Pathfinder BETA PLAYTEST observations and opinions.


Playtest Reports


This will be a bit long, so I will warn you in advance. Also, I want to say that I think you have a good product, so please don't take this long list as negative feedback in any way. These are strictly my opinions, and I want to help make the best product I can, in whatever way I can. You did ask for feedback. That said, here are my observations:

Issue: Page 13, The new feat progression is too generous. Eventually all characters of the same class will acquire the same feats, as they will have extra feats to spare.
Recomendation: Reducing the feats will require the players to choose, and consequently result in more variety. As they say, variety is the spice of life.

Issue: Page 14, The Designer’s Notes suggest increasing the starting HP for core races.
Recomendation: Don’t change anything. While I like the idea of having a “level 0” HP total to add to your character, this could cause other problems. Specifically, NPCs of the core races will also have more HP. You effectively give them an extra HD. This in turn increases the challenge of NPCs in comparison to monsters of non-core races.

Issue: Page 17, Bards are too front-loaded. They get 7 abilities at 1st level.
Recomendation: I suggest spreading them out.

Issue: Page 22, Channeling Energy needs to be better defined here.
Recomendation: Tell us how much damage is healed/caused, or where to look.

Issue: Page 36, Trapfinding
Recomendation: I know this is the same as 3rd/3.5, but you changed other things, so possibly you could consider changing this too. I don’t like it when a game says that you absolutely cannot do something mundane, like looking for a trap. Anybody should be able to look. Even an untrained layman can get lucky and do something right accidentally. Even if it’s a trap with a DC of 21. Additionally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to have any single class required in an adventuring party. The “tank” roll can be filled by fighters, barbarians, paladins, or even rangers and clerics. The “artillery” roll can be filled by sorcerers, wizards, or even clerics. The “healer” roll can be filled by Clerics, Paladins, Druids, or Bards. So, please, please, please, don’t make the “sleuth” role ONLY fillable by rogues. Non-rangers can still track. Let non-rogues find (all) traps.

Issue: Page 50, Wizard
Recomendation: You say that “at each new level he gains two new spells…” This seems to imply that they appear from nowhere in his book. Is that what you intended?

Issue: Page 51, Wizard and Sorcerer HD
Recomendation: These 2 classes are easily the most powerful at higher levels. If you increase their HD, please consider taking away from their power somewhere else.

Issue: Page 54, No skills require Constitution. I feel this is a mistake.
Recomendation: Instead of getting rid of concentration, think about getting rid of spellcraft. You already have 2 Knowledge skills that could “fill in” for spellcraft (Arcane and Religion). Knowledge-Arcane could be used for Arcane spells, and Knowledge-Religion for Divine spells. Also, Concentration could have broader uses (Staying awake, ignoring a heckler, etc.)

Issue: Page 54, Editorial suggestions below.
Recomendation: Consider renaming “Disable Device”, “Mechanical Device”. It would mirror “Magical Device” (see below), and serves another purpose as well. Players will not always be trying to disable a device. Several examples include catapults, drawbridges, and elevators. Consider calling “Escape Artist”, “Escape”, for brevity. That’s also how most people refer to it. Consider calling “Use Magic Device”, “Magical Device”. It would also mirror “Mechanical Device”, and serve another purpose. Like “Mechanical Device”, Players will not always be trying to use a magic item. Sometimes they just want to know the best way to destroy it.

Issue: Page 54, Jump is included with Tumble.
Recomendation: Bring back Jump! There are only 2 skills that require strength, and I feel it’s important to have all abilities as equally represented as possible in the skills. In fact, 4th edition had a good idea in that they have an “athletics” skill, for strength challenges.

Issue: Page 52-75, trained only skills.
Recomendation: Consider changing the ruling from 3rd & 3.5 concerning untrained skills. Anybody should be able to try anything. Why can’t a layman cook a meal (Profession)? Why can’t a layman try to disarm a trap (disable device)? Why can’t a layman try and detect a forgery (Linguistics)? Instead of saying that you can’t do it if you are untrained, consider just increasing the difficulty by 5 or 10.

Issue: Page 52-75, Improper capitalization.
Recomendation: Some skills are in normal font (Appraise, Bluff) and some are in all caps (Climb, Craft). All skills should use one or the other format.

Issue: Page 67, Linguistics
Recomendation: Currently, when you gain a rank in Linguistics, you learn to read and speak a new language. However, that’s not really the way people learn a language. 99.9% of us learned to speak our native language before we learned to read it. The opposite is true for several “dead” languages, like Hieroglyphics/Ancient Egyptian. Also, some languages are ONLY verbal. I’m sure there are some languages that are only written. Binary? Consider making a rank in linguistics count as either a spoken or written language.

Issue: Page 70, Cook is an example of a profession.
Recomendation: It should be an example of a craft. As stated in the craft skill, “A craft skill is specifically focused on creating something.” In the case of cook, you are creating a meal. Think of it as edible alchemy.

Issue: Page 104, Flail and Dire Flail.
Recomendation: Flails were designed to bypass an opponent’s shield, not to disarm or trip. The combatant would swing past the defender’s shield, and then the chain would wrap around the edge of the shield, striking the defender in the head or shield arm. Wizards of the Coast didn’t do the flail any justice in 3rd edition, but allowed the flail to be used this way in 4th. Consider making the flail’s property a +1 to attack versus opponents with shields.

Issue: Page 107, 111, 114, 116, 117, Masterwork Equipment
Recomendation: Masterwork Weapons add 300 GP to the cost. Masterwork Armor adds 150 GP to the cost. Masterwork Manicles add 35 GP, Masterwork Artisans tools add 50 GP, masterwork Thieves Tools add 70 GP, Masterwork Muscial Instruments add 95 GP, Masterwork Hammer adds 49 GP and 5 SP… Can you standardize this? Please? I HATED that 3rd/3.5 didn’t simplify this. Why not just say that a masterwork ANYTHING is triple the standard price (and three times the duration to make it).

Issue: Page 114, War Horse and War Pony.
Two Recomendations: 1) Traditionally, war mounts were NOT stronger than draft mounts. They were hardier, better trained, and more courageous. The strongest breed of horse (Brabant) was never a war mount. 2) Wizards missed an opportunity for coolness here. Consider making “War” a template. You could apply it to a horse, pony, dog (the Romans bred a now extinct breed of war dog), or anything. I have 2 words for you: War Griffons!

Issue: Page ??? (Somewhere in a pathfinder product), Quadrupeds are vulnerable to Bleed.
Recomendation: Somewhere I saw a reference to an attack that caused bleeding, but I cant find it again. Now, I like the idea of bleeding. I’ve decided to use it myself before I read your rules. However, it causes an unintended problem for quadrupeds, who can’t perform first aid. All a party needs to do is score a bleed against an animal combatant, then retreat until it dies. To solve this, instead of making it a Heal check, consider making it a heal check OR a Fort Save. Each round, the injured creature could choose the better bonus to try and stop the bleeding.

Issue: Pages 197-289, Missing Spells
Recomendation: I believe you fixed the problem with the web enhancement, and I hope these will be combined in the final product.

Issue: Page 291, Class levels and CR
Recomendation: Subtracting 2 CR from an opponent with PC class levels is too much. Consider a 2 Hit Dice monster with 2 levels of fighter. He would be 4 Hit Dice and a CR of 4. Now consider a 1 Hit Die NPC with 3 levels of fighter. He would be 4 Hit Dice, and only worth a CR of 2. It’s not balanced. It becomes even more unbalanced if you follow the designer’s suggestions on page 14, and add HP to a core race character. Effectively, you are creating a 5 HD opponent, and only calling it a CR of 2. Consider instead, the following; NPC equipped as a PC: CR = PC Class Levels, NPC equipped as an NPC: CR = PC Class levels -1, NPC with NPC Class Levels: CR = NPC Class Levels -2.

I hope this was helpful. If this was not the right place to give feedback, please let me know.

Liberty's Edge

A lot of your recommendations are quite good. The only problem is, the playtest has been over for a while now, the final rules are complete (other than maybe some minor tweaks here and there), and they're already working on the final editing and layout before they send it to the printers.


houstonderek wrote:
A lot of your recommendations are quite good. The only problem is, the playtest has been over for a while now, the final rules are complete (other than maybe some minor tweaks here and there), and they're already working on the final editing and layout before they send it to the printers.

Shoot. When did it end? I must have gotten sidetracked by the RPG superstar contest.


Feb 23rd man. Book went off to lay out last week if I recall, or the week before one.


Jason Rice wrote:
Shoot. When did it end? I must have gotten sidetracked by the RPG superstar contest.

I want to say it was February 23rd... But I might be misremembering.

And just to throw out an alternate school of thought to your point that the feat progression is too generous: In my, limited, experience if you limit player choices you reduce variety. The less feats people get, the more likely they are to take the same "big bang for little buck" feats to make the most of their limited choices. By increasing the amount of feats gained, you open up possibilities that wouldn't normally be considered, such as Skill Focus when it isn't a prerequisite for a prestige class.

But, I am betting you have the opposite results at your table.

Either way, that was quite a bit of work you put in there. I really appreciate how you presented it as suggestions rather than issues that must be fixed. I am not affiliated with Pathfinder, but I thank you for your efforts.


Indeed that was alot of work and well thought out, I do not agree with it all,but if we all agreed what fun would that be right.


Thanks guys.

I forgot one too...

there is a continuity error. On page 84, the Feat is called "Craft Wonderous Items" (plural)

yet in the magic items section, all of the magic items require "Craft Wonderous Item" (singular).

The easy fix would be to change the one reference to the feat on page 84.


Wow, I really like a lot of these. I'm not sure why, but when you suggested a War template I got giddy with excitement (perhaps it was the mention of War Griffons).

Now I have no idea on how far along they are with the final product, but knowing Jason, he's probably looking over these anyways with thoughtful interest.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Pretty good stuff up there in you list!

Jason Rice wrote:


Issue: Page 36, Trapfinding
Recomendation: I know this is the same as 3rd/3.5, but you changed other things, so possibly you could consider changing this too. I don’t like it when a game says that you absolutely cannot do something mundane, like looking for a trap. Anybody should be able to look. Even an untrained layman can get lucky and do something right accidentally. Even if it’s a trap with a DC of 21. Additionally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to have any single class required in an adventuring party. The “tank” roll can be...

This one, I also don't like (and understand). In my campaign, everybody has a chance to find a trap. But if you try to disable it, and not being a rogue with the skill, gives you a -20 to the roll. This way it's harder for other classes, but the DM doesn't has to say:"You can't do that!"


Issue: Page 13

Sorry but this one is no good. We have like some hundred 3.5 books to chose from, plus there are more feats coming. They even put out more feats on the playtest message board if you missed them.

Issue: Page 14

The listed increase is optional, and never a must, so you could just say you wont use it...

Issue: Page 36, Trapfinding

Yes actually can look for traps, but not everyone can find magical traps...

Issue: Page 50, Wizard
They do come from no where. The innate intuition of the wizard and during their non combat time they find out how to work these two spells.

Issue: Page 54 Not a bad idea, and a very good point.

Issue: Page 54, Jump is included with Tumble

Sorry but I like the combination, however they needed to have a system for jump distance separately from the ranks, and that should be strength.

Scarab Sages

Captain Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:

Issue: Page 13

Sorry but this one is no good. We have like some hundred 3.5 books to chose from, plus there are more feats coming. They even put out more feats on the playtest message board if you missed them.

Issue: Page 14

The listed increase is optional, and never a must, so you could just say you wont use it...

Issue: Page 36, Trapfinding

Yes actually can look for traps, but not everyone can find magical traps...

Issue: Page 50, Wizard
They do come from no where. The innate intuition of the wizard and during their non combat time they find out how to work these two spells.

Issue: Page 54 Not a bad idea, and a very good point.

Issue: Page 54, Jump is included with Tumble

Sorry but I like the combination, however they needed to have a system for jump distance separately from the ranks, and that should be strength.

Yup to me, more feats is more fun for my players, I love the traits from Pathfinder also...very much fun...

I also use a point based flaw system...lots of fun! wheeee

Dark Archive

Please forgive me if I am posting wrong it is my time.I understand that this August The New Players Manual For Pathfinder will be released,so for me this means that I will no longer be using 3.5 Rules and it means that I will be able to see what classes are available to choose as well as what races.I have a Character I am currentlly playing that I like so Iwill probablly want to continue to play it even if I Do begin a new one.QUESTION How will the new manual being released effect the characters that are already in play (using current 3.5 rules) wil they still be playable and just updated or will everyone start over with Fresh New Characters?

Thank You
Gary Wagner
AKA
Hela


well you can play em as is, however any new pc's will have a small power bump. Converting them is very easy we converted 14th level 3.5 pc's over the the beta took maybe 10 mins to do so. Mostly do to gaining 2 more feats

You can leave HP as is or reroll them.
Classes gain some new ablitys
Sorcerers just take the arcane blood line
Feats they will gain some new feats
Skills the skill system is a bit diff, ya may have to rework th skill..not hard really

other then that some spells and gear work a bit diff, but not a hard convert at all Like 3.0 to 3.5

Liberty's Edge

Captain Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:

Issue: Page 50, Wizard

They do come from no where. The innate intuition of the wizard and during their non combat time they find out how to work these two spells.

Not the fluff I'd use (I replace "intuition" with "research" and figure it's part of the "lifestyle" expense D&D has pretty much handwaved since the beginning of time) but I agree. It is just a mechanic to show that wizards are doing something "behind the scenes" to increase their arcane knowledge.

Liberty's Edge

Hela wrote:

Please forgive me if I am posting wrong it is my time.I understand that this August The New Players Manual For Pathfinder will be released,so for me this means that I will no longer be using 3.5 Rules and it means that I will be able to see what classes are available to choose as well as what races.I have a Character I am currentlly playing that I like so Iwill probablly want to continue to play it even if I Do begin a new one.QUESTION How will the new manual being released effect the characters that are already in play (using current 3.5 rules) wil they still be playable and just updated or will everyone start over with Fresh New Characters?

Thank You
Gary Wagner
AKA
Hela

You can play them as is, no problems, but they'd lag behind their Pathfinder counterparts a bit in power (the extra feats and compressed skill list add a little more punch to PF characters), or you could convert them, and you'd more or less just be adding, not changing, some stuff.

If you go the first route, I'd think about maybe toning down the APs and one shot adventures written for the PF rules, they may be a bit too tough for a standard 3x core party. If you use any of the later WotC splats (ToB, et cetera), you should be fine.

Edit: Seeker beat me to it!

Note to self: read to the end before responding :)

Scarab Sages

Hela wrote:

QUESTION How will the new manual being released effect the characters that are already in play (using current 3.5 rules) wil they still be playable and just updated or will everyone start over with Fresh New Characters?

Thank You
Gary Wagner
AKA
Hela

I'm running a 3.5 game, but I persuaded a player to test the new PF Paladin build, as I think the 3.5 Paladin is sub-par.

There are a few clunky aspects, such as Turning (which I am ruling as a separate pool of uses/day), but in general the changes have been easy to adjudicate, and have brought the class up nearer to the level of the regular 3.5 classes.
There have been a few instances where the new class features have made the difference between life or death, such as being able to heal himself as a swift action while fighting, a bound NPC paladin using a readied Lay on Hands to negate a coup de gras and play dead, Smite lasting a full round (and affecting an Attack of Opportunity to protect a downed ally), and the AC bonus from Smite Evil preventing the confirmation of a potential 63hp greataxe crit (PC only having 41hp max).

Mixing and matching hasn't proved a problem for us, using some PF material in 3.5. Hopefully the reverse will be true as well.


Jason Rice wrote:

Issue: Page 67, Linguistics

Recomendation: Currently, when you gain a rank in Linguistics, you learn to read and speak a new language. However, that’s not really the way people learn a language. 99.9% of us learned to speak our native language before we learned to read it. The opposite is true for several “dead” languages, like Hieroglyphics/Ancient Egyptian. Also, some languages are ONLY verbal. I’m sure there are some languages that are only written. Binary? Consider making a rank in linguistics count as either a spoken or written language.

I resolved this using skill tricks from Complete Scoundrel: learning a new language is a skill trick with 1 rank in Linguistics as a prerequisite, plus 1 rank per language already known beyond the automatic ones.

Like other skill tricks, acquiring a new language costs 2 skill points, but this one can be bought multiple times, choosing a different language every time.

Buying a language let you speak it, read/write it, or both, based on how that specific language is commonly used.


Subtracting 2 CR from an opponent with PC class levels is the best rule ever! At last someone who understands that npcs who use class levels are not equal to a monster with the same CR. Monsters are much more stronger.
My friend, go compare a 9 level npc fighter (using the normal rules for giving equipment to npcs) with a black dragon cr 9.....


The CR system is broken anyhow. I assign CRs based on how optimized I made my NPCs. Human Fighter 15 with default feats from the DMG is a CR13. A Goliath Fighter 14 who uses the Dungeoncrasher variant, has feats like Shock Trooper, Knockback, Leap Attack, Combat Brute, Martial Maneuver (Sudden Leap), and Martial Stance (the stance that gives +10 to jump checks), is probably a CR15.


Bard-Sader wrote:
The CR system is broken anyhow. I assign CRs based on how optimized I made my NPCs. Human Fighter 15 with default feats from the DMG is a CR13. A Goliath Fighter 14 who uses the Dungeoncrasher variant, has feats like Shock Trooper, Knockback, Leap Attack, Combat Brute, Martial Maneuver (Sudden Leap), and Martial Stance (the stance that gives +10 to jump checks), is probably a CR15.

combing feats to make combos is another story. Not only a fighter with "simple" feats is weaker from a fighter with "imba" feats but an encounter using a <cleric+fighter> is stronger than <bard+ranger> (all the classes with the same levels)

But as a general rule npcs with class levels are weaker than monsters.


Jason Rice wrote:

Issue: Page 50, Wizard

Recomendation: You say that “at each new level he gains two new spells…” This seems to imply that they appear from nowhere in his book. Is that what you intended?

This is how it was handled in 3.0/3.5E as well, it wasn't a change.

Also, they don't appear out of thin air, they are acquired through training AND have to scribed into the spellbook. In a town, said training is easily explained. In a dungeon, you would have to either overlook it or consider it some sort of hands-on self-taught training. Maybe he trained the spells the last time he was in town knowing he wouldn't have access to the academy for awhile? Just because you can't CAST the spells, doesn't mean you couldn't MEMORIZE them for future use.

The same thought could be applied to any class... How does the Fighter at 3rd level suddenly know how to perform an "Overhand Chop" and without either killing himself or provoking AoOs? Likely because he's been whipping an 8 lb. piece of steel around for a living.

Long story short, if you're going to nit-pick a Wizard you should probably pre-warn that player to buy scrolls in advance and make sure your Fighter(etc.) has to jump through the same hoops by seeking out a trainer(or another player) that has the skills/feats(etc.) he requires as well. Personally I'm not that big into micro-managing, it's a game and games are suppose to be fun... POOF! you level, may the Swartz™ be with you.

EDIT: In our current game we only gain experience when we rest or end for the day. At which point you would be able to "train". More importantly update you character sheet without interrupting game time.


Gyftomancer wrote:

combing feats to make combos is another story. Not only a fighter with "simple" feats is weaker from a fighter with "imba" feats but an encounter using a <cleric+fighter> is stronger than <bard+ranger> (all the classes with the same levels)

But as a general rule npcs with class levels are weaker than monsters.

Again, it really depends on how well you optimize the builds. NPCs with all Druid levels or all Wizard levels will probably be stronger than monsters, while a Complete Warrior Samurai or a non-PF Monk will be megatons weaker.

And don't diss Bard + Ranger. They've probably got the ambush thing down, and the Bard can pimp out Inspire Courage and grab Dragonfire Inspiration to give the Ranger (and the Bard himself) a huge amount of d6s of energy damage per hit. With Rapidshot and Haste, the Ranger can put out a huge amount of arrows, each doing up to like +14d6 damage per hit depending on what level the bard is and his build.

Not saying cleric + fighter is bad, but Bard kicks more butt than people realize.


Ok, just compare a simple melee class with a tank-melee monster. And a simple caster class with a caster-monster.
For example:
1. A fighter 7th level and a Dire Bear (cr 7)
2. A wizard 10th level and a Rakshasa (cr 10)

In both situations the monsters are stronger.

I know that the "-2 cr for npcs" rule brings a few new problems* but i say taht overall if we want a simple formula for CRs the new one is better.

*: for example, what happens if i throw a 11 level wizard (cr 9 with the new rules) against my 6th level group? The group should overcome the encounter especially if its the 1st of the day. But is it so simple? No, because the 11 lvl wiz can cast upto 6th lvl spells!

As for the cleric+fighter VS bard+ranger i still believe that the first combo is harder. The bard-ranger will do some dmg fast but the PCs will easily outlast them compared to the fighter-cleric (better Hps, armor, defences, healing and at least equaly ofensive abilities).

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