PCCS Hamatulatsu feat


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Sovereign Court

Here's a question about the Hamatulatsu feat on p.83 of the campaign setting:

The feat lists as a prerequisite that you must be female.

BUT...

In the flavor text about Isgeri Orphans on the same page, it says the Sisters of the Golden Erinyes trains rescued "youths" in Hamatulatsu, with females joining the Sisterhood while males join the Hellknights or clergy of Asmodeus.

Furthermore, J1 Entombed with the Pharaohs gives us Chelish legionnaires, both male AND female, who are trained in Hamatulatsu.

So is the feat restricted to females, or is the female prerequisite a holdover from an earlier version of the feat that was missed in editing?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rob McCreary wrote:

Here's a question about the Hamatulatsu feat on p.83 of the campaign setting:

So is the feat restricted to females, or is the female prerequisite a holdover from an earlier version of the feat that was missed in editing?

So, did you ever get an answer to this question? I'm trying to find the same information now that I have a place to insinuate Hamatulatsu into a PFRPG game. I'd like to know how the PCS material and the feat specifically apply under the final version of the rules.

Anyone?

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

If I recall, you could also get it as a monk bonus feat, and since bonus feats don't require meeting the prerequisites, that's one way around the female requirement, if that's supposed to be there in the first place.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

This feat, like most others in the PCCS, is in the process of being updated for the revised book.

In the meantime, I think basically folks just didn't notice the "female" requirement when they were writing some other contents. The feat will not be restricted to females in the revised book.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

In fact, as a free bonus preview of how the feat's changing in the revised book... here's the text for it as it currently stands, updated for use in PFRPG and to match its powers and themes more accurately to what a barbed devil really does. (Note: this text hasn't been edited yet and so is still subject to change...)

Hamatulatsu (Combat)
You have mastered a deadly fighting form inspired by the hideous attacks of the barbed devil.
Prerequisites: Critical Focus, Improved Unarmed Strike.
Benefit: You can treat your unarmed attacks as bludgeoning or piercing. You decide which type of damage you deal whenever you attack a foe, but you may only choose one type at a time. If you critically hit a foe with your unarmed strike while doing piercing damage, the additional pain caused by the strike causes the foe to become staggered for 1 round. Multiple critical hits in a round against a single foe do not increase the duration of the staggered condition.
Special: Hamatulatsu may be selected as a substitute bonus feat at 6th level by a monk even if the monk does not otherwise meet the prerequisites. This fighting style is normally only taught to women of the Sisterhood of the Golden Erinyes.


Wow! That is a serious power reduction in that feat.

Right now in our City of Thieves game we have a tiefling monk (female) with that feat and if I am remembering correctly, she is not confirming all that often. Part of this is because most of the time combat is not even lasting 5 rounds so that might have something to do with it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Lord Pel wrote:

Wow! That is a serious power reduction in that feat.

Right now in our City of Thieves game we have a tiefling monk (female) with that feat and if I am remembering correctly, she is not confirming all that often. Part of this is because most of the time combat is not even lasting 5 rounds so that might have something to do with it.

It is indeed... the original version of the feat was quite a bit too much. Again, though, it's not the final version of the feat, and it's still certainly subject to change... but the version of the feat that appears in the book now is way too tough. Especially when you compare it to the Critical Focus chain of feats.

The trick in re-balancing feats is, of course, to do so in a way that they remain viable and attractive.

Sovereign Court

Just a quick aside... would the effects of Flayleaf (immune to pain for 4 hours) neagte the critical effect of Hamatulatsu?

--Alfred HitchVrock's The Birds

Paizo Employee Creative Director

King of Vrock wrote:

Just a quick aside... would the effects of Flayleaf (immune to pain for 4 hours) neagte the critical effect of Hamatulatsu?

--Alfred HitchVrock's The Birds

That'd be up to the GM. I would say probably not—especially since the latest incarnation of flayleaf (GMG page 237) does not grant immunity to pain. Since "pain" is such a loosly defined condition or affliction in the game, we revised that element out of flayleaf.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Lord Pel wrote:

Wow! That is a serious power reduction in that feat.

Right now in our City of Thieves game we have a tiefling monk (female) with that feat and if I am remembering correctly, she is not confirming all that often. Part of this is because most of the time combat is not even lasting 5 rounds so that might have something to do with it.

Further analysis now that I've got a copy of the first hardcover handy:

Yeah... allowing unarmed strikes to reach a threat range of 16–20 (even if that takes 5 rounds to reach) is way too powerful. Nothing else in the game has the power to make unarmed strikes crit that often, and since (with a monk) you can get a character who makes a LOT of high-damage unarmed strikes at high level... the original version of the feat was way over the top.

The revised version of the feat might need to be punched up a little bit, but it's not going to do something like it used to. That's just way too much.


James Jacobs wrote:


Further analysis now that I've got a copy of the first hardcover handy:

Yeah... allowing unarmed strikes to reach a threat range of 16–20 (even if that takes 5 rounds to reach) is way too powerful.

Did you come to this conclusion from playtesting, or just eyeballing it? (I'm not criticizing your decision to change the feat, I'm just curious what process you game guru folks follow to determine something is over/underpowered.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

hogarth wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


Further analysis now that I've got a copy of the first hardcover handy:

Yeah... allowing unarmed strikes to reach a threat range of 16–20 (even if that takes 5 rounds to reach) is way too powerful.

Did you come to this conclusion from playtesting, or just eyeballing it? (I'm not criticizing your decision to change the feat, I'm just curious what process you game guru folks follow to determine something is over/underpowered.)

In this case, no playtesting is really needed. Not only is a critical hit range of 16–20 an oddball range that NO other weapon has or CAN have, it's really close to the BEST a weapon can get. And the fact that you should balance feats assuming the best case scenario (in this case, a 20th level monk), allowing a monk to have a 16–20 threat range for a weapon that does 2d10 damage and that he gets to make a HUGE number of attacks with is just too much.

So basically, it comes down to the simple fact that we're pretty familiar with how weapon threat ranges function and a 16–20 range on a weapon that can eventually do 2d10 points of damage is pretty overpowered AND nonconformist to a rule that we've made pretty much 100% uniform.


James Jacobs wrote:
King of Vrock wrote:

Just a quick aside... would the effects of Flayleaf (immune to pain for 4 hours) neagte the critical effect of Hamatulatsu?

--Alfred HitchVrock's The Birds

That'd be up to the GM. I would say probably not—especially since the latest incarnation of flayleaf (GMG page 237) does not grant immunity to pain. Since "pain" is such a loosly defined condition or affliction in the game, we revised that element out of flayleaf.

So first you get people with chronic pain hooked on the stuff and now you take that away, to leave them both in pain and in the throes of addiction?

You are one evil man!

Scarab Sages

James, is that critical range issue something that is applied to all the pathfinder stuff? How about pathfinder-compatible stuff?

Specifically, the feat supplement Undefeatable has a two-feat chain Rogue's Mark and Greater Rogue's Mark. The greater one, while it doesn't stack with improved critical, can potentially provide an even greater threat range than improved critical, with some s/a dice :p

It's the Undefeatable Rogue found here:

http://paizo.com/store/byCompany/l/louisPorterJrDesign/downloads/pathfinder RPG/undefeatable/v5748btpy8bxa&source=search

With a little supplemental planning, I can get a monk dealing 2d10 base damage with a critical range of 14-20 or more.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Magicdealer wrote:

James, is that critical range issue something that is applied to all the pathfinder stuff? How about pathfinder-compatible stuff?

Specifically, the feat supplement Undefeatable has a two-feat chain Rogue's Mark and Greater Rogue's Mark. The greater one, while it doesn't stack with improved critical, can potentially provide an even greater threat range than improved critical, with some s/a dice :p

It's the Undefeatable Rogue found here:

http://paizo.com/store/byCompany/l/louisPorterJrDesign/downloads/pathfinder RPG/undefeatable/v5748btpy8bxa&source=search

With a little supplemental planning, I can get a monk dealing 2d10 base damage with a critical range of 14-20 or more.

It's a game design philosophy we keep at Paizo, and so it applies to everything we publish. We don't actually have an approval process or a review process for compatible products produced by other companies—that not only runs the risk of stifling and annoying other companies, but we simply do not have the time or resources to do that kind of micro-managing even if we wanted to.

What other companies do, in other words, is completely up to them. This is good. This creates a larger variety in products. A monk that does 2d10 damage with a threat range of 14–20 is WAY over the top and not something we'd EVER allow in a Pathfinder product, but that philosophy isn't held by every publisher, nor should it.

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:
King of Vrock wrote:

Just a quick aside... would the effects of Flayleaf (immune to pain for 4 hours) neagte the critical effect of Hamatulatsu?

--Alfred HitchVrock's The Birds

That'd be up to the GM. I would say probably not—especially since the latest incarnation of flayleaf (GMG page 237) does not grant immunity to pain. Since "pain" is such a loosly defined condition or affliction in the game, we revised that element out of flayleaf.

Hmmm, it changed that much from the Adventurers Armory. Blast and confustication! Hopefully I get my GMG this week.

--Vrock the Casbah


James Jacobs wrote:
In this case, no playtesting is really needed. Not only is a critical hit range of 16–20 an oddball range that NO other weapon has or CAN have

I can get behind this reasoning; there's a certain orderliness in restricting weapon critical ranges to 20, 19-20, or 18-20 (or double those with Improved Critical.

James Jacobs wrote:
And the fact that you should balance feats assuming the best case scenario (in this case, a 20th level monk), allowing a monk to have a 16–20 threat range for a weapon that does 2d10 damage and that he gets to make a HUGE number of attacks with is just too much.

Respectfully, I don't think it's worth talking about whether level 20 monks are balanced with or without this feat, because (a) most people will never see one, and (b) once you reach the level where spells like Simulacrum, Gate and Polymorph Any Object are being tossed around, class balance has left town a while ago.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

hogarth wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
In this case, no playtesting is really needed. Not only is a critical hit range of 16–20 an oddball range that NO other weapon has or CAN have

I can get behind this reasoning; there's a certain orderliness in restricting weapon critical ranges to 20, 19-20, or 18-20 (or double those with Improved Critical.

James Jacobs wrote:
And the fact that you should balance feats assuming the best case scenario (in this case, a 20th level monk), allowing a monk to have a 16–20 threat range for a weapon that does 2d10 damage and that he gets to make a HUGE number of attacks with is just too much.
Respectfully, I don't think it's worth talking about whether level 20 monks are balanced with or without this feat, because (a) most people will never see one, and (b) once you reach the level where spells like Simulacrum, Gate and Polymorph Any Object are being tossed around, class balance has left town a while ago.

Saying "most people will never see one" is not good enough for me.

I've seen them, for one. And I could envision a 20th level monk being statted up some day as a bad guy in an adventure. And because it IS in the book, we have to acknowledge that it's there.

Ignoring 20th level just because it's not used in one person's game is not an option. And in this case, you can track down to ANY level, more or less, and it's still broken. A 16–20 threat range for any weapon at any level is just plain ugly.


James Jacobs wrote:
Ignoring 20th level just because it's not used in one person's game is not an option. And in this case, you can track down to ANY level, more or less, and it's still broken. A 16–20 threat range for any weapon at any level is just plain ugly.

James, I didn't want to get into specifics, but note that Hamatulatsu doesn't stack with Improved Critical. So by your logic, a 20th level fighter who uses two scimitars (with the TWF chain and the Weapon Specialization chain and Improved Critical) is even more "broken" because he has lots of attacks with weapons with an even better (15-20) critical range and x3 critical multiplier, from the Weapon Mastery ability. Note that with specialization and weapon training, a 20th level fighter does 1d6+4+4 > 2d10 damage.

I realise there's no point in debating this, though; I think it's a good thing that the feat is changing, but that's because it's a messy feat that tries to do too much. It has nothing to do with what 20th level monks might be able to do with it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

hogarth wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Ignoring 20th level just because it's not used in one person's game is not an option. And in this case, you can track down to ANY level, more or less, and it's still broken. A 16–20 threat range for any weapon at any level is just plain ugly.

James, I didn't want to get into specifics, but note that Hamatulatsu doesn't stack with Improved Critical. So by your logic, a 20th level fighter who uses two scimitars (with the TWF chain and the Weapon Specialization chain and Improved Critical) is even more "broken" because he has lots of attacks with weapons with an even better (15-20) critical range and x3 critical multiplier, from the Weapon Mastery ability. Note that with specialization and weapon training, a 20th level fighter does 1d6+4+4 > 2d10 damage.

I realise there's no point in debating this, though; I think it's a good thing that the feat is changing, but that's because it's a messy feat that tries to do too much. It has nothing to do with what 20th level monks might be able to do with it.

Are you just trying to have the last word on the topic? Because I can always cheat by locking the thread if I want... ;-P

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:


Are you just trying to have the last word on the topic? Because I can always cheat by locking the thread if I want... ;-P

Word!


James Jacobs wrote:


In this case, no playtesting is really needed. Not only is a critical hit range of 16–20 an oddball range that NO other weapon has or CAN have, it's really close to the BEST a weapon can get. And the fact that you should balance feats assuming the best case scenario (in this case, a 20th level monk), allowing a monk to have a 16–20 threat range for a weapon that does 2d10 damage and that he gets to make a HUGE number of attacks with is just too much.

So basically, it comes down to the simple fact that we're pretty familiar with how weapon threat ranges function and a 16–20 range on a weapon that can eventually do 2d10 points of damage is pretty overpowered AND nonconformist to a rule that we've made pretty much 100% uniform.

James,

With all respect, playtesting is almsot ALWAYS needed.

It CAN get to a 16-20 threat range yes.

An Elven curveblade can get to a 15-20 threat range for the entire fight. It is 2d6 +1.5 x strength as compated to 2d10 + str.

However the feat here resets as soon as you get a critical hit. So if the monk gets to 16-20 as soon as he gets a critical hit, he is back to needing a 20 (or 19-20 if he has improved critical).

Is it a strong feat? Yes.

Is it overpowering considering it does not stack with improved critical and resets after it gets a critical? I do not think so. I think you would need to Playtest it to give a fair answer.

Just as a quick comparison between a 20th level monk and a 20th level warrior with an elven curveblade I would expect the warrior to crit MUCH more often over time. Wether it was 1 round, 5 rounds 10 rounds of 100 rounds.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Ughbash wrote:

James,

With all respect, playtesting is almsot ALWAYS needed.

It CAN get to a 16-20 threat range yes.

An Elven curveblade can get to a 15-20 threat range for the entire fight. It is 2d6 +1.5 x strength as compated to 2d10 + str.

However the feat here resets as soon as you get a critical hit. So if the monk gets to 16-20 as soon as he gets a critical hit, he is back to needing a 20 (or 19-20 if he has improved critical).

Is it a strong feat? Yes.

Is it overpowering considering it does not stack with improved critical and resets after it gets a critical? I do not think so. I think you would need to Playtest it to give a fair answer.

Just as a quick comparison between a 20th level monk and a 20th level warrior with an elven curveblade I would expect the warrior to crit MUCH more often over time. Wether it was 1 round, 5 rounds 10 rounds of 100 rounds.

Playtesting isn't the "holy grail" that a lot of folks think it is. In fact, a developer's job is to basically be able to recognize issues that normally would be picked up by playtesting and to be able to correct those issues. The fact of the matter is that actual playtesting is VERY difficult to manage and handle, since it not only requires coordinating groups but also analyzing feedback.

The good news is that every time we play the game or run a playtest, we get excellent feedback. Feedback that the developers can then use to make themselves better at developing stuff.

The problem with this feat increasing threat range is actually twofold—both of which are obvious WITHOUT the need to playtest. First, we already have in the game mechanics by which you can increase the threat range of a weapon—the Improved Critical feat. Inventing a new feat that does the same basic effect or (worse) does that effect BETTER is, simply put, bad design. Hamatulatsu is better than Improved Critical (unarmed strike) and is MUCH easier to qualify for than Improved Critical (unarmed strike). On that basis alone it needed to be rewritten.

And secondly, there's the bit about the threat range being an ugly duckling. At a range of 16–20, the rule is basically a mutant; it doesn't work the same way as any other threat range since it occupies an unusual range that's impossible to achieve in any other way in the Pathfinder RPG, and I'm not about to break that rule and pattern just for one feat.

A feat doesn't have to be overly super powerful for me to excise it and revise it. There are PLENTY more ways to poorly design rules than simply making the rules too powerful.


James Jacobs wrote:


The problem with this feat increasing threat range is actually twofold—both of which are obvious WITHOUT the need to playtest. First, we already have in the game mechanics by which you can increase the threat range of a weapon—the Improved Critical feat. Inventing a new feat that does the same basic effect or (worse) does that effect BETTER is, simply put, bad design. Hamatulatsu is better than Improved Critical (unarmed strike) and is MUCH easier to qualify for than Improved Critical (unarmed strike). On that basis alone it needed to be...

Thank you for the clarification. I agree it seemed a very strange feat and should probalby have been rewritten.

I had interpreted your earlier remarks to imply that the combination of 20th level monk and Hamatulatsu was overpowered and that that was the sole reason for updating it.

Also by playtest I did not mean a full fledged playtest. I meant more along the lines of use it in your home game for a month or so and see it in use rather then just reading it. I agree with you completely that it was a wacky feat.

Now what I might personally consider a more balanced feat would be to allow it to give piercing attacks rather than piercing slashing and blunt. Plus when it is doing a piercing attack it would get a 20/x3 multiplier on crits (similar to a spear) rather than x2.

This to my mind gives a non-overpowering feat but still a nice feat that could go with certain builds.


How many monster actually have DR piercing? Most of them have DR slashing or bludgeoning. Am I right?
Which monster have DR piercing? (or do you say "what monsters have..)
Still great with piercing damage if you fight in water, right?

Shadow Lodge

Wow, when people say fighters don't get nice things, they should look at what monks are losing! ;p


Zark wrote:


Which monster have DR piercing?

Rakshasas have DR 15/good and piercing.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Also, don't forget, that when comparing the original version of the feat to improved crit, Hamatulatsu strike also allowed you to change your damage type from B to S or P, so had an additional benefit beyond just improving the threat range.


JoelF847 wrote:
Also, don't forget, that when comparing the original version of the feat to improved crit, Hamatulatsu strike also allowed you to change your damage type from B to S or P, so had an additional benefit beyond just improving the threat range.

And it also has a weird "opposed Intimidate check" to make someone shaken when you make a critical.


hogarth wrote:
Zark wrote:


Which monster have DR piercing?
Rakshasas have DR 15/good and piercing.

Oh god I'm so embarrassed.

Any more monsters?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Ughbash wrote:
Now what I might personally consider a more balanced feat would be to allow it to give piercing attacks rather than piercing slashing and blunt. Plus when it is doing a piercing attack it would get a 20/x3 multiplier on crits (similar to a spear) rather than x2.

The choice is between bludgeoning and piercing because unarmed strikes normally deal bludgeoning (so that stays an option) and because barbed devils are covered with barbs, and barbs are more likely to do piercing damage than slashing damage, and since the feat is named after a barbed devil it makes sense, thematically, for it to do piercing damage rather than slashing damage.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Zark wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Zark wrote:


Which monster have DR piercing?
Rakshasas have DR 15/good and piercing.

Oh god I'm so embarrassed.

Any more monsters?

Giant slugs. Underwater monsters. Possibly more—I'm not interested in going through the bestiary and every Pathfinder product to find them at this time.

Also, an infinite number of monsters still waiting to be designed.

If you're trying to point out that piercing damage in the core rules is inferior due to the lack of lots of monsters with piercing damage, you'd be better off arguing about lawful damage and monsters that require lawful attacks to penetrate their damage reduction. Because there's NO monsters in the Bestiary that have that kind of DR. There will be in Bestiary 2, though.


James Jacobs wrote:


If you're trying to point out that piercing damage in the core rules is inferior due to the lack of lots of monsters with piercing damage

No I'm not. :-) I was only wondering.

piercing damage is also very good fighting in water.


James Jacobs wrote:
Ughbash wrote:
Now what I might personally consider a more balanced feat would be to allow it to give piercing attacks rather than piercing slashing and blunt. Plus when it is doing a piercing attack it would get a 20/x3 multiplier on crits (similar to a spear) rather than x2.
The choice is between bludgeoning and piercing because unarmed strikes normally deal bludgeoning (so that stays an option) and because barbed devils are covered with barbs, and barbs are more likely to do piercing damage than slashing damage, and since the feat is named after a barbed devil it makes sense, thematically, for it to do piercing damage rather than slashing damage.

I agree, if I was not clear I was suggesting keep the limit to piercing only rather than the initial way it was written to give piercing slashing or blunt. This would give the monk 2 options, either a Piercing attack with some benefit (such as my suggested 20/x3 for crits) or his normal blunt attack.

Another feat which might fit well would be a separate feat which gave them a slashing option with a crit multiplier of 19-20/x2.

I will need to do some math, but I am not 100 percent convinced that the feat as it is now where the crit can go down as low as 16-20/x2 is mathematically superior to Improved critical. This is because the first round (if no crits) Improved critical is better, the second round (if no crits) Improved critical is better due to the possibility of 2 crits in the round on 19's. The third and later rounds favor the feat However since it resets on every crit if you are getting 7 attacks in a round, it will usually reset by the second round.

The situation where I can see it being a mathematical advantage is when the monk is lower level and thus does not get as many attacks, and when he is moving a lot so as not to get full attacks for the first 4 rounds.

With all that said I agree that the feat should be rewritten because it seemed like a cluttered jumble of a feat. I am not convinced that it was an overpowering feat or even really more powerful than Improved Critical.

EDIT: Some simple math added (which ignores confirming):
With 7 attacks in a round there is a 30.2 percent chance that you will get a crit on a 20.
On round 2 if you did not get a crit and thus reset it you have a 52.1 percent chance of getting a crit and thus resetting it.
So 73.6 percent of the time it will reset without going beyond what improved critical will give.

Improved critical gives you a 52.1 percent chance of getting at least one critical each round that they full attack for 7 attacks.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
If you're trying to point out that piercing damage in the core rules is inferior due to the lack of lots of monsters with piercing damage, you'd be better off arguing about lawful damage and monsters that require lawful attacks to penetrate their damage reduction. Because there's NO monsters in the Bestiary that have that kind of DR. There will be in Bestiary 2, though.

So that monk special ability won't be completely worthless. ;-)


Dragonborn3 wrote:
Wow, when people say fighters don't get nice things, they should look at what monks are losing! ;p

*sniffles, watery eyes* Moooom! He's teasing again! Tell him to leave us Monks alone! *pout* Big meanie!

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