Yet Another Possible Fix


Ultimate Intrigue Playtest General Discussion


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So...

I think a lot of people are in general consensus that Dual Identity needs a pretty massive rewrite.

A few ideas have been put forth, so I'll just let them be there where they are, although the one that stuck out to me the MOST was that you choose a Real Alignment and a Fake Alignment, with your Fake Alignment doing absolutely squat EXCEPT for treating you as that Alignment for game effects while you're in the appropriate identity - so like having a LN Fake Alignment when your Real Alignment is LG means you wouldn't take the extra damage from an Unholy Weapon, for example.

I like that idea.

The other problems seems to be that the Specializations are simultaneously too limited and too specialized. They're also pretty weak, giving rise to no end of "why not just play a fighter/rogue/slayer/magus/inqusitor" questions.

Finally, there's the whole problem of you being FORCED to have a Secret Identity without that Identity actually doing anything immediately useful.

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SO, the problems as they current stand are:

1) Social Personas do almost nothing for you, yet by being there are forcing the Specializations to be weaker than comparable classes.

2) Dual Identity is borderline non-functioning. Its parameters are too wide, create too many rules interaction snarls, and is so abysmally slow that it makes switching from Civvie to Super while a fight is going on impossible (at least before lv13, which is cripplingly high for something that SHOULD be a standard trick).

3) Dual Identity ALSO disallows the use of Talents in your Social Persona, adding yet another nail in the coffin of both the Dual Identities and the Social Persona class features, meaning two central class features are left as "entirely unusable" for almost any standard campaign.

4) Specializations too closely mimic other classes while also being glaringly-inferior versions of those classes.

With those points in mind, I have a few ideas of what COULD be done to reinvent the class (with the already-stated fact that the devs don't intend to break the class into 2 or more classes):

1) Build the Social Persona up significantly from where it is now into an aspect of the class that players will want to utilize as much as the Vigilante aspects.

The Social Persona is weak - embarrassingly so.

As it stands, the ONLY thing that a Social Persona actually does is provide you with a +4 to a Skill at 1st, 6th, 10th, and so-on levels.

The Social Persona allows him to gain Renown, yes, but only in increments of 1 Week; this basically means that you'll be using the Social Persona in a specific setting during Downtime. However, this ability is basically useless in campaigns involving traveling bands who aren't headquartered in a Settlement (meaning, many, MANY campaigns). This seems like it should be far-less a built-in mechanic of the class and instead an option that plays in with already-established Downtime rules.

An answer to this is to make the Social Persona actually important - to build up the "Secret Identity" as a useful tool of the class.

Looking at the Master Spy Prestige Class, this is a good spring-board: the Master Spy takes the Social Rogue idea and turns it up to 11; the Social Persona, in turn, should also be this, and should possibly have Talents unto itself.

Make the Social Persona much more varied - allow the player to choose how he wants his Social Persona to be, and choose abilities accordingly: is it a Socialite who schmoozes and gathers info by diplomacy and smooth talking with the rich and powerful (Bruce Wayne, Oliver Queen, Hunter Rose); is it an expert who works with the heads of important institutions like the City Guard, the Priesthood, the Mafia, or the heads of a University (Barry Allen, Matt Murdock); is it a commoner who so thoroughly blends in with the average populace that it's nearly impossible to pick the Vigilante out in a crowd (Peter Parker, Virgil Hawkins).

Have the Social Persona be able to hide surface thoughts and get better as it levels; bonuses to not only Sense Motive but also Will Save bonuses against things like Telepathy, Discern Lies, etc.

Like the Rogue gaining Rogue's Edges, perhaps the Social Persona should gain Skill Focus as a Bonus Feat at level 1, possibly with the caveat of being applied to only Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate.

You WANT people to want to play the Social Persona, and a way to do THAT is to basically make it an awesome class unto itself. Basically, make it into THE mundane Face/Spy class, and you're good to go.

For Combat-centric players, you want to make the Vigilante Persona an awesome draw with the Social Persona as icing on the cake; for RP and skill-focused players, you want the Social Persona to be their dream-come-true, with the combat-heavy Vigilante Persona being a nice topping to a sweet, sweet class.

2) Give Dual Identities a reason to exist beyond just fluff

In addition to these abilities, the Social Persona should also be able to, like the Master Spy, hide its Alignment.

As another forum-goer stated, make the False Alignment only 1 step away from the True Alignment, and have it actually be an honestly-False Alignment. You only count your True Alignment for prerequisites for feats, classes, etc.

Perhaps make the Social Persona the Mask, and thus the Social Persona has the False Alignment by default; while it's in the Social Persona, all forms of Detection treat the False Alignment as the true one, and the Persona is treated by all effects as being of the False Alignment, BUT any ill effects won't occur (such as Protection From spells and things like Holy, Axiomatic, etc. weapons).

Finally, obviously, the Social Persona should gain an immunity to Scrying effects that are targeting one Persona while the other Persona is active.

3) Make the change from one Identity to another much faster, and increase in speed over time.

Five Minutes to change is just awful. "Baby Geniuses 2" levels of awful.

5 Minutes means that if the Vigilante is caught in a Fight as its Social Persona, there is no way for it to change during that fight - that character is entirely dead-weight to the party.

Star out at something like 1 minute at first level, and decrease the change as it levels. A Full Round Action at lv5, Standard Action at lv10, Move Action at lv15, and a Swift Action at lv20, perhaps.

Perhaps even allow certain Specializations to adopt the Vigilante Persona for a single round as a Free Action once per day (possibly growing to more uses per day as you level).

4) Consolidate Avenger & Stalker into a single Martial Specialization

Right now, the Vigilante has 2 Martial and 2 Magical Specializations.

This has led to no ends of confusion that Dual Identities creates - while it's understandable that a Magical specialization might not be able to use magic as a Social Persona, there is no logical reason why the Martial specializations MUST NOT be able to use their talents in their Social Persona.

On top of this, the Avenger has been sited by several people as being inferior to the Fighter - that's not very good at all if the FIGHTER is considered a better option.

Instead, I'd highly suggest combining the Avenger and Stalker together.

Honestly, it works thematically - the ability to Sneak Attack while concealed, and then perform a muted SA while flanking or in the heat of Combat would work fine with a full BAB.

The special qualities of this Specialization would be that, not only do you treat the Vigilante's Class Levels as BAB while in the Specialization mode, you may ALSO use its Talents and class abilities in your Social Persona at your Class Level -4 (so, at Fourth Level, in your Social Persona, you could use talents and abilities of your Specialization as though you were lv1 in that Persona).

Give it not only access to some Rogue Talents, but also some things like Ranger Combat Styles, allowing it to take the Two-Weapon Fighting Tree as Talents at certain levels.

Also allow Talents that not only grant Improved Unarmed Strike, but also increases to damage of that Unarmed Strike at certain levels (probably putting it at a Monk's progression -4).

These would allow players to make an Unarmed Sneak Attacking Superhero pretty much just like Batman, Daredevil, etc.

There are even areas where it could be granted muted abilities of other Martial classes, like a reduced Rage, a weaker Challenge-like ability, a muted Smite, access to Firearms through a talent or two, etc.

A major way to make the Avenger/Stalker work as a Martial is to make it a potential jack-of-all-trades Martial that lets the player pick and choose reduced-power versions of other class's tricks, making it a sort of "generic martial" build.

Add a third Caster Specialization, and switch things around for the Warlock and Zealot

The Avenger/Stalker already have Str, Dex, and Con covered for stats.

Make the other three stats worthwhile, as well.

Make both the Zealot AND Warlock into Spontaneous Casters, and have a single table each for both Spells Known and Spells per Day. Also make a THIRD Spontaneous Caster class...

Change the Warlock to Charisma-based.

Change the Zealot to Wisdom-based.

Finally, add an Intelligence-based SPONTANEOUS ALCHEMIST Specialization to the mix, using the Alchemist Formulae List as its own; let's call it a... Chemist for right now.

Rather than concocting Bombs on-the-fly, and possibly not even using Mutagens at all, the Chemist instead throws together Extracts that it knows in the midst of fighting; of course, the trade-off is that it doesn't have a Formula, and only knows a limited number of Extracts as a result.

If nothing else, the very fact that the Vigilante would actually allow players to play a Spontaneous Alchemist would be an ENORMOUS draw for the class.

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Anyway, these are my thoughts on the subject; I think something like this would greatly improve the reception of the class, and make the whole thing more enjoyable in any sort of game, not just in intrigue games.


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I'd also suggest that the social identity should also allow you to count as though you were lower level for the purpose of people detecting your alignment, so you don't ping as Overwhelming Good in NG baker identity.


I actually like the idea of a Alchemy focused Vigilante...

It would make for an awesome Bane :P... and honestly ALchemy is an AWESOME mechanic from Paizo and much more flavorful to me than the traditional Vancian casting...

Oh and it would let me play Walter White in Pathfinder! xD


PIXIE DUST wrote:

I actually like the idea of a Alchemy focused Vigilante...

It would make for an awesome Bane :P... and honestly ALchemy is an AWESOME mechanic from Paizo and much more flavorful to me than the traditional Vancian casting...

Oh and it would let me play Walter White in Pathfinder! xD

Theoretically also MacGuyver, sorta.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The chances are already high of a psychic vigilante.

Silver Crusade

A nice write up chbgraphicarts, many of your thoughts are similar to my own.

I have mentioned previously that most of the abilities gained at odd numbered levels could be rolled up into a social talent class feature granted at each odd numbered level so that players can better shape their character.

An avenger/stalker sounds great, and should at least be able to compete with the slayer, trading an effective 5/4th BAB for a solid DPR (give me a talent for weapon training or studied target and I'm sold).

A spontaneous alchemist sounds great, but what else would you give it to allow it to compete with the Alchemist or Investigator who have class features in spades?

Liberty's Edge

Jack Amy wrote:


A spontaneous alchemist sounds great, but what else would you give it to allow it to compete with the Alchemist or Investigator who have class features in spades?

Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde build?

Liberty's Edge

I was wondering if maybe the advancement should be treated like a sorcerer bloodline... Each specializations have certain ability it gain as it lvl up... Like at level 3 the avenger gain something for weapons and it goes up every 4 lvl after... And the have a vigilante talent a 2, 6, 10, 14 etc.


yeah...I get WHY they are doing the specializations, but to me at least the Avenger and Stalker just don't seem like separate areas. Pretty much every masked quasi-mundane superhero (which seems to be the trope they are trying to capture) has features that bring to mind both archetypes. I don't think there is anyone that I can say "OH that is an avenger, not a stalker"

For that matter, I think the Warlock/Zealot/potential Psychic caster could all be folded into one, and players simply chose at level one what type of magic they cast.


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I agree with everything you said, chbgraphicarts, with only 1 exception (and only because I don’t think you went far enough).

I think switching between identities should follow the same progression as Bardic Music:
Standard at 1st
Move at 7th
Swift at 13th

And – it would be nice, but not necessary – if there was a last increase to an immediate or free action at 17th or so.

Always keep in mind that a 1st level caster can cast Disguise Self as a standard action with a +10 bonus. A class whose whole shtick is Clark Kent ducking into a phone booth should be as good as a 1st level caster who took one spell.

Lastly, an alternative is to make it longer (no more than a full round action though), but allow a Bluff check to create a diversion to hide and change as a standard action.


I like the casting stats as they are. We don't have a 6 level Charisma based divine caster yet so that is at least some form of niche being filled.

I really think we need to see more stuff for the Zealot and the Warlock because their talents are lacking seemingly because they expect you to invest in spellcasting.

The classes need to be comparable to the ones that already exist.

I'd actually like to see a third casting progression based of WIS with the hunter list and some naturey options to make a robin hood like character.

Liberty's Edge

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

By and large, I agree with these ideas as far as #1-3 go; I disagree about the necessity of #4, however. At first blush (I haven't playtested it yet), the stalker does look like it needs some help - in fact, I think the basic class chassis needs some kind of accuracy booster for its attacks across the board, even if it's at a weaker-than-usual progression - but as for "On top of this, the Avenger has been sited by several people as being inferior to the Fighter - that's not very good at all if the FIGHTER is considered a better option," those people are simply wrong. An avenger can match the fighter for total number of combat feats period, and while they do lose out on armor training (meh) and weapon training (okay, I'd miss this), they make up for it by actually having something to do outside combat, even if they never switch to their social persona. Oh, yeah, and they also have actual decent saves. Seriously, grab a fighter from somewhere (you could use this guy, for instance) and try rebuilding him as an avenger. You'll wind up with level+1 fewer hit dice and a point or two less attack and damage - but with a decent selection of skills and saves that won't make you cringe.


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To reply to chbgraphicarts:

1) I'd be up for buffing it up. My big issue with it now is that I'm actively punished for using it because of the limit on switching.

2) Dual Identities I find super restricting. One shift difference AND both need to qualify for all things makes it USELESS. If I'm a CG vigilante in a LE society, how does CN or NG not make me stand out? Nix both requirements and allow social to be whatever alignment you want without it doing anything except on spells against you.

3) the time could stand if there was some kind of quick change allowed. be it spell, feat, talent or built in. Standard action and lasts 1 min per level. Maybe once per day per level or 3 + mental stat.

4) I'd be cool with buffing both instead of combining them.

third Caster) I'd be cool with adding alchemy and psychic as options but they wouldn't need to be base changes. An archetype could do the trick.


graystone wrote:
2) Dual Identities I find super restricting. One shift difference AND both need to qualify for all things makes it USELESS. If I'm a CG vigilante in a LE society, how does CN or NG not make me stand out? Nix both requirements and allow social to be whatever alignment you want without it doing anything except on spells against you.

I don't think you read that right at all.

I said that False Alignment is exactly that - False.

Only your True Alignment would be counted for Prereqs, etc.

What a False Alignment would do is hide your Real Alignment; if you were LG and had a LN False Alignment, Detect Good wouldn't notice you while you were in your Social Persona (which is LN); instead, you would register as 100% Lawful Neutral, even though you're actually Good aligned. You wouldn't count as Good, either, if hit by an Unholy Weapon while in Social mode, either.

You could multiclass into Paladin, as well, while maintaining a LN False Alignment without a problem. YOU could also wield a Holy Weapon without a problem because your Neutral Alignment is just a rouse.

The one-step difference was suggested by others as a means of balancing it, since it would be a massive defensive boon - gaining an effective immunity to a whole lot of nasty bits that care about Alignments otherwise.

It was also suggested by others because the whole point of Dual Identities at that point would be to have your cake and eat it, too - you'd get all the benefits of being your True Alignment with next-to-no penalties of being either your False Alignment or True Alignment while in your Social Persona.


It seems to me that the dual identities thing is fundamentally flawed. For most games, having a secret identity is useless. In the cases where it isn't, it is probably necessary. Granted, Vigilante is designed that a whole party could all play the one class, but I don't think many groups are going to be happy very often with a campaign where all the other classes aren't allowed (or are a detriment.)

If it was me, I would have dual identity be done through a feat or feat tree, so any class could be a secret avenger and no class would be required to be one.

If that leaves the vigilante without a niche, well then in my opinion it was a bad design to begin with (although I think with a bit of work the concepts are good, although I think it would be easier to actually make 4 classes than one modular class).


Dave Justus wrote:
It seems to me that the dual identities thing is fundamentally flawed. For most games, having a secret identity is useless. In the cases where it isn't, it is probably necessary.

That's why the whole thing needs to be looked at in a different light and designed as such.

Right now the vigilante class is being treated 100% as a Superhero class.

While there's still that obvious motif, if it's refocused or broadened to not only allowing players to play a Sueprhero, but ALSO by default treated as a Spy-ish class, then Dual Identity becomes extremely useful.

If the point of Dual Identity is to allow for players to gain major bonuses on things like espionage, information gathering in large crowds, etc., then people would start aggregating towards it quickly.

Rather than simply being a giant piece of required, forced Fluff, if Social Personas were made useful unto themselves, and Dual Identity allowed for a player to make a better Spy and Face-man character than any other class, the class would be highly desirable.

The Vigilante would be a fantastic Class to make Michael Westen, Walter White, Sterling Archer, Simon Templar, Faceman Peck of the A-Team, etc.

But, as it stands, that's not how the Dual Identity works; instead, it's just a minor +4 to one Skill, an immunity to Scrying, and that's really it.

Everything else is basically useless for any campaign that's not centered in a very specific area - there's no way to actually BUILD an A-Team style Party and include a Vigilante because the Vigilante's Social Persona is basically useless in areas that it hasn't been before and set up a repertoire.


Combat is half the (Pathfinder) game and is measured is rounds. Correspondingly, even if it calls for a break in realism, the Vigilante class should measure it's Quickchange in rounds.

It's possible that the Ultimate Intrigue book will feature multiple variant rules-systems that cut combat down to a smaller percentage of the game. And that's cool. But in that case, what would be the logic in asking the community to playtest a class that was designed to thrive in different rules subsystems without also providing part of those systems? One could conclude that it is to see if it plays well with the other classes. If that's the case, the Vigilante should be able to access half the game with far less restrictions, far before 13th level.

I am not saying Quickchange should be a free action with zero chance of failure. Just that if we accept the precept that the Vigilante wants to be able to play both aspects of his character starting with level 1, it needs to be greatly speeded up.

My suggestion is to allow the Vigilante to roll a Disguise check versus a difficult DC (say 20) to Quickchange between identities as a full-round action. Failure allows him to retry the next round as a standard action. If he wants to remain anonymous, he simply has to succeed at a Stealth check against those he wants to protect his identity from. At 7th level, this becomes a standard action for both. At 13th level, the "retry" becomes a move action.

my 2cp


chbgraphicarts wrote:


While there's still that obvious motif, if it's refocused or broadened to not only allowing players to play a Sueprhero, but ALSO by default treated as a Spy-ish class, then Dual Identity becomes extremely useful.
...
The Vigilante would be a fantastic Class to make Michael Westen, Walter White, Sterling Archer, Simon Templar, Faceman Peck of the A-Team, etc.

I get your point. I don't think it is very practical though. I think you are still in a situation where it is everyone in the party or no one in the party, otherwise you have the cyberpunk netrunner problem.

And I'm really really not sure that bolting an espionage game onto the pathfinder chasis will be very effective but that is another discussion.


Dave Justus wrote:
chbgraphicarts wrote:


While there's still that obvious motif, if it's refocused or broadened to not only allowing players to play a Sueprhero, but ALSO by default treated as a Spy-ish class, then Dual Identity becomes extremely useful.
...
The Vigilante would be a fantastic Class to make Michael Westen, Walter White, Sterling Archer, Simon Templar, Faceman Peck of the A-Team, etc.

I get your point. I don't think it is very practical though. I think you are still in a situation where it is everyone in the party or no one in the party, otherwise you have the cyberpunk netrunner problem.

And I'm really really not sure that bolting an espionage game onto the pathfinder chasis will be very effective but that is another discussion.

SpyCraft is a fantastic game and uses the d20 System as well with many similar changes as PF, and is obviously about espionage and super-spies.

I can't see any reason that a SpyCraft campaign couldn't be translated to Pathfinder (albeit the setting would be much-more high fantasy, obviously)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Dave Justus wrote:
I think you are still in a situation where it is everyone in the party or no one in the party, otherwise you have the cyberpunk netrunner problem.

That's really already the case for most circumstances in which the social persona would be used. Do you really get the Int- and Cha- dumped fighter or barbarian deeply involved in the social encounters?

Sovereign Court

What about having a faster change between personas, but requiring you to be concealed to do so? If you could then get access to talents in social persona, hide-in-plain-sight becomes much more useful for this.

Grand Lodge

I like these ideas but think that having multiple persona's as an option to would be good imagine being able to swap between Avenger and Warlock. or from zealot to warlock.

your talents should also change and you should get talents while you are in social persona too.. (each time you gain a talent you gain on for each of your persona's)


Humphry B ManWitch wrote:
I like these ideas but think that having multiple persona's as an option to would be good imagine being able to swap between Avenger and Warlock. or from zealot to warlock.

That sounds like an Archetype, like Crossblooded Sorcerers and Bloodragers, and Dual-Cursed Oracles.

I'd support that as an Archetype, but not as the base class.


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A thought comes to mind:

Perhaps rather than having 4 copies of existing Base Classes, the Specializations actually end up being akin to completely new class shticks, as it were, possibly filling in some of the "missing" Hybrid Classes as well:

Avenger - Combining the current Avenger and Stalker into a single Specialization, gaining minor effects of other Martial classes.

Defender - The Stalwart Defender made into a 20-Level Base Class via specialization

(New) Stalker - The Shadowdancer made into a 20-level Base Class via specialization

Chemist - The aforementioned Spontaneous Alchemist specialization

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On the flip side, the Social Persona would basically be so loaded with "infiltration" effects like disguising yourself, hiding alignment, etc., that that aspect of the class effectively turns the Master Spy into a 20-level Base Class itself.


chbgraphicarts wrote:

A thought comes to mind:

Perhaps rather than having 4 copies of existing Base Classes, the Specializations actually end up being akin to completely new class shticks, as it were, possibly filling in some of the "missing" Hybrid Classes as well:

Avenger - Combining the current Avenger and Stalker into a single Specialization, gaining minor effects of other Martial classes.

Defender - The Stalwart Defender made into a 20-Level Base Class via specialization

(New) Stalker - The Shadowdancer made into a 20-level Base Class via specialization

Chemist - The aforementioned Spontaneous Alchemist specialization

---

On the flip side, the Social Persona would basically be so loaded with "infiltration" effects like disguising yourself, hiding alignment, etc., that that aspect of the class effectively turns the Master Spy into a 20-level Base Class itself.

I like the suggestions for Stalker(making it a shadowdancer) and Avenger, and I think a lot of it can be accomplish just with slight modifications to the chassis and revising.

I think the zealot as a specialization has a place, it just needs more stuff. I suspect it was probably the very last specialization to be worked on, which is why so much of it is composed of other class features. It sort of reminds me of the Psychic, which while not having the same weakness that the zealot has in this playtest (courtesy of 9 levels of casting), but did share the same level of...generic-ness, coming off as an alternative sorceror.

I also agree on the social persona. I think the persona should have its own SEPARATE pool of talents it can select, which don't count against the number of vigilante talents. those talents should be espionage/infiltration focused, as well as factor in combat uses that enable protection of his identity. That way you really would be having two characters in one, and players wouldn't necessarily risk gimping one persona to improve their utility in another form.

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