BM's Alpha 3 Playtest

Alpha Release 3 General Discussion

Dark Archive

Note: Sorry if this thread shows up twice, the boards ate the first time around. Edit: And of course, the first one shows up after I post this one. Gah!

After a long Hiatus, I was able to have my group restart. Since we hadn't played in so long, I was able to get them to agree to switch over to pathfinder, as converting the characters would refresh them on their characters. The party should be a interesting test to see how the new PFRPG classes balance against WotC splatbook classes, as the party is half PFRPG classes, and the other half from various WotC splatbooks.

The party includes:


Elf Fighter Lvl 8
Half-Elf Sorcerer(Sliver Dragon Bloodline)/Cleric Gestalt Lvl 6*
Human Binder Lvl 8
Human Beguiler Lvl 8

Elf Druid Lvl 3
Kobold Swordsage Lvl 3

*He was a orginally a multiclass Sorcerer 4/Cleric 3 planning to take the mystic theurge PrC but for the sake of him testing the Domain powers and the Sorcerer bloodline powers, I'm allowing him to Gestalt the two classes. To balance it, I'm making him follow the Medium advancement experience total chart instead of the fast one like everyone else. Just eyeballing it, he should lag behind by about a level or 2 which hopefully will keep him from unbalancing the game. If I find it to be unbalancing, I have reserved the right to have him switch him back to multiclassing.


Character Conversion/Gen: All the classes converted easily, if slightly time consuming. It took about a minute or two to convert the Splatbook classes' class skill list, and about 5 mins to completely redo skills, with the exception of the Beguiler, who took 15 mins to redo skills. The only other time consumer was the players looking up the extra feat they got from converting. In all in all, it took about 30 mins to convert a character (which includes transcribing them to a new character sheet), and if you got rid of the various distactions, like the chattering that was going on and like, I would say that it takes about 15 mins to convert a character, 5-10 if re-use the old/same character sheet. Indeed, the two NPCs took about 10 mins each to convert, and that includes transcribing them to new sheets.

Two things I noticed when I converted the Beguiler was that A) after converting its class skill list was that it had all skills BUT Craft, Fly, Handle Animal, Heal, Intimidate, 8 of the Knowledge skills, Perform, Ride, and Survival or in other words it had 54% of all skills as class skills (if you count Craft, Perform, and Profession as 1 skill each). Which lead me to realize B) under the new skill system, its more important to have alot of class skills than it is to have more skill points per level at least in the early levels. The Beguiler, by simply puting at least 1 point in all 19 class skills, managed to get 57 extra skill points. This by itself isn't a bad thing, but that future classes must take into account the number of class skills as part of balance.

In-game: Most of the game was RP, with little combat. However, since there was a day that the party would have to wait while an NPC prepared something they needed the next part of the adventure, they decided to hit up the arena in the city for some extra cash by fighting monsters. Since the group is slightly large, they spilted up into two groups to maximize their earnings. After some a few rolls of the dice, and a semi-random selection, I got a 9-headed and a Behir as the two challenges they would face. They looked like a good chance to test CMB and I went with it. The party was given a description of the two monsters, which is where things went wrong for the party as I mentioned fire as something they would be wise to bring for the fight with the hydra, they took it as meaning the monster was fire vulnerable, and put all 3 casters in the team that would fight the hydra, and put the binder, swordsage, and fighter in the other to face the Behir. Sensing that the caster only party was screwed, I give them a slight warning in the odds that they were given (10 to 1 for the hydra fight) as the fighter argued that they should at least have the switch out the druid for himself, or the swordsage. The Beguiler and Sorcerer/Cleric disagree and keep their group all casters.

So what should have been a interesting fight with CMB tested as the attempted to sunder the Hydra devolved into a 2 round fight in which the Hydra rolls a natural 20 for init and the Beguiler and Sorcerer/Cleric both roll natural 1s for init(By now the players know they are screwed), and the hydra walks up and drops(but doesn't kill) both the Beguiler and Sorcerer/Cleric by round 2. The Druid promptly surrenders.

The Behir goes better, and manages to test CMB. My verdict is CMB works VERY well. Fighter gave a good showing of himself, using Power Attack and Backswing together (making all three attacks) to do +60 damage (6d6+3 from using a +1 greatsword+30 from power attack+17 total from Str mod+3 weapon training) in a single round. The Behir then managed to hit him with its bite attack then managed to make its CMB/Grapple check. Mathwise, the Behir had +19 (+9 BAB+8 STR mod+2 Size mod) on is roll vs the fighter's +13 (8 BAB+5 STR Mod) meaning it needed a 9 or higher to make the 28 DC check.(Which feels just about right, particularly if you take into a count feats/abilities that grant bonuses to CMB.) The Binder and Swordsage move in to attack, hoping to end the fight quickly but fail to hit the Behir. The fighter attempts to get free from the grapple, which (unknown to him) he needs 20 to get free. Predictably he fails. The Behir then makes the grapple check, does its constrict damage and makes rake attacks taking off just under half of fighter's HP. The Binder and Swordsage attack again, but this time manage to hit for about 15 damage, knocking the Behir's HP to 14. The Behir eats the fighter (Swallow Whole), and then makes its bite attack against the Swordsage which crits, killing him outright. The Binder then finishes the fight, attacks the Behir one more time and does 12 damage knocking the Behir's HP down to 2 HP which causes the Beastmaster of the Arena to step in, and call the fight. The PCs win, and the Breastmaster uses a spell to make the Behir vomit the Fighter out.

The remainder of the game was spent trying to revive the Swordsage, which they succeeded after talking to a NPC druid they are on friendly terms with. (Not the one in the party of course.) After they managed to get the druid to cast reincarnate (the Swordsage managed to stay a Kobold), We considered that a good to place to call it quits. A will hopefully have a game again sometime this weekend, so I hope to have the second session up by next week.

So far the changes have been well received, and the fighter feels more power, and in the one fight we had so far has shown that he can do massive amounts of damage. I have to see if he remains as effective as we go on.

Thanks - interesting read!

Dark Archive

BM's Playtest Session 2 part 1!

Alright, I managed to get a (part) of a game in last weekend, and I finally manage to sit down and write out the session.

Due to a delay caused by one of my players, we only managed to get 1/3 of the way through what I have into what had planed.

They began to move on in the campaign. The PCs are more or less mercs (its a sandbox game), and they were hired to get a rare substance found on the plane of shadow, and managed to talk a wizard who specializes in planer research to use a magic device he has to transport them there. Problem is the device works like plane shift, meaning that it was one way. Since no one in the group can cast Plane Shift, the PCs obtained a Scroll of Plane Shift, and I told them that they would need to make a UMD check, or A) Be struck forever in the plane of Shadow (or at least until they are able to find a way back), or B)Worse, be tossed into a random plane. I warn them the check would be high. The nodged and when on with their plan. What they don't know is the DC is a 33. The Beguiler needs a 20 to pull it off. Joy.

Arriving where they were supposed to, they explored the cave. The cleric/Sorcerer casted light on everyone but the Swordsage, which lead to the realization that the cleric could just cast light everywhere, turning a dark hard to see area into a well lit room. The even pondered casting light on rocks, and tossing those rocks around corners to light up rooms before they entered, (hopefully) lighting up any enemies before the fight started. I wouldn't say that its game breaking, but it does make normal darkness a little more than a waste of time, and depower Darkvison quite a bit. I would say that in normal conditions, Light+Low-light vison is better than darkvison under the new rules. The only real advanage that darkvison has now is that its more stealthy than Light+Low light vison, which was the only reason we didn't cast it on the Swordsage(Who became the scout). Only did the impeded magic trait kept Light from overpowering darkvison, and made the darkness interesting.

In the first room, the Swordsage's limited range Dark vison failed to spot a Ephemeral Hangman (ToM P 161) lurking in the corner, and I called for Perception checks for Hearing. They hear it, but fail to figure where it is, giving it a a surprise round. It uses its step into shadow to teleport right in front corridor PCs where in. It blocks the path of the PC and only two of them can get close enough to attack them. They then roll for init, the Swordsage, Cleric/Sorcerer, Beguilder moving first, followed by the Hangman, then the Fighter, Binder, Druid and her companion last. In that order. The Kobold moves to attack and doesn't do any damage. The Cleric/Sorcerer decides to cast light over it so everyone can see it clearly (It was in shadowy illumination). The Beguiler breaks out a Magic Missile wand and does 12 damage. The Hangman splits its four attacks against the Fighter and Swordsage, with two attacks apiece. Both attacks miss the Fighter but 1 of the attacks hit the Swordsage (despite him having the highest AC) and does 12 damage. He then makes the CMB/Grapple Check. The Fighter uses his Dimension Stride Boots to teleport 20 ft behind the Hangman boxing him in. The Binder (Who bound Savnok and Karsus) moved in and attempted to hit with his greatsword, but failed. In round two, The Swordsage attempts to break free of the Hold and can't short of a natural 20, and fails. Both the casts Magic missile and do a combined damage of 24 damage. THe hangman makes his check to continue the grapple, and does constrict damage doing 15 damage knocking the Swordsage out. It attacks with the three remaining tendrils and rolls badly, missing. The Fighter attempts to free the Swordsage by sundering the tendril that holds him. His CMB is a +13 vs the Hangman's +15 meaning he need a 17 or higher to hit. He rolls a 12. Binder full attacks, connecting with the first but missing with the second for a total of 12 damage. The Druid then squeezes by and risks a AoO to move next to the Swordsage and casts a cure spell on him putting him up to 5 HP. Third round, The Swordsage attempts to get free and fails again, and the casters cast something(I don't remember and I don't have it written down) and do 16 damage. The poor Hangmang can't really do anything by this point, being boxed in on all sides and as its powers mostly only work in darkness or shadows, and the cleric threw a light spell over its head. It does the only real thing it can do which is do one last full attack, which it misses. It also deals constrict damage to the Swordsage again knocking him out. The Fighter decides he needs to end the fight quick before the Swordsage dies (again). He uses Backswing and Power attack, hit with the first attack but missing withe the second two attacks. He does 27 damage total, and drops the Hangman down to 5 HP. The Binder then finishes the fight with a full attack of his own dropping the Hangman into the negatives.

Notes from the first fight:

While I like how CMB works, After this fight I think the DC is too high. It really does need to be 10+CMB. The Fighter, with the highest CMB in the group could only make it on a 17 or higher, which is too high. If Hangman had Defensive Maneuvers, the Fighter would need a 20 to succeed. (Also, does Defensive Maneuvers count on an attempt to break free from a grapple?) I also messed up on the grapple bit, as I mess up the first two rounds before realizing that maintaining a grapple took a standard act, vs the free action I was giving it. Plus the current rules seem to assume two humanoid shape creatures fighting each other, and not creature with multiple limbs or possibly the ability to hold on to an enemy and do other things. Right now, I giving any monster with improved grab the ability to maintain the grapple as a free action. Alternatively make maintaining a grapple a move action. Right now, it seems to limiting to get into a grapple, unless your fighting one on one. I'll probably make a thread tomorrow outlining some ideas.

Second, make Overhand Chop as standard action. Its really weak and all it is a weaker version of Power attack. Making it a Standard Action will make it alot more worth it, and make it something useful for when you have to move. Right now, it is just a something to make you spend a feat before you take Backswing and Devastating Blow.

There was a second fight against some shadow elementals, but the fight yeilded nothing particularly note worthy, but that the Fighter does well to use Dimension Stride Boots to teleport to move into flanking, and use Backswing and Power Attack together. If he hits with all three attacks, he ends up doing alot of damage. And with his to hit bonus thats really easy. Even with power attack, he has a +11(+8 BAB+1 Weapon Focus+1Weapon Training+1 enchantment bonus) meaning he will hit at least 50% of the time. More once you take into account flanking and the like. He seems to be doing all right, for now at least.

I like the idea of making overhead blow a standard action - it would go pretty well with a charge.

Unlimited light is a little weird but not too game-breaking, but you might consider house ruling that each caster can only have one light active at a time. Light #N+1 dispels light #N.

It does mean no worrying about torches, as long as there's a caster in the group. That sounds fine to me.

The Exchange

tergiver wrote:

I like the idea of making overhead blow a standard action - it would go pretty well with a charge.

Unlimited light is a little weird but not too game-breaking, but you might consider house ruling that each caster can only have one light active at a time. Light #N+1 dispels light #N.

It does mean no worrying about torches, as long as there's a caster in the group. That sounds fine to me.

Worse then the unlimited light is unlimited Detect Magic. It seems a bit broken. We play tested with a Sorceress and a Cleric who took turns taking sweeps of the area just to see if we could pinpoint any magical effects. It fit very well in the setting we were in a jungle like Vietnam. But I could easily see this being abused.

One would never guess how can a few Nestil's Magical Aura spells annoy such a detector party...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BM wrote:
The Beguiler breaks out a Magic Missile wand and does 12 damage.

I assume the Beguiler was using the Use Magic Device skill, as the spell is not on the class list?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Crow81 wrote:

Worse then the unlimited light is unlimited Detect Magic. It seems a bit broken. We play tested with a Sorceress and a Cleric who took turns taking sweeps of the area just to see if we could pinpoint any magical effects. It fit very well in the setting we were in a jungle like Vietnam. But I could easily see this being abused.

I have a simple house rule. Detect Magic will not divine the aura of an unseen item whether it's invisible, or hidden inside a box. I've been using that ever since items with unlimited detect magic became common and to deal with things such as Invisibility and Illusion. (as part of most illusions is that of mundaneness)

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