Abilities Like Mayonnaise


Alpha Release 3 General Discussion


So far, Pathfinder looks to be a vast improvement over 4e. However, I see a problem with Pathfinder in that the design focus seems to be slathering on abilities like mayonnaise--and too much mayonnaise is gross. For instance, look at the ranger. The entire class table is flooded with text. Now, that's not a bad thing in all cases; I'm a big proponent of no "dead levels." However, I look at the rogue and see the same thing. And then I look at the monk, too, and I see an endless wall of text.

So here's my gripe: Paizo seems to be pushing "more abilities" rather than "stronger abilities." If the players have abilities that scale well with level, there's no need for a dozen of them. So, my proposal is as follows:

--Reduce the number of class abilities.
--Make class abilities more meaningful.
--Add back in some class abilities as necessary and/or make them feats.

I consider myself a individual of not-below-average intellect, but the sheer amount of abilities is overwhelming in Pathfinder. I'd like to see this altered so that the game is more streamlined.


Psychic_Robot wrote:
So far, Pathfinder looks to be a vast improvement over 4e. However, I see a problem with Pathfinder in that the design focus seems to be slathering on abilities like mayonnaise--and too much mayonnaise is gross. For instance, look at the ranger. The entire class table is flooded with text. Now, that's not a bad thing in all cases; I'm a big proponent of no "dead levels." However, I look at the rogue and see the same thing. And then I look at the monk, too, and I see an endless wall of text.

I find the comment about rangers and monks a little strange; they only have 3 more abilities than their 3.5 counterparts.

Just for contrast, I like having lots of "stuff" to choose from, so I would be disappointed if the ranger or monk only got three or four powerful abilities over the course of 20 levels. YMMV, of course.

Liberty's Edge

More choices and abilities in the core rules mean:
- less incentive to go for the splatbooks for that special something (which means less books to haul to the sessions)
- more balanced and tested examples to use to develop house rules and variants

Some abilities (I'm looking at you bardic performance) could use a more unified presentation or even a table.

Finally, taking each class one level at a time helps big time.


Excellent point, Psychic_Robot, and one I agree with wholeheartedly. I felt the addition of rogue talents was a bit unnecessary, for example.


We're currently contemplating about what parts of PF to include in our 3.5e game. One player is strongly oppossed to use the "new classes". Some of their ideas are quite nice, but in general, I'm totaly with him on that.

The parts were 3.5e got fixed are very well recieved so far.


I see Ranger and Monk and Rogue being mentioned... but what about the Barbarian? He's got a whole pile of abilities, except they are a function of his rage points. Same with Fighter.. loads of "abilities" but they are just listed as "bonus feat".

What about any caster class? List every single spell he gets, and bammo.. that's a HUGE block of text.

The problem you are seeing is not a problem for the reason you stated. It's simply a cluttered stat block. If more information was moved to an entry, rather on the stat block abilities line, I doubt you'd see it the same way anymore.

The Sorcerer, between Bloodlines and Spells Known/Per Day, has a greater number of abilities per level than the Ranger and Rogue combined. You are just used to having classes pick dozens of spells, as opposed to abilities.


Psychic_Robot wrote:
So far, Pathfinder looks to be a vast improvement over 4e. However ...

Naysayer! NAYSAYER!!!

How dare you?!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I actually like the new rouge. It seemed weird that a rouge went through 10 very set levels and then BAM, choices. I don't think any other class has that sort of arrangement. The fighter was always picking his feats, the ranger made one choice and reaped it the rest of his progression, spellcasters had to make important decisions every level, and the simple monk and barbarian just their set of class abilities to copy down. But the rouge suddenly switched gears late in the game.

I also like the ability to choose what kind of rouge I wanted. Just as spellcasters could change their role based on the spells they used rouges have a lot of things they can be, but other than assigning skill points and a few feats selections there wasn't much of a separation. As an example make a charismatic rouge and a combat rouge and you'll see that they are almost identical besides their skills. With these new abilities I can start making my choices sooner at least.

As for stronger abilities go, I don't want to get 1 ability at 1st level that just gets stronger and stronger. I like variety in my actions, or else by 4 or 5 levels later I'm just sick of doing it. I can only get impressed at my eldrich blast so much before I need to slap an invocation on it just to spice it up a bit.

I'm not opposed to abilities getting stronger, that's the key part of a good ability. If an ability doesn't scale, no one will ever pick it. its too short term, but having a single ability that gets stronger and that you only use get repetitive which leads to boredom.


I like choices. I'm a really big fan of classes that get lots of them.

Maybe the presentation can be tweaked a bit, but I don't want the clone syndrome to show up (where two characters from the same class are virtually the same, except for the name). In fact, I want PF to keep away from that by a wide margin.

Dark Archive

I like *some* more choices that avoid dead levels. Although what some people consider a dead level, I don't.

Rogue - I do think that the abilities are a little thick here. I would move trap sense, evasion, and the like to Rogue Talents, so clear up the wall of noise, and allow customizable characters along with very backward-compatable builds.

The other classes didn't have that much added to them ... I mean, ranger got Favored Terrain and Quarry. No big deal. Fighters got Armor and Weapon Training. No big deal.

I agree too many abilities is crazy. But we're still in early stages of playtesting...


It really boils down to having more options. Take for instance the Rogue, which is typically a favorite. There are numerous types of Rogues, from the 'sneak in, burgle, sneak out' to the 'you can't see me until it's too late, dagger in the kidneys', to the 'fast-talking, I'm really a polymorphed silver dragon in disguise so let me in' types. Everyone has their own view of each of the classes. So instead of shoving a bunch of abilities at each level, give the players a choice of abilities that are now available at each level. This is somewhat done with the monk and the ranger, and to a lesser degree the cleric (through domain choices) and the wizard (by selecting a school of specialization). This allows the player to choose the path they want their character to follow, instead of the class descriptions dictating it for them.

Scarab Sages

KaeYoss wrote:

I like choices. I'm a really big fan of classes that get lots of them.

Maybe the presentation can be tweaked a bit, but I don't want the clone syndrome to show up (where two characters from the same class are virtually the same, except for the name). In fact, I want PF to keep away from that by a wide margin.

Yes.


I too like choices, but the more class abilities are like rogue/fighter talents the more you blurr the red line of a class.

Class get more generic than, and if you make all classes work like that, you will get to a point where you could drop them all and replace them with Talent Trees (I am acutally thinking to make a test for this).

What I try to say:

"The more generic the class abilities, the more generic (= less clear/tangible) the class."

Dark Archive

DracoDruid wrote:

"The more generic the class abilities, the more generic (= less clear/tangible) the class."

I'm not sure I agree with that. Iconic classes like the fighter are by their very nature generic.

I may be *very* old school here, but I prefer the core classes to be Archetypes rather than specific roles. I don't need a ninja class, I need a rogue or rogue/fighter with a skill and feat set that let me do ninja things.

Sure, you want those Archetypes to fulfill specific party or game roles, and you don't want to blur the lines too much. But even if you have a trapfinding skill that your fighter takes, it doesn't make him a rogue, because he still can't do that much with the trap, sneak attack, or Hide very well ...


Archade wrote:

I'm not sure I agree with that. Iconic classes like the fighter are by their very nature generic.

Yeah. You could say that the fighter doesn't have any abilities of his own. All he does is make attacks, do damage, get HP, feats and AC.

It's meant to be that way. They're fighters, something every class can do to an extent. The alternative would be to introduce fighter powers like in 4e. No thanks.

And I don't think the rogue gets generic. With the exception of the a bit too freely choosable bonus feats, it's all within the normal parameters of the class: Skill master, sneakster, backstabber/dirty fighter.

Liberty's Edge

I f!#%ing love me some mayonnaise apparently, because I can't get enough.

I'm all for having lots of small abilities to choose from. It creates variety and meaningful differences between characters, and allows for a broader range of possible character types.

Scarab Sages

Psychic_Robot wrote:
....slathering on abilities like mayonnaise

I hate mayonnaise. The smell alone is sickening. As far as I'm concerned, they could take every last bit of that crap, load it into a rocket, and launch it into the sun. It sucks that much.


Aberzombie wrote:
Psychic_Robot wrote:
....slathering on abilities like mayonnaise
I hate mayonnaise. The smell alone is sickening. As far as I'm concerned, they could take every last bit of that crap, load it into a rocket, and launch it into the sun. It sucks that much.

I've heard from reliable sources that you much prefer the taste of human ankle flesh.

TS

Liberty's Edge

Aberzombie wrote:
Psychic_Robot wrote:
....slathering on abilities like mayonnaise
I hate mayonnaise. The smell alone is sickening. As far as I'm concerned, they could take every last bit of that crap, load it into a rocket, and launch it into the sun. It sucks that much.

Oh, my, that would be bad.

Do you know what happens to mayonaise in the sun? It ain't pretty. And if you thought they smell bad fresh....

There's only one thing to be done with it - let people dispose of it safely by putting it on their sandwiches. But I'm not helping. Of course, I often forget to ask for my burger without it.... Then I just pretend like it isn't there.


I believe having a lot of different abilities at different levels is a good thing as it can potentially reduce the Ftr2/Rog3/Bbn1 shennanigans. Having few abilities makes for boring characters (in some respect) and makes a player go looking for the benefits of dipping into somewhere else, or even, measuring the best time to "bail out of a class".


I am dabbling with my own "D&D3.75" ATM, and I have a hard time to decide how many and which classes I should include.

I tried 4x2 classes at first (2 warrior paths, 2 mage paths, 2 priest paths, 2 rogue paths), and I could see, that they get less ... well how do I say this... meaningful, the more generic they get.

Sure, I am also NOT for classes like ninja, samurai, or other classes that are just "setting-variants" of more generic classes (fighter, rogue, etc.)
as you said already.

But then, you could take this one step further and do something like True20 and have only 3 (or 4 with arcane/divine caster) core classes and A LOT of Talent Trees/feats.
While this might be good for several points, it doesn't feel like D&D anymore to me.

I think core classes should be to one part fixed and to one part "player-option-choices".
But the "options" shouldn't be too generic like the fighter or rogue talents are right now.

Maybe something with - IDK - 3 or 4 options (f.e. Ranger: Fav. Enemy, Fav. Terrain, Combat style).


I have:
barbarian, fighter, ranger
druid, priest (a divine defensive wizard)
rogue, bard
wizard, witch (a nature-powered sorcerer)

For my setting, there are also some generic prestige-classes
infilitrator (neutral assassin); scout (ranger/rogue blend); warpriest (cleric/paladin/blackguard/deathknight/...)

and some specific one
fairy magic user; shadow magic user; Warlock (practicer of fiendish magic); Witchblade (admited, a Jedi ^^); Shade (similar to shadowdancer)

And that's all. Feels even more D&D to me than all those Complete Jack-in-a-Box books. ^^
But I did start with AD&D for a short time, but it left a lasting influence. I think the skills and feats allow for at least an equal ammount of customization as the kits did, and you can even multiclass freely.

Liberty's Edge

Mayonnaise is a colloid.


Tequila Sunrise wrote:


I've heard from reliable sources that you much prefer the taste of human ankle flesh.

I never said that

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