My last thread got derailed and sucked into a hyperbolic crapshoot while I was at work and I got home to it being closed, let's not do that again.
In the aftermath of our efforts to get the devs talking we have a new blog with the goals of the game finally being communicated clearly to us, and they are as such:
Simpler to learn is correct. I do like how easy it is to teach the d20 engine to people, and I've been praising it since the blog era. The customization is a flat out falsehood however, narrow paths that branch out into predesignated feat chains bring the very worst aspects of what came before, instead of having a list of meaningful choices I can freely choose from at each of my levels. I do feel like I'm 'rewarded' for mastering the rules, but only after doing a long mathematical analysis to realize that builds that aren't built to be optimized and using d12 weapons simply fall short. Batman does not function in this system, I've tried.
Work to incorporate the innovations of the past decade into the core engine of the game, allowing the best rules elements and discoveries we've made to have an integrated home in the new system (even if they aren't present in the initial book).
Impossible. Complete failure to meet this goal. Goblins are good guys now? How would that go over with the first encounter in RotRL? Magic is neutered, meaning the same amount of encounters per day, and the narrative significance of spellcasting are completely different. This plays like Sword & Sorcery where PF1 was High Fantasy. You can't switch genres and still expect the same stories, that's a literary axiom.
It's only balanced if you're in an environment where every player is making the absolute most powerful build possible, any deviation from that and the 'balance' falls apart against the players. My starknife fighter/rogue multiclass couldn't do anywhere near as much damage as the stock paladin with a bastard sword, even though I built for Feinting to enable me to crit more often (which I did). Defining the roles is gaslighting for something, I'm sure. While balance matters to make sure you aren't killing trees unnecessarily when you release the final product, you gotta make sure that the actual playing of the game isn't tailored to one specific gaming philosophy, like power-gaming or [whatever name you want to use for its antithesis].
I don't feel welcome. I'm Hispanic, and I've dealt with silly nonsense my whole life, like getting called names, being accused of cheating in Spanish class in school, you name it, I've dealt. I'm familiar with the idea of racism and such. What I've learned is pushing people on these things often leads to you not being invited to game anymore, because either you ruined the experience for everyone by deciding your personal needs were more important than the game, or because they genuinely thought they hurt your feelings too much and don't think you like them enough to show up to the game anymore. The language has also been used as an open license for blatant racism/sexism/bigotry/hate speech targeting a specific group of people (whom I shall not refer to, but I definitely have gamed with and do game with regularly) that Paizo seems to not care about offending. I find the need for such language harmful, though I respect and laud the goal, I think there must be a better way to communicate it other than literally telling people they don't deserve to play the game in the rulebook. This shouldn't be political, it has nothing to do with politics, and giving people a licence to interject it derails conversations and ruins the experience.
Update 1.3 has been largely disappointing for me. It's becoming increasingly difficult to call for optimism in this play test when the issues that are presented in the game are not really seeming to be addressed yet.
Resonance I was willing to hold off on, because I understand that it requires a large overhaul of most of the game's engine given that it was an integral mechanic to the game's math and assumptions about character creation.
Proficiency was not exactly changed. Untrained being -4 is nice, because it means there is a larger range of values that can show up on the dice, but the DCs table doesn't seem to really match this. In fact, for some of the intermediary DCs, they're actually higher. This means more forced specialization to still have the coin flip scenario with the d20. This probably comes from the crit system with it seeming to indicate that the devs want you to always have a chance to both critically succeed and critically fail (and for some reason keeping the nat 1 and 20 rules don't suffice for this). Thus the game's engine requires you to have such values recorded on your sheet for the game to give you the experience that the devs want you to have. Bards for instance, must always have a chance for their performances which cost resources to not work. Doesn't matter how much you invest into it, etc.
This means the actionable tasks that players engage in are not getting changed, except in a few places where it becomes more difficult, not less. As you progress in levels, the tasks you are expected to get better at don't get easier, because their difficulty is set at a rate, not a flat number. Again, bards are the easiest example off the top of my head.
Then there's the healing issue. In place of amping up the roles for secondary healers, we get more skill usage for medicine, which more or less mandates it on all characters. The rate that it scales at is also fixed, rather than a fixed DC, or using the amount of damage healed as the DC or what have you. The solutions here are not intuitive and don't make the game easier to run.
Then there's the class feat paradigm where we see the ranger showcase exactly the design mentality that myself and others have been campaigning against here. I posted a whole thread with a mathematical analysis to show why Double Slice needed to stay in the game as it was and the other styles and game mechanics should be using it as the baseline for how to design feats. I praised it and was incredibly optimistic about that feat because compared to all the other combat oriented style feats it's the only one that made me feel like my character was better for taking it instead of worse. With the way that the ranger and rogue were redesigned it is clear now that paizo has no intentions of a baseline combat system and would rather each class be forced into a specific weapon niche and a specific style niche. Rogues can't ever sneak attack with a weapon that has damage dice over a d8? Well, those 4d6 you get by 20th level aren't going to make you better than a fighter using the stock mechanics and a d12 weapon, because math. And that's the best you're ever going to get. The lower damage dice weapons have been shown to really be completely false options and it doesn't help to make the game more restrictive than it already was. I cannot customize my character.
I had really high hopes for this system, since it included so many of my own house rules and incorporated the better aspects of the splat releases that dealt with running the game, exploration and downtime are great pillars to build the game around, despite most of the book being dedicated to the combat simulator. But those pillars are not enough to make me keep wanting to play a game that is designed to make sure I can't succeed. I keep getting increasingly dissapointed in my play test results at the table and I just re-ran part 1 with a different assortment of players and it was not fun for them. The flaws of the system which affect us are the very things that Paizo does not seem to want to budge on (save for Resonance) and I'm sick of telling my players "just wait two more weeks and maybe they'll do something about it," only to be met with disappointment. Before the 1.3 update, this thread would have been called "Marshmallow's Positivity Thread" and I planned to break down all the improvements I saw from each update and point out that all the changes were for the better of the game and to open up more options to the players while also making the baseline success rate of the system more accessible. Now I think I'm more interested in finding a different system to invest my time into learning. Hopefully there is still going to be a crowd for supporting PF1 to get advice and suggestions from, but I have my suspicions that those forums and community will die off once this edition gets rolling.
I'm really sad to say that I think I'm finally ready to throw in the towel on this edition, I'm just not the kind of player that Paizo wants money from. I want more freedom, and the ability to tell the stories I want with the kinds of characters that can succeed in those stories. Good luck to everyone that is still here, and to the posters who care enough to follow my input, thank you for making me feel like I'm not alone in my opinions about what makes the game great.
It would take skills to infuse a response with the target you're looking for without bleeding additional information beyond that
Mark's at it again guys. He posted a thread on Facebook about a much bigger update than multiclassing feats coming in the next rules update, and when I asked him for a hint the title here is his exact quote.
Extrapolate, theorize, and guess away, seems we're in need of a decent discussion thread as most conversations here seem to be running somewhat dry.
Please rampage responsibly and respectfully.
Tonight we play tested the final half of Pale Mountain's Shadow, and it was a real bummer for us.
Since the last game, we learned some sad things about the game, I learned how crappy longbows are compared to shortbows, monks who have no enemies to run up on have not much to gain from rolling extra attacks at the bottom MAP, barbarians don't have high enough attack rolls, and damage without magical d12 weapons is suicidal.
The elementals were absolutely brutal, killed off the barbarian who had the only magic weapon on the team. Our druid had no where near enough healing resources to help him, and the persistent fire damage killed him off. The immunity to crits made our druid (the main damage dealer) really upset.
I built a half-elf wizard/fighter dedication with the intent to buff myself, but I played too conservatively with my limited resources and spent most of the night just wiffing d20's (kinda hard not to when your chance to land a hit under the best conditions is 40%). Had I been a fighter that would have been 50%, and probably still not fun.
The mummy fight showed everything that this edition is really weak at in combat, attack rolls were too low, damage was abysmal, and enemy HP was way too high. It took 8 rounds to kill the 4 CR2 mummies, even though we were a man down, wasting 3 actions a turn to get the chance to do 9 damage total was really awful for me. The monk wasn't doing much better. We spent most of the night fishing for 20s.
Not having a cleric made the night even worse, and my wizard could not hit the elementals even in the best of conditions unless I was rolling absolutely amazing (and crits were mathematically impossible despite building for them). The tight math needs to get fixed, it's too constraining and limiting on what classes can succeed.
I just didn't have fun playing a game designed around making sure I couldn't succeed too much, and it dragged the night out and made combat last wayyyy too long. Stances and buffs taking up actions now cut into our time, stretching the night out even longer than it already would have taken.
Okay, instead of spamming every thread on the topic with the same point over and over, I'm just going to create a thread for this discussion:
Weapon feats need to die, and be consumed by weapon traits and proficiency. We already have some of this with traits like finesse and agile, but we should have more robust options to make the weapons stand out and to make the styles more accessible to the different classes without taxing the players' options.
Weapon Proficiency should do more than numerical adjustments to attack rolls. Critical Specializations should come online with proficiency. Weapon Techniques should come online as your proficiency improves. Classes should be able to improve their proficiency in the same vein that signature skills got removed to increase customization.
Let's start with the elephant in the room: melee styles
Currently, there are a large number of weapon traits that apply to the utility of the weapons, but they need to be expanded to include the style and identity of the weapons as well. In PF1 there ended up being around 3-4 melee styles that got used and fleshed out by characters, and in the Unchained RAE they each had different strengths and weaknesses.
Two-Handed- this was power attack, it traded accuracy for consistent damage. It also cut into your ability to confirm critical hits but was often considered worth it because it functioned consistently.
Finesse- these generally had lower damage dice, but allowed characters to bypass MAD by taxing them a feat. Eventually you got taxed up to 5 feats to completely use DEX in place of STR. Rarely were STR builds used for single weapon usage, the playtest for the swashbuckler in 2013 got us there.
Light weapons- these generally only got used with TWF builds. They cut into your accuracy less than Power Attack, but gave you multiple chances to roll the d20 which improved your odds of landing a hit, and it also improved your chances of threatening crits more often.
Sword/board- by giving up the ability to focus on TWF or Power Attack to its fullest, you gained vastly improved defenses as shields could scale up to be pretty significant factors in AC. Shield Brace+Nodachi broke the game tho, don't bring that back.
Now, looking at the different weapon categories, I think we could reasonably organize them into their sizes and strategies, and the 'feats' which accompany the styles that require them can be unlocked by attaining and further improving your proficiency with said weapons.
This incorporates a few of the fighter's feats (power attack, furious focus, brutal finish) into one scaling ability, and it would be accessible to anyone who has proficiency with the weapon signaling the weapon's tactical use.
This increases the number of attacks that can be made with agile weapons, which matters a lot considering the size of the damage dice is so much smaller than on other weapons those numbers need to be there for such weapons to remain mathematically relevant in the game at large. My play test of starknives confirmed this as I had to land a crit with sneak attack to even come close in damage to what a player using a d12 weapon was doing with a regular hit.
Obviously these are rough drafts, but the idea in principle would allow each and every weapon style to be facilitated by expanding on the weapons themselves instead of the classes. Classes who go up in proficiency would by virtue gain more tricks/techniques to use, and Weapon Proficiency as a feat would matter more because it would unlock these combat tactics that anyone could employ by demonstrating their proficiency with the weapon.
You also then wouldn't need to reprint all the combat styles and change them around for every single class, because the manner in which weapons are fought would be determined by the weapons, and the classes can focus on more unique, interesting options that aren't based in the combat simulator.
I've noticed it's weird making characters, because of the every 4 levels thing. I'm not sure it's better for the game to have so many separate pools of mechanics to combine and increase the cognitive load of the ancestry mechanics.
We've also talked about heritages and how they work, and it seems everyone should get a free one, which I hope opens the door to get new subraces included as expansions on base ancestries like drow, aquatic elves, bleachling gnomes, duergar, planetouched races (which could be universal heritage feats) and the like.
I think the heritages should be cleaned up, and exist as their own list of feats, separated and tagged from the ancestry feats. They also should have something of a power increase, so you get to pick which kind of dwarf/elf/whatever you are and it means something early. I'd love to see it also include the options for different stat arrays (WIS based aquatic elves, INT based Bleachling gnomes etc). Each ancestry should also have the opportunity to forgo the heritage feat and be able to take a second ancestry feat in its place (for ancestries like humans).
Then, I think Ancestry feats all should receive the [General] tag, and you should just get a general feat every odd level. This makes the process simpler, and expands the list and customization of the characters without really needing to change much. Ancestral Paragon can then be deleted. Perhaps include the option to grab a class feat instead?
Streamlining general feats and ancestry feats together seems like it could fix most of the issues that people seem to be having with them, and having the options to take a second one at first level also opens up character options early, so you can be an elf wizard who can mix and match weapons and still benefit from critical effects at first/third level, if desired. One could also play the standard human build that gets a feat and extra skills trained at first level, makign it feel more like updating the old PF1 into the new PF2.
From there, cleaning up the ancestry feats and including more general feats that have generic uses seems like the best play. I don't hate the feats that simply improve your regular features like resonance/bulk, but maybe Alertness should simply improve your Perception by one step? I like feats like these, but I do think you need more options to improve your proficiency with things like Weapon Proficiency or Alertness to improve your actual numbers.
Most of these could be quick fixes that don't require a lot of re-writing, and it would match the opening up of options that we got with the death of signature skills (a welcome addition).
Keep making strides in the right direction Paizo, this is good stuff.
Maybe it's just me, but I feel a lot of the class feat lists to be, restrictive. I'm no fan of the level gating, and I think it's there to make the game more complicated than it has to be. Plus, not all the feats are balanced at all levels creating some dead choices.
When trying to think of ways to fix this, I thought about the fact that a lot of the old combat feats are incorporated into the new weapon traits. Finesse, TWF, etc. When considering this, I came to the conclusion that each weapon trait oughta have more influence on combat more directly in the numbers, rather than mandating a feat. For instance, heavy weapons like the greatsword could include a trait called [Powerful] or some such jargon to have an effect similar to the titan mauler. Sluggish 1 in exchange for double/triple/quad STR modifier depending on the weapon quality. But what would that mean for feats?
I want the long incremental chains to die in a fire. I'd rather have a short list of powerful options that scaled based on level/proficiency. In PF1 most classes had large pools of abilities before 10th level and after. This granted a lot of freedom with the builds and should be looked at.
For ideas, consider taking the best of the base classes from before and simply consuming them into the core classes here:
Alchemist- Investigator, Occultist
Ideally, we could have a small number of feats that cover what abilities overlapped these classes, and a couple that made them all distinct, and make two lists of feats, one for low levels, and one for high levels.
We continued our dichotomy of paladin vs cleric to test how they did against things other than undead, and things went almost exactly as expected.
The cleric of course built for Channel Smite and Holy Castigation. Also went fighter dedication for some feats and armor.
The paladin went with a blade ally build for crit specializations, and focused on Feint when flanking wasn't an option with a single move.
The results were skewed a bit, since we had a bard in the party offering up Inspire Heroics for that +3 [omfg I've been saying this since my Power Attack thread] which enabled and facilitated actually having the ability to crit on a secondary attack. Combined with flat-footed, that was a +5 overall which made the difference in combat utility.
Where the paladin could crit, it mattered. The player however said he understood that he was having fun, but not because he was playing a paladin, only because of how the game's engine worked and only because he had a bard there for support.
The cleric player had way more options and Channel Smite worked like a charm and let him not only take giant chinks out of the enemy HP pools, but clearly stole the role away from the paladin who otherwise could not smite but one time.
That one time that the paladin's smite kicked in really mattered though, as one of the huge demons swung on the bard, and teh paladin was able to defend him with a crit from Retributive Strike which through the enfeebled condition actually downgraded a crit into a regular hit, preserving the bard and our ability to fight. But for the whole 'adventure' this ability triggered once, and the paladin otherwise really didn't have what felt like any unique options to enhance his role in combat.
Somewhere I have all the notes for healing/damage across the fights, I can dig them up if anyone cares.
For my birthday I managed to get together a group to playtest the 12th level adventure this week. I wanted to test a few ideas, and saw an opportunity to make a character who mirrored one of my favorite NPCs from one of my last campaigns.
Stiv Stalen, the GDBM:
CG human noble fighter (DEX)
The character's niche is that he's the best at intimidate, and can do so to instill the flat-footed condition to trigger both more crits because this is a fighter, and to get more sneak attack damage, which I believe doubles on a crit now. Deadly was also up to 2d6 on both weapons, and I could use them both with Returning.
I'm of the opinion that dice/HP need to scale back, because another thing we noticed was that turns all took a really long time because of how many dice we were rolling, and then we had to check for weaknesses and resistances and it didn't feel simpler or faster than the old system.
That said, I think all the dice need to scale up, so we have better averages on niche builds like mine to have a chance at having more fun.
I really liked the character, he was just terrible for this particular fight.
We continue to jump around the play test to get a feel for the game, and this time around we jumped into the 7th level adventure, which is a survival horror game where you get SWAMPED with undead.
For comparison, one of my players made a battle cleric, and I made a paladin. We wanted to see who performed better and why.
It was him, for the obvious reasons, if said reasons aren't so obvious, continue reading.
CN Human cleric of Gorum
For combat, my paladin focused on Feint (being high in CHA) and use a bastard sword (d12s) to get the best damage possible. However, I had no means to bypass DR on the vampire spawns. I felt like a generic character who was not very good at smiting undead. I did crit a lot, but when you're fighting a hoard of level 0-3 zombies that tends to happen. Most of the time my crits were overkill. It was not very satisfying to play, I wanted to conserve my resources so I only used 1 Weapon Surge and 1 Lay on Hands (meaning I still have my remaining for the boss that we haven't fought yet.)
The cleric on the other hand had a jolly old time. He had spells to buff himself, could cast anything he wanted with his weapons (I had to build specifically to be able to do this, as there is not a feat that just lets paladins use SP with a weapon, only specific powers), and he had channels that devastated the vampire spawns. He not only bypassed their resistances, but nova'd for massive damage that rivaled my crits on a regular hit. He also could add in his Destructive Smite thing for gorum's domain just to add insult to injury.
I did get Retributive Strike to trigger 4 times naturally (which means I owe HWalsh at least 4 neener neeners) so that made me happy, but I realized how bad the ability is because I only got one reaction per round and it hardly made a difference when it came to the hoard attacking us.
The entire party had sufficient healing, but considering we were supposed to be the big damage bringers, I didn't feel my class contributed anything to combat that I couldn't have gotten from any other class using a d12 weapon (because I didn't).
I can say now that swords are the one true weapon group, as the crit specialization effect 100% allowed me to crit on a secondary attack, not sure if this is a good or bad thing for the game at large.
At the end of the day, the paladin class is just really lacking, and seeing the cleric be able to smite better than the paladin and having more damage than the paladin, and having more to do than the paladin just felt wrong. Mostly because none of my class features really mattered, compared to everyone else at the table. Most of my character's contribution came from system competence and understanding the value of trading an action for +2 to hit, whether it be in using Feint or in moving into flanking position. Also I HATE how heavy armor works now, and I feel the speed reduction is too much at 10ft. I also find it odd that the paladin has no way to bypass it.
I am dissapoint.
I wanna talk about martial characters, I wanna talk about feats, I wanna talk about class features, and I wanna talk about how they currently relate to each other.
First, a detailed observation:
(medium BAB) Barbarian: this class is focused on having consistent, reliable damage, and isn't worried about relying on crits to land attacks with the d20 rolls. It hurts at later levels when AC scales bounded to the fighters and such, so it shines early on. The Titan Mauler stands out and needs to be seen for what it really is: the old Power Attack remastered. Sluggish means you'll always be taking a -1 to attacks, but it doubles your conditional bonus from rage, ergo you are trading attack/crit chance for consistent damage. Keep a note of this.
(Godly BAB) Fighter: this class is focused on having the most options in combat. Unfortunately not all those options are equal and they've decided a lot of feat chains for you. Dual-Handed Strike is obviously meant to be used in conjunction with Dueling Parry, but the game decides you have to have Dueling Parry first. That's before we get to the math issues with damage. Fighters are all about extra dice and crit chances. Single weapon builds go Power Attack and rely on extra dice combined with crit chance (the most optimal builds being based on Feint+crit with sword for flat-footed conditions). Double Slice means you roll twice as many dice if you have the 3rd level item Doubling rings (which showed up and proved their dominance in the game in my playtest). Fighters are all about that potential, by having slightly higher crit chance than everyone else and employing the most dice of anyone at the table.
(full BAB) Monk: there's a lot going on with this class, but it has the most potential if built correctly. It maximizes on movement speed and jumping all over the action economy. I don't think this class is meant to attack more than twice a turn, because of the way MAP applies to their attack boni. Forcing two attacks at the bottom seems harsh, and they seem to be designed with the assumption that you're gonna wanna spend an action every turn to do something else like activate a style. I wish monks had more to do with said actions other than wiff two d20s at the bottom. This is the class designed to throw around d20s looking for hits. Also getting expert handwraps doesn't improve your attack bonus until you get a potency rune putting them at a disadvantage over martials, and the need for bracers of armor makes them horrid defensively, which seems to imply that defensive styles like crane are wastes of time when the class needs to keep distance to stay alive because they don;t have reliable defenses anymore. Mobile combatants.
(full BAB) Paladins: there's at least two threads about this class's problems. It has less reliable class features that don't function as intended. Retributive Strike is at best situational, and Blade of Justice is a wasted action when you could Feint (good idea with a CHA based class) and it's better for you anyway. I have hope though, because I found the antipaladin in the Doomsday Dawn book, and their Vengeful Strike is pretty awesome. It triggers when you get attacked, making it an aggressive defense style. I wouldn't mind the paladin keeping it's build the way it is around retributive strike if these abiltiies were combined and could trigger when an enemy attacks you or an ally, as long as the enemy is in reach and the ally's position doesn't matter. That would create the defensive wall style builds that legitimately deters aggression by the enemy. It also makes me think of knights in epic sword duels, which I think is an effective image for the class (and it could apply to any aligned knight hehe).
(full BAB) Rangers: I have some trouble understanding this class tbh. Hunt target seems to want you to go all out on a single target and cut through them, one would think by having Double Slice bring your secondary attacks up to be able to land crits, dipping into the fighter's niche. Crossbows are... meh. Action Taxes ruin combat styles, so I doubt we will see a lot of crossbow builds. The snares I didn't even both to learn all of because they didn't seem useful with respect to the rest of the options, but a lot of the other options felt lacking too. The abilities it gets just don;t seem to work together very well. I also think it should get spell points like the paladin and get the cool ranger exclusive stuff, as well as maybe some healing. I'd like to see a druid/ranger version of Channel/Lay on Hands respectively. Healing seems to be very important this edition. I also think Hunt Target should get scrapped because it isn't serving its purpose with respect to the rest of the game's math.
(medium BAB) Rogue: I f@&*ing love the new rogue, but I think it needs more. Sneak attack being scaled down is a good thing, because it can double on a crit now. With the new dice system being paramount over all other modifiers, this seems to really favor the rogue. Honestly, I want to see them bring the swashbuckler and duelist niche into the rogue and give it better defensive abilities, Nimble Dodge just isn't very good. It's already the DEX class, so incorporating the dueling stuff on this seems natural and then it covers the need for a duelist later. It also already has the debilitating strike stuff baked in, meaning it has it's own special thing it does in martial debuffing. I want this to be full BAB, and for there to be enhancement to Feint. Trading an action to guarantee a single good sneak attack/precise strike seems like a really interesting and viable style and since the rogue seems to already play this way, why not incorporate it fully, don;t be tied down to old traditions.
So mechancially speaking the different styles of melee combat in this game are:
In PF1, these styles all existed more or less around your feat choices rather than class choice. There were builds that focused on crit fishing, power attack for consistent damage, two-weapon fighting for rolling a bunch of attacks to fish for hits, and spring attack for hit and run tactics.
I'm not 100% opposed to each class having their own niche in combat, but after seeing them in action, they definitely deserve more oomph in some places. Theorycrafting for another post.
EDIT: another thing that's really weird is the barbarian's sudden charge isn't as restrictive as the fighter's because it lacks the [open] trait.
I think [open] and [press] feats might work, but not in their current forms, and letting other classes use them better is spitting in the face of fighters.
So every background grants a skill feat, regardless of whether or not you're trained in said skill. So you end up with feats that might be illegal or otherwise break the general rule very blatantly as technically you get the feat before you get trained in any skills (unless you got it from ancestry).
Do I actually get trained in that skill as well? I feel like backgrounds giving out a free trained skill/signature skill not only solves the problem with signature skills not being customizable enough, but it also clarifies a missing mechanic as far as I can tell.
If someone knows better than me please speak up, I want to know how this works.
Richard Feynman was way smarter than me, by a lot. Now whether or not I can personally wrap my head around the concept that matter flows both forward and backward in time through a gauge symmetry that enables matter to experience a difference in time thus creating the concept of entropy is mostly irrelevant to our cause here, but I have a background in communications so I have to front-tease a later paragraph.
When going over the action system, there are a lot of little things that never used to impede game play which now enforce interactions which restrict your ability to play the game. The worst offenders of this are the abilities which now cost feat taxes to overcome where in previous and other editions of the game it does not. Step is now an equivalent action to Stride, despite the fact that attacks of opportunity are much more rare in this edition and often the step action is unnecessary. Changing your grip on a weapon now costs an action, thus anyone who wants to use a two-handed sword cannot anything but without spending 2 actions to un-grip and then re-grip the weapon per RAW. Of course, you can bypass this restriction on most classes by taking extra feats.
Now what does this have to do with Feynman? Feynman is most famous for his self-named diagrams which are used to map only the important interactions of particles at the Planck scale. In-between interactions in these diagrams however, a literal infinity of virtual interactions are possible, plausible, and in the cases where QED was discovered and established, also real. However, despite these small virtual interactions that are by definition immeasurable, the end results of what the actions and interactions between particles remains the same, with virtual interactions throwing the numbers off by a value that only differs from the mathematical expectations after ten decimal places.
I said he was smart right? The point is, most of the micro-managey tiny interactions that are forced to take place in between taking the actions you actually want to take on your turn are actually not very important to the game, especially since so many of them have ways around them written into the game. Why needlessly complicate an otherwise stellar action system?
Certainly, a keyword denoting whether or not something could provoke an attack of opportunity is important, and more efficient than using a large block of words such as: "this provokes an attack of opportunity," however the sheer multitude of actions which mandate this and force players to work around the extraordinarily complex system may cause more problems than it solves by simply removing the feat taxes to bypass them and letting the players and DM act within the system.
I can only postulate, but I imagine abilities like the paladin's lay on hands starting out as d4s is a result of realizing that adding in feats to simply overrule the paradigm of the restrictive action system wouldn't be strong enough options and thus I fear many class abilities have been deliberately weakened to allow this 'upgrading' of them via feats which then become nigh mandatory in order to use the abilities as intended.
Dual-Handed Slice is another perfect example of an incredibly weak feat that exists for the purpose of facilitating duelist builds. This is only necessary because the action system mandates you waste all those actions to change your grip and the style would otherwise be non-functional. The tricky part is, it's still non-functional, because of the math associated with the new critical system and the manner in which AC is designed (this promotes making two attacks for two actions is in almost all cases better than trading two actions for one attack).
Do you have any examples of the new action system clogging up your turns and limiting your ability to play the game?
For character creation, we really liked the new system, but when we started playing we saw its limitations.
For example, we had two characters plan on building into multiclass builds with the fighter multiclass. Within the scope of character creation, you can only ever boost your class's primary stat to 18, your next best stat will be 16. This forces the rest of your stats to trickle down. We didn't realize this when building to multiclass and I feel my stats were punished for it, as I wanted to build for archery and finesse weapons (being an elf for this purpose), but I was discouraged by the rules for multiclassing requiring that STR score. I think I'll rebuild it so it has 16s thrughout the build.
My suggestion for this is two-fold, 1) don't be afraid of 18's, the game has the ability score balance already built in, let players have an extra free stat boost from class to go into a secondary stat and 2) a voluntary flaw should be able to increase any other stat, but it should be done at the start of the process when you select your ancestry, and you cannot choose to double up on any boni or penalties. This method opens the door for players who want extra flexibility with multi classing, but doesn't force it on players who don't.
The other thing we noticed, is that the CR system is balanced around fully optimized characters. This means a fighter who only invested 16 into STR/DEX will not be engaging the crit system anywhere near as often as one who does, to the point where it'll become mathematically impossible to crit without specifically building for it. If AC is arbitrarily established to be based off the stats of the best mathematical builds players can create then I see the game catering to a specific audience. My group naturally plays like this, but knowing now that it is enforced by the rules of the game makes it feel more restricting. Rather than redoing all of the math, I think giving players a little more room to play with the mechanics instead works better. Give more tools for fine tuning things.
The rogue immediately decided he needed to attempt to invest more into Deception, but there really isn't much that helps your ability to feint. Feinting is really important in this version of the game, but he and I both agreed that if it becomes such an important tactic that everyone in combat will be doing it, then every class should have their own version of it. After all, it is essentially just trading an action to get a bonus to hit/damage. For the rogue this tactic is obvious, but it helps a lot of other classes too. I like how skill induced status and utility checks work in combat, being a single action to engage a skill or utility like Perception. Being able to crit with sneak attack makes it very good, and I appreciate it being cut down in scaling.
Channel energy was great, and it made the cleric feel like a complete class with access to all its intended functions, and those functions worked independently. The bard also did pretty well, though we all criticized his weapon choice as the whip really isn't that great, he wanted to see how not taking a penalty to nonlethal attacks worked, and how armor not mattering to block it helped it out. Aside from wishing he had just invested into DEX, he wasn't able to really do much with it that was special because critical specializations and the like are locked behind levels and feats. But I really like the direction the bard is in, and I appreciate the update giving bards another spell to use.
My wizard didn't have a lot going for him. I built an elf for the stat and weapon proficiency synergy, but realized it wouldn't be that great at any one thing. If I could do it again, I'd invest a 16 into STR/DEX/INT, but my other stats would still be terrible, being that my CON was only 10, and this was more or less mandated by the rules for multiclassing. I prepared Shield, Light, Detect Magic, and
Finally got through the first session of play testing tonight, things went somewhat as expected, but a few things threw us off and left us on tangents scouring the rulebooks for answers which really slowed the game down. We noticed some mathematical truths of the game rear their ugly heads, and I came really close to death. We got through A.7 before calling it a night. Solid 4 hour session.
For the purpose of the play test, given this was all our first time, we decided to play the game 'open hand' with a gentlemen's agreement on metagaming since we were all sort of playing the game neutrally and everyone had different jobs at the table (bribing players to do some of your work for you with Hero points is a really good mechanic) and it served it's intended purpose as it definitely sped up game play, having someone else track enemy HP. Naturally, I'd need to assign something else in a real game. We had 3 players and me, so with respect to the fact that I was letting them help with the rules on DMing, they were fine with me making a character myself to play. Our party consisted of:
Dave (goblin bard): doesn't like the bounded math, he realized that Weapon Familiarity was obviously the better feat choice for him to make only after getting through the second challenge, and made a complaint about the new crit system forcing you to play the most optimal builds just to engage it. Used a whip, 16 STR (planning to go into fighter dedication)
Jason (dwarf cleric): had a great time playing a very strong character with the best race/class combo in the play test. MVP of the night, out shined all of us in almost every way. I want every build to play as good as his cleric was doing, and that's mostly in the character's sturdiness, and more or less invulnerability to trip and knockdown. Channel Energy was really useful, and didn't eat away at the clerics spells so that was intended and played great.
Tony (halfling rogue): seeing the skills in action was great, and the rogue really shines in exploration mode, which I have some opinions about formatting in the future potentially. We discovered that rogue's offense is pretty good, and we love Feint being a single action. I want to see if there's more ways to improve feint and potentially build around it. Loved getting the bonus to hit and seeing crits land with sneak attack. As far as combat goes, the rogue shined. Could contend for MVP if it wasn't for the heals.
Me (elf wizard): I built with the plan of multiclassing in mind, and now that I've played it a little I wish I could have rebuilt the whole thing. I needed a 16 STR, even though I wanted to go with elven weapons and use my DEX, with it having good synergy with Hand of the Apprentice. I was building into an Eldritch Knight/Magus build and seeing if I could keep all my utility as a wizard. Spells were Mage Armor and Magic Weapon. Not a whole lot of other stuff going on, I barely used my spells and stuck with cantrips and school powers until we got to A.7, when I buffed and used Magic Weapon. It's performance was less than stellar, as on multiple crits I rolled many more 1s than any other numbers, doing a measly 6 damage on a crit with a +1 rapier with deadly. I wish multiclassing wasn't so harsh on the stats, and I think class should offer a free bonus as well.
A1. this ooze we felt was a terrible choice as the first enemy, since we felt it lasted too long because none of our crits went through. We also didn't know if this applied to crit fails on spells, so this fight lasted a while as we did minimal damage with our puny lvl 1 characters. Also the cleric almost died thanks to some unfortunately high dice rolls, but the cleric overcame and muscled through the rest of the night.
A2. the goblins taught us a lot about the new game. For starters, we got to use the new transition between exploration mode and encounter mode, and the rogue getting stealth for initiative is great. I like that it encourages players to invest in skills to be used outside of downtime or combat. The golbins taught us the hard truth about the new crit system: it's bad. He had the highest STR possible on a bard, and the same weapon proficiency as all other classes but the fighter. Including Inspire courage we discovered on a roll of a natural 18 that he needed a nat 20 in order to land a crit. His to hit was only one lower than the maximum allowed by the game for a single class and the potential to land crits was just not there. My first instincts tell me proficiency needs to scale a little higher and distribute better, knowing how bounded accuracy works, or otherwise more characters need an extra umph to hit. This is the fight we discovered Feint. Feint is an amazing in combat ability, and I see the value in spending an action to increase your chance to hit/crit. I want to see every class have some sort of utility option like this, and I want to see the rigue get feats that enhance feinting like treating a success as a crit success or improving the value of the flat-footed penalty by 1. The rogue scored the best hit of the night, landing a crit with sneak attack for 23 damage instantly killing a goblin. Dying rules got confusing, but didn't derail the night yet.
A.3: someone had the bright idea of launching a flaming arrow into the cavern before going down in there. When we saw the giant bugs swarming around and not coming out, we avoided the area.
A.4: the challenge here was minimal, and we destroyed the skill checks with good dice rolling.
A.5: someone made the check to identify the spores before we went in, we then decided not to go in.
A.6: the Quasits lasted the longest of all the fights this night. AC 15 meant crits were impossible for anyone on the team, and these guys made for a tough challenge. The dwarf couldn't be knocked down though, so I made a tactical error in choosing wolf form it seemed.
A.7: We made the check to bypass the alarm, so the rogue sneaked in and got to use Surprise Attack after we sent in our cleric to tank up the blows. This fight got difficult, but not impossible. My character ended up finally contributing with a crit, but I rolled so bad it wasn't that spectacular. I really felt the dice betraying me all night. This fight I went down to dying 3 at one point, and we could not figure out how dying worked, the cleric used stabalize on me, then the bard used soothe to get me back up, but apparently I still had dying 2? We could not find the rules on how any of this worked and it completely derailed the game. Also figuring out how to adjudicate Recovery Save DCs is the biggest pain. I also don;t know how to deal with enemies anymore, as I usually can leave them alone once they go down, and I'm unsure if that's still the goal here if they can make a save and get back up. Given it was low level I can appreciate hard bosses, but seeing that you essentially need amazing system mastery and a lot of smart tactics to make the game play right it doesn't feel like a bunch of heroes doing amazing things, but like we're using macros to use preprogrammed moves in a video game.
Messing around with multiclassing ideas, I came across an idea, how detrimental is it for me to build a paladin based on INT, eat the level, and go straight into wizard dedication? I'd switch my spell points over to INT, have more skills, and can take spell powers for extra utility/healing.
I could also get different tiers of spellcasting. Arcane list.
Coming from a few different threads we've been having a lot of discourse over the impact and utility of feats, and on how combat works overall in PF2. Generally, we've been looking at the various combat styles to see which ones offer the most versatility and usage at the table so when you're building characters you understand what the differences are and can plan you tactics/builds accordingly.
Most of these are choices in the fighter class, or duplicated from the fighter for comparison:
Double Slice [A\]
This trades out and straight up upgrades a secondary attack into a primary, it improves your odds of both hitting and landing crits with that attack making it very potent, it also adds the damage in together before applying weakness/resistance.
1) it has clear benefits to use over not using any feats at all
Let's look at some math:
[A] Strike -0 [A\] Double Slice -5/-5 (for one-handed plus agile) or -4/-4 (for double agile)
As a 'full round attack', nothing comes close to this kind of potential for martially oriented characters. That is essentially a +6 to your tertiary attack if you were using any other style, creating a scenario where you'll have the best attack bonus/crit chance in the game.
Algebra: h-c= % chance to hit (maximum= .9), c= % chance to crit (minimum =.05), ndx= multiples of dice, STR= STR modifier
[lvl 1 fighter] STR 18, +6 to hit, average enemy AC 13 (rough math because the book isn't organized for it) d6+4 damage, twice from agile weapons
(.5)(7.5) + (.15)(15) = 6 damage on a single hit; 12 on a double
Compare this to not using DS, but just attacking twice:
As you can imagine, increasing your chance to hit vastly improves your damage potential, and it improves your crit chance as well, proportionally inflating that value even more.
Now, let's look at a 'full attack'
No feat investment:
Double Slice first:
Thus, Double Slice will always improve your damage potential, generally as you progress and your secondary attacks gain a higher chance to crit you will see the value of using double slice second increase over time. This is doubly true for Rangers using Hunt Target and fighters using Agile Grace to further reduce secondary penalties on agile weapons. You get the free choice to use the feat as either primary or secondary attacks, and your tactics can change depending on movement and crit chance, which grants freedom and utility.
Power Attack [open] [A\]
This forces you to make a single primary attack, at the cost of not making a secondary attack. In exchange, your damage gets improved upon by a single die until 10th level, when you get two dice. It has the [open trait] meaning it can never be done as a secondary attack, and it forces any other attack you make to be a tertiary one.
[lvl 1 fighter] STR 18, +6 to hit, average enemy AC 13 (same math) d12+4 damage
full round with Power Attack:
Thus, Power Attack will almost always make you worse, by the numbers.
Are there more feats that improve damage beyond this for any class? These two are the one's mainly used for comparison to see what feats designs work in PF2 vs what feats do not. Double Slice not only produces better numbers in every scenario it is used in, but it includes multiple scenarios that it can be used for, where other abilities that tax your actions give you nothing back for this.
Compare the odds of improving crits at later levels with double slice, when damage increases and you'll find the feat never loses its value. As the game progresses and your ability to attain more critical hits also improves, feats like Power Attack, Dual-Handed Strike, Blade of Justice, and the like in order to retain value over the course of a character and actually be worth the action tax (which invariably removes the chances to hit with one or more attacks because duh) then there needs to be an increase to the attack roll on such abilities. Ideally you will improve the odds of landing a crit with primary attacks by an amount equal to the difference in how much Double Slice improves the odds to crit with secondaries. This usually works out to around 10-15%, meaning you'll want a +2 or +3 to be included on feats like Power Attack to really balance them out and make them worth more than taking secondary attacks. Let's spitball the math on Power Attack including a +2:
(.4)(17) + (.25)(34) = 15.3 damage potential
This ultimately gives it an edge over someone just not using Power Attack, since it cannot be combined with secondary attacks, you'll never see scenarios where it really changes a full round overall, other than simply adding much more value to Power Attack being used.
What does this mean for Double Slice? The feat in the title? It means that it functions as intended and improves upon the character taking it, and we should be looking at it not as something OP compared to the rest of the options, but rather as the bar by which the rest of the options need to be raised in order to make the rest of the math work better.
Please feel free to check my math, this one took a while to do the calcs and devise a formula. If anyone wants to help deal with using distribution curves in place of static averages I would be very much inclined to read up on it.
This is a serious question because this happened:
Vic Wertz wrote:
• Tell us about your actual game play. Theory is all well and good, but everybody’s got theories, and we’ve probably heard most of them already. Tell us how things are actually working in play, not how you think things will work.
And I'm seeing it used as an excuse to silence the concerns of some posters on here, even with legitimate concerns or questions.
For example, yesterday I had a session zero with one of my players who wanted to go over making characters for the play test. He really wanted to play a paladin, and he wanted his paladin to be the tank/damage dealer for the four-man group, which seemed fairly reasonable. Then we read the class and realized the options for it were terrible, took way too long to come online, and were ultimately worse than not investing into those options and just swinging a sword multiple times. He then decided to build a barbarian with fighter multiclassing to get Double Slice.
He did this independently of me, and now I will have no data on the paladin for the play test (which I really wanted).
So does this count as play test information? If after reading a class and trying to decide how to build a character he gave up on the class, is that not valuable information? This isn't about theory crafting different ideas for making the class better, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who's run into problems with this kind of thing. Is it really fair to say that these opinions don;t matter because we didn't want to play a class that can't fulfill the desires of the player(s)?
I mean, to be able to play a class you have to at least read it first, or at least the feats you want to take and potentially build towards since so many of them have prerequisites from earlier in the class. Are we playing the game wrong? Should we ignore our desire to read first before we play? I'm sorry, but I don't find this specific bit of advice helpful and I feel like I'm being told to just accept the play test the way it is because that's Paizo's decision and I feel alienated and disrespected, not by Vic, but by the vitriol of posters using this guideline as a means of flaming, spamming, or otherwise insulting other testers who have similar gateway issues to playing the game.
I'll most likely be doing a few threads over the next couple weeks to talk about the entire system as a whole, but as I skim through the pages to find something I want to discuss, all I keep finding is more and more reasons to be skeptical of this release. (Or excited to really get to work on solving some issues I see, optimism notwithstanding)
Here's where I'll throw in my desire for orcs to not only exist, but they round out the medium sized characters for stat distribution, since there is no medium race that gets a bonus to charisma.
Also, many of these feats are untenable as far as gameplay goes. Why does Furious Focus exist at all? The only time you can use it ever is when you plan on using all three of your actions to make strikes, thus reinforcing the old 'full round actions' without it just being a 3-act action. It's a false choice and its application is not obvious to someone who doesn't have any experience with this or similar action systems (like Unchained RAE).
Power Attack is also worse than our math threads pointed out. It gets one die increase and your secondary attack functions like it's your tertiary attack, making it statistically much worse than double slice.
In fact, most of these feats and abilities seem to be mutually exclusive and cannot be combined since they all seem to take their own action designations. This takes the old 'standard action attack action' verbiage and creates a whole game where individual feats seem to be designed like spells, but are not balanced like spells.
Also, why do feats that grant powers not include the text of those powers? Why does there need to be a whole entry for a feat that comes down to: "you can use this spell, go look this spell up"?
Overall, I find that the feats that exist across the board need to exist across the board and do not need to be reprinted and tagged with different classes in mind. Let [combat] feats be athing again, and make a list of them universal for characters instead of giving us the same feats 6 times over with different prerequisites and tags when they are literally word for word the same feat. This isn't just for combat feats either, there are abilities that do the same things as say, evasion, but have different names for different classes.
This is a mess to read and it just makes me angry and not excited to play or build characters.
Sadly, this only applies to martial characters for the most part, I do think [metamagic] feats should be listed once and be universal, but for the most part the abilities the casters get seem to line-up with what I would expect and actually want from PF2. I'm fine with the nerfs, but even with the nerfs they are still more powerful and more free than martial characters are and that sickens me because it defeats the purpose of even writing this new edition imo.
This should be plenty to discuss for now, feel free to correct anything with citations, I haven't read the whole pdf yet, just organizing my impressions as I sift through it.
Coming up on the demise of this playtest forum, I wanted one last thread to organize my thoughts, partially for myself to get prepped for teaching this to my players, and partially to bounce back ideas on how to perceive things when I start playing. My previous threads got a little heated, so right off the bat let's make sure everyone knows I'm not a fan of flame wars, and everyone is allowed to have any opinion they want. We're even allowed to disagree, but we have to do so with civility and hopefully with substantial dialogue:
Blue stuff is good
d20 Engine: I love this, as a forum search will tell you. The new class system relies on a proficiency scale of 4 different ranks to determine any single d20 roll, and all d20 rolls follow the same basic rules making the overall engine of the game and interacting with the game much more parallel and certainly simpler to teach rather than explaining BAB, saving progression, skill ranks plus or minus class skill bonus, etc. I like how skills work, and I like that you can attempt anything, unless it's barred by a specific rule or option that you must invest into.
Everything is modular, and based on feats: Some of this is really good, some of it is really meh. None of it is bad, though. I'm not opposed to the idea of changing what the names of the different pools are, class features being called 'talents,' skills being called 'tricks,' and ancestral stuff having its own name, etc. That is of course, only if you can't intermix the feats with your general feats, which I hope for very much. I do see problems with nomenclature, but the system itself (everything from classes having different options to skills having different unlocks) I'm fine with pretty much as is. Some of the individual options I may not like, but the chassis of the game's design itself for characters seems pretty solid.
Different modes of play: I already played the game this way in PF1, and having the architecture of the game already catered to managing time in this way means less work for both players and DMs. The way to transition between them and removing initiative from the game in favor of using more skills means players will more than likely all have different skills to specialize and and focus on out of combat, meaning everyone will have incentive to play with out of combat in mind when making characters, something that I personally saw as a problem in PF1. This is good.
Action System: My tone has changed a lot on this. I'll get more specific when I talk about in combat C/M D, but in general (coming from a place where I was really comfortable in promoting the Unchained Action Economy and using it exclusively since its release) I see the dev team really trying hard to create a very structured cookie cutter game. I do not like how micro-managey the action designations are and how there seems to be more and more rules being written into them in order to differentiate different actions in ways that I'm not sure will even come up as something that matters in game. I also don't like how much of the action system's main selling point, freedom and agency, is being taxed away seemingly by fear of the developers letting players do too much in one turn which I predict will end up with characters able to do less in this edition of the game than in the last one. The only real difference is the illusion of choice that comes from being able to select which order you take your actions in, which is something Pathfinder fixed over 3.5 anyway iirc (I may not). I was excited about this, but now I am not.
Class Design: I don't hate resonance, but I'm not a fan either. I think I need to play it out before I see if it makes some classes unashamedly stronger than others, and if the way magic items work now will even matter. UMD monkey may be a role parties assign to the same guy doing party face stuff which means these characters will be very potent when it comes to screen time at the table. I think the chassis for the classes looks really good, but individually I see a lot of intentionally weak choices that discourage me from wanting to play with some of these classes, such as feats and abilities which more or less mandate stupid tactics for combat in order to trigger. Seems there will be some options that will obviously outshine others, to the point where I'm not sure the entire playtest book will even get tested or tried out. I hate the new paladin. Hate it. HATE. The iconic ability and role of the paladin has been changed and shifted from being the blessed holy warrior who doesn't afraid of anything and smites evil tf to death no longer exists, and instead the class is being designed around what seems to be a very tactically poor aggro mechanic. Also alignment stuff. Every other class seems to either retain what I liked about them in PF1, or expanded and improved upon what eventually became the more definitive ways to view and play the classes by the end of PF2. Fighters getting Flexibility, Rogues getting DEX to damage, barbarians automatically rage-cycling, wizards essentially getting arcanist exploits, and monks being able to do DBZ ki blasts all make me very happy. I don't think trapper rangers as a default will yield good results for it, but it may be a class that shines in exploration mode more than in combat so I'll reserve judgement.
Martial combat: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Combat has changed a lot, and I don't think for the better of the enjoyment of the players or the DMs. Most of your combat actions are going to cost you two actions. This is done as a balancing act against each other, but inherently it infringes upon the entire reason the new action economy was invented in the first place, i.e. to enable player agency and grant more freedom. Granted you still have that freedom, but not if you want to use the feats you took to make your character better at doing what you want from it. Most of your turns will revolve around a single action (probably to move or use another class ability) and a single attack. Or, in the case of Double Slice, two attacks that are supposed to have exactly half the value of a single attack. Want to use a shield? You have to use an action every single turn in order for your shield to count. But why is this? It so happens that the new engine for d20 rolls influence the game design so much that weapon damage is now almost entirely variable based. This means either fistfuls of dice, or for the frugal players, you'll be rolling the same damage dice over and over again anywhere from 2-18 times for one single attack. Math ensues and the distribution of damage potential still hasn't been explained in how the new enemy and CR system works. We know you expect to land critical hits a lot more often, because martial characters are designed around the concept of their higher proficiency bonuses bumping their primary attacks into that critical range. (For the mathematically astute, this means that your secondary attacks at -5 are just as likely to hit, but much less likely to crit). Simple math tells you that something like, Power Attack, becomes null once your ability to land extra hits gets far above how much extra damage you can expect to get from its benefits by simply swinging your sword twice, as if using it you can expect double damage from a single hit, without it you can roughly count on double and a half damage. This is a mathematical flaw in the system, and Power Attack is not alone in how these calculations work, but it was the first and probably the most important example. Martial Combat is in a bad place.
Spellcaster combat: On the other side of the fence, we have spellcasters having their mandatory two-action single cast per turn spellcasting reduced to be defined by the spell itself, and opened up to the casters whims as far as actions go. Have 3 single action spells or cantrips that you want to use? Go nuts. We even upgraded every cantrip so it scales with your level and never becomes redundant or useless so you'll never not have a spell to cast. In fairness, the number of spells has been reduced, and the mechanics around spellcasting have been streamlined, in good ways. It's hard to say I approve of this given the previous paragraph, but I really think spellcasting is going in a very good direction. The sheer number of variables is being reduced by limited spell slots, but those individual spells versatility is being improved upon which leads to less analysis paralysis and less dead air at the table waiting for the spellcasters to prepare spells for the day. I want and advocate a Universal Spellcasting mechanic to convert all spellcasters to the neovancian style of casting we got from the arcanist in PF1, but compared to the mess that martial combat has going on that's a relatively minor complaint imo. Anyone can cast in armor, you just gotta be able to wear the armor with your proficiency. Spellcasters are in a good place.
Equipment: Overall, I like how everything here is working. Weapons have applicable tactical uses that trigger for martial characters based on the new design for critical hits to happen often, which means you may end up with characters using all sorts of different weapons instead of longbows and nodachis all the time. You also can move your potency runes around, meaning you don't have to nix your magic weapons if you aren't built for them. Armor has consumed half of the big six, and I'm 100% fine with it. Magic items and resonance looks like it might not be as bad as we thought initially, we just have to see how they balance out on real characters at the table.
Archetypes: These are exactly what they need to be for this edition of the game. With the new d20 engine no longer tied to a table of mechanical progressions, you'll find it hard to understand how one could even attempt to invoke traditional multiclassing/prestige classing into the game. Archetypes are built on a foundation that enables players to elect with their now very malleable character builds a number of options to mix and match concepts, and given that proficiency replaces old class based mechanics like BAB and saving throw progressions, all the dedication feats really need to do is apply or improve certain proficiency stats to effectively gain the same results as multiclassing. If this includes HP and skills then I see no real reason anyone has to complain about multiclassing as a concept for this edition. I can see the sides that want to reduce or tamper with the restrictions on multiple dedications, but that's a pedantic issue that I guarantee will get hammered out in testing.
Did I miss anything big that needs to be discussed? I'd like to know how DMing works more than just a light preview that tells me what all the sections are that DMing covers, but gives me some crunch to understand the ideas of the game's design better. I really want to know how this new CR system works and how enemy encounters are designed.
We've seen the basics for all the spellcasting classes (druid's preview notwithstanding), and there's some strife over some of the rules.
The gist is that spontaneous spellcasters will have a list of known spells, but can only heighten any two spells known per day, but does so freely; and prepared casters can prepare any number of heightened spells, but are limited by what they prepared for the day.
The strife comes from both threads with respect to how the new inclusion of Heighten spell on all spellcasters now messes with the game. Are spells of the same name considered the same spell? Do spells of the same name but differing levels need to be recorded in both forms as part of resource management on behalf of the players? If so then this isn't heightening the spell, it is merely making it simpler to print, read, and memorize the spell list (not bad, but not what you're selling it as). It is unknown if a wizard will have to pay extra gold or waste extra space in his spellbook to have spells of different levels but the same name, or if sorcerers have to waste two spells known slots. (Perhaps you know?)
A potential solution to these issues is taken back to the wizard blog, where there was a rally for a change in the vancian mechanics, exactly like what Paizo published in the arcanist. Take this idea, and apply it to all spellcasters, so their daily potentials are equal, and you only have to learn one set of rules. Remove the need to question how heightening works, and allow all spellcasters to freely heighten from their repertoire of known/prepared spells. With only up to 3 spells/slot level/day, the limitation in resources reduces overall power in the game. In fact, for most of the game it'll also reduce Analysis Paralysis. There simply aren't enough resources there to have such turmoil over.
A Universal Spellcasting mechanic ought to solve most of the issues brought up and is something I think is worth considering during the playtest.
I'm attempting to get into my account to change some things around, and the system is telling me that my account is not linked to my e-mail address. I tried using an old one from a few years ago and I'm getting the same problem.
But I am still logged in thanks to Chrome and I can still post. I am confused....
Continuing from my previous "my thoughts" thread, I have taken some time to decompress all the new stuff I've seen and organize some new thoughts on where it is we are going.
RE: new d20 engine
RE: class design
RE: Action System and combat
I hope you like reading! Let's keep this one civil and look at things objectively with what's best for the game in mind.
From what Jason says in the interview you can find through linkception, it seems archetypes themselves have found a new space within the design of the game to function outside of the paradigm of creating packages that otherwise replaced 3.5's Alternate Class features, or Substitution levels. Over the course of PF1, when comparing archetypes to the editions before it it was often found that archetypes did for PF1 what Prestige Classes did for us in 3.5, and Prestige Classes found their way into a different niche.
From this design we got Hybrid Classes and PF1 Class Archetypes to ultimately replace one niche of the Prestige Classes that were meant to be amalgamations of two concepts (e.g. Eldritch Knight became the Magus, Duelist became the Swashbuckler) and Prestige Classes gained status as being something unique that took you in a different direction with different packages that were no longer meant to coalesce two classes into a singular idea that took multiple levels of multiclassing to achieve, sometimes making a character unplayable for a few levels until they reached 'maturity'. From this we got things like the Hellknight, and the Evangelist.
Now in PF2, it seems that archetypes are now a composite of these concepts, as packages you can take to expand your repertoire of feat selection and possibly more to attain some concept attributed to the archetype that otherwise isn't worthy of a full class write-up, or that could feasibly be applied to multiple classes, as you can find with the many PF1 archetypes that seek to merge two classes in ways beyond simply letting you have access to those features.
Given this information, we may see multiclassing go by the wayside and as many of the other mechanics of the game seem to be much more refined versions of the alternate rules in Pathfinder Unchained, multiclassing itself may be a single archetype that simply opens the door for one to access multiple chains of class feats to really hybridize the character you want, while keeping the design space open enough to also incorporate archetype packages that may add different abilities from a concept beyond combining class niches.
As to multiclassing itself, the devs have told us they want you to only have to learn how to make a character once, which means every character will more than likely advance off one table. We also know from the All About Spells blog that Mark has spoiled a particular mechanic in how the new "Spell Points" function with multiclassing in that they use the same base number and advance it in the same way that PF1 classes would stack levels for certain class features (the specific example being a ninja sharing its ki pool with the monk, but the player selects which attribute applies). We also know that the new 10th level spells must be accessed via a class feat, and that inspires me to speculate that in a similar fashion to how we saw the vigilante playtest play with the idea of using your scaling class options to attain newer levels of spells, we may see a similar mechanic in PF2 with full spellcasting, but not limited to the entirety of your classes functionality.
With this information, we may see classes like the Swashbuckler/Duelist, the Eldritch Knight/Magus, and many other newer classes come to existence in the new core book by virtue of having the potential to make them yourself. I imagine the depth and complexity of this system will inspire many of the free user guides to create their own skeletons on how to achieve such concepts and limit the need for new classes to those who function in completely different, and exciting ways that are not covered by this.
I joined this forum sometime late in 2012 when I first transitioned over to Pathfinder from 3.5. I loved the 3.5 system and Pathfinder allowed us to play with a similar set of rules, with updates that mostly reflected what our house rules were already. It was an amazing and enlightening experience.
Since then, you guys know I have toyed with optional subsystems, and buried myself deep into the rabbit hole of optimization to better my understanding of the game and hopefully to improve the experience of the game for myself and (I pray) you guys.
Now I have been coming into the PF2 Playtest with an open mind that once again, I can see improvements to the rules of the game I love, mostly with updates that may or may not reflect my own house rules.
Feel free to enjoy the linkception I have laid out here, but if you do not wish to I shall reiterate my findings with the action system as I have been using what will become PF2's action system literally since Unchained came out:
Now, given the fighter blog and the information I seem to have discovered that I am not liking the direction the game is going compared to what I was expecting given my excitement with the new action system. I have completely 180'd on my excitement because the one thing I wanted from the new edition (striking a gameplay balance for martial characters) seems to be not the focus of the game but rather to force more and more reliance on the variety of dice rolls.
This mostly stems from how Power Attack is now functionally parallel to how Vital Strike used to work in 2014 under the Unchained System, which after four years of practice we have written out of the game entirely. Where martial characters were once being given the promise of being able to do their jobs more reliably, they have had their reliability taken away in what they can expect to put out every turn. Even +X to weapons now according to what I read tells me I am going to roll more dice which means less reliability. It's fun to roll dice, sure, but it's not fun when it means my fighter is no longer good at fighting. Now we rely on the dice gods giving us fortune rather than our wit and reading comprehension rewarding us for understanding and learning the game.
This does not feel like Pathfinder.
Given the recent trend in PF1 books (specifically the hardcovers like Adventurer's Guide, Ultimate Wilderness and the upcoming Planar Adventures) there has been already an integration of the setting into the core RPG line of products.
Is this a message from the dev team that the rules surrounding the game are going to be coming in a more streamlined and easier to deal with FAQ, errata, and clarification infrastructure that will allow faster and easier rulings on any material? For instance, in the future if there is a release in a line of products that is not considered core line, would that product still be held to the same rules scrutiny that something designed by a dev would, and would we be able to get the rulings on it as quickly and easily as we would for core line products?
Additionally, specifically with Adventurer's Guide and with other issues, will there be nomenclature included in the releases that is more setting-neutral friendly or otherwise have names that are divorced from product identity available for those of us who either use third party websites to get information on books we have yet to own or for settings at home that are not golarion?
Is that a conversation we can have, or is it too early?
I'm currently working on re-vamping my homebrewed setting, in hopes of getting it into a publishable form, and I'm currently having trouble/writer's block with a couple things:
Books referenced: GMG, UCamp
Problem 1: Governmental structure.
I very much plan on my setting being open to players and DMs taking the pieces apart and doing their own thing with it, but to do that I'll need to figure out what those parts are. I have years worth of games done in this setting, with plenty of history and notes on how certain places work, but I'll need something more codified, like an atlas or gazetteer. To do this, I'm looking to break down the basic structure of laws and noble hierarchies in my setting's kingdoms and nations.
To start, I'll need a rundown of the different kinds of governments I want, and that are supported in the rules. The Gamemastery guide has some stuff on this: Autocracy (one ruler i.e. kingdoms), Council (committee of rulers i.e. a republic), Magical (i.e. this place), Overlord (i.e. The Empire), Secret Syndicate (i.e. conspiracy theories), and some other 3rd party ones that I'm pretty sure are not legally shareable if I ever plan to make money.
But for each of my nations, I'll want a breakdown of how different types of these systems work and how complex of a political system can I get away with, given minimal effort beyond basic structure and some NPCs. Ultimate Campaign seems to only have rules for kingdoms, i.e. kingdom building. Even then, it seems to run much more like a democracy than a kingdom, but then again what do I know? Not much, I've been doing a lot of reading, for which I am always open to suggestions.
For example, my first major city ever written, Highfair, has gone through a lot of writing revisions over the years. It serves as the hub of my original run-of-the-mill kitchen sink setting. For the games I've run in this city, there's always a king, and an heir. Given how big the city(s) is; it has since grown to be several connected metropoli, separated only by their stat blocks to differentiate businesses and districts; but I've never gotten too much farther than that. The nation is a LG one, often with a family tradition of nobles becoming paladins before ascending to the throne. The deities are home brewed, but a Trinity of deities are widely worshiped throughout the entire city/kingdom, and as such all three should probably have some sort of representation within the governmental body. It's also a very famous city for the educational district, with the world's largest arcane school wizard academy, as well as universities, bardic colleges, the works. (It's designed in such a way that any player could seek retraining in this city virtually with any class and find it, fulfilling that need of players.)
Would I just go about filling out the roster for the kingdom building rules with NPCs? Do I create my own sorta rules for this place?
I have two other kingdoms set to be complements to it, one more themed around nature, being farmlands, fields, and forests; and the other being set in the northern mountains, north of which is a winter wasteland that I have yet to flesh out. Would their governments function in the same way?[/url]
Problem 2: NPCs[spoiler] For the narrative of the gm, this part is easy. NPCs are usually at levels appropriate for the PCs to encounter them. But in an open setting like I'm writing, I'll need more structure. For instance, I can determine from a city's stats what the highest level spellcasting available is. This means I know the approximate level(s) of the strongest spellcaster in town. Does that caster set the standard for the other strong NPCs in the game? How about just in that city? Large cities and metropoli get up to 8th level I believe, which means there's at least one 15-16th level casting walking around, and available for hire. How would one determine going about doing these NPCs? I'm also planning on doing crafters who 'optimize' their nonmagical crafting, what level(s) should I make those guys and does that have any effect on how to measure spellcasting services? I.E. does that basically tell me what level the blacksmith(s) should be?
I have no issues with building the NPCs themselves, I'm just trying to figure out what to build.
Problem 3: Variety
Every nation has to be different, and I'm attempting to have each one done in different ways with respect to race. Without doing too many spoilers or boring details, each of these main core races: human, elf, dwarf, orc; will have their own nations. Humans are a little more widespread and are dominant on the planet. For the sake of simplicity, several of my cities are 'melting pots' which could invariably contain any kind of person from anywhere or with any heritage, this covers the bases for PCs with out of the world ideas. I have learned to leave things open ended, with just enough details to ensure identity. I want to find ways to include each different type of governmental structure, fleshed out with NPCs to represent the important bits of the mechanics of GMing.
To make each place feel different, I'm dividing the classes up into different blocks and having them all predominate one of the nations. By comparing two nations you can kinda get a basic idea of what kinds of adventurers would come from there.
Fohamar -NG Kingdom
Druven -LN Kingdom
From there, you can sort of see how I'm trying to give each location a certain identity without having to write a bunch of styles or feats or crazy lore that no one will remember. Of course this is by no means a hard rule on what classes are there or even what can be from there, but is more of a generalization to get a feel for what the NPCs would be like and play like to run as like, an army.
Don't get me started on gods just yet, I have my own pantheon, but I am most likely going to be revising it as well.
So the fighter guide is out there, and in reviewing it for further updates I really have issue with the way some rules interact.
The feat Stalwart specifies that the DR gained from it stacks with class features, and specifically calls out the barbarian's damage reduction. This line implies that the alternate class feature Armored Juggernaut would also be eligible since it is a class feature.
The Armored Juggernaut feature specifies that it stacks with the armor's DR, such as from adamantine.
I've been resident God for my group for the last 3 years, and I finally am getting a break, and thus I get to play my own character.
We're currently lvl 5, and I'm running a human Eldritch Archer as of right now.
[traits] Magical Lineage (Snowball); Metamagic Master (also Snowball); Trap Finder; Student of Philosophy, 2 phobias per DM house rules. (horror campaign)
[lvl 1] PBS; Precise Shot
[lvl 3] Rime Spell
[lvl 5] Heighten Spell, Preferred Spell (Snowball)
I'm tring to figure out exactly what the best way to progress is. I currently have an Opalecent White Pyramid in a Wayfinder, so technically I currently also have the Weapon Focus feat, and I'll be able to enhance my weapon on my own via the rules for Arcane Bond, the first things I'm spending money on are Seeking and Adaptive.
For feats, I'll most likely go the standard route of specializing in Snowball, and never preparing it; instead preparing more utility spells and other useful combat spells. I am uncertain as to whether it is worth it to Prestige out, and to take Favored Prestige Class and Prestigious Spellcaster. I was looking at a 2 level dip in Arcane Archer, to get full BAB, a couple class skills, and Imbue Arrows (to skip the Magus Arcana for them) then filling out the rest with Eldritch Knight 8 for full BAB and fighter progression to 13.
Feats that are on my short list of things to get: Elemental Spell (works great thanks to my traits) and Intensified Spell (because duh), Arcane Strike, Clustered Shots, and possibly Point Blank Master. Rapid Shot may be overkill. I am using Arcane Accuracy currently, and since I'm the primary arcane caster (we also have a bard who may not last long) I am going to be using Spell Blending to nab some utility spells. We are planning on taking the campaign to level 20, so eventually Quicken Spell and Spell Perfection are going to be on that list. Depending on how nice my DM is, I may get to avoid using the errata on Snowball so Spell Penetration may not be necessary, tbd. Having the ability to nab the fighter feats for better hit/damage may be worth it, especially considering I don't really care about the magus arcana (especially if I take the AA dip) but I do care about hitting and damage given the climate of the game.
I have not confirmed whether or not I can even do this yet, but if my previous role as DM has set any precedent for the group then certain 3.x items are also available, meaning it may or may not be possible to craft my own Elvencraft Bow (Races of the Wild) which would mean I don;t have to look into thinks like Empty Quiver Style. If my cheese smells right, I can also enhance the weapon on three separate axis (my grammar protocol is exploding right now) which may open up the Training Property three separate times to grab some of the less important feats on this list that I can use anytime like Arcane Strike, or feats at the end of a chain like Point-Blank Master. I'm assuming this will not be the case, but I am going to try. I need revenge for his duettist bard destroying my campaign a couple years ago.
I'm just not sure if it's worth losing the one level of spellcasting to get those class skills and skip 2 magus arcana that I otherwise would not miss. I would most likely prestige out at 8 for 2 levels, then go back into Eldritch Archer for 2 levels to get fighter training, then finish out as Eldritch Knight with Prestiguous Spellcaster for the one level of spellcasting. I also really wanna keep that favored class bonus, and since Arcane Archer gives 4+ skills per level, I would not miss those skill points there.
There's also lots and lots of book keeping, including many different golfbags of arrows with various damage types and utility, as well as a plethora of different useful utility items. I'm the group treasurer and Batman.
I ordered a couple things for the big sale you had, but this package never arrived at my house nor did I find a notice in my mailbox.
I also couldn't find the package with the tracking number to see if it's stuck at a post office somewhere near me, I think the issue is that I don't have access to the email account that this profile is linked to anymore, is it possible to change that and track down where my package went?
I've been looking to upgrade some enemies for my current campaign, and in doing so I'm looking through Psionics Augmented- Mythic Psionics and I've noticed something that doesn't make sense to me.
The description for Mythic Battle Transformation (Galen's) enables the manifester to still manifest powers and grants temporary HP equal to the manifester level BUT, the power itself doesn't include this language and already grants those temp HP meaning the mythic version of this power does nothing?
I've double checked both online resources and my own physical copy of Ultimate Psionics to double check and the problem exists for both.
Recent play throughs of the system, coupled with years of fiddling and playtesting at all levels, have revealed some astonishing and interesting results with respect to the original goals of the system, some that genuinely improve and diversify the Pathfinder experience:
1) Caster/Martial Disparity in practice is defined by the action system.
This is not that big of a surprise to most of us. Generally martial characters (characters predominately spending their actions making attack rolls) are weaker than casters in practice, this boils down to the number of attacks one is capable of rolling, married to their reliance on the existence of the Full-Attack action. With this system martial characters have many more options, capable of genuinely fulfilling their mechanically baked in roles. This shines through especially on characters whose abilities or desired routine requires the expenditure of move actions, such as rogues wanting an extra action to feint, or characters that rely on two-weapon fighting who are rendered nigh inert when faced with tactical positioning. In effect, the very contrived limitations of the action system are removed all but entirely on martial characters allowing them to feel more balanced with respect to what a player feels they can accomplish in one turn compared to what a player piloting a spellcaster could equally accomplish.
On the flip side of things, spellcasters are weakened by the system, with their ability to move and cast twice in a round has been cut down to a choice of casting twice while stationary or to maintain tactical defense in constantly moving to avoid conflict. Thanks to this, casters feel slower to play, and thus weaker with respect to their previous standing against martial characters. Casters in this system genuinely are less potent than previously without having to change any of the class abilities or spells (aside from converting their time frames into the new system). Not all is bad however, as this system also facilitates more diverse character builds that can take advantage of the system. We have seen a lot more 'gish' characters who can manage the system to make spells which otherwise resolve as a standard action and prevent their own purpose in enhancing an attack, such as the spell True Strike, and many of the cleric Domain Powers which also resolve as a standard action. This also forces concentration to become a much more important aspect of the game; it forces spellcasting into a situation where much like martial characters making attack rolls, they must make a level based d20 roll to determine their ability to even resolve their desired action. This draws more mechanical parallelism between the casters and martials and while in practice the potency and narrative power of spells have not changed, but the manner in which they can be employed becomes less reliable which results in the game feeling more balanced.
2) Counterspell wars make the game better.
This one comes from a desire to test, rather than a tried and true problem with casters. Normally, martial characters reliance on attack rolls results in their effectiveness becoming less and less reliable in comparison as they progress through their levels. The chance for failure to accomplish something in a round feels like a great weakness not shared by casters. By incorporating the rules for Dueling Counters into the base system, spellcasters are threatened in their potential. (I personally gate the Dueling Counter Modifiers presented in Dueling Counters behind the Improved Counterspell feat, which also creates something of a balancing tax on spellcasters). Not only are the party casters threatened by their ability to boast one of their 'big gun spells' but enemies are also capable of bringing more 'big gun spells' of their own without fear of TPK results. It forces more dice rolling on part of the casters with a chance to fail, which results in a game that feels even more balanced.
3) Iterative Attacks suck!
After testing multiple variations of it, the current mode of Primary/Secondary attacks in the variant system has resulted in very pleasing results. With abilities like Haste, Flurry of Blows, Speed weapons, and the like all granting an extra primary attack (which all function with the same modifiers, rather than having to differentiate between the first attack in a round vs other attacks rolled at full BAB) the rules seem simpler to follow. Having all secondary attacks function at -5 gives martial characters a very small margin of raised reliability on their dice rolls, rather than less as in the original system. Flow of play is much faster, and martial characters have less attack modifiers to track on their sheets.
4) The Act system makes managing time spent dungeon crawling much easier to gauge and track.
This is a new one that is coming up in testing, but being able to track how much movement can happen, or how long a particular action can take, in the same terms as they are in combat results in streamlined timeline keeping that cannot be ignored. For future games, I am converting tasks in my dungeon to a correlating number of acts to be spent which helps track the duration of spells, and the amount of time available in the adventuring day before the book mandates forced marches. It also makes the time resource easier to track on the players, and this makes dungeon crawls engaging like combat. This makes skill monkeys feel more useful.
5) It's not perfect.
There are plenty of new problems that arise from converting the action systems. Problems with combat maneuvers, reactions that happen before your turn ends, and new problems like 'chaining counterspells' have all come up in game. Part of the reason these threads exist is to hopefully reach out to more players who want a different feeling game without having to relearn the classes and feats, which means more play test data and constructive suggestions are needed.
I'm a big DSP fan, and I own a few of their softcovers (Psionics Unleashed, Expanded) but I decided that I really liked the production quality and hard cover for Ultimate Psionics so much more that my group rarely uses the softcovers anymore.
I've been wanting to bring PoW into my games, but I'm not sure what all products are even totally out and I think I would want to wait until there is another hardcover release like Ultimate Psionics. Is there anything like that in the cards for Path of War?
I'm doing some campaign stuff, and in writing my current dungeon I needed a reason for this place to exist in the way that it does.
[exposition]There's a special ancient underwater forge used to make this amazing unobtanium that's supposed to be a superconductor of magic, tied to some ancient history of the game setting. This forge is located at a special place (Ley Lines Crossing/Place of Power) and is serving as the dungeon for the
Since I have the story pretty much done, I need something to do with this metal and I can't seem to find anything on the internets that already exists and isn't dumb. There's some 3PP stuff that I didn't like (Orichalcum golem OP) and some source that says it's the same thing as Alchemical Silver in 2nd Ed (obviously I don't like that either).
I need help figuring out exactly what I want this material to do and how to price it.
Anyone have any ideas or references for me?
So for my current campaign I'm in a bit of a pickle (basically I ran the wrong kind of game for what I'm doing).
I have my players in a sandbox style game that I plan to advance in a linear way, where the enemies and challenges become increasingly more difficult to match their levels (pretty normal) but I've offered them the ability to choose in what order they go through the dungeons and quests.
For instance: The first adventure they went on was the asian-wutai themed adventure, they fought monks and ninjas, and had to explore a golden castle hidden in a mountain filled with Underworld dragons and Terracotta Soldiers.
I've figured out what I want the other themes to be, but I need help on putting together exactly what types of challenges to include, since I want each dungeon and quest to feel unique. Each quest comes in 2-3 phases: One being initial exploration and exposition to that section of the world, the second being some sort of social conflict to gain access to the dungeon (verbal dueling is something we've done before and the group is enjoying for a different kind of combat), and the third is obviously the dungeon crawl and resolution of whatever loose ends were left before with each arc introducing new clues to the greater narrative of the campaign.
Atlantis (running currently)- underwater ruins which lead to an an Aquatic Elf supermetropolis. I have given them a mcguffin item which creates a bubble of air around them, 20x20. It lasts hours upon hours before needing to be recharged, and it charges like a staff requiring the casters to spend Spells, or uses per day of Su or Sp abilities to extend the length of air bubble by (effective spell level) x CL hours. This more or less gives them a week to explore by dumping all their spells from one day.
I'm having a hard time deciding on what kinds of enemies to include, so far I've been using the Sahuagin from the Monster Codex but they've been underwhelming. I'm thinking about including Aboleths and other sea monsters (trying to avoid dragons, by request).
As for the dungeon, I want to include a sort of magical air-lock system to explore the ancient ruins at the center of the Aquatic Elf metropolis. Getting to each magical air lock will be sort of its own puzzle and will unlock more of the dungeon to be explored without swimming. Think Water Temple with less backtracking. Arcane magic themed puzzles and traps are ideal.
Jungle/Forrest- this part of the game is set in an area of the world run by various tribes inspired by native and south american tribes. I want this adventure to feature lots of plant and nature based enemies. Unsure on the dungeon as of yet.
Sky City- magical city that floats in the sky, this is going to have a more "trials of the gods" type puzzles and I want to focus on Divine Magic themes and enemies based on outsiders, not necessarily tied to one alignment.
Feel free to ask any questions you feel are relevant, the game is set in my home brew setting.
I've just started the writing process, and I want to make sure my formatting and tone work for everyone who wants to read the guide.
I am considering separate pages for the other sections, or simply using a toggle friendly table of contents.
Variant Multiclassing was a very popular concept in Pathfinder Unchained, and it opened up a lot of character options for several players. However, some of these options seemed rushed, unfinished, or otherwise lacking in capturing what multiclassing could achieve with some of the options presented. There also are unclear rules on how variant multiclassing interacts with the rule on secondary classes and how players qualify for rules like feats, favored class options, and Prestige classes.
Could it be possible to consider an RPG-Line Hardcover release which both expands and improves on the concept presented in Unchained?
With 43 classes available (including alternate and unchained classes), there is plenty of material which expanding upon could spawn a full release of its own (if each class got close to 2-3 pages of material, you're looking at anywhere from 90-120 pages right there) and could clarify and marginalize the mechanics in a way that could make it more amicable for players who play PFS.
Aside from rewriting the rules for Variant Multiclassing itself, each class could receive 'multiclassing archetypes' which may enable players to select different multiclassing packages to capture and emulate the different aspects of the classes that they want. Consider, for example, classes that either pick up the wizard specialization school powers, or instead gain a limited amount of spellcasting similarly to how the vigilante archetypes or fighter/rogue archetypes gain their own iterations of spellcating.
We could of course, get a slew of new feats and archetypes which help create the 'hybrid niches' that may not necessarily merit writing a whole new class (spontaneous druid, full 9 level casting bard, etc.) and other options which may enable more variety in race/class combinations like having arcane casters based on
There could be a Background Class mechanic which functions similarly to the Corruptions mechanic in Horror Adventures which could introduce similar rules to the backgrounds in 5e which could allow players access to things like Story Feats or feats that are considered 'bloat' or taxes on the characters.
We could also see rules made on creating archetypes or variant options which could offer changing the classes base progression (Base Attack Bonus, Saving Throw Progression, Skill Points per level, Hit Dice) in ways that offer more options from Variant Multiclassing with a system similar to the Race Builder.
Lastly, there could be a real chance to compile and re-release the options that have been spread out for the fighter class over various releases and combine them into one coherent release (this would both make them OGL compatible as well as clarifying the ways things like Advanced Armor/Weapon Training interact as separate class features). With the various threads clearly showing a demand for such a release, it would most assuredly sell books.
Does anyone like this idea, or have more ideas that could fit into a release like this?
I have a kineticist player who really wants/needs an item to help his character out.
I'm not too well versed in the class, so balance may not be achieved with this idea, but I was looking into old warlock stuff from 3.5 and the Rod of Eldritch Power seems to be able to translate into the class pretty easily.
Substance and form infusions more or less equate to essence and shape invocations, and the different levels of invocations (least, lesser, greater, and dark) seem to scale similarly to burn costs from 1-4.
Would simply converting the item over be something good/balanced for the class?
Prices: 4000, 8000, 36000, and 64000 for each level respectively.
So, the Dragon Soul half-elf seems really cool. You give up either your human or elf half (and change your resistances/immunities to match dragons) and get treated as a dragon. It's compatible with Blended View which gives them low-light and darkvision.
I think the only thing it really would need is more draconic like feats (which can be nabbed with racial heritage: kobold).
Does this satisfy the mechanical niche of a medium sized dragon PC race?
I'm writing my new campaign for my players, since our Mythic campaign is about to 'end' and I need some help fleshing it out.
It's a custom setting and I want to focus on governments and organizations (social combat and diplomacy will be large factors here).
The campaign itself will have a steam-punk Eberron feel, with magical vehicles being present (though expensive and pretty much only available to large organizations with money).
I'm using the 'Heroes R Us' trope to recruit the PCs and send them on a sort of Black Opps missions type campaign where they are not the big famous heroes of the game world, but rather they will be adventuring parallel to them on various missions around the globe investigating dungeons and locations.
I need 5 heroes, each thematically fitting into a mythic path. Their sixth member will be a vigilante who spends most of the campaign as my DM protagonist/Zordon/Sponsor figure and won't actually have his true identity revealed until the plot happens somewhere in the second or third act of the campaign's overall plot.
These 5 heroes should ideally show up individually as mentor figures and helpful NPCs for the group as they encounter different types of problems around the world all leading to clues about my BBEG who is planned to be an evil organization.
I need help spitting back writing ideas and I can't spoil it for my players so I can't bounce these ideas off them....
Working on the last dungeon for my mythic campaign. Players are 20th level, 9th tier. I have one last big dungeon crawl for them before we end the whole thing.
Theme: Mythic Lich of Doom's secret phylactery stronghold, enemies include high CR myhtic skeletal champions (for mooks)
I'm trying to come up with harsh environments and hazards that present challenges to the players, but most of what I have is laughable to 20th level characters.
Environmental Hazards: I have two thus far.
First, it's on the moon, in a secret cave-like entrance in a large mountain on the far side. No air, gravity is weaker, certain types of attacks will/won't work depending on if they need air. (I don't have too many rules to cite for fighting like this, most likely easiest solution would be to allow spells that allow breathing to also allow attacks and whatever else).
Second (this is the big one) the place is both permanently Desecrated (no altar throughout) and Unhallowed with Life Ward (3.5, exact opposite of death ward) placed on the land. Life ward is there to protect my undead minions/bosses and also prevent magic healing without finding a way to cancel it. I'll probably house rule that Death Ward will cancel Life Ward while the duration is active, resulting in a neutral outcome and I'd allow Death Ward to be used as an offensive spell (Will negates) to target an individual undead creature and temporarily cancel out the life ward.
Puzzles, traps, Easter eggs, etc.: This is where I come up short. Somewhere I need to include a room with some sort of long biographical series of tomes covering the BBEG's history (something like 3-4 thousand years) and I want traps whose apparent solution actually causes more problems. Something like dispelling/unlocking a lock unleashes a horde of enemies. I'll need more interesting and believable countermeasures in place. Fake Phylactery has to be one of them.
Anyone have any experience? I want this dungeon doable in one session (4-6 hours).
Feel free to comment and ask any questions.
I'm working on my 'Ultimate Boss' fight for my current Mythic Campaign, and in doing so I am having some serious writer's block.
My homebrew campaigns all tie into a greater narrative, based on this one @$$#073 necromancer/mythic lich of doom (same bad guy, same players, different campaign from the link) and his plans to become a full-fledged god. Well, go figure he succeeded, kinda sorta.
I've been running a year+long campaign, and the party is 18th level/8th 'mythic tier' (nerfed mythic a bit). This was the first campaign I wrote in my own setting so most of this campaign has been expository on the setting, forcing exploration to the different parts of the world, diving into dungeons/adventures with different themes, and fighting different enemies. Of course, to tie them together I planted seeds throughout each adventure that connect the tissues of what they're really doing.
To explain: Relrere (the once ancient human now pseudo-god) has possessed one of his decedents (once a good-guy NPC) and perverted his view on the world to match his own. His physical body (a tiefling/human base) is a conduit that is fused with beings of other planes (oread dwarf [earth], aquatic elf undine [water], elf sylph [air], gnome ifrit [fire], and a former dhampir PC [negative energy]) and I'm going to use this to actually have him healed by all energy types. Each of these characters were NPCs that the players interacted with at some point over the game. (There was also a bit of accidental time travel involved... it's complicated).
The 'last dungeon' of the game is going to be a total pokemon ripoff and have teleportation traps/mazes which all lead to magical triggers that all require a use of mythic power to deactivate. Stealing from Dragonball Z this power is going to be pumped into my bad guy (Buu style).
They actually saved and redeemed the
I'm having a hard time landing on how I want this guy to work mechanically. I'm thinking about morphing together the chassis for an epic gold/red dragon (30ish HD/ full BAB/ full sorcerer spellcasting progression with access to the cleric list) and giving it some of these traits here.
But I need a build, and I have no idea how I want to derive stats. He'll be medium sized, and I'll want to give him a weapon. Something thematic and cool, most likely two-handed. I may steal some Mythic Path abilities for him (like Enduring Armor).
Upon fighting him, they can expect to be 19th level/8th tier, and have ridiculous stats and wealth (factoring into APL for around 30-34).
Important abilities: Dual Initiative (single boss needs action economy), energy healing/immunity, and dumb high AC (forcing players to spend resources on hitting touch instead of normal AC, they can do it trust me).
Important House rules: Marshmallow's Revised Revised Action Economy; rules for Dueling Counters incorporated into the regular counterspelling mechanics (for use with the reaction rather than a readied action); and narrative based leveling, so I'm not concerned about XP values or WBL at this point, so I can go nuts with this guy.
So I've been working on my house rules and I noticed a lot of things that I like from other editions that I feel not only could work for Pathfinder, but work better.
In 5e, for the most part your character build is done at 1st-3rd level when you pick your archetype. After that you're pretty much just rolling dice until the game is over.
That doesn't mean that everything in that system is bad, in fact they have a lot more options in their core releases than Pathfinder did. One of those big choices was a particular background, which worked sort of as a Sub-class which gave you certain skills and narrative tools, I think this is something we could work into Pathfinder.
Issue is, we sorta already have a background system similar to 5e's with Traits and Drawbacks. I don't intend to touch those.
I was thinking about piggybacking the concurrent progression systems that Pathfinder has with Corruptions and Mythic and coming up with a new type of system that enhances characters based on the NPC classes.
At 1st level, 3rd level, and every three levels thereafter in this supposed system a PC would gain access to a background ability, or sub-class ability. They should all be fairly weak options, with one big ability (like a free optimal feat or something) that gives the player more power based on who they were before they were an adventurer. These choices need to be made at 1st level.
Commoner: The most generic of them, it will count as Universal and all the options available to the Commoner will be available to all characters. Options would include general feats and abilities like Additional Traits, Improved Saving Throw feats, Extra [class feature] feats, and other feats that are flavorful, but not necessarily seen on characters that see actual play. Things like Toughness.
Adept: Prerequisites would have to be playing a spellcasting class. Abilities would be something like adding spells to spells known or a spellbook/familiar. Other choices would be easy to explain caster feats like Combat Casting and Eschew Materials. Big ability could be something like a free metamagic feat or a cross spell list spell.
Warrior: Prerequisites would have to be playing a class with proficiency in all martial weapons. Abilities would be things like Armor Proficiencies, and other generic combat feats that otherwise hinder builds like Weapon Finesse, Combat Expertise, Exotic Weapon Proficiency, and Weapon Focus. Big ability would be a free unrestricted Combat Feat, or being able to skip prerequisites for a certain feat or feat chain.
Expert: Prerequisite would be playing a class with at least 4+INT skills per level. Would include feats like Skill Focus and Signature Skill. It would also include the ability to switch the relevant ability modifier on a particular skill (most likely keeping it physical or mental).
Aristocrat: Prerequisite would have to be something like Knowledge (Nobility) as a class skill. This can be met with traits. Abilities would include things like feats that improve your companion/mount/familiar/eidolon, Teamwork feats, and the big ability would be something like one of the Leadership variants (or just leadership).
I'm just spitballing ideas here, looking for advice/input on it.
I've been messing around with ways to produce a functional bad-touch cleric with Blessed Hammer.
I've landed on a Dwarf Separatist who takes the Defense Subdomain (for tankyness) and the new Lightning (Air) Subdomain (Divine Anthology).
Separatists normally give up proficiency with the favored weapon, but dwarf fixes that. The lightning subdomain has Shocking Grasp as a Domain spell, so magus toys work with this idea.
I'm thinking a build that goes something like this:
1st) Heighten Spell
from there you can take feats to enhance shocking grasp as normal (and traits like Magical Lineage)
Only real problem I have is whether or not Preferred Spell works on Domain Spells, is there an FAQ that clarifies this? Did clerics just become a lot more fun for me?