My quick thoughts on combat, resonance, disparity.


General Discussion


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I've been thinking about this for a week now. IMHO the system is still skewed, just differently. It's like trying to focus a microscope, it was too far out of focus in 1e, and now it's too far out of focus in the other direction in 2e.

My quick thoughts on how to dial that focus in.

1. Keep resonance. I can't stand it, but I understand why it's there.

2. Kick up spellcasters' # of spells a day so that they max out with 5 spells/day of 1-5th level, 4 of 6-7th level and 3 of 8-9th level.

3. Take the +1 die damage out of magical weapons and put it back into the proficiencies - so someone trained in the longsword does 1d8, someone expert does 2d8, master 3d8, legendary 4d8 (+ability bonuses get multiplied as well). Lancelot's sword isn't the hero, Lancelot is.

4. Double the raising shield bonus, but make it applicable to 1 attack per proficiency level. If the shield is equipped but not raised, you get the regular bonus (so raising it would be 3x in total).

That would get combat to feel more like a life or death struggle, I think. What we have isn't terrible, it's just very mundane. I'm a firm believer that our actions ought to be meaningful if we take the time to do them.


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Kind of agree.

1) Keep resonance but give more of it. LVL + CHR does not seem like it's enough. Maybe 2+LVL+CHR MOD?

2) Yeah, Ezren having only 3 1st level spells is really limiting. Might be ok if cantrips did more damage, like 1d4+2 or 1d8+2.

3) Good idea. But then they'd have to re-work magic weapons, but I like your idea.

4) That would be too much imo and I wouldn't want to track how many attacks were already done in the round. I like they way they have it now, with the exception of maybe the shields being able to take more dents.

Dark Archive

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Nice, thus far, this thread is refreshing - pointed concerns with proposed fixes minus the drama. Let's keep this type of feedback going.

Sovereign Court

I was curious if unlimited attack cantrips and powers would satiate folks from the low spells per day change. Doesnt seem like its working.


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Pan wrote:
I was curious if unlimited attack cantrips and powers would satiate folks from the low spells per day change. Doesnt seem like its working.

Well, you're comparing martial classes that do 1d8+4 damage (with potentially 3 attacks per round) with cantrips that can be done once per round that do 1d4 or 1d8 damage.

Bottom line is martial DPR is well beyond what a cantrip can do. In my playtest, Merisiel is doing 22 damage on a crit, Ezren is doing 2d4.


Jason S wrote:
Pan wrote:
I was curious if unlimited attack cantrips and powers would satiate folks from the low spells per day change. Doesnt seem like its working.

Well, you're comparing martial classes that do 1d8+4 damage (with potentially 3 attacks per round) with cantrips that can be done once per round that do 1d4 or 1d8 damage.

Bottom line is martial DPR is well beyond what a cantrip can do. In my playtest, Merisiel is doing 22 damage on a crit, Ezren is doing 2d4.

I completely agree and am getting similar data. And in my vision that's their bread and butter. Casters, on the other hand, are the artillery barrage or the specialist when you need to do something other than B,P,S as well as some buffing, out of combat stuff, etc.

in other words, the people you call in for that extra pinch (or when you're fighting other spellcasters - like fights like).


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Jason S wrote:
Pan wrote:
I was curious if unlimited attack cantrips and powers would satiate folks from the low spells per day change. Doesnt seem like its working.

Well, you're comparing martial classes that do 1d8+4 damage (with potentially 3 attacks per round) with cantrips that can be done once per round that do 1d4 or 1d8 damage.

Bottom line is martial DPR is well beyond what a cantrip can do. In my playtest, Merisiel is doing 22 damage on a crit, Ezren is doing 2d4.

the hitch there is that those repeated attacks have further and further chance to hit (it's not quite a given that most or all of them are gonna land, which needs to be taken into account for), especially given the fairly low accuracy across the system even for classes like the fighter, whose job IS to hit things (because he's never allowed to do anything else, grumble grumble etc). you might get that second one, but unless you're punching pretty far below your weight class, that third one is basically a miss.

@OP: you make some good points, though i personally disagree on resonance (and it's knock-on effects for things like the alchemist, like double-costs on consumables)


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Zi Mishkal wrote:

I've been thinking about this for a week now. IMHO the system is still skewed, just differently. It's like trying to focus a microscope, it was too far out of focus in 1e, and now it's too far out of focus in the other direction in 2e.

My quick thoughts on how to dial that focus in.

1. Keep resonance. I can't stand it, but I understand why it's there.

2. Kick up spellcasters' # of spells a day so that they max out with 5 spells/day of 1-5th level, 4 of 6-7th level and 3 of 8-9th level.

3. Take the +1 die damage out of magical weapons and put it back into the proficiencies - so someone trained in the longsword does 1d8, someone expert does 2d8, master 3d8, legendary 4d8 (+ability bonuses get multiplied as well). Lancelot's sword isn't the hero, Lancelot is.

4. Double the raising shield bonus, but make it applicable to 1 attack per proficiency level. If the shield is equipped but not raised, you get the regular bonus (so raising it would be 3x in total).

That would get combat to feel more like a life or death struggle, I think. What we have isn't terrible, it's just very mundane. I'm a firm believer that our actions ought to be meaningful if we take the time to do them.

1- Keep it and add too it but also dont let it count towards certain consumables and class abilities like the Alchemist.

2- I agree as well. Also Cantrip Damage needs a boost.

3- I really like this idea except the Fighter could start with a 2d12 weapon since they start at Expert. Would skew low level Damage vs HP. But the idea has tons of merit!

4- I dont agree with this one. Maybe double the Dents an item can take or something but as is I feel that shields are lackluster.


AndIMustMask wrote:


@OP: you make some good points, though i personally disagree on resonance (and it's knock-on effects for things like the alchemist, like double-costs on consumables)

Thanks - and I keep forgetting about alchemists and resonance, in particular because in my mind alchemy isn't "magic".. it's alcehmical :P

But I agree with you there on the double tax.


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I'm not sure cantrips really should be on par with a melee character. They're used at range and often have other effects like persistent damage which can be brutal from reports I've seen. But probably should be a bit higher than they are now. A bit behind melee, but not too much.

I do agree that casters should probably get more spell slots. I think they went a bit too far in trying to rein in the power level of casters, instead of cutting power in one way, it was done in pretty much all at once, which is petty dramatic all together. Some magic durations, number of targets and ranges should also be increased. Concentration might need some work too, it seems a bit rough. For example, Unseen Servant has concentration and lasts a minute tops. That takes out the classic uses of using them to clean the house or serve dinner or whatnot.

And summoned monsters only get 2 actions, take an action to maintain and will go away if the caster takes their level in damage, you only get one and their level is 2-4 below the caster. I understand they could be unbalancing in PF1, but this seems to go a bit too far in the other direction. The summon list needs to be less full of evil, but that's probably just a byproduct of the limited nature of the playtest.

I disagree about resonance, it's implementation is problematic. But if it's dialed back from consumables (from the stream it sounds like that's a real possibility) and most utility items (bag of holding is the big one), and just keep it for invested items and as a replacement for charges or limited uses per day, that could be fine.


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No idea on others, but 3. is a fabulous one, indeed. No item dependency for heroics!


Doktor Weasel wrote:

I'm not sure cantrips really should be on par with a melee character. They're used at range and often have other effects like persistent damage which can be brutal from reports I've seen. But probably should be a bit higher than they are now. A bit behind melee, but not too much.

I do agree that casters should probably get more spell slots. I think they went a bit too far in trying to rein in the power level of casters, instead of cutting power in one way, it was done in pretty much all at once, which is petty dramatic all together. Some magic durations, number of targets and ranges should also be increased. Concentration might need some work too, it seems a bit rough. For example, Unseen Servant has concentration and lasts a minute tops. That takes out the classic uses of using them to clean the house or serve dinner or whatnot.

And summoned monsters only get 2 actions, take an action to maintain and will go away if the caster takes their level in damage, you only get one and their level is 2-4 below the caster. I understand they could be unbalancing in PF1, but this seems to go a bit too far in the other direction. The summon list needs to be less full of evil, but that's probably just a byproduct of the limited nature of the playtest.

I disagree about resonance, it's implementation is problematic. But if it's dialed back from consumables (from the stream it sounds like that's a real possibility) and most utility items (bag of holding is the big one), and just keep it for invested items and as a replacement for charges or limited uses per day, that could be fine.

cant a few of them also target TAC? which'd be a pretty solid accuracy boost by itself


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AndIMustMask wrote:
cant a few of them also target TAC? which'd be a pretty solid accuracy boost by itself

TAC is not what it used to be. Most of the times it's only 1-2 points lower than full AC, and you can't get any item enhancement to hit with spells. After a few magic items, spell are actually worse at hitting than shortswords.


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Yeah, TAC got beat down, which is incredibly bad for alchemists.

I'm (a) thrilled about the positive conversation going on here. Everyone, give yourselves a pat on the back for being mature adults :) and (b) it seems like the idea of moving the extra damage dice back to the martial is the most popular idea.

If I might be allowed to elaborate on that thought. Moving the damage dice back doesn't marginalize magic weapons. There are still numerous monsters which are immune to or have DR against mundane weapons. I propose we affirm and expand that list. A fighter might be able to do enough nonlethal damage to knock out a resistant monster - but to kill it, you'd need a magic weapon (maybe even a weapon with a specific numeric bonus?) Would weapons of adamantine, silver, etc be sufficient? perhaps in some cases.
Magic weapons could also give other bonuses - perhaps to combat maneuvers or additional deflections or even an additional AoO since those are now being rationed out.

This, btw, is all an abridged version of my true wish, which is to see martials being proficient in only certain weapons past trained and that proficiency being tied into combat maneuvers. There's a whole world of martial optimization out there. The damage issue is literally just fiddling with numbers (albeit a lot of numbers) and is based on how quickly the devs want you to carve through a challenge equivalent combat.

Oh, and if I could add (5) I'm against wizards in plate mail. Maybe light armor up to a chain shirt for casting - but plate is too much for anything with a somatic component. But that's quite minor in the grand scheme.


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1. I don't mind resonance in theory, but not every magic item should use it. There should be items that don't use resonance (consumables), those that have to be invested (magic armor), and those that require constant use (wands). I'd also like for it to be in the item's description if RP is spent on Activation or not, that way a new player isn't as confused or the game has to be stopped for the DM to go flipping through the book. An yes, something needs to be done for the Alchemist because they run themselves thin really easily from what I've seen and read.

2. I'm open to this. I'd recommend 5 slots for 1-3, 4 slots for 4-6, and 3 slots for 7-9, just because the numbers work out a bit better (one less spell slot for every three spell levels).

3. I wouldn't mind this, or at the very least a Variant Rule for those who want that feeling of power to be tied to their character rather than their gear.

4. I would much rather make the Raise Shield action last until you put it down (a free action), but you become hampered 10. That way a shield-user can get 3 actions for attacks and the like on their next turn and subsequent turns, but are slower due to being in a defensive stance.

I'm not sure about boosting cantrip damage too much. They are at-will elemental damage with rider effects. They aren't meant do to incredible amounts of damage. Perhaps a Feat option for all spellcasters that lets them add an additional damage die to their cantrips? I'm also nervous that increased cantrip damage would render an Alchemist's bombs pointless... though that might be more of an issue with the Alchemist.


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Zi Mishkal wrote:

Yeah, TAC got beat down, which is incredibly bad for alchemists.

I'm (a) thrilled about the positive conversation going on here. Everyone, give yourselves a pat on the back for being mature adults :) and (b) it seems like the idea of moving the extra damage dice back to the martial is the most popular idea.

If I might be allowed to elaborate on that thought. Moving the damage dice back doesn't marginalize magic weapons. There are still numerous monsters which are immune to or have DR against mundane weapons. I propose we affirm and expand that list. A fighter might be able to do enough nonlethal damage to knock out a resistant monster - but to kill it, you'd need a magic weapon (maybe even a weapon with a specific numeric bonus?) Would weapons of adamantine, silver, etc be sufficient? perhaps in some cases.
Magic weapons could also give other bonuses - perhaps to combat maneuvers or additional deflections or even an additional AoO since those are now being rationed out.

This, btw, is all an abridged version of my true wish, which is to see martials being proficient in only certain weapons past trained and that proficiency being tied into combat maneuvers. There's a whole world of martial optimization out there. The damage issue is literally just fiddling with numbers (albeit a lot of numbers) and is based on how quickly the devs want you to carve through a challenge equivalent combat.

Oh, and if I could add (5) I'm against wizards in plate mail. Maybe light armor up to a chain shirt for casting - but plate is too much for anything with a somatic component. But that's quite minor in the grand scheme.

give it time, we're still on page 1


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Dekalinder wrote:
AndIMustMask wrote:
cant a few of them also target TAC? which'd be a pretty solid accuracy boost by itself
TAC is not what it used to be. Most of the times it's only 1-2 points lower than full AC, and you can't get any item enhancement to hit with spells. After a few magic items, spell are actually worse at hitting than shortswords.

Spell Duelist's Wand/Gloves give you an item bonus to ranged/melee attacks with spells.


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Zi Mishkal wrote:

I've been thinking about this for a week now. IMHO the system is still skewed, just differently. It's like trying to focus a microscope, it was too far out of focus in 1e, and now it's too far out of focus in the other direction in 2e.

My quick thoughts on how to dial that focus in.

1. Keep resonance. I can't stand it, but I understand why it's there.

2. Kick up spellcasters' # of spells a day so that they max out with 5 spells/day of 1-5th level, 4 of 6-7th level and 3 of 8-9th level.

3. Take the +1 die damage out of magical weapons and put it back into the proficiencies - so someone trained in the longsword does 1d8, someone expert does 2d8, master 3d8, legendary 4d8 (+ability bonuses get multiplied as well). Lancelot's sword isn't the hero, Lancelot is.

4. Double the raising shield bonus, but make it applicable to 1 attack per proficiency level. If the shield is equipped but not raised, you get the regular bonus (so raising it would be 3x in total).

That would get combat to feel more like a life or death struggle, I think. What we have isn't terrible, it's just very mundane. I'm a firm believer that our actions ought to be meaningful if we take the time to do them.

1. sure. but something should be done for alchemist.

2. agreed. Spells have been nerfed a bit across the board. I think letting them keep more spells makes the game more interesting.
3. I dont like this one. Magic items need to feel special again. I think the current rule makes them much cooler.
4. this sounds a bit fiddly to implement.


Id rather have less resonance but also not require it for every single thing.


Dekalinder wrote:
... you can't get any item enhancement to hit with spells.

I think it would be great to have some of these items floating around.

"zi mishkal wrote:
martials being proficient in only certain weapons past trained and that proficiency being tied into combat maneuvers.

now this is a fantastic idea, but it might be better to have proficiency past trained in a weapon group. This would bring martial classes more in line with, for example, wizards that specialize in a school.


Zi Mishkal wrote:

I've been thinking about this for a week now. IMHO the system is still skewed, just differently. It's like trying to focus a microscope, it was too far out of focus in 1e, and now it's too far out of focus in the other direction in 2e.

My quick thoughts on how to dial that focus in.

1. Keep resonance. I can't stand it, but I understand why it's there.

2. Kick up spellcasters' # of spells a day so that they max out with 5 spells/day of 1-5th level, 4 of 6-7th level and 3 of 8-9th level.

3. Take the +1 die damage out of magical weapons and put it back into the proficiencies - so someone trained in the longsword does 1d8, someone expert does 2d8, master 3d8, legendary 4d8 (+ability bonuses get multiplied as well). Lancelot's sword isn't the hero, Lancelot is.

4. Double the raising shield bonus, but make it applicable to 1 attack per proficiency level. If the shield is equipped but not raised, you get the regular bonus (so raising it would be 3x in total).

That would get combat to feel more like a life or death struggle, I think. What we have isn't terrible, it's just very mundane. I'm a firm believer that our actions ought to be meaningful if we take the time to do them.

Full disclosure, I know Zi and we are playtesting together.

1) Agree with above.
2) Agree with above.
3) Respectfully disagree with the specifics but absolutely agree a thousand times with the principle. Repeat after me, Paizo: I will learn the weight of my sword. Without my heart to guide it, it is worthless—my strength is not in my sword, but in my heart. If I lose my sword, I have lost a tool. If I betray my heart, I have died.

However...
By tying it to a specific weapon proficiency, the characters become locked in to a specific weapon(s); you now can't use any other weapon and expect to remain effective. If I am a 17th level paladin who because of my legendary longsword mastery am hitting for 5d8+Str, and my goddess personally shines her way down from heaven to bestow a +5 Holy Halberd of Hewing, I have no option but to go, "Sorry. I am only trained in Halberd and that fall-off in damage will get my party killed."

I would choose to link the damage dice to class and level instead, so that 17th level paladin can use any tool in their toolbox well. This is how casters work; we don't force the casters to choose to specialize in specific spells. "Sorry, Mr. Wizard, you're only Trained in Fireball, so it's capped at 5d6. If only you were to have Mastered fireball, the troll wouldn't be eating your face."

But yes. Magic should make weapons do cool stuff; disentangle damage dice from the +X part of a magic weapon. Magic should give weapons properties.

4) Yes.


I don’t think spellcasters need more spells. 27-36 is plenty of spells per day. I’ll point to 5e where casters have even fewer spells and yet remain the monarchs of that edition.

I agree with the idea of making magic weapons and armor feel special. I’ll go 1 step farther and suggest that the system bakes in attack and AC bonus to levels, along with damage die increases. Make all magic weapons and armor uncommon or rare and make obtaining one something special, instead of buying them at the bargain bin of ye local Magickal Shoppe. Property runes can remain the same. Character wealth by level could be adjusted now that the core 2 items are no longer needed.

I disagree with the Raise a Shield idea proposed above. Tripling the AC bonus? That makes the difference between a Shield Fighter and non-Shield Fighter enormous. 6 AC is a gigantic difference, even if it only applies to up to 3 attacks a round. I think the Raise a Shield rules are fine as is and don’t need tweaking.


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Zi Mishkal wrote:


1. Keep resonance. I can't stand it, but I understand why it's there.

2. Kick up spellcasters' # of spells a day so that they max out with 5 spells/day of 1-5th level, 4 of 6-7th level and 3 of 8-9th level.

3. Take the +1 die damage out of magical weapons and put it back into the proficiencies - so someone trained in the longsword does 1d8, someone expert does 2d8, master 3d8, legendary 4d8 (+ability bonuses get multiplied as well). Lancelot's sword isn't the hero, Lancelot is.

4. Double the raising shield bonus, but make it applicable to 1 attack per proficiency level. If the shield is equipped but not raised, you get the regular bonus (so raising it would be 3x in total).

1. I disagree. To me it tries to solve a super small problem that was really always a GM responsibility and was only a problem at PFS tables (the "magic happy stick" wasn't really an issue in any of my homebrews). I like the concept of tying your magic items to your "innate" powers, but the execution of this is complicated and unintuitive. To me, you can't just "tweek" it and fix it, you need to scrap the whole thing and go with a different concept. In it's current form, I will probably stray heavily away from consumables and Resonance management in general as a GM, and will avoid classes like the Alchemist as a PC.

2. I don't disagree, but I also don't necessarily agree. I think as someone else mentioned making Cantrips a little better would help here. They don't need to have that many spells, that was part of the problem with casters in 1E

3. I like this idea a lot, but it makes Fighters pretty OP out of the gate and makes any class that doesn't get progressive proficiencies in Weapons pretty terrible (Rogue and Barbarian are pretty sad). You either have to add proficiency increases for other classes too, or tether Magic Weapon use to proficiency levels (so perhaps a certain Dagger allows use if you are an Expert in Stealth, and a Longsword of X requires Expert Proficiency in Blades)

4. I really like this idea because it further gives credence to Proficiency as a concept. Tying the usefulness of the Shield directly with the proficiency would be an excellent way to prevent the issue we have with shields right now (too much of a buff, everyone should use them, current state is no one will use them without them breaking every shield block). In general, I think making Proficiency the central focus of ability not only makes sense but clearly defines the limitations.


On your idea for the weapons, I found a way to potentially address points 1 and 3 together with the below.

I think Proficiency and Charisma alone can replace the entirety of Resonance as a system, with (IMO) a few added benefits.

Have the tier of Proficiency in a Magic Weapon dictate the level of ability (where the Proficiency can depend on that specific weapon, I.E. Dagger could use Stealth as Proficiency or Blades). That way you can accomplish the balancing issue of Fighters not getting "magic items" too quickly like your example, but still having their proficiency factored in to it's power level. It also allows for Proficiency substitutions to classes that don't get Proficiency level in a particular item.

This is kind of a follow up to point 3 in my previous post but here is what I think could take the place of Resonance:

Cure Wand
Requires: Trained in Divine Casting

You channel positive energy to heal the living or damage the undead. You restore Hit Points equal to 1d8 , or deal that amount of positive damage to an undead target.

Trained in Divine Casting: 1d8/3 + Cha times per day

Expert in Divine Casting: 2d8 + level/4 + Cha times per day

Master in Divine Casting: 4d8 + level/ 5 + Cha times per day

Legendary in Divine Casting: 6d8 + level/ 6 + Cha times per day

Cloak of Elvenkind
Requires: None

You can cast Ghost Sound 1 + Cha times per day as an Arcane Cantrip
You gain a +1 bonus to Stealth checks

Trained in Stealth: You can use Invisibility for 1 minute/1 + Cha times per day

Expert in Stealth: You can use Invisibility for 2 minutes/1 + Cha times per day and your bonus to Stealth checks increases to +2

Master in Stealth: When using Invisibility power of this item Hostile Actions do not end the effect and your bonus to Stealth checks increases to +3

Legendary in Stealth: You can use Invisibility for 10 minutes/1 + Cha times per day and your bonus to Stealth checks increases to +4

Now the above does a few things.

1. It now removes resonance entirely, but still preserves the "innate" powers it is supposed to represent with Charisma being the number of casts, and the Proficiency level defining the potency

2. It consolidates everything you need to use the item into ONE place. All the rules for use are right there (with the exception of looking up the spells they offer in the case of the Cloak)

3. Items now increase as the player increases. No need to grab a new Cloak or Wand, the one you have scales with your player. If you like an item you are using, just keep it and advance the respective Proficiency to the level needed to advance it. All of the advancement of the item is tied to the Player now.

4. It adds another layer to the Proficiency system, which to me should become the focus of the new system. Proficiency is everywhere and every single ability/action/skill gets a level of Proficiency.

5. The above allows for a standardized "emulation" format, where you can say things like "For the purposes of using magic items dependent on "X", you are considered an Expert".

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