Power Creep in Pathfinder - the +2 / +2 / -2 Ability Score Power Boost


Ability Scores and Races

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Brent wrote:
I like the new racial ability modifiers a lot. They make the choice of race more interesting.

To me, that point far outweighs the concern about power creep. In 3.5 the bonus only ever applied to a physical stat (at least for the core races). Giving each non-human race a +2 to both a physical stat and a non-physical stat seems more balanced, and is certainly more interesting.

Liberty's Edge

Archade wrote:
I ran an 8th level playtest, and what I found is some of the changes to races, including the +2/+2/-2, made the choice of race more meaningful at higher levels.

Could you be more specific; with some examples, please.

Robert

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

Hi there all,

It seems to me that there are a lot of folks on both sides of this issue. I am currently leaning toward keeping the +2/+2/-2 dynamic. It helps to encourage certain race roles that many find valuable and it will also allow us to open up a number of other "monster" races that were undesirable before due to their +1 level adjustment.

I am still open to debate on this issue, but over the life of a character, a single additional +2 bonus does not seem too unbalancing.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Liberty's Edge

Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hi there all,

It seems to me that there are a lot of folks on both sides of this issue. I am currently leaning toward keeping the +2/+2/-2 dynamic. It helps to encourage certain race roles that many find valuable and it will also allow us to open up a number of other "monster" races that were undesirable before due to their +1 level adjustment.

I am still open to debate on this issue, but over the life of a character, a single additional +2 bonus does not seem too unbalancing.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Thanks, Jason, for chiming in - I know I speak for many of us when I say that we're thrilled to know that you're at least listening to what we have to say.

Perhaps you can stop by the Paladin in Action thread and give some of your opinions on that........pretty please......we're dying to know your opinions on certain topics.

EDIT: Cancel that request for now - I forgot we weren't actually talking about classes yet....I'll save that request for another week. ;-) Again, thanks.

Robert

Dark Archive

Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hi there all,

It seems to me that there are a lot of folks on both sides of this issue. I am currently leaning toward keeping the +2/+2/-2 dynamic. It helps to encourage certain race roles that many find valuable and it will also allow us to open up a number of other "monster" races that were undesirable before due to their +1 level adjustment.

I am still open to debate on this issue, but over the life of a character, a single additional +2 bonus does not seem too unbalancing.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Personally I think that the +2/+2/-2 works great and would love to see it kept as is.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hi there all,

It seems to me that there are a lot of folks on both sides of this issue. I am currently leaning toward keeping the +2/+2/-2 dynamic. It helps to encourage certain race roles that many find valuable and it will also allow us to open up a number of other "monster" races that were undesirable before due to their +1 level adjustment.

I am still open to debate on this issue, but over the life of a character, a single additional +2 bonus does not seem too unbalancing.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Hello Jason,

Thanks for stopping by and listening to our comments. The +2/+2/-2 racial ability adjustments do serve to better support flavor of the races, though perhaps the same thing could be accomplished by letting the players pick a +2 at character creation to only one of the two ability scores that receive +2 in Pathfinder. Still, even the current mechanic is quite nice and contributes to power creep in a limited fashion and mostly at lower levels.

The thing to remember, however, is that the extra +2 to an ability score is only one of several instances of power creep in the Pathfinder RPG (I concentrated on the ability score/race issue in this thread, because this is the ability score/race board...). Each one on its own does not overly change the balance of the game, but together they do add up. This is particularly important when coupled with the understandable reluctance on your part to state the precise power adjustment Pathfinder characters have over their 3.5E counterparts (it is understandable, because this is difficult to calculate and may vary with level). I think for some people this can present a bigger obstacle to backward compatibility than most mechanical changes in and of themselves, because together these power ups may make it difficult to combine 3.5E materials with Pathfinder RPG materials in a balanced manner.

Consider the instances of power creep:

Extra +2 an ability score for all races
- The extra +2 can enhance mechanical support for race flavor, though it is slight power creep, especially at lower levels.
Perhaps it could be mitigated by either forcing the player to chose only one of the two ability scores to gain the bonus or by assigning an extra (second) -2 to another ability score as an additional penalty.

Feats every 2 rather than every 3 levels
- This is a 50% increase in the rate of feat acquisition and although it feels nice to be able to customize a character with extra feats it does also add to the power increase of characters.

New Skill Point System
- It is simpler and makes multiclassing easier, but by combining some skills, making cross-class skills cheaper and creating the possibility to get a free +3 in all class skills, it also makes the characters more powerful overall.

Class Redesigns
- The classes have had a host of abilities added to them to make it more viable to remain single-classed. This is mostly a good change and does help to accomplish its intended purpose, but again it does boost the power of characters.

Standardization of hit dice to d6, d8 and d10
- Though it is neater to have it, there was no real need for HD standardization to BAB. Standardization could be done to d4, d6 and d8 instead.

Starting hit points
- Bonuses to starting hit points are a good idea with respect to enhancing survivability at low levels, but again, they add to power creep.

Favored class bonuses
- Adding +1 to hit points or skill points per level of favored class is a much better mechanic than that in 3.5E, but it does present a small amount of power creep too.

The above are the changes that come to mind immediately - there may be more.

The worst offender for me is the hit point inflation in Pathfinder:
- Higher hit dice --> +1 to mean hit points / level
- Better toughness feat --> +1 to mean hit points / level
- Favored class bonus to hit points --> +1 to mean hit points / level
- Starting hit points --> +6 hit points overall (well, the number depends on the option chosen)

Yes, not all of these always apply to all characters, but the overall effect is that some characters can have +3 hit points per level in addition to a starting hit point bonus compared to what they had in 3.5E!

10th level Elven Wizard in 3.5E:
~ 26 hit points (assuming initial Con 12, brought down to 10 by racial modifiers)

10th level Elven Wizard in Pathfinder RPG:
~ 53 hit points (assuming the same Constitution score, the flat starting hit point bonus and taking the hit point boni from favored class)

...and that is if he didn't take the much improved Toughness feat or it would be 29 versus 66 hit points for 3.5E and Pathfinder Elven Wizard respectively!

The difference is huge, as our Pathfinder elven wizard has more than twice as many hit points as his 3.5E counterpart. .

Here are some potential solutions:

1) Either standardize hit dice at d4, d6 and d8 with a d10 exception for the Barbarian or abandon standardization altogether and revert back to 3.5E hit dice
2) Remove the hit point bonus possibility from favored class
3) Eliminate the maximum hit points rule for 1st level
4) Implement some kind of combination of the above

I would prefer the new Toughness feat be kept - the old Toughness feat was simply too useless. I would also prefer that starting bonus to hit points remained, since it is a much better targeted fix to survival of starting characters than increased hit dice the effects of which mostly accumulate at higher levels and thus have little impact on survival at lower levels, while promoting hit point inflation.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to imply that any mechanic should be automatically thrown out just because of power creep, but I think it should be a factor that is taken into account and there should be an attempt at keeping the power-level the same unless there is a compelling reason not to. For example, the class redesigns do add extra power to the classes, but they eliminate boring dead levels and thus make the classes more interesting. Similarly, the starting hit point bonus is a worthwhile power-creep mechanic, since it improves survivability at low levels and will have limited impact on higher levels. Bigger hit dice for sorcerors and wizards, however, try to accomplish the same thing, but with much less success. They grant hit points gradually, as characters level, so they are poorly targetted at improving low-level survivability and I doubt people are clamoring to have even longer fights at higher levels due to more hit points all around – they last long enough already. Higher hit dice, therefore, merely serve to increase hit point inflation needlessly and are thus a bad mechanical change.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

I do see the high inflation of hit points as a problem, to some extent. Let me clarify. The issue you bring up is the most extreme in the case of classes that got a Hit Die bump. In the case of wizards and sorcerers, they could not, in 3.5, generally survive one round of attacks from a monster of their CR if all the attacks hit. This was a bit out of alignment in my opinion, so the change was made to give them a bit more durability. The one thing that I note is that we have not yet firmly decided to keep all of the hit point enhancing options. In fact, I think one of them may go by the time we reach the final game.

Power Creep is one of my major concerns, and you are right, the level we are going for has not been quantified, primarily because there is no real metric for doing so with divergent classes. That said, this is more of an "art" decision and not a "science" decision. As such, it is fully open to debate and hit points is a great place to start.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


Jason Bulmahn wrote:


I do see the high inflation of hit points as a problem, to some extent. Let me clarify. The issue you bring up is the most extreme in the case of classes that got a Hit Die bump.

This is true, though I did chose an average character in terms of hit points from the extreme class. The inflation of hit points for some of the other classes is less extreme, but still present.

Quote:


In the case of wizards and sorcerers, they could not, in 3.5, generally survive one round of attacks from a monster of their CR if all the attacks hit. This was a bit out of alignment in my opinion, so the change was made to give them a bit more durability.

You make a good point on the survival rate of clerics and sorcerors, but I think Pathfinder in its current incarnation overcompensates. Perhaps just keeping the starting bonus and enabling the player to chose favored class hit point bonuses would suffice to redress this to an acceptable level.

Quote:


The one thing that I note is that we have not yet firmly decided to keep all of the hit point enhancing options. In fact, I think one of them may go by the time we reach the final game.

I think it would be great if at least one of the hit point enhancements went away. I would like to cast a vote for preserving some kind of starting hit point bonus (whichever you pick), as this is best targeted at enhancing survivability at low levels.

It is also possible to tinker round the edges with some of the hit point inflating options - for example, changing Toughnesss from 3 + Level hit points to 3 or Level hit points (whichever is greater) or eliminating the first level maximum hit points from a hit die (would also make multiclassing fairer as Barbarian/Rogue would be the same as Rogue/Barbarian in terms of hit points). This is not a systemic solution, but a few hit points here a few hit points there, it can add up especially if combined with removal of some of the systemic hit point enhancements altogether.

Quote:


Power Creep is one of my major concerns, and you are right, the level we are going for has not been quantified, primarily because there is no real metric for doing so with divergent classes. That said, this is more of an "art" decision and not a "science" decision.

As such, it is fully open to debate and hit points is a great place to start.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Quantification of the power level is extremely difficult, but if it could be accomplished, it would eliminate much of the backward-compatibility angst caused by power creep - when you know how much stuff is out of line you can compensate. Still, because it is so difficult to quantify, it may be best to fight power creep in areas where it is not necessary to either solve serious mechanical problems, or add a great deal of flavor or perhaps make something boring a lot more interesting.

These three criteria perhaps explain why hit points are the optimal target, I think, for curbing power creep. Hit points are boring. They are a good mechanic and useful to enable a character to survive, but they are not flashy and they do not enable your character to do anything flashy, cool or interesting. Extra hit points also do not generally add flavor - characters are plenty tough already compared to average people and if anything adding even more hit points hurts flavor in this regard (not appreciably, but it certainly does not add flavor). Hence, I would say hit points should only be added when that corrects a major mechanical problem (e.g. low level survivability) and then in a targetted manner.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hi there all,

It seems to me that there are a lot of folks on both sides of this issue. I am currently leaning toward keeping the +2/+2/-2 dynamic. It helps to encourage certain race roles that many find valuable and it will also allow us to open up a number of other "monster" races that were undesirable before due to their +1 level adjustment.

I am still open to debate on this issue, but over the life of a character, a single additional +2 bonus does not seem too unbalancing.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Good in theory, but doesn't impact in the game. What LA races I have seen since Pathfinder RPG was released have pretty much been the same with a +2 bonus tacked on somewhere.

The problem with this is that while some LA races aren't worth losing a class level, there are quite a few which are, and unless you do a thorough playtest of every single race out there it's impossible to really say which races should really get the boost.

Besides, it's not like theres any shortage of non-level adjustment races. I went to the effort to list every playable race allowed in my own campaign, and I was able to list 57 non-homebrewed, non-level adjustment races.


The d4 is not a fun die to roll. Not only is it difficult to roll and read (I always use a d8 halved instead), it makes encounters more difficult to plan when the barbarian has d12s + Con, the fighter d10s + Con and so on down to the wizard with d4s + Con (possibly). It's also a lot more predictable (having the least sides of course).

Having d6s for wizards and sorcerers is a great move and I completely support it.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
The one thing that I note is that we have not yet firmly decided to keep all of the hit point enhancing options. In fact, I think one of them may go by the time we reach the final game.

If you end up cutting favored classes but keeping bonus 1st-level hit points, I would like to suggest adding bonus 1st-level skill points to go along with the bonus 1st-level hit points. A few extra skills on 1st level go a long way towards promoting interesting character backgrounds.

Liberty's Edge

Personally, i dont see as much of a problem with the 'power creep' as other people do.

Sure I see that there is more power in the changes than was presented in the core 3.5; but I don't see it as much of a problem; in fact I welcome most of it so far.

The classes - more powerful than 3.5 core - but the splat book classes were more powerful than the core classes too.

The races - same as above.

The hit points - a needed improvement - especially for lower levels, and for the overly feeble classes of wiz and sorc. if you compared a 3.5 Barb w/ a PF Barb, the hit point difference is not so drastic at all; perhaps 10% - 15% is all.

With PF working on their own monsters to be in line with the new system, their dumming down of many of the lethal spells, and powerfully broken ones like Polymorph, their lessening of some of the feats that seem to truly imbalance things (Imp Trip, Power Attack, Combat Xpertise), their adventure paths typically being a bit more on the difficult side than standard plain-jane adventures, and their push towards making the existing splat books not as necessary, I think that the power currently is right on par.

For my money, if I wanted things to remain the same, I would play what I already have. I see that Pathfinder changes and fresh and innovative and I think that the general market was ready for a little boost in most of these areas - as the splat books and their incessant uses of races and classes prove that people want a bit more character oomph.

My playtesting has been proving that I can still kick the players teeth in - even with that 85 hit point 13th level wizard in the party!

Of course, YMMV, but for me, the power creep isn't so much as to be a deterrent, and in fact it's seeming to be more in line with what most want - again, if it didn't get changed, there's no point in changing games. I've allocated ALL of my money for gaming purposes to Paizo for that reason - its becase they're making the game that so far seems to be on par with what I want to play.

Robert

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Even as I mostly GM, I don't see the power creep as a problem. Anyway, why is making PCs more powerful, as they are the stars of the show, a problem?

In playtest, players in creating characters like the extra bonus and makes for some wanting to try different racial options than they ever have done previously.

Scarab Sages

Originally I wasn't bothered by the +2/+2/-2 system. Lately, I am becoming more opposed to it.

1. It encourages optimization and leaves characters with few weaknesses.

2. Ability scores are the quickest way to specialize a character. By providing two bonuses a character has even more opportunity by dumping another stat to raise another even higher.

3. Some of the mental ability scores feel forced or arbitrary, leading to uncomfortable debate and some similarity between races which previously did not exist.

4. Overall power creep.

Now, I'm all for balancing PRPG races with +1 LA races or splatbook races. I'd like to use ECL 2 races in my games at level 1 just for flavour.

Now, this is more work, but why not just give each race a more powerful ability or improve existing abilities. I do like the idea of half-elves and humans getting +2 to any stat. It works.


Another purely aesthetic strike against the d6/d8/d10 hit dice standardization: d10 is the only D&D die that is not a Platonic Solid!

OK, with that aesthetic low-blow out of the way, perhaps a compromise hit die solution would be to have d4/d6/d8 standardization, but each class would also get a +1 hit point per level. Thus, it would effectively be: d4+1/d6+1/d8+1 (The Barbarian could be an exception with d12, or d10+1 or d8+2)

This would result in the same average hit points as the d6/d8/d10 system, but the lower range and upper range hit points would be less extreme.


Back on topic, how about a compromise solution to the ability score issue? Perhaps races could get the following ability score modifiers: +2/+1/-2

The +1 is a bit of a non-standard ability score bonus, but this might mitigate the power creep somewhat. This could be implemented in 2 ways:

1) The player could chose into which of the two favored stats to place the +2 and the +1
2) The +2 would be pre-assigned to one of the ability scores and the +1 to another (perhaps the mental stats could always get the +1 to mitigate caster power creep - but that is certainly subject to debate)

Humans and Half-Elves (and perhaps Half-Orcs) under this system would get a +1 bonus to any one ability score of the player's choice.

I feel that this is a reasonable compromise, though letting the player chose which of the two favored ability scores to assign a single +2 (Humans, Half-Elves and Half-Orcs would get no bonus) would work similarly well and mitigate power creep even more.


While no one probably cares what I think I will throw my two cents in anyway.
Beta is fine.
The "Power Creep" is fine. Why?
Because its not really power creep. You guys have taken a look at the rise of the Rune Lords AP right?
As long as there are "save or die" spells and traps there is no such thing as power creep, LOL
Besides how big of a deal is a +2 to any attribute when you are dealing with a demon lord at like 3 level?


It seems to me that there are a lot of folks on both sides of this issue. I am currently leaning toward keeping the +2/+2/-2 dynamic. It helps to encourage certain race roles that many find valuable and it will also allow us to open up a number of other "monster" races that were undesirable before due to their +1 level adjustment.

- I have to agree. But...

I think some races such as Minotaur can't use this. A +2 Str. Minotaur is like an orc with horns. It just isn't the real deal. Should Minotaur be a pc race. That, too, is debatable.

I like all core races having the +2,+2,-2. Humans could stay the exception. It's odd that half-elves get +2 to anyone and half-orcs +2St,+2W,-2 Int. They're both just as human as the other, right?

For a race like Minotaur we could still use it as a +0 pc if the rule of two feats at lev. 1 and extra skillpoints and such go through. We could deduce from these to allow +4Str, +2Con,-2 Int. Or we could give a race like them +4 Str -2 Int and leave it at that. I'm just useing Minotaurs as an example. There are a number of races where one skill demands a big +. But, again, there are some races that shouldn't be playable.
I'd still like to see an 8th core race. Something that doesn't look so human, but more animalistic or monstrous. Catpeople, Lupin, Phanatons, Orcs, Gnolls, Saurians, or some such....
The core 11 classes cover just about all spectrums. I can't complain there.

Dark Archive

Hi everyone, I wrote a lengthy post on this subject, trying (among other things) to work out the OP's third proposal in more detail. Comments are welcome, I hope James gets round to look at it.

My proposal.

I felt inserting that post here would have bloated things, or at least would have called for putting it inside a spoiler tag. I hope you don't find this a matter of complaint :)


I guess I just don't see the excitement here. If you think that +2 to two stats results in stats that are too high, just use a different method of rolling up stats (e.g. use a 15 point buy instead of a 20 point buy, or roll 3d6 instead of 4d6-drop-one). It's trivial to give PCs lower stats (on average), just like it's trivial to give them higher stats (on average).

Dark Archive

Hogarth, it's very well for you to be unimpressed by the heat this issue has generated. If you think you succeed in communicating this effectively to all extant 3.5 customers, go ahead.

But it should be obvious that right now Paizo is actively losing part of their customer base over the matter, and it might be in their own best interest to avoid that.


Windjammer wrote:
Hogarth, it's very well for you to be unimpressed by the heat this issue has generated. If you think you succeed in communicating this effectively to all extant 3.5 customers, go ahead.

I'm just curious what flaw you see with my reasoning (i.e., if you don't want higher ability scores, use a more restrictive method of generating ability scores).

Dark Archive

hogarth wrote:
Windjammer wrote:
Hogarth, it's very well for you to be unimpressed by the heat this issue has generated. If you think you succeed in communicating this effectively to all extant 3.5 customers, go ahead.
I'm just curious what flaw you see with my reasoning (i.e., if you don't want higher ability scores, use a more restrictive method of generating ability scores).

We are back to page 1. If you are right and the stat boosts don't matter, why fix something that ain't broken? Why not tell those who love to have two +2 boosts to have it via Point Buy as opposed to force it onto those not willing to depart from the OGL?

It's not that your reasoning is flawed, I just find it unpersuasive that people wishing to stick with 3.5 as is should be the ones doing the extra homework via point buy. Especially if a design goal is to maintain 3.5 compatibility.


Windjammer wrote:
We are back to page 1. If you are right and the stat boosts don't matter, why fix something that ain't broken?

I completely agree; there's not really any reason to add this. There's not really any reason to add a bunch of the stuff that has been added to Pathfinder so far.

But it's not any worse "power creep" than using 4d6-drop-one instead of 3d6 to roll stats. I don't get why it would actively drive away part of their customer base. YMMV, of course.

The Exchange

I gotta say I agree with Hogarth. Not that Windjammer's proposal isn't well-written and intelligent, but it isn't my idea of a good thing for Pathfinder. What if I wanted to be a Dwarven Bard? I have to give up a stat boost to play sub-optimal choice? Double penalty for me and that sucks.
IMO- Being backwards compatible with the 3.5 PHB is not the ultimate goal. Not totally breaking compatibility is the goal while raising the power-level of the game a bit to help compensate for the myriad of splatbook powercreep and to make core PHB races and classes compete with the extended power of suppliment book races and classes. Hopefully this makes said splatbooks not unusable or overpowered within the new system. If Pathfinder doesn't achieve this goal then they are almost certainly dooming themselves to failure. Who really wants to buy a rehash of the 3.5 PHB that doesn't address some of these issues? If you want that then the SRD is available, as is the 3.5 PHB.
If I allow a 'races of' book in my campaign why would anyone ever choose a gnome over a whispergnome? That is an issue and part of the reason why the core classes and races need a boost.


This issue is not a cut and dry one in my opinion. So far I really like what Piazo has done with the beta rules. In the game that I run I have been using published adventures out of Dungeon. Yes the party is a bit stronger then the written material so I either add a few more hp to monsters or add a few more into the encounter. Is everything going to be backwords compatiable with 3.5? No. I really hated the direction WOTC went with 4th and never will I convert after reading the PHB. I think the boost to the core races and the core classes was a much needed breath of fresh air. Is there room for imporvement to the beta? You bet but as a whole it's a big step forward in the right direction. With all the 50 some WOTC 3.5 books released there is quite a few feats and spells that allow power creep that as DM I house ruled them as unavailable to the players for those reasons. This is one of those discussions that can go round and round as there is going to be people for it and against it. I think all Piazo can try and do is make things as fair and balanced as they can and say this is how it is either use it or not.

Dark Archive

Fake Healer wrote:
What if I wanted to be a Dwarven Bard? I have to give up a stat boost to play sub-optimal choice? Double penalty for me and that sucks.

Hey, you get the +2 stat boost once you pick the favored class as a favored class. You don't need to take levels in your favored class for the stat boost to come in. If I picked a Dwarven bard I'd probably go for the WIS-based racial build.

Thanks for alerting me to a potential unclarity in my posting! I will edit my proposal in light of your help.

Fake Healer wrote:
If I allow a 'races of' book in my campaign why would anyone ever choose a gnome over a whispergnome? That is an issue and part of the reason why the core classes and races need a boost.

Yes, that is the reasoning, but I don't buy it. If a player wants to be a whisper gnome, he can pick it for the fluff and let his DM take a healthy dose of house ruling on that broken race. Because no one player's choice of a race or class should invalidate other people's choices on that matter. Simple as that. The solution can't be: we all level up to whisper gnomes. No, it's more economical to level down the broken races.

By the way, please observe that despite of speaking in absolutes here I'm actually aware I'm just speaking for myself. ;)


Windjammer wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Windjammer wrote:
Hogarth, it's very well for you to be unimpressed by the heat this issue has generated. If you think you succeed in communicating this effectively to all extant 3.5 customers, go ahead.
I'm just curious what flaw you see with my reasoning (i.e., if you don't want higher ability scores, use a more restrictive method of generating ability scores).

We are back to page 1. If you are right and the stat boosts don't matter, why fix something that ain't broken? Why not tell those who love to have two +2 boosts to have it via Point Buy as opposed to force it onto those not willing to depart from the OGL?

It's not that your reasoning is flawed, I just find it unpersuasive that people wishing to stick with 3.5 as is should be the ones doing the extra homework via point buy. Especially if a design goal is to maintain 3.5 compatibility.

I agree 100%. I REALLY don't care for the +2/+2/-2 approach and would much prefer a method similar to the one you laid out.

Overall my problem is that I worry about powercreep issues in Pathfinder and don't agree with the rationale/implentation behind giving the various races bonuses to 2 ability scores.

I'd rather the races stay as close to their D&D-forebears as possible and leave it to Pathfinder supplements to incorporate subraces with more Pathfinder-esque flavor.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

I'm not sure if I understand. If the power creep bothered people why wouldn't they start with a lower point buy?


Tarren Dei wrote:
I'm not sure if I understand. If the power creep bothered people why wouldn't they start with a lower point buy?

The problem isn't just having the +2/+2/-2 as the default, by the book, rule. It also has something to do with the reasons for those bonuses (encouraging non-humans to play one caster and one non-caster class), even if the resulting ability score adjustments don't gel with classic representations of the various races.

For me, Pathfinder (out of the box) needs to "feel" like classic D&D to me. Instead it is moving more in the direction of Arcana Unearthed with its new and different takes on classic D&D races.

The races would work just fine with the standard +2/-2 or +/-0 ability modifiers. I don't see any reason to alter that, other than to cater to those who will only play race-class combinations that are optimized.

Dark Archive

People seem to be forgetting that under the pathfinder methood of point buy stats work out pretty much the exact same as in 3.5. Now if you use the 3.5 point buy or dice rolling then it will be slightly unbalanced (Then again dice rolling itself is inherintly unbalanced since you can end up with three players with average stats and one player with all 16's and 18's before racial adjustments.)

Also thanks to the new ability score options I find myself playing races I would never have touched before (Half elf for instance) So im all for the +2 -2 +2 approach. Now I know that not everyone will agree with me but the way i see it is if you don't like it don't use it that's what my Dm (Nero24200) is doing for his campaign.


Kevin Mack wrote:
People seem to be forgetting that under the pathfinder methood of point buy stats work out pretty much the exact same as in 3.5. Now if you use the 3.5 point buy or dice rolling then it will be slightly unbalanced (Then again dice rolling itself is inherintly unbalanced since you can end up with three players with average stats and one player with all 16's and 18's before racial adjustments.)

I'd rather the point buy system be tweaked then. I don't like the changes made to the racial norms and, for me, a lot of the problem comes through in the mechanics of those races.

Dark Archive

Like I said just use the old system I mean its not like the old way suddenly ceased to exist the moment Pathfinder comes out(hope that dosent come across as snarky its not my intent). I'd rather have an option that can be ignored than have no option there at all.


Kevin Mack wrote:
Like I said just use the old system I mean its not like the old way suddenly ceased to exist the moment Pathfinder comes out(hope that dosent come across as snarky its not my intent). I'd rather have an option that can be ignored than have no option there at all.

I get what you're saying. The problem is that, once you do that, you're playing with slightly houseruled Pathfinder rules and your characters will be underpowered for Pathfinder adventures designed around characters made by the book.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Roman wrote:


If you agree that power creep is a problem, which solution would you prefer (of the above three or a different solution [if you have another new solution, please post it here for us to see])?

That's the thing. I don't really see it as a problem in a game that's reasonably under control. the only real impact is that the survivability of 1st-3rd level characters will go up a bit.

And a game that's truly out of control has more problems than this to worry about.


Chris Perkins 88 wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Like I said just use the old system I mean its not like the old way suddenly ceased to exist the moment Pathfinder comes out(hope that dosent come across as snarky its not my intent). I'd rather have an option that can be ignored than have no option there at all.
I get what you're saying. The problem is that, once you do that, you're playing with slightly houseruled Pathfinder rules and your characters will be underpowered for Pathfinder adventures designed around characters made by the book.

Well I'm become split about this. My first instinct though is if it ain't broke don't fix it. In many ways this introduces new issues where there were none and doesn't actually fix a problem.

This makes me think of software. No one wants to release a system that is essentially last years program but fixed.

Sovereign Court

I like +2/+2/-2. I'm probably going to go with the 20-point buy for RotRL and it seems to me like it should be OK (although I'll switch Xanesha out, like most people do).

Dark Archive

I've updated my proposal to explain its motivation on the level of fluff.


I think a fairly safe way to keep the current bonuses and penalties and still have your 3.5 book monsters posing a challenge would be reducing their challenge ratings by -1 (for monsters that are already 1 or lower make 1 into 3/4, 3/4 to 1/2 and 1/2 to 1/4 or so), or when rolling up a random encounter roll on a table for a one level higher party.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I like the concept of the +2/+2/-2. If you take a race there are both positives and negatives and I think this is good. For DM's that think this is too much, you can always take your point buy system down to get the ability scores you are looking for. For my next campaign, I will probably go with standard or low to control the power creep that seems to be developing.

Liberty's Edge

Gotta throw my own hat into the ring on this one.

The topic of the ability score, in my opinion as well, is NOT a big deal. Its a +1 somewhere, thats about it. I see it more as an OPTION, an expanded CHOICE for a player to make when picking classes. Races get 2 choices for favored classes as is, but even if you ignore that, each race has an option to go physical route with class OR mentalish (even with half elf or humans since they can put theirs anywhere) since they get both a physical and mental boost (counting cha as mental for sake of arguement).

My biggest disagreement comes from those feeling its breaking a bit of backwards compatibility. That its somehow making the use of 3.5 books unusable or obsolete in comparison since this stuff is stronger.

Well, I'm not sure if anyone ELSE noticed this, but ever since the core rulebooks came out for 3.5, every other book (mostly) has ALSO had a power creep enter into it and not just Tome of Battle. Some prestige classes, races, items, etc etc. Its just what happens.

That being said, the MAIN thing Pathfinder outpowers 3.5 in is the core rule books.

... the same core rulebooks its going to be re-introducing in the first place. They're just UPGRADING the core stuff to measure up to the OTHER things that WotC put out after their own core books. Minor twinking maybe required, who knows. The point is the feel and options are here in pathfinder that many of us have grown fond of that ARENT in that shiny new edition. 3.5 and now Pathfinder, imo, has the greatest customization options in the game. Sure they could be overworked and exploited, but thats WHY there is a DM. A DM's only job shouldnt be just to roll dice when combat starts and keep track of party and enemy HP. They run the GAME, not just the battle grid. 4e to me just felt like the design team assumed ALL DMs were stupid and needed someone to do it all for them.

Sure it frees up time and is "easy, streamlined, and quick," but at what cost?

Anyway, getting off on a 4e rant. Point being, PRPG is just giving people a reason to PLAY core stuff (class and race) combared to all the OTHER shiny 3.5e things that came out after the core. Its a much needed thing in my view and makes me MORE likely to go towards it then not at all (because the other option to 4e just didnt float my boat when i gave it a go).

However, on a side note ... seriously someone should REALLY take a look into the Save or Die rolls. Scariest rolls to make as a player in the game. Even if I have to roll a 1 to fail, if i DO then its over? SERIOUSLY!? BAH!


Character power is one half of the equation.

We haven't seen the other half yet: The critters, and their abilities.

ALL we can currently adjudicate is how the old characters stack up against the new, against the -old- monsters.

Well, YEAH! They seem terribly op! But we haven't seen the Paizo treatment of the monsters yet.

I do not necessarily disagree out of hand that the power push is going over the top- but for that final assessment we need to see what they are going to do to the monsters.

If the Critter book gives boosts to the critters more or less equivalent to the bumps given to the PC, then overall CR stays the same and the Paizo team will have reached the level of equality that they are talking about. (i.e. making some +1 races +0 by making all +0 races approximately +1).

Once we have the critters to look at- or at least a sketch of how the critters are to be boosted (suggestions by subtype, such as whats at the end of the MM already, for example), then we'll better be able to evaluate such things as whether or not a group of 4 level 1 PC's are really worthy of CR 1 encounter, or whether they mow through 'em like a mower over blades of grass.

-S


What page is the hit point increase on? I cant find it


concerro wrote:
What page is the hit point increase on? I cant find it

The hit point increases are spread throughout the book, so there is no one page you can find them on. The increase has several sources: higher hit dice, favored class bonus, stronger toughness feat...

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