[unchained] How is the new action economy system?


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This quickly becoming a homebrew thread, which I am all for, because it could be interesting if this could work in a manner where each action is actually considered and adjudicated fairly. More specifically, it should be categorized in the manner of whether this is an action that is clear intended to waste an action or it a swift action that was truly a swift action; something in between a free action and move action.

I think the game may demand that sort of subtlety that swift action permit; but perhaps limits such action to free once per a round or every other round might make it work. It depends on the nature of the action I suppose, which leads to a lot of ambiguity.But perhaps it can be done in a way that makes no one particularly happy while still maintaining the nature of the classes and actions that are swift.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Calth wrote:


That list is redundant. It does not invalidate the base rule that you only get one non-swift spell a round. Pretty sure Mark even confirmed that in this thread.

Yeah it's been pointed out several times in this and other unchained threads, not sure if mark quoted it though, emphasis mine.

Core page 213 (Magic Chapter) "A spell with a casting time of 1 swift action doesn't count against your normal limit of one spell per round. However, you may cast such a spell only once per round.

1standard spell, 1 swift. There was some be ate over whether this was RAI but no one has ever contradicted the rule or changed it, as far as I'm aware, so I assume it's what was intended.


Create Mr. Pitt wrote:

This quickly becoming a homebrew thread, which I am all for, because it could be interesting if this could work in a manner where each action is actually considered and adjudicated fairly. More specifically, it should be categorized in the manner of whether this is an action that is clear intended to waste an action or it a swift action that was truly a swift action; something in between a free action and move action.

I think the game may demand that sort of subtlety that swift action permit; but perhaps limits such action to free once per a round or every other round might make it work. It depends on the nature of the action I suppose, which leads to a lot of ambiguity.But perhaps it can be done in a way that makes no one particularly happy while still maintaining the nature of the classes and actions that are swift.

The system was purposely left open for DMs to house rule as appropriate.

I'm all for the community coming up with a super list of house rules to use as an official unofficial expansion to the mechanics.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

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Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
This quickly becoming a homebrew thread...

Any thread about implementing the unchained action economy has to be a homebrew thread. The unchained action economy is just a framework with extensive examples, not a complete system; you have to homebrew it to make it work.

That being said, if Pathfinder 2.0 is built with this action economy as a starting point, I suspect that PF2 will run much better than PF1 with no homebrewing required.


I'll be able to post my homebrew changes soon here. I'll provide a link when it's ready, and I'll post it on the Homebrew forums. As written, the system doesn't do everything all the time, and it doesn't do it 100% effectively. That's a product of a shift of systems, but for the most part everything fits in really smoothly once you look at it.

At least, that's what I've been finding.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

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Puna'chong wrote:

I'll be able to post my homebrew changes soon here. I'll provide a link when it's ready, and I'll post it on the Homebrew forums. As written, the system doesn't do everything all the time, and it doesn't do it 100% effectively. That's a product of a shift of systems, but for the most part everything fits in really smoothly once you look at it.

At least, that's what I've been finding.

I can see how the unchained action economy can be made to work (as your house rules demonstrate), but I don't know that I would call the new action economy a smooth fit for the existing game.

To me, dropping the unchained action economy into the current Pathfinder game feels like replacing a car's entire engine because a few bad spark plugs are holding back its performance. I'd rather just keep the engine where it is and replace the bad spark plugs.

In Pathfinder, the full-attack action is the bad spark plug. Rather than seeing a rewrite of the entire action economy that makes combat more dynamic, I really wanted to see a rewrite of the full-attack action that makes combat just as dynamic while leaving everything other than full-attacking intact.

For (a very rough) example, change the full attack action so it grants you three acts, each of which can be used to either attack or move. [Insert the attacking and moving portion of the unchained action economy rules here.] Everything other than full-attacking uses the normal rules.

A (cleaned-up) version of the above suggestion would create dynamic combat very similar to that which occurs in the unchained action economy without having to first gut the entire Pathfinder action economy system.


Ill be honest here. It feels like someone tried to cram the shadowrun simple/complex action system into pathfinder and didn't do so well.


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Another session just finished up with my lower level group. It went very well, and everyone had a chance to shine. The party went into a marsh to help a barbarian whose rage had been stolen by a lizardfolk shaman. They started by going into the marsh, then had a big encounter with the shaman himself and his tougher minions (short session tonight, and rogue couldn't show up). Plenty of difficult terrain and cover to test how that would go over with the new AE.

First, the marsh was the usual slog. The wizard and archer slayer had the most success, since they could position themselves well and still get off attacks without having to penetrate all of the difficult terrain. Even with multiple move actions on the part of the enemies. I did have them use terrain intelligently, though, and they ducked out of cover to attack and then ducked back in with 5-foot steps.

Bard started really taking to the new AE, and he began actually trying to incorporate more combat maneuvers to help the team out, since his own damage isn't all that high. On one notable turn he was able to defensively cast sleep on a group a ways off, while simultaneously tripping a lizardfolk adjacent to him (mage armor and some luck kept him from getting hit).

The divination wizard started using more spells that ate up actions for the enemies coming out of the woodworks, like create pit (she had no idea it made a big pit; she thought it was one square when she chose it) and unnatural lust, which she got a kick out of. She's also been investing in scrolls so that her spell output keeps up well, and where other party members are buying masterwork weapons or potions, she's diversifying more and more. Unfortunately, no school ability here to test out the single action patch I'm working with.

[UnC]Barbarian had a lot of fun. I kept track and he hit about 60% of the time on a second attack, 40% of the time on the third. So damage output standing still was good, but I pushed the encounters to strain his actions with enemies that attacked, stepped back, and threw javelins, or by having lizardfolk start running towards the backline.

The player quickly recognized, too, that while he was getting three attacks, enemies were as well. A few times instead of standing still to use all three attacks he found it useful to attack once with his full raging bonus then take a couple of 5-foot steps. After a particularly nasty round where he took somewhere around 36 damage, he decided that denying his enemies all of their attacks was sometimes more beneficial than taking all of his, since he hits so hard and focused fire with the slayer.

I thought that was pretty interesting, and I liked that the players themselves started messing more with things. They often were asking me things like, "Ok. So the shaman needs two actions to use his spell, and he can move once? That means I can get up close to him and hit him, right?" The bard player was particularly happy that he had a variety of actions to use in combat, mostly because his spell list let him heal when it was needed, cast sleep, and also use saving finale to keep the slayer from getting hit by a hold person.

Slayer immediately saw the benefit of applying Studied Target to a creature he could sneak attack (he was giddy about getting sneak attack), and he went out of his way to set up ambushes or scout ahead to start combat with a free mark. He also didn't seem to mind at all that he used an action to mark an enemy, since Rapid Shot let him make two attacks at full BAB anyways (his Studied Target + bard's Inspire). I imagine that'll translate into TWF slayers as well.

Overall, it was a good time. I was particularly impressed with how the players continued to adapt to a new system, and the barbarian actually trying to deny his enemies their full attacks by swinging and stepping back was probably the highlight for me. That was all him, and I thought it really showed the nice tactical layers the system seems to allow.


Just a crazy thought, but would be possible to use this modularly based on class. Either certain classes are assigned either the new paradigm or the old; or they have the choice.

I don't think this causes too much chaos so long as one is locked in and it allow the player to choose his/her approach based on their build and interest.


Calth wrote:
Edit: He confirmed that the design team was aware of the rule listed when designing these rules and that the quickened limit applies. He did not specifically state that the 1 spell per round rule applies, but there is no reason it shouldn't.

Could you provide a link please?


Dekalinder wrote:
Calth wrote:
Edit: He confirmed that the design team was aware of the rule listed when designing these rules and that the quickened limit applies. He did not specifically state that the 1 spell per round rule applies, but there is no reason it shouldn't.
Could you provide a link please?

Just reread his posts in the first page of this thread. He references the rule when someone asks if multiple swift action spells were allowed.


Cat-thulhu wrote:

Well we're using it in a mythic game, wrath of the righteous. Only 2 sessions so no really lengthy test, characters are 12/5 on book 4.

Rounds were far more dynamic, even with all the option available. The inquisitor, monk/paladin, cleric, witch and paladin/ninja all felt the system worked well. The apparent lost action with having to activate smite was more than balanced by the added bonus it grants, they agree the loss of a potential attack (-5 or -10 more likely) was balanced by the added attack and damage. A feature they felt should have been part of the paladin to start with since smite is actually a very good buff to start with. The witch and cleric initially found the lack of mobility a little disconcerting, but settled well into a differenet routine and behaviour. It balanced out spell casting well, the casters found they could still deal out the death, but needed to be very certain of positioning and movement, especially once swift spells hit the table and the caster effectively just sat in one spot, making him much easier to target.

The cleric actually liked the new system because he felt he had more options. The inquisitor was concerned about the swift action issue, but we all agreed after a few combats that taking an action to use judgement and/or bane was actually a fair trade and a balancing effect. I agree with them since I've played inquisitors before, love the class, and have found both features to be a huge buff. So the use of an action on a class feature designed to equalise the classes effectiveness was no biggy. In reality the inquisitors rounds could be condensed to activate bane>move>attack, same as before, or bane>attack twice if enemy came to him, pretty much same as before. If there was a ranger, barbarian or fighter present would he feel ripped off by the 1 less action? He said no, they should be better at attacking and now they are...a little bit.

The ability to use three swift actions was fantastic for encouraging different strategies and the players...

Good writeup and very much mirrors my now two sessions of playtest of this system. If you want to have more fun, more mobility (generally) and have more options this system delivers. I do concede that it comes at some cost for highly optimized "DPR" builds, but this does not affect my players (we are playing at 16th level). Having their opponents "limited" by the same action economy system seems to pretty much even everything out. My thoughts... playing the game with a different action economy and expecting it to work the same will lead to disappointment.


With seeing these awesome in game accounts I'll add a few more from my rappan athuk session Sunday. (Bloodrager, UC Rogue, Wilder). Note that I didn't take it easy on them, this was known going into this mod.

The 3 of them took on the top left half of the mouth of doom with little trouble, they were out numbered in most instances but are veteran players so played smart. One thing of note that I did like was the simpler searching rules, it was very nice to have it explicit in what you can get in that act. It made keeping tracking of in game time a breeze for random monsters.

Few things I found that I have to think differently when running enemys. I myself need to get better at running enemys using the system, I did find that fighting defensive is a really powerful as written. Pounce natural attackers seem to work just fine, though I did find that slow lumbering mobs like gelatinous cubes just don't work good at all. It was nothing more than a speed bump even with its huge health pool relative to low levels, it's slow speed crippled it as a challenge.


Puna'chong wrote:

I'll be able to post my homebrew changes soon here. I'll provide a link when it's ready, and I'll post it on the Homebrew forums. As written, the system doesn't do everything all the time, and it doesn't do it 100% effectively. That's a product of a shift of systems, but for the most part everything fits in really smoothly once you look at it.

At least, that's what I've been finding.

I'm looking forward to the writeup, I could see a few minor problems with the system so far so I would like to see how other people who've already had a few tests with it work with it before I put it to work in a campaign.


Calth wrote:
Edit: He confirmed that the design team was aware of the rule listed when designing these rules and that the quickened limit applies. He did not specifically state that the 1 spell per round rule applies, but there is no reason it shouldn't.

You mean this one?

Mark Seifter wrote:

I could swear there was a "limit 1 quickened spell per round" clause in there, but I'm certainly not seeing it in there now when I look. Regardless, I would personally recommend it.

EDIT: It's in the mage chapter of the CRB!


Create Mr. Pitt wrote:

Just a crazy thought, but would be possible to use this modularly based on class. Either certain classes are assigned either the new paradigm or the old; or they have the choice.

I don't think this causes too much chaos so long as one is locked in and it allow the player to choose his/her approach based on their build and interest.

I would probably do something like this. Pre-ACG classes would work reasonably well for the most part with the new system as there as been ample time for most people to shake them out and figure out how to adjust them without too much difficulty. The one exception I could think of would be the magus, and I would still probably run that under the new system as it's the only one that would likely require a massive amount of on the spot rulings, so it would be a good test case while still keeping the work load manageable. The ACG classes I would run with the old for two reasons; 1)they are still new enough that most people aren't yet fully comfortable enough with them to start making major changes to them, and 2)they very much seem to incorporate a different way of trying to resolve many of the same basic issues, especially with their reliance on swift actions, so I would want to let both possible solutions play out to see which one is the more effective in the long run and/or how to most effectively combine the two approaches into a single hybrid. While I don't personally like the heavy reliace on swift actions, I can understand why a lot of people reacted rather harshly to the idea of them just disappearing entirely in the blink of an eye. By letting some classes use the new and some use the old, it might give a better idea of if they are truly necessary, and if so, how and when they should be used to get maximum effectiveness and minimal hassle.


sunshadow21 wrote:
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:

Just a crazy thought, but would be possible to use this modularly based on class. Either certain classes are assigned either the new paradigm or the old; or they have the choice.

I don't think this causes too much chaos so long as one is locked in and it allow the player to choose his/her approach based on their build and interest.

I would probably do something like this. Pre-ACG classes would work reasonably well for the most part with the new system as there as been ample time for most people to shake them out and figure out how to adjust them without too much difficulty. The one exception I could think of would be the magus, and I would still probably run that under the new system as it's the only one that would likely require a massive amount of on the spot rulings, so it would be a good test case while still keeping the work load manageable. The ACG classes I would run with the old for two reasons; 1)they are still new enough that most people aren't yet fully comfortable enough with them to start making major changes to them, and 2)they very much seem to incorporate a different way of trying to resolve many of the same basic issues, especially with their reliance on swift actions, so I would want to let both possible solutions play out to see which one is the more effective in the long run and/or how to most effectively combine the two approaches into a single hybrid. While I don't personally like the heavy reliace on swift actions, I can understand why a lot of people reacted rather harshly to the idea of them just disappearing entirely in the blink of an eye. By letting some classes use the new and some use the old, it might give a better idea of if they are truly necessary, and if so, how and when they should be used to get maximum effectiveness and minimal hassle.

They'll be left behind really quickly, being as tied to full attacks as they are will meansthey'll be constantly under performing as the others will be running circles around them.


Dekalinder wrote:
Calth wrote:
Edit: He confirmed that the design team was aware of the rule listed when designing these rules and that the quickened limit applies. He did not specifically state that the 1 spell per round rule applies, but there is no reason it shouldn't.

You mean this one?

Mark Seifter wrote:

I could swear there was a "limit 1 quickened spell per round" clause in there, but I'm certainly not seeing it in there now when I look. Regardless, I would personally recommend it.

EDIT: It's in the mage chapter of the CRB!

And a later post, after someone linked the same rule I did, where he confirmed that is the rule he was referring to in the post you linked. If a rule says you only get 1 X and 1 Y, and a designer confirms that yes you only get 1 X due to the rule, I feel fairly confidant you only get 1 Y as well.


That slightly depends on the class. Spellcasters didn't seem to improve (and in many cases were slightly nerfed) so they'll probably be just as happy in the old system. Many martials and especially melee classes will be much happier in the new system, even those that rely on swift actions.

The arcanist is probably happy using the old system where he can cast a spell, use a move action to draw a wand, cast a quickened spell, take an immediate action and take a 5-foot step all in the same round. The one exception is a summoner arcanist, since summons can be finished in the same round they're started now. Conversely a TWF slayer using the old system in a party using the new system will be playing with a massive handicap.

The new system is barebones, but (in my opinion) the potential is much higher than the old one. The groundwork for something exceptional is there, it just needs to be finished.


Kudaku wrote:
The new system is barebones, but (in my opinion) the potential is much higher than the old one. The groundwork for something exceptional is there, it just needs to be finished.

That's pretty much my take on it as well. As it stands presented in the book, I wouldn't call it any better than the current system. It makes somethings better (mobility for non-pounce martials and somewhat of a caster nerf) but breaks others (anyone dependent on every round swift actions, natural attacks, and magi).

Yes you can houserule some of the broken things in the new system, but you can also do that with the current one as well. Make quickened spells cost a move action, and let characters make all their iteratives-1, min 1, as a standard action mini full-attack and you've made the primary changes that people seem to like.

The system is a nice concept, but its impossible to make a radical shift in one of the design paradigms of a game without a massive amount of case by case evaluation and alterations, at which point you pretty much are better of doing a complete reboot.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I had one of my player's vote against trying the new system because he was a caster and felt he would be too vulnerable under the new system. not really sure on the merits of his argument given charge is a thing, but oh well.


Casters more vulnerable? NOT ON MY WATCH!!

In all seriousness though, I'm really looking forward to giving this new action economy system a try.


Bandw2 wrote:
I had one of my player's vote against trying the new system because he was a caster and felt he would be too vulnerable under the new system. not really sure on the merits of his argument given charge is a thing, but oh well.

oh nooooo


Bandw2 wrote:
I had one of my player's vote against trying the new system because he was a caster and felt he would be too vulnerable under the new system. not really sure on the merits of his argument given charge is a thing, but oh well.

Hm... Let's do some math. Let's say you have a level 3 human barbarian with 18 strength, a +1 greatsword, weapon focus, who is currently benefiting from a Bless spell. He's fighting a level 3 wizard. He rages, takes a simple action to move next to the caster, and spends his next two actions attacking.

His to hit is D20 +3 (BAB) +6 (strength) +1 (greatsword) +1 (weapon focus) +1 (bless) for a total of D20+12. His second attack carries a -5 penalty, and has an attack bonus of +7. His damage is 2D6+9 for an average of 16 damage per swing.

The wizard has 23 HP (6 at level 1, 8 from level 2&3, 6 from 14 con and 3 from favored points) and an AC of ~16 (mage armor, +2 dex).

It doesn't take a tremendous amount of luck for the barbarian to score two hits (he needs a 4 on the first attack and a 9 on the second), and if the barbarian rolls average damage the wizard is down for the count. In the old system the barbarian would only get one attack, meaning he'd need to score a critical hit to punch out the wizard in one round. Though the wizard would still be in trouble since he's standing next to a raging barbarian...

While I urge you to playtest the system anyway, I do think your player has a bit of a point. This system makes low level combat more swingy and lethal, especially for characters that tend to have low AC.


I'm about halfway done with my Comprehensive Ruleset (TM). I decided to go through every official Paizo archetype on the SRD, so that everything's covered from a class perspective. The classes with lots of talents and archetypes are the ones that are a bit of a slog. I can make my own spot rulings pretty easily if they just came up in a game, but if I want this to work for a forum I have to sift through a bit more.

I'll only go through a few of the more common feats, though, because there are way too many of those for me to do a full lowdown.

Honestly, because I am going through every class ability, I've noticed that, no, this wouldn't be more effective as a reboot. Most DMs won't handle more than 4-6 classes at a time, usually for long periods of time. This isn't for PFS, so there's no worry about random players showing up and requiring time going down the list of everything. Once you spend five minutes at level-up or character creation looking at what something does, it's easy enough to update it.


You da man Puna!


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Kudaku wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
I had one of my player's vote against trying the new system because he was a caster and felt he would be too vulnerable under the new system. not really sure on the merits of his argument given charge is a thing, but oh well.

Hm... Let's do some math. Let's say you have a level 3 human barbarian with 18 strength, a +1 greatsword, weapon focus, who is currently benefiting from a Bless spell. He's fighting a level 3 wizard. He rages, takes a simple action to move next to the caster, and spends his next two actions attacking.

His to hit is D20 +3 (BAB) +6 (strength) +1 (greatsword) +1 (weapon focus) +1 (bless) for a total of D20+12. His second attack carries a -5 penalty, and has an attack bonus of +7. His damage is 2D6+9 for an average of 16 damage per swing.

The wizard has 23 HP (6 at level 1, 8 from level 2&3, 6 from 14 con and 3 from favored points) and an AC of ~16 (mage armor, +2 dex).

It doesn't take a tremendous amount of luck for the barbarian to score two hits (he needs a 4 on the first attack and a 9 on the second), and if the barbarian rolls average damage the wizard is down for the count. In the old system the barbarian would only get one attack, meaning he'd need to score a critical hit to punch out the wizard in one round. Though the wizard would still be in trouble since he's standing next to a raging barbarian...

While I urge you to playtest the system anyway, I do think your player has a bit of a point. This system makes low level combat more swingy and lethal, especially for characters that tend to have low AC.

the wizard would be level 7, btw


Maybe I should have specified, in my example the player was running the wizard and the hostile barbarian was a CR 3 encounter.

Oh, just realized what you meant. I should really stop posting this late.

Hm... Okay, if he's level 7 then I have a bit less understanding for his position. A 7th level caster has a host of abilities to neuter anything that wants to get up close and personal.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

yeah, it's why i felt like posting it here, i found it funny and discouraging.


Kudaku wrote:

Maybe I should have specified, in my example the player was running the wizard and the hostile barbarian was a CR 3 encounter.

Oh, just realized what you meant. I should really stop posting this late.

Hm... Okay, if he's level 7 then I have a bit less understanding for his position. A 7th level caster has a host of abilities to neuter anything that wants to get up close and personal.

7th level caster is one step away from just winning the game, always, in some campaigns.

Bandw2, have you told your wizard player that with an easy investment of mirror image and blur, he/she can pretty much absorb the next four attacks while they summon 1d4+1 apes to rend things, fly, and turn invisible? Or have they overlooked these as defensive options? Silly goober.


Have some more data from last night's session. I can post it if anyone is interested.

I have to say: fighter archetypes have been a pain to houserule for this, since the point of many fighter archetypes is to essentially replicate what this system just gives them by default. In some ways this invalidates a lot of them (and archetypes or abilities like them), so I've tried to make houserules that preserve the intent of the ability and still provide some edge over the new AE. It feels like they could've made a much, much more interesting fighter class if this was the action economy that the designers used from the get-go in the CRB. I imagine Monk and Rogue would've also been different, Monk especially.


Puna'chong wrote:

Have some more data from last night's session. I can post it if anyone is interested.

I have to say: fighter archetypes have been a pain to houserule for this, since the point of many fighter archetypes is to essentially replicate what this system just gives them by default. In some ways this invalidates a lot of them (and archetypes or abilities like them), so I've tried to make houserules that preserve the intent of the ability and still provide some edge over the new AE. It feels like they could've made a much, much more interesting fighter class if this was the action economy that the designers used from the get-go in the CRB. I imagine Monk and Rogue would've also been different, Monk especially.

Yes please. I think I've convinced my wilder to play at least one more session but I feel that she's just going to not like it on principal now. So I'll post more play data as well including 2 more people playing (Life Oracle & Bow Marksman).

Edit: Could you also recount your DM strategies with the type of enemy as well.

Edit: I also agree that under this system the design space is much less restricted and way more interesting.


Onyxlion wrote:
Puna'chong wrote:

Have some more data from last night's session. I can post it if anyone is interested.

I have to say: fighter archetypes have been a pain to houserule for this, since the point of many fighter archetypes is to essentially replicate what this system just gives them by default. In some ways this invalidates a lot of them (and archetypes or abilities like them), so I've tried to make houserules that preserve the intent of the ability and still provide some edge over the new AE. It feels like they could've made a much, much more interesting fighter class if this was the action economy that the designers used from the get-go in the CRB. I imagine Monk and Rogue would've also been different, Monk especially.

Yes please. I think I've convinced my wilder to play at least one more session but I feel that she's just going to not like it on principal now. So I'll post more play data as well including 2 more people playing (Life Oracle & Bow Marksman).

Edit: Could you also recount your DM strategies with the type of enemy as well.

Edit: I also agree that under this system the design space is much less restricted and way more interesting.

Not a whole lot of combat this time. They're in the Reign of Winter AP, so I won't spoil anything. Suffice to say, they fought some flying creatures and a number of relatively tough armored hulk barbarian types in a confined space.

Bloodrager uses natural attacks, as he's Abyssal, and benefits greatly from reach and a lot of natural attacks. His actions in combat have pretty much turned into nuking one enemy at a time; he's pretty tough, and though he does a lot of damage per hit he rarely splits them up. He's more interested in taking things out than just damaging them, and he's pretty good at it. Paladin is pretty much unbreakable, and he gets off enough smiting attacks that he's a consistent source of damage along with some great Reaction spells that help keep squishier party members alive (paladin's sacrifice is sweet).

These two are very efficient at "doing combat," and I've begun to notice that their ability to get in the thick of combat and make a meaningful contribution in the first round has been a huge boost to the players' morale. As a DM, too, it makes it much easier to justify attacking the big dudes, because they can pretty much be anywhere on the battlefield in an action or two and get off big hits. For the monsters, prioritizing casters is more of a choice now, since a big thing with claws or a greatsword is constantly in your face.

The menhir savant druid has been enjoying being a blaster, so his rounds have mostly consisted of the usual caster move > cast. Being able to wild shape and then move or attack, too, has been really beneficial for him, since it gives him a quick escape route that sets him apart from other casters or an attack action as a big animal in the same round. It's given the class a base amount of flexibility that I really like seeing, since druid spells are good but not as earth-shattering as the wizard list.

I updated the Skald's raging power to reflect the changes to the Unchained Barbarian, since it's simpler and actually helps the party more than it did as a strength bonus. The character's built around supporting the class with Reaction spells, so most of his turns are spent either debuffing, flanking, or helping out with scrolls/wands/etc. The Investigator usually drinks haste potions and tries to get off as many attacks as possible to get crits and pass them off with Butterfly's Sting. The character does pretty well with Studied Combat, and doesn't mind using the action to activate it (though it's almost always in the first round of combat or in a round where she's drinking a potion), but for the most part it's a character built around winning non-combat situations and passing out potion buffs.

Finally, the shaman's turns have been pretty much the same, though now with the new AE he's noticed that enlarging himself and swinging with a dwarven longhammer is much easier. He also has more ability to take the fight to his enemies instead of making them enter into his reach, though the character mostly acts as a buffer to keep everything locked down tight on the battlefield and squelch problems as they arise.

Overall, they're operating much the same, but most of the characters are just more efficient. We didn't have a lot of combat to test with, but 5-foot steps played a big role for enemies to keep all of the party's reach from basically giving everyone in the party an extra attack. However, reach has a new role, I've noticed: instead of necessarily gumming up the battlefield or being free damage, it tends to work to deny enemies multiple attack actions by forcing one or more 5-foot steps to get into melee range. Archer creatures, too, basically operate the same way. There isn't all that much difference. Flying creatures are also pretty rough now, since I've had to change a bit of how Flyby Attack works (same with Spring Attack) and it's operated more like a flying Pounce.


So I'm Ok with a different balance of classes and abilities in the new system, but I have a concern that multiple attack actions turns low level combat from rocket tag into New and Improved Rocket Tag now with 50% more rockets!

I think I would be more comfortable with something like this:
----------
Attack (1 act. Attack)
Make a single attack or 2 attacks at -2 with 2WF/flurry

Full Attack (2 act, attack)
Make all your attacks

You can take an action with the attack tag no more than once per turn.
---------

Then DPR isn't drastically altered and everyone can still do all the actions they normally do, but with new options for more swift actions and more mobility.


Nah. Works fine at lower levels. A -10 on a third attack is usually hard to land between levels 1-4. Unless you're seriously optimizing.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Puna'chong wrote:
Kudaku wrote:

Maybe I should have specified, in my example the player was running the wizard and the hostile barbarian was a CR 3 encounter.

Oh, just realized what you meant. I should really stop posting this late.

Hm... Okay, if he's level 7 then I have a bit less understanding for his position. A 7th level caster has a host of abilities to neuter anything that wants to get up close and personal.

7th level caster is one step away from just winning the game, always, in some campaigns.

Bandw2, have you told your wizard player that with an easy investment of mirror image and blur, he/she can pretty much absorb the next four attacks while they summon 1d4+1 apes to rend things, fly, and turn invisible? Or have they overlooked these as defensive options? Silly goober.

oh yeah, i have, but he still voted not because he'd be less safe. :/


So the Core classes (Unchained versions of Barb, Monk, and Rogue) are all done. I'm about halfway through the Base classes, and the hybrids and alternate classes will take me a minute. Especially the Hybrids.

Did you guys want me to post it here? I can do it piecemeal here and post a big comprehensive one over on Homebrew with everything in it.


sounds good to me. it'd also get some fresh eyes on it for people to suggest stuff.


Puna'chong wrote:

So the Core classes (Unchained versions of Barb, Monk, and Rogue) are all done. I'm about halfway through the Base classes, and the hybrids and alternate classes will take me a minute. Especially the Hybrids.

Did you guys want me to post it here? I can do it piecemeal here and post a big comprehensive one over on Homebrew with everything in it.

Sounds good

You have done an awesome job of trialing this system, fair and critical in its strengths and weaknesses thanks :)


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We've been using this in our games and it's fantastic. To be frank some of the posters here have really dragged this thread down, it's an optional system, seriously get over it. It's clearly a homebrew framework and can't just be dropped into a game as is. It takes a little squeezing depending on the classes you have in your games and that's just what it's meant to be.

We've been using it with mythic rules as well as wounds/vigor rules and we're having a blast, it's bread new life back into our games again.


30 people marked this as a favorite.

Puna’Chong’s Revised Action Economy Houserules: Core Classes & General

Below I’ve compiled my houserules aimed at incorporating classes, feats, and other abilities into the new Action Economy system. It is not comprehensive, and I can’t cover everything, but I have made an attempt to cover as many archetypes as possible, though only those released in the core line (CRB, APG, UC, UM, URG, ACG) are really focused on. The goal for me here is to have my own list saved so that corner cases can be written down and covered so that my own players can be better informed about how choices might affect play.

Going through everything, the intent was to bring abilities and feats in line as closely as possible with how I think they are intended to be used. In some cases, I had to make a judgment call for the sake of balance, though in the case of classes I made a serious effort to ensure that each class is able to operate effectively even if a cornerstone ability may not be as efficient as it was before. Because this is my own interpretation, some things might be slightly off from what you or your group might rule; that’s ok. It’s almost always an easy fix to increase or decrease the action cost of an ability to make it work how you want it to.

In some cases, as well, I’ve looked at abilities that simply don’t work in the new system because their purpose was solely to work within the old framework. These have either been removed or changed into a form I think is more applicable to the changes that come with the new AE. Additionally, it must be noted that while some classes, abilities, feats, or tactics saw little play in the old system, so too are some things that saw a lot of play there potentially not as attractive here. Again, I think that this is fine, since an optional action economy simply means that it is a new meta. If you are a player going into a game where a DM is running this over the old system, ensure that you aren’t trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and instead of force an old build to work here, try to work within the system to make it work for you.

Overall, it is my estimation that almost all classes have been buffed to some degree by this AE, if not in raw power, then in versatility or more options. Casters may feel “nerfed,” but from my experience that’s because they still do about the same things here as they did before; other classes have simply—in my opinion—been brought up to par. To ameliorate this, I have removed the X/day limit on certain 1st-level Domain/School/Bloodline abilities which typically don’t scale as well as spells, or are often a less powerful choice in a round than casting a spell. Martial characters get to do more, and I believe that casters should also have fun. Many of these abilities do act as “basic attacks,” and this helps low level spellcasters who typically fall behind martials in the early stages anyways, even without the revised AE.

In general, most classes give and take, but movement, attacking, and other actions are more fluid now than they were in the old system, and thus lend themselves more to creative or interesting tactics or strategies in combat.

If you have any questions let me know in the thread or send me a PM.

Terms:


  • Action Economy, or “AE”: Essentially, the most valuable resource in Pathfinder combat is time. The more efficient a class or character is in combat, the more it is able to do and achieve in the same number of actions as anyone else. If a wizard alone can only move and cast one spell in combat, a wizard with summoned creatures that--taken all together--gets 4 claw attacks, three moves, and a spell is automatically more efficient and capable of more. The Action Economy can make certain encounters very difficult (such as those where characters are slowed or must spend actions breaking out of grapples, rough terrain, or even spending time holding back a spiked wall) or very easy (such as a large, single monster against six PCs). How a player divvies up their character’s actions in a turn is important to how combat unfolds, and these choices can potentially be the difference between life and death. Because characters have the same number of actions each turn, they essentially must “buy” effectiveness; the less cost for the same effectiveness, the better the character’s action economy.

  • Buff: These abilities typically take 1 action if they are a class ability, 2 if they are a spell, and/or become Free actions after a class has reached a certain level. These are typically the cornerstone of “Buffer” classes that allow them to excel in combat.

  • Buffer: A class that either is not full-BAB or is and relies on some sort of buffing class ability to compete with other Striker classes. The action economy of these classes is usually slightly less efficient than a Striker, but more efficient than a Caster. The slight inefficiency is balanced by versatility either in or out of combat, and these characters typically bring more to the table than just attacks or spells.

  • Caster: A class that is either ½ BAB or ¾ BAB that is characterized primarily by its focus as a full caster. These classes are generally inefficient by default within the action economy, but with multiple rounds of setup, adequate time to prepare, or the correct spell, they can dramatically shift the action economy for themselves and/or others. Their efficiency fluctuates, and is mostly a product of spell or build choices.
    Their varied efficiency in combat is balanced by their raw power and ability to potentially remove or seriously hamper the efficiency of other class types.

  • Efficiency Progression: Some abilities increase their efficiency as they progress. Often, this is a progression from Standard to Move to Swift. Most of these abilities now begin as 1 action abilities that move to free actions as soon as they hit the level where they receive an Efficiency Progression. In most cases, this buffs the class. Some classes, like Investigator, need to take a Talent or other class option to trigger their Efficiency Progression. If a class does not have an Efficiency Progression class ability or Talent, the ability retains its normal AE throughout the character’s career.

  • Efficiency Tax: These are holdovers from the older system that typically feel heavy-handed in reducing the flow of a class’ action economy. These are usually abilities that were made into Standard actions because they couldn’t be a Move or Swift action, though are not the equivalent of an attack or spell and thus a “tax” on a character’s turn or a useless ability.

  • Rider Bonus: These are bonuses that “ride” on another action, usually an attack or move action. These are not activated individually by an action, but instead require another prerequisite action to be performed before they can come online.

  • Striker: A class that is full-BAB or ¾ BAB and relies on the action economy itself and inherent or free bonuses on top of the maximum number of attack actions for strength. These classes are more efficient in combat by default than most Buffers or Casters, and their abilities are typically static or Rider bonuses to facilitate the most attack actions in a round. Their efficiency in combat is balanced by their inefficiency out of combat or restricted versatile options in combat.

    Then There’s This Thing

  • Iteratives: Because the system has essentially done away with iterative attacks, I’ll address those here. The system gives what amounts to three iterative attacks to all classes starting at level 1. This is a good thing, and what makes the system actually work. At lower levels (1-4) the -5 can be a nuisance, but the -10 typically means that luck has to be involved to land a hit. Having played with it for about 20 hours at the time of writing, this is balanced. Please slaughter your sacred “Iterative-Attacks-Come-at-Later-Levels” cow. This works. If you believe combat would be too deadly with this, go ahead and give monsters and players maximum HP. I already do this, and I haven’t noticed the fights taking demonstrably longer or shorter in either of my test games.

    I will refer to subsequent attacks taken in a round that take penalties as “iteratives” in my document.

    [Note: If you want to add in more iteratives, feel free to do so. I think they’re unnecessary, but they serve to make martials more powerful if they have bonus attacks. I would rule this as such: at level 16, a full-BAB class always gets an extra action that must be used to make an attack at BAB +1.]


Systemwide Revisions:

  • Withdraw: Added as a 3 action ability. A select few class abilities rely on taking advantage of the action, and it is beneficial for characters that just need to disengage from the much more mobile melee characters. However: it is a 3 action ability that only allows double movement. This means that casters cannot “kite” martial characters, as they will still have two move actions and an attack under the new AE with which to chase down the character.

  • Diabled: A Disabled creature now can take two actions per turn, but cannot move more than half its total speed in a round. If it takes any action besides a move action, it takes 1 point of damage after completion of the act.

  • Staggered: A Staggered creature may take a single action each round, but any number of Free actions. [Note: This is a buff to the staggered condition, and it is now valued higher than before with the removal of Swift actions]

  • Maneuvers: Bull Rush, Disarm, Feint, Overrun, Sunder, and Trip are now a single action. These are now more powerful than before because of this.

  • Charge: CHARGE NO LONGER GIVES AN ATTACK AT THE END OF THE ACTION. It is a full round to charge something and attack it, RAW; personally, I think this is a typo or at least an odd choice on the part of the designer. I would change this to give an attack at the end, but I will operate with this RAW for my adjustments. This is now the only way to draw a weapon as part of a move, if the character charging has a BAB of +1 or higher. It no longer gives a -2 penalty to AC. This is now relegated to times when a character either needs the +2 to hit or must move close to twice their speed in order to engage an enemy.

  • Aid Another: Added as a 1 action ability. Now gives a Circumstance bonus instead of an untyped bonus to prevent abuse and to compensate for the vastly improved economy of the ability. No longer benefits from Efficiency Progression abilities, as such.

Core Classes
[Note: I will be using the Unchained versions of Barbarian, Monk, Rogue, and Summoner, since those will be the new normal for my table; for the most part, changes here should be readily applicable to the old classes]

Barbarian:

The barbarian very much enjoys the new AE, just like most every other full-BAB martial class. The Unchained Barbarian is a bit more streamlined than the Core Barbarian, and doubling that with the new AE should lead to a class that’s pretty straightforward and strong at all levels of the game. It’s a prime example of a Striker class that can use actions to further accentuate its already impressive—and efficient--output


  • All Stances: 1 action to activate
  • Auspicious Mark: Reaction
  • Energy Absorption: 1 action
  • Ground Breaker: 2 actions
  • Hurling, Lesser: 2 actions (one category smaller); 1 action (two categories smaller)
  • Hurling Charge: [No change, just a note on how this now lets barbarians make a “full” attack with a charge]
  • Intimidating Glare: 1 action
  • Knockback: 1 action
  • Knockdown Stance: 1 action (trip)
  • Mighty Swing: Reaction
  • No Escape: Reaction
  • Overbearing Onslaught: [Note: Overrun is 1 action now, so the mechanics of this change. I’m ruling that the barbarian can overrun more than one target per Overrun action, but with a cumulative -5 (matching “iteratives”) for each beyond the first on a single action]
  • Renewed Vigor: 1 action
  • Terrifying Howl: 2 actions

    Archetypes

    Burn Rider

  • Cinder Dance: Reaction
    Drunken Brute
  • Raging Drunk: 1 action [this is actually pretty solid now]
    Mad Dog
  • Ferocious Fetch: Free action
    Titan Mauler
  • Evade Reach: Free action once per turn
    Wild Rager
  • Wild Fighting: Treat as Flurry of Blows

Bard:

As written, the bard gets a slight boost to action economy for performances. Some individual performances I had to go into and fiddle with the necessary actions to keep them relatively balanced around where I think they should be. On the whole, though, bards utilize the AE in much the same way as any other Buffer class, but their buffs are less direct than, say, an Inquisitor or a Magus.

  • Bardic Performance: 1 action > free action (7th) [unnecessary efficiency tax, more in-line with other “buff classes”]
  • Suggestion Performance: 2 actions

    Archetypes

    Animal Speaker

  • Attract Rats: 2 actions [otherwise efficiency increase to performance makes this option very strong; it replaces suggestion, so the economy between these abilities is a 1:1 swap]
    Archaeologist
  • Archaeologist’s Luck: Free action
    Archivist
  • Lamentable Belaborment: 2 actions
    Buccaneer
  • Knock Out: Free action
    Demagogue
  • Incite Violence: 2 actions
    Dervish Dancer
  • Battle Dance: 1 action > free action (10th)
  • Leaf on the Wind: 2 actions
  • Dance of Fury: 3 actions
  • Battle Fury: 3 actions
    Dervish of Dawn
  • Battle Dance: 1 action > free action (10th)
  • Meditative Whirl: Free action
    Diva
  • Devastating Aria: 1 action
  • Scathing Tirade: 1 action
    Lotus Geisha
  • Enrapturing Performance: 1 action > free action (7th)
    Magician
  • Spell Suppression: Reaction
  • Extended Performance: Free action, once per turn
    Sandman
  • Spellsteal: 2 actions
  • Spell Catching: Reaction
    Savage Skald
  • Inspiring Blow: Free action
  • Incite Rage: 2 actions
    Sea Singer
    - Whistle the Wind: 2 actions
    Sound Striker
  • Wordstrike: 1 action
  • Weird Words: 2 actions
    Street Performer
  • Madcap Prank: 1 action
  • Gladhanding: 2 actions
    Thundercaller
  • Thunder Call: 2 actions
  • Incite Rage: 2 actions
  • Call Lightning: 2 actions
  • Call Lightning Storm: 2 actions
    Voice of the Wild
  • Song of the Wild: 1 action

Cleric:

    The cleric remains about the same in the new AE, but as with other full spellcasters it feels “nerfed” because it doesn’t gain much by default through the new AE; it stays mostly where it’s at. This is ok, because full casters are very strong, but it’s most noticeable at lower levels. Additionally, clerics can act as Buffer classes with their spells and reap the benefits other martials do, making that option more attractive than before, but less efficient than a true Buffer class.

    Here I’ll address my general fixes for level 1 Domain/Bloodline/School abilities to ensure that these classes still feel like they’re able to contribute every round, instead of only when they’re casting a spell.

  • Channel Energy: 2 actions [Note: any improvements to the AE of this ability should never reduce it below 1 action, or free only if it is on a 1/turn ability or “rides” another action]
  • Domains: [Note 1: Instead of going through every single individual domain ability, I will instead go through a couple that serve as examples for my changes. Others that act similarly should have the same AE, unless you feel the need to adjust on a case-by-base basis: there are simply too many domains and subdomains for it to be worth my time to hit all of them]

    Domains/Bloodlines/Schools are a time-sink: if you have individual questions about one, let me know or use your best judgment. I will refer readers back to this section for Bloodlines and Schools instead of make them their own section.

    Ex. 1:
    Air Domain

  • Lightning Arc: 1 action
    [Note: This ability, and others like it, are essentially an attack. With the AE greatly improved for martials, these help casters out at lower levels and allow them to participate more in early combats, as well as take advantage of three actions. Personally, I don’t think these need a X/day limit, as they scale poorly and are, typically, [u]less potent[/u] than a spell or even a barbarian’s greatsword swing. I believe they work fine as X/day abilities, however; this I’ll leave up to you. The Rune Domain’s blast rune would fall under the same category as this.]

    Ex. 2:
    Chaos Domain

  • Touch of Chaos: 2 actions
    [Note: This ability, and others like it, replicate effects that are particularly potent. This one is similar to a witch’s hex, and so it receives the same economy as a hex: 2 actions. If it were 1 action, this plus a spell at higher levels could become essentially an auto-win with a spell like slay living. 2 actions also means that the cleric in the midst of enemies could not simply debuff all of them. That said, because I’m ruling it as 2 actions, I also will be removing the X/day on this and abilities like it that hamper an opponent’s AE (two rolls, taking the unfavorable, is often the same as taking away an attack, especially as “iteratives” come into play). Charm Domain’s dazing touch would fall under the same category as this.]

    Ex. 3:
    Destruction Domain

  • Destructive Smite: “Rider” action
    [Note: This ability, and others like it, are Riders on other actions. In this case, the destructive smite amplifies the effectiveness of an attack and is part of the attack action. However, because it is a Rider, this effect retains its 3 + WIS/day limitation to keep it from just being a straight damage bonus on melee attacks, something that only a Striker class really should be benefiting from at level 1. Other abilities that act like this should get the same treatment. Ferocity Domain’s ferocious strike would fall under the same category as this.]

    Ex. 4:
    Death Domain

  • Bleeding Touch: 2 actions
    [Note: This ability, and others like it, is a corner case. Although it deals damage and should fall under the same category as lightning arc, the fact that it stacks with itself (it isn’t explicitly called a bleed effect) and is a touch attack means that being hit three times in one round could be very strong, and potentially “DoT” a creature down very quickly at lower levels. In order to keep the ability as close to its intended purpose, 2 actions suffices to maintain it as a “standard” action. Again, however, this one has its X/day limit removed, so the lack of an increase in AE is made up for by my own houserule to allow the 1st-level Death cleric to “do its thing” in relation to other characters. The Judgment Domain’s chastisement ability is similar to this: it allows a spell cast, and so should be the same economy as a spell.]

    Higher level abilities will need individual rulings. In general, if it is a standard action and as powerful as a spell effect, it’s 2 actions. If it is a standard action and less powerful than a spell effect, or it operates like an attack, 1 action should usually work, following the broad guidelines I posted above. If it is a move or swift action, 1 action should suffice, unless it is meant to not interfere with a turn’s actions. In that case, it should be a free action. Since higher level abilities are generally limited in uses per day, retain this; they’re more powerful, and by level 8 or so casters are much less reliant on their Domain/Bloodline/School abilities to be effective.

    Archetypes

    Cloistered Cleric

  • Verbal Instruction: 1 action [Note: Aid Another is now 1 action, but the bonus is typed as Circumstance]
    Crusader
  • Legion’s Blessing: 3 actions
    Divine Strategist
  • Tactical Expertise: Free action
    Roaming Exorcist
  • Dispossession: 1 action
    Scroll Scholar
  • Flash of Insight: Reaction

Druid:

    The druid interacts a bit like the cleric does with the new AE. With an updated domain, it can have something to do every turn, and with an animal companion it can act as a serious increase to the party’s economy. Not much changes, although going into Wild Shape next to an enemy now allows the druid to attack the same turn. Alongside clerics, too, druids can benefit from the new AE by buffing or turning into bigger animals and acting like a slightly less efficient Buffer class, unless buffs are applied outside of combat, in which case they essentially sacrifice spell slots to move closer and closer to a Striker class.

  • Wild Shape: 2 actions

    Archetypes

    Feral Shifter

  • Animal Focus: Free action
    Menhir Savant
  • Place Magic: Free action
  • Empty Body: 2 actions
    Nature Fang
  • Swift Studied Target: Free action
    Pack Lord
  • Improved Empathic Link: Free action
    Survivor
  • Launch Trap: 3 actions [Making the trap is a 3 action ability, and this is a Rider on it]

Fighter:

    The fighter benefits just like any other Striker class does from the new AE. Almost all of its archetypes have had to be adjusted, though, because many of them were poor patches attempting to replicate what the fighter gets now by default, at level 1. I have tried to go through and revise all of them so that they’re useful and allow the fighter to do something it normally wouldn’t in the new AE. In a lot of cases, though, whole archetypes are now obsolete because fighters are much, much, much more efficient now with no investment.

    See: Feats.

    Archetypes

    Archer

  • Volley: 3 actions
  • Ranged Defense: Reaction [Woooooooow this ability is weak!]
    Buckler Duelist
  • Strong Swing: As Two-Weapon Fighting (without penalty to attack rolls), but the second attack must be made with the buckler duelist’s shield
  • Chopping Blow: 1 action, Sunder becomes a Rider on any of the buckler duelist’s falcata attacks if he desires
    Cad
  • Deadly Surprise: Reaction, Rider on the attack
  • Razor-Sharp Chair Leg: Free action
  • Sweeping Prank: 1 action to use Dirty Trick against two adjacent opponents (13th) > 2 actions to use Dirty Trick against 2 + DEX mod adjacent enemies
  • Treacherous Blow: Dirty Trick becomes a Rider on critical hits
    Crossbowman
  • Quick Sniper: Reaction
  • Meteor Shot: 1 action [Very inappropriate efficiency tax for 17th level.]
    Dervish of Dawn
  • Burst of Speed: [Note: This ability needs to be completely revamped. I would suggest that the dervish gets an attack at the end of their charge, and at 7th level they get an additional +2 to hit]
  • Rapid Attack: [Note: This ability needs to be completely revamped. I think giving one attack as part of a move action once per turn is appropriate.]
  • Lightning Strike: Treat as Flurry of Blows, remove -2 penalty to hit
    Dragoon
  • Piercing Lance: Acts as Two-Weapon Fighting, except that the second attack made must be against a creature’s mount
    Free Hand Fighter
  • Timely Tip: Rider action on all attack rolls
  • Reversal: Reaction
    Lore Warden
  • Know Thy Enemy: 1 action > Free action (14th: Swift Lore)
  • Hair’s Breadth: Reaction
    Martial Master
  • Martial Flexibility: See Brawler’s Martial Flexibility. Efficiency progression is 5 > 9 > 14 > 17 > 20 instead of Brawler’s normal progression
    Mobile Fighter
  • Rapid Attack: [Note: This ability needs to be completely revamped. I think giving one attack as part of a move action once per turn is appropriate.]
  • Whirlwind Blitz: As Flurry of Blows. Whirlwind Attack as 1 action.
    Phalanx Soldier
  • Ready Pike: Reaction
  • Shield Ally: 1 action
  • Shielded Fortress: 1 action / Reaction
    Polearm Master:
  • Pole Fighting: Free action, once per round
  • Step Aside: Reaction, doesn’t count against number of Reactions per turn.
  • Polearm Parry: Reaction
    Roughrider
  • Leap from the Saddle: Roughrider can take 3 attack actions after dismounting
  • Ride Them Down: Roughrider can take up to 3 attack actions at any point during his mount’s single move, but no more than his normal maximum actions per turn.
    Savage Warrior
  • Savage Charge: Retains bonuses of ability, but can now make an attack as part of the Charge action
    Shielded Fighter
  • Active Defense: Free action, once per round
  • Shield Fighter: Treat as Flurry of Blows, but extra attack must be made with shield.
  • Shield Guard: Free action, once per round
    Swordlord [Lord of Sword. Hah…]
  • Defensive Parry: Rider on attack actions, bonus typed as Shield
  • Steel Net: Rider on Fighting Defensively action
  • Counterattack: Attack of Opportunity, no longer uses Reaction
    Tactician
  • Battle Insight: Free action
    Tower Shield Specialist
  • Immediate Repositioning: Reaction [And yes he can use it to interrupt an attack. Why the hell no Paizo?!]
    Two-Handed Fighter
  • Overhand Chop: Now always adds double strength bonus on damage rolls for the first attack made each round
  • Backswing: Adds double strength bonus on damage rolls for all attacks made each round
  • Piledriver: Bull Rush or Trip become Riders on attack actions
  • Devastating Blow: 2 actions
    Two-Weapon Warrior
  • Defensive Flurry: Change text to “…when a two-weapon warrior attacks with both weapons in a round…”
  • Twin Blades: Remove, give back Weapon Training 1
  • Doublestrike: Remove, give back Weapon Training 2
  • Deft Doublestrike: Free action, once per round
  • Deadly Defense: Change text to “…when a two-weapon warrior attacks with both weapons in a round…”
    Unarmed Fighter [Just play a Brawler….]
  • Trick Throw: Dirty Trick becomes a Rider on Trip actions
  • Takedown: Trip becomes a Rider on Drag actions, and Grapple actions (15th)
  • Eye Gouge: Free action
  • Sucker Punch: Dirty Trick and Trip become riders on attack actions against creatures denied Dex to AC or Pinned creatures
    Viking
  • Fearsome: [Note: This ability needs to be completely revamped. I would recommend giving Dazzling Display as a bonus feat and adding Strength to Intimidate checks]
    Weapon Master
  • Reliable Strike: Reaction
  • Deadly Critical: Free action
  • Unstoppable Strike: 1 action [He’s 19th level, and a weapon master]

Monk:

    The Unchained Monk, for all of its frustrating shortcomings, loves the revised AE. Arguably, it benefits the most from it, outside of maybe the Rogue. Monks have the potential to be very deadly and hard to deal with. This is a good thing! The monk needs it, even with the update, and the extra attack actions at full-BAB means that the monk is very, very good now at using single-action combat maneuvers and moving around the battlefield. They actually deliver on the promise of a very mobile fighter now, because an extra attack every round (which is what flurry is) means that another action can be easily freed up. I’ve tried hard to balance their efficiency, but I also feel like that should be the monk’s particular schtick here; it’s the most efficient Striker class. This also makes up for the lack of archetype support, the lackluster ki pool size, and the lack of a good Will save.
  • Flurry of Blows: 1 extra attack action with no iterative penalties each round, 2 at 11th [This is the monk’s special thing. It’s the reason you play a monk. This is very good for the class, and actually does a good job of helping bring them up to par.]

  • Ki Pool: Free action to spend ki to make additional attack, once per turn
  • Abundant Step: 1 action
  • Cobra Breath: 2 actions
  • Diamond Mind: Free action
  • Diamond Resilience: Free action
  • Diamond Soul: Free action or Reaction [Note: I gave this a buff. Feel free to take away the Reaction bit, if you think activating spell resistance in response to a spell cast is too much. I like it.]
  • Elemental Fury: Free action
  • Elemental Burst: 3 actions
  • Empty Body 1 action
  • Feather Balance: Free action
  • [Formless Mastery[/i]: Reaction
  • Furious Defense: Reaction
  • High Jump: Free action
  • Insightful Wisdom: Reaction
  • Ki Blocker: Free action
  • Ki Guardian: Reaction
  • Ki Hurricane: 3 actions [Note: This one is odd, since it’s both more efficient and less efficient than the new AE. Essentially what this is doing is combining 2 move actions with 3 attack actions at the cost of 3 ki points; the monk still should have one more attack with flurry, but they can make that as part of this if, like… They wanted.]
  • Ki Metabolism: 1 action
  • Ki Mount: 1 action [Note: lolwut?]
  • Ki Range: Free action
  • Ki Volley: Reaction
  • One Touch: 2 actions
  • Qinggong Power: 2 actions [Note: I really can’t go through every Qinggong power. Use your discretion on these. If it’s a spell, it should probably be 2 actions. If it isn’t, it should be 1 action, or Free if it doesn’t seem like it would be particularly prone to abuse as a free action.]
  • Quivering Palm: 2 actions
  • Slow Fall: Free action
  • Sudden Speed: Free action, once per round
  • Water Sprint Free action
  • Wind Jump: 1 action
  • Wholeness of Body: 1 action [Note: This is unnecessarily taxed. It is worse than Lay on Hands in many ways, so 1 action feels appropriate.]

Paladin:

    Of all the Striker classes, Paladin is probably the biggest mixed bag. Some abilities enjoy the new AE, and others are both benefited and hurt by it. Like any other Striker, though, Paladin enjoys being able to attack multiple times, and the increases in efficiency make it a lot smoother to play, if not necessarily more powerful. Really, paladin’s increase is in fluidity.

  • Smite Evil: Rider action on attack [Note: This means a paladin can smite multiple times in a round now. This only really matters if he’s splitting his attacks across multiple opponents, so it’s a pretty easy change.]
  • Lay on Hands: 2 actions, or Free action (self only, once per round)
  • Channel Positive Energy: As Cleric
  • Divine Bond (Weapon): 1 action [Note: This ability is unfairly taxed. 1 action brings it in line with other abilities like it to make things more standardized.]

    Archetypes

    Combat Healer Squire

  • Swift Healer: 1 action
    Divine Defender
  • Shared Defense: 1 action
  • Divine Bond: 1 action [Note: See above]
    Divine Hunter
  • Hunter’s Blessing: Free action, once per round.
    Empyreal Knight
  • Celestial Heart: Free action
  • Celestial Ally: 3 actions
  • Empyreal Champion: 1 action
    Enlightened Paladin
  • Personal Trial: Free action
    Holy Guide
  • Teamwork Feat: 2 actions [Note: This is less efficient than other abilities like it. Because this ability only replaces a Mercy, it’s a big trade up if it were only one action, and it doesn’t take the paladin’s “thing” (Smite, Divine Bond, etc.) to give it someone else’s “thing” (Cavalier, Tactician archetypes).]
    Holy Gun
  • Smiting Shot: 2 actions
    Holy Tactician
  • Weal’s Champion: Free action
  • Battlefield Presence: 1 action; change feat as Free action, once per round.
  • Guide the Battle: 1 action, once per round

Ranger:

    The ranger’s abilities themselves don’t change really at all with the new AE. Since it’s a fairly static class in terms of bonuses, it benefits similarly to a fighter; it does the same stuff, just better. Much of what makes a ranger interesting is its combat style, so like with a fighter, see feats.

  • Hunter’s Bond (Companions): 1 action [It still sucks though]
  • Quarry: 1 action [Note: This is unfairly taxed. It’s a big boost, but in the old system it isn’t worth a turn. It’s also limited to a favored enemy type and once per day. It’s narrow enough that melting one target should be the class’ prerogative.]
  • Master Hunter: 2 actions

    Archtypes

    Battle Scout

  • Advantageous Terrain: 2 actions
  • Perfect Advantage: 2 actions
    Falconer
  • Swooping Charge: 3 actions [Note: The bird still charges, it just still has to make an attack action after the charge.]
    Guide
  • Ranger’s Focus: Free action [Yeah, or just play a slayer, damn.]
  • Inspired Moment: [Simply gives an extra action. Using it for an extra attack, at level 11, by giving up Quarry of all things, is not overpowered. I really don’t know what they were thinking with this archetype…]
    Shapeshifter
  • Shifter’s Blessing: Free action
    Skirmisher
  • Hunter’s Tricks: [I won’t go through all of these. Most of them are Rider actions, and if they aren’t then they’re a Free action. The exceptions will be up to you: otherwise those are the two actions I’ve assigned these.]
    Trapper
  • Launch Trap: 3 actions [Making the trap is a 3 action ability, and this is a Rider on it.]
    Urban Ranger
  • Invisibility Trick: 1 action
    Wild Hunter
  • Animal Focus: Free action

Rogue:

    Rogues benefit a great deal from the new AE. This is primarily because Two-Weapon Fighting is one of the class’ more ideal weapon setups, and rogues have enough flexibility with their actions now that they can move, feint, and get off two attacks in a turn! This is huge, and has gone a long way towards making rogues more playable. They’re a Buffer class primarily in the sense that they need to set up opponents before they can do full damage; she doesn’t buff herself so much as she debuffs the target. In this regard they’re still less efficient than a class like Investigator, but the AE goes a long way towards making rogues viable, fluid, and most importantly fun! My player who just rolled up an Unchained Rogue for my lower level group (he loves playing rogues, but had to stop because they couldn’t contribute enough) was ecstatic with how much he was able to do, and how deadly he felt.

  • Resiliency: Reaction
  • Stand Up: 1 action without triggering, or Free
  • Master of Disguise: 2 actions

    Archetypes

    Bandit

  • Ambush: During a surprise round, the rogue gets all actions she would normally have [Note: Typically 3 actions, but now more if she’s hasted or a monk…rogue….]
    Cutpurse
  • Stab and Grab: 2 actions to steal an item from the target during surprise round; or Rider on sneak attack damage.
    Makeshift Scrapper
  • Supernature Improvisation: 1 action
    Swindler
  • Let Fate Decide: 1 action [Standard action normally? Really? Jeez. Note: This is now in line with other Buffer abilities.]

Sorcerer:

    Much like a wizard and other Caster classes, the sorcerer doesn’t get a whole lot from the AE. However, unlike a wizard, most of the sorcerer’s school abilities have pretty good combat applications. For the most part, I’ve decided to push the envelope on the sorcerer Bloodline powers a bit for my own games. Their bloodline should feel like it lends a lot of power to the class, so all of their 1st level abilities can be used any number of times per day. It is their blood, after all. However, this won’t change their AE as exampled in the Cleric section: there just won’t be exceptions to the any-number-of-times-per-day rule. This may require further adjudication on a case-by-case basis to ensure that a certain power isn’t too strong because of its own action economy.

    See Cleric for more info on Bloodline abilities

    Archetypes

    Dragon Drinker

  • Blood Drinking: 2 actions [As drinking a potion in combat.]
  • Blood Siphon: Free action
    Mongrel Mage
  • Mongrel Resevoir: 1 action
    Tattooed Sorcerer
  • Create Spell Tattoo: 2 actions

Wizard:

    Wizard, like other full casters, doesn’t necessarily benefit from the AE. This really just means that a wizard or other caster makes up for their action inefficiency (they’re almost always a 2 action cast, 1 other action) with raw power. Certain schools of magic may be more or less powerful now because of this. The usual powerful spells are still powerful, but some that were once decent now might be bad, and some that could be seen as terrible choices might be good. This is a new “meta” for casters, so it’s important to look yourself or encourage your players to look for spells and school abilities that will allow them to operate as effectively as possible in this AE, rather than try to make what worked in the old AE work here every time.

    See Cleric for more info on School abilities

    Archetypes

    Arcane Bomber

  • Spellblast Bombs: Free action, once per turn
    Primalist
  • Primal Magic: 1 action
  • Enhance Primal Magic Event: Free action, once per round
    Scroll Scholar
  • Flash of Insight: Reaction
    Siege Mage
  • Siege Engine Bond: 2 actions
  • Empower Siege Engine: Free action, once per round
    Spellslinger
  • Mage Bullets: 1 action [Note: This brings it in line with other Buffer class abilities.]

Some Notes:

    A lot of things aren’t covered in the Unchained pages. Spot rulings are easy enough, but something comprehensive does indeed require sifting through everything. This means that there are cases where a DM might have to go in and change something on the fly. This is essentially a houserule framework, however, so players have to be alright with that. This is not something that they can play “Law and Order: Golarion” on you. Be firm in your rulings.

    Additionally, allow for time to adjust, and remind players that some things are more efficient or effective now, and other things will either be less efficient or pale in comparison to options that weren’t good before. Be very lenient in retraining if you plug this into an existing campaign, and allow for a little bit of mind-changing if the group is starting a new session with these rules in mind. Don’t be afraid of the boost that martials have gotten; for the most part, this simply adds flexibility, not necessarily power, which is really what martials needed. It might be shocking to see a fighter move and attack twice, but that’s the new paradigm you have to accept for this rule system. That is the foundation of the system.

    A Few Things

  • Natural Attacks: These aren’t covered in the book, which I think is a big oversight. These are my own houserules: a creature can make a single primary natural attack or two secondary natural attacks (meaning both claws, not claw x 2 twice) with 1 action. The sheer number of secondary attacks that can come out of this is balanced by their inherent -5 on top of the normal iterative penalties.

    With 3 actions a creature can make all natural attacks it would normally get using a full-round attack. I debated long and hard whether to have this be 2 actions, but 3 seems right to me mostly because this would make creatures with more than 2 natural attacks (hydras, Marilith) very, very deadly. Also, since actions are essentially divisions of time in a 6-second time frame, this represents the amount of time necessary for all of the attacks to land.

    Most creatures with 2 claws and a bite will simply make those as single actions, and they get a slight boost; those with more than 2 claws and bite will operate much the same as they did in the old economy, so that they don’t just eat parties alive.

  • Pounce: Now allows a creature to make a free attack at the end of a charge, or all of its natural attacks. This is somewhat beneficial for manufactured melee types, but most beneficial for creatures or characters that use natural attacks. [Note: This adds attacks back into the charge action. This means that a pouncing creature will get all of its natural attacks and still have an action left over.]

  • Monsters: Some monsters are wonky now. Personally, I’m of the opinion that “cool” monsters (i.e. not just an orc or wolf or whatever) should be re-read with the creature’s intent in mind. Many monsters like dragons, hydras, or nasty demon things are simply getting more than 3 actions in a round. “Boss” monsters can easily be made more powerful simply by adding in actions that allow them to move, cast a spell, and still use a nasty single-target supernatural ability. This is just my opinion, of course, and my recommendation to make monsters feel unique and really push how the system works.

Stay tuned for Base Classes and Hybrid Classes, coming up next!


This is brilliant Puna'chong. Bravo!


rainzax wrote:
This is brilliant Puna'chong. Bravo!

Thank you! There are a lot of dumb typos...

The next section may be a bit, as I'm in the midst of graduation festivities and finishing up my thesis. I'll try to get that out as soon as I can with Base and Hybrid classes along with feats. I'll post it up here and then send a link to a full thread that just has both of them in the OP.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Puna'chong wrote:
Puna’Chong’s Revised Action Economy Houserules: Core Classes & General

Very nice!

Regarding natural attacks, what do you think about adding something like the following?:

Make All Natural Primary Attacks (Attack, 2 Actions): Make all of your primary natural attacks.

This would provide monsters with an attack action between the 1-act single natural attack action and the 3-act Make All Natural Attacks action, and might allow for an easier transition for a number of monsters.

Looking forward to seeing your treatment of feats!


Porridge wrote:
Puna'chong wrote:
Puna’Chong’s Revised Action Economy Houserules: Core Classes & General

Very nice!

Regarding natural attacks, what do you think about adding something like the following?:

Make All Natural Primary Attacks (Attack, 2 Actions): Make all of your primary natural attacks.

This would provide monsters with an attack action between the 1-act single natural attack action and the 3-act Make All Natural Attacks action, and might allow for an easier transition for a number of monsters.

Looking forward to seeing your treatment of feats!

That's a good in-between, yeah. I think with those three options natural attacks are basically covered. I probably should make the 3 action ability also include 5 feet of movement, or else creatures could just be kited forever. I think that's fair.

Feats'll come at the end of the Base and Hybrid classes. Those are very dense, since the designers played a lot with the action economy in them, and Base classes have just as many archetypes as Core classes. Something like the Swashbuckler or Brawler is just a total time sink, since almost all of their abilities use an action. Most of my time is spent formatting the damn thing so it's readable.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

One (of many!) cool reasons for liking the Puna'chong's Revised Action Economy (PRAE) system that I just noticed:

As it stands, the Unchained Monk's One Touch ki power is kind of lame---it allows you to spend a standard action to make a touch attack with a minor damage boost. It might be useful if you have to use your move action to move up to the target, and so can't make a flurry anyway. But given that using Flying Kick to immediately initiate a flurry is a much better option 99% of the time, this is a ki power that I suspect few will ever pick.

But once we switch to PRAE, this is actually a pretty good ki-power, one that I might pick for (say) a 12th level monk whose focus is triggering Medusa's Wrath on staggered opponents (from Shaitan Elemental Fist and Stunning Fist attacks). Such a monk could use 1 action to move up to a target, 2 actions to make a One Touch attack that will almost certainly hit, and (since it will hit) load it with both Elemental Fist and Stunning Fist, giving the monk two opportunities to stagger the opponent via two kinds of saves (1 reflex and 1 will). And then the monk still gets 2 more full BAB attacks (from flurry), with potentially 2 more to come (Medusa's Wrath).

Granted, this is a bit expensive---using 1/12 stunning fist and 1/13 elemental fist attacks, and requiring a bit of set-up (4 feats, 1 ki-power, and a high enough wisdom to yield high save DCs). But it doesn't require any ki point expenditures. This shifts One Touch from the "lame" category to the "something I might actually pick" category.


Monks get a lot from the system (PRAE =P), such that I don't actually think any further houserules are really necessary for them. Maybe a way to get ki points back by meditating, similar to how Stamina can return, but the chassis itself is good enough that even having to shell out for an Amulet of Natural Fists seems like a solid, balanced investment. There are still some apparent weaknesses for the monk, like low AC, MAD stats, restricted proficiencies, and a bad Will save, but overall my tests with just a DMNPC monk made it a fast class that can do a lot in a turn.

They can also stack a lot of effects, so while they may be good at putting out damage, they won't be as efficient in that regard as, say, a barbarian or ranger against their favored enemy. They will, however, get to pull off things like tripping every creature adjacent to them, stacking multiple abilities/feats like Porridge noted above, and generally being able to flow with combat. That adaptability and fluid movement from one strategy to another is what I really like about monks in this system.

Also, for style feats, I'm not making them an action to activate at the beginning of combat; if you don't have a style active, you can activate one as a free action. It's just an action to switch if you already have one active.

I may need to specify that flurry only works with an unarmed attack, monk weapon, or maneuver, but I think most people understand that. I'll put it in the final iteration just in case.


Hey, I've just barely registered this new Unchained stuff, but the new AE sparked my interest,
just because that was one particular area I wished Pathfinder had tried to address from the beginning...

I had homebrewed a modification of standard Pathfinder AE, that wasn't so radical as Unchained,
but solely tried to put Casting on same footing as Martial: it was based on looking at how Full BAB classes gain an iterative every 5 levels,
and thus inferring that Full Casters should have equivalent Action Cost for what THEY gain in similar levels, i.e. 2 Spell Levels.

So basically, a Full Caster's top 2 Spell Levels would require a Full-Round Action to Cast "Standard" spells
(NOT 1 Round, but completing during turn like Full Attack)
With 1st (and 0th) level spells having an "exemption" to cast as Standard Actions.
(no problem, since in general, +1 BAB Full Attacks are no different than Standard Attack Actions in general).
"3/4 Casters" like Bards and so on would only suffer a "Casting Time Escalation" for their TOP spell level (again, 0th/1st Level exemption),
and "1/2 Casters" like Paladins wouldn't have any "Casting Time Escalation" in place.
(That actually still favored Casters a bit, since it was "rounding down" in favor of both Full and 3/4 Casters
when assessing what they gain the same # of levels as a FulL BAB's next iterative attack)

It seemed to go over well in gameplay, with the side-effect that Casters found more appreciation for lower level spells,
because they could get them off faster/ safer/ when they also needed to Move or take some other action,
i.e. similar to how Martials deal with Action Economy and make the best of Standard Actions when they need to.
I never tested it, but you could also extent it to require a F-R Action in order to use full Caster Level,
you would only use Caster Level-5 for "Standard Action" Casting of lower level spells.
(minimum 1, so low level Casters with CL boosts might want to use F-R actions to benefit from the boosts...?)

I'm seeing people propose tweaks to allow Unchained AE to better cover all classes/cases,
has anybody looked into tweaking Caster economy within the Unchained AE similar to how I described above?,
i.e. allowing Lower Spell Level/Lower Caster Level casting at faster Action Economy,
with Highest Level/Full Caster Level casting requiring slower AE akin to F-R action?

Overall, this new AE seems like a good direction and something to be developed further for PRPG 2nd Ed,
no doubt with lots of playtesting from this iteration, and further integration with all classes/mechanics/etc.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Puna'chong wrote:


Feats'll come at the end of the Base and Hybrid classes. Those are very dense, since the designers played a lot with the action economy in them, and Base classes have just as many archetypes as Core classes. Something like the Swashbuckler or Brawler is just a total time sink, since almost all of their abilities use an action. Most of my time is spent formatting the damn thing so it's readable.

Yeah, I know. Part of the reason I appreciate your doing this!

Would it make things easier to just cut some of the redundant feats like Spring Attack (and eliminate them as prerequisites)? This would take a little work off your hands, and eliminate (one minor) source of feat taxes... But I know that's just a small fraction of the feat work to be done. And if you do find something neat to turn things like Spring Attack into, I look forward to seeing it!

Quandary wrote:


Interesting thoughts...

Interesting angle, and one that hadn't occurred to me. Most of the RAE changes focus on freeing up movement and combat, but you're right that there may be opportunities to tweak things w.r.t. spell casting as well.

(Some people above noted that they'd already met with resistance from spellcasters who saw the RAE as a nerf (since you can't cast a spell, a quickened spell, and move all in one turn). It sounds like your players were much more gracious!)


Porridge wrote:


Would it make things easier to just cut some of the redundant feats like Spring Attack (and eliminate them as prerequisites)? This would take a little work off your hands, and eliminate (one minor) source of feat taxes... But I know that's just a small fraction of the feat work to be done. And if you do find something neat to turn things like Spring Attack into, I look forward to seeing it!

Well, I'd like for feats to not be entirely eliminated because of the RAE. Spring Attack, for instance, I'm having allow an attack rider at any point during a move action once per turn (like the Mythic Fleet Charge). Whirlwind Attack will allow an attack rider on 2 move actions each turn, or 3 actions to attack every adjacent creature. So they'll still have a use, but their intent will now match with what the RAE is already capable of. In this case, the intent is a character that can move and attack simultaneously, and I'm hoping the added benefit may make them somewhat more interesting. Some of the fighter/bard archetypes I've already listed get this as a class feature.

Feats aren't the big thing, really, since most of them don't really deal with actions anyways, and I'm only going through the ones that are most commonly used. Archetypes are the real time commitment, since I have to open a hundred tabs and scan the page for any mention of actions =P But it's cool. It'll be done hopefully by Sunday.

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