Bard: I heartily disagree with the move to make bards even more restricted.
As near as I can tell, this doesn't actually change anything about the Bard. The muses give bonus feats at first level and those bonus feats end up being the prerequisites for other stuff over time. All they did was change the prerequisite from being the first level feat to being that muse type. Since the new multifaceted muse thing gives a level 1 feat for free, it's a total wash in terms of requirements and just changes the terminology.
So, I'm a little later to party than I prefer, but that's just the way it is sometimes.
So, the first thing is the change to Somatic Components. Great change. As someone pointed out in another thread, this still leaves sword-and-board clerics with the issue of Material Components, but I think this can be easily fixed by adding "emblazon holy symbol" functionality to items. There's no reason a weapon or shield can't also count as a holy symbol with a bit of ornamentation, and that's something I'd like to see added. Alternately, just make the deity's favored weapon count as a symbol by default.
I'm skipping a few classes I don't have a lot of experience with.
Barbarian: Random rage duration feels terribly random. It feels like the kind of thing that should be a totemic option or a feat instead of the baseline. It feels much less like an "out of control" rage and more like "rage ED". "Does your rage end too quickly? Your doctor may be able to help."
Bard: These don't feel like they're very significant as changes. The bard still lacks a "healer" option, which is something I'd like to see.
Cleric: See the above comments on Material Components and sword+board clerics. Overall, I feel like the channel nerf was too hard. Rolling it back a little and boosting other healers up a bit would be preferable.
Druid: Leaf druids are still terrible. The problem with goodberry is less the single-berry healing and more the terrible throughput. The heighten effect gives more berries, which means a casting at level 5 would create 5 berries that each heal 1d6+mod now. In-combat, that's a very rarely useful thing (especially since, as written, you can't force-feed one to someone that's down and dying). Out of combat, it's completely eclipsed by Treat Wounds. As it stands now, this is an ability that should just be standard to all druids and give the leaf druids something better as their base power. I would kind of like all druids getting access to it, anyway.
Wild druids are better than they were... but there are still some real issues. You still can't make a "bear druid" that turns into a bear and never has another form very easily. I would also like some clarification on how Wild Morph interacts with other forms. If you can gain the wild morph benefits while also being, say, an elemental, that would patch some of the class's issues. I really don't like the need for the class to use the Vestments item as a patch for poor scaling of forms and think that doing that via a feat or baseline class feature would just be better.
Monk: These changes are all good.
Paladin: Generally positive (some of it very positive), but I am BEGGING YOU to not leave a grossly ambiguous statement like "such as murder" in the code. By its very nature, Pathfinder involves a lot of killing things, and a nebulous word like "murder" is going to cause confusion and lead to really different interpretations that can make or break a class.
Sorcerer: I feel like clerics got hit too hard in their Channel Energy, but the Divine feat equivalent now feels more in line. I'd really like both to be buffed, though.
I wouldn't call it a false dichotomy. You could, theoretically make any change to any number of races and have it be an option. However, assuming the other races are in a good place and that moving their speed isn't an option, you have to look at solutions that work within that context.
I get why the other races got faster. A gnome in heavy armor with a 10' movement is horrible to try to play. It also doesn't necessarily make sense for small = slow since most small creatures in the real world are pretty quick. Giving every race a way to mitigate the speed reduction just turns it into a tax for characters that want to use heavy armor, which isn't a great thing. Fleet is almost a tax, as it is, and more of those would suck.
So, assuming everyone else stays at a 25' (or greater) movement, what fixes would make the dwarf feel right again? That is the basis I started at with my assertion that dwarves either need a base 25' like everyone else or free Unburdened.
My biggest problem on with the DC table right now is that it works well for some types of checks not for others due to stat synergy and the (un)availability of item bonuses.
For instance, an alchemist using Craft has good stat alignment and access to a variety of item bonuses. The kinds of bonuses an alchemist will have are going to be much higher than most characters making Perception checks (which has poor stat alignments for most characters, very limited advancement available, and few ways to gain item bonuses). Thus, a "hard" DC for a craft check is actually going to be relatively easier than a "hard" DC for a perception check.
This also seems to crop up kind of a lot with Athletics. Characters with high base athletics checks tend to have it stomped down by ACP. Characters that aren't wearing heavier armor usually don't have high strength. That pushes the common Athletics numbers several points lower than you'll see for, say, Society checks. (honestly, if ACP were removed entirely, I would like that change)
Some players don't handle a lot of dice rolling and math very well. I have one player that insists on rolling her dice one at a time, and a greatsword crit in her hands is a solid minute or two of pause while the math gets done. It's not fun.
Overall, I'd like to see the dice reduced, especially at higher levels and monster HP pools reduced to compensate. Not rolling the extra dice from the crit and just multiplying the damage would also help.
I don't mind rolling a lot of dice as a GM, though, so that half of the equation isn't so bad.
1. No. Perception is pretty hard thing to raise, so it's actually somewhat to the advantage of Deception that it's the opposition "skill". If there's one thing I'm seeing in PF2, it's that most characters are skill-starved and don't need to have yet another thing they need to try to find skill training for.
2. No. I actually like the way initiative works in the current edition pretty well. The only place it's a mess is when a set of stealth rolls runs right into a combat and you have to reroll everything (or just roll with those, but the rules arne't quite clear that you should do that).
I managed to get a group through scenario 1, 2, 3, and half of 4. Around half way through 4, I just realized I didn't care anymore. PF2, once it gets past a certain point, is just a slog. Fights aren't taking too long, per se, but they're just not that interesting. I understand that half the point of Mirrored Moon is overpowered encounters, but the way saves work makes that a very boring experience for casters. It's also one I'm not enjoying all that much as a GM.
My biggest disappointment with the playtest is that it was acknowledged that monsters were too strong within days of the playtest starting, but there has never been an adjustment for that. It's left players feeling ineffective and it's driven players to take options that have probably left quite a few things barely-tested.
Druids suffer from this pretty badly, too. If you take a druid with maxed Dex and level appropriate magic hide armor as the baseline, there is usually a form at each level that comes out within a point of that AC (+1 to -1, from levels 4 to 15). The problem is that it is rarely the same form for more than a level or two, which makes having a specific concept a pain in the butt. The dead stop to scaling at level 15 is also a problem.
Elemental form probably tracks the best, in the end, but it only comes available at level 9 (spell) or 10 (feat).
It seems unnecessary to tie class powers to item use and enhancement.
The benefit to doing this is that you give every character a pool of points and things to do with it. The wizard has a pool to do cool stuff from their class with, but the barbarian can also use a pool to do cool stuff (through items). Unified rules generally give a better overall play experience for all character classes.
The problem with this implementation is that you run a very real and immediate risk of casters not using any of their class abilities because items are usually better and their pools are small. The removal of the abilities that expand the pool just doubled-down on this (and will require pretty much all spell point abilities to be reviewed and rebalanced to work with focus since focus is inherently worth more).
From the spot I sit today, the biggest problem I have with this is that I just don't know enough about how these changes are going to look to judge. They're extensive and require half of the classes in the game to be reworked to a fair degree. All of the existing spell point powers have to be reviewed and most of them boosted up. The sizes of pools need to be reviewed and adjusted to compensate for the stat change (or the classes need to be given the option to use their casting stat). How, exactly, this is going to work with progression over levels needs to be decided and tuned.
What makes me nervous about this is that it's a huge change and the stated intention is to not playtest it. It's a big enough change it could invalidate most of the playtest experience we've had and do weird things to classes that worked well with spell points (Storm Druid is the first that springs to mind).
Resonance, as a concept, feels about right to me. It has a name, but so what? No one really needs to know about it at first level, so you can skip it when introducing new players, and most PCs will never have a major interaction with it. It's there to limit folks on the fringe of the system that want to really push the envelope with magic item swapping and the like.
That said, wands need work. While I don't dislike tying them to Resonance, that doesn't seem like a big cost over most levels since most folks could easily spare the resonance for several wands. It would only be a limit if you were planning to burn through several wands of low level spells in a day. I vaguely like having them require a flat check to not burn out if you don't pay a focus point, but their caster-only nature makes that a different kind of problematic.
I also feel like the caster/non-caster divide in focus needs some work. Something as simple as giving clerics, druids, monks, and wizards the option to use their key stat instead of charisma for determining their focus pool would help, I think. I like that everyone gets some focus that can do something. I just dislike that casters end up with a smaller pool and end up even more things to spend it on. Letting it default to Charisma when there isn't a specific "caster" thing going on feels alright, though.
Also, there's a lack of progression with level there that seems like it'd be annoying. The only reason a lot of the existing spell point feats are competitive with other feats of their level is because they also add to the spell point pool. Dropping that leaves a high level caster with little incentive to add yet another thing to his list for his 3-4 focus points per day (especially if the better ones are still going to cost multiple points).
Overall, I'm really wary of this system because it's, at best, half baked. That's understandable for a test, but the areas where those gaps exist are very worrying.
I like the Resonance change. It's actually pretty smooth in a lot of ways. It barely affects most players and affects almost no one before about level 10. I even like the basic concept of "use Focus to make magic items work better". I think there are some real issues, though.
1) Wands have too many things to track. As others say above, having one thing, then charges, then a focus unlock is just too many things. In this concept, why do wands have to remain as charged consumables, at all? How about ditching charges and every use of the wand is a flat check of some sort (DC of the spell level? flat DC?) to avoid burning out. Spending a Focus lets you avoid making the check. That's a ton less to track.
2) I really, really want to see what the Storm Druid looks like after these changes. The Storm Druid in base really worked well for me, but this change guts it of its spell points and doesn't replace them with anything. I need to understand how that Druid would look under this change.
3) The Leaf Druid is even worse off than the Storm Druid. Triple everything I said about Storm.
4) In the long run, sorcerers feel weird under this scheme. Their spell pool also took a big hit, and since the spell pool was their main fuel for their bloodline, their bloodline is now less usable. It's not a huge difference, but it's noticeable.
5) Powers and items need to be calibrated better. I complained about this earlier, but it still bugs me how uneven the spell point abilities are. We see a shift to strengthen them in the limited ones presented in this playtest, but there are a lot of them and they need to calibrate fairly well against what a martial can do with an of-level magic item, since they're the same fuel now.
6) Probably the thing that's bugging me most is that Focus doesn't advance at all outside of Charisma bumps. Druids and Clerics were already badly MAD before this change and now it's even worse if they want to use Focus for stuff.
I like a lot of the suggestions I'm seeing to walk this back a little more toward where spell points were.
I was kind of suggesting that staves and wands should simply add new uses for spell points a while back, but this isn't quite what I expected.
1) Focus is a better name, in general, than Spell Points (and Champion Points).
2) Spell point powers in the rulebook are really, uneven. Some are basically equivalent to of-level spells. Some are between spells and cantrips. Some are weaker than cantrips. I think this change will necessitate all spell point powers be rewritten and rebalanced for the new economy. Looking at the new Healer's Blessing, I think the intention is to make them more potent, but Healer's Blessing was already good and many other powers need vastly more boosting to put them on the same level.
3) Spell point powers often filled a roll in letting casters have things to do that didn't require spell slots. That was good. With the big hit to spell pools (due to the removal of all of the little increases from feats if nothing else), I don't think they can fill this role anymore. The most natural thing would be to make cantrips much better, I think.
4) Channel Energy is still stupidly good. It's even worse now that the leaf druid received a massive reduction in goodberry usages. I'd really like to see more primal/divine casters get a boost on that front than Channel Energy get a nerf, but I'd accept a combination of those paths.
So... overall, I have mixed feelings. The good bits are good, but the changes are in directions I wasn't expecting and am unsure of. I do feel like there is slightly less bookkeeping in this because resonance will probably never matter until the highest levels (unless I'm missing something big).
Well, presumably, if you're looking at doing the Channel thing for your Bard/Sorcerer, you're the only healer in the group (or the group's primary healer). If you're spending most of your combat time throwing heals around, anyway, it's not like you're suddenly going to not be doing that because you took other class feats.
I'm all for Bards and (divine) Sorcerers having better in-class options for healing. I like the idea of "different classes do things differently". If an archer fighter and an archer ranger are both viable in different ways, I'd like to see a healer cleric and a healer bard both be viable in different ways.
The inherent problem right now is that Assurance passes very few skill checks that aren't Easy for your level. Assuming you dump full advancements into the skill you have assurance in, you can only pass a Medium DC check at levels 2, 3, and 12-13 (where it actually makes a Hard check).
With the new skill chart, it does always mean you pass an Easy check for your level, which would be a benefit except for:
You can usually skip rolling and assume the characters succeed against easy DCs unless it’s necessary for everybody to try the check.
So... Assurance lets you not worry about rolling a skill check that you really shouldn't worry about rolling anyway? Yeah, great use of a feat...
More broadly, the reason I suggest a "roll twice, no crit" mechanic is because it achieves the same, general, result of buffering you against bad results while removing exceptional results from the table. It's not quite advantage due to the second part of that.
Snowblind, Snarkwyrm wrote:
Ouch, but this exactly what I complain about with spells right now. We need a lot more "small effect on failed save" type spells. Even cantrips.
Skills are in a similar boat, but it's mostly because the DCs are too high (especially when monsters are involved.
On the Paladin dedication, it's four feats, which should mean it's a big opportunity cost. The issue is that the current Bard and Sorcerer aren't designed such that those feats are that big of a deal.
I feel like a cleric is probably better off using the healing domain and Healing Font and then using the other feats on things to increase their versatility (selective channel, channel succor) instead of dumping it all on MOAR HEALS.
Moving all other races to 25' is obviously for the same reason as Unburdened is a tax on a 20' speed race - having a 10' speed due to heavy armor is just not fun. I get that. I'm actually alright with all the other races having 25' speed (or all races, even).
The dwarf should get the current version of Unburdened as baseline if they retain the 20' speed. The dwarf should also have an ancestry feat (that requires the Unburdened racial feature) that eliminates all penalties to speed from encumbrance, armor, and lets them ignore 5' of Hampered).
I started complaining about assurance within a day or so of reading the new rules, but I was mostly looking at it in the sense that it replaced "taking 10". Most of the "replace the die" ideas follow this same tactic.
Though, really... what would it imbalance if Assurance did the following:
"When making a skill roll that does not include the Attack trait, you may choose roll two d20 and use the higher result. You cannot critically succeed on this roll."
Those numbers agree with what my gut is telling me - that using the standard DC table or monster perception DC to set the bar for a group check is a terrible idea. Most of the reason of having a variable DC table is so that I can control, roughly, how easy or hard I want the task to be.
Now, if group checks were handled more like an extended skill check (which is vaguely similar to how 4e attempted to do things, but definitely not the same), it'd work a lot better.
For instance, if a failure is 0, a critical failure -1, a success +1, and a critical success is +2, you could require that a group of four score a 2 to succeed on a check and the exact way they do so would be unimportant (two successes + to failures, one critical success + three failures, or three failures and one critical success). Said in another way, "with every critical failure canceling out a success and every critical success counting as two successes, the group must score a total number of successes..."
Actually, if PF2 wanted to really boil down the 4e skill challenge mechanic to what made it good and loose what made it bad, I'd be all for it. Making complicated activities more interesting than "what did everyone roll? You fail/pass" is great (and I'm ignoring secret checks which don't even have half of that).
The biggest issue with making Unburdened an ancestry feat is that other races could then poach it through Adopted Ancestry, which dilutes its uniqueness a lot (and leads to a ton of martial characters being adopted by dwarves).
I'm of the opinion that the race should either have it back baseline (since they're the only 20' speed race) or they should get a 25' base speed like everyone else.
I'd be down with giving dwarves a base speed of 25' and then going from there. With them being the only 20' race, they either need unburdened baseline (since they're effectively trading their speed for it) or they should be the same speed baseline and can be even better off in the long run with a heritage.
They really were the strongest ancestry before these changes, though, so them ending up slightly weaker isn't unexpected. Now they're just a tad too weak, comparatively.
I honestly think cantrip damage is alright if more effects are added to them instead. Cantrips roughly approximate a magical crossbow in terms of damage potential (which isn't great but isn't unreasonable), but all of their fun stuff is locked up behind crits, if they even have anything fun to them.
Giving cantrips more potent, interesting secondary effects on-hit would be much better than a raw damage increase.
This brings up a thought that I hadn't realized was bugging me.
If we now raise the DC of a check by 4 in a situation where everyone can roll but only one must succeed, should we also lower the DC by 4 in a situation where everyone must roll and everyone must succeed? The base DC is too high, in either case, but having a check like this where the whole party is trying to stealth it would make a degree of sense to have the DC be lower just to give them a fighting chance.
I like things being divided up. I like that fighters and rangers can do similar thing sin different ways. I like that I'm picking from small lists every level instead of one giant list where I'll never even look at half of the options and have to filter out all of the ones that have prerequisites I'll never meet.
The current structure of class feats definitely makes them more accessible to new players. It also makes it easier to compare what Class A and Class B can do at Level X.
I ran the numbers as part of another discussion, and there is usually a form at each level that has AC a point or so off the best AC (often better) you can expect for a druid in humanoid form wearing magical armor (with a good Dex score). Well, up to level 15. After level 15, it's vestments or death (pretty quickly, too).
I actually like the core design of the druid. It's very similar to the way 13th Age druids work with being able to choose types of casting or abilities and not get the entire toolkit. That lets you have a wild shaping druid that doesn't have an animal companion and a casting focused druid that doesn't wild shape. That's fine with me. That actually makes druids feel really distinct from each other.
Overall, my complaints are confined to wild shaping not feeling right. I actually like the way storm druids look right now. Plant druids and animal companion druids aren't bad (though they could use some work). It's the wild shaping druid that just feels like it's very far off the mark.
Reducing their action cost, combining cantrips with a move or concentrating on another spell, casting them around corners or starting from an ally's location, giving a missed arrow a second chance to hit, and other similar solutions would make more sense.
I like the idea (though it's admittedly a little 4e) of having cantrips do about the damage they do now but handing out minor conditions. Right now, an elven wizard with a shortbow can fairly easily do twice the damage with the bow as with cantrips. That'd be fine if the cantrip also caused sluggish or flat-footed or something similar.
I think the key is to make cantrips a tactically interesting option instead of a raw damage thing.
I kind of hope there's another ancestry survey later because this set of changes addresses pretty much everything in my previous survey ;)
I definitely like the change and I think rebalancing the core of ancestries, adding more heritages, and adding more feats on top of that is a great set of changes.
Captain Morgan wrote:
Yes, and there are two ways this hits you.
1) You want to be a druid that goes into a particular type of form. Your combat stats will stop scaling when the spell stops scaling, which happens at different points for different spells (animal and insect get their last bump at level 9, for instance).
2) You are at high levels. The last bump any of the forms gets is at level 15 with the jump to 9th level spells. By level 16 or 17, you're starting to feel the pinch pretty bad. By level 20... it's not good.
The vestments feel like a clumsy fix for the lack of scaling (and damage doesn't scale, which makes it a half-way solution at best).
I still think what I want to emphasize is that if a druid wants to spend their time in forms, let them spend their time in forms. Also, if a druid wants to focus on one specific form, make that a viable and natural progression all the way to level 20. All druids don't need to be able to do all things, though, and I kind of like that my current storm druid can't wild shape while my wild shaping druid rarely cast spells.
They are not supposed to be undetectable
That's not a clarification so much as it's a change to the rule on the Bestiary page 13.
A complex hazard instead lists its Stealth modifier for rolling initiative, followed by a DC if there’s a chance someone might detect it.
The way it's currently worded, it's clear that complex hazards that don't have a listed DC are undetectable. It's dumb, yes, but it's something that needs errata to fix. (Yes, this is slightly pedantic, but I did spend significant time agonizing over the way it was supposed to work.)
My biggest problem with that thread is that the quote train had no brakes. Geeze, prune your posts to just the relevant stuff.
It was also a thread that quickly devolved into arguments and I think the closing post clearly spelled out why it was closed and what a new thread would need to adjust to be allowed.
You do realize that you are comparing the cantrip to a primary weapon.
In this specific case, it's a wizard with a magic crossbow vs. a wizard with a cantrip. That's a fair comparison. He's not comparing a martial with a bow and all of their bow-additives to the cantrip. Crossbows are terrible (and boring, which is a separate sin). If cantrips aren't even at that level, they desperately need to be reexamined.
As it stands right now, it's worth it for any caster to find a way to not be in a situation where their only option is to toss out cantrips. Cantrips just feel bad.
I still don't understand how this encounter is supposed to go. When the table I was running spotted the mound, they avoided the whole thing, for which I am very glad.
The fact that the quicksand is completely impossible to spot until you're in it is annoying. Giving it a static DC would actually make more sense than having it roll.
Also, I'm generally opposed to situations where the PCs have to roll the same skill check repeatedly. It's just not fun.
want to spend most/all of my time as a bear. Unfun, though? Nah.
I'm sure a bunch of people have said that (including me), but it seems to be lost in the current design. I'd be a fan of giving druids a ton of shapeshifting for long periods and with multiple uses but keeping the restrictions on being in a form in place so that they're not able to cast spells that way. I'd even be a fan of a rage-esque minor penalty for dropping a form to discourage people from popping in and out constantly.
As others have pointed out, if you want to be in a beast form most of the time, you're actually better off as a barbarian than a druid. That just strikes me as wrong.
I also dislike the fact that the class eventually forces you to get a specific magic item to make shifting viable in combat. That should either be baked in to the class or it should be part of a feat somewhere along the way.
I played a ton of 4e, and while the "50% chance to hit" thing did eventually get grating, I wouldn't rank it as a primary flaw.
What 4e had that was more important than raw balance, though, was a wide variety of interesting options that didn't balance mathematically. In raw-damage rocket tag, there was a Right Way, but there were also other ways you could go that focused on debuffing, buffing, or manipulating the battlefield. There were a bunch of different defender classes, and all of them did their job in very distinct ways that made them feel unique.
I think, much more so than balance, it is important that every character feel effective. That doesn't mean homogeneous DPR or whatever, but it does mean that every character feel like they pulled their own weight in a fight. Right now, the pure casters in the DD scenarios I'm running are struggling with that. Too much of magic is locked up behind a target failing a save, or, even worse, a target critically failing a save. Or the opposite for attacks.
Well, you don't need a success to find the stuff in the hex, as far as I can tell. It's still tedious as my group ended up searching a lot of hexes with nothing in them. This mechanic would work better in a Kingmaker-style scenario where there are a lot more things to find. I was using the updated DCs, and that was basically "no one ever succeeds" as they're just too high.
One thing I have noticed is that some of the folks that like this part seem to have been getting much more accurate crit-clues than I was giving. The book says that you learn the "direction" to the nearest interesting hex... but that can be 3-4 hexes away, depending on where you are. Not that it really matters since I had... two crits on searches in the first month.
I found the quicksand both confusing and weird. The table I was running for spotted the mound and decided to give it a wide berth, which missed the quicksand. I was very glad because I still have no idea how that encounter is supposed to play out without being a bunch of "the GM is a jerk" railroading.
I think a lot of the changes to the wild shape druid are good. I like the way the stat blocks of the shapes are baked into the spells. I like how explicit the spells are. I even like not being able to cast spells while in a form, to some degree.
That said, I don't like a number of aspects of the wild shape druid.
1) Durations are entirely too short. 10 minute durations as a base would actually be better, with pest form starting at an hour since it is strictly out-of-combat.
2) The strength tie is weird because wild druids don't actually use strength for much outside of crappy melee at low level. Wild shaping out of the spell pool would feel more natural and would make the spell pool feel less useless at higher levels. Having the pool build would give a natural progression to more shapes (and you could have the more powerful shapes use more points).
3) I don't actually mind not being able to cast while in a form... but it is only an interesting tactical choice if the cost isn't quite so high. If uses were more plentiful (as in #2), dropping out of shape to throw an emergency heal is an interesting tactical choice instead of an agonizing one.
4) Animal companions need work to clarify their mechanics. Right now, my understanding is that they can only be commanded if you can speak, something you explicitly can't do in a form. That makes them just kind of stand there while you're rampaging around as a bear, which is weird.
5) Forms-as-class-feats is a paradigm that no other class has because they are mutually exclusive and offer no residual benefits. The scaling of forms isn't broad enough for a given set of forms to last more than ~5 levels after you take them, making those early feats kind of useless. They don't build like almost every other class's feat choices and you end up having to retrain them or be stuck with something that's pretty useless.
6) Vestments are required past a certain point. At that point, the druid is a better whatever than his beast-form, which is weird.
How would I fix them?
a) Flip the paradigm. The class spell pool should go toward wild shaping and wild claws should be changed from a power into a set of class feats that boost natural attacks. If you want to retain the option of a brutish, low wisdom druid, let them choose wisdom or strength to base the spell pool off of.
b) Reduce the number of shape feats and have them boost the spell pool. Fold pest form and aerial form into animal form, dinosaur form, and insect form, as appropriate. (this would necessitate a scaled down animal form being what the player gets at level 1, which is actually a great thing).
c) Expand the scaling on form spells a little. If someone's concept is "bear druid", then they should be forced to be a dinosaur at higher level to remain viable. To a degree, they can do this now via vestments, but it's weird to have a class that requires one specific magic item to function.
d) Bump up duration on shapes slightly. Ten minutes is fine. That is useful without being "all day" (and very rarely would that mean two combats with one use).
TLDR: Wild shape druids want to be in forms. That is where their fun is. Find ways to enable that while balancing it.
Cantrips should be significantly less damaging than weapons.
I don't agree with this in a broad sense. I agree that a wizard casting cantrips shouldn't be on the same level as a fighter doing what he's designed primarily to do. However, I feel like cantrips need to be slightly stronger than they are now.
The numbers for cantrips have them pretty much on par with a magical crossbow right now. The inclusion of casting modifier for damage compares favorably with the die they are short, and use of TAC instead of AC compares favorably with the generally lower-by-level bonus you'll get from duelist items. Assuming there are no feats taken to improve the crossbow, of course.
The perception is that the cantrips are weaker due to fewer dice and the scaling just looks slow (though mathematically it tracks). This is really the bigger issue. If the wizard player feels like having to fall back on cantrips isn't fun, then it isn't good design. If you tweak cantrips so that they're not mathematically much stronger, but they feel stronger (or, at least, more interesting), then it would be a win.
The solution is probably a combination of some small mechanical buffs and some tactical bonuses. For instance, taking out the +mod and just giving cantrips the weapon die progression would make them feel more powerful than they currently do (even if it's strictly not a buff and maybe even a slight reduction). Even better, giving them that and also layering on debuffs would make them much more interesting. For instance, Ray of Frost could do 1d8 damage and give Slowed I for a turn. Persistent damage on a crit is sort of interesting, but is really just additional damage you get ~5% of the time.
I will always favor tactical, interesting choices over raw damage. If cantrips debuff or buff in addition to doing damage roughly equivalent to a crossbow, I'd be fine with that.
I don't like the false information angle. Period. 5% or 50% is irrelevant in that, and the only solid reason for secret knowledge checks is the false information. Otherwise, failures just result in "you don't know" and things move on.
I really, really like Dubious Knowledge, though. That's different and works in a way that regular Recall checks don't. I would be fine with Dubious Knowledge checks being secret because the player is specifically ceding that control by taking the feat.
When looking at it (when a player mentioned they'd summoned something else because of the water elemental for this very reason), I came to the same conclusion that it would only have one action because of the wording of various things.
While it'd make sense to just give companions/summons Slowed I, I can see that it would eventually get powergamed (either explicitly or unintentionally) and may not be a good path to take because of it. I'd rather just see the water elemental get tweaked to lose the Slowed I or have it only kick in after a minute of being removed from water (which would be the duration of the summon, anyway).
If table 10-3 (or, better yet, the skills section) simply called out "levels" for the various challenges, I wouldn't mind that very much.
Let's say that climbing a rope is a level 0 challenge. The DM might decide it's a trivial check (knotted rope with a wall to brace on) or a hard check (the rope is slick from blood and there is wind) or anything else at that level, it would be fine. Climbing a rope is still never going to be a level 10 check.
I wouldn't mind going with a world where everything is a leveled DC as long as things were consistent on what level they were.
Dire Ursus wrote:
Exploring/scouting those hexes means more than just looking around so no it's not generic. It's find tracks/traces of treasure/research/allies/enemies. All of which could be argued as level appropriate for that chapter.
If it actually did that, I could see the case, but all the check really does is determine the amount of time it takes you to search a hex. You either find stuff in that hex or you don't, simply from deciding to search it.
The clues are somewhat different since they only occur on a crit and the crit rate, even with optimized PCs, is a flat 5%. Which... really doesn't seem like it has much difficulty variation reflected in it.
To extend the item, if the party were to come back to this same area at level 10, would it be appropriate for the DCs now to be based on level 10 checks? If anything, it would make more sense to have the DCs based on the level of the creatures living in a hex. Basing it on the level of PCs (which rarely matches up with monster levels in said scenario) doesn't make much sense.
I think you'd need to rework the critical effect (maybe having it reduce the time rather than boost the healing), but just letting the player pick the level they want to use the ability at would be a pretty solid change. Make it suggested that they use their level, but otherwise let them pick. If you have all the time in the world, it might make sense to take the very low DCs where you can't critically fail. If you are in a rush, it might might sense to attempt to "overcast" the healing (though the obvious risks there should balance it out).
In general, though, I'd still like there should be multiple options along the lines of "fast, easy, and good, pick two" lines. You can have strong, fast healing, but it's hard. You can have easy, strong healing, but it's slow. You can have fast, easy healing, but it doesn't heal a lot. I really feel like giving healers more meaningful options is a ton better than giving them a chance to roll the same check a dozen times in a row and pray they don't get a 1.