General Discussion: Medium


Rules Discussion

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I would point out that, even if Influence 4 is nigh-impossible to hit before lv4, thereafter it becomes nearly a guarantee. And once you start tri-possessing and forming the Quadlazer, you're cranking out the Influence at break-neck speed, to the point where you're rotating through Spirits like a merry-go-round trying not to let any of them get above 3.

That would be fine for a game like Vampire.

Pathfinder is (thank god) not Vampire.

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A few things to make the Medium act more like a Medium, and thus give it a basic role (which can then be modded with the Spirits, obviously):

Command or Turn Undead as a Bonus Feat at 1st Level (based on alignment) with the ability to activate the feats an appropriate number of times per day (since the Medium probably shouldn't get Channel Energy).

A small default spell list, or spell-like abilities, consisting of: Decompose/Restore Corpse, Command Undead, Halt Undead, Speak with Dead, and other "interacts with Undead" spells.

A first-level ability, Undead Empathy, which is identical to the Ranger's Wild Empathy, but for Undead rather than Animals (and allowing for influencing intelligent Undead at a -4 penalty, the same way the Ranger affects Magical Beasts at -4).


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jester David wrote:


Downtime is something that cannot be assumed. It's painful enough when the wizard wants a day of downtime to craft something that will make all the party better, let alone just so a character can keep using its main class feature.
I just finished an AP (Rise of the Runelords) and there was several times downtime just didn't seem to be an option.

However, if the feature is so easily avoided that it's not a penalty… why does it exist? If it's never going to come up, why have the added complexity?
It's an odd design as it's such a heavy penalty (the spirit takes over and makes you do… things) for what amounts to roleplaying reasons. And it's such a vague penalty. Can the spirit join you in an adventure? Does it just become the medium with a different personality? What if the party is deep in an extradimensional dungeon and the spirit cannot go off and do its own thing?

This boils down to "Does the influence mechanic actually serve a valid balancing purpose?" That is an awesomely complex question. It's genuinely worth considering.

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The wizard needs a quiet area and cannot memorize spells if distracted. Having a séance going around you is something I would consider distracting.

The PRD doesn't have any clauses about distraction, but if that's how you rule for home games, I can understand why you would interpret it this way.

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It certainly makes the class both easier and harder to play. It moves the loooong choice from every day to every week, while also making the choice much more important (and thus worthy of even more thought). But, as you say, I don't see affecting much play as people will just pick 2-3 spirits and never look beyond. It's almost forcing them to consider other spirits…

Oddly, it can make the character more awkward to play. The class doesn't use Charisma for a lot: it doesn't need more than a 14 at level 13. So long as you don't dump stat Char you can play the medium, so it's very possible to start with a single spirit.
I suppose you could argue it solves my "role" problem for the medium. They need to have a high Cha which makes them the Face. But that just means all the other non-Cha spirits become inoptimal.

It certainly creates a variety of play options. My current build has 12 CHA and just leveled up to level 2, giving him his second spirit known (The Bear and The Beating known). If you CHA-focus, you can still make a pretty solid go with the INT/WIS/CHA spirits. Rakshasa provides a significant boost to Intimidate in social situations, moving the influence from a maximum of an hour to a minimum of an hour.

Yes, it can be awkward. I would say that, barring a move to 6-level casting, it would be quite difficult to play a character built on a Face focus.

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However, the limit does make the class even *less* like the source material. It's now pretty much a medium in name only.

"Please, I need to speak to the spirit of my mother."
"Sorry, I only know two spirits, and neither is you mom.
(I suppose that's what's happens when you have one group of people coming up with the story and concept for a class and another group charged with designing the class itself. The design team really seems to have gone off in one direction, swept away with mechanics they like, and so the class doesn't really resemble what it's supposed to be any more. Like a game design version of Telephone.)

The necessity for 54 spirits just feels unnecessary. The hook of each spirit representing an alignment and an ability score is okay but leads to a forced symmetry. There's not 54 good ideas for spirits, not 54 concepts that are just crying out for a spirit. And there's certainly not 216 unique mechanical powers crying out to be added to the game. A lot of the spirits are just going to be plain bad. There are deadlines to meet and a LOT of the spirits are going to end up being "good enough".

I'd much rather see six really good spirits all medium can choose from, and have those six modified by alignment (or 9 spirits modified by ability score). The list of 54 could remain as names/concepts of the spirits along with their compulsions.

That's a series of very legitimate concerns. I think that the choice to theme the spirits based on the Harrow created a solid framework to operate on, but I do have concerns about the end result, as well. Some of it does seem stilted and forced, like The Waxworks. I agree completely that there seems to be too narrow a focus currently on the spirit mechanic without filling in some of the archetypal themes of a Medium in real world culture.


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A name like Ridden or Channeler would be more accurate for the class as written. "Medium" tends to mean, foremost, though who contact the dead, although it can also refer to channelers of angels, loa, and so forth.


Wanted to say, I actually agree about the thematic problems of not communicating with other spirits and the like. Speak with Dead should not only be a thing, but the situation of being able to speak with spirits of others' loved ones SHOULD be an ability that scales. Start off with only being able to talk to the recent dead or those who have strong enough ties to potentially be Phantoms for a Spiritualist, or haunts, etc; from there, work towards being able to talk to those in line at Pharasma's, then to people who have gone to their final reward but not yet assimilated with the Plane, and perhaps up to the entities that the loved one/sought spirit has been absorbed/subsumed into. Doesn't call the actual being, just enough of a presence for communication.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I was saving this for a longer post after I've playtested the class more, but I agree that the medium should have some ability to speak to the dead and communicate with other, unknown (found?) spirits.

I don't think it's a problem with the class's flavor necessarily, but it would be a way to make the flavor--already the strong point of the class--even better.

The one idea I've had percolating in my head for a while is that the medium should be able to interact with haunts somehow--learn more about them and provide a foundation for the detective work of resolving the haunt, or even just identify the haunt's unresolved conflict outright.

An adventuring party can pretty consistently expect to see a couple of these during their career--so I don't think it needs to be the centerpiece of the class or anything, but most people would expect that the medium could help with a haunt. It'd be pretty awesome if it could.

Liberty's Edge

RJGrady wrote:
A name like Ridden or Channeler would be more accurate for the class as written. "Medium" tends to mean, foremost, though who contact the dead, although it can also refer to channelers of angels, loa, and so forth.

Or change the name from "spirits" to "vestiges" and the class becomes the binder.

It needs a lot more talking/seeing dead people to qualify as a medium. An innate ability to interact with haunts would be good, as would casting speak with dead as a Spell-like ability.


@Jester David:

I'm curious what you would think of my earlier propositions folded into one :

First: make it a half-caster with its own spell list (that may or may not be affected by Spirits), so that while it has d8 HD + 3/4 BAB, it's actually got stuff to do at lv1 besides "duuuuuuuuh, I swing da stick, George!"

Second: Keep all 54 Spirits (though I'm with you, that's more than the number of pure Domains, and I feel like they could be cut down), but you only know a number of Spirits equal to your Cha modifier, period (similar to Ki, Grit, and Panache, kinda). You also contact all of your known spirits at the beginning of each day, instead of just picking 1.

Third: Change Trance so that it functions for a number of rounds per day total like Rage (2+Cha Mod at lv1, +2/level after 1). You get a +2 Spiritual Bonus to the defining Stat of the Spirit that's possessing you; this increases to +4 at lv7, +6 at lv13, and +8 at lv19.

Also make it so that every time the Medium enters a Trance, they choose ONE Spirit to possess them, but they can choose from any of the spirits they contacted at the beginning of the day (so you can go "Uh-oh, fight time! Better junction the Strength spirit!" or "Well, we need to get by this trap... better junction the Dex spirit for a round or two!"); the downside, then, would be that you either have to perform the Spirit's Compulsion for a number of rounds equal to twice the time spent in the Trance, or are Sickened for the same amount of time. This would completely replace the Influence nonsense, so no need for extra bookkeeping.

Fourth: Relegate the dual-vessel thing to being a Feat - probably one that you can't take before lv11.

Fifth: You gain either Command or Turn Undead as a Bonus Feat at lv1 (depending on Alignment), and can use that ability a number of times per day equal to your Wis modifier.

You also gain Undead Empathy, which is a port of the Ranger's Wild Empathy but focusing on Undead.

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This would effectively focus the class on Charisma as the defining stat between all builds, with Wis being a small backup. The the other 4 stats can vary wildly between builds, then, since your Spirit choices would then determine what sort of roles you'll play (high Str or Dex for Melee and Ranged offense; Con for tanking; Int for being a skill-monkey; Wis for... I'm not actually sure, myself; and Cha for being a primary caster; just going with 12-14 in all other stats would allow for a Jack-Of-All-Trades or Swiss Army Knife build where you would swap between Spirits constantly to fit the situation).


One roommate summed it up as this: "Medium should not just get their spirits on level, they should be investigating the paranormal and build up their collection like a would-be Pokémon master."


Cranky Bastard wrote:
One roommate summed it up as this: "Medium should not just get their spirits on level, they should be investigating the paranormal and build up their collection like a would-be Pokémon master."

I'd say that's more up to DM discretion than anything.

I've had DMs work it that Sorcerers don't just go "DING! LEVEL UP! I GAIN NEW SPELLS!" - instead, they have to make Spellcraft checks in order to learn/create new spells as time goes on, with the "Sorcerer Spells Known" list just being the max that they can know.

A DM could, as well, have you roleplay learning the max number of Spirits, rather than just go "DING! LEVEL UP! HEY - NEW SPIRITS!"

I'm still not a fan at all, however, of going the Pokemon route and having dozens of spirits at your beck and call at mid to high levels - having a straight, set number based on a stat at lv1, that doesn't go up unless you take a Feat or raise your Stat so that your Modifier Changes, makes a lot more sense for bookkeeping, character building, and game balance purposes.


chbgraphicarts wrote:
Cranky Bastard wrote:
One roommate summed it up as this: "Medium should not just get their spirits on level, they should be investigating the paranormal and build up their collection like a would-be Pokémon master."

I'd say that's more up to DM discretion than anything.

I've had DMs work it that Sorcerers don't just go "DING! LEVEL UP! I GAIN NEW SPELLS!" - instead, they have to make Spellcraft checks in order to learn/create new spells as time goes on, with the "Sorcerer Spells Known" list just being the max that they can know.

A DM could, as well, have you roleplay learning the max number of Spirits, rather than just go "DING! LEVEL UP! HEY - NEW SPIRITS!"

I'm still not a fan at all, however, of going the Pokemon route and having dozens of spirits at your beck and call at mid to high levels - having a straight, set number based on a stat at lv1, that doesn't go up unless you take a Feat or raise your Stat so that your Modifier Changes, makes a lot more sense for bookkeeping, character building, and game balance purposes.

There could be an automatic progression and an "cap" progression. You can get just one spirit at level 1 then a second at level 2 and additional ones every two levels thereafter. But the spirit "cap" can be equal to the medium's level + cha mod.

The the feats that get you more spirits can net you one spirit for free and raise your maximum number of spirits by 4. Take that feat 8 or 9 times and maybe you can catch them all.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm really not seeing the terrible confusion in the number of spirits you can contact. My current build will have access to a grand total of 8 at 12th level - and three of those will be "locked in" at the start of the day, leaving just 5 to choose among when she trances. I feel like that's completely manageable. Where's the problem?


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Some people are either intimidated by the amount of options, or not confident that everyone will be able to make sense of all of them (ala how people make mistakes all the time with creating a legal Summoner's Eidolon) is my interpretation.

My only concern is that due to the huge amount of options, some will be outright bad, others to good and some utterly niche that will never see use.


Cubic Prism wrote:

Some people are either intimidated by the amount of options, or not confident that everyone will be able to make sense of all of them (ala how people make mistakes all the time with creating a legal Summoner's Eidolon) is my interpretation.

My only concern is that due to the huge amount of options, some will be outright bad, others to good and some utterly niche that will never see use.

I don't think that is the end of the world. Pathfinder and the 3.X series are kind of great exactly because there are "advanced" classes and "beginner" classes. People who enjoy build complexity and people who just want to make a character fast can both play at the same table.


Agreed. I'm liking these classes because they are a bit more involved to figure out. I hope they keep the complexity, and somehow don't end up with any stinkers for options. Overall, the style of these classes are unique, and breath some life into the feel of the game IMO.


Cubic Prism wrote:
Agreed. I'm liking these classes because they are a bit more involved to figure out. I hope they keep the complexity, and somehow don't end up with any stinkers for options. Overall, the style of these classes are unique, and breath some life into the feel of the game IMO.

Well, we just have to resign ourselves to the fact that some options will end up being superior to others. That is just the cost/reality of designing complex game mechanics. However, I think Mark can make a lot of really compelling and useful spirits if he is careful and savy.


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While I find the concept for this class very interesting, I think it is terribly complicated as it is. Keeping track of those spirits, interactions, influences, spells, use activate abilities seems rather tiring for a low reward.

Many of the powers are very generic and lackluster, stacking by small doses instead of proving meaningful transformation. I would ditch all of the small bonus and have the spirits providing class features (like sneak attack, rage, etc...) and at least one skill temporarily at max ranks. Also, he should be able to call specific spirits and incorporate them, receiving some of their abilities: "I call upon my ancestor, a great warrior from the past, his rage was legendary".

The spirits alignment could provide some challenge, as he becomes more enraged by each infraction to his moral code.

The medium could be able to call upon spirits of monsters also, gaining the regeneration of troll, or the breath weapon of a dragon...

Anyway, I think the class has great potential, but as it is now I would not play it, or make an NPC from it. I would rather avoid all that work.

Liberty's Edge

chbgraphicarts wrote:


First: make it a half-caster with its own spell list (that may or may not be affected by Spirits), so that while it has d8 HD + 3/4 BAB,

As long as each spirit has some active element, I don't think it *needs* to be a 1/2 caster. There's a lot of casting in the document already and having a non-caster option works. Beatstick classes exist for a reason and fill a niche, but the medium just doesn't seem to fit that role, and they're not given much else to do.

It just needs something to do.

chbgraphicarts wrote:


Second: Keep all 54 Spirits (though I'm with you, that's more than the number of pure Domains, and I feel like they could be cut down), but you only know a number of Spirits equal to your Cha modifier, period (similar to Ki, Grit, and Panache, kinda). You also contact all of your known spirits at the beginning of each day, instead of just picking 1.

Could work.

Personally, I'd treat spirits like an inquisitor's judgment where you have access to the entire list but it doesn't expand much. It's deliberatly limited. Which works with the idea you can just talk to spirits. You have the ability to work with whomever's there.

chbgraphicarts wrote:


Third: Change Trance so that it functions for a number of rounds per day total like Rage (2+Cha Mod at lv1, +2/level after 1). You get a +2 Spiritual Bonus to the defining Stat of the Spirit that's possessing you; this increases to +4 at lv7, +6 at lv13, and +8 at lv19.

Trancing does seem like it could be more flexible or just different.

I wonder if trancing could also have skill uses. Mediums, having access to the minds of dozens of souls, could be the psychic magic sages, with access to any knowledge skills. You talk to Einstein and can make Knowdlege (advanced physics) checks untrained or even Take 10. Perhaps using Charisma for lore as they essentially gather info from the ether. Trancing could be part of that, letting you use untrained skills in additon to powers.

Hrm. That could easily be the medium's combat "thing". They channel the spirit of a fighter and get better and fighting for a few rounds. Or a rogue and pick locks.

chbgraphicarts wrote:


Also make it so that every time the Medium enters a Trance, they choose ONE Spirit to possess them, but they can choose from any of the spirits they contacted at the beginning of the day; the downside, then, would be that you either have to perform the Spirit's Compulsion for a number of rounds equal to twice the time spent in the Trance, or are Sickened for the same amount of time. This would completely replace the Influence nonsense, so no need for extra bookkeeping.

I wounder if compulsions could be reflected in a minor mechanical penalty. Like the alchemist's mutagens. As a Strength spirit compels you, you take penalties to Intelligence skills and checks.

chbgraphicarts wrote:


Fourth: Relegate the dual-vessel thing to being a Feat - probably one that you can't take before lv11.

Multiple spirits does seem like a very specialized thing. A feat or archetype is probably best. It seems like a way of just adding more powers and making use of the giant list of spirits. Because there are 54 schools/domains people need access to lots of them (11-15 or so), but if the list is trimmed down having 2-3 at once seems unneeded.

chbgraphicarts wrote:


Fifth: You gain either Command or Turn Undead as a Bonus Feat at lv1 (depending on Alignment), and can use that ability a number of times per day equal to your Wis modifier.

You also gain Undead Empathy, which is a port of the Ranger's Wild Empathy but focusing on Undead.

I like the idea of undead empathy. Or at least spiritual empathy, as I'm not sure it should work with skeletons and zombies. Wording it to apply to haunts would be hard but necassary.

Being able to turn/command undead would be cool. I support that.


I think it would be more interesting way to go about things to make the spirits more varied and potent, and cutting the casting levels completely from this class, as opposed to giving it medium casting levels. Okay this might be more book keepy option of the two.

Mostly since spirits are much more flavourful and unique than few spells. Sure you could have spells like speak with the dead and the like, but for one, these spells don't actually add combat options to early levels (the ones where it would need them), and while they would make it less medium like in the traditional sense of the world that's pretty much all they'd do. Maybe the class would be better off having been named Channeller.

Besides, isn't 3 half casters in one book plenty of those.


Here is an idea: could certain spirits replace your statistics?

Like: there could be a strength spirit that can let a medium have its strength score of 14 or the medium's normal strength score. And this could just be its lesser power. The intermediate power would raise this stat to 16, the greater to 18, and the supreme to 22.

Strength is still not worthless because a strong medium can just choose some other strength spirit and get all of that spirit's neater powers instead.

At the same time, the existence of this sort of spirit would allow the class to have the kind of daily variability that a lot of people want.

I should note that the intelligence spirit would likely not grant new skills on that day (otherwise a dumb medium might end up being far more versatile that a smart one). If people like this idea, I can expound on some possible work-arounds on certain problems that I could foresee.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Not to rain on a parade, but I strongly suspect the 3.5 (and to a more limited extent PF) druid has probably put the final nail in the coffin for letting any class abilities wholesale replace ability scores. True, the summoner can do a bit of that with the right archetype, but I wouldn't assume that the team would want to go down that path again unless they themselves start the discussion or show a class ability that does it.

Replacing ability scores allows someone to dump those scores in exchange for boosting mental scores. It made for some pretty frightening shapechange druids.


Terminalmancer wrote:

Not to rain on a parade, but I strongly suspect the 3.5 (and to a more limited extent PF) druid has probably put the final nail in the coffin for letting any class abilities wholesale replace ability scores. True, the summoner can do a bit of that with the right archetype, but I wouldn't assume that the team would want to go down that path again unless they themselves start the discussion or show a class ability that does it.

Replacing ability scores allows someone to dump those scores in exchange for boosting mental scores. It made for some pretty frightening shapechange druids.

Well, unlike the 3.5 druid, you actually have to give up something to replace a bad stat. You can either dump stats and get no powers or keep stats and get powers.

The trick is going to be making this not a "dip" option (like a lets his wisdom be 8 and then takes the one level dip in this class to negate the effect). Perhaps these spirits could follow special rules and only be accessible at level 7 or something. You could also limit them by giving them no alignment: so if you chose the "The Spirit of Strength", you second spirit would also need to be strength. Then you only get to break out of your strength niche when you trance or get your third spirit.

I still think it is a canny solution.

Sovereign Court

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You know the more that people complain about the medium not feeling like a medium the more I think that the Spiritualist and Medium should have their names changed over.

The Medium currently is channeling various spirits into themselves with no real control over them. Though Possessed, Channeled or Ridden would also work as names. I admit in part I think an oracle curse like system would have worked rather than the influence system but we don't want to crib from existing classes.

The spirtualist is in constant contact with a spirit, calm them as class abilities. Just add speak with dead to their spell list since they already have speak with haunt and spirits and its a medium

EDIT: I would say thinking about it a little more that as the mechanics current work, the medium is someone in contact with spirit world but not in control of the spirits. They are a conduit through which spirits can influence the world. Spirits both good and bad wish to use the medium for their own ends.

Also again I wish this mechanic hadn't already been used but I feel like with that idea in mind the Master Chymists Mutagenic Form is what this class is trying to get across with the influence system. A whole other aspect with their own alignment and relationships. Since that didn't require complete control taken away from the player I think that within reason there should be no reason a player shouldn't be able to continue roleplaying their possessed character.


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If Influence didn't require you to turn your Character over to the GM, and instead adopt the Alignment of the Spirit that's Influencing you (like the Master Chymist), I could acknowledge it as "not terrible."

I still don't support it, as it requires you to track ALL the influence of all your Spirits, but that would at least bring it back from a level of gnarliness where I want to print out the PDF just to burn that section of the rules.


The more I think about it, the more I feel the Medium is the best class to take leadership, so you can try that bold move once and hand over your character to the GM.


Evil Idea: Variant Medium - Magister Magi.

Make all girls from Negima! into spirits.

Change Influence with Debt with the Girl (4 debt, and you have to take a time out helping her at some school activity).

Change aligment of the cards, with the position of the girl in the class room, same vertical row = same aligment, same horizontal row = same suit.


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Negi has at LEAST lv6 magic; doesn't work with the current build.

Negi is a Sacred Fist/Magus gestalt who is able to take Leadership several multiple an unlimited number of times.


Reading through the posts since my last one, an epiphany dawned.

Mediums are Soma Cruz from the handheld CastleVania games.

You equip souls/spirits for abilities; some are active, others give passive boosts, but overall you can only use X number at a time.

So from that perspective, what's missing /'wrong'?


I think Soma would be a D10 +1 BaB, and without normal spellcasting, since all his powers are either from magic items, or usually souls that he has equipped, with mana just fueling the active souls. I do like the comparison though, hadn't even thought of that.


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I think getting rid of spellcasting and going with spell like abilities is the way to go here. For example, look at the Investigator archetype Spiritualist, who trades alchemy for spell like abilities usable wis+level/day. Doing something similar where spirits grant spell like abilities usable cha+level/day could be interesting.

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Dilvias wrote:
I think getting rid of spellcasting and going with spell like abilities is the way to go here. For example, look at the Investigator archetype Spiritualist...

I love that archetype, even though it's arguably weaker than playing a straight investigator. I would welcome the medium moving in a similar direction.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It almost seems as though that's the intended effect of the medium's limited spellcasting. It's just that the combination of using the 4th-level spellcasting template for spells per day with the exceptionally limited spells known keep the utility of that ability exceptionally low.

Using spellcasting as the limiting factor instead of straight spell-like abilities actually seems, at least to me, like a really clever way of doing it because you get a certain amount of spells per day, but you don't get overwhelmed with bookkeeping, and it limits the overall utility of the ability with spells per day instead of with the spirit. You can still learn new "SLA-like spells" by trancing to a different spirit.

Of course, it's really terribly limited as written. I think bumping the spellcasting up to the 6th level spellcasting template while keeping the spells known framework the same could bring the spellcasting up to par as far as utility goes with some of the other SLA-like classes, say the Investigator (Spiritualist) or the Ranger (Skirmisher).

Silver Crusade

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Not that this is necessarily new information on the thread, but the more I look at this class, the more I love what it is trying to accomplish, and the more I think each spirit really wants to grant a set of class abilities and they mostly don't.

I am a little worried about how to fix this class to make it the beautiful thing it wants to be, because I don't really know how to make all of the bits fit together the way they want to.

Big Sky is... I don't even know. The lesser and intermediate powers are good but the others are so circumstantial as to be useless. This seems to have been designed to be channeled, but not to be used as a primary spirit.

The Bear mostly works as intended except that it looks like it gets overtaken early by clerics, shapechange druids, and a certain summoner archetype who can do everything the Bear-based medium does and more. By the time the medium gets to be huge, those classes have sillier things to do. And heaven forbid you need to go dungeon crawling and you're stuck squeezing everywhere...

The Cricket's movement and damage bonuses want you to be a Cavalier, but all it does is make you look wistfully at the bonus and then go play a real cavalier instead of a "Summon Shadow Class" version that gets you 15% of the real thing. It does provide Haste, which makes me think that you just expect it to be channeled, and not used for a primary spirit.

The Hidden Truth really wants you to be good at knowledge skills. But it doesn't give you any extra skill points and it doesn't make you trained in any skills. That's incredibly crippling for knowledge skills and it means you're just flat worse than a bard.

The Vision really wants you to be an arcane spellcaster. But it only lets you "know" two arcane spells and you're subject to arcane spell failure. (And you're a class that wears up to medium armor?! That really doesn't mesh with anything else you can do.)

The Winged Serpent provides some interesting initiative bonuses but if this is your primary spirit you're going to be pretty disappointed. I mean, it's a fantastic bonus, this whole "always go first" deal. But what do you do when it's your turn to go?

The Unicorn desperately wants you to be a bard. But it doesn't make you a bard and you will never, ever be as good at being a bard as a bard is. Aid another sounds interesting until you look at how short the duration is on the Unicorn's ability.

The Liar makes you into a cunning seducer, but it's so incredibly single-purpose... Some of these effects, like the permanent Innocence effect, could easily be replaced by magic items. Sunder Heart sounds great, but... what about just being a spellcaster who can cast Phantasmal Killer? And if that doesn't work, at the level you get that ability, the spellcaster's going to be casting Meteor Swarm or whatever? (Okay, maximized empowered fireball, but you get the idea.)

It seems like the class needs to let you pick one of these spirits and gain a set of appropriate class abilities before most of the spirits are playable options. Extra spellcasting, extra skill points and skills on the class skill list, extra weapon proficiencies, bonus feats...


Really, I feel like, flavor-wise, Spell-Like Abilities are much more "Psychic" than "Psychic... SPEEE~LLLLLLSSS!!!"

It's like taking the sorcerer to it's logical extreme: VERY limited number of spells per level known, but you can use them as Spell-Like Abilities a number of times a day equal to [governing stat], if you're even limited at all.

Then again, maybe that's treading far into 3.5 Psionics levels of broken, and so that path should be avoided like the plague.


You might be referring to 3.0 psionics? 3.5 psionics were actually balanced. Or do I have the two reversed?

Dark Archive

Going to play a 17th level Medium next week in the Witchwar Legacy. I'm having trouble groking how the spirits interact. I'm planning on using the Bear, the Rabbit Prince, the Twin, and maybe the Owl. As I hope to treat the Bear, the Rabbit, and the Owl as Neutral Strength spirits. I keep getting confused about what effects this will have.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Whenever a spirit matches the attribute of the primary spirit, you stop getting the spirit bonus and instead get the Lesser ability. My understanding is that this will occur every time you trigger a "this counts as both" condition. Repeat this logic going down the line - a tertiary that matches attribute with either the primary or secondary will trigger this, as will a quaternary that matches any of the other 3.

Ex. Say your pick for the day is 1. Bear, 2. Twin, 3. Rabbit Prince, 4. Owl: you have all of the spirit bonuses, but only the abilities from Bear (DANG I'M HUGE). You cannot trigger any of the "this counts as a Strength Spirit" abilities because you don't have any of them. Twin does nothing. It's really good at that.

You then Trance Rabbit Prince and make a Finesse attack. For the purpose of the attack, you suddenly have Rabbit Prince counting as a Strength Spirit, which causes you to shift one step up on the ability chart, allowing you to activate Capricious Battle for the attack as an Immediate Action. This may or may not be useful.

Ex 2. Your pick is now Twin, Rabbit Prince, Owl, Bear. You Trance for Rabbit Prince, causing Twin to become a Neutral Dexterity spirit until your next Trance. Twin now causes you to get the spirit bonus for Dexterity and Rabbit Prince grants the Lesser and Intermediate powers. You then make a Finesse attack, causing Rabbit to also be a Strength spirit. You then cause Bear to shift from providing the Strength bonus to providing its lesser power, giving you claws. Note: THIS IS TERRIBLE. It's everything you don't want because you lose out on the bonus hit/damage. Only Twin and Owl provide their spirit bonuses in this scenario. Additionally, you have a redundant lesser because you tranced a spirit that you also seanced in, so Twin's Copycat is wasted.

Ex 3. Your pick is now Owl, Bear, Twin, Rabbit. You kill a qualifying enemy and Owl becomes a Strength spirit in addition to Wisdom, providing you with both Strength and Wisdom spirit bonuses until your next turn. Bear begins providing its claws and turns you into a large critter. Twin does nothing (layabout that it is) and Rabbit provides its Dexterity spirit bonus. You don't lose the Strength spirit bonus because Owl provides it in the gap. Once the next turn starts, you revert to medium size and get your normal hands back. The Bear returns to providing its Strength spirit bonus.

Ex 4. Your pick is now Twin, Bear, Rabbit Prince, Owl. You trance Big Sky, turning Twin into a Good Strength spirit and giving you the ability to ignore DR as per Big Sky's lesser ability. Bear now provides you claws and large size, Rabbit Prince and Owl both provide their spirit bonuses. This is the most generically useful scenario of the 4.

You'll note that The Twin is ONLY useful in the primary position. Otherwise, all it provides are the spells and the seance boon. You cannot trigger the Copycat ability in any way if it is not the primary spirit, meaning it will never provide a spirit bonus outside of primary position. Please note that this analysis only applies to the spirit selections you indicated. If you also slot in another Charisma spirit, Twin can Copycat something else because it can have its lesser power, but you do condemn yourself to having another Charisma spirit in your line-up. If you intend to use the "counts as Strength" abilities, it essentially requires that you put the spirit with that ability into the primary position.

Dark Archive

Wait, I thought you only got the Seance Boon from your primary spirit?

Sovereign Court

Seranov wrote:
Wait, I thought you only got the Seance Boon from your primary spirit?

Nope, every spirit you put on yourself during your seance contributes a seance boon


Scorpioni wrote:
You might be referring to 3.0 psionics? 3.5 psionics were actually balanced. Or do I have the two reversed?

3.0 Psionics was a not-a-system and was quite realistically "broken" - everything was either completely overpowered or didn't actually function.

3.5 made the system better, but it was still a mess of imbalance compared to even the 3.5 PHB (which was the most broken of the initial Core 3).

Dreamscarred Press did a fantastic job of taking the 3.5 Psionics and fine-tuning the rules further, to the point that not only are their version of Psionics balanced - it's a GOOD system.

Most DMs still won't allow Psionics because of both the decade-long stigma and because of the Magic/Psionics Transparency problem, but at least now Psionic characters and players have a system that can create compelling games.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Serisan wrote:
(Stuff)

I think this is a good example of how amazingly complicated this class can get. Doesn't have to be! But it can be if you let it.

One note--in Example 2 you say "You then make a Finesse attack, causing Rabbit to also be a Strength spirit. You then cause Bear to shift from providing the Strength bonus to providing its lesser power, giving you claws. Note: THIS IS TERRIBLE. It's everything you don't want because you lose out on the bonus hit/damage. Only Twin and Owl provide their spirit bonuses in this scenario."

If I'm remembering correctly, Mark said that spirits with an ability that reads "counts as a (stat) spirit in addition to a (stat)
spirit" actually provide both spirit bonuses. So for the purposes of that particular attack or attacks, you would still maintain the +x/+x bonus where x is your spirit bonus; it would just be granted by the Rabbit Prince instead of the Bear. Of course, that may have implications for Bear's Awesome Blow ability, depending on what level you're at in the example.

Looking at the rules as they apply to your example, Serisan, I'm left with a couple of questions for clarification:

1. Dual Vessel reads, "The spirits’ alignments and ability scores cannot both match." Do we simply ignore matches created through temporary effects? Say you've got the CN Rabbit Prince and the CN Strength spirit. You finesse attack with the Rabbit Prince and all of a sudden (and very temporarily) it becomes a Strength spirit. You then have a match in both alignment and ability score, which is forbidden by the class ability. What happens, if anything? Do you lose access to one of the spirits? If so, does it persist or do you regain access after the effect ends? Which spirit would you lose access to?

2. Level 13 and above: Say you're sneaking up on someone in a dark, narrow alley. Again, you've got Rabbit Prince and The Bear; the Bear is only providing the Spirit Bonus. You finesse attack your unlucky target; this causes you to channel The Bear's spirit abilities--again in a very temporary fashion. You become Large. You might even become Huge. You gain claws.
2A. What on earth does this look like? The Incredible Case of the Pulsing Player? World's strangest lycanthrope ever?
2B. More seriously, the Rabbit Prince's ability reads, "When using Weapon Finesse to make a melee attack and adding your Strength bonus to damage, the Rabbit Prince counts as a Strength spirit in addition to a Dexterity spirit." (emphasis mine). When does this effect trigger? Presumably it triggers during the damage roll; does it trigger during the attack roll as well? I ask because:
2B1: You're in a tiny alley and now you're getting squeezed. Does the squeezing penalty apply to your attacks?
2B2a: If so, does that mean you can attack with the increased reach?
2B2b: If you can't attack with reach and the size change happens on damage, what happens in the (rare) event that the size change renders your target an ineligible target, if anything? You'd need a combination finesse/reach weapon, which from a quick trawling of the forums may be limited to a tiny longspear, but I wouldn't put it past a splatbook to invent a more reasonable one.


virtual skill ranks equal to spirit bonus


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Terminalmancer wrote:
Serisan wrote:
(Stuff)

I think this is a good example of how amazingly complicated this class can get. Doesn't have to be! But it can be if you let it.

One note--in Example 2 you say "You then make a Finesse attack, causing Rabbit to also be a Strength spirit. You then cause Bear to shift from providing the Strength bonus to providing its lesser power, giving you claws. Note: THIS IS TERRIBLE. It's everything you don't want because you lose out on the bonus hit/damage. Only Twin and Owl provide their spirit bonuses in this scenario."

If I'm remembering correctly, Mark said that spirits with an ability that reads "counts as a (stat) spirit in addition to a (stat)
spirit" actually provide both spirit bonuses. So for the purposes of that particular attack or attacks, you would still maintain the +x/+x bonus where x is your spirit bonus; it would just be granted by the Rabbit Prince instead of the Bear. Of course, that may have implications for Bear's Awesome Blow ability, depending on what level you're at in the example.

This has to do with the order in which the spirits are stacked. Doing a quick re-read of Twin, I'm not 100% sure it actually changes if you Trance an active spirit, but the same issue arises if you have N Dex primary + Rabbit (CN Dex that adds Strength secondary) + Bear (N Strength tertiary). Once the ability score matches, you shift over to abilities immediately. Because Rabbit matches the primary's stat, it uses the abilities, even though only one of the stats matches. The stat now matches your tertiary, so you use the abilities on the tertiary and lose the stat bonus.

Quote:

Looking at the rules as they apply to your example, Serisan, I'm left with a couple of questions for clarification:

1. Dual Vessel reads, "The spirits’ alignments and ability scores cannot both match." Do we simply ignore matches created through temporary effects? Say you've got the CN Rabbit Prince and the CN Strength spirit. You finesse attack with the Rabbit Prince and all of a sudden (and very temporarily) it becomes a Strength spirit. You then have a match in both alignment and ability score, which is forbidden by the class ability. What happens, if anything? Do you lose access to one of the spirits? If so, does it persist or do you regain access after the effect ends? Which spirit would you lose access to?

This needs to be clarified by Mark. It's a genuine concern that I had when I was writing last night.

Quote:

2. Level 13 and above: Say you're sneaking up on someone in a dark, narrow alley. Again, you've got Rabbit Prince and The Bear; the Bear is only providing the Spirit Bonus. You finesse attack your unlucky target; this causes you to channel The Bear's spirit abilities--again in a very temporary fashion. You become Large. You might even become Huge. You gain claws.

2A. What on earth does this look like? The Incredible Case of the Pulsing Player? World's strangest lycanthrope ever?

MAGIC!

Quote:
2B. More seriously, the Rabbit Prince's ability reads, "When using Weapon Finesse to make a melee attack and adding your Strength bonus to damage, the Rabbit Prince counts as a Strength spirit in addition to a Dexterity spirit." (emphasis mine). When does this effect trigger? Presumably it triggers during the damage roll; does it trigger during the attack roll as well? I ask because:

I definitely re-read the combat section on attacks just now to verify. Damage is a distinct stage of the attack sequence, so yes, it's only during damage. MAGIC!

Quote:

2B1: You're in a tiny alley and now you're getting squeezed. Does the squeezing penalty apply to your attacks?

2B2a: If so, does that mean you can attack with the increased reach?
2B2b: If you can't attack with reach and the size change happens on damage, what happens in the (rare) event that the size change renders your target an ineligible target, if anything? You'd need a combination finesse/reach weapon, which from a quick trawling of the forums may be limited to a tiny longspear, but I wouldn't put it past a splatbook to invent a more reasonable one.

2B1: No. The attack roll has already occurred.

2B2a: No, same reason. You're firmly in the damage "stage" of the attack.
2B2b: Ditto. Also, I feel like 2B2b may be a droid from Star Wars.

Those were some awesome questions, though. I've been laughing the whole time I've been typing because of the absurd imagery.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Thanks for everything so far you guys. You've done such a great job so far of identifying the areas of improvement for the medium that I feel like I'm moving towards a set of ideas that will cover just about everything. I thought them through on the flights I took on Monday and Wednesday. I couldn't have done what I have so far without you guys! Together we're going to make the medium ridiculously fun and flavorful, all mixed together. My next post here will be to reveal the Fiend, since a new poster to our forums, ComicBooker, ran a playtest, and my dice were hot (it was something like two rolls after Hangman Henry's playtest unlocked the Cyclone, I've just been away). I let ComicBooker decide between a few choices, and he picked the Fiend.

Cheers!
Mark

Paizo Employee Designer

Second spirit unlock!

First, some points to note:

1) Obviously this isn't legal in PFS
2) This is in a rough format, so it's missing sections of flavor and the wording is very preliminary. Virtually no one has read this except me (and now you guys). It also might not look anything like the final spirit for that reason.
3) In the final version of the book, as mentioned in the sidebar "Alignments in the Playtest", you will be looking for exact alignment matches. That means that if you add any of these new unlocked spirits, you may want to consider removing another spirit from your playtest as well (in this case, the Beating).

So behold, in its unformatted glory!

The Fiend:

The Fiend (Lawful Evil Strength)
Spirit Bonus (Strength): Spirit bonus to attack and damage
Spells: 1st—death knell; 2nd—lock jaw (bite only); 3rd—deadly juggernaut; 4th—strong jaw (bite only)
Séance Boon: +2 to CMB checks to initiate and maintain a grapple
Compulsion: Ravenous
Spirit Powers:
1st: Fiend’s Maw—You grow a huge oversized maw, allowing you to make a bite attack for 1d8 damage (for Medium mediums) as a primary natural attack.
7th: Taste for Innocents—Your bite attack deals 2d6 additional damage to good targets and counts as evil.
13th: Hunger for Innocents—You gain the grab ability with your bite and the swallow whole special ability. Since your maw is oversized, you can devour creatures of your size. If you choose to do so, you become visibly gorged and count as if being under heavy encumbrance as long as the swallowed creature is alive.
19th: Calamitous Massacre—Whenever you kill a creature with a number of HD equal to at least half your character level with your swallow whole ability, you gain the effects of death knell and the Fiend’s spirit bonus increases by 1 for a number of rounds equal to the creature’s HD. The bonus increases stack up to a maximum of double the Fiend’s normal spirit bonus, but the durations do not stack.

Run more medium playtests for more chances to reveal preliminary notes on another spirit!

Paizo Employee Designer

As a note—wording will be clarified to indicate that Rabbit Prince applies before the first attack roll is made, but if you accept the power, you are committed to using Dex to hit and Str to damage on all your attacks. Great work nailing out the reasons why we need that clarification guys!

Also, yes, this may cause you to become Large or Huge during your full attack and then shrink back to normal every turn. In my opinion, that is both an awesome visual and potentially extremely useful in allowing you to fit through corridors while still hulking out.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Glad to have you back, Mark! Fiend looks amazingly fun with Bear and I'm pretty psyched about it.

I'm in a playtest on Saturday, will post the results as soon as I'm back at my computer that night. :-)

Paizo Employee Designer

Serisan wrote:

Glad to have you back, Mark! Fiend looks amazingly fun with Bear and I'm pretty psyched about it.

I'm in a playtest on Saturday, will post the results as soon as I'm back at my computer that night. :-)

Yes, they are meant to combo (nom nom nom, 2d6 bite...nom). Devour all the innocents for me!

~Mark


Mark Seifter wrote:

Second spirit unlock!

First, some points to note:

1) Obviously this isn't legal in PFS
2) This is in a rough format, so it's missing sections of flavor and the wording is very preliminary. Virtually no one has read this except me (and now you guys). It also might not look anything like the final spirit for that reason.
3) In the final version of the book, as mentioned in the sidebar "Alignments in the Playtest", you will be looking for exact alignment matches. That means that if you add any of these new unlocked spirits, you may want to consider removing another spirit from your playtest as well (in this case, the Beating).

So behold, in its unformatted glory!

** spoiler omitted **

Run more medium playtests for more chances to...

No acid and fire damage for being in the demon belly?

Paizo Employee Designer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:

Second spirit unlock!

First, some points to note:

1) Obviously this isn't legal in PFS
2) This is in a rough format, so it's missing sections of flavor and the wording is very preliminary. Virtually no one has read this except me (and now you guys). It also might not look anything like the final spirit for that reason.
3) In the final version of the book, as mentioned in the sidebar "Alignments in the Playtest", you will be looking for exact alignment matches. That means that if you add any of these new unlocked spirits, you may want to consider removing another spirit from your playtest as well (in this case, the Beating).

So behold, in its unformatted glory!

** spoiler omitted **

Run more medium playtests for more chances to...

No acid and fire damage for being in the demon belly?

Yup, it's unfinished, and that's part of the unfinished nature (not having the damage listed yet for swallow whole). 1d6 bludgeoning damage / 2 medium levels + 1d6 fire damage / 2 medium levels is something off the cuff I came up with right now if you're using the Fiend at home. Figure out the belly AC and damage necessary to cut out based on the normal formula for swallow whole.)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Minor phrasing question: For the seance boon for The Beating ("+2 on damage rolls against foes you have damaged."), does that mean everyone in the seance gets +2 against foes they have already damaged themselves, or against foes the medium has already damaged? And is there a time limit at all?

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