Deadmanwalking's Actual Playtest Thread


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Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Elro the Onk wrote:
Necerion also only has 2 castings of disappearance available (1 if he's cast Mind Blank), which last 10 min. This can be a factor too.

Absolutely. A good reason to make sure you know how everyone is proceeding in exploration mode; anyone not Sneaking will let him hear them coming and cast the spell then, but if someone is, they might catch him with his pants down...


About the early issues of identifying monsters: Early on, there was talk about magical spheres, that each magic tradition had access to 2 such spheres. I have used something similar for monster identification: each monster can be identified by one of 2 knowledge skills.

I find it easier to pick 2 relevant skills than to pick just one.

I count Society as a knowledge skill for this purpose. Relevant Lores can also be used, but my players have more or less dropped Lores as they are so confusing and arbitrary.

I then use the Table 10-2 DC Easy/Medium/Hard columns for the monster's level depending on how rare/obscure it is. Everyone knws what a troll is, but not the difference between different sorts of hags or details of exotic fiends. Since Recall Knowledge can be done again and again, I basically give out all relevant info if this is done in Exploration Mode - and with my Stealth-loving players, this happens a lot.

Liberty's Edge

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All those are perfectly reasonable House Rules, which is to say ways to fix the problem, but the fact that it's easy to fix does not make it less of an issue if not fixed in some official manner.

Indeed, my real issue with the lack of guidelines is not that people won't fix them, it's that different GMs will fix them in entirely different ways, which can wind up logistically difficult for the GM and deeply confusing to any player who has multiple GMs, to the point where they don't even know how to build a character who knows about, say, Devils. I mean, if that's Religion in one GM's game, Society in another, either in a third GM's game, and Occultism in a fourth you suddenly have an issue. This is particularly bad in PFS, but it's no picnic elsewhere either.

My personal hope is that all creature types have a 'default' skill to identify them, but room is left for the GM to allow others as appropriate.

Liberty's Edge

This week's session consisted of three out of four people leveling their characters and nothing else (the fourth person was unavailable). The remaining player will come early next week to level her character, the game will actually begin, and we'll probably be done before Christmas (and definitely before the year is over).

After Doomsday Dawn is over, we'll be switching gears and doing an entirely different game rather than continuing using the playtest, since we all feel the need for a break from Pathfinder in general.

Liberty's Edge

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So, the fourth player leveled their character and we proceeded with chapter 7.

The first fight went fairly well, though the PCs got beat up a bit, and the Rogue actually succeeded at scaring one of the Theorems to death (after the Cleric used Overwhelming Presence and then two were forced to flee for a turn, making the action economy awful), which was funny.

The Ashen Man was disrespected by the Gnome loudly and repeatedly, and generally seemed just like kind of a dick.

The second actual encounter actually went really easily, as the Rogue successfully got it to flee (again). They lacked fire damage, but had lamp oil and rags, so I let the Cleric make 'flaming arrows' with those (doing 1 fire damage), which he passed off to the Ranger who took successful pot shots with them.

Then came the Shoggoth...which the Rogue scared To Death before it's initiative came up, killing it outright.

They spotted and avoided the Rift, figured out the sleeping area, and got hit by the Mind Quake (but only the Gnome failed). And we stopped for the night at that point. We'll finish up with the remaining stuff next week.

Notable stuff:

Scare To Death is just...really horrifyingly broken (in a fun way). Particularly on a Rogue. That's not necessarily bad exactly...if other things were on par.

The Dex Rogue's debuff effects in general (particularly making enemies flat footed via Precise Debilitation) synchronize really well with Intimidate.

Clerics are actually scary offensive casters at this level. Wail of the Banshee and Overwhelming Presence are solid, for example.


Intimidate in general is fairly strong so far. Scare to death being an easy instakill that doesn't really punish in action economy makes it even stronger. What was the rogues intimidate bonus for this? I'm curious the odds of them triggering the critical effect against same level enemies.

Liberty's Edge

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PsychicPixel wrote:
Intimidate in general is fairly strong so far. Scare to death being an easy instakill that doesn't really punish in action economy makes it even stronger. What was the rogues intimidate bonus for this? I'm curious the odds of them triggering the critical effect against same level enemies.

Oh, he 'only' has a +29. Crits on level appropriate opposition are statistically rare (he just rolled well...and the enemies both flubbed their saves). However, I'd still be arguing it as a tad overpowered even if he'd never crit. The ability to inflict Fleeing 1 on a success with no Save to resist is really scarily effective, action-economy wise.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Clerics are actually scary offensive casters at this level. Wail of the Banshee and Overwhelming Presence are solid, for example.

Interesting. I've heard lots of "Clerics have been gutted in PF2, and only Channel/Heal props them up," but I haven't gotten to see a higher level cleric at a Playtest table. This statement implies that clerics may not be in as bad of a place (even neglecting healing) as some posters seem to think they are.


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I have to admit I was laughing hard at scaring a Shoggoth to Death :)


Good to hear Scare to Death is as fun it looks. Personally, I'm hoping other skill feats are brought up that level rather than nerfing the awesome one.


Cheburn wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Clerics are actually scary offensive casters at this level. Wail of the Banshee and Overwhelming Presence are solid, for example.
Interesting. I've heard lots of "Clerics have been gutted in PF2, and only Channel/Heal props them up," but I haven't gotten to see a higher level cleric at a Playtest table. This statement implies that clerics may not be in as bad of a place (even neglecting healing) as some posters seem to think they are.

I've seen Clerics played in Parts 2, 3, and 5, all admittedly before 1.6 but they always contributed to the party very well and it never felt like they were crutching on their extra Heals.

Liberty's Edge

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Cheburn wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Clerics are actually scary offensive casters at this level. Wail of the Banshee and Overwhelming Presence are solid, for example.
Interesting. I've heard lots of "Clerics have been gutted in PF2, and only Channel/Heal props them up," but I haven't gotten to see a higher level cleric at a Playtest table. This statement implies that clerics may not be in as bad of a place (even neglecting healing) as some posters seem to think they are.

In fairness, the Divine Spell list is probably the worst one in the game (healing aside, anyway). Especially at low levels. Note that both the awesome spells I noted were 9th level spells.

That said, improving the list (maybe by adding a few good low level offensive spells, and definitely by adding some better buffs) does seem like all they really need, balance wise (well, and Cha 10 Clerics getting at least one Channel), and even without that Clerics have managed to be very effective in Chapters 1, 3, 4, and now 7 (all the chapters that had one). The spell list is their only real issue, and it's hardly a crippling one.

DerNils wrote:
I have to admit I was laughing hard at scaring a Shoggoth to Death :)

It's better because he's a goblin, and thus tiny. He did speak Aklo, so he got to verbally threaten to do awful things to it. :)

Captain Morgan wrote:
Good to hear Scare to Death is as fun it looks. Personally, I'm hoping other skill feats are brought up that level rather than nerfing the awesome one.

I'm more a fan of this than then alternative in many ways...but Scare To Death might be a tad overpowered even then. Inflicting serious debuffs plus often causing foes to miss two turns all without a save is...perhaps a tad overkill.

It's really the success portion that's perhaps a tad overpowered rather than the actual killing people on a critical success, though.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Cheburn wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Clerics are actually scary offensive casters at this level. Wail of the Banshee and Overwhelming Presence are solid, for example.
Interesting. I've heard lots of "Clerics have been gutted in PF2, and only Channel/Heal props them up," but I haven't gotten to see a higher level cleric at a Playtest table. This statement implies that clerics may not be in as bad of a place (even neglecting healing) as some posters seem to think they are.

In fairness, the Divine Spell list is probably the worst one in the game (healing aside, anyway). Especially at low levels. Note that both the awesome spells I noted were 9th level spells.

That said, improving the list (maybe by adding a few good low level offensive spells, and definitely by adding some better buffs) does seem like all they really need, balance wise (well, and Cha 10 Clerics getting at least one Channel), and even without that Clerics have managed to be very effective in Chapters 1, 3, 4, and now 7 (all the chapters that had one). The spell list is their only real issue, and it's hardly a crippling one.

DerNils wrote:
I have to admit I was laughing hard at scaring a Shoggoth to Death :)

It's better because he's a goblin, and thus tiny. He did speak Aklo, so he got to verbally threaten to do awful things to it. :)

Captain Morgan wrote:
Good to hear Scare to Death is as fun it looks. Personally, I'm hoping other skill feats are brought up that level rather than nerfing the awesome one.

I'm more a fan of this than then alternative in many ways...but Scare To Death might be a tad overpowered even then. Inflicting serious debuffs plus often causing foes to miss two turns all without a save is...perhaps a tad overkill.

It's really the success portion that's perhaps a tad overpowered rather than the actual killing people on a critical success, though.

That's fair. Even if you replaced the success condition with normal Demoralize effect, it would STILL be one of (if not) the best skill feats in the game, as Demoralize is already pretty dang great.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Cheburn wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Clerics are actually scary offensive casters at this level. Wail of the Banshee and Overwhelming Presence are solid, for example.
Interesting. I've heard lots of "Clerics have been gutted in PF2, and only Channel/Heal props them up," but I haven't gotten to see a higher level cleric at a Playtest table. This statement implies that clerics may not be in as bad of a place (even neglecting healing) as some posters seem to think they are.

In fairness, the Divine Spell list is probably the worst one in the game (healing aside, anyway). Especially at low levels. Note that both the awesome spells I noted were 9th level spells.

That said, improving the list (maybe by adding a few good low level offensive spells, and definitely by adding some better buffs) does seem like all they really need, balance wise (well, and Cha 10 Clerics getting at least one Channel), and even without that Clerics have managed to be very effective in Chapters 1, 3, 4, and now 7 (all the chapters that had one). The spell list is their only real issue, and it's hardly a crippling one.

That's fair enough. And if Paizo can work on that between now and the PF2 release, that's not a bad thing. But if the biggest complaint about clerics leading into the release is "the Divine Spell list at low levels could use a little work," I still won't lose too much sleep over it. If there's one thing Paizo has proven they're going to do over the years, it's release new material, especially new spells.

Liberty's Edge

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Captain Morgan wrote:
That's fair. Even if you replaced the success condition with normal Demoralize effect, it would STILL be one of (if not) the best skill feats in the game, as Demoralize is already pretty dang great.

I'd probably give a Save against the Fleeing on a success (leaving Frightened 2 as a minimum effect), but otherwise leave it as-is.

Cheburn wrote:
That's fair enough. And if Paizo can work on that between now and the PF2 release, that's not a bad thing. But if the biggest complaint about clerics leading into the release is "the Divine Spell list at low levels could use a little work," I still won't lose too much sleep over it. If there's one thing Paizo has proven they're going to do over the years, it's release new material, especially new spells.

Spell list aside, Cleric is very solid. I think the Clerics in our games have all been quite effective.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
That's fair. Even if you replaced the success condition with normal Demoralize effect, it would STILL be one of (if not) the best skill feats in the game, as Demoralize is already pretty dang great.

I'd probably give a Save against the Fleeing on a success (leaving Frightened 2 as a minimum effect), but otherwise leave it as-is.

Cheburn wrote:
That's fair enough. And if Paizo can work on that between now and the PF2 release, that's not a bad thing. But if the biggest complaint about clerics leading into the release is "the Divine Spell list at low levels could use a little work," I still won't lose too much sleep over it. If there's one thing Paizo has proven they're going to do over the years, it's release new material, especially new spells.
Spell list aside, Cleric is very solid. I think the Clerics in our games have all been quite effective.

That seems like a good fix. I was trying to find a way that you could keep the frightened 2 but nerf the fleeing and that does it!

As a note on Clerics, I'm in a minority that likes domain powers. I know there are some bad ones but on a general level I really like them being flavorful but situational abilities because, well, you don't get a lot of Spell Points. I feel like situational but good in the situation is a good category of usability for abilities that draw from a small pool like that.

I didn't get to use it much but conceptually Unity is one of my favorite domain powers. I like it WAY better than the PF1 version.

Liberty's Edge

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So, we finished Doomsday Dawn. The players won about as thoroughly as possible.

The PCs went into the fight with Aeteperax and the Deh-Nolo pretty well prepped, and while both the Barbarian and Ranger got Dominated, the Cleric freed the Barbarian and the Ranger saved successfully after the first round. the Rogue's ability to casually make people miss two turns continued to be very effective, and they won fairly handily.

We then had a slight issue with there being just about zero 18th level items the PCs actually wanted (the 18th level item list is slim at best).

Not pressed for time, they then waited a week or so for the Cleric to put the runes I gave them on their gear.

They then began the ritual. The PCs did a fine job on the ritual, debilitating Ramlock enough (and wasting his time via Scare To Death making him flee, plus debilitating him by making him walk through a Prismatic Sphere) that he was relatively easy to kill (well, the 9th level Disintegrate via Wish helped a fair bit...).


Eh, he saved against the disintegrate and took under 70 damage from it. It really came down to him being slowed 2 near the end and the barbarian doing over 200 damage in 2 rounds that did him in. I think it was a fitting end that my character got to retire and move to Katapesh. Goblin getting to live the high life, yeah...


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

So, we finished Doomsday Dawn. The players won about as thoroughly as possible.

The PCs went into the fight with Aeteperax and the Deh-Nolo pretty well prepped, and while both the Barbarian and Ranger got Dominated, the Cleric freed the Barbarian and the Ranger saved successfully after the first round. the Rogue's ability to casually make people miss two turns continued to be very effective, and they won fairly handily.

We then had a slight issue with there being just about zero 18th level items the PCs actually wanted (the 18th level item list is slim at best).

Not pressed for time, they then waited a week or so for the Cleric to put the runes I gave them on their gear.

They then began the ritual. The PCs did a fine job on the ritual, debilitating Ramlock enough (and wasting his time via Scare To Death making him flee, plus debilitating him by making him walk through a Prismatic Sphere) that he was relatively easy to kill (well, the 9th level Disintegrate via Wish helped a fair bit...).

You did not adjust any monster stat blocks from what appears in the bestiary correct? It seems like people's fears over monsters being too powerful becomes increasingly less true the higher level characters get. It also looks like higher level is going to be significantly more playable in Pathfinder Next. The wonkiness of magic item levels and dead levels of magic items will be something that improves dramatically over the course of the next editions life cycle, as long as bloat and power creep is kept down, which feels easier to accomplish with the play test framework than it was in PF1. I still feel like magic items are a bit too much of a central element of character identity for my personal tastes, but I have a feeling that the hype around the first AP released for the next edition is going to get me excited to play pathfinder again, especially with the prospect that the game will stay fun and relatively quick pace at the higher levels.

Liberty's Edge

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I occasionally adjust Skills slightly to account for the Bestiary using the wrong formula, and, upon reflection, I think there might've been a rules error with the final fight (though the PCs probably still would've won), though not with Ramlock's stats...but no, no stat changes other than occasionally skills.

And yeah, I know the Items problem will get less severe over time (and eventually vanish), but it still seems worth noting.

As for items being less essential, last I heard there was some discussion about Skill Items and the possibility of mundane rather than magical ones, as well as making some of the extra dice currently acquired via weapons inherent. So that might get slightly changed by the end.


Nice! Looks like things went well for your group.

What is your Party comp. BTW? I picked up Rogue, Cleric, and Barbarian but missed the 4th.

This thread and a couple others like it makes me wish I had done writeups of my party's playthrough, beyond the one I did for HoU. XP I might still take the time to do writeups from my memory best I can.

Anyhow, I'm looking forward to finishing out this game tonight. My party is actually picking up at the same point yours did for their last session. XD

It's gonna be hairy though because I'm... testing them a little extra by putting them up against the harder version of the Aeteperax enconter despite the fact that Necerion died to the Kraken in Red Flags (He almost got away but his attempt to cast Dimension Door in the Kraken's tentacles came with the freaking FIRST failed Flat Check of the entire danged Playtest. XD). I had this idea mainly due to a little in-joke with the party. Namely that Necerion is marked as a Rare creature, not Unique. So there must be more than one of him. XD

I was just going to add him in to adjust the encounter (I have a party of 5, Human Sorcerer/Fighter, Half-Orc Druid/Cleric, Goblin Alchemist/Wizard, Half-Elf Ranger/Wizard, Halfling Rogue), but then I realized I could have some real fun and give the party a real climactic challenge for the Night Heralds' last stand.

This actually springboarded me into an idea to incorporate refights with all the chapter bosses into Part 7.

For the Shoggoth fight I upped the encounter with a level 14 Fighter reskinned as Drakkus. The Goblin Alchemist called him for a 1v1 for story reasons.

For the fight with Ramlock I'm going to up the fight for 5 players by adding in a Shemhazian when Ramlock shows. That guy got turned into a joke boss in Part 5 by Enervation so hopefully he gets a better showing this time. XD

And then the rest I incorporated into the Aeteperax fight.
The normal encounter is Aeteperax (Heretoafer refered to as A) and 3 Deh-Nolohs (D-N). The stronger version is A, Necerion (Nec), and 5 D-Ns. I traded out one of the 5 D-Ns for a level 14 Fighter/Wizard tweaked a little and reskinned as Hidimbi.

The rest I handled with the 40 EXP adjustment for player 5. I added the elite template to Nec since I figure this other Nec two years later is stronger than the one who died. I added the elite template to one D-N and tweaked it a little and called it Iilvoresh.

Then the remaining 30 EXP went to a level 16 Antipaladin, Hevah.
And thus were the Part 1-6 bosses all represented.

I worried I might be breaking some guidelines with this by using the stronger Aeteperax fight, but I think it's alright since the stronger fight is something that is supposed to be able to be encountered, it's just that my players didn't follow the standard path to encounter it (Would have if it weren't for that ONE roll). And I worried about my additions but save for the one D-N getting swapped for Hidimbi, ALL of the other boss inclusions were by taking some creative picks for the 5 player adjustments, and all are staying within the CR brackets being tested.

So yeah, hopefully this isn't disruptive to my data, but I just couldn't resist giving my players a big finale instead of just a Dragon and some aberrations that would've gone down like a sack of potatoes.

Also every member of my party still has their Wish and their part 1 Pharasman blessing, so they have an edge despite the equivalent EXP of the parties.

And my party knows they're going up against the much tougher encounter and are hyped for it. XD

Liberty's Edge

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The fourth is a Ranger. She had sort of ridiculously bad dice luck, but still participated meaningfully.


Congrats on finishing the playtest. It's been a fun read.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Well done, thanks for your thorough analysis and for making it through the whole thing!

And congratulations to Raylyeh and the rest of the group on their success!

Liberty's Edge

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Bardarok wrote:
Congrats on finishing the playtest. It's been a fun read.

Thanks! It's been a very interesting experience. I've looked over pre-release books for errors and weirdness once before, but never done a serious playtest of a new game system.

Mark Seifter wrote:
Well done, thanks for your thorough analysis and for making it through the whole thing!

I'm glad my analysis proved useful. :)

And, while I was a tad worried for a moment that I wouldn't complete it in time for the end of the year, but the last two adventures went pretty quick (amazingly so, in the case of Red Flags).

Mark Seifter wrote:
And congratulations to Raylyeh and the rest of the group on their success!

Yeah, I'm pleased they did well. :)

Paizo Employee Designer

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I'm going to be honest, this playtest schedule was brutally challenging for you guys and for us, especially with the updates. And to make sure we got as much feedback from you guys before we really dug into rewrites or changes, we had to wait on those too until we're here, so close to the end of the playtest that any new trends we reveal we can handle. That does mean, for instance nearly 70 hours of work for me last week, but it's worth it for all the insight we gained and all the improvements we can make to each individual facet of the game. I'm much more excited about some of the classes than before, for instance, thanks to all the analysis you guys did!

This is really the first time we've really put a solid framework on playtesting that starts to generate consistent data (rather than the usual "just run this on anything" which has wound up testing against home games with results showing completely divergent facts about the same new classes in previous class playtests), and it shows in how much more powerful your insights were this time compared to before, but man it was hard on us all!

Thank you for your perseverance (and same to everyone reading this thread, I'd put it in my prior "Thanks" thread to be more general but I don't want to necro)

~Mark

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