Unchained, can it live up to all these expectations?


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Lately it seems like the forthcoming Pathfinder Unchained is being offered as the (potential) solution of all problems. Don't like how X class works? Unchained. Want a rules light/streamlined game? Unchained. Want a secret edition playtest/stealth edition change? Unchained. Are your colours fading in the wash? Unchained. (One of these is facetious.)

When I read the write-up for Unchained, my impression was that it would essentially be like a Dev. brainstorming session, in book form. Equal parts "wish we'd thought of that before", and "here's a cool idea that wouldn't fly in a canon rule book". Perhaps I read it with different desires.

What do you expect Unchained to contain, and do you think it can live up to the expectations being placed on it?

Paizo Employee Designer

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I think for now we're focusing mostly on keeping your colors bright in the wash. That's not an easy problem, and there are no easy solutions. Everything else will be secondary to that.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
I think most likely it'll focus mostly on keeping your colors bright in the wash.

Finally. It's well past time that the dingy/vibrant disparity was addressed.

Edit: That awkward moment where a quoted post has changed.


I dunno what it'll contain.. I hope it just contains what the devs wish they could do or what they think is cool, with no regards to what is already out. let 'em go wild.

but nope it won't, but when something is popular, new additions never live up to the hype no matter what. That's just the nature of things.

I think it's like what you thought Sythia, it'll be their idea of stuff if they happened to start brand new edition stuff.

A big point I think that gets glossed over is.
This isn't an update to the rules etc, it's a "hey this would be neat to print" kinda thing.. Last I heard it has no baring on PFS etc, and I know several home GM's who won't wanna use it (as of now, perhaps that'd change once they hear of content).

So even when people are all "it'll fix *X feature*" It's important to note that until it says otherwise (which i may have missed) this isn't a pathfinder 1.5 or anything that revamps the whole thing. It's a side story.


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I hope they spend the time to address what this book need really accomplish. If this means delays, bringing on new editors, firing all the ACG editors, whatever needs to be done!

What I expect to see at this point is a used bandaid holding a dam together. Hopefully Paizo proves me wrong here!


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I smell PF's version of 3e's 'Unearthed Arcana', aka 'the big book of house rules'.


Under A Bleeding Sun wrote:
I hope they spend the time to address what this book need really accomplish.

What is it you feel that the book needs to accomplish though?

Zhayne wrote:
I smell PF's version of 3e's 'Unearthed Arcana', aka 'the big book of house rules'.

That's a good comparison to what it sounded like to me.


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Nothing will ever fully live up to the expectations of all players. For some it will be too much, for others it will be not enough. I'll be surprised if it is exactly what anyone is expecting it to be.


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Things I want are an end of feat trees, an end to feat taxes, and feats that scale with BAB. A combat maneuver system that doesn't require heavy investment to be useful. A revamp of the skill system that allows skills to compete with spells at higher levels. Clarification or nerfing of problem spells. Some real class features for the rogue, and fighter.

Basically I want are a bunch of alternate rules. But so far things like armor as DR, called shots, duels, words of power, basically any alternate rules that have been put out so far have been rather disappointing for me so far. I expect any new ones will fall flat, be overly complicated, or fail to address the issues I perceive.

Yes I am definitely in the camp of people who wants a lot from this product. What I expect is a lot of new material I won't want to include in my game, and a bit that I will.


No.


Zhayne wrote:
I smell PF's version of 3e's 'Unearthed Arcana', aka 'the big book of house rules'.

So long as the material is good, that is enough for me, but I have very few problems with the Pathfinder system as is.

Could a system exist with more balance? Sure, but if I wanted to play that, I wouldn't play Pathfinder.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

The 3.5e DMG 2 had an interesting section that was a bit more aggressive than the PF archetype system. It had alternate class features. Don't like how wild shape works? Here's a simpler one. I'm hoping that Unchained is basically something like that... "don't like how subsystem X works? Here's a possible alternate way it could work." So not so much replacing class choices... changing how they work.

Shadow Lodge

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My wishlist

-Better firearm rules

-Balanced summoner

-Full bab mobile monk

-Competitive Rogue

-Versatile fighter


Poll 10 random pathfinder players and get them to list 10 things wrong with Pathfinder. My guess is that while that list will overlap in places, there will be enough variance to basically make it impossible for one book to address everyone's problems. Especially since some people will want fixes that completely contradict other people's wants

So yeah...even if the book turns out well, it's still going to disapoint some people.


im agree with MMCJawa.


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What I would like to see...well thats a long list, lets see:

This turned out to be very long so I tabbed it Here.:

1) TIME put into it, even if it means delaying it. The ACG was obviously finished in haste and it shows. It is ambiguous in many parts, broken in others, has terrible grammar throughout, and was totally unprofessional. I never want to see another book like that from Paizo.

2) If they don't know how something will work spend time playtesting it. The number of broken mechanics in the game really makes me believe we have developers who have never actually played PF, or probably a pen and paper RPG period.

3) Fix the broken skills. Incorporate the Stealth 2 play test rules, and CLARIFY how senses work with stealth, as these arguments pop-up all the time. Fix the dang crafting system. Theres a wonderful third party ruleset (can't remember publisher) called "Making Crafting Work." Its not quite where it needs to be IMO, but I use a relatively modified system of that. 64 week poisons and only brewing one at a time and all kinds of things with crafting just don't make sense or work. I believe all the rest of the skills pretty much work, though slight of hand could use a little love.

4) Create an "Oops" list! On this list you can add feats like Dazing metamagic and items like cape of feinting. Basically, things that never should've existed. Then, suggest they not be used in the game, but of course its up to GM discretion. I swear Paizo, try playing your game! Dazing wall of fire with a lesser rod and as a level 3 spell for a summoner breaks SO MANY ENCOUNTERS! I'm sure I could come up with a GIANT list here over time.

5) This one will never happen, but what the heck. Redo firearms with penetration rating. You can find the rules all over the boards as several people use them, but the gist of it is it ignores X points of AC from Armor, Shield, Natural, generally something like 2-4 +1/2 enchantment value. Firearms really fall apart at high levels when the enemies have 52 AC and 0 touch. The penetration system works great, and still makes firearms a great choice without breaking fundamental mechanics of the game.

6) Another one that won't happen, the witch. IMO the two greatest fundamental changes PF initially made over 3.5 was the elimination(or in many cases weakening) of save or dies, and making it so polymorphing added to your stats, rather than changed those stats. Then they made the witch, which is a save or die expert *facepalms for emphasis*! Seriously, they fundamentally change an aspect of the game for the better, then undo it with one class, WHY!

7) Rewrite the CR system and 4 encounter silliness. The CR system is a hack job and doesn't work at all. There is the GM's Guide to Creating Challenging encounters out there which would be a good baseline. Its way too easy, and its even worse NO party part at about 6th level or above has depleted their resources at 4 encounters, so there is no real challenge there. I use 8-13 as my baseline, though my group is power gamers. Probably more like 6-8 is realistic. Drop single enemy encounters from all published material.

8) Go through their 2000 page backlog of FAQs and answer them! Nothing more frustrating than researching a rule and finding a thread with 20 FAQ requests from 2 years ago, but theres still no answer on it.

9) Fix the rogue, fighter and monk...though really I feel the monk has more or less been fixed. The splat book explosion has helped them along greatly and the new clustered punch feat line solves 2 of their 3 major issues. For the rogue, not even really sure where to begin. It has no inherent way to raise its too hit, and its real ability to damage things is about as constant as the wind. For the fighter I'd like to see them be real martial masters. I use a fighter archetype in my home game that gains weapon focus, weapon specialization, etc for all weapons he's proficient in when he takes it, and gains weapon training in all weapons. I have not seen it as game breaking and actually gives fighters the ability to use that awesome weapon of blank that normally is worse than their chosen weapon because they don't have 6 feats into it, so the Barb uses the awesome weapon because he has NO weapon specific feats.

10) Make these updates part of the core assumption for PFS, as that is where I get most of my gaming from, and where the rules need the biggest face lift as GM's have no control over the broken crap players come up with. One of my most hated arguments on the board is "If its broken just ban it at your table.", cause, well I can't. Come on Mr. Summoner, just solo this level 10 module while the rest of the players watch (literally this happened)

I feel like I'm forgetting a few, but thats a good start.


MMCJawa wrote:

Poll 10 random pathfinder players and get them to list 10 things wrong with Pathfinder. My guess is that while that list will overlap in places, there will be enough variance to basically make it impossible for one book to address everyone's problems. Especially since some people will want fixes that completely contradict other people's wants

So yeah...even if the book turns out well, it's still going to disapoint some people.

I'm sure you're correct. Even among those who have expressed a list of expectations here,there is only occasional overlap between any two.

Then again, I doubt any product has not disappointed some of the people. I wonder if the somewhat mysterious nature of this one isn't exacerbating the problem by allowing people to project their wishes upon it.

Liberty's Edge

The OP is correct.

When the "popularly believed premise" (as opposed to actual premise) of a book is to "fix what ails ya" about 3.xx/PFRPG, without more particularity there is just no way that those expectations can be met. Disappointment is not merely likely - it is inevitable.

Now that we've agreed on that - let's get back to my brighter brights and whiter whites.


Yeah...honestly I am already seeing things requested or hypothesized by people that I don't think stand any chance of all of getting changed or changed in the direction people want.


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I am looking forward to this one. I don't necessarily think to many things are broken anyway but i don't mind changing thing out when something else out works better.


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Can anything ever truly satisfy RPG players?


Scythia wrote:
What do you expect Unchained to contain, and do you think it can live up to the expectations being placed on it?

What I expect it to contain:

  • some new alignment-free breed of monk that's monkier than a monk's ever monked before
  • some Chuck Norris swashbuckler-brawler hybrid alternate class for the fighter
  • some kind of warrior-rogue that pulls in other class features
  • some bizarre new rage system for barbarians that involves transformation or the like
  • a pact magic-esque summoner with a fewer options
  • many more substance types to help replace magic weapons
  • even more dependence on material components for casters
  • a dice-averaging system with an associated point pool for player manipulation
  • improvements to maneuvers and general combat
  • possible gearless system

What I would like it to contain:

  • options that help to remove alignment from game mechanics
  • recharge magic equivalent
  • options that replace gear or at least magic weapons
  • new methods of spell casting and new component types (other than V/S/M/F/DF)
  • anything to help remove so many dice rolls in combat
  • some sort of pact-magic version of the summoner
  • options to allow casters to defend themselves in melee (not dominate, just defend) without resorting to spells or weapons
  • a cleric alternate class that focuses on something akin to rituals instead of spells

There's so many expectations being thrown at this book. I don't expect a lot, but I would like a few decent systems to try out.


Necromancer wrote:
There's so many expectations being thrown at this book. I don't expect a lot, but I would like a few decent systems to try out.

I feel pretty confident it'll have some of those. Even if they aren't the ones people are expecting.

Contributor

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Umbral Reaver wrote:
Can anything ever truly satisfy RPG players?

My 3PP Freelancing side career sure as heck hopes that the answer is, "No."

Contributor

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Necromancer wrote:
  • a pact magic-esque summoner with a fewer options
  • Let me lead you down a dark and narrow road, a road of shadowy deals and forlorn hopes. A road cobbled with good intentions and paved with the skin of the fallen. Let me lead you down a dark and narrow road, a road from which you shall never return.

    Shadow Lodge

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    Quote:
    Unchained, can it live up to all these expectations?

    Nope.


    Zhayne wrote:
    I smell PF's version of 3e's 'Unearthed Arcana', aka 'the big book of house rules'.

    To be fair Pathfinder *IS* the big book of house rules already... They made numerous changes to the d20 ruleset many due to how they played the game in thier own groups, and there are even some rules that we've found out don't actually work the way they did in the previous ruleset despite the wording being copied and pasted.


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    Since I don't know exactly what it is supposed to do I don't have any expectations. My guess is that it will be Unearthed Arcana:Pathfinder Edition.

    Grand Lodge

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    No it can't, but what honestly can?

    Liberty's Edge

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    Regardless of what it actually ends up being, some people will still complain about how broken and OP it is.

    Paizo Employee Designer

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    Here's my goal—let's see how we can live up to this expectation. I want Unchained to be like a recipe book for all of you. I want it to have at least three subsystems or sections that you each think are awesome and strongly consider using in your own games (not necessarily the same three, just three per person), while the rest of the recipes include many that are memorable that you will now always have in your back pocket whenever the circumstances come up that you want to run a game with a style that matches that recipe. As an added bonus, I'm hoping that the budding tinkerers among you will find inspiration to help out when you create your own tinkerings and rules modifications, your own recipes, but that would be an added bonus, not part of my main goal.

    So I think my goal is something realistically plausible, and I hope people can join me in considering that a worthy and down-to-earth goal. It's not going to cure all ailments and spin straw into gold, and I think that going in with that expectation will hurt your chances to notice something awesome that will rock for your games, since it isn't the one thing you were hoping was inside. This isn't intended to be a coherent set of adjustments to everything, all in the same direction. It's not Pathfinder Reforged; it's Pathfinder Unchained. It's a book full of recipes for different kinds of fun. In fact, some of the changes might work at cross-purposes with each other or even be direct alternatives to one another. Perfect for a recipe book.

    Who's with me? Who will be willing to hope with me for this goal?


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    Scythia wrote:

    Lately it seems like the forthcoming Pathfinder Unchained is being offered as the (potential) solution of all problems. Don't like how X class works? Unchained. Want a rules light/streamlined game? Unchained. Want a secret edition playtest/stealth edition change? Unchained. Are your colours fading in the wash? Unchained. (One of these is facetious.)

    When I read the write-up for Unchained, my impression was that it would essentially be like a Dev. brainstorming session, in book form. Equal parts "wish we'd thought of that before", and "here's a cool idea that wouldn't fly in a canon rule book". Perhaps I read it with different desires.

    What do you expect Unchained to contain, and do you think it can live up to the expectations being placed on it?

    I agree with your assessment. I expect it to be a good book but if it follows the premise of a PF Unearthed Arcana, it'll be a grab-bag and not something taken as a whole.

    As for living up to expectations, given how of late a very vocal group of critics deride anything that deviates from their view of how PF should evolve (going so far to trash developers efforts & refer to content as crap)... no, it can't live up to expectations. I expect much gnashing of teeth and wailing about the need for a radically different new edition by that crowd...and a lot of "hey, that's cool stuff" from the bulk of the fans regarding Unchained's content.


    Mark Seifter wrote:

    Here's my goal—let's see how we can live up to this expectation. ...It's not Pathfinder Reforged; it's Pathfinder Unchained. It's a book full of recipes for different kinds of fun. In fact, some of the changes might work at cross-purposes with each other or even be direct alternatives to one another. Perfect for a recipe book.

    Who's with me? Who will be willing to hope with me for this goal?

    Sounds great! Cant wait!

    Can we get some cool new rogue talents? Can we get some way for the rogue to use some of the "once per day" talents more often?

    I want the Thief class back! ;-)


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    BPorter wrote:


    As for living up to expectations, given how of late a very vocal group of critics deride anything that deviates from their view of how PF should evolve (going so far to trash developers efforts & refer to content as crap)... no, it can't live up to expectations. I expect much gnashing of teeth and wailing about the need for a radically different new edition by that crowd...and a lot of "hey, that's cool stuff" from the bulk of the fans regarding Unchained's content.

    Yes, I agree. "That crowd" has been very vocal and very negative. We dont need that.

    Constructive criticism- yes.

    Hate filled bashing- no.

    Silver Crusade

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Yeah, my expectations are roughly an Unearthed Arcana book for Pathfinder, which means there'll be something I use almost every campaign, something I use maybe every other campaign, and some stuff I might never use but glad to see it there if someone else has a cool idea they want to run.


    From the product description it probably will exceed my initial expectations, especially since it looks like a book of optional rules allowing to do things that they wouldn't normally do.

    In terms of what problems I expect this book to solve, some of the suspected material is already in effect in my games.

    There's word of a Martial Stamina system and I have already been using one from a third party product. It makes fighters into Slash'n'dash beasts

    Fixed Monk stuff from 3pp

    Fixed Rogue stuff from 3pp

    I have not touched Barbarian and Summoner because personally I think that if you know basic arithmetic those classes are pretty much fine as is, but I'll take a look.

    Given that its pretty much a house rule book I'm sure I'll find a lot that I'll like leave the rest.

    About the only way this will disappoint me is either all the good stuff will be redundant to the third party material I gathered, I get annoying begging to be allowed to use the bad systems because of munchkinry/stupidity, or Its all just written so bad it doesn't work.


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    I have pretty much no expectations of this book, especially after how the ACG turned out. All the problems with that book were excused by it being a GenCon release, so of COURSE the quality would dip because reasons blah de blah.

    With that in mind, I don't see how PF:U will be any different, since as I recall it is ALSO a GenCon release.

    At best, I expect it to be a poorly edited mish-mash of good ideas executed poorly, and bad ideas that inexplicably turned out well, with a liberal sprinkling of WTF were you thinking when you designed that.

    So, since my expectations are low, even an average quality book will leave me pleasantly surprised.

    Shadow Lodge

    You might just be more cynical than me, Rynjin.


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    I can't wait for this book, Occult Adventures, and Inner Sea Races. If there is a B5 this year, this will be one of the best years ever for hardcovers. I am sure I will find some very useful things in this book.

    Silver Crusade

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    Rynjin wrote:

    I have pretty much no expectations of this book, especially after how the ACG turned out. All the problems with that book were excused by it being a GenCon release, so of COURSE the quality would dip because reasons blah de blah.

    With that in mind, I don't see how PF:U will be any different, since as I recall it is ALSO a GenCon release.

    At best, I expect it to be a poorly edited mish-mash of good ideas executed poorly, and bad ideas that inexplicably turned out well, with a liberal sprinkling of WTF were you thinking when you designed that.

    So, since my expectations are low, even an average quality book will leave me pleasantly surprised.

    <Worth thinking about>:

    MMCJawa wrote:
    Scribbling Rambler wrote:

    Mark's post on negative conditioning has implications well beyond the FAQ.

    For example, when I see a particular community member who posts negative comments on every single AP, it is much harder to recognize any valid criticsms they may have. So my eyes tend to slide past their posts.

    And that is for me as a casual observer - imagine what it must be like for somebody who is directly involved in the creation of the product.

    Valid criticism is important, and the folks at Paizo are very good at taking it and responding when appropriate. However, when it becomes apparent that a poster will never be pleased, there's not much point in changing things to please them.

    Basically this

    Their are certain posters whose posts I completely eyeroll at if not ignore. They also tend to be posters who often constantly complain about getting ignored by developers. Doesn't take a genius to figure out why.

    ACG's editing seems problematic in part because there are other people beyond those posters complaining, not just the usual people who will never be satisfied with Paizo for some reason or another.

    :-)


    The ACG is the only book so far I've had problems with pretty much wholesale. I have problems with systemic issues, but most of those aren't Paizo's fault directly.

    But pretty much the entire process leading up to the ACG's release was handled so poorly, the book turned out mediocre at best, and many excuses, but no apologies or so far attempts to fix issues, have been made.

    Which leads back to the topic, Paizo will be able to rely on the same excuses for this book, so who's to say they're going to make a special effort this time?


    Rynjin wrote:

    I have pretty much no expectations of this book, especially after how the ACG turned out. All the problems with that book were excused by it being a GenCon release, so of COURSE the quality would dip because reasons blah de blah.

    With that in mind, I don't see how PF:U will be any different, since as I recall it is ALSO a GenCon release.

    At best, I expect it to be a poorly edited mish-mash of good ideas executed poorly, and bad ideas that inexplicably turned out well, with a liberal sprinkling of WTF were you thinking when you designed that.

    So, since my expectations are low, even an average quality book will leave me pleasantly surprised.

    It's an April-ish release...

    Occult Adventures is the Gencon release.


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    That's good then. Thought it was the other way around.

    Which seems odd, since IMO Pathfinder Unchained seems like a bigger release than Not-Psionics, but I won't complain.

    So, one hurdle down.

    No excuses on this one Paizo, it better be everything everyone ever dreamed. Or something close.

    I hope it at least has an Unchained Fighter. Still can't figure out a good reason to re-do the Barbarian and not poor old Fighting Man.

    The main issue is going to be it coming out and I have to rebuild my Brawler/Monk (nee Monk/Brawler Fighter/Ranger nee Master of Many Styles Monks of the Sacred Mountain nee MoMS/Drunken Master).

    Shadow Lodge

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    So the mish-mash of mechanics has the chance to be good, but the major new system addition won't.

    Oh yeah, it's not a major system edition. It's a few new spellcaster classes and a bunch of magic spells that that simulate psionic powers.

    'Cos everyone knows that Xavier does his thing by chanting gibberish, making shadow puppets, and playing with owlbear dung.

    :P


    I thought Occult Adventures was supposed to be all hippie crystal "magic" or whatever?


    From what's been leaked, it's a little bit of that, a little bit of XMen, a little bit of eastern mysticism, a little bit of European occultism, and a few drops of other things.

    Shadow Lodge

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    I love the classic X-Men storyline where Magneto steals Xavier's spell component pouch.

    :P


    Xavier didn't take Eschew Materials? Is that a sign of low Wis to complement that insane high Int or did he just have a brain blank moment? ;)


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    Kthulhu wrote:

    I love the classic X-Men storyline where Magneto steals Xavier's spell component pouch.

    :P

    Still a better storyline than Magneto pretending to be a Chinese mutant child, then getting hopped up on drugs and trying to reverse the Earth's magnetic pole ;)


    Rynjin wrote:

    That's good then. Thought it was the other way around.

    Which seems odd, since IMO Pathfinder Unchained seems like a bigger release than Not-Psionics, but I won't complain.

    So, one hurdle down.

    No excuses on this one Paizo, it better be everything everyone ever dreamed. Or something close.

    I hope it at least has an Unchained Fighter. Still can't figure out a good reason to re-do the Barbarian and not poor old Fighting Man.

    The main issue is going to be it coming out and I have to rebuild my Brawler/Monk (nee Monk/Brawler Fighter/Ranger nee Master of Many Styles Monks of the Sacred Mountain nee MoMS/Drunken Master).

    While there isn't a fighter unchained, they are doing a kind of maneuver thing, where you can use certain feats as more, for lack of a better term, Charles Atlas style feats of martial prowess. It requires a feat, though they've said that there will be an option where you can simply just allow the abilities without the feat, so that is cool. That's about all we know, but considering the amount of feats and the amount of fighter only feats, the fighter will be able to benefit the most from this. It sounds interesting and I'd like to see it.

    I'm still worried about Occult Adventures, but the devs did actually come into a thread recently and discussed the issues with the ACG very candidly and apologize. I'd prefer the thread was more public, like a blog post, but it is a good dialogue we have in that topic.

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