Bardarok Playtest Report


Doomsday Dawn Game Master Feedback


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Session Zero

We had session zero last night and did character creation. Overall it took 3 hours and 20 minutes to explain the basics of the game and of Golarion to the players as well as go through the intro info for Doomsday Dawn and make three characters in sequence.

I have four players though one couldn't make session zero. Three are experienced PF 1 players and one has never played a tabletop rpg, he is playing the rogue so I'll spay special attention to his experience in the playtest.

Characters

Thundarr: Half-Orc, Mind Quake Survivor, Barbarian (War-Flail, Dragon Totem)
Flint: Dwarven, Esoteric Scion, Paladin (Bastard Sword, Sarenre)
Prezz: Elf, Goblin Renegade, Rogue (He is an elf who speaks and works with goblins) (Rapier & Short sword dual wielding)

Due in part to the skill feats their backgrounds provided the PCs spread their ability boost around a bit such that the Rogue has an 18 in Dex but the Barb and paladin only have 16 in Str, we will see how that goes.

They have a lot of knowledge skills between them but not a lot of healing just the paladins lay on hands and the paladin and rogue are trained in medicine.

Character creation took about 45 minutes per player. I used an auto filling sheet to do the math so it would have taken an hour per player if I was doing it pen and paper. Blank Sheet v4

GM Review

Character creation was all logical no one got confused or overwhelmed by options which is good. They are all excited to play the actual adventure next week so that is good as well. No one blinked at the proficiency system they just took it as the new normal for this game and rolled with it. I'm jealous of their lack of overthinking this stuff.

Two criticisms from session zero:
1. Heavy armor doesn't seem worth it. The Paladin and the Rogue have the same AC and the rogue has better TAC. I'd think with the ACP and the speed penalty heavy armor would be better not just equal but I guess the heavy armor character gets to spread their ability boosts around to something other than dex.

2. Rogue doesn't have a lot of build weapon options. Max dex with rapier and short sword seems to be clearly the best. That's not particularly different from PF 1 though I just wish there was more support for a Str rogue, of course maybe its there and I just don't see it since the rogue PC is dex based.


Session Zero.Five
Contacted the last player and took about an hour and a half to explain the new system and make a character.

He made a Ranger, volley was the one thing that raised eyebrows "that's not how bows work" and all I could say is yah I dunno man thems the rules.

So the party has a ton of skills the rogue and ranger have a lot of skills and the Dwarf even has 14 Int for RP reasons. They have three PCs trained in medicine and two healers kits so that should be interesting in regards to how actually useful the medicine skill is. The whole party has one spell between the four of them the paladins single use of lay on hands (dwarf Cha penalty) so this should be interesting.

Adventure specific backgrounds look very promising. Hopefully those lore skills will be useful.


Session One
Started in on The Lost Star. Overall the system plays very well the three action economy is simple and easy to use. At Lvl one the Paladin and the Ranger didn't really get to use their abilities much, lay on hand's didn't come up yet and the ranger only hunted one target and it was dead after the first arrow on his turn. Barbarian and Rogue really shined though, the Rogues dex to damage makes him deal a bunch of damage which I suppose is the point.

Spoiler:
The party got as far as the purification pool, they managed to remove the idol without touching it based purely on the fact that it looked creepy and no one wanted to touch it, silk rope and manacles the barbarians habit of buying up to his encumbrance limit paid off here. They seem dedicated to running through the whole dungeon without turning back once we will see how that goes for them.


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Session Two

Short session do to IRL stuff so we didn't quite finish the chapter (which I think is going to put us behind schedule but I knew from the start that my groups never play that fast).

I got to say there are some issues I have with the system but overall it plays really well, specifically for a group of lvl one PCs. I eventually just started all campaigns at lvl 2 in PF1 because the low HP was brutal but the boost from ancestry seems to make Lvl 1 much more playable. Paladin retributive strike did come up and it was cool that it resolves before the triggering attack so it can actually stop an enemy from hitting but I think it's not up to snuff as a main ability. Certainly a worthy Paladin Feat but it's no smite evil. Hunt Target was never worth it. Barbarian Rage takes some getting used and I don't like the action penalty. Maybe one action on your turn or a reaction when you take damage?

We will finish up Chapter One and Make characters for chapter Two next week.

Spoiler:

Party killed the goblins in the top of the hall and managed to get through the door with some lucky rolls, they faught Drakus and were almost killed (two party members down) but the rogue saved the day with a lucky crit. I think the two remaining PCs would have survived one more round of Drakus and probably would have been able to kill him without the crit. Going around the back way ended up being worse for them because they stared looting the room and Drakus managed to sneak up on them and sneak attack the barbarian then next round take out the ranger since the paladin was off chastising the rogue for considering keeping all the loot.


Session Three

Wrapped up Chapter 1 and started character creation for chapter 2. Talked with the players and they had the following comments (all of which I reccomendd they report themselves to Paizo in the player feedback)

The Good
The game "feels" like Pathfinder
The 3 action economy is very good.
The players like not having attacks of opportunity on every enemy, it makes combat move faster much of the time and makes creatures that do have it feel more dangerous, they didn't particularly like loosing AoOs for themselves but were accepting of the trade off.

The Bad
Bonuses seem numerically small
The multiple attack penalty on the third strike seems so punishing as the make attacking three times useless. (this seems to be directly counter to the fact that Drakus was killed with a nat 20 on a third strike from the rogue but he wouldn't have been hit on a 19 and I think didn't even crit since 20 - a bunch was less than Drakus's AC)
The tighter math means you really need to get that 18, The paladin decided to make a more well rounded character and had 14 Str and 14 Dex nice and balanced. They were were by far the least effective party member.

Spoiler:
The PCs were very distrustful of the Esoteric Order and I needed to railroad them into working with them. That might be my fault for running kleri or whatever her name is wrong but it feels odd to me as a GM to have hard story goals, for the Playtest it works but if I was playing a normal game I would have needed to rewrite a lot of story to make it work

Making Characters for Chapter 2 looks like the roster so far is:

Dwarven Greatsword Fighter
Human Storm Druid
Gnome Draconic Sorcorrer
Halfling Maestro Bard

During character creation it was revealed that the general treasure tables are not very useful at level 4 at least since you are supposed to start with lvl 3 and lvl 2 permanent items but the tables are primarily filled with consumables which I guess you also need but spend gp on. Most of the relevant lvl 2 permanent items are expert mundane items in a different chapter. I decided to make my own tables but I think the game would benefit from a more universal treasure table, also the fact that heavy armor lags behind light and medium in potency rune doesn't make sense to me. They put some major penalties on heavy armor so that without potency it is balanced with light and medium armor I don't see any reason for it to lag behind in getting +1 potency, and the devs get rid of this for +2 potency and beyond. This seems like a needless nerf to keep everything super balanced but I think that heavy armor should actually allow a character to have better defenses which isn't the case at lvl 4.


Didn't post right after my last few sessions so I will do this now

Session Zero Two
Went through character creation individually with each PC and ironed out the kinks went a lot better one on one. I still have my issues with the list but nothing new showed up

PARTY

Bricc (Dwarven Greatsword Fighter, given the +1 Weapon at start)
Mitch Flawed (Human Druid)
Gnoll (Gnome Fey Sorcorrer)
Dandry (Halfling Bard)
They are kind of trolling me with names now I guess that's what you get when they know it's a limited run

Session Four

Spoiler:

Chapter two has been going really smoothly started out fine party druid has been very effective in survival checks, the party made it up to the edge of the road with no problems.

The primal bloodline sorcerer wanted to scout ahead as they entered the brambles which didn't end up being a great idea as they were promptly ambushed by the hyenas and seperated from the party (I mean what was I supposed to do one lone gnome wandering away from the group it was a hyena's dream). Luckily the sorcorrer got an invisibility cast and managed to avoid taking too much damage. The druid lobed spells from afar (reach spell did some major work here). And the dwarf slogged through the bramble. Overall it was a fun challenge and basically everyone felt pretty good about it. Inspire Courage + Fighter with a magic weapon was devastating he power attack crit the hyena don basically killed it in one blow (it had taken some acid arrow damage too but he killed most of it). Party made camp patched up wonds no major problems.

Session Five

I thing we are going a lot slower than the devs want but it was still going well.

Spoiler:

The dwarf fell into the quicksand and spend most of the battle swimming which was fine because the +1 sword is kind of a world ender. The beast charged in to start wreking but the party basicaly did a lot of side stepping and cantrip casting until the fighter managed to climb out of the sand and finish if off.

The party decided to engage the gnoll camp, the sorcerer used invisibility, snuck around and set one of the huts on fire and the rest of the party attacked in the confusion. Battle went pretty well (that +1 great sword though it wrecks) eventually there was only one lone goblin who tried to run away but got an acid arrow in the back and died from the persistent damage (the rest of the party was chasing him so if he had stopped to try and stop it himself he would have been killed as well) Overall nothing dramatic to report the terrain stuff seems good. The Manticore is next so we shall see how that goes, at least the +1 Greatsword won'e end everything too quickly.


And we are chugging along (well behind schedule) might finish chapter 2 next week (just in time for the official schedule to get to chapter 4). I am thinking about skipping chapter three all together in order to catch up with the main story line and swinging back to it later if there is time, not sure yet.

Also the sorcerer is a draconic sorcerer not a fey sorcerer she pulled out her claws and ripped out a gnolls throat.

Session Six

Manticore:

Party druid made the survival check on the first try so they managed to find the "easy" way up. Once they found the corpses they proceeded with caution and with ranged weapons out since the druid again identified it as a manticore (turns out druids are good at nature checks)

Once they got into the fight the manticore started pelting them with spikes from range the druid got a gust a wind on the manticore which was neat while the srocorrer got it taking persistance acid damage (acid arrow) from round one. The used the scroll of fly on the fighter and he went and finished it off with the greatsword. The bard playter couldn't make the session so the bard just inspired courage and cast daze then burned all his spell slots on healing. The party was pretty beat up and they definitely got the fear of god in them but they had just rested up at the base of the hill so they were okay.

Zekfah:

This fight was more difficult due to the expended resources the party started out with attempting some intimidation by yelling around the corner but it didn't work out and the gnolls attacked. The fighter got a crit on Zekfah and then tried to move around him to flank only to get crit by Zekfah's attack of opportunity. It was actually pretty fun to have attack of opportunity be a surprise for once. Unfortunately since Zekfah had already used his reaction he couldn't grab the edge when then druid pushed him off the cliff. RIP Zekfah. The sorcorrer discovered that demoralize is a fun thing to do with her third action and spend most of the combat throwing electric arcs and yelling obsenities at the gnolls until the end when she grew claws and waded into the melee mostly just to try it out. The fighter was almost taken down to 0 HP here they ended up surrounded by gnolls trying to drink some potions to stay alive, luckily the errata came out and made Soothe a ranged spell so the bard could help out. The fight ended with the fighter using sweep to take out the last two gnolls simultaneously.

Take aways from chapter 2 so far:

Difficulty seemed about right for this group. They have been doing well on the survival checks enabling them to not worry too much about time so they have been resting every two encounters.

+1 greatsword is scary

Grab edge is a reaction so using attack of opportunity opened up Zekfah to getting thrown off a cliff. Limited reactions seems like it might be a problem.

I liked the tighter math, despite not being super specialized in it the druid could chove in combat successfully though it required a good roll.

Attack of opportunity being non-standard is a great change it makes it actually surprising when it happens. Good fun.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Sounds like a fun group, lots of shoving and insults and other hijinks. Thanks for the feedback!


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Chugging right along but since my group only plays for about 2.5-3 hours per week it is becoming clear that there is no way we are going to be able to keep up with the playtest at this pace. After this chapter i am going to run chapter 4 then 7 and hopefully be finished by december. Maybe I can get a group to do a long one-off on a weekend to do one of the other chapters but overall we just don't play at a fast enough rate. Part of that is playing on roll20 probably, part of it is that it just takes me a while to check the rules as I play with all the page flipping and new rules. I am pretty bummed that we wont be able to get to everything.

Anyways on with the report

Session Seven

Elemental Fights:

Pretty straightforward here. The party did a quick sweep of the tomb then decided to try out the temple of the burning sky. The sorcerer cast resist energy on the fighter while the went through their normal routine. They goaded the fire and wind elementals to come towards the door where the fighter could engage directly. It got pretty bad with the fighter taking a crit and almost (but not quite dropping) luckily the resist fire prevented the burning damage from finishing him off. The party managed to kill the fire and air elementals but it took basically all of their resources to do so. The party used all of their healing potions and spells here to get more HP. The fire elemental spread it's burning around but near the end of combat the druid cast obscuring mist figuring that the mist would help put out the fire. I don't know if it is RAW as not but the rules for what sort of assistance can be provided to put out persistent damage were vague so I gave it to them and the party managed to put out all the fires before anyone died.

Despite knowing that they had made good time up the mountain and that they had time to rest the group decided to try the next elemental room as well. This time the fight didn't go as planned with the water elemental hitting like a truck and causing them to quickly retreat. The water elemental didn't want to follow them out of the water but the earth elemental had no such reservations and snuck up on them via earth glide. The sorcerer was downed and the fighter had 2 hp when finally a crit from the druids animal companion managed to kill the earth elemental they grabbed the gem and scurried away to lick their wounds leaving the water elemental.

Then the party rested for two nights and a whole day to get all their resources back while the bard and sorcerer examined the mechanism. They managed to figure it out and on the morning of day 8 the party opened the door to Mabar's prison.

Overall I think the session went fine. The fights with the elementals were fun and scary. The party really should have rested between fights but went ahead anyways the sorcerer probably would have died except they spend a hero point to stabilize.

Takeaways
The sorcerer thinks that spells have been nerfed too hard.

The +1 Greatsword continues to dominate

Inspire courage is good but gets a little boring when the bard is constantly healing, inspire courage + soothe most rounds.

We didn't use the 1.3 rules update since I haven't really had time to learn them between when it came out earlier today and our session this evening.

We are way behind schedule so I am skipping to chapter 4 then 7. Bummed we wont get a chance to do the rest most likely.


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Session Eight
Finished up the chapter pretty quickly the druid and the sorcerer both had flaming sphere scrolls that they were keeping in reserve so they popped those before opening the door, when it was just mummies well they burned them all up. Druid spoke auran so they chatted with the jaan and then opened the secret door (druid made his will save on the mirror) took the countdown clock and left around noon on day 7.

Overall Takeaways from Chapter 2
+X weapons feel powerful

Spells for the most part do not. I was hesitant to say this since spellcasters were very powerful in 1e but I think spellcasters need a boost.
Personally I would recommend:
1 more spell per day per slot
Cantrips that scale with every spell level even if it is minimal instead of every other spell level.
Lower enemy saves such that spells hit more often.

If there needs to be a trade off for balance personally I would prefer all spellcsters being more limited in spells known (give clerics/druids a spell book, maybe have prerequisites to know certain spells) but let the spells they do know be a bit more powerful.

Overall the math of the game is slightly off. Enemy AC, and saves should be lower so that the PCs hit more often. Up the enemies HP a bit to compensate and I think it will make the game more fun.

Future Plans
We are a pretty slow group only playing for 2-3 hours each week on roll20 with a lot of page flipping. We will skip chapter 3 and move straight into chapter 4. I expect we will skip 5 and 6 as well and go straight to 7 afterwards. Doing it this way will let us test a wider variety of levels and help give the players a satisfying story.


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Session Eight

So we jumped straight to chapter 4 for now at least just to keep up with the playtest and two of my originial players had to sit out a chapter due to work/school so currently the group consists of

Mitch Flawless: Half-Elf Archer Focused Ranger
-Very happy with the new hunted shot since the last time he was played as a lvl 1 character he didn't have any good archery feats

Thundarr: Half-Orc Dragon Totem Barbarian
-Big fan of getting dragon breath.

Ol'Toby: Gnome Cleric of Sarenre
-New player to the playtest, primarily a 5e player. He decided to make a healing focused cleric because he thought it would be fun.

Korgael Goldbrand: Human Paladin of Sarenre
-This is actually a GMPC which I normally avoid but I wanted to see shield mechanics in play myself and the party needed a fourth so there it is.

Spoiler:

After getting basic supplies including riding horses the party decided to first investigate the rumors of the gnome village. Ol'toby being a gnome with high Cha and a master of diplomacy expected to be able to recruit them. The party traveled north along the river and stopped to investigate the lake. Due to a critical success they discovered evidence of the sea serpent without encountering it (specifically I said they found the bones of elk which had been snapped like toothpicks and striped of flesh wash up on the shores of the lake). The Cleric cast Auguary to determine if fighting the serpent was a good idea and I said Woe, it's a big scary monster.

The party traveled north cutting through the forest and began to search for the gnome village. They failed to find it (only one hex away) or any evidence of what direction it was in they ended up searching along the river all the way up the northern tributary. Along the way the ranger joked that maybe he should find an hawk and try and train it to find gnomes so when they reached the roc next at the end he decided to try and wild empathy the rocs into not eating gnomes any more and maybe attempt to tame them. The party sacraficed a horse to the rocs and the ranger made a bunch of wild empathy diplomacy checks which generally worked out.

Not totally sure how wild empathy is supposed to work but it said rudimentary communication so Mitch got from the Rocs that they were only attacking gnomes because they can't hunt in their normal hunting grounds. Mitch asked why they don't hunt around the forest (I had already established the presence of elk herds in the area due to my description of the sea serpent clue) and I said that there wasn't enough game because there was another predator in the area. In the end the rocs were friendly to the party and agreed to stop eating gnomes, and if provided with either a bunch of horses or the corpse of the predator in the forest they would help in future conflict and show them where the gnome village is. One make an impression check and three requests in total.

The party then went back to the lake and prepared to fight the monster there. The ranger and Paladin set up a falling tree trap and the cleric cast water breathing on everyone then sent his familiar (gnome ancestry) in the form of a swimming rabbit to go lure the sea serpent out. I was totally going to have the familiar get et but a crit on it's perception allowed it to see the serpent in time to flee back to shore.

The sea serpent burst out of the water and was met by the party they barbarian blasted it with a fire breath (which it resisted part of) and the paladin kicked a tree over onto it (which I adjudicated using the hazard stats of a generic lvl 9 hazard) The first round of combat went okay... then it all started to go wrong. The party's attacks failed to hurt the serpent and the clerics spells were all resisted or critically resisted due to the huge bonus. The serpent crit on the barbarian three times in the fight and so far the cleric has spend most turns two action casting heal on the barbarian. The paladin stepped up to the front but the serpent grabbed him with his tail and dunked him underwater to try and drown him (luckily cleric had cast water breathing)

The ranger started jumping on the serpents head using his boots of spider climbing to stick which confused the serpent for a round while it tried to shake him off, eventually though it dropped the paladin and grabbed the ranger with his tail. Overall I played the serpent pretty dumb (as befits a beast) but the barbarian hit once over the course of five rounds of attacks the ranger hit once an the paladin and cleric never managed to hurt it at all.

We ended the session mid fight and we shall see if they survive it. They were rolling poorly but still the current situation is that the cleric and barbarian are on shore fighting the head while the ranger is grappled by the tail in the water. They paladin managed to swim up tot he tail and grab on next to the ranger.

Takeaways

Hex crawl was fun once they got used to it

Ranger upgrades were well received

Fights vs single higher level enemies are very difficult which I think is a good thing, in the past the action economy being so heavily in the favor of the party made single boss fights often too easy.

Magic still feels weak though to be fair everyone felt weak in that fight.


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Session Nine

They survived!

Spoiler:

Sea serpent fight
They survived mostly due to hero points and some creative thinking that I let them get away with. The fight was brutal with people hitting zero a lot but the barbarian true to form went reckless with damage while droping to 0 multiple times but between orcish endurance and hero points he kept staying at 1 HP.

Major takeaway is it is actually hard to kill PCs, I don't think it is too hard since as soon as they ran out of hero points they would have died they just happened to have enough (2 for the barbarian who I gave one for his idea of throwing a necklace of fireballs into the sea serpents mouth while... grappled in the sea serpents mouth, I told him that they would both automatically crit fail since there was no way they could dodge and he said perfect. It was a big g#$ d+*n hero moment).

After the fight they got the treasure from the lake went up to the gnomes who they had one of those fun interactions,

"Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to stop the Rocs from attacking us"
"... oh... yah we already did that."

So they had a party and learned about the possible presence of the dryad.

They searched the forest for the dryad, found her after searching almost every other square and had some good conversations. The DCs were hard but the cleric pumped up diplomacy so they made a deal with the dryad to stop the cyclopses then made a deal with the cyclopses to stop the dragon. Session had to end before the dragon fight but that is where they are headed next

My main takeaway here is that I am concerned about the +lvl scaling. I like the scaling of PF1 but I think due to the new crit rules every +1 to hit is also a +5% crit (not always obviously but in the regimes where it matters PCs vs higher level monsters). This seems to make the scaling more dramatic as if it was equivalent to +1.5 per level in a PF1 context.

I am starting to think that maybe +1/2 per level would be better. I did some other playtesting with Zman in a play by post and we reached the same conclusion (or more accurately he convinced me).

I know that the scaling fights against action economy which is good. A single higher level boss was a challenge as opposed to getting stomped by action economy but the fact that it crits so much makes it much more powerful than an equivalently higher CR monster would be in PF1. Also maybe making the PCs waste a bunch of actions trying to hit a super high AC isn't the best way to balance action economy.

On the bright side we had fun. The party was relived about surviving the fight and after that it was all diplomacy checks and role-play which all went well for the group. The hex crawl was fun though the DCs don't really make sense. I don't like any impression that the DCs are set by the PCs level which would be unfortunate.


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Session Ten

Spoiler:

Party went back to main camp to get a +3 flail and the paladin transferred the old +2 rune to a backup and also a staff of healing.

Party knows they are going to fight a dragon so they do a little research and learn things about red dragons then they head east to do it.

The party setup a trap where they sanctified the ground in a cave then lured the dragon in. I wasn't going to have it work but the part got a nat 20 crit and I gave it to them the dragon went into the cave with it's giant ally. Three rounds of combat during which its fire breath was resisted and it got quit twice the dragon decided to GTFO since it doesn't want to die.

The party offered the giant a chance to surrender since the dragon just abandoned it and the giant accepted since it was clear which way the fight was going.

They offered the giant a pretty sweetheart deal. Life + a clan of cyclopodes to lead instead of being a follower just for helping fight the Night Heralds. Giant accepted.

The party tracks the dragon to it's lair where it offers them a deal. If they let it live it will give them a small amount of gold and leave the region. The party accepts so the dragon lives and the party gains 1 treasure point.

After turning in quests with the cyclopes and the dryad the party now has 8 allies and enough treasure to order a +3 bow for the ranger.

Takeaways
Two lvl 10 creatures much easier fight than one lvl 12.

Barbarian isn't doing particularly well compared to the fighter last chapter. They do plenty of damage but the low AC, low accuracy, and needing to rest ever fourth round really makes them feel kind of like worse fighters. They need some sort of boost IMO.


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Session Eleven

Spoiler:

Party was all geared up, and allied up. They go to scout out the ruins of the tower they succeeded but didn't crit. They use dream messenger to trigger the troops to move in and then do some more scouting. The adventure doesn't say if they can scout multiple times but I let them do it so they got max intel.

The final fight was... underwhelming.

It started off goo with The Mummy Pharoh paralyzing three of the four party members with fear but luck was with the barbarian that day and two rounds and three crits later Hibimdi was dead. Barbarian hit every attack and resisted every save, Hibimdi despite being hasted couldn't hit to save his unlife.

After that the fight ended up being a bit of a slog the cultists had a lot of HP but not a lot of offensive power. The weakness of spells goes both ways and the spellcasting NPCs didn't affect the party significantly.

I thought it might get more interesting when the brain collector confused the barbarian but luck was still with him and while I did get a chance to have him attack an ally he missed three times!

Anyways party steamrolled them.

Final Takeaways
Spell DCs are too low but y'all know that.
Barbarian attack is too low but y'all know that.
Scaling is rough, I think lvl/2 would be better than 1/lvl but it works.
Need some clerification on how monster identification works I just kind of played kalvinball with it for the ranger.
New hunted shot works well.

Cleric had some specific notes

Bless isn't worth it as a concentration spell
He never used heroic recovery since three action heal was always better than two action heal + metamagic action

Next: Chapter 7


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Interim Character Creation

No actual playtesting this week just some reflections and working on character creation for the final chapter. My group is having intense playtest fatigue now and with the holidays coming up I am worried we wont finish by the end of the year. Current plan is to do Chapter 7, I am going to leave out the first fight to save some time and just have that whole thing as a long intro. I might skip another fight or two if I need to as well.

Characters for Chapter 7

Rageadin

Thundaar (The Barbarain) has been rebuilt using update 1.6 as a Liberator with the Barbarian Multiclass Archetype. Overall this doesn't seem to work all that well since a lot of the offensive Paladin feats don't work without Retributive Strike. Overall the mechanic that the character wants of righteous smiting are still locked behind LG. Also Golarion doesn't seem to have good deity options for a CG barbarian type, I cannot find a Kord/Thor equivalent which was always a popular deity choice for players. That second part will be less if I switch to PF2 anyways since I only ever run homewbrew games.

Druidzilla

One Player decided they liked playing a druid better than a ranger so they are bringing their character from chapter 2 up to lvl 17 instead of their "main". Overall storm druid seems alright. Blasting is fun and the buff to blasting spells damage die made it a bit better even if it's safe to assume that the modal outcome in all cases is half damage.

One Punch Man

Another player wants to try a monk a la One Punch Man. Not totally sure how this will go we talked about builds for this and while quivering palm is thematically the right ability it's not very likely to work. Since it is high level he is going to go for a Str Monk with Dragon Style and see if he can rack up high damage.

GM PC Support

Only three players still since the others dropped out. I am going to try and make a Healing Sorcerer just to see if it can be done. It will be a 100% support character since I am pretty wary of GM PCs in general.

Thoughts

Play-testing is less fun than normal play and it's become a slog.

Curious to see how high level play works out. I just participated in a lvl 20 DnD 5e one shot and it really showed me how having defenses not scale while accuracy does makes everyone hit all the time and how that can be pretty brutal for game balance. I hope having the +Prof to AC helps with this.

High level character creation takes a long time. Less time than in PF1 but still over an hour per character.

Skill feats are a cool idea but in execution are pretty useless. Due to time constraints and the fact that they are mostly negligible or downtime only the players are either not bothering to pick skill feats or just grabbing them based on name only and not looking at the actual text. Maybe in a real campaign they would be more important.

Overall not really a fan of Doomsday Dawn as an adventure. Maybe it's a bad example since it is a playtest but as someone who had never run a Paizo pre-published adventure before I can say that after Doomsday Dawn I have no intention of running another one.

I don't really like Golarion. I was neutral on it before mostly due to ignorance but after looking into it more to try and run Doomsday Dawn properly I have decided it is not for me. I hope that the CRB isn't overly Golarion infused.


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And that's a wrap.

Due to scheduling issues we won't be able to finish the chapter before the end of the year now so I am not running it at all. Plus I had some players (2 of 3) dragging their feet for high level character creation which had become a chore. So my Playtesting is done here. We've filled out all the applicable surveys and wish Paizo the best with the rest of the game development.

Liberty's Edge

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For the record, Doomsday Dawn is really not that similar to other Paizo written adventures (due to, as you mention, being a playtest), and I personally think it's a lot less fun. I wouldn't dismiss other works of theirs based on it.

And I'm curious what about Golarion was a problem? Doomsday Dawn doesn't lean that heavily on any Golarion lore except for the whole Dominion of the Black thing, which is a very minor point in most other Golarion stuff.


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Thanks for that. I am glad that Doomsday Dawn is not representative.

On Golarion I probably could have worded that better since I think the #1 thing I dislike about Golarion is that it's not the homebrewed world I normally run. And I know that's not a fair comparison since obviously I am biased twords my own creation.

The actual traits of Golarion that I didn't like we're:

Guns. I dabbled with flintlock fantasy but don't want it as the default. I know I could run games in a different region but that leads me to my second problem.

The kitchen sink nature of it. I know that's great for publishing adventures but it's not my personal preference.

The dominance of humans over other races.

Evil races. I like playing with some more moral gray area at least where mortal races are concerned.

The deity list felt a bit lacking. All the Divine casters ended up worshiping Sarenre. Though that may well be on me for not understanding enough what makes other deities interesting.

I don't think Golarion is bad I just don't think I am interested in running another game there.

Edit: TLDR Golarion is fine but, unsurprisingly I like my Homebrewed world better.

Liberty's Edge

Bardarok wrote:
Thanks for that. I am glad that Doomsday Dawn is not representative.

Yeah...it's a test first and fun a distant second and that shows. My group's still been having fun, but the adventure helps that happen a fair bit less than usual (and I've run and played at least part of several APs).

Bardarok wrote:
Evil races. I like playing with some more moral gray area at least where mortal races are concerned.

This is actually canonically the case for Golarion. All mortal races listed as 'Evil' are primarily Evil culturally rather than any other way, and almost all have several non-Evil examples.

Bardarok wrote:
The deity list felt a bit lacking. All the Divine casters ended up worshiping Sarenre. Though that may well be on me for not understanding enough what makes other deities interesting.

I have not found this to be the case even with people unfamiliar with the Gods. Cayden Cailean gets a lot of love from people I've met even absent context, for example.

Bardarok wrote:
Edit: TLDR Golarion is fine but, unsurprisingly I like my Homebrewed world better.

That's totally fair. The kitchen sink thing is definitely very thoroughly baked in and not liking that can definitely lead to not liking the setting.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

This is actually canonically the case for Golarion. All mortal races listed as 'Evil' are primarily Evil culturally rather than any other way, and almost all have several non-Evil examples.

That's good to know. The evil races thing is upsetting. It's why I like Goblins in core and pushed for orcs as well.

Deadmanwalking wrote:


Bardarok wrote:
The deity list felt a bit lacking. All the Divine casters ended up worshiping Sarenre. Though that may well be on me for not understanding enough what makes other deities interesting.

I have not found this to be the case even with people unfamiliar with the Gods. Cayden Cailean gets a lot of love from people I've met even absent context, for example.

Probably my fault in presentation then. Or maybe a biproduct of us all learning so much all at once that we just found a goddess that worked and stuck with her.

Liberty's Edge

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

For whatever it's worth, Golarion does have a CG "Strong Guy" deity named Kurgess, but he's a lesser god and not one of the Major 20 that would appear in a core book. A liberator paladin/barbarian would fit in quite nicely with him, somewhere down the line.


Kurgess is NG, not CG.

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