Resonance: what do you think?


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I hate CLW wand spam as much as the next guy, but resonance seems a very convoluted fix to a fairly simple problem. 5E has a system called "attunement" that accomplishes a very similar thing; I'm no fan of attunement but at least it doesn't add any extra book-keeping.

If healing wands are a problem, change how wands work, or change how healing works. The fact that resonance applies to potions might be a necessary balance mechanism, but my gut just tells me "that is so gamey. How would that even work?"

As it stands, I don't think resonance is likely to be a very fun mechanic, nor will it add much to the game except hassle and frustration.

What are your thoughts?

EDIT: I've thought about it some more, and I've come to realize I really only object to resonance and potions. I could get used to resonance in just about every other case, but resonance limits with potions just seems so... bizarre.
A silly example that helps illustrate my aversion: the most powerful evil wizard in the world brews a polymorph potion and forces a commoner to drink it. The commoner fails his resonance check. Nothing happens. To me that's just too absurd.

EDIT 2: I think resonance works with wands, staves, scrolls, etc. because it makes sense that the magical ability of the person attempting to activate the item would be a factor. It doesn't make sense with potions, because drinking a potion doesn't require the imbiber to speak a command word or do anything special; they just take a sip.
What if resonance didn't affect potions, but you balanced it out by making potions significantly more expensive than the equivalent scroll or wand charge? Would that work?


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I somehow don’t think most PF1 players would be happy being restricted to three magic items like 5e. I agree I don’t love another resource, but I’m not sure people would like a hard restriction on the number of items you can use.

However I’m not sure it’s really that costly in tracking compared to current rules. Right now on a level ten character you will probably have 3-5+ items with daily or x/daily usage. You have to keep track of them all separately, you have to care you’ve equipped them for a certain time period and so on. This basically is just a stat called “magic item uses” that replaces all the individual ones you already have and gives you a risk system to push over the limit. If anything that could be removed it would be spending points for passive effects and just use it as a cost for all active effects.


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It looks good to me, honestly. Doesn't seem overly complex to keep track of, can make sense in the game world (magic can only affect mortal forms so much before stuff happens), and helps fix a particularly troublesome issue.


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Lady Firebird wrote:
It looks good to me, honestly. Doesn't seem overly complex to keep track of, can make sense in the game world (magic can only affect mortal forms so much before stuff happens), and helps fix a particularly troublesome issue.

Alright, now what if you're drinking a potion of poison or some other magic potion that has a negative effect on the imbiber after you've already hit your resonance cap? What happens?

EDIT: I know this is a corner case that, frankly, hardly ever would come up in the game. As a hypothetical it does poke a hole in the in-world justification for resonance, however.


I agree with Lady Firebird.


I'm kind of a fan of having to make everybody reasonable charismatic now. I guess the question is how many magic items is the average mid-level adventurer going to be carrying around. If "big 6" items are no more (replaced by something ABPish) then it shouldn't be too bad.


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Bardic Dave wrote:
Lady Firebird wrote:
It looks good to me, honestly. Doesn't seem overly complex to keep track of, can make sense in the game world (magic can only affect mortal forms so much before stuff happens), and helps fix a particularly troublesome issue.

Alright, now what if you're drinking a potion of poison or some other magic potion that has a negative effect on the imbiber after you've already hit your resonance cap? What happens?

EDIT: I know this is a corner case that, frankly, hardly ever would come up in the game. My point is simply that, as a thought experiment, it pokes holes in the in-world justification for resonance.

I don't know, you'd have to ask the devs about that one. Maybe it's a balance of positive and negative energy. I mean, resonance isn't going to affect how many Fireballs can blast you in a day, is it?

When I drink coffee, it only works until a certain point. And when I'm really, really tired, the kind where all you can think about is sleep, it ceases to work even a little bit. And you'd better believe coffee is a potion as magical as any!

Or heck, maybe they roll with it. Maybe it does help increase the chance of resisting the poison potion, because you've built up so much magical resistance over the course of the day that everything, good or ill, has a harder time working properly. That'd be fine by me, too.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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This definitely seems like a system that merits playtesting. I'm not a fan at first blush, but I'm interested to see how it works in play.


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This makes basically sure that none of my players will ever want to play PF2, which is fine by me. but even if I would want to switch and sell the new system to them, Resonance is a deal breaker


True the passive cost does have a positive in that it forces you to make a choice between wearing 15 magic items or using lots of activatable abilities. Hopefully this also means they can get rid of (or at least minimize) x/daily effects and let us use the magic items we get as we see fit.


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I'm definitely going to need to houserule this for my setting. At-Will items was very necessary.


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Where can we find details on resonance? I can't find it.
Found it. Just, no. This will have to change. It absolutely should not apply to potions, and I can think of far better ways to deal with the healing wand problem.


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The more I think about it, the more I realize I really only object to resonance and potions. I could get used to resonance in just about every other case, but potions just seem bizarre to me.

A silly example that helps illustrate my aversion: the most powerful evil wizard in the world brews a polymorph potion and forces a commoner to drink it. The commoner fails his resonance check. Nothing happens. To me that's just too absurd.


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If coffee would stop working, I would have died years ago


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Arakasius wrote:
True the passive cost does have a positive in that it forces you to make a choice between wearing 15 magic items or using lots of activatable abilities. Hopefully this also means they can get rid of (or at least minimize) x/daily effects and let us use the magic items we get as we see fit.

That's another good point. I can even see it opening up room for variation in character concepts. One player might choose to have her hero decked out in passive bonuses from gear, while the other like to have a lot of options, a Batman to the former's Superman, if you will. That's kind of a cool idea to me!


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Something similar was a poor idea in 5e and led our campaign to dumping most of the stuff that the GM *thought* was gear upgrades for us because we didn't have 'the slots' to use it.

A lot of flavor and utility was lost as a result.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bardic Dave wrote:
Lady Firebird wrote:
It looks good to me, honestly. Doesn't seem overly complex to keep track of, can make sense in the game world (magic can only affect mortal forms so much before stuff happens), and helps fix a particularly troublesome issue.

Alright, now what if you're drinking a potion of poison or some other magic potion that has a negative effect on the imbiber after you've already hit your resonance cap? What happens?

EDIT: I know this is a corner case that, frankly, hardly ever would come up in the game. As a hypothetical it does poke a hole in the in-world justification for resonance, however.

Have the rules for this been published somewhere?

In any case I remember when a similar concept was floated for the original Beta, and I was all for it. It was partially to reign in a massive amount of Buff stacking that 3.5 allowed for characters above around level 10 to completely ignore the CR system by Nova-ing their challenges. A problem that still persist in Pathfinder to this day.


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In general- assuming Big Six are replaced with Automatic Bonus [or Mastercrafted in terms of Weapons and Armor] I am fine with this.

But potions? Really Paizo? Potions???

That's messed up.

Single use consumables shouldn't apply to Resonance.


Bardic Dave wrote:

The more I think about it, the more I realize I really only object to resonance and potions. I could get used to resonance in just about every other case, but potions just seem bizarre to me.

A silly example that helps illustrate my aversion: the most powerful evil wizard in the world brews a polymorph potion and forces a commoner to drink it. The commoner fails his resonance check. Nothing happens. To me that's just too absurd.

This is one of those cases where you have to let narrative needs supercede rules in general. There's no need to roll, and as I recall, the Resonance check only comes in when your Resonance reaches 0. How many potions is a commoner drinking all day?

But it's just like if I'm going to have the evil knight cut down a commoner. I'm not going to roll that out. Technically, yes, the villain could roll only 1s, and the commoner roll 20s, and it turns out that she's secretly the heir of some long-forgotten hero, but... I mean, if the story calls for the bad guy to cut down a commoner, it's going to happen unless the PCs somehow intervene.

Resonance may have some justification (whether it's satisfactory or not is up to the player) in-world, but it's still ultimately just a construct there to help us craft these tales we craft. And just like all rules, if it doesn't contribute or gets in the way, it can be swept aside for a single scene, or even a whole campaign.

The nice thing is I can see feats and stuff, or maybe not feats but other things, that increase your Resonance, too. It's yet another tool in the toolbox, and you can play around with it to create some cool stuff.


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Plus resonance makes any monster with ability dran charisma become more deadly longer it stands.


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Lady Firebird wrote:

This is one of those cases where you have to let narrative needs supercede rules in general. There's no need to roll, and as I recall, the Resonance check only comes in when your Resonance reaches 0. How many potions is a commoner drinking all day?

But it's just like if I'm going to have the evil knight cut down a commoner. I'm not going to roll that out. Technically, yes, the villain could roll only 1s, and the commoner roll 20s, and it turns out that she's secretly the heir of some long-forgotten hero, but... I mean, if the story calls for the bad guy to cut down a commoner, it's going to happen unless the PCs somehow intervene.

Resonance may have some justification (whether it's satisfactory or not is up to the player) in-world, but it's still ultimately just a construct there to help us craft these tales we craft. And just like all rules, if it doesn't contribute or gets in the way, it can be swept aside for a single scene, or even a whole campaign.

The nice thing is I can see feats and stuff, or maybe not feats but other things, that increase your Resonance, too. It's yet another tool in the toolbox, and you can play around with it to create some cool stuff.

I understand your perspective, but I have to respectfully disagree. If I'm required to ignore a rule in order to tell a good story, in my opinion it's not a good rule for a game that's primarily about story telling.

If resonance makes it into the game unchanged, of course I will run things as you suggest. I won't like having to do so though :P!


I don't think you're being required to ignore it, though. At least, not in that sense. I don't roll out combats between NPCs or whatever, except maybe in a PBP game where I can write things out anyway. Unless the PCs intervene, stuff happens. The assassination attempt on the king is going to either work or fail depending on what the story calls for. The powerful bad guy doesn't have to roll out a fight between himself and a lowly commoner.

So I think the rule looks like it'll work well for me, but that doesn't mean it will for you, of course. And yet, there are always options to fiddle with it and figure things out. Maybe potions don't hit Resonance but they do dehydrate you and cause you to effectively burn through food and stuff faster, so you go through more rations as a result.


Does it apply to Scrolls too?


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I have issues with resonance. It feels forced. I don't really like the idea that only the charming adventure - it will need to be very carefully managed such that you don't suddenly need to max charisma at the expense of your primary stat(s). It limits the number of trinkets you can attune if you wanted a number of small cheap magic items rather than 2-4 big ones. By about level 10 or so I want to light up like a x-mas tree!

I will give it a fair shake, but on first blush I don't like the concept at all.


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I've had systems where you need to attune magic items before so I'm ok on that part

but having it apply to potions just feel weird


It does make me think that Charisma is probably long overdue for a name change. Something like "Spirit," maybe, or another that is more suggestive of what all the ability represents.


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After the gut-wrench initial 'no!' reaction, resonance might work well (with extensive playtesting and tweaking- but hey! It's almost like we're in the Pathfinder Playtest forums or something...), provided it's changed so it doesn't affect single-use items, but what it doesn't do is encourage players to diversify out of just using a few useful items and selling all the cool, unique magic loot that you pick up. It's most likely going to result in, "hmmm... well, this sword that shoots a ray of fire is really cool and all, but I don't want to cut into my ability to drink potions, so I'll pass."
It's likely to make things like the Folding Boat or Lyre of Building even more rare than they are now. Why would you invest points in something that's likely not going to be used when you could instead use that do use something that might actually do something?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Daedalus: That was the EXACT issue that we were running into with our 5e campaign.

GM: "This nifty thing is really cool and I designed it for your class and..."

Player: "No Sale. Can't afford to lose the magic items I already have. Sorry."

GM: "Well, we can waive it for you."

Rest of players: "...WTF."

And by the end of it the work-around we had was... using the PF method of body slots as the logical maximum.

...and this wasn't accounting for potions or scrolls, or the problem would have reared its head at L3 instead of L9.


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Lady Firebird wrote:

I don't think you're being required to ignore it, though. At least, not in that sense. I don't roll out combats between NPCs or whatever, except maybe in a PBP game where I can write things out anyway. Unless the PCs intervene, stuff happens. The assassination attempt on the king is going to either work or fail depending on what the story calls for. The powerful bad guy doesn't have to roll out a fight between himself and a lowly commoner.

So I think the rule looks like it'll work well for me, but that doesn't mean it will for you, of course. And yet, there are always options to fiddle with it and figure things out. Maybe potions don't hit Resonance but they do dehydrate you and cause you to effectively burn through food and stuff faster, so you go through more rations as a result.

Yes, we very obviously have different styles and preferences. Well, let's agree to respectfully disagree!


I too suggest resonance should not apply to single-use items, such as potions. Other than that, I have no objection to it.

Dark Archive

trying to catch up after being away for 20 hours. Where is Resonance being defined?


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Bardic Dave wrote:
Lady Firebird wrote:

I don't think you're being required to ignore it, though. At least, not in that sense. I don't roll out combats between NPCs or whatever, except maybe in a PBP game where I can write things out anyway. Unless the PCs intervene, stuff happens. The assassination attempt on the king is going to either work or fail depending on what the story calls for. The powerful bad guy doesn't have to roll out a fight between himself and a lowly commoner.

So I think the rule looks like it'll work well for me, but that doesn't mean it will for you, of course. And yet, there are always options to fiddle with it and figure things out. Maybe potions don't hit Resonance but they do dehydrate you and cause you to effectively burn through food and stuff faster, so you go through more rations as a result.

Yes, we very obviously have different styles and preferences. Well, let's agree to respectfully disagree!

Yeah, sure, I agree there. Was just trying to come up with some useful alternatives or maybe explanations you might find helpful. In the end, it seems a fairly easy thing to ignore if it doesn't work for you, so I wouldn't fret it too much!


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Consumables already have a price. When you consume a consumable it is consumed, much like people dying when they are killed. You already paid the cost of the item, for crying out loud.


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eldrwyrm wrote:
trying to catch up after being away for 20 hours. Where is Resonance being defined?

2nd post edit 4


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Really, it solves one 'problem' while making two more. With tweaks, I could see it being brought down to solving one 'problem' while only exacerbating one more.

With extensive revisions, it might solve one problem and not create any more.

I really don't see how this could benefit the more 'fringe' magic items, in any form. In this system, you would never want to use a folding boat for fear that you might not have enough Resonance left over to light your sword on fire.


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Daedalus: That was the EXACT issue that we were running into with our 5e campaign.

GM: "This nifty thing is really cool and I designed it for your class and..."

Player: "No Sale. Can't afford to lose the magic items I already have. Sorry."

GM: "Well, we can waive it for you."

Rest of players: "...WTF."

And by the end of it the work-around we had was... using the PF method of body slots as the logical maximum.

...and this wasn't accounting for potions or scrolls, or the problem would have reared its head at L3 instead of L9.

If the GM designed it, why not just make it so it doesn't need to be attuned. Not every magic item in the game requires attunement. Magic armors and shields come to mind.


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Hythlodeus wrote:
This makes basically sure that none of my players will ever want to play PF2, which is fine by me. but even if I would want to switch and sell the new system to them, Resonance is a deal breaker

Limiting player power and forcing people to make choices is a big hit for me.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Forcing 'One True Choice' is not a good idea.


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What problem is resonance trying to solve? It might be a good way to stop people from drinking lots of potions, but I've never had a lot of problems with that (or with CLW wands for that matter, I'd rather the party topped off from the wand and got back into the action than retreated to town to heal).


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CLW spamming is an abomination that prevents this game from ever being streamed online. It needs to die.


I've been onboard with everything I've heard so far. Until this. I don't immediately dislike it, but I'm unsure. I think it could be interesting applied to many magic items, but potions seems...weird.


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Do people's players use a lot of potions? I have players who will engage in absurd hoop jumping in order to avoid using consumables. Come to think of it, this might make it worse.


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Here is a thing. They’ve stated they want to kill the big six. So that means the premise is passive magic items are mostly going away. So what does that leave as magic items? Activatable usage. (Or things tied to stuff like crits/etc)

This creates a single pool they can use for all these items. If this didn’t exist than each item would need to be tracked separately. This is a much better system. Honestly this seems quite good although I can see the arguments to take potions off of this provided the cost of them (in both close and duration to make) is high enough to not make them spammable. But just think in a world of magic items where very few are passive effects. Do you really want to track each of your 8 different in use items separately?

Sovereign Court

I'm okay with Resonance if it means I can wear five amulets at the same time. Bling!


I dont think ive heard anything about this resonance mechanic. Where's this mentioned?


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I mislike attempts "fix" magic items by limiting them. If 3.5 and earlier, and Pathfinder, have a bread and butter sort of theme that they're organized around, it's going into dungeons and killing monsters to get stuff. Yes, there's more developed elements to playing beyond that, but if you strip the system down to just its mechanics, that's pretty much what they're geared for. And this is powerful for several reasons. One is simply that, regardless of what particular player archetype you're dealing with, pretty much everyone likes getting stuff and is motivated to do things to get stuff. It's a motivation that connects directly with the player, that they don't really have to pretend for, and that creates a reward structure for a game, and in particular, the current paradigm is an especially potent reward structure. It's a lot of small random rewards with occasional big ones thrown in, which well, read anything about the psychology behind positive reinforcement or casinos. It's a set up that engages us in just the right way, so well that there's multiple industries built out of abusing it. For a GM, it helps produce an immediate and direct emotional connection to the content of their campaign. Imposing further limits on magic items means more of the items are going to be disappointing duds just because players don't have the room to try them, so they're vendor trash.

Second is that being open to lots of magic items gives players a sort of secondary set of stats with a plug and play moddable quality that allows for a lot of rapid customization. Furthermore, THIS motivates everyone to think about what they're doing and where they're going so that they can gear themselves up appropriately. Again, it's conducive to engaging players and getting them to naturally think about what's going on without having to force it. Resonance doesn't necessarily get rid of this, but my reading of it suggests that it gets in the way of having a system of switchable tools to play with.

Third, and most important to me, you build a personal toolkit over the course of a campaign that develops alongside your character. Except where you have absolute control over the feats and skills and spells and so on that you take, your toolkit grows with your story and becomes the point of connection between the things you wrote on your sheet and the things you do in the game. They're a straightforward mechanical way for your character to grow and be defined by the things they do and the world that they're in, and I don't think any other system pulls that off as well as 3.5 and Pathfinder do.

You never know which items will embed themselves in the mythology of your group. Trying to limit magic items to a few special ones is just getting in the way of the relationship a player develops with their own trinkets.

What I'd prefer to see is a different kind of spin on those necessity items that you're going to get no matter what. Like how everybody pretty much needs a cloak of resistance. Pathfinder and D&D actually pretty much have an answer to this already though, it's just only applied to how magic weapons and armour work, with so many points that can be alloted to the basic bonus, and then another 5 that can be spent on abilities that give the weapon a bit more character. Now that's not to suggest that characters should all be big balls of items that each have a hundred different abilities, but some kind of system of addons, so that a GM can easily assemble a cloak of resistance or ring of protection that's a little more special would help a lot with the reserved slot problem.

Resonance sounds like yet another fatally clumsy attempt to make cha relevant. And I just... don't understand the obsession with this. Just kill it! It cannot possibly be as much work to tweak some mechanics to cover the very tiny void cha would leave, as it is to keep aggressively trying to make it important by giving it a bunch of random add-ons until it can replace every other stat.


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Arakasius wrote:
CLW spamming is an abomination that prevents this game from ever being streamed online.

How???


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Arakasius wrote:
CLW spamming is an abomination that prevents this game from ever being streamed online.
How???

Because if after a tough fight the players discussed poking someone with a stick 45 times to cap them up to full the audience would laugh and tune out. Have you read any fantasy novel where the heroes do that after a fight? It takes most tension out of fights (and especially out of any dungeon crawls) and short cuts a resource in the game. Generally players in rough series of fights should expect to not be at full health til they full rest, but current PF is balanced around some idea that you cap everyone up. Verisimilitude Is a thing and this idea of wand spamming completely breaks it. People don’t watch streams for mechanics, they watch it for role playing, memorable characters and heroic acts. CLW spammage undercuts all of this.


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Arakasius wrote:
This creates a single pool they can use for all these items. If this didn’t exist than each item would need to be tracked separately.

Sign me up for THAT option: I have NO issue making an item list in notepad and marking off charges.

dragonhunterq wrote:
It limits the number of trinkets you can attune if you wanted a number of small cheap magic items rather than 2-4 big ones. By about level 10 or so I want to light up like a x-mas tree!

LOL Me too! Most times I'll have a dozen minor/quirky items before I get a major 'must have' item. Having to spend a resonance to use prestidigitation from my Apprentice's Cheating Gloves would make me one sad panda. :(

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