Paizo and "USES PER DAY" features


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I'm a long time pathfinder fanatic and I believe I've identified a fundamental flaw with paizo's class design process: The reliance on uses per day.

Regionally in D&D 3/3.5, casters had abilities which could only be used X times per day. This represented an expense of mana or some similar magical resource. Similarly, barbarians had rage rounds per day based off a character's stamina and ability to maintain his hate for a limited period of time.

So far, so good. But then I see a class like the brawler which can only change his feats a certain amount of times per day. A flavor explanation for this eludes me. Is he magically changing his feats? Does he selectively forget things? Is he learning new things at a rate which can't be maintained at all times? The absurdity bothers me a little.

That being said, I love the brawler, and some of these other classes/archetypes with inexplicable uses per day abilities. But I think the reliance on this mechanic in non-casters should stop, unless there is an immersive and rational story/flavor reason for such a mechanic.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Resource management is part of the game. Uses/day is a gamey way of representing a limited resource. Flavor to taste.

-Skeld

Contributor

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I think it is interesting that the two posters above me (Zola and Skeld) basically identify both sides of the "Uses per Day" discussion.

On one hand, having limited availability in a given timeframe allows for resource management, which is a part of any game. All games have resources to be managed, because that's whether the fun lies. When you're playing Minecraft, durability and material availability are your resources. When you're playing Fallout 3, your resources are your encumbrance and ammunition. Pathfinder is a game predominately about conflict and combat, so most of the resource management that you see involves that type of play. For example, there are more combat-driven spells in the game than otherwise.

On the other hand, this type of restriction is often applied in places where it may not make mechanical sense. For instance, why can I only challenge 1 creature to duel per day as a cavalier? The flavor (I am focusing my attention on one specific target) doesn't quite match the mechanic (I can only do this a limited number of times each day).

Now, as for whether or not this is a problem with Paizo's game design. I'm going to argue that no, its not. What may be a problem, however, is the lack of flavor that accompanies most of the Core Line classes. But you don't need to look much farther than the ACG Kneejerk thread to see why the Core Rulebook line works very hard to try to keep flavor statements and mechanics statements separated. I'm referring to Pummeling Style, where the big question at the moment is whether or not that style works with all weapons or just unarmed strikes. The problem is the mixing of a flavor statement and a mechanics statement. There isn't really a good product to talk about the in-world justification for some of the mechanics, though.

As a final point, a good game designer knows that once an initial idea is settled upon the mechanics should come before the flavor. Flavor is malleable (especially when that flavor comes from the Core Rulebook line). Mechanics are not.


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It looks like it's a dissociated mechanic, which creates a roleplaying problem. Just what is the character actually doing?

You can make up a house rule to associate it with something in the world, but that leads to further mechanical problems; for example, if this is a magical ability, then it shouldn't work in areas of antimagic; or if it represents fatigue, then the character should be feeling the effects of that in other ways as well.


Alexander Augunas wrote:
As a final point, a good game designer knows that once an initial idea is settled upon the mechanics should come before the flavor. Flavor is malleable (especially when that flavor comes from the Core Rulebook line). Mechanics are not.

In my view it should be the exact opposite. When you're talking specifically about a roleplaying game, the mechanics exist to facilitate playing a role in whatever fictional world is being presented. Flavor, in other words, is primary; mechanics can and should be adjusted in whatever way is necessary to make them fit the flavor.


I don't see a reliance on X/day, I see more and more point pools and rounds/day. Many of us like the complexity of managing points and rounds, using them in a variety of ways, being able to recharge, etc. However, X/day is a very simple mechanic, and I think the game still has plenty of room for simplicity.


JoeJ wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
As a final point, a good game designer knows that once an initial idea is settled upon the mechanics should come before the flavor. Flavor is malleable (especially when that flavor comes from the Core Rulebook line). Mechanics are not.

In my view it should be the exact opposite. When you're talking specifically about a roleplaying game, the mechanics exist to facilitate playing a role in whatever fictional world is being presented. Flavor, in other words, is primary; mechanics can and should be adjusted in whatever way is necessary to make them fit the flavor.

I've always looked at it the other way. The mechanics stays the same and you change your flavor to match the way you play. That way you're all using the same rules. House fluff is easier to deal with than house-rules IMO.


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JoeJ wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
As a final point, a good game designer knows that once an initial idea is settled upon the mechanics should come before the flavor. Flavor is malleable (especially when that flavor comes from the Core Rulebook line). Mechanics are not.

In my view it should be the exact opposite. When you're talking specifically about a roleplaying game, the mechanics exist to facilitate playing a role in whatever fictional world is being presented. Flavor, in other words, is primary; mechanics can and should be adjusted in whatever way is necessary to make them fit the flavor.

In principle i might be with you but my experience with white wolf's games (oWoD, nWoD, nnWoD, scion, exalted 2E, exalted 2.5E) has shown me that when you put flavor before mechanics you end up with really bad systems.


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graystone wrote:
JoeJ wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
As a final point, a good game designer knows that once an initial idea is settled upon the mechanics should come before the flavor. Flavor is malleable (especially when that flavor comes from the Core Rulebook line). Mechanics are not.

In my view it should be the exact opposite. When you're talking specifically about a roleplaying game, the mechanics exist to facilitate playing a role in whatever fictional world is being presented. Flavor, in other words, is primary; mechanics can and should be adjusted in whatever way is necessary to make them fit the flavor.

I've always looked at it the other way. The mechanics stays the same and you change your flavor to match the way you play. That way you're all using the same rules. House fluff is easier to deal with than house-rules IMO.

My problem with that is that if the player's actions don't represent anything in the game world I get bored with it very quickly. That's why I gave up chess as soon as I discovered wargaming.


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JoeJ wrote:


My problem with that is that if the player's actions don't represent anything in the game world I get bored with it very quickly. That's why I gave up chess as soon as I discovered wargaming.

I find that an issue with not making the right fluff instead of a mechanical issue. If something wrecks your immersion, you're either overthinking it or you didn't refluff it well enough.

So brawler stuff: clearly, they have similar training to a monk and can do things a 100% mundane character can't (brawlers strike proves this). So the same reason you can justify stunning blow only working X amount of times, the same thing works with the brawler.

One explanation is emulating other martial maneuvers is stressful to his system and expends the pseudo-ki they have. If it helps, think of them having ki points, instead of used of Martial Flexibility, usable only for that ability. Limited abilities work fine for the monk after all.

If you DO want a purely mundane reason, you can say that the abilities are maneuvers they've learned and can use all the time but are very specialized. That means that most times the opportunity doesn't present itself for they to be useful. It isn't so much that the player 'used' an ability, but the bad guy just happens to open themselves up to his 'serpents coil' (Improved Grapple) by moving his arm in a way that you can grab his cloak to wrap him up. Again, this is like sneak attack and it's an ability that takes getting things just right to work.

In the end a little re-fluff works in most situations IMO if you're not overly nit-picky.


I enjoy the pools and uses/day systems. Resource management has always been something I've been drawn to, and when resources don't have to be managed it tends to lend itself to games where things are either very abstract or unbalanced. Like graystone is saying, and other posters as well, refluffing to fit mechanics is far easier than making mechanics to fit flavor. For instance, I did a complete rewrite of the Truenamer class from 3.5's Tome of Magic book. It was crazy hard at times to figure out how to emulate a certain result mechanically without having paragraphs of description. Likewise, when I brought the class in line with what I believe to be Paizo's design parameters and made mechanics that I figured would help the class fill a niche, the flavor came without any issue.

Characters can get tired. Characters can lack inspiration at times, or gain flashes of brilliance at certain other times. Superman is arguably an incredibly boring character because he has zero resources he has to manage. He flies infinitely, he strawngs infinitely, he laser eyeses and freeze breaths any time he wants and can't be hurt by anything but magic and a specific rare rock. Batman, on the other hand, can get tired. He can run out of gadgets, or have a gadget not work, or be overpowered and have to rethink his strategy. The more compelling character is the one that has limited resources and less omnipotence.

For a Brawler, he or she might run out of steam and be too tired to think of trying a tactic, knowing that their limits are being stretched. Martial Flexibility can also, like graystone said, be representative of the Brawler having the awareness and speed to quickly take advantage of a situation or opening presented by an enemy. A cleric only gets so many spells because their deity only favors them so much. A barbarian only has so much rage before he's completely exhausted, or his battle-lust is spent. A swashbuckler's panache or a gunslinger's grit are their lucky openings or those crazy things that just happen to work that one time, but not always. A cavalier might think that after challenging six foes in a day he won't be finding any more worthy adversaries; he's so strong, he might as well just stop and start hacking through them, or his code prevents him from invoking an oath too often. Wizards and sorcerers run out of spells and abilities because using magic is inherently mentally and physically taxing. With my Truenamer/Truespeaker example, even though they use skill checks to cast their spells each time they do it gets harder because their voice gets raw, their tongue gets tied, and screaming at the Universe in a booming voice isn't exactly the easiest thing to do.

So, I mean, if it really bothers you Pathfinder might not be the correct mechanical system. There are plenty of RPGs that have infinite uses/day type stuff. But resource management is what keeps things balanced.


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I am just going to throw this out there... the 2 classes who (for the most part) don't deal wiht X/day abilities are the fighter and the rogue (certain rogue talents not withstandin)... and both classes are well know for being... well...boring...


im in the middle

there are several rogue talents with what seems to be 'tacked on' X/day restrictions

im not opposed to limited round/use/pool resources in general - i just think that sometimes Design uses it as a crutch in lieu of exercising the ol' left brain - there are myriad ways to introduce mechanical limitations, with X/day being one option, but too often a default option that seems lazy or lacklustre from the outside looking in

some other restrictions?

1) action economy
2) situational
3) rest time

for example, take the rogue talent Resilience (1/day). it could be reconceived using each, any two, or a mix of every restriction listed above, all which would serve to constrain it from being 'infinite' in a different way

good discussion folks!


When its not magic uses per day irks me.

My hopes is that in Pathfinder Unchained the mentioned resource system ties them all together to key off of a stamina pool or something.


Malwing wrote:

When its not magic uses per day irks me.

My hopes is that in Pathfinder Unchained the mentioned resource system ties them all together to key off of a stamina pool or something.

I don't see much difference between a stamina pool and uses per day. If you can use 3/day or you have an ability that takes 5 stamina and you have a pool of 15, you end up with the same amount.

That said, I'm not a huge fan of daily abilities, magic or otherwise. It's not for fluff reasons though. I'd rather not deal with Resource management on that level.


graystone wrote:
Malwing wrote:

When its not magic uses per day irks me.

My hopes is that in Pathfinder Unchained the mentioned resource system ties them all together to key off of a stamina pool or something.

I don't see much difference between a stamina pool and uses per day. If you can use 3/day or you have an ability that takes 5 stamina and you have a pool of 15, you end up with the same amount.

That said, I'm not a huge fan of daily abilities, magic or otherwise. It's not for fluff reasons though. I'd rather not deal with Resource management on that level.

The difference is when you have 4 abilities that each have 1 use/day. If they're coming from the same source, whether that's fatigue, stamina, mana, ki, or whatever, you should be able to decide to use 1 of them 4 times today, and 2 of them twice each tomorrow.


JoeJ wrote:
graystone wrote:
Malwing wrote:

When its not magic uses per day irks me.

My hopes is that in Pathfinder Unchained the mentioned resource system ties them all together to key off of a stamina pool or something.

I don't see much difference between a stamina pool and uses per day. If you can use 3/day or you have an ability that takes 5 stamina and you have a pool of 15, you end up with the same amount.

That said, I'm not a huge fan of daily abilities, magic or otherwise. It's not for fluff reasons though. I'd rather not deal with Resource management on that level.

The difference is when you have 4 abilities that each have 1 use/day. If they're coming from the same source, whether that's fatigue, stamina, mana, ki, or whatever, you should be able to decide to use 1 of them 4 times today, and 2 of them twice each tomorrow.

Most of the ones with per day abilities most times fall into only having 1 or two or they DO have a pool. Take the brawler. It only HAS one ability like that. Pool vs uses/day are the same thing for them...


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You misunderstand you can only use turbo boost once per episode or it wouldn't be dramatic.


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My major problem with uses per day isn't so much the fluff (of which I shall keep my opinion on it close to the vest, though it seems to differ from many in this thread)... It's the gameplay consequences.

In short.. It reinforces the fifteen minute work day. At least from what I've experienced. I know very few who would actually want to be the truly epic big damn heroes that continue on despite being tired and worn out.

I can understand resting for HP... But when entire parties are resting because people are out of x/day (this includes x/rounds, x/anything, x/etc), despite having good HP and casters still have a handful spells left... Totally breaks my verisimilitude.

I can get the tactical advantage of fighting the BBEG at totally topped off everything... But there's no effing thrill to the story when the heroes plow through a dungeon, rest for a few hours inside said dungeon, then go off to fight the final boss as pristine as the day they left town! And usually, due to how most of these 'Boss Fights' are designed, these fully fresh characters often trounce said boss... Because there's nothing in the module that states the boss would rather harass them while sleeping, than sitting in his sanctuary wringing his hands evilly and twirling his mustache.

Don't believe me? I've seen it, I've been in parties that do it. Several times. One of my worst groups would practically boycott and derail the game until they got to do it, which is not a good experience for a new GM (who was only doing it because none of the usual GMs wanted to, despite only having been playing for a year beforehand), which made her vow never to GM again, mainly due to the fact, that they vehemently argued with very raised voices they 'Should' be able to ONLY so the casters can re-prepare their spells, and the barb can get rage rounds ("By not letting us sleep, you're just trying to pull a TPK!"). After only ONE and a HALF combats at level 2 (they retreated, and the nature of the dream labyrinth prevents things from leaving their assigned rooms).

It's why I've started to shake off the rust and DM again. There's nothing more of a buzz kill to me than having the psyched momentum grind to a freaking halt just so the barbarian can sleep and be pissed off tomorrow. Fortunately, those who I DM for (though that number is small) happen to agree with me, so though I'm not a player, I'm getting the BDH feeling through DMing for them ^_^.

I have no problem with Use Per Day features. I find them to be rather fun to use, and depending on what they are, rather thematic... It's the game play attitude that they enable that upsets me.


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I personally prefer abilities like Favored Target, which give a small, general boost an unlimited number of times per day.

Martial Flexibility would be a lot better IMO if it were limited to like 2 Feats as a Move, or one as a Swift from 1st level, but wasn't limited per day.


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"Artemis Moonstar wrote:
I can understand resting for HP... But when entire parties are resting because people are out of x/day (this includes x/rounds, x/anything, x/etc), despite having good HP and casters still have a handful spells left... Totally breaks my verisimilitude.

For me, it'd "breaks my verisimilitude" that in a life or dead situation you wouldn't go into it with the best possible chance to survive. That'd mean regaining resources whenever possible. Without a good reason to 'push on', it only seems reasonable. It might not have the 'thrill' of an epic story but it's closer to reality.


graystone wrote:
"Artemis Moonstar wrote:
I can understand resting for HP... But when entire parties are resting because people are out of x/day (this includes x/rounds, x/anything, x/etc), despite having good HP and casters still have a handful spells left... Totally breaks my verisimilitude.
For me, it'd "breaks my verisimilitude" that in a life or dead situation you wouldn't go into it with the best possible chance to survive. That'd mean regaining resources whenever possible. Without a good reason to 'push on', it only seems reasonable. It might not have the 'thrill' of an epic story but it's closer to reality.

Smart characters would do that if they could, but how do they arrange for the rest of the world to wait on hold while they rest up?


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My groups know that if they try to take a nap in the dungeon they're probably going to get ganked. So they've all got it in their minds that their shot at the haunted castle or enemy lair is either a full attack or they'll need to find a way to retreat. Which makes them conserve resources and use them smarter, and also gauge whether they need to beat a tactical withdrawal.

I mean, I'm not a total jerk and I will let them rest on occasion, especially if the dungeon is large and they've got an area relatively secure, but I also run my encounters with the idea that they're resource tests. If you blow all of your abilities on an encounter you're going to have a hard time on the next one; if you don't have abilities to blow that entire attrition factor goes out the window.


Not all X/day abilities are the same, not all encourage the 15 minute work day. Magic Missile 3/day is not the same as Silent Image 3/day.


On a serious note I think that they should institute once per week on some abilities. That way you can create abilities which are strong but don't get instantly refreshed.


JoeJ wrote:
graystone wrote:
"Artemis Moonstar wrote:
I can understand resting for HP... But when entire parties are resting because people are out of x/day (this includes x/rounds, x/anything, x/etc), despite having good HP and casters still have a handful spells left... Totally breaks my verisimilitude.
For me, it'd "breaks my verisimilitude" that in a life or dead situation you wouldn't go into it with the best possible chance to survive. That'd mean regaining resources whenever possible. Without a good reason to 'push on', it only seems reasonable. It might not have the 'thrill' of an epic story but it's closer to reality.

Smart characters would do that if they could, but how do they arrange for the rest of the world to wait on hold while they rest up?

Even with low level spells it's possible and the higher you get, the more options you have. It's not hard most times. Most time the only real reason to 'push forward' is having some time limit instead of it not being possible.

For instance, pull out the new book. Take Mirror Hideaway, 2nd level spell. A simple mirror can hide you away for 1hr/level. It only gets easier from there as the spells get better.


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Undone wrote:
On a serious note I think that they should institute once per week on some abilities. That way you can create abilities which are strong but don't get instantly refreshed.

That's the last thing I'd want. I'd rather them go the other way. Lower power and maybe 1/hour. That way you only take a small breather instead of a 8hr nap.


graystone wrote:
JoeJ wrote:
graystone wrote:
"Artemis Moonstar wrote:
I can understand resting for HP... But when entire parties are resting because people are out of x/day (this includes x/rounds, x/anything, x/etc), despite having good HP and casters still have a handful spells left... Totally breaks my verisimilitude.
For me, it'd "breaks my verisimilitude" that in a life or dead situation you wouldn't go into it with the best possible chance to survive. That'd mean regaining resources whenever possible. Without a good reason to 'push on', it only seems reasonable. It might not have the 'thrill' of an epic story but it's closer to reality.

Smart characters would do that if they could, but how do they arrange for the rest of the world to wait on hold while they rest up?

Even with low level spells it's possible and the higher you get, the more options you have. It's not hard most times. Most time the only real reason to 'push forward' is having some time limit instead of it not being possible.

For instance, pull out the new book. Take Mirror Hideaway, 2nd level spell. A simple mirror can hide you away for 1hr/level. It only gets easier from there as the spells get better.

Is that a new ACG spell? How does that put the world on hold? Why can't the BBEG use that time to set up an ambush for the party? Or, if they've shown that they're strong enough to be a real threat, why won't he just make his escape and strike back at them another day?


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Rynjin wrote:

I personally prefer abilities like Favored Target, which give a small, general boost an unlimited number of times per day.

Martial Flexibility would be a lot better IMO if it were limited to like 2 Feats as a Move, or one as a Swift from 1st level, but wasn't limited per day.

See, I'd like that system a lot more than the endless 'X/day' system we have now. As a counter measure, you could limit the brawler doing this to once per combat. Paizo has several implied and explicit '1/fight' mechanics already. For the former, barbarian rage. For the latter, there's a couple rogue talents like that. I don't know why simply getting your breath back and recentering yourself after a fight isn't a valid recharge time for non-magical talents like Martial Flexibility or Defensive Roll. What, the rogue hasn't slept yet, so he's completely unable and/or forgotten how to try and save his own butt, despite this being something he's incredibly good at? Then explain Evasion! X/day use abilities, especially where X = a very low #, break immersion and that's bad for a role-playing game.


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To clarify, how I imagine a stamina pool is something that restores after a few rounds of inactivity (short rest) as opposed to a per day limits. Martials would keep their "all day" reliability but not for a great stretch of time.


JoeJ wrote:

Is that a new ACG spell? How does that put the world on hold? Why can't the BBEG use that time to set up an ambush for the party? Or, if they've shown that they're strong enough to be a real threat, why won't he just make his escape and strike back at them another day?

New spell?: yes

On hold?: No, it just allows pretty safe napping.
Ambush?: Yes he can, just like he could have before you got there. Assuming he doesn't know everything about the area, how does he know where you are when you cast it to set up the ambush? How does he know when you'll be back? They may be on alert but unless this was a pure stealth mission there is a good chance they already are.
Escape?: Why didn't he head out the back door even if you pushed forward? If he's smart enough to ambush you without much info, he's sure to have a plan to escape a charge forward too.

The main reason to charge is a time limit. Without it, it's not that great of a plan.

Could there be an ambush? yes to both.
Could the bad guy escape? yes to both.
Which way is more likely to have you see the next game day? I'm voting for caution.


Malwing wrote:
To clarify, how I imagine a stamina pool is something that restores after a few rounds of inactivity (short rest) as opposed to a per day limits. Martials would keep their "all day" reliability but not for a great stretch of time.

I'd LOVE some 4e 1/combat type powers. With the level of 4e hate I've seen around here I can't imagine it's ever gain any traction though.


JoeJ wrote:

In my view it should be the exact opposite. When you're talking specifically about a roleplaying game, the mechanics exist to facilitate playing a role in whatever fictional world is being presented. Flavor, in other words, is primary; mechanics can and should be adjusted in whatever way is necessary to make them fit the flavor.

But then, this leads to unbalanced mechanics as most people haven't play tested things nearly as thoroughly. It can really screw with classes and characters to make fundamental shifts in abilities without thoroughly examining and playing them beforehand.

Even with all that, your new flavor still won't be palatable to everyone. So some people will still shift the mechanics.

Honestly, I'm one of the people that would like 3 weapons in each category with a different weapon die and crit range and then name it whatever you want. You could probably go with a little more variation to allow for weapon abilities but beyond that, I see no reason to limit potential different characters based on effectiveness of mechanics.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

If we're looking specifically at the brawler's feat improvisation...

Coming up with solutions on the spot (ex. Blind-Fight when blinded, Archery feats to deal with a flier, etc) is mentally fatiguing.

Maybe you briefly trained in all of those feats. You took a semester in archery, but for the next minute you're going to do it as competently as a pro? Well, that's taxing.

Parallel to my mundane life: I took physics a long time ago. I remember some of the things I learned. I could probably derive some things I don't remember if I had to. If I kept doing that all day, I'd tire out after a while.

Brawler's doing the same thing (but faster, and in life-threatening situations). It's not surprising he reaches his wit's end at some point.


JoeJ wrote:

It looks like it's a dissociated mechanic, which creates a roleplaying problem. Just what is the character actually doing?

You can make up a house rule to associate it with something in the world, but that leads to further mechanical problems; for example, if this is a magical ability, then it shouldn't work in areas of antimagic; or if it represents fatigue, then the character should be feeling the effects of that in other ways as well.

You don't need a houserule to explain how it works. You can just find flavor that makes sense to you.


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Artemis Moonstar wrote:

My major problem with uses per day isn't so much the fluff (of which I shall keep my opinion on it close to the vest, though it seems to differ from many in this thread)... It's the gameplay consequences.

In short.. It reinforces the fifteen minute work day. At least from what I've experienced. I know very few who would actually want to be the truly epic big damn heroes that continue on despite being tired and worn out.

I am sure the those heroes wanted to rest also, and they will if given a chance. If you read a novel where someone is fighting on fumes it was because they had no choice, not because they thought "Man, if I fight with nothing left I will look really cool".

Quote:


I can understand resting for HP... But when entire parties are resting because people are out of x/day (this includes x/rounds, x/anything, x/etc), despite having good HP and casters still have a handful spells left... Totally breaks my verisimilitude.

Define "handful".

If you mean 7th level casters and they still have 3rd level spells then I don't know why they are resting barring very extreme cases. If they are level 15 and they only have a few 3rd level spells left then I understand, but a 15th level party can normally take on enough fights to not call it a "15 minute work day" before they are pushed to 3rd level spells.

Quote:


I can get the tactical advantage of fighting the BBEG at totally topped off everything... But there's no effing thrill to the story when the heroes plow through a dungeon, rest for a few hours inside said dungeon, then go off to fight the final boss as pristine as the day they left town!

That depends on how tough the BBEG is. Personally if they end their last fight right outside of his door/entrance before resting he would know. If they take too long to show up he should know and adjust accordingly. Resting right before a boss fight can be blind luck if the players dont know where he is. However the boss should have plans in place to deal with such things.

Quote:


And usually, due to how most of these 'Boss Fights' are designed, these fully fresh characters often trounce said boss... Because there's nothing in the module that states the boss would rather harass them while sleeping, than sitting in his sanctuary wringing his hands evilly and twirling his mustache.

That is a GM problem. Unless you are in PFS you are not bound to what is in the books. Many people run home games and still fall prey to this. I have had bosses change locations, and I don't mean in the same dungeon if they had too. Give your BBEG a preferred place to fight, but he does not have to have a mandatory place to fight.

Quote:


Don't believe me? I've seen it, I've been in parties that do it. Several times. One of my worst groups would practically boycott and derail the game until they got to do it, which is not a good experience for a new GM (who was only doing it because none of the usual GMs wanted to, despite only having been playing for a year beforehand), which made her vow never to GM again, mainly due to the fact, that they vehemently argued with very raised voices they 'Should' be able to ONLY so the casters can re-prepare their spells, and the barb can get rage rounds ("By not letting us sleep, you're just trying to pull a TPK!"). After only ONE and a HALF combats at level 2 (they retreated, and the nature of the dream labyrinth prevents things from leaving their assigned rooms).

It's why I've started to shake off the rust and DM again. There's nothing more of a buzz kill to me than having the psyched momentum grind to a freaking halt just so the barbarian can sleep and be pissed off tomorrow. Fortunately, those who I DM for (though that number is small) happen to agree with me, so though I'm not a player, I'm getting the BDH feeling through DMing for them ^_^.

I have no problem with Use Per Day features. I find them to be rather fun to use, and depending on what they are, rather thematic... It's the game play attitude that they enable that upsets me.

I believe you, but you have to set a tone of actions having consequences. It seem the problem here is players expecting to have their way. Even if you remove the x/day mechanic they would still arrive with full power. I never tell players they can't rest, but a lot can happen in 8 hours. Also at low levels there is a good deal of resting, but at higher levels PC's are able to take on more combats. That is just part of the game. I personally like to start PC's at 3rd to 5th level when I run homebrew games, which I have not done in a while. I have started AP's at 3rd before, and it worked out pretty well.

With regard to your resting players, there is a difference between them knowing bad guys might bother them if they sleep in enemy HQ, and the GM saying "No you can't rest because I said so". The former is something they should expect to deal with. The latter is something I would not like as a player either. Even if the bad guys don't assault them because they boarded the door they should be on alert, and be more grouped up than normal, depending on the situation.


JoeJ wrote:
graystone wrote:
"Artemis Moonstar wrote:
I can understand resting for HP... But when entire parties are resting because people are out of x/day (this includes x/rounds, x/anything, x/etc), despite having good HP and casters still have a handful spells left... Totally breaks my verisimilitude.
For me, it'd "breaks my verisimilitude" that in a life or dead situation you wouldn't go into it with the best possible chance to survive. That'd mean regaining resources whenever possible. Without a good reason to 'push on', it only seems reasonable. It might not have the 'thrill' of an epic story but it's closer to reality.

Smart characters would do that if they could, but how do they arrange for the rest of the world to wait on hold while they rest up?

What do you mean? Give an example.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

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If you want a character to occasionally be able to do something awesome, there needs to be some kind of limit to it.

How do you solve the problem of metering "awesome" for non-magic-weilding characters?

Tell people playing characters without magic they can't do awesome stuff?

Let them do awesome things every round?

Put an arbitrary limit on it? (Rounds of rage, uses per day, panache)

Use another expendable resource which is possibly easier to game? (Hit Points, ability scores, fatigue, consciousness)

At some point you have to make a choice and something needs to meter the awesome.


graystone wrote:
Malwing wrote:
To clarify, how I imagine a stamina pool is something that restores after a few rounds of inactivity (short rest) as opposed to a per day limits. Martials would keep their "all day" reliability but not for a great stretch of time.
I'd LOVE some 4e 1/combat type powers. With the level of 4e hate I've seen around here I can't imagine it's ever gain any traction though.

I think stamina type things would be different. For one, abilities wouldn't be different from what we do now just tied to the same resource pool. Bringing it all to one resource pool also feels more immersive than per encounter or separate per day abilities. You can do stuff all day just not continuously or I get fatigued. In some ways I wish ki, bardic performance, rage, and assorted other things worked like that from the get go.

"

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Artemis Moonstar wrote:

My major problem with uses per day isn't so much the fluff (of which I shall keep my opinion on it close to the vest, though it seems to differ from many in this thread)... It's the gameplay consequences.

In short.. It reinforces the fifteen minute work day. At least from what I've experienced. I know very few who would actually want to be the truly epic big damn heroes that continue on despite being tired and worn out.

I can understand resting for HP... But when entire parties are resting because people are out of x/day (this includes x/rounds, x/anything, x/etc), despite having good HP and casters still have a handful spells left... Totally breaks my verisimilitude.

I can get the tactical advantage of fighting the BBEG at totally topped off everything... But there's no effing thrill to the story when the heroes plow through a dungeon, rest for a few hours inside said dungeon, then go off to fight the final boss as pristine as the day they left town! And usually, due to how most of these 'Boss Fights' are designed, these fully fresh characters often trounce said boss... Because there's nothing in the module that states the boss would rather harass them while sleeping, than sitting in his sanctuary wringing his hands evilly and twirling his mustache.

Don't believe me? I've seen it, I've been in parties that do it. Several times. One of my worst groups would practically boycott and derail the game until they got to do it, which is not a good experience for a new GM (who was only doing it because none of the usual GMs wanted to, despite only having been playing for a year beforehand), which made her vow never to GM again, mainly due to the fact, that they vehemently argued with very raised voices they 'Should' be able to ONLY so the casters can re-prepare their spells, and the barb can get rage rounds ("By not letting us sleep, you're just trying to pull a TPK!"). After only ONE and a HALF combats at level 2 (they retreated, and the nature of the dream labyrinth prevents things from...

Puna'chong wrote:

My groups know that if they try to take a nap in the dungeon they're probably going to get ganked. So they've all got it in their minds that their shot at the haunted castle or enemy lair is either a full attack or they'll need to find a way to retreat. Which makes them conserve resources and use them smarter, and also gauge whether they need to beat a tactical withdrawal.

I mean, I'm not a total jerk and I will let them rest on occasion, especially if the dungeon is large and they've got an area relatively secure, but I also run my encounters with the idea that they're resource tests. If you blow all of your abilities on an encounter you're going to have a hard time on the next one; if you don't have abilities to blow that entire attrition factor goes out the window.

This ^

Maybe it is because all of the players in my group have learned to play with 1st ed. AD&D but we assume wandering monsters, the need to end a fight or retreat to a secure position and to have resources to fight at least one more time during the night or while returning to our secure base, but we rarely play the 15 minute adventuring day burning all our resources in 1 or 2 battles.

Infinite resources without limitations will be used every round, to the point that they will become very boring to use.

Infinite resources with a recovery time (think alchemist mutagen) will become use it in a fight, rest till you recover.

1 use for battle will have the players used as an example by Artemis argue that running out of the room/sight of the enemy and returning 1 round later is the same thing that entering a battle anew, so they should be able to use their powers again.

Problem players are always problem players.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Undone wrote:
On a serious note I think that they should institute once per week on some abilities. That way you can create abilities which are strong but don't get instantly refreshed.

There were some items like this in AD&D, and they were a pain. "When did I last use this ability?" "It was against the ogrillions, wasn't it? How long ago was that?" "Well, after the ogrillions, we found the ruined castle, so it can't have been that long." "No, wait, didn't the DM say we traveled three days with no encounters before we found the castle? How many times have we rested in here?" "I still don't think it's been a week." "Well, why don't we just set up camp here for a few days before we go into the dungeon to be sure?"


On one hand I don't like how martial flexibility is limited, on the other hand "Extra Martial Flexibility" gives me a feat I want to pick at higher levels.


Thomas Long 175 wrote:
JoeJ wrote:

In my view it should be the exact opposite. When you're talking specifically about a roleplaying game, the mechanics exist to facilitate playing a role in whatever fictional world is being presented. Flavor, in other words, is primary; mechanics can and should be adjusted in whatever way is necessary to make them fit the flavor.

But then, this leads to unbalanced mechanics as most people haven't play tested things nearly as thoroughly. It can really screw with classes and characters to make fundamental shifts in abilities without thoroughly examining and playing them beforehand.

Even with all that, your new flavor still won't be palatable to everyone. So some people will still shift the mechanics.

Honestly, I'm one of the people that would like 3 weapons in each category with a different weapon die and crit range and then name it whatever you want. You could probably go with a little more variation to allow for weapon abilities but beyond that, I see no reason to limit potential different characters based on effectiveness of mechanics.

The fact that a mechanic was created with a specific world effect in mind doesn't have anything to do with how much playtesting was done before it's released, or how balanced it is. And I really don't think that "palatable to everybody" is a valid test for a game. By that standard, there are no good games and never will be.


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wraithstrike wrote:
JoeJ wrote:

It looks like it's a dissociated mechanic, which creates a roleplaying problem. Just what is the character actually doing?

You can make up a house rule to associate it with something in the world, but that leads to further mechanical problems; for example, if this is a magical ability, then it shouldn't work in areas of antimagic; or if it represents fatigue, then the character should be feeling the effects of that in other ways as well.

You don't need a houserule to explain how it works. You can just find flavor that makes sense to you.

Flavor has mechanical consequences, so a house rule is necessary. For example, if I say the ability is magic, then it can be detected or dispelled, and it won't work inside an antimagic field. If I decide it's a ki ability, then a character who has ki from some other source should be able to use that other source to power additional uses of this ability. This is something that really should have been done by the devs, not handed off for each GM to rule on individually.


The game is balanced around approximately 4 combats a "day", which is how Martial Flexibility is built. You get 4 uses at level 1 to gain a flexible bonus feat for a single combat so long as it doesn't take more than 10 rounds.

By level 10 you'll need a feat tax of Extra Martial Flexibility to maintain that 4 combats per day, but if you do you've got 12 uses at 10, which gives you all 3 of your feat allocations from the ability in 4 separate combats. Given that you've also got a bucket of bonus feats, and the situational usefulness of a lot of feats, you likely will not always need to gain 3 extra feats in each combat anyway, stretching their use out even further.

There shouldn't be any reason to have a 15m workday because the Brawler is out of Martial Flexibility.


JoeJ wrote:

The fact that a mechanic was created with a specific world effect in mind doesn't have anything to do with how much playtesting was done before it's released, or how balanced it is. And I really don't think that "palatable to everybody" is a valid test for a game. By that standard, there are no good games and never will be.

I'm not sure whether you actually read what I said or just didn't understand it.

I'm saying homerules in general don't have as much play testing as the official one, which short of years of testing (which won't have been done for a new house rule) is a nearly blanket true statement. The fact that you're making a house rule can lead to imbalance. Unintended consequences. And low and behold half way through the game a player uses the new rule and finds something obscenely powerful. And there's another house rule, or a modification to the existing one. Rinse wash repeat.

As for "palatable to everyone" that's why flavor is best left to individual games. Because then you can make it palatable to everyone by allowing them to flavor it as they see fit rather than you see fit. There are plenty of good games by this standard. Just none of them demand that you follow pre existing fluff.


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JoeJ wrote:

Flavor has mechanical consequences, so a house rule is necessary. For example, if I say the ability is magic, then it can be detected or dispelled, and it won't work inside an antimagic field. If I decide it's a ki ability, then a character who has ki from some other source should be able to use that other source to power additional uses of this ability. This is something that really should have been done by the devs, not handed off for each GM to rule on individually.

Thats not flavor. That's crunch. Changing something from non magical to magical is changing it from Ex to Su or Sp. Something cannot be an extraordinary ability and be magical, just like a supernatural cannot be mundane. So if you flip an extraordinary ability to magical its going to be supernatural instead, which is altering the crunch of the ability, not the fluff.

And that's why you're hitting the problem you are.


JoeJ wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
JoeJ wrote:

It looks like it's a dissociated mechanic, which creates a roleplaying problem. Just what is the character actually doing?

You can make up a house rule to associate it with something in the world, but that leads to further mechanical problems; for example, if this is a magical ability, then it shouldn't work in areas of antimagic; or if it represents fatigue, then the character should be feeling the effects of that in other ways as well.

You don't need a houserule to explain how it works. You can just find flavor that makes sense to you.

Flavor has mechanical consequences, so a house rule is necessary. For example, if I say the ability is magic, then it can be detected or dispelled, and it won't work inside an antimagic field. If I decide it's a ki ability, then a character who has ki from some other source should be able to use that other source to power additional uses of this ability. This is something that really should have been done by the devs, not handed off for each GM to rule on individually.

Rather an ability is (Su) or (Ex) is not "flavor", so no it has no mechanical consequences. There is no unified mechanic between classes so no, you saying it is a function of "ki" does not mean another ki user can use their ki pool to fuel some other classes ability.

By the inclusion of "ki" as a real, tangible thing in the setting, it is implied that all living creatures have ki, and all that they do relates to its' internal production, flow and harnessing. It doesn't fuel their class abilities, it fuels their living.

That doesn't speak at all in how they are trained to, or if they are aware how they are harnessing their ki. A monk that gains levels in another class is still harnessing his ki to use his other classes abilities, but his monk training regarding his ki pool is specific to those abilities, and there isn't any multidisciplinary school of Monk/X Class fighting that fully reconciles two different disciplines.

What's more this 'problem' raised in this thread occurs without any need for a uses per day ability. My character can one hit kill an ogre. But only some of the time? How am I supposed to buy this. If a GM is going to make me go through the rigamarole of rolling to hit, confirm criticals, roll damage dice, to see if maybe I some of the time one hit kill stuff I'm being "disassociated". I swing once, it dies.

Any uses per day ability like Martial Flexibility is representing the vagaries of combat, which is inherently vague. Initiative, attack rolls, armor class and HP are all "disassociated" mechanics. Sometimes when you go to grapple a creature it whacks you while you are shooting for them and sometimes you had Improved Grab. Not any different than sometimes you one hit killed that ogre, and most of the time you didn't.


Thomas Long 175 wrote:
JoeJ wrote:

The fact that a mechanic was created with a specific world effect in mind doesn't have anything to do with how much playtesting was done before it's released, or how balanced it is. And I really don't think that "palatable to everybody" is a valid test for a game. By that standard, there are no good games and never will be.

I'm not sure whether you actually read what I said or just didn't understand it.

I'm saying homerules in general don't have as much play testing as the official one, which short of years of testing (which won't have been done for a new house rule) is a nearly blanket true statement. The fact that you're making a house rule can lead to imbalance. Unintended consequences. And low and behold half way through the game a player uses the new rule and finds something obscenely powerful. And there's another house rule, or a modification to the existing one. Rinse wash repeat.

I agree with that, which is why I say it should have been done by the devs and not left to individual GMs to house rule.


JoeJ wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
JoeJ wrote:

It looks like it's a dissociated mechanic, which creates a roleplaying problem. Just what is the character actually doing?

You can make up a house rule to associate it with something in the world, but that leads to further mechanical problems; for example, if this is a magical ability, then it shouldn't work in areas of antimagic; or if it represents fatigue, then the character should be feeling the effects of that in other ways as well.

You don't need a houserule to explain how it works. You can just find flavor that makes sense to you.

Flavor has mechanical consequences, so a house rule is necessary. For example, if I say the ability is magic, then it can be detected or dispelled, and it won't work inside an antimagic field. If I decide it's a ki ability, then a character who has ki from some other source should be able to use that other source to power additional uses of this ability. This is something that really should have been done by the devs, not handed off for each GM to rule on individually.

If you make it into ki, or an SLA then you are not creating flavor. You are making a rule. So like I said "flavor(which is not a rule)" does not NOT need a houserule. You are making a rule by adding a mechanic to it. It is always possible to create flavor without adding a mechanic that involves a rule.

As an example the ability to change feats could be flavored as the character being trained to adapt quickly to any situation. <----No rule change needed.

Also the abilities default to EX not SU or SLA's, so the devs have done their part. As for flavor the description says they have an ability to adapt to enemy attacks, which is close to what I just said. Now it does not call out "martial training" specifically, but it makes sense that is what is being referred to.

Maybe you want more flavor for the particular ability than "they are trained to adapt", but that is different from no flavor being provided for it, and it does not require a house rule since it is already EX.

PS: After looking again the book says "Martial Training (Ex):"

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