Doomsday Dawn, uncommon options, and starting with magic items


Doomsday Dawn Game Master Feedback


Doomsday Dawn gives absolutely no guidelines to the GM on whether or not to allow uncommon options, or whether or not to allow characters to start with magic items for the 1st-level adventure.

If this is supposed to be a tightly-standardized playtest, then how is a GM supposed to know whether or not to allow uncommon options, or whether or not to allow characters to start with magic items for the 1st-level adventure?


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Page 7.

Quote:

PURCHASING GEAR

The PCs begin with 150 sp each. They
can purchase any common gear found
in Chapter 6 of the Pathfinder Playtest
Rulebook, along with any other options
they gain access to from their class and
feat selections.


What of common magic items above 1st level?

What of uncommon spells?

What of the higher-level adventures, which seem more generous when allowing uncommon items?


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Isn't this all in the sidebars on the first page of each adventure? From part 2:

Quote:

PURCHASING GEAR

Each character begins with one 3rd-level item, two 2nd-level items, one 1st-level item, and 300 sp to spend on additional items. As the GM, you determine which items the PCs can start with, but they should have access to at least all common items of their level or lower. The characters already know each other, so they can pool their money to buy items.

I'd say it's up to the GM which spells players have access to, following the rules in the core rulebook. I'd imagine Paizo want as many of the spells tested as possible, so it wouldn't make sense for them to exclude absolutely some of the spells available.


Part 3 is unclearer for item rarity: "Each character begins with one 6th level item, two 5th-level items, one 4th-level item, two 3rd-level items, and 125 gp to spend on any additional items. One character in the group also starts with one +2 magic armor of your choice. Allow characters who already know each other to pool their money to buy items."

Part 4, likewise: "Each player retains the gear they earned and kept from “The Lost Star,” but also gains the following: one 8th-level item, two 7th-level items, one 6th-level item, two 5th-level items, and 250 gp to spend on additional items. The PCS can pool their money to buy items."

And there is still no word on uncommon spells and the like.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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One of the things we're playtesting IS the use of commonalities in the game, and particularly in giving GMs the ability and support to make those decisions as they wish for their games. Doomsday Dawn is, in theory, built to be equally workable whether or not you only allow common choices or open it all up to uncommon or rare, so the playtesting results shouldn't be skewed if one group only allows common stuff while another opens the proverbial floodgates.

So, the intent is basically to let GMs decide what they'd prefer. All things being equal, I guess it's best to simply allow any item to be purchased while generating characters though, since that lets us see a wider range of options in play.

Sorry for the confusion, though!


James Jacobs wrote:

One of the things we're playtesting IS the use of commonalities in the game, and particularly in giving GMs the ability and support to make those decisions as they wish for their games. Doomsday Dawn is, in theory, built to be equally workable whether or not you only allow common choices or open it all up to uncommon or rare, so the playtesting results shouldn't be skewed if one group only allows common stuff while another opens the proverbial floodgates.

So, the intent is basically to let GMs decide what they'd prefer. All things being equal, I guess it's best to simply allow any item to be purchased while generating characters though, since that lets us see a wider range of options in play.

Sorry for the confusion, though!

Does this mean that, for example, starting the first adventure with uncommon items should actually be fine?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Colette Brunel wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

One of the things we're playtesting IS the use of commonalities in the game, and particularly in giving GMs the ability and support to make those decisions as they wish for their games. Doomsday Dawn is, in theory, built to be equally workable whether or not you only allow common choices or open it all up to uncommon or rare, so the playtesting results shouldn't be skewed if one group only allows common stuff while another opens the proverbial floodgates.

So, the intent is basically to let GMs decide what they'd prefer. All things being equal, I guess it's best to simply allow any item to be purchased while generating characters though, since that lets us see a wider range of options in play.

Sorry for the confusion, though!

Does this mean that, for example, starting the first adventure with uncommon items should actually be fine?

If the PCs can afford said uncommon items on a 1st level adventurer's limited budget, yes. But that still requires the GM's permission. We REALLY want GMs to be empowered parts of the game, rather than continue the implication that if a player buys a book that they automatically get to use everything in it. A GM gets to set the tone of the campaign and shouldn't be forced to include content that doesn't mesh with her vision of what the game to be run will be. Of course, the GOOD GMs make sure to communicate with their players beforehand so everyone's on the same page from the start.


I take it that the same policy applies to spells as well? So a GM for Doomsday Dawn may as well allow whatever uncommon spells they please?

How does this playtesting policy for GMs allowing uncommon items and spells apply to the Pathfinder Society playtesting scenarios?


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
page 10 of rulebook wrote:
The uncommon rarity indicates an element available only to those who have been initiated into a special kind of training, grow up in a certain culture, or come from a particular part of the world. A character can’t take these options by default. Specifc choices, such as class features or backgrounds, might give access to certain uncommon elements. The GM can grant any character access to uncommon options if she so chooses.

I read the word options to mean everything: items, spells, whatever.

Dark Archive

James Thank you for explicitly acknowledging that restricting access is likely a matter of establishing a certain type of game tone and setting. And playing a bring everything you have to the table game should be a choice (and one that can be fun no doubt) but is not the only choice.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Colette Brunel wrote:

I take it that the same policy applies to spells as well? So a GM for Doomsday Dawn may as well allow whatever uncommon spells they please?

How does this playtesting policy for GMs allowing uncommon items and spells apply to the Pathfinder Society playtesting scenarios?

Yup; the policy applies to spells also.

As for the Pathfinder Society... that's one where you'll need to ask the overall GM, which is to say the folks here who run the campaign.


Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Getting off-topic for Doomsday Dawn but... John Compton posted guidelines for character creation for the PFS scenarios in the organized play forum. You can read them here, and they include the policies for rarity.

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