How much impact would a 25 point buy have


Wrath of the Righteous

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This AP is supposed to be a high powered with mythic levels and such. I am planning to run this myself. Does this break the mold of typical AP point buy? If not, would running this with 25 point buy be terribly detrimental? Player base will be 4-5. I do plan on extensively reviewing the big bad and key foes stat blocks and potentially optimizing those foes, if necessary.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

It's an Epic level campaign. Those are epic level stats. I think they'd suit nicely. Besides, I'm doing Runelords with 4d6 (drop the lowest), and the average points is over 25 for the crew. I'm sure this one will be fine. (And it might help players survive to the end of the first AP, which will likely be somewhat lethal.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Actually... the adventure path STILL assumes the standard 15 point buy.

There's going to be plenty of opportunities for the PCs to earn a few extra points to their ability scores beyond the norm, though, but starting them out at 25 point buy will still result in characters who are too good for the adventure. This is fine, I suppose, if you want to run more of an easy adventure, or if the players aren't experienced gamers... but if your players are long-time gamers, giving them 25 point buy for their characters runs the risk of them not feeling challenged by this campaign.

Liberty's Edge

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Possible solution:

In my experience, 25 point-buy combined with capping stats at 16 before racial modifiers (or 18 after, either works) and maybe a limit on stat dumping (no stats at 7, only one below 10) results in your top three stats being around where they would be in relatively optimized 15 point-buy...but your other stats significantly higher, for a more mythic and well-rounded feel, with the only real mechanical effects tending towards a few skill points per level and a point or so in some lower Saves.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I already have to deal with 6 players for a 4 player AP, so I'll be giving them 20 points to make MAD characters a bit more feasible at the start of the campaign. I'll probably skip the hero points this time around, though, they are only hoarding them to avoid death so far (unlike the Rise of the Runelords campaign I am playing in, where we are only four players and need to spend those things like crazy to avoid being stomped out of existance).

I'll have to extensively re-write the whole thing again, I fear, but I always had to do this, especially when levels 9+ began to roll around and PC power multiplied. This AP will only make this problem more marked, but them's the breaks of large groups.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Well, James, I also tend to fudge dice and hit points, so I'm used to adjusting the game to make it more interesting (as in not a cakewalk but not lethal either). And I actually have used die-rolling for stats which can easily result in a character above a 15-point spread. The main purpose of the point builds is to ensure each player is relatively equal, I'd say.


Yeah we don't do dump stats. So, I adjudicate that points do go into tertiary stats such as int/cha for fighters, etc. I do like the idea having a stat cap of 16 or maybe a cap of a single 18, then capped at 16. However, I'll take your comments well under advisement James, thank you.


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15 point buy lends itself toward Single Attribute characters. They'll have low attributes too, which will make them weak in some areas. One of their Saves is pretty much guaranteed to be low. Multiple attribute characters are almost impossible. You'll see a lot of strength based Fighters and Barbarians, basic Clerics and Wizards. Party makeup will feel "classic."

20 point buy also lends itself toward Single Attribute characters, but they won't have as many weaknesses. Some multiple attribute characters are viable, but will still be outperformed by Single Attribute characters. You'll start seeing more Paladins, Rangers and Summoners here. Parties will be more diverse.

25 allows Multiple Attribute characters to actually shine. Single Attribute characters won't really be any more powerful, but they won't have nearly as many weaknesses. This is where multiclass characters really become possible and monks become viable. Basically you'll see weirder concepts here. Parties might seem like an odd mix, but they'll be capable.

Overall, point buy effects the "feel" of the game more than anything else. If you want a grittier challenge, go with 15. If you want action heroes, go with 20. If you want superheroes, go with 25.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think that is actually wrong. 15 point buy is enough to allow you to build viable characters. Well, unless you are a Monk. Then you are screwed (Please fix Monks in PF 2.0 somewhen in the future).

Just have reasonable expectations for your main attribute. One natural 16 is about the best you should expect. Some people really have problems letting go of the expectation that they need a natural 18 in their main attribute.


They get attribute bonuses during the AP.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

A 15-point build is such that you could have three 14s for stats (which gives a +2). However, most people don't want 14s because they see the higher stats as essential. This is why people waste 17 points to get that 18. A 25-point build really just allows for an additional two 14 stats (thus you could have a character with five 15s and one 10, prior to racial bonuses).

I'm not sure why people think 25 makes things a cakewalk. It allows a second skill to be very good, or two stats to be decently good. That's all. I mean, I'd not be surprised for a 25-point build to be 18, 14, 14, 10, 10, 8. How is that uber?


Tangent101 wrote:

I'm not sure why people think 25 makes things a cakewalk. It allows a second skill to be very good, or two stats to be decently good. That's all. I mean, I'd not be surprised for a 25-point build to be 18, 14, 14, 10, 10, 8. How is that uber?

Those stat bonuses add to Saving Throws too, Tangent101. Having higher than baseline saves in every category is a huge benefit and trivializes the importance of feats like Lightning Reflexes and Iron Will.


I'd hesitate to say trivialize. A 14 in your save stat is a nice boost, but is not overpowering, especially if your class doesn't have that save as a good one.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If people build a bit more conservatively, 25 points make a big difference.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Not with how my players roll dice. ^^;;

Seriously, their die-rolled stats would be the equivalence of 35 point builds, and yet they flub rolls left and right. And my own dice love the monsters usually.

It's to the point that my players ask me to bless their dice in the middle of a battle when they've been flubbing roll after roll. (After the blessing for some reason they start rolling well. It's all probabilities I know but it's still amusing to watch.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Give a pencil and a piece of blank paper to Wayne Reynolds and a few hours later you'll have an awesome drawing. Give that same pencil and a new piece of blank paper to some random person off the street and chances are in those same few hours you won't have anything you don't think you can do better.

Same goes for character creation. Some parties can build super powerful characters with 15 points, other parties can't fight their way out of a TPK in the first encounter in the dungeon with 25 point buys.

You as the GM are the only one qualified to know what's too good or not good enough for your particular players.

We don't know your players, so we assume a baseline of 15 point buy for our products. But how much adjusting that upward (or downward!) will impact an adventure? That depends as much, if not more, on your players' skill as it does anything else.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

I tend to think of the point buy scale as being like a "diffiuclty" setting from a videogame- 10 points is "hard mode", 15 is "normal", 20 is "easy" and 25 is "beginner." If you match these up to the skill level of your group I find it tends to work pretty well. (I'm not disparaging anyone's choice of point buy, btw. If your group enjoys 25 points and you have fun I'm not saying you suck at Pathfinder. I am saying that if you find the challenge of APs to be a little low you might try bumping your point buy down a notch.)

Heck, the last 15 PB AP I played in the GM accused my fighter of being OP. Probably had something to do with killing two golems in two rounds heh. You'd be suprised at what actually constitutes a viable character. I'm fairly certain I could build a viable monk with 10 points if I had to. He would at least be comparable to other 10 PB characters.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
ryric wrote:
... 10 points is "hard mode", 15 is "normal", 20 is "easy" and 25 is "beginner." ...

That's an awesome way of explaining it to players!


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

James has a great point. People vary.

My groups I allow 25-point build all around, but I don't allow "dump status". Nothing below 10, usually even after racial adjustments. I want to see players comfortable investing in unusual options. Fighters who have no issue getting a couple more skills than usual, or druids who have enough to spend on some Charisma, just for fun. In general I encourage my players to basically make 15-point characters who have 10 more points for sub-optimal choices.

But that's my table. Which isn't the same as anyone else's.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

That's actually my issue with the 15-point build. The dump stat. I mean, with die-rolls you'll often end up with one or two poor stats (or sometimes a lot of poor stats depending on if you rolled poorly and had a hardnosed GM) but there wasn't a SPECIFIC stat you leached points from in order to do better elsewhere. With the 15-point builds? There is always that 8 stuck somewhere. It's without fail. Any NPC in an AP will have that 8 just sitting there. Always.

The converse is almost amusing... the Big Bad always is built on 20 or 25 points. And then their stats are boosted further through Wishes and magic items and age bonuses (without aging penalties usually).

To me, this encourages min/max tendencies. You don't build your character to be interesting. You build your character to maximize his or her damage and potential because if you don't you're going to die.

I'll hide the rest of it behind a spoiler button as I'm going off on a tangent. The above bit is pretty much my point.

Spoiler:
I've a player with one point in eight different knowledges because his character studied a wide field of subjects. And he crafted his character background to explain this (which is related to his taking the Magical Knack Trait). If he'd been built on 15 points then I doubt this would have been done (he'd probably not have sufficient skill points, for one thing).

I've another who put her sole 10 in Charisma... and explained it that as a half-elf, she was raised by her human Ranger father and didn't really interact with people much. So she's withdrawn and nervous around people... and only really at home when carving a bow or looking down the shaft of an arrow. Sure, she could have put an 8 in Charisma for a "proper build" but would she have created that backstory if she'd been able to build her stats and subtract one stat to benefit another? Or would she have become just another min/max?

Heck, I've a fighter/wizard in Mithral plate (and massive debts to the dwarves that he has to repay through treasure he recovers) who fights by PUNCHING things rather than fighting with a blade... because the armor is mechanically boosting his strength. No one has seen his face, and one player jokes he's a gnome inside a human-sized suit of armor. That player is almost right. He'd never have come about with a 15-point build. And he's not designed as a massive combat machine... but rather as a FUN character.

Ultimately, that's why we play. To have fun. My players built their characters off die-rolls and rolled well.


While my group tends to go with higher stat builds, this actually might be a campaign where it would specifically be interesting to have 15 point builds - the party are people who you wouldn't necessarily pick as your "best and brightest", but were, through a trick of fate, where they needed to be when the mythic power started showing up. Then again, adult responsibilities are such that my players are often fuzzy about the normal abilities of their classes (long time with 3.0 and 3.5 so misremembering a lot of things from past editions) and we have one person whose luck is so terrible he's been swallowed whole twice in the same combat (Savage Tide, when we first washed up on the Isle of Dread, swallowed whole, cut his way out, swallowed whole, cut his way out again doing the last damage needed to drop the beast). We considered giving him the flaw "delicious"...

Liberty's Edge

Save us from the min-maxers who always want more and will never be satisfied.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Stats aren't everything. Heck, when I was designing my own campaign world, magic items were fairly rare. In fact, the group I'm running was from my low-magic item world and switched over to RoW. They were 3rd and 4th level characters... and there was one magic weapon in the group (and a couple minor rings). Oh, and maybe four potions. That's all.

And yes, they ended up fighting creatures that required magic to effectively harm... and struggled as a result of this.

Now, admittedly RoW hides most of the magic items in book 1 until the end of the module... but you actually get a very useful cloak at the end of Chapter 1 (where you're likely level 1 or just made level 2) and a fairly decent magic weapon at the end of chapter 2 of Book 1 (when the characters are likely still level 2 or just barely level 3). Not to mention the jackpot when you finish the first AP with multiple magic items.

So what's an extra +1 to hit and damage, or an extra +1 to armor class, when they're suffering a 5 point damage reduction from critters they can't hit unless someone memorized Magic Weapon (or had the Arcane Strike feat)?

To each their own.


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My group usually uses 4d6-drop-lowest for designing our characters. It works out pretty well for the most part. My current character is the equivalent of I think somewhere around a 20 point buy.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Tangent101 wrote:

The converse is almost amusing... the Big Bad always is built on 20 or 25 points. And then their stats are boosted further through Wishes and magic items and age bonuses (without aging penalties usually).

Actaully... there's some faulty reasoning there. A "big bad" isn't built to be a balanced character at all. It's built to be a balanced monster. Monsters have VASTLY different metrics than PCs do—a monster needs to be built so that it's CR is more or less in line with the expectations of the hp, AC, attack, damage, saves, and Ability DCs listed on table 1–1 of the Bestiary.

An NPC will generally not automatically meet these numbers. That's part of the reason why a zero HD character has a CR equal to his actual level –1. It's also a reason why we so often give NPCs stat boosting items or (more commonly) disposable stat boosters or spells like false life or bear's endurance, or feats like Lightning Reflexes or Toughness. And why we sometimes give an PC a higher point buy or more gear than expected.

It's all to make their raw numbers hit the desired target CR, which measures their functionality and challenge as a monster. CR does NOT measure the functionality of a player character, and it never should—it's really not a tool for players at all, but only for GMs.

So the idea that since big bad guys are built on higher stat point buys means it's expected or always a good idea that PCs should have higher point buys is not true.

Not sure if that's actually the point you were making, but there ya go. The NPCs who have higher point buys or extra treasure are that way to hit their CR scores, so that their CR will function correctly when facing a group of four players who use the baseline 15 point buy system.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

So then why even bother allowing people to roll dice for stats in the rules? Why not just state Pathfinder uses a point-build with 15 being the norm?

Shadow Lodge

Over several characters, it doesn't matter. A Pathfinder 15 point build is about equivalent to the average stats generated by rolling four dice and dropping the lowest die six times.


Tangent101 wrote:
So then why even bother allowing people to roll dice for stats in the rules? Why not just state Pathfinder uses a point-build with 15 being the norm?

Not everyone may run APs. That's just the choice for the APs. I still think you can adjudicate having a greater point value without having the character's being trivializing the AP, especially if you optimize the party's foes.


Tangent101 wrote:
So then why even bother allowing people to roll dice for stats in the rules? Why not just state Pathfinder uses a point-build with 15 being the norm?

Because it is not Paizo's place to tell you how to play. James is only telling the design behind how the AP is built since it is good to have baseline. Whether a GM sticks to it or not depends on him, and his group.

PS:plus what bosh1 said.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Considering the number of TPKs I've seen in the obituary threads, I suspect some GMs optimize monster tactics without increasing stat builds. Or, for that matter, ignore suggested tactics. I remember seeing how Rokhar in RoW would end up wiping out 1st level parties because of his 2d6 Channel Negative Energy... which the tactics claimed he'd not use except to heal the undead.

To be honest, it doesn't really matter. To each GM their own. I enjoy higher stats for my players... and also increasing the hit points on the monsters so they don't just bowl over when someone sneezes on them. I know some GMs consider altering monster hit points to be sacrilege. *shrugs*

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Tangent101 wrote:
So then why even bother allowing people to roll dice for stats in the rules? Why not just state Pathfinder uses a point-build with 15 being the norm?

We state exactly that on page 16 of the Core Rulebook where we name the 15 point buy as "Standard Fantasy."

But not everyone wants that. Some want more or less. Just as some folks want fast or slow XP.

We don't want to tell you how to play the game, but we DO need to choose which point buy and which XP track we assume for our publications.

Silver Crusade

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This time around I am experimenting with ALOT of variables, Which is OP a tad.. but it scales things.

Starts are a 30 Point Buy
Everything costs 1 point
All stats start at 8
22 max for non-mythic characters.

Everything uses Max HP, PC/NPC/Monsters. (always has for me since game 1 in 88 when my buddy killed his first horse..)

I have ten players, but they dont always show up..

So ive been adjusting Encounters over time for the half year with other paths and homebrew campaign.

2 PC - little weaker then the written
3 PC - as written
4 PC - little tougher then the written
5 PC - +3 CL
6 PC - Double written CL
7 PC - Double written CL + 3
8 PC - Triple written
9 PC - Triple writtenCL + 3

This seems to work out pretty good. PC's are a bit more powerful, but on the nights when only 2 or 3 of the Table shows up we can still continue and not worry about who is not present. We are all adults with lives so some of the crew cant make, no big deal, we game on.

We alternate Pathfinder and Other Games each week when we get together on Wednesdays for our gaming night.


Tangent101 wrote:
So then why even bother allowing people to roll dice for stats in the rules? Why not just state Pathfinder uses a point-build with 15 being the norm?

Rolling stats, unless you "cheat the roll", will produce characters who are very close to a 15 point buy.

I've seen GM who roll 4d6 and reroll ones, then pick the 3 better. Others who roll 4d6 eight times and select the 6 better, others who roll 2d6+6 and many many other combinations. The most usual version, is rolling 4d6 and drop 1, but if your character does not fulfill your base expectations (which often mean not getting anything lower than 8, and getting at least a 16), you cry and moan and your GM allow for a reroll. In those cases, sure, 4d6 mean very high stats. But that's not the game assumed 4d6 roll. The average roll for 4d6 and drop lower, is roughly a 15 point buy.

Take in acount: your character has roughly the same chances to roll a 18, as he has to roll a 6 (because of drop of the lowest one, it's not 18 vs 3). I wonder how many players have you seen playing with 18, compared to players with a 6. That's because players moan and cry when they roll 6,6, 14,12,12,11, but they dont when they roll 18,18,14,12,12,11. Both have the same chances to have, though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

To each their own. As Mr. Jacobs pointed out, inexperienced players are less likely to survive a game run with 15-point builds.

Having looked at the first part of WotR, I will say this: it's magic-heavy. Indeed, at the very start the players have a minor artifact and soon will gain their first couple of potions.

It also advances the group rather quickly. I'd be willing to bet that if I stripped out the early magic items and potions that even experienced players on a 15-point build would die. But then... low-magic campaigns don't exactly work well with demonic invasions, do they? ;)


Haven't said otherwise. I was just pointing that rolling, unless you cheat the rolls (and that includes letting the player re-roll the entire char because he rolled a 6, or because he didn't roll better than 15), you are going to get 15 point buy chars, on average.

I don't think 15 point characters would die without the first potions. Only 15 point characters whose players believe you HAVE to have an 18 before racials in your main stat to be competent. You can play with 14-14-14-10-10-10 pre racial, which means 16-14-14-10-10-10 for humans for example. And that's totally viable to finish an AP.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Yes, I know. Heck, the player in my Runelords game playing a Barbarian could have crafted a similar character with 15 points and still had the uber-high strength as it was an initial 17 that was bumped to 19 (and then increased further upon 4th level). And to be honest, the barbarian wouldn't have been much weaker with an initial 16.

Of course, there is one little detail I might have left out. I always increase the hit points of foes by 50% or more higher than what's given. I feel average hit points is far too weak for these foes. Goblins shouldn't drop with an average sword thrust by a moderately strong foe. They should survive that initial attack and then have a chance to flee or get that one last strike in.

And yes, I plan on doing this for WotR, even though I'll be limiting players to a 20-point build.

Silver Crusade

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My players prefer 25 point for various reasons, but they don't allow themselves to dump a stat so it all works out perfectly. Of course since my players good at character creation I always have to use tricks to keep the adventure challenging.


If you players are in any way experienced, 25 point buy is like handing them the keys to an easy win 90% of the time. Stick to 15, they will manage, feel more of a challenge, and experienced players wont steamroll everything. Coming from someone who's running Kingmaker with a 3player party of 25 point buy who know their stuff and aren't full out min-maxing (no real dump stat). I have to put Advanced and max out the hp on everything to give my monsters, and bosses, a fighting chance.

Only my end of book bosses are in any way deadly, and then the players can burn hero points (burning 2 to not die, for once).


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I think you should use a 5-point buy.


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B0sh1 wrote:
This AP is supposed to be a high powered with mythic levels and such. I am planning to run this myself. Does this break the mold of typical AP point buy? If not, would running this with 25 point buy be terribly detrimental? Player base will be 4-5. I do plan on extensively reviewing the big bad and key foes stat blocks and potentially optimizing those foes, if necessary.

The impact of going with a 20 point or 25 point buy is grossly over-stated in my opinion.

Ask yourself this question:

Would giving my melee characters a one-time permanent bonus of +1 attack and +1 damage or my casters a one-time permanent bonus of +1 DC for their spells be unbalancing? What about an extra hit point per level or a +1 bonus to their saves? That's really what we're talking about here.

How about this - you give them a 25 point buy that makes it easier to qualify for various feats and abilities, that helps define their character as they envision them... and maybe you don't go quite so overboard showering them with dozens of magical items each over the course of the campaign?

I heard an interesting suggestion once: 15 point buy and standard WBL, 20 point buy and WBL -1 or 25 point buy and WBL -2.

For me, its always been more about what your character can DO than what he can BUY.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Can't say too much about the 25 point buy, but the 20 point buy is not that much of a step up in terms of power, unless you don't reign in your local "drop three stats to 7, power up everything else" munchkin.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I've long been a fan of lower-magic campaigns. In fact, the campaign I was starting prior to my switching over to Pathfinder and then Reign of Winter had +1 magic weapons and armor made of mithral, and +2 magic weapons and armor made of adamantine... but neither were enchanted. (Obviously Paizo considers mithral and adamantine differently than my campaign did). Thus most "magic items" were just "magic" because of their materials, not because of any enchantments.

The problem is that there are plenty of critters that can only be hit by enchanted weapons. And some that need specific types of weapons you may be completely out of the loop on (like Black Maggia's immunities, or those of a Succubus).

I will admit I'm tempted, when I eventually run Runelords for my tabletop group (in twenty years at the rate I'm going), I'm going to transplant it into my own world, reduce the magic by 90% and the treasure by 70% (at least until they find Xin-Shalast). To me, magic shouldn't be so commonplace that you find abandoned magic rings in the stumps of trees before a walled inn or under rocks (I'm looking at you, Baldur's Gate).

After all, a +1 sword shouldn't be something you shrug at and sell so to try and get something bigger. It should have its own story and its own history. These items shouldn't be made in a day by some small-time mage-smith, but rather worked on for weeks by old dwarven smiths or aloof elven wrights. They should be MAGICAL, not mundane.

Buying and selling magic items turns them mundane. Ordinary. They destroy the sense of wonder and magic behind them. Sting becomes a +1 short sword rather than an elvish blade that glows in the presence of goblins and orcs and was named after its wielder slew his first giant spider. What's so special about a +1 sword... compared to Sting?


Doomed Hero wrote:
15 point buy lends itself toward Single Attribute characters. They'll have low attributes too, which will make them weak in some areas. One of their Saves is pretty much guaranteed to be low. Multiple attribute characters are almost impossible. You'll see a lot of strength based Fighters and Barbarians, basic Clerics and Wizards. Party makeup will feel "classic."

Everything you stated is absolutely wrong about Dorotea, my WotR character. In fact, the big difference between the 20pt version and the 15 pt version is the low CHA. The 20pt version did not have a dump stat.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Tangent101 wrote:
Buying and selling magic items turns them mundane. Ordinary. They destroy the sense of wonder and magic behind them. Sting becomes a +1 short sword rather than an elvish blade that glows in the presence of goblins and orcs and was named after its wielder slew his first giant spider. What's so special about a +1 sword... compared to Sting?

I can't really disagree with that, but Pathfinder As Written (PAW?) simply is a high-magic setting, where magical items are much more commonplace than in Lord of the Rings, where magic is actually fading from the world. I'm not saying that rewriting the whole thing is a bad idea (but I'll say that it is a ton of work), but the unintended consequence may be to give full casters even more power while screwing over the martials. Full casters need a spellbook (or not even that in case of the Sorcerer, Cleric or Oracle) to rock, nothing more. The additional magic items are just nice touch-ups to make them more durable. I think you know how martials compare to that in regard to items.


Tangent101 wrote:

To me, magic shouldn't be so commonplace that you find abandoned magic rings in the stumps of trees before a walled inn or under rocks (I'm looking at you, Baldur's Gate).

I don't think a CRPG is a fair comparison to a tabletop RPG in the magic rarity department. While Baldur's Gate may have a "D&D" label on it, it was not created under the same design paradigm as a module or adventure path. Those games don't have loot for one party in them, they have loot for most (if not all) combinations of parties you can feasibly create. You'll be hard pressed to find a "low magic" CRPG out there, and even harder pressed to find a *successful* "low magic" CRPG. PC Gamers love their "loot", so much so that Action RPGs and their item lotteries have long replaced the more standard (and by comparison, restrained) CRPGs.

Also, "loot" has been a large feature of D&D from the very beginning, when you used to get xp for the gp value of what you found. When the xp angle went away, it was replaced with the slot system of magic item dress up. And, indeed, this has made magic items lose some of their "magic". Low magic games can be fun and entertaining. For a while. Unless you replace the magic item bonuses with something else, players get bored eventually, at least in my experience. Golarion itself is not "low magic", so making it such will require a great deal of work above and beyond the work on the system rules themselves that you already mention, like high level monster resistances and abilities.


Darkbridger wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

To me, magic shouldn't be so commonplace that you find abandoned magic rings in the stumps of trees before a walled inn or under rocks (I'm looking at you, Baldur's Gate).

I don't think a CRPG is a fair comparison to a tabletop RPG in the magic rarity department. While Baldur's Gate may have a "D&D" label on it, it was not created under the same design paradigm as a module or adventure path. Those games don't have loot for one party in them, they have loot for most (if not all) combinations of parties you can feasibly create. You'll be hard pressed to find a "low magic" CRPG out there, and even harder pressed to find a *successful* "low magic" CRPG. PC Gamers love their "loot", so much so that Action RPGs and their item lotteries have long replaced the more standard (and by comparison, restrained) CRPGs.

Also, "loot" has been a large feature of D&D from the very beginning, when you used to get xp for the gp value of what you found. When the xp angle went away, it was replaced with the slot system of magic item dress up. And, indeed, this has made magic items lose some of their "magic". Low magic games can be fun and entertaining. For a while. Unless you replace the magic item bonuses with something else, players get bored eventually, at least in my experience. Golarion itself is not "low magic", so making it such will require a great deal of work above and beyond the work on the system rules themselves that you already mention, like high level monster resistances and abilities.

We're kind of straying from the point of the OP obviously, but for our group its not necessarily about 'low magic' as it is about not making magic generic. A few examples - there are no potions for divine magic and divine wands and scrolls can only be used by followers of the same deity as the wand or scroll was made by - in other words, divine magic can't be bottled up and sold to the highest bidder to put to whatever purpose they might choose. So no, no generic cure potions and wands for everyone.

Our magic items tend to be rarer and more powerful, and usually have a way of growing in power as we advance rather than have us trading in the old one for a new like like a used car. They have names and histories and come to us in ways other than looting it off a random dead body or buying it at the Ye Olde Magic Shoppe down the street. Generally speaking, we have fewer items, but the items we have tend to be a bit more powerful.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Actually it is a valid comparison.

For instance,

Spoiler:
in Wrath of the Righteous the players come across a masterwork backpack with several healing potions, and later can go down a ladder, find a secret room that inhabitants of the area never found despite having a ladder that leads to that area, and find a chest with several magic items.

Other APs include magic items and the like "squirreled away" in various hideyholes. And let's not forget magic items found with most encounters. Sorry, but I cannot see why an Orc tribe would keep magic weapons or the like in a chest rather than using them. Yet this has happened on multiple occasions because the mindset of treasure is separate from equipment.

People think of Smaug when they think of treasure hoards. They like to think of chests of treasure rather than the fact this is moeny, and should be used by these creatures in trade and to enhance their lives.

For instance, take the goblins of Thistletop. Yeah, they're into stealing what they can... but when times get hard, the chief could very easily send a couple trusted goblins with some treasure, approach a farm or the like with a white flag, and offer to trade for food. In fact, goblin tribes could easily develop an economy where they go through trash, build weapons and the like from the discards, trade it to other goblins for their found loot, and then trade it to humans for food. Goblins aren't dumb. Far from it in fact.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sure, but humans kind of have a general problem with feeding Goblins, who have been known to bite the hand which feeds them. With fire.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

And again, that can be utilized. Farmers that established trade could allow goblins to burn the fields once the harvest is completed. The goblins could have a big game with it even. And that still doesn't negate the fact that that treasure of theirs is going to waste.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And you seriously think that you can regiment the highly chaotic goblins on a large scale into burning the fields only after the harvest, when the fields full of wheat stalks are right there now? I think you are generally counting too much on goblins behaving logically, when they are way more driven by destructive impulsivity. There's a reason why things are like they are on Golarion.

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