have the challenges designed for our level to feel appropriate. With the system in the playtest our characters can stay on curve and we all don't have to be carrying around the same exact magic items to be on par with what the system expects. Now the expectation is built right into our characters, which has a lot of benefits.

* The GM can throw level appropriate humanoid enemies at the PCs without having to deck every enemy out with an economy breaking amount of magical items.
* The PCs don't end up with large discrepancies in their abilities as the levels increase, which means the power levels of the characters can be better judged when designing encounters.
* The skills that I don't invest into (for various reasons) don't become totally stale and unusable. I look at my P1 character who at level 14 still has +0 in a number skills, and still only a +5 in the knowledges she has (which is what she started with.) I'm in both a P1 game, and a Playtest game, and I can feel the contrast pretty hard there.

This seems to be a pretty contentious topic on the forums but Paizo has hardly addressed it with updates, so I'm guessing that its not showing up in the survey data as something people are having problems with. They did adjust untrained to make it a lower value (level-4), which I also liked. The spread of numbers across skills on characters looks very diverse now (at least in my group) and I think in a very good spot for having a P1 feel but with a much simpler system.

Parsing a lot of the posts and thoughts about it, I really just don't understand the problems with it, especially when the designers have said that there will most likely be a variant mode with +1/level removed. As both a GM and a player +1/level is a simplification that is just a huge relief for me, and I can focus on more interesting things other than "how am I gonna get my +2 cloak turned into a +3 cloak so my saves are close enough to the expected curve for the level my character is at." The big six are +1 to level just expressed differently, and I am ready to leave behind a system where there are items that are so important for every single character to have that they have earned a household nickname.

I want number/vertical progression to be simple and straight forward, so that horizontal progression can actually be explored in this system without making huge compromises to my character's core competence.

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* Three action system
* Changing AoO to a specialty
* +1/Level progression

* Horizontal progression is too slow (Feats, abilities, etc)
* Vancian casting
* Damage being +X magic weapon reliant

* Make knife weapons better. (Double strike? Don't increase MAP when used?)
* Make maneuvers way more enticing to use. (make them at no MAP after a successful strike? remove their crit fail effects?)
* Way more uses for hero points (and make hero points only obtainable through in character actions)


runners up:
monster and npc simplifications
monster reactions and other cool abilities
resistances and weaknesses
flat checks
persistent damage
variable-action spells

diagonal movement
conditions (they feel very samey)
exploration to encounter mode transition
heightening spell rules

allow way more feats earlier on in levels
make wizard like 5e
make a whole new sorcerer class
all spells auto heighten to the slot level
two action spells have one action versions
some sort of short rest system (resolve points?)
1 hero point -> reroll
2 hero points -> heroic recovery
a lot more stuff I cant think of right now

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I think a lot of the reactions for the cooler monsters are a good step in this direction, but it still feels like its not really enough for the 1v4 (or 5... or 6...) scenarios that big monsters can find themselves in. I'd like to see more free actions that are triggered by certain things instead of reactions since once players know the monster used their reaction they just go ham on it and destroy it when they take their 4 turns in a row. (Which is a totally valid strategy, but one that just doesn't feel very interesting to me as both a GM and a player.)

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Would it possible to put links to characters that have used your character sheet into this one and have it fill out the character data directly from their sheets? (I actually thought on the cover that Player 1, Player 2, etc, actually wanted links to their character sheets for this purpose)

Thanks for both this and your character sheet! My group is using it on Part 3 and it's gonna make things a lot smoother.

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Yeah, the quicksand encounter is rough. Did not go very well for my group, hah.

I can just answer how I ran it.

1) I put the quicksand just in the center of the map and had the ankhrav waiting in a mound of sand a few tiles from the edge of it.

2) The PC in my game was also on a camel in the sand. I ruled that the camel would panic and lose its mind (as they would when combat starts) and threw the rider off, resulting in them both being in the quicksand. (The PCs actually managed to save the camel as well.)

3) My PCs also used a rope, so I had them use the Aid action to give the sinking character a bonus if they made the DC 15 check. A character holding the rope from solid ground would ready the Aid reaction for when it was the sinking character's turn.

4) I totally forgot about the ankhrav's burrow speed in the encounter, so I had it fight the other PCs that were on the surface and try to stop them from helping the sinking character. I'm not sure if the ankhrav having a burrow speed gives it immunity to the effects of the quicksand though?

I think there are cooler hazards for sure... the quicksand is just super rough for a lot of reasons.

In regards to the last line... I feel like that's a little bit of an overreaction for the results of a single hazard/encounter. The playtest is testing *a lot* of things, some of them will work, some of them wont, it's a necessary part of testing.

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I think it is a little odd, but after running the playtest for more than ten sessions, I like the flat check concept applied to persistent damage.

I think the main advantage is that you always know (both the players and the gm) what the check is. It's always DC 20, or DC 15 if you spend an action.

One thing that I missed early on (and I might be still misinterpreting this) was that any attempt to extinguish the persistent damage source (like fire, or acid) will prompt another flat check.

page 323 wrote:

You or an ally can spend actions to help you recover

from persistent damage, such as casting healing spells or
using Medicine to Administer First Aid against bleeding,
dousing a flame, or washing off acid; successfully doing
so reduces the DC of that condition’s flat check to 15
and usually lets you immediately attempt an extra flat
check to end that persistent damage.

So if you're on fire, or covered in acid, and you spend an action, you reduce the DC to 15, then immediately get a flat check to see if you end the damage. I've been treating this as every time you get magically healed as well. So if you have the time, you can spend all 3 of your actions trying the flat check, and on top of that, an ally can help and give you even more flat checks. You should be able to hit a DC 15 flat check in an average of 4 or 5 rolls, right?

Administer first aid also lets you use the medicine skill vs DC 15 to stop bleed damage, so the better you are at medicine, the better your chances are there.

I can see there being room for maybe something in the full game along the lines of feats or abilities that reduce the DCs of flat checks for certain types of damage. Some class feat like "Add your Reflex Save bonus to any flat check to end persistent damage" or whatever, but for now I think the system is fine as is and I appreciate the simplicity of it. I don't think it warrants a specific DC and save type for each source of damage.

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thflame wrote:
In PF2, you drop the flint, then the steel, then draw one weapon...and that's your turn.

Minor nitpick: I think dropping the flint and steel from your hands would be a free action Drop. Then drawing a weapon, stepping, then attacking would be your turn.

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A lot of interesting thoughts here. This is something I'm definitely going to be paying close attention to as my playtest group digs deeper into the higher levels.

It seems like in every tactical combat rpg I've played, players always want to do more than they can on their turn. They want to be able to draw a weapon and attack with it, and pull out a potion and drink it, cast two spells in a turn, etc, and it always feels like the design of the games I play is pushing against that idea, and I'm not sure I understand why. I mean, what would happen if retrieving and activating an item was just one action? (Pull out and drink a potion for 1 action) Or if quickdraw was just something everyone had? I'm guessing there's some game breaking strategies that I'm not seeing.

As for the crits, I am noticing now that every roll that is high or low has to be double checked (Does that crit you? Is that a critical failure?) and I don't really see another way other than asking every time when a high or low number is rolled, especially with players that have a lot of baggage from other systems and just totally forget to look for the +/- 10 thing.

The idea of having the crit range on the die increase for proficiency is really interesting, and I can see that speeding things up there, but I wonder if we run into the same issue where the question changes to "Okay you got a 28? what did you roll on the die?"

The four degrees of success I think will become smoother as familiarity with the most common spells/effects/etc increases over time, and also when the new edition gets to the point where there is a comprehensive online SRD for it. Even after 3 years of playing PF1, everyone in my group still has to google search every spell to see what happens on a failure or success to double check, which isn't really a big deal since we all play online anyhow. (Side note: I wish more than anything that RPG publishers began focusing more on online rules documents with searching and formatting and all that good stuff rather than books and PDFs. I can dream...)

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1of1 wrote:
kpulv wrote:
I'm kinda surprised at how many posts I see talking about how their entire group gave up on the playtest for one reason or another. So far my group has been really digging it and we're excited to transition over to the new system once it becomes fully realized. We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though so maybe that's the difference? I guess I'm just not seeing what the major hang ups are other than the fact that we only have a single playtest rule book so far and not 10+ books of expansions. If people are looking for maximum customization of the most esoteric character concepts possible, the core system that exists in the playtest so far looks ripe to enable that with time.

Oddly enough, my group just gave up back on Sunday. The stated reason was that they only get one day a week to do much of anything, so they would rather play a finished game on their day off. Most of them weren't keeping up with the errata, and they weren't really interested in doomsday dawn's episodic nature.

We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though, so maybe that's not the difference. There are just too many unpolished rough edges that kept snagging us after so many years playing PF1, so we're just going to go back to that. Oddly enough, our first burnout was the noob, who had just joined us a few months before the playtest, rather than the stoggy old guard.

Oh well, back to our diesel punk necropocalypse game. Here's to hoping I can convince them to try again when PF2 gets a little older, eh?

Sure, makes sense. In that case it sounds like the playtest environment definitely doesn't align with the interests of your group. One thing I didn't consider is that my entire playgroup works in the game industry so we're likely more used to playtesting games where the rules can change week to week. Adjusting our mindset to accompany that doesn't cause a lot of friction for us.

If you have limited time then it's understandable that a playtest would be too much to handle vs a system you're very familiar with.

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I'm kinda surprised at how many posts I see talking about how their entire group gave up on the playtest for one reason or another. So far my group has been really digging it and we're excited to transition over to the new system once it becomes fully realized. We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though so maybe that's the difference? I guess I'm just not seeing what the major hang ups are other than the fact that we only have a single playtest rule book so far and not 10+ books of expansions. If people are looking for maximum customization of the most esoteric character concepts possible, the core system that exists in the playtest so far looks ripe to enable that with time.

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Dear Paizo, I hope this message finds you well.

The following is a bunch of my thoughts, impressions, and a wishlist from my time so far running the Pathfinder Playtest as a game master. Remember that all of this is my humble opinion so don't come at me like you're at a debate club world championship because I probably won't respond.

Just so you know where I'm coming from, I've been playing in a PF1 campaign for three years and played a handful of other tabletop rpgs with campaigns that lasted either a few weeks or a few months. Outside of playing a lot of tabletop rpgs, I work on video games and card games.

Before proceeding, gain one grain of salt.

Three Action System
The three action system is obviously the next step for tactical tabletop rpg combat systems. My group has been loving every moment of the combat mostly because of the three action system. The simplicity and flexibility for each turn of an encounter is interesting already at level one, and having every ability in the game be linked to a number of actions is great.

In a big encounter (will try to not spoil anything for those not yet digging into Doomsday Dawn) the sorceress of the party was able move up to the boss, strike with her shillelagh and score a critical hit, and then back away all in one turn. She knew that the boss had already burned his attack of opportunity, and this was just a great moment for the players that would not have been possible in Pathfinder 1 without a large chain of feats.

Character Building
I feel like I've seen a lot of gripes about the character building process, but so far my group dove right into it and had almost zero issues. The issues that did come up for the first part of Doomsday Dawn were mostly caused by typos and mistakes that would later be corrected by the errata.

My one hesitation here though is that it seems like it's very difficult for a character to ever end up with a negative modifier in any stat. This is all my own personal opinion of course, but I always liked it when characters had some sort of drawback and the easiest way to express that was through a negative stat. Of course in other systems with a six attribute core, most of the time a common stat (charisma) ends up being the "dump" stat that everyone ends up putting to 8 or 7 in order to boost their more important stats. I'm not sure if that would be the case in the playtest, but I think it'd be neat if amazing stats weren't the norm starting out. In the same vein, it also feels like easily obtaining an 18 in a stat at level one feels a little too strong, and I wish an 18 was reserved for the first ability boost you get during character progression.

This is my perspective as a player and a game master, but I like feeling at early levels like I'm a wanna be adventure going up against impossible odds, and growing into a compitent character, and I understand a lot of folk don't play that way.

Monster and NPC Building
I love that monsters and NPCs are totally free of the same building rules as the characters. I began to run my games of Pathfinder 1 this way because holy crap I do not want to spend a million years trying to get the stats and feats correct for the monster I want to make just for the players to run it over in three turns anyway and never really care about the underlying math. I feel like this supports more of a "make it up as you go along" style of play which I'm a big fan of.

Hero Points
I love, love, love hero points. I really like how they are integrated with the system from the get go in this playtest so far, but I'd like to see more concrete ways that they can be earned, and also remove all of the "out of game" ways that they can be earned.

I also would like to see more of a way that the entire party could earn them, instead of just handing them out to specific players. This is my perspective as a GM, but I think systems like hero points being handed out to specific players only, without concrete rules on how to earn them, ends up being a positive feedback loop that negatively effects the more shy or introverted players. If Player A does something amazing and flavorful, and really digs into their character as part of a scene, they earn a hero point, and maybe that will inspire Player B to put themselves out there more to also try to earn a hero point, but I don't ever think that is the case. Ultimately it feels like putting on a song and dance to try to appease the GM enough to earn one, especially if the rules are not well defined. The more shy players will fall behind as the more socially forceful ones will shine and earn way more points.

What I would like to see more of is some sort of system that encourages players to engage with the world more, and their characters more, and also a way for them to earn their hero points together as a party.

One idea for Hero Points may be storing them all as a group. If Player A earns a Hero Point, it can be usable for anyone in the party. Alternatively, maybe every player gets one hero point only after the party has secured an amount equal to the number of players in the group. So in a case of a four player game, when the amount of earned Hero Points reaches four, that reserve empties and each player gains one that they can use as they wish.

Also my group plays very, very slowly. We really dig deep into every scene. We flesh out every single NPC, and it's not unusual for our sessions to be mostly in-character conversations and not a single combat happens. Hero Points vanishing at the end of every session does not match our play style at all, so for the playtest I've been having them persist between sessions.

For earning hero points, what if well defined character actions could be used to earn them? Having players engage with the world more. Maybe getting to know an NPC's name and some aspect of their personality would earn a point. If character's had defined flaws, when a character plays into their flaw that would earn them a point. If a character put themselves in danger to help an ally or the greater good, earn a point. (Of course these are all "good" things, but hence the name Hero Point. Maybe Villain Points are needed for an evil campaign!) I think narrative based games have a lot of great systems for this and I would love to see it in Pathfinder.

Lastly as a GM, I love Hero Points for the reason that I can run encounters with high lethality, and know that my players have at least one, or maybe more chances to escape the absolute end of their characters. A chance for characters to spend their points and escape death and gain a chance to escape an encounter with their lives is great for my group's style of play. Enemies can go all out and play smart, and the players have a chance to realize that they are clearly outmatched, and make a sound retreat, instead of realizing too late that the monster they poked is going to kill everyone and is resistant to all of their abilities.

I really like the reactions that characters, and monsters, have access to so far from what I've seen. It really helps to have players remain engaged when its not their turn, and I would love to see more systems like this expanded upon. I would dare say that having one reaction per turn does not feel like enough, and it would be amazing if there were more chances here to expand on this system. I know this would blow the complexity up a lot, and would compromise a lot of the balance of reactions so far, but if reactions played on a similar system as actions I wonder where that could go. What if you had three reactions per turn, and certain reactions cost different amounts of reaction? This is probably way too complex, and would be a lot to track, but maybe there's something there! Spend a Hero Point for an extra reaction?!

I like the aspect of players being able to think about, and do things when its not their turn, and especially the reactions that involve defense. Getting attacked now can present interesting opportunities for a number of classes. Reactive shield, nimble dodge, shield block, all great examples of interesting decisions that come up during combat when it's not a player's turn.

I will touch upon Nimble Dodge here for a moment. I don't think it's cool enough. For the rogue in my group it unfortunately has not been relevant a single time. It demands that an enemy roll a very narrow range of numbers for their attack roll, and I would much rather see something like evasion be the baseline reaction for the Rogue and give them an ability to mitigate physical damage when getting hit. That, or the +2 from nimble dodge just isn't enough to matter.

Attacks of Opportunity
I could not be happier with the change of making attacks of opportunity being almost non existent. I'm playing in a game of Pathfinder 1, and running the Pathfinder Playtest, and the combat so far in the Playtest has been so, so freeing. Enemies and player characters being able to (mostly) freely move about the battlefield feels great compared to the, I hate to say it, slog of Pathfinder 1.

Big Ole Wishlist
The following is a bunch of text of things I wish to see, or directions I wish the game to go in!

I would love to see spells really dig deep into the three action system more. Magic missile, heal, and harm, are great. Every spell should be like them!

Make heightening just a global thing for all spells always for every caster.

Please just kill off vancian casting already. The arcanist style from Pathfinder 1 is the future. Give me some spell slots and let me choose spells, and then use any level slot for that spell, and auto heighten it to the slot level. Preparing 3 fireballs to have to cast 3 fireballs is an ancient relic that needs to go.

Remove touch AC and replace it with reflex DC checks. You already have this going on with grapple athletics checks. You have to hit their fortitude DC. Touch AC just feels very out of place with the rest of the system, especially now that armor also increases it. You have this skill to DC system so use the heck out of it!

I wish that all flavor text was decoupled from mechanical text. When an entry reads "This glowing circle sits on your head and looks very shiny in the sun and everyone thinks it looks really cool. It has a bunch of gemstones and ancient celestial glyphs etched into it that read 'he who smelt it, dealt it.' It grants a +2 circumstance bonus to diplomacy skill checks." I just wish it said the part about the diplomacy bonus. When my players and I are trying to skim through rules, especially in the heat of an encounter, we don't care about what the item looks or smells like. Put that in a different part of the entry, with an italiziced font, or something. In fact, my players and I would love a version of the rule book that is just that. Rules. No fluff. Just all the mechanics and the rules. Zero flavor. My players and I love to create our own flavor for everything anyway, so we often ignore what is given to us by the book.

More rules for making our own spells! How many gosh dang mages walk around casting fireball. I want to shoot out lightning balls. Boulder balls. Everything balls! Frameworks for creating various kinds of spells flavored to a specific character idea would be so cool and play into the whole "in pathfinder you can make whatever dang character you want" idea.

A slight rebalance of how Hero Points can be spent. It feels like spending two should be the amount to escape death, and spending one should be the d20 reroll.

I'm starting to understand why skills getting a simple +1 per level of training is important, due to the critical rules, but it does not feel significant or satisfying. I would like to see the +1 system changed to a dice pool type system, where each increase in your level of training becomes an additional d20 that you can roll when performing the skill check, and you take the highest result. I would even consider making untrained in a skill be two d20s, take the lowest.

I wish characters could be bad at things. It feels impossible to be bad at anything in this system. Maybe if untrained skills didn't get the +level bonus this would help here. I agree with the criticisms I see that it makes no sense why a high level character would just be automatically really good at every skill. A frail wizard of 20th level is a god of athletics? Why?

I wish all of the +1, -1, -2, +2, +4 math would just go away forever. What about instead of a +2, you just get a +d4? What if instead of +4 you get a +d8? +d10? I'm not sure what the solution is here, but I know that once you get to about level seven or eight in Pathfinder 1, the game slows to a crawl as everyone every turn is calculating out some stupid amount of math, and everyone knows its harder to do math when you're in a panic because you and your allies are fighting for your lives against the embodiment of evil for the fate of the universe. Abandon modifier math, and dig into dice more!

Kill the critical failure result of stabilizing someone with a medicine check. Good lord. It already takes so much to even be compitent enough with the expensive tools to even attempt this skill, so why is there a risk that you'll kill your friend with it? When you critically fail an attack roll you dont stab yourself with your own scimitar.

Lean into Hero Points even more. More uses for them. What if a single Hero Point could save your shield from a dent? What if you could resist a monster grabbing you with a Hero Point? What if you could use a Hero Point to do a single action without provoking reactions? What if you could half the damage you just took by spending a Hero Point? Hero Points!!

Destroy alignment already. It's so weird and more and more I just see it as an excuse for characters to act stupid. It's a relic. Kill it! Some sort of karma or corruption system might be more fun. Do bad stuff? Gain corruption. Do good stuff? Gain karma. Each can do something for you. I don't know. I feel like the nine alignments are limiting in a bad way.

Give player characters a way to rest that doesn't involve ending the adventuring day. The short rest mechanic is one of the things I love from 5e, and I think something similar to it would work great here. Some sort of pool of healing that any player character can use, and it costs time to use it.

Consider moving toward the Stamina, Health, and Resolve system from Starfinder. Okay so I haven't played Starfinder at all, but that system seems really cool. Stamina is something you can get back easily, but taking damage on your Health is scary as heck. Sounds great! Why not use it again here? It seems like an amazing system the more I read about it! Kill the past! Move forward!

Fully embrace Resonance, or replace it. Resonance seems like a great concept and I like the idea of it, but it feels like only like half of the book cares about it. Items still retain X uses a day in some cases and everything always costs one point. Items still have slots? I don't know. It seems really weird. Why even make items? Just give us everything an item can be made with and let us make our own. What if we don't want a cloak that can make us invisible and instead we want gloves that can. It seems like theres a big opportunity to make magic items incredibly streamlined and simplified in a way that lets players really express whatever flavor they want.

Consider leaning more into a system that removes the feeling of wasting your turn. What if there was a type of strike that anyone could do where it was something like: you cannot critically succeed, on a failure you deal your damage modifier in damage. Sort of like a reserved strike that always hits for minimum damage. Or give characters more minor things to do that auotmatically succeed. What if the ranger could point out a target for everyone and give all their allies a bonus to hit it? Some more "cannot fail at this" options that would make players feel like they dont waste a turn where they don't change the game state at all. I think things like the four degree success system help a lot here. I play a caster in my Pathfinder 1 game, and it casting an offensive spell is just the worst. Having to hit the thing, overcome its SR, then it still getts a save. Why bother when I can cast a buff or a heal that I know will always work? I think honestly the amount of successful offensive spells I have cast in my multi-year career as a caster in Pathfinder 1 is under 10%, and the other 90% feels like I did absolutely nothing except waste a turn and a spell.

Simplify the conditions. I don't have a proposed solution here but it feels like there are a lot of conditions that could just be rolled into common ones.

Make getting knocked out have a greater impact, but after the battle. Maybe after a character is knocked out, after they rest, something happens to them, or something about them changes. Something that they then have to deal with. Is it mechanical or just flavor? I don't know, but I like the idea of death not being the worst thing that can happen to a character.

Embrace crazier combat abilities and options. What if a fighter could grab an enemy and throw them into a different tile? What if they could themselves vault over an enemy and end up on the other side of them? What if as a reaction a character could throw themselves in front of another? I'm talking about making stuff like this accessible at earlier levels. I feel like I just want more interesting options available to more classes during combat as the baseline, and have more crazy powerful stuff show up later. I want more things that will make battles less likely to devolve into "everyone stand in their tile and attack 3 times for the next 10 rounds."

Make options outside of "deal as much damage as possible per round" more enticing. This goes along with the previous one. Right now there are different things that characters can do, but are any of them ever going to be more effective than just "kill the thing before it kills us" which translates to "run up and attack as many times as you can." Everything in the game boils down to one, single thing: damage. A thing that does damage will always, 100%, be better than a thing that does not. Dealing with a threat by removing its ability to threaten you will always be the most effective strategy. Is there anything that can be done to make alternate strategies work? The playtest book and Pathfinder 1 more so are full of various things you can do on your turn, but everyone is always just going to use the few things that deal the most damage per round. I think a good example of this working already is raising your shield as an action. Do you take the -10 to hit, or do you raise your shield? It's an interesting question! But so far I've only seen this at low levels. Will it matter to get a small boost in AC when you're starring down the barrel of an enemy that has a +30 to hit? Not sure!

Remove immunity to critical hits. One of the core facets of this new system is critical hits. Critical hits are fun, and they are scary. They are great. Immunity to critical hits is never, ever met with the response of "wow interesting, let's change our strategy against this fascinating enemy!" it's always "wow this sucks." I would be all for giving things a resistance to critical hits much like how resistances to damage work. For example, you critically hit the ooze? You still get the crit, but it takes 5 less damage from a crit, or something like that. (Again these proposed changes are not 100% thought out so please don't latch onto the fact that what if you deal less than 5 damage with a crit so you deal no damage so you would have been better off not critting it.)

Consider multiple health pools for big monsters. Instead of a big baddie having just 40 health points, what if it had two pools of 20? The first pool of 20 must be at 0 for the second pool to take any damage, and once all the pools are at 0, the creature is down. What I'm looking for here is to strike a balance between letting players do massive amounts of damage with their crazy builds, especially on a critical hit, but not let a big boss fight end in one round anti-climatically when the barbarian does 50 damage at level 1 with a critical hit with a pick. My players scored a big critical hit against a boss in Doomsday Dawn, and it was great, but then the next player in the turn order hit the boss and he went down. The players were relieved, but there was also this disappointment in the room as well. That's it? Of course the critical hit did well over half the boss's health in damage, but now the boss just seemed like a push over and there wasn't much satisfaction with his defeat.

Consider a system where all numbers dont increase with level, especially hit points. What kind of world would it be if a high level character could still be stabbed at a tavern and be in real danger? I kinda think it'd be pretty fun but maybe a vast majority of pathfinder players would not agree. A character walking around with 200 hitpoints is kinda baffling to me and really really hard for me to reason out narratively. (For example the other night in my Pathfinder 1 game, our characters were hit by grenades that dealt 30-ish damage, while we're all sitting at around 100-150 max hp. The discovery of these grenades was supposed to feel like this very significant thing, but ultimately our characters didn't care because they barely cause a scratch on us. Of course there's also cleric's feather fall. Jump off a sky scraper, take your 20d6 damage, and heal yourself back up good as new!)

Embrace board game, card game, and yes, even video game influence. The last letter of rpg stands for game. We are playing a game. I like how the Playtest so far feels, and the complaints about it feeling like a video game that I see just baffle me. So far I'm able to have the same narrative, character driven story experience that I've had in almost every other rpg that I've played, so really not sure why making the system more clearly defined and having crisper rules and restricitons could possibly make the experience worse. What is one of the most successful recent board games? Gloomhaven. Pretty much a condensed, distilled tactical combat experience that you'd find in an rpg. Give me a cool system, and me and my players will add the story and flavor ourselves.

More examples in the book, please! There's a lot of things in the book to digest and it's an entirely new system. Experience with other rpgs is a bonus, but it's still pretty tough. Some sections of the book have brief examples of how to use the rules with little example scenarios, and these are the best!! After the rules about shield dents and shield block, a little example block of "So and so is hit by an attack, and decides to use their heavy wooden shield to block some of the incoming damage. The damage is 5, and they reduce it by the shield's hardness" etc etc. More examples would clear up a lot of the confusion I think!

Make playing a buffer a little bit more interesting. I like buffing my allies in combat, but it still feels like I'm totally disconnected from the outcome. Sure I'm giving them a bonus, but they're still the ones getting to do the cool rolls. What if there was a buff system where I got to roll my buff along with their attack roll? They roll their d20 to hit, and I roll my d4 boost along with them. Would also do a lot to keep players engaged outside of their turn! (Note that this would probably involve replacing a lot of modifier math with additional dice rolling.)

Embrace the gosh dang internet. I wish the playtest was available as an official srd from the start. I'm not sure what goes into putting the books together, and how the data for the books is laid out behind the scenes, but if the playtest was in some sort of explorable wiki format on the paizo website, or even a download of just a bunch of static html, it would be so much easier to digest. I dare say it would be 10 million times easier to digest. Books are awful for rule systems. PDFs are slightly better with the ability to control F. The community is translating the books to an SRD, but why? You have all of the source material to just do it yourselves! Updates would also be a breeze. The update docs are a nightmare, and I don't know how I can put it more gently than that. The whole "add the following to sentence 3 in paragraph 2 just before the word 'and'" is absolute insanity in the year of 2018.

That's all for now! Again I want to reinforce that my players and I are having a blast and I am loving the Playtest for a lot of reasons. I'm glad to see so many adjustments and updates rolling out in response to player feedback, and I'm excited to see where it goes in the coming months.

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I actually haven't even seen Resonance Points come into play yet at my playtest table, so I don't have an opinion of them yet! But I just wanted to chime in and say I very, very much appreciate the style and tone of this blog post. Just a totally open and honest discussion of the current thoughts behind a system in the playtest. More posts like this please! :D

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I like the conservation of space, but I think a lot of people are not going to recognize the significance of the word "basic." I think a different choice of word like "standard" could make a difference. Again though it might be fine if at the beginning of the spells list what a basic or standard saving throw means is clearly defined.

Also I really really really implore you to remove flavor text from mechanical text. Put flavor at the end after all of the mechanical text. Fireball is short on flavor text thankfully, but my players and I pretty much have to train ourselves to ignore the first one or two sentences of every description in the book because it's not useful information.

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It does feel like spells are not utilizing the 3 action system nearly enough. So far in my sessions the martial characters feel like they have a lot to do even at level 1, and decisions to make during combat, but the caster is still just "I cast and move" every turn. I would love to see all spells in the game really explore all the design space that the 3 action system allows.

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The first session of Lost Star I had some trouble wrangling this, but for the second session I tried being more strict about each player calling our their intentions and/or tactics in an order that they decided. Essentially it turned into a slightly looser encounter mode.

I asked the players to give me the order in which they want to act in exploration mode since a lot can happen in a dungeon, and I need to make sure I'm keeping up with everyone's actions. So I went around the table (also on roll20 here) and asked each of them what they wanted to do, and told them they could move their token where they wanted to go after they stated their goal or intent. If they were searching or investigating, I would ask them to point out where they were looking, and did the perception roll. If they were sneaking, I would just consider them to be in sneak mode until an encounter broke out, and then they would roll stealth for their initiative.

The tighter approach of having each player act on a 'turn' and resolving their exploration tactic worked out much much better for my group. Everyone had a blast with it and they all seemed to be excited to continue with the whole turn-like structure for it, and once they get more familiar with what tactics are available to them I think it will pick up faster. As a GM, it was so much easier to figure out what was going on when only one player was acting at a time, just like in an encounter.

For the Goblin Commando encounter -- my players have not hit that yet, but they did trigger the noise trap, and are now in a stand off position. If they decide to go into the room with the goblins, their tactic will determine their initiative roll. If they walk down the tunnel with the intent of searching/investigating, then as soon as they spot the goblins, or vice versa, their roll will be perception as init and encounter mode starts. If they attempt to sneak into the room, then it will be stealth for their init.

It does feel a little weird still -- but after the second session I feel like both myself and my players are understanding it a lot better.

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I like resonance. I think it could be a cool system to create tension by creating more meaningful difficult choices. The system honestly doesn't feel used to its greatest potential though. Certain items still have uses per day, and nothing ever consumes more than one RP at a time, and some items make no sense with how they spend RP. Also, I don't like how the acronym is "RP" because in my brain RP is already reserved for "role play."

I'm just at the beginning of the playtest with my group though, so my opinion might change.

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I do find it strange that Paizo specifically called out equipment that just boosts numbers (saves, ac, etc) boring and stripped them out, but didn't address weapons in the same way.

I really like the change of +1 magic meaning a large tangible difference by making them roll extra dice, but it'd be great to see magic weapons expand upon the various traits that mundane weapons have in the playtest. (Finesse, trip, disarm, backstabber, etc)

Getting a +1 weapon is exciting, but getting a weapon that can add your charisma modifier to its damage instead of str, and also spend an RP to do a melee attack from 30ft away with a projection of itself would be more like what I want to see from the playtest system.

Might have been just an issue of time constraints and crazier magical weapons didn't make the cut for the playtest release deadline.

The magical weapon requirement for advancing characters is a little bit annoying. It seems to be the result of just having every number increase like crazy over the course of level 1-20. I wonder if HP all around was a more grounded number we wouldn't see magic weapons as a required asset for adventurers as they level up.

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I asked my players about this today and they all seem excited to try it. We'll see how it goes. I'm curious how it shapes the feel of the mechanics and narrative of how scenes play out. In my other group the GM already does secret rolls for things like will saves for illusions and what not, and it works out fine.

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Thanks. I think the term Lore is a little bit loaded -- my group was thinking it was more on the knowledge side of things. Thinking about it as more of the profession related skills of PF1 helps clear this up.

It sounds like it's pretty flexible, which is cool, but also challenging in regard of making my players feel like they're picking something worthwhile.

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WatersLethe wrote:
Cantriped wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
I simply reject the notion that there should be a game mechanic that limits the number of potions I can drink based on how many rings I'm wearing. I could imagine it as out-of-phase speed-force pim particle crystal energy shenanigans, I just don't want it.

One of my tentative house-rules is simply to add a clause to Potions of Healing stipulating that younautomatically succeed at overspending checks to activate such a potion while Dying.

That way the 'balance' of using RP to limit magic items is maintained, but neither will a character ever die just because their potion turned into colored water.

That only solves one problem. I can never see myself telling a player "I know you bought that water breathing potion just for this moment, and it'd be super appropriate if you could use it now to dive in the pool and search, but you used a wand to heal up after the last fight so you've got a 50% of it working."

I wouldn't be able to look my players in the eye and stand firm on that ruling.

Likewise: "I'm sorry, the scroll of remove disease you brought to flesh out your character's healing kit has a 50% chance to go up in smoke because you put on and used those boots earlier today."

If these situations *literally never* come up, then okay whatever, but the very second they do I will have a house rule document out before the overspending dice stop rolling.

I honestly love stuff like this. Difficult choices! Do we heal up right now, or push forward without healing knowing that we're going into the underground lake and we'll need water breathing? Do we risk the 50% chance of the potion failing, or do we try to rest here in unsafe territory?! I guess we'll see how it works out in the Playtest, but I'm pretty excited to see how limits on magic items creates tension in ways that the previous system inherently could not.

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Out of combat unlimited healing effects encounter design at it's very core. The assumption is that you'll always be at max health at the start, and you'll have something like five or six encounters a day. I've never been in a group or have seen a group that has more than two encounters per rest, so actually pushing a party to expend their resources feels absurd in the current edition.

With the current system, and especially in high levels, creating a threatening encounter usually results in rocket tag especially with players who aren't experts in the system. The line between providing a thrilling encounter with the party barely escaping alive and a TPK is thinner than a strand of hair, and it can make designing and running encounters a nightmare.

My hope is that the changes with consumables and resonance develop an ecosystem where an encounter with relatively low CR creatures and characters can be on a sliding scale of difficulty and danger depending on when the party gets into trouble. Right now there is virtually no way of accomplishing this unless you employ very transparent and heavy handed tactics. I'm just hesitant that resonance won't be used enough, and we'll end up with an unsatisfying mix of an attempt at a new system with relics of the old system.

Looking forward to the 2nd though! ;D

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Work Together Benefit Your bear mauls your enemies when you create an opening. Until your next turn, all your weapon Strikes against a creature your bear threatens deal 1d8 additional slashing damage. If your bear has a specialization, the additional slashing damage increases to 2d8.

Why is this not listed as an [[A]]? I had no idea what this meant until explained later that it's used in place of an attack -- so does this mean I first command the bear to [[A]] Attack, but then replace the attack with the "Work Together Benefit"?

What if it was:


[[A]] Companion Command: Until your next turn, all your weapon Strikes against a creature your bear threatens deal 1d8 additional slashing damage. If your bear has a specialization, the additional slashing damage becomes 2d8.

Your bear mauls your enemies when you create an opening.

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You surround a foe in a swirling storm of violent winds, roiling clouds, and crackling lightning. The storm deals 1d10 electricity damage to the target, depending on their Reflex saving throw.

Success Half damage.

Critical Success No damage.

Failure Full damage, and the target is sluggish 1 for 1 round.

Critical Failure Double damage, and the target is sluggish 2 for 1 round.

I really wish this was more like


1d10 Electricity Damage to one target.

Target's Reflex Saving Throw:
* Critical Success: Target takes no damage.
* Success: Target takes half damage.
* Failure: Target takes damage, and is Sluggish 1 for 1 round.
* Critical Failure: Target takes double damage, and is Sluggish 2 for 1 round.

You surround a foe in a swirling storm of violent winds, roiling clouds, and crackling lightning.

Organize the information in order of importance in the moment that it's being queried. Half the time in combat is going to be spent parsing through flavor fluff that's mixed in with the actual mechanics. Also the order of success, crit success, etc, continues to confuse me every time I see it. You have a four degrees of success system so put them in the order of their degree. Best to worst or worst to best.

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Just want to say I like the way the information for each trap is organized in this post. It's easy to parse each trap and understand what it does and what it takes to disable it. A measurable improvement from the previous blogs that I had a hard time parsing the info from.

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magnuskn wrote:
kpulv wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
I don't get the complaint some people make that cheap healing makes every encounter have to be challenging enough so that the party is seriously threatened. Why is that a problem?
From my perspective as a GM and a player, it makes tension very difficult to create and maintain. No middle ground exists between the party being fully stocked, and dead. Rocket tag encounters aren't fun from either side.

But, dude, rocket tag exists at higher levels anyway. You can only make it worse by going into the next combat with half your HP.

There are just too many monsters (or NPC opponents) who can take a PC out with a good crit or spell and making it easier for them results in dead player characters. Which is almost never a good time for the affected player and can bring a session to a screeching halt. I'm not saying to GM's "never kill a PC", but it should be more of an accident than a regularity.

My point is that the rest of the system is effected heavily by the expectation that players go into every encounter at maximum health, thereby making higher level encounters rocket tag. I think the way that magical healing works right now is *why* higher level encounters are like this. They wouldn't have to be designed in such a way if the baseline system didn't allow for near infinite amounts of healing.

The effects of this core idea are felt throughout the entire system. Monsters and NPC opponents wouldn't need abilities that take out a PC in a single blow if the expectation wasn't that the party was walking into an encounter fully stocked because obviously they brought a cleric or a handful of clw wands.

I think we agree here that this isn't fun, but we have sort of a chicken and egg dilemma. The game began in a state where magical healing is always available, so for encounters to be challenging they have to include things that essentially one shot players. What I'm trying to say is that if healing was harder to come by, monsters and encounters wouldn't need abilities that one shot everyone in order to create tension. If the Playtest/2e can create a system that removes easy healing options, then I think it could dial back rocket tag problems significantly.

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magnuskn wrote:
I don't get the complaint some people make that cheap healing makes every encounter have to be challenging enough so that the party is seriously threatened. Why is that a problem?

From my perspective as a GM and a player, it makes tension very difficult to create and maintain. No middle ground exists between the party being fully stocked, and dead. Rocket tag encounters aren't fun from either side.

Tension can gradually build when you remove options to empty wands of clw on everyone to heal them back to full. The threat level of simple monsters, traps, and other encounters is dynamic and ever increasing when you don't have the always-available option to restore everyone back to full health. Resting to recover becomes a difficult option to consider, especially when the party is on the clock. Sure, there are spells, but not once have I ever seen or been in a party that has run out of spell slots in the typical adventuring day.

As a player I want to experience tension, and as a GM I want to create it organically through the expression of the narratives and systems that support it -- otherwise, what is the point of playing? I personally think that things like wands of clw are boring choices because there is no choice. You get one because it's an unspoken rule that you need one because that's what the system has expressed, just like "the big six."

I'm excited about any features that more limit the powers of the players -- and that's from my perspective of playing 99% of the time. (I've only GMed a handful of sessions, compared to playing in way way more.) I welcome any system changes that make tension in this game move away from "perfect health or dead" to a more nuanced feeling where difficult choices have to be made instead of choosing how many wands of cure light wounds we're bringing into this adventure.

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Cellion wrote:

OK, let me give reorganizing/clarifying the Cloak of Elvenkind a whirl. First, there's a mechanical issue with the cloak, in that you have to lower the hood and raise it again to turn invisible because of the way the ability is currently worded. I suspect many players will simply keep the hood up in order to benefit from the bonus to stealth whenever they need it, so this introduces a clunkiness to the gameplay. I've changed it for the item bonus to stealth to be constant and the invisibility to trigger on raising the hood.

I've also focused only on the lower level version of the item, as I think trying to pack both versions in one stat block is asking for trouble. Here's the attempt:



Descriptors: Illusion, Invested, Magical

Method of Use worn, cloak; Bulk L

This cloak is deep green with a voluminous hood, and is embroidered with gold trim and symbols of significance to the elves.

Investment: When you invest into the Cloak of Elvenkind, the cloak transforms to match the environment around you and muffles your sounds, giving you an item bonus of +3 to stealth checks. Additionally, you gain the use of the following abilities.

Activated Abilities:
[[A]](vocal), [[A]](somatic): You cast the ghost sound cantrip as an arcane spell.

[[A]](interact), [[F]](focus), Pay 1 RP: Your interact action draws the hood of the cloak over your head while your focus action triggers the magic of the cloak. You are affected by invisibility for 1 minute or until you pull the hood back down, whichever comes first.

Type standard; Level 10; Price 1,000 gp

Wowwww this is great. This should be the absolute standard of explaining *everything* in the playtest. Spells, items, equipment, class abilities. Anything that can be formatted this way would benefit immensely. The reorganization of the info makes it so much clearer. I could easily give this to a player as an item card and they would completely understand it. As it stands now, everything posted about the playtest so far requires multiple readings to parse, and you easily miss important details because mechanical text is mixed with flavor text.

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I think this is a great system, but the write ups of items are really hard to parse. I couldn’t understand how the Cloak of Elvenkind worked at all with the system until the following explanations, and I’m still not sure if I completely understand it. It says the Activation is a [[A]] Focus Activation, [[A]] Operate Activation, but a Focus Activation is called out as a Reaction earlier in the blog post, and later a Focus Activation is listed as [[F]]. Then in the description itself it says an Interact Action is used to activate the cloak so… what the heck is the Focus or Operate Activations? The description then combines all of its abilities into a single paragraph and it’s very difficult to follow. This kind of thing needs to be broken down into its separate parts. What you get from investing. What you get from activating. What exactly activating means. We're already well into "what kind of action is this? a move? a standard? focus? is that free or an action? what is drinking a potion? an interact?" territory and that was one of the core things that the action system was to be avoiding.

Looking at it more I think a lot of these descriptions should entirely separate functionality and system interactions from what the item is. Mechanical text and flavor text should be two separate divided texts so when someone needs to know what an item does as quickly as possible they don’t have to parse through what it looks like and how it’s tied just below the throat on a suit of armor.

A lot of my issues here and with some of the more complex previews shown so far I feel can be simplified greatly from decoupling system and mechanic significance from flavor text. Don't get me wrong, I love the physical descriptions of items, but that's usually never what I'm looking for first.

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I've really been digging the overall simplification and cleaning up of various systems previewed so far, and I have played the playtest delve and loved it, but honestly this system feels like a big mess compared to the rest of the core ideas presented so far.

All of these conditions do different things and penalize different aspects of your character in somewhat arbitrary ways. Track all of them but only keep the highest ones, and remember which ones work against each other or cancel each other out? Some of them tick up when you do something while you have it, some of them tick up when you don't do anything, some tick down when you do something specific. Some of them count 1 2 3 4, others count 5 10 15 20. Quick giving an action that can only be used for a specific type of action brings us back to "what kind of action do I have? A move or a standard? Is this a standard?" type of stuff that I thought the playtest was trying to move away from. Trying to intuit and then remember what a condition does on top of all that sounds like a nightmare.

I can already see tracking these conditions and what they do becoming major pain points for newer players and even the experienced players at my table. Explaining which each one does over and over again and only take the highest one and do this to get rid of this one and this one gets worse if you do this. We're going to be explaining this 100 times every time someone has a condition.

If this is the replacement for ability drain and damage then I'm pretty disappointed. Dealing damage or drain to an ability and seeing the results of that damage naturally cascade down into the numbers through the core character system is so much easier to understand than this new condition system. I can see wanting to no longer track between panicked, shaken, stirred, etc -- but this doesn't feel like it's quite there yet.