If they were to make a new edition of Pathfinder...


Homebrew and House Rules

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I saw a recent locked thread (didn't end up participating) and the premise made me decide to make this thread:

I don't want an Edition War here, nor a Flame War. I'm hoping for a constructive discussion.

Personally I would love to see a new Pathfinder, but only if it were done well. First off, I would want the new edition of pathfinder to be like the new edition of most RPGs, not like D&D. For instance, if I pick up a setting designed for RuneQuest 4th ed, and try to run it in RQ6, It will still work fine without me having to redesign monsters or encounters or anything. It should still be obviously the same game, just revised.

The way I see it, the various adventure paths and stuff they've published thus far is all stuff people are going to want to continue to use (and APs are the biggest sell of PF, from my understanding - which makes sense as all of the ones I have read have been excellent), so it should be built to still support their existing stuff, even if the existing stuff doesn't perfectly match an updated design paradigm.

Here are some of the big things I wish were different:
WBL/XMas Tree: If the game's balance is reliant on this, make it crystal clear that a DM monkeying with it will mess things up, or come up with an alternative that makes players just as good as WBL/Magic Items without expecting the DM to do anything, and then if the DM does give out magic items, make them not stack with the player character's innate things, and instead provide alternate effects. I would suggest building it into character advancement, though perhaps more frequently than at level up. You could have innate bonuses for a low magic setting, and you could allow people to take other effects like flaming in a higher magic setting.
Stand Still or Suck: Standing still to full attack is not fun. Just give people the ability to combine a full move with a full attack, interspersed however people want, or the equivalent. For your mobile type classes, make them actually fight better on turns they move than on turns they stay still. For non-mobile classes, make them fight better when they stay still, but to the severity it is now.
Too Hard to Combat Maneuver: These things make combat less tedious. If martials could all intersperse the CMBs in with their attacks, and CMBs only provoked an AoO on a failure, and martials were able to be passable on a CMB without specializing in it, combat would be less repetitive, and that would make it more interesting and fun.
Trap Options: Paizo has printed lots of these. Any time I have a friend looking to get into the game, I have to point them at the character creation guides, so that they don't accidentally shoot themselves in the foot, and not be able to keep up with the other (NOT optimized) player characters. When I go to build a character not using one of the guides, I have to skim through many options that would be shooting myself in the foot to find the usable options, and as a result it takes me much longer to build a character. I wish the Paizo people took the time to either cut these entirely, or upgrade them so they weren't so terrible, rather than printing them. Often it makes me feel particularly bad to see them, because I think: "I'm never going to get a chance to see this idea implemented in a way that's actually usable now that this has seen print."
Monster/NPC Design: This is the thing that WotC did best for 4e. Their encounter/monster design system saved the GM a great deal of time. The roles may not have been perfectly implemented, and I'm not at all suggesting locking PCs into roles, but for monsters/NPCs, they were a great idea. Building monsters for Pathfinder, and particularly building NPCs for Pathfinder, takes much too long. I read an article on multi-stage boss-monster design for 4e, doing something similar for Pathfinder would make boss fights more fun as well; and while Minions are not for everyone, they would be a nice option to have for those who want them.
Illogical Rules: I believe I remember a thread where someone showed that it is easier in PF to get out of a pin than a grapple, and that doesn't make much sense. Bullets are slow enough that they can be dodged, but armor doesn't help you (if anything that's the opposite of how that should work). Alchemist bombs and extracts stop working when you stop touching them if a teammate wants to use them, but don't stop working when you stop touching them to throw them at an enemy. I wish things that make this little sense that are this obvious would be changed before being published.
Playtests:I used to be heavily invested in these, and I remember participating as much as possible in the APG playtest and again in the ARG playtest. The first time I was very disappointed, the second time I was so disappointed that I gave up on the process entirely. I felt we were all trying hard to find the problems so they could be fixed, but when the books came out, most of the major problems that people pointed out had been left in. I wish these were handled differently, as in the past it has seemed like the playtests are not taken very seriously by the devs.
Misc:I would also like to see spellcasting synergize with multiclassing, such as Trailblazer and now 5e seem to do, and I would like to see a better BAB progression (Again I will reference Trailblazer, they had some really good ideas). Finally, I'd like to see the base versions of the weaker classes see an increase in power to at least where the mid-high powered classes base versions are.

At this point, my home games all have many houserules that significantly change the game, many of which are designed to address common problems with the system that come up again and again. I would like to see many of these things fixed in an updated Core Rules.

So that's me. If they were to make a replacement Pathfinder Core (and update the design philosophy of the game in new books), what would you wish to have done differently?


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Personally I think an unearthed arcana like book full of house rule options would be better than a whole new edittion. However I don't play pathfinder sociotey at all which is where it matters more. I also have house rules to make the game more like I want it to be.


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I agree with Bardarok. I think some people are feeling the edition fever because 5e is out and 3.X is "old and clunky". Let's see what Pathfinder Unchained is like before w start moaning about new editions because really after very few House rules and 3pp products I have had ZERO problems with pathfinder as a system aside from system mastery and honestly I know people who have been playing decades longer than me and still are way worse at the game than me so I really don't understand the learning curve on that front, maybe the strategy guide will help us out there.

Also in regard to the ACG play test, I was watching during the entire thing and it seems like some folks take play test to mean scrapping large parts or the entire project is on the table and that this is develops by comittee. And through out plenty of people talking as if everyone agreed. Whatever happened I can only thing that changed to my disliking was how the Hunters animal aspect worked and Bloodrager/Shaman getting personal spell lists, so when the polls went up it looks like things tipped in my direction.


I see a lot of my current concerns about Pathfinder as being potentially addressed in Pathfinder Unchained:

Current problems I see in the rules:

Fighter/Rogue/Monk all need tweaking, as they are a bit low on the power side.

Summoner needs to be reigned in

Wizards are kind of boring, and 9th level casters could really use some reigning in at high levels.

High level combat needs to be streamlined.

Crafting and Stealth rules need a bit of work.

All but Wizards being boring sounds like stuff that is being looked at in the Pathfinder Unchained.


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To Hit vs AC or CMB vs CMD. Pick one. There's no need for both.


My incoherent thoughts:

Combine feats and build in upgrades. Combine Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot. Get Improved Two Weapon Fighting automatically at Level 6 if you took Two Weapon Fighting earlier. Basically, make it easier to climb the Feat Tree so people can take those quirky little Feats that no one ever uses and make a unique character without handicapping your character.

'Iconic' class abilities gained at Level 2 should be moved to Level 1. eg: Paladin's Lay On Hands, Ranger's Two Weapon Fighting or Archery Feat, etc. Maybe give Fighter Weapon Focus and another free Feat of his choice to compensate.

Make saves dependent on all stats, not just Wisdom, Dexterity, and Constitution.

Give the Rogue a full BAB and maybe a DEX to damage ability for light weapons. That way, he can hit and do damage reliably and still not outshine the huge Half-Orc Fighter with a two-hander unless he sneak attacks.

Coherently define what the limits are on a high level Caster's power and find a way to make high levels playable without making Wizard and Friends not fun to play.

Do not attempt to balance one class's in-combat utility with another class's out of combat utility. If one class is useless out of combat, and one is useless in combat, then there are two players who are guaranteed not to be having fun at a given time.

Improve the Iconics. These guys are the face of the game and are the demo characters used for beginners. They should be simple and good. I'm not arguing to CharOp/Min-Max them, but let's be honest, some of them could use some work. For example, Valeros's Two-Weapon Fighting is both more complicated and ineffective than if he just specialized in a Greatsword and went to town Power Attacking so I'd argue he's not that beginner friendly a character. Don't get me started on poor Harsk...


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Conditions: I hardly used conditions against players before Condition Cards. Now that I can hand a player the appropriate card, things have gone a lot better and things run more smoothly at the table, but most of them are still way too complicated. I would welcome some simplification.

Skills: Again, some hard and fast rules for Difficulty Classes on skill checks would be helpful and reduce the amount of time looking up rules and applying modifiers. Something like a set DC for "moderate," "challenging," or "nearly impossible" skill checks. If I have a set-piece moment, like the players trying to climb up a mountain while fending off a swarm of red wyrmlings, then I can get into the minutia of the climbing rules. Otherwise if one of them just wants to climb up the side of a building, I can use simplified rules.

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Hmm. Some of these are good points; I've been of the opinion that Pathfinder could use a facelift for a couple of years. Most of the things I take issue with are things that (IMO) should have been done at the outset, though a few are things that have been introduced gradually as well, particularly the glut of trap options.

Pathfinder unchained may give some good new options that deal with some of these problems. However, unless the changes become the default, that only really helps the people who are playing in the games *I* run. When I go to a table running pathfinder, if I want to see the rules fixes as a player rather than playing without them, what are my options? Nag the GM? Advertise a "looking for group that uses rules fixes presented in PF Unchained?"

My experience has been that other GMs typically don't use the "alternate rules". Most of them don't have any houserules to speak of either, let alone ones that are supposed to address problems with the system.

As a result, yeah, I'd like to see the default rules get updated. Maybe then I could play in someone else's game as a non-caster and not find the experience frustrating, and as mentioned, I would love to not have to sort through a pile of crippling bear traps to find a screwdriver when I am building a character.

Where playtests are concerned:
Sorry, it was Ultimate Combat I was referring to, not the APG.
UC: The parts that were "not part of the playtest" were the problem. Firearms don't make sense (you can dodge but armor doesn't help you), are mechanically terrible weapons, and cost a fortune (in addition to taking feats to use). As a result, the gunslinger is designed in this terrible way where rather than having interesting class features that could theoretically work with other weapons, they have class features to buff guns to the point of usability. I still think its a mess. Gunslingers are banned at my table, and it has nothing to do with a dislike of firearms. I include firearms, I just don't include Paizo's firearms.
ARG: They had us playtest the Race building section. We pointed out where things were priced poorly, and explained why (basically, things were inconsistent, you could get things for 1 point that could also be built for 4 or 6 points using other included options. We asked for them to make things priced consistently and rationally in relation to eachother) When the book was released, the system was almost identical to that of the playtest, and all of the problems that were pointed out were still present.

Maybe some of the other playtests went differently. My experience was the feeling that the playtests were theoretically to find and fix design problems, but in practice completely ignored the design problems that were found. It felt like the playtests are not taken seriously, and I wish that was not the case.

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Have you heard of Sean K. Reynolds's Project Pentagon? It's going to get kickstarted in September.

As for me, I'll have to post when I can access my "Radfinder" list. I'm currently playtesting fixes to firearms I developed.

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I keep a list of things that I would change, given the chance.

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Ross Byers wrote:
I keep a list of things that I would change, given the chance.

That is a pretty good list.

Cyrad wrote:

Have you heard of Sean K. Reynolds's Project Pentagon? It's going to get kickstarted in September.

As for me, I'll have to post when I can access my "Radfinder" list. I'm currently playtesting fixes to firearms I developed.

Personally I just disallow gunslingers and use the firearms from a 3pp 3.5 product I have. IMO it's too much of a mess. Were I to try to fix PF firearms and the Gunslinger, about the only thing that would be left is a fighter variant that uses (completely different) firearms, and has a grit pool which let you do things (likely not the same things, mind you). Typically people just use the guns in another class, and I don't make them exotic, so if the ranger gets a rifle, he can use it instead of his bow.

Project Pentagon sounds interesting. I will be much more interested in it if it's designed to be compatible with the pathfinder APs and bestiaries than if it's a standalone thing, but I will likely still check it out.


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Darkholme, I pretty much +1 your entire list. However rather than rules for quick-generating minions, I'd prefer a full array of pre-generated monsters for every level. One of the things that bugs me about pathfinder is how often they present tools for the GM to build his own version of something that almost ever GM wants, instead of just building it for him. Town stats and townsfolk for example.


I took part in that other thread. I had some pretty good discussions with some other members, I felt we kept it pretty civil even though we disagreed. I came back the next day and it was locked so at some point it must have gotten pretty heated. Anyway as long as it doesn't completely invalidate all the books I've spent good money on I can live with it.

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CluelessGamer wrote:

My incoherent thoughts:

Make saves dependent on all stats, not just Wisdom, Dexterity, and Constitution.

I house rule saves this way:

Reflex: - Pick the higher of int or dex as your save stat
Will: - Pick the higher of wis or cha as your save stat
Fort: - Pick the higher of con or str as your save stat


Cyrad wrote:
As for me, I'll have to post when I can access my "Radfinder" list.

I initially misread that as Ratfinder and immediately had a vision of Pathfinder with ratfolk being the only playable race. I wouldn't have a problem with it.

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Darkholme wrote:
Project Pentagon sounds interesting. I will be much more interested in it if it's designed to be compatible with the pathfinder APs and bestiaries than if it's a standalone thing, but I will likely still check it out.

I don't want to hijack your thread, but: technically it'll be easily convertible to/from 3E/PF, but not immediately plug-and-play. I am strongly keeping in mind the appeal of being able to play a Paizo AP (which runs from level 1 to 14) using this system.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I don't want to hijack your thread, but: technically it'll be easily convertible to/from 3E/PF, but not immediately plug-and-play. I am strongly keeping in mind the appeal of being able to play a Paizo AP (which runs from level 1 to 14) using this system.

Definitely good to know; I only recently heard about it and was curious about the same thing.

Regarding the OP, I agree with just about everything you said.

I am pretty much in the same boat as Bardock, however. I have no interest in a new edition, ultimately, but a book chock full of NEW mechanics and so on would be nice - when I say new, I don't mean a reskin of stuff that was published in Unearthed Arcana (3.0), but with a different name and fluff. A lot of "new" mechanics I've seen of late aren't anything more than repeats from this book.

The mythic rules, for example, were brilliant and fresh (at least to me) in framework.

I'd like to see an errata for Rogue, which fixes them WITHOUT giving them full base attack bonus, corrects for poor quality of the rogue talents, and so on.

I already use a house rule which makes all standard action spells 1 round cast times (except for direct hit point damage and healing), so I really don't care if that shows up in a book.

Ultimately, there are a lot of things that won't show up in a new "edition" or ever labeled as "core" - labeling it as "alternate" or "variant" rules, however, means they can put WHATEVER they want in it without alienating their customers, and thus, continue to make cash.

My opinions, of course.

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edross wrote:
Darkholme, I pretty much +1 your entire list. However rather than rules for quick-generating minions, I'd prefer a full array of pre-generated monsters for every level. One of the things that bugs me about pathfinder is how often they present tools for the GM to build his own version of something that almost ever GM wants, instead of just building it for him. Town stats and townsfolk for example.

They only have so much space for Monsters and NPCs. I get that. But if the structure for NPCs and Monsters was an easily scaled condensed statblock, they could give us the monsters at 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20, and we could quickly scale up or down from those with minimal effort. We could add in new abilities/attacks and know what hit chances and damages are okay, etc.

@ Sean K Reynolds: That sounds quite interesting. If it's easily compatible, and addresses many of my primary concerns I listed above, it just might supplant a bunch of my pathfinder stuff. Ideally it would be mostly compatible with pathfinder classes and races and whatnot, so that if a player wants to play a tengu witch (to choose some uncommon choices) and you dont have the witch or tengu, they can use the PF version with a small amount of work. I dont know the details of your project though, or just how far it will go from Pathfinder, but I will definitely check it out.

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(Part of me wants to describe it as 3.SKR, but I don't want people to read too much into that. It'll have classes, levels, spells, feats, and skills, and much of it will be familiar to d20 players.)

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Well SKR, while Pathfinder is an improvement over 3.5, I do believe the system could be significantly better if some things were changed. Some of the other versions of the system (trailblazer, 4e, and 5e) have some things that would be a significant improvement over the current rules.

1. 4e's monster and encounter design system is significantly easier on a GM.
2. Trailblazer and 5e both introduce multiclass spell progressions as well as standardized BAB, wherein all attacks happen at the same BAB, which speeds up combat nicely.
3. 5e lets people move around more, fixing the tediousness that is stand and full attack.

And the Angry DM has a blog about Boss Monster design that makes bosses more entertaining.

I'm sure 3.SKR will address things you don't like about the d20 system's current iteration, and hopefully it will address the things I don't like about it as well.

:)

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Funny how some of the things you just mentioned already appeared in my "Pathfinder Rules Experimentation" one-shot I ran at PaizoCon last year... >:)


I guess, as is currently the way with some classes, classes may have 'pools' of abilities....so from this you sort of specialise
there is already grit, ki, arcana, domains, revelations, hexes etc

If they gave them all the same name....Talent Pool.. or something...and you built what you wanted to be form that?

1 mini-game rather than a dozen?

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I'd want feats redone so they fit well within my design criteria. This would involve:
1) No feat tax and complicated prerequisites.
2) Base attack bonus and caster level function as the primary and sole prerequisites for most feats. This also helps group the feats and make it easier to browse through them.
3) No feat trees unless a subsequent does something novel with a previous feat, such as Deadly Dealer letting you use Arcane Strike to throw cards as weapons.

I would also like races to matter more at higher levels. Instead of being a ball of stats, I'd like to see races work more similarly to Focuses in Numenera where you get thematic abilities as you level up. A character could get these abilities at 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th levels to bridge the gap between the advancement ability score increases or get them along with them. An elf might get more spell-like abilities, etc.

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Relevant to my earlier quasi-threadjacking post about my Five Moons RPG, the kickstarter for the game is now live!


The transition from D&D 3.5 to Pathfinder improved most things, but the conversion bump it made was small enough for people to make the transition in large numbers (if it wasn't, we wouldn't be on these boards talking about this). People even still play the 2nd through 4th Pathfinder Adventure Paths (still written in D&D 3.5 rules, but now using Pathfinder RPG) without needing an Anniversary Edition of each (although such would still be nice). So a transition to the next edition of Pathfinder that was like this should work, and likewise leave the existing Adventure Paths usable.


I've been pondering over my own pools of abilities of late. Two pools, one for combat abilities and survival; Grit. Then one for crafting magic, diplomacy, and spell resistance; Wonder. Though if it were to be generic I guess you could call it stamina and mana.

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I just want to address a specific point CluelessGamer brought up

"'Iconic' class abilities gained at Level 2 should be moved to Level 1. eg: Paladin's Lay On Hands, Ranger's Two Weapon Fighting or Archery Feat, etc. Maybe give Fighter Weapon Focus and another free Feat of his choice to compensate. "

The reason this was done was because to many classes first levels were just too good, and "one level dip"ing was a real problem. If these abilities were moved to 1st level, is there an alternate solution to that issue?

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Runner wrote:

I just want to address a specific point CluelessGamer brought up

"'Iconic' class abilities gained at Level 2 should be moved to Level 1. eg: Paladin's Lay On Hands, Ranger's Two Weapon Fighting or Archery Feat, etc. Maybe give Fighter Weapon Focus and another free Feat of his choice to compensate. "

The reason this was done was because to many classes first levels were just too good, and "one level dip"ing was a real problem. If these abilities were moved to 1st level, is there an alternate solution to that issue?

Not sure what you gain here because first level goes by so fast. I'd say better off leaving as is instead of trying to come up with solutions for the multi-class dip problem you would be creating.

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Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Relevant to my earlier quasi-threadjacking post about my Five Moons RPG, the kickstarter for the game is now live!

Backed! I'm pretty psyched to this come to fruition.

As to the "what I'd do for a new edition of Pathfinder" portion...

I'd probably start by scaling casting down (most 9th level spells should be rituals or "GM only plot devices") while simultaneously scaling the utility of martial characters up (basically broadening the functionality of skills into realms that are more similar to what can be accomplished with magic).

1st level gets a re-appraisal. 3rd-5th level tends to be when a given class is finally doing all the things you expect it to do, so I'd like to take the system and look at opening things up to where a class really feels like it is, in fact, that class right out of the gate. Oftentimes those low level characters are indistinguishable beyone what basic role they're filling (martial, offensive caster, or defensive caster), and I'd like that not to be the case.

Then I'd trim out the reliance on magic weapons and items so that they're pleasant additions to a character instead of integral parts of builds, then take the magic mart out back, shoot it in the head, and leave its corpse for the coyotes. Instead of scaling enhancement bonuses, weapons would add functionality (a flaming weapon converts some or all of the damage type to fire, corrosive to acid, etc.).

Mounted Combat, Stealth, and other unnecessarily complicated subsystems would get a thorough revision, streamlining and simplifying them in a logical and consistent manner.

Feats would be made more individually relevant with scaling benefits instead of complex trees, and prereq feat taxes that have nothing to do with the actual functionality of the feat would be nixed (Combat Expertise gets divorced from maneuvers and changed to a better scaling dynamic).

Sneak Attack becomes more of a "Called Shot" mechanic, allowing the Rogue's role in combat to shift towards a martial debuffer. It's less the amount of damage he does, more the debilitating result of where and hw he does it.

Fighters gain a role other than "hit things". Anyone familiar with the feats of Bravery idea I've talked about previously has an idea of how I'd execute that without changing the framework of the game so drastically that it becomes a new game entirely, as WotC is wont to do.

I'm sure I could think of a few more things, but that's the gist of it.


Having said what I said above about not making too big a bump, it would still be really great if the stuff under the hood could be reworked (while allowing you to continue doing all the same things you've been doing in the current edition) to be a hybrid between Pathfinder and Mutants and Masterminds. I don't know if it's corporately possible, but a teamup between Paizo and Green Ronin could be really awesome.

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