Deadmanwalking's Actual Playtest Thread


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Liberty's Edge

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So, I actually ran the game earlier this evening. Doomsday Dawn, Chapter 1, specifically.

The PCs were a Goblin Renegade Rogue, an Elf Pathfinder Hopeful Ranger (going TWF with a Trident and Light Hammer), a Gnome Budding Osirionologist Barbarian, a Halfling Family Friend Cleric of Abadar, and a Human Mind Quake Survivor Sorcerer (Demonic Bloodline), the last of whom will not be joining the group for further playtest sessions (he was visiting from out of town for this one). All had 18 in their primary stat except the Gnome (who had a 16) and all were decently optimized IMO (though they favored Int and skills over Con and HP...the HP average was a tad low, excepting the Barbarian).

The adventure went fine for the most part, with the PCs pretty readily waltzing through most of the encounters with minimal resource expenditures (though they were down to a single Channel Energy usage and no potions they had identified in the final battle).

The final battle was rough, with Drakus having both high to-hit, Sneak Attack, and AoO being pretty ridiculous agains the group, but they did finally manage to win out (though three of five were unconscious at the time, and another one had been at one point).

From an adventure writing perspective, a little more guidance on what a PC goblin knew would've been good. I fudged it on a few things, but they never even went into the centipede chamber, since I could see no reason he wouldn't know about that and they had no reason to enter.

The game plays smoothly for the most part, but desperately needs an organizational change in the form of the skills and the chart that determines Skill DCs not being in entirely different parts of the book.

There were also two issues that leaped out at me in terms of actually playing the game (or creating characters), which were not merely organizational:

#1: PCs felt almost forced to take a Heritage Feat at 1st level, since it was their only chance to do so. This sometimes overrode their actual preferences.

#2: What Skill is it to know what an Ooze is and what's up with it? Or an Undead creature? Or anything really. I winged this based on PF1, but a new player would have no idea and find different GMs with wildly varying definitions as well.

Additional reports to follow in this thread on a weekly basis as I run the Playtest Adventure (and possibly other things).


A very good point on Player Goblin vs. Adventure Monster goblins. If goblins are now baked in, common adventurers, this will necessarily shift relations and encounters with Monster goblins.

Liberty's Edge

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OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
A very good point on Player Goblin vs. Adventure Monster goblins. If goblins are now baked in, common adventurers, this will necessarily shift relations and encounters with Monster goblins.

I think the adventure actually does pretty well on that, where it falls down is whether the Goblin PC (who was a member of the enemy group until yesterday) knows all the secrets of their lair (ie: alarms, monsters in side chambers, traps, etc.)

I mean, it implies they know everything...but if that were true, then the PCs receive no surprises at all, which seems odd.


Did you use the exploration mode tactics?

Liberty's Edge

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DerNils wrote:
Did you use the exploration mode tactics?

Basically. I asked what people were doing and matched those activities to tactics, and had initiative rolls as appropriate (there's a fight in pretty much every room there). With no shield users, no people to talk to other than themselves, and nobody tracking or trying to avoid it, this pretty much consisted of either Sneaking or not sneaking, with other tactics largely irrelevant.


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You know what I think will be a life saver on that DC chart? A DM screen. I have half a mind to print a copy of the page out and tape it to my existing PF1 screen.

I'm actually a little less frustrated with which skill it is to identify monsters (I'm pretty comfortable winging that, though I could see why others wouldn't be) and more annoyed with how hard it is to figure out the DC for that check. I'm still not sure if I'm doing it right.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As far as the adventure is concerned, Talga knows everything about the dungeon except the defiled shrine area and everything beyond and of course the secret passage to Tarkus lair. Hence I saw no reason to not tell my players about the centipede room, the fungus room and that there were lots skeletons lying around in one room which the goblins never entered. The party reacted organically to that. Talga can even draw the party a map and is eager to do so. The adventure basically tells you to just lay out the map and just put some paper over the sections Talga doesn't know about.

To be precise, the sidebar says about Talga "she can tell the PCs what to expect in most of the rooms". Hence there's no good reason for anyone to enter the centipede, fungus and skeleton rooms.
"


To be honest, that is the one part I am going to ignore. It takes out a quarter of the encounters and this doesn't feel very playtesty to me. I will have a hard time to convince anybody to go into dead ends on the map anyway.

Good to hear you didn't have Trouble with the Exploration tactics - I still struggle with stuff like searching/sneaking/investigating which is currently forbidden to be combined. And if they do any of those tactics, how does it interact with Ambushes/traps - this is rather unclear to me.

Liberty's Edge

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Yeah, I sorta went the middle route of those two.

I informed him of basic stuff (including almost everything from A2 to A5...I decided his memories of A5 as the 'indoctrination room' were muddled at best), and informed them of A7 being the 'elite' goblin sleeping quarters, but decided that since he was clearly on the outs with Drakus, his knowledge of A8 and the traps was nonexistent, and gave him a Society check to have picked up that people were making an alarm for one door off A6 (he failed).

They thus skipped only the centipedes, and either found or stumbled into the traps based on their rolls.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
A very good point on Player Goblin vs. Adventure Monster goblins. If goblins are now baked in, common adventurers, this will necessarily shift relations and encounters with Monster goblins.

I think the adventure actually does pretty well on that, where it falls down is whether the Goblin PC (who was a member of the enemy group until yesterday) knows all the secrets of their lair (ie: alarms, monsters in side chambers, traps, etc.)

I mean, it implies they know everything...but if that were true, then the PCs receive no surprises at all, which seems odd.

that's why I was very strict with not allowing Goblin PCs for that group.


I will take Inspiration from Deadmanwalking - the Players Goblins and Talga will have overdosed on the mushroom and only have very shaky memories, if at all.

Paizo Employee Designer

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For what it's worth, that's how Logan ran this for Cosmo's goblin bard as well.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I will be conducting my groups run on Thursday. After reading through the adventure and looking at the map, I have to ask...

Is it just me or are some of the rooms awful tight with the number of creatures in the room? Particularly the centipede room. It seems like most of the fights will bottleneck in the hallways. Or am I missing something?


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For the centipedes, do not forget their climb Speed. I did and had the bottleneck problem, but realisticaly the buggers are on the walls and the ceiling. Makes for a great visual, but painful on the battlemap.

Liberty's Edge

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So, we had a session zero for Chapter 2 last weekend. My players made characters at level 4 (a Dwarf Barkeeper Fighter going shield and axe, an Elf Nomad Alchemist bomber, a Human/Half Elf Acrobat Monk using Dragon Style, and a Human Gladiator Bard w/Fighter Multiclass Dedication who worships Shelyn and uses a Glaive).

We also did the start of the adventure, with them being given the quest and making Survival checks for how fast they move, but stopped just before the first combat encounter as it was getting late.

So far the adventure is fine, but it's early days. :)

Some issues that immediately leaped out with creating 4th level characters:

1. For the Alchemist, his options for Extracts were very limited past level one. In particular, there are all of two level 4 options, one of which is very niche (granting a Swim speed...this was not seen as useful in Katapesh), eventually resulting in him taking an extra 3rd level option known. This seems a short term problem, but a real one.

Also, to reiterate a point I've brought up before, the Alchemical Items having no internal index of any sort is painful and unpleasant when making a character.

2. There's some serious awkwardness with shields and what level weapon they are. Our Fighter wanted to be a Heavy Shield user but went with the Durable Light Wooden Shield for mechanical reasons (better Hardness and more Dents). I'm a little unclear why the light and heavy shields would be different levels anyway. I mean, at the moment there are mechanical reasons, but they seem specific to magical shields and frankly just a bit odd.

3. Similarly, Heavy Armor and Bracers of Armor are one level higher as items than Medium or Light Armor. That's a bit odd, and awkward for those using them.

4. Being a Half Elf didn't seem a special hardship at this level, of course that's largely because he spent his General Feat on another Ancestry Feat (he took Shield as a Cantrip via Elf), and the lack of meaningfully good General Feats for a Monk. The thing that made it worth it was largely the +5 foot movement...which makes us concerned for Half Orcs, who lack any such advantage.

5. Camels are not listed in the equipment section. I counted them as 1st level items of indeterminate price (since only combat trained mounts seemed 2nd level). The PC group wound up with two of them (and then borrowed more).

6. The game desperately needs an 'Adventurer's Kit' for people who don't want to micromanage every item. I'm gonna write one up myself, but I hope for something official before we're done. There's also a lack of 'warm weather clothing' to go with the 'cold weather clothing'.

However, equipment and those few minor issues aside, character creation really flows a lot better this edition. It goes quicker, and is very evocative in creating a character out of a block of numbers. We created this whole group of characters in something less than an hour per character (and will go faster in time, I'm sure), and all wound up with more personality than people (including those creating them) seemed to expect. Several players commented on this and I agree. More comments on game play once it occurs.

Liberty's Edge

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So, we started the meat of part 2 of Doomsday Dawn on Saturday, getting to the door to Tular Seft's tomb. Spoilers obviously follow.

It went fairly well (and, amusingly, the PCs never attacked a Gnoll, either running or negotiating), but there were a few issues, which I will get into. Several good spots also presented themselves, and I will break down both by category:

Basic System:

-There was some confusion as to why Readying An Action was two actions while Raising A Shield was only one. I must admit the logic didn't follow very well for me, either. I get the mechanical part, I suppose, but it remains odd.

-In terms of healing, a Bard and Alchemist were perfectly adequate. I'm pretty sure, looking back, that the Bard would've been adequate on their own. I'm less convinced the Alchemist would've been able to do that and still be effective offensively. They weren't as good as a single Cleric was for the 1st level group, though, and this was reflected in more frequent stops to rest. I feel that's more a feature than a bug, but YMMV.

-Aid Another is very good outside of combat. It makes a lot of otherwise intimidating skill checks work out fine if the party coordinates on them. This works pretty well. It does mean that DCs should be looked at very carefully in terms of whether you can Aid on them, since the same math is probably not applicable to those you can and those you cannot.

Adventure:

-The Hyenas are maybe not a good test of a Difficult Terrain encounter. The best way to use difficult terrain is to use their superior mobility for hit and run tactics, but that's both fairly inappropriate for hyenas thematically, and mechanically disincentivized due to wanting to all cluster around opponents for the increased bite damage.

-Quicksand is terrible. And by that I mean badly designed from a fun perspective. One PC fell in, and then the Quicksand won initiative (which is unsurprising with its +11), so they were immediately sucked down to their neck, and sucked under by the end of their turn (with DC 18 checks needed to not have that happen this is not super unlikely). It took them...I think six rounds and 10-15 real-world minutes to get her out, and she had a perfectly respectable +4 Athletics (+8 before ACP, not that this mattered).

The fight took all of one of those rounds (two PCs took one attack each and killed the Ankhrav...there was a crit involved). After that it was just everyone desperately Aiding Another to try and help her get out. And it was boring, grinding, and unpleasant. But a PC's life was literally at stake so we were forced to grind through it rather than skipping it.

I'm pretty sure that, mathematically, her odds of death were fairly low. But getting out was just a huge slog. That fits what quicksand is actually like, but is not fun at all to play.

But lets go back to the Aid Another thing: When one PC threw her a rope I ruled that this allowed everyone to Aid her Swim checks by pulling on said rope. That was a spot ruling, as there's no guidance whatsoever for others helping you get out of Quicksand. Which is a bit of an issue since this is literally the first thing most people will think to do. I'm also pretty sure that if she were unconscious or paralyzed pulling her out would become mechanically impossible (since the only listed manner of escape is her making Swim checks), which doesn't sound right. Lassoing someone in Quicksand and pulling them out seems like it should be possible.

-The Elite Gnoll Warriors have absurd Perception. The encounter reads like you should have good odds of sneaking up on them, but even assuming a -1 Perception due to math error (which I'm not sure even applies in this case, though it seems plausible), sneaking up on them is a crapshoot at best and completely impossible at worst.

Alchemist:

-The Alchemist feels pretty powerful at this level. You pretty much have to go bomber and your utility options are sharply limited (as I discussed previously), but your bombs do some very solid damage if you focus on them, and the debuff from Bottled Lightning is great. Your number of bombs may be a bit low, but at two encounters a day at most for this section, it was perfectly sufficient.

Of course, we lacked a dedicated offensive spellcaster, which might've made them feel worse, but I sort of doubt it.

Bard:

-Inspire Courage is good. As are most Bard abilities, actually. Very solid. Ours effectively had both the Lore and Maestro Muses, and made a good showing.

-That said, a couple stuck out as not great.

Lingering Composition costs a Spell Point, and has a 50% chance or thereabouts of getting you one extra action next round. That's two Spell Points for one extra action on average. I'm...really not sure that's actually a good trade all things considered. I mean, if it took you above three actions or something, maybe...but it doesn't. Additionally, it makes the power feel dispiriting to use, since half the time you spend a Spell Point and get absolutely nothing.

More importantly, the range on Telekinetic Projectile (and thus presumably most other Cantrips) is terrible. It's 30 feet and then flatly fails to work. Some jokes were made about what happens to the momentum after that (nobody knew), but it remained a serious annoyance. In the Manticore fight, the Bard, who took the Cantrip over a ranged weapon, was mostly simply unable to use it. That's not fun, and a situation spellcasters may well get into a fair bit.

Fighter:

-Fighters do really good damage offensively even fighting with a one-handed weapon. This is good.

-Shields are a problem. We had to retcon a thing because apparently the Aggressive Shield Feat requires a Heavy Shield...but there are no magical or increased durability Heavy Shields available at remotely low enough level to possess. So she went back to a standard Heavy Steel Shield rather than the Durable Light Wooden Shield (which has better Hardness and more Dents). This was super annoying and I'm still not seeing a good reason for why it works like this. A fair number of item level restrictions for different varieties of item (like some armor being higher level than others) feel arbitrary and unpleasant.

Monk:

-Our Monk went Dragon Style. Offensively, this was great. As was basically ignoring difficult terrain. Very solid damage with his +1 Amulet. Wrecked some stuff.

-However, his AC was terrible, and he had the Shield Cantrip from being a Half Elf to shore it up. Still terrible. Part of this is probably that a 2nd level set of Bracers of Armor are higher level than +1 armor, so he lacked them. This also really hurt his Saves. Really, I'm not at all convinced having those be higher level than equivalent armor is good or fun at all. He was durable enough that he didn't go down, but I think he took two or three times as much damage as the Fighter and that was with shield helping out (it made a crit into a hit and one attack miss).

-Utter lack of ranged attacks. During the Manticore fight he borrowed bombs from the Alchemist and threw them untrained, which worked adequately (since they hit Touch AC)...but in a party with no Alchemist he, like the Bard, would've been unable to attack, and he had no buffs to provide (which is what the Bard fell back on).


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Lingering Composition costs a Spell Point, and has a 50% chance or thereabouts of getting you one extra action next round. That's two Spell Points for one extra action on average. I'm...really not sure that's actually a good trade all things considered. I mean, if it took you above three actions or something, maybe...but it doesn't. Additionally, it makes the power feel dispiriting to use, since half the time you spend a Spell Point and get absolutely nothing.

Just a clarification, since you seem to go both ways in this paragraph, but Lingering Composition only costs 1 spell point to use. It gains you 2 to your pool when you select it. So a Bard would generally have 6 uses per day, assuming they aren't using Counter Performance at all. That seems...ok for a free action with a decent chance of saving you an action and a 5-10% chance of saving two actions?

Had your Bard taken Virtuousic Performer skill feat? That's a +2 and sort of necessary for an optimized Bard, and optimization is necessary if you want to accomplish what the designers expect.


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so aid another doesn't stack since they all give the same type of bonus. so yeah multiple make it more likely that one gives a bonus, but it doesn't let the bonus get higher.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Lingering Composition costs a Spell Point, and has a 50% chance or thereabouts of getting you one extra action next round. That's two Spell Points for one extra action on average. I'm...really not sure that's actually a good trade all things considered. I mean, if it took you above three actions or something, maybe...but it doesn't. Additionally, it makes the power feel dispiriting to use, since half the time you spend a Spell Point and get absolutely nothing.

Just a clarification, since you seem to go both ways in this paragraph, but Lingering Composition only costs 1 spell point to use. It gains you 2 to your pool when you select it. So a Bard would generally have 6 uses per day, assuming they aren't using Counter Performance at all. That seems...ok for a free action with a decent chance of saving you an action and a 5-10% chance of saving two actions?

Had your Bard taken Virtuousic Performer skill feat? That's a +2 and sort of necessary for an optimized Bard, and optimization is necessary if you want to accomplish what the designers expect.

DMW is saying that since 1 SP gets you a 50% chance of getting the extra round, to get an extra round you'll have to spend an average of 2 SP as one attempt will fail and one will succeed with normal probabilities.


Deadmanwalking wrote:


#2: What Skill is it to know what an Ooze is and what's up with it? Or an Undead creature? Or anything really. I winged this based on PF1, but a new player would have no idea and find different GMs with wildly varying definitions as well.

I ran into the same problem. For me, it didn't come up with the ooze, but I wanted them an opportunity to understand what a faceless stalker was. I ruled Occult, but other GMs could make other calls here, rightfully so.

Liberty's Edge

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Xenocrat wrote:
Just a clarification, since you seem to go both ways in this paragraph, but Lingering Composition only costs 1 spell point to use. It gains you 2 to your pool when you select it. So a Bard would generally have 6 uses per day, assuming they aren't using Counter Performance at all. That seems...ok for a free action with a decent chance of saving you an action and a 5-10% chance of saving two actions?

As Enlight_Bystand points out, I was saying that, since it had a 50% success rate, you needed to, on average, spend two spell points to make it work.

And I'm less certain of how good it is. It certainly feels bad to often use it and get absolutely nothing for your Spell Point. Even as a bystander that feels bad.

Xenocrat wrote:
Had your Bard taken Virtuousic Performer skill feat? That's a +2 and sort of necessary for an optimized Bard, and optimization is necessary if you want to accomplish what the designers expect.

He did not. But even with it (and every other thing maxing out Performance), the odds are still less than 2/3. And I think the degree of optimization required for basic competence is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

Chess Pwn wrote:
so aid another doesn't stack since they all give the same type of bonus. so yeah multiple make it more likely that one gives a bonus, but it doesn't let the bonus get higher.

This isn't always quite true. In the Quicksand scenario, she was making three checks a round. Different Aid Another bonuses could thus apply to different checks, which was very relevant.

Also, even on just one roll, multiple people aiding gives you a vastly higher chance of getting the +2, or even the +4, since you get it if even one person succeeds.

I actually wasn't thinking about it not stacking at the time, but I'm pretty sure it never wound up getting stacked even so (maybe once on a roll that failed anyway...). Still very effective.


By the way, anybody knows how success/failure interact? So would a bad aid another roll, resulting in a malus, hurt, or would it be replaced by a good one?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
-Quicksand is terrible. And by that I mean badly designed from a fun perspective. One PC fell in, and then the Quicksand won initiative (which is unsurprising with its +11), so they were immediately sucked down to their neck, and sucked under by the end of their turn (with DC 18 checks needed to not have that happen this is not super unlikely). It took them...I think six rounds and 10-15 real-world minutes to get her out, and she had a perfectly respectable +4 Athletics (+8 before ACP, not that this mattered).

Some thoughts:

1. You need to critically fail to sink further on your turn in the quicksand. For this character that is a roll of 4 or less.
2. Swim is an action. Can't you attempt it three times on your turn? Even if you are unlucky and get a critical fail, odds are (without doing any actual math here...) that you will get one success based on luck to cancel the failure so I think it shoudn't take too long to pull someone out.

Liberty's Edge

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Strachan Fireblade wrote:

Some thoughts:

1. You need to critically fail to sink further on your turn in the quicksand. For this character that is a roll of 4 or less.

This is true. It never happened. She got grabbed (down one step), didn't beat the +11 Initiative of the Quicksand, and then didn't make a successful Swim Check on her first round (a not too unlikely event...around 27-28% by my math in this case).

Strachan Fireblade wrote:
2. Swim is an action. Can't you attempt it three times on your turn?

Yup. Still took something like 15 minutes of real world time to get her out.

Strachan Fireblade wrote:
Even if you are unlucky and get a critical fail, odds are (without doing any actual math here...) that you will get one success based on luck to cancel the failure so I think it shoudn't take too long to pull someone out.

This is not true. You need 4 successes over the two rounds to get out in two rounds once you're all the way in (which only requires not getting any successes on the first round). That's 2/3 of your rolls succeeding on a check with a 1/3 chance of success. It takes a while to happen.

With only a 1/3 chance of success per attempt (on average...a 35% chance, actually) you literally wind up treading water forever going by pure averages. With people Aiding, you'll get out eventually. But the emphasis is on 'eventually'.

And all that is on someone with decent Athletics. Someone with a negative Athletics (or even just +0) is probably just dead once they go under, and a +2 rather than a +4 gets ugly.

The odds absolutely favor getting out with a +4 Athletics...but they are not certain, and do not favor doing so quickly. Which was the issue.

Liberty's Edge

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And we finished up Chapter 2 last night. It went fine for the most part, though the sheer number of 16+ results on Skill Checks made solving the puzzle go faster and easier than expected. This resulted in the PCs having all of two fights (the Water/Earth Elemental fight, and then the mummy guards, which went quickly once Alchemist Fire was involved) and then skipping the other Elemental fight.

They then freed Mabar (and the Bard, who spoke Ancient Osiriani, talked to him), made a ridiculous Save against the mirror, and took everything that wasn't nailed down in Tular Seft's crypt, posed his body flipping off anyone who came in (like, say, the Night Heralds) and absconded with a 3 day head start. That...pretty much ended the adventure right there.

A few things did come up:

-Water and Earth Elementals are fun to fight and have some neat stuff they can do. Focused fire remains very powerful this edition.

-I'm a little unclear on how Afflictions work in some cases. What happens when you succeed at the second Save on Lesser Mummy Rot? Are you just cured? Because that's what the rules seem to say but it feels wrong.

We also began character creation for Chapter 3 (so far, a Dwarf Animal Order Druid and a Shelyn-worshiping Human Paladin, a bow using Cleric of Erastil and another indeterminate Cleric will follow). Two very relevant things came up there:

-You can't max out most skills at most levels, since that requires specific items which often don't exist at a particular level. The Paladin took an Occultism boosting item because neither a Religion booster nor a Diplomacy booster even existed.

-In order to use a Longbow effectively, you need Point Blank Shot. This means that all Clerics of Erastil, in order to stay in-theme, need to multiclass Fighter and take Point Blank Shot. This is kind of a problem for obvious reasons.


According to the afflicition rules, if you succeed at the second save of Lesser Mummy rot, your stage goes to 0, meaning the affliciton Ends. This is a bit counterintuitive, but only because stage 1 on lesser Mummy Rot has no effect. Normally you would take the Stage 1 effect, even if you succeeded, meaning you get the effect at minimum once if you failed your initial save. I struggled with this in Part 1 as well, but if you think it through it Kind of makes sense if you want to have onset times.
Edit: Sorry, in the case of Mummy rot someone needs to remove a curse as well before you get better, but that doesn't Change the Overall way afflictions work.

I find it a bit unfortunate that this Adventure can very easily end with the underwhelming Mummy guards as the final Encounter. This is an effect of a race Kind scenario, but it's the playtest, so I don't worry. I will probably offer my Players to do the test fight against the heralds anyway, just to be able to give Feedback.

For the future, I would never make stuff like this completely avoidable, there Needs to be at least some Kind of interaction for this to be interesting. What this means is that the Players heard there is someone evil, you beat them, well done. They never even saw the guys - that does not make an interesting or fulfilling Scenario.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
5. Camels are not listed in the equipment section. I counted them as 1st level items of indeterminate price (since only combat trained mounts seemed 2nd level). The PC group wound up with two of them (and then borrowed more).

Lady Vord gives the party camels to use, so I'm unclear why you ran it this way.

Liberty's Edge

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DerNils wrote:
Edit: Sorry, in the case of Mummy rot someone needs to remove a curse as well before you get better, but that doesn't Change the Overall way afflictions work.

This was sort of the confusing part for me. What does this even mean if you make the Save and reduce it to stage zero?

Runnetib wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
5. Camels are not listed in the equipment section. I counted them as 1st level items of indeterminate price (since only combat trained mounts seemed 2nd level). The PC group wound up with two of them (and then borrowed more).
Lady Vord gives the party camels to use, so I'm unclear why you ran it this way.

The players created characters and, during character creation and before meeting Lady Vord, wanted to own camels. I did indeed let them get additional camels from her (hence mention of borrowing some), but they wanted some of their own.

Silver Crusade

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Deadmanwalking wrote:


-Quicksand is terrible.

In Rose Street Revenge the quicksand in that scenario caused one player to rage quit (there were probably other contributing factors). The OTHER players (with characters NOT in the quicksand) were amused, mind :-) :-)


As for Mummy Rot, I guess the specific overrules the general. So you cannot reduce Mummy Rot to Stage Zero before someone removes the Curse.

Liberty's Edge

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DerNils wrote:
As for Mummy Rot, I guess the specific overrules the general. So you cannot reduce Mummy Rot to Stage Zero before someone removes the Curse.

Then what happens? Do you just keep rolling every minute until you fail, or what?


Unofortunately, yes. Not that it overly matters, as the worst that can happen is non-additive -1 to Charisma checks, but that's how I read it. It's not well thought out, but I don't find any other Interpretation that makes any sense.

Liberty's Edge

DerNils wrote:
Unofortunately, yes. Not that it overly matters, as the worst that can happen is non-additive -1 to Charisma checks, but that's how I read it. It's not well thought out, but I don't find any other Interpretation that makes any sense.

My interpretation was that if you succeeded at the Save and reduced it to zero, it went away, with the 'Curse' text only applying if you tried to cure it via a spell or something.

Yours may be a more correct reading, but either way its weirdly worded and organized.


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Insofar as we are having a discussion, it's already obvious that it needs better wording ;)

Liberty's Edge

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So, we finished character creation and did the first bit of Chapter 3 last night.

The players created a Halfling Cleric of Nethys (offensive caster, multiclassing Wizard with an Evocation School focus), a Human Cleric of Erastil (archer and buffer, plus a bit of offensive casting, multiclassing Fighter because it's absolutely required for Point Blank Shot), a Dwarf Druid (melee focused, Animal Order with a pet bear), and a Human Paladin of Shelyn (using Shining Oath and Lasting Reprisal with a Glaive for Reach).

I'd informed the PCs of nothing about the game before they created characters except the requirement for healers and that it was set in Ustalav. They assumed Ustalav + Clerics meant undead and geared themselves up appropriately...and their assumption was proved correct.

Given generally high Perception bonuses and the Dwarf Druid's Cha 8 driven utter unconcern for politeness (which led him to breaking the lock and investigating the attic), they whizzed through the investigative portion of the evening fairly casually. And then came the fights. We got through the first two of those.

So, several issues and interesting things presented themselves which I will note:

1. As I noted previously, only some Skill items were available at certain levels. This led to oddness like the Paladin having an item boosting Occultism simply because there were no available ones for Diplomacy or Religion.

2. I'm not sure this adventure is properly measuring what it says it's trying to measure (how healing resources work on an all healer group). The enemies' low levels have resulted, so far, in the PCs completely and casually massacring them almost effortlessly (the 7th level party have spent two first level spells, both frivolously, one 2nd level Heal, and one Channel Energy...they are at full health). Later encounters are harder, but I'm not seeing a lot of resources getting used until encounter #4 at the earliest. This may be due to the PCs (particularly the Paladin) being specialized against undead...but given the aforementioned Ustalav + Undead thing, that really should've been within expectations.

3. Paladins are really good at this level. The Paladin was rolling well and fighting undead for an extra bonus, it's true, but even on average rolls and vs. non-undead foes they would've easily killed at least one foe a round and often more (an extra attack each turn from Retributive Strike is great). Having Expert in both weapons and armor, and Master in Fortitude is also pretty great.

4. The other Classes also function well and have access to some fun stuff, and that's even without spending spell slots. Multiclassing Wizard for attack cantrips is very effective (especially combined with a Lesser Staff of Evocation for Ray of Frost).

5. I'm pretty sure being a conventional ranged character with a bow or the like is just a terrible life choice this edition. Your damage die is lower (it's mostly a d6 without reloading...d8 only if you jump through hoops or take a -2 to hit), you have different stats for attack and damage and only add half of Str to damage anyway, and are just generally much less effective.

Sure, you can avoid engaging people in melee and thus take less damage, but honestly, that's not a very useful ability offensively, and indeed encourages the enemy to focus fire more on the melee combatants (and encouraging focused fire is bad). And there are no other real advantages (the ability to take a -10 attack more often is not an advantage, IMO, or not a very big one anyway).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I ran my group through Part 3 Friday night with the same composition as yours - 2 clerics, 1 druid, 1 paladin.

Your second point is exactly how I feel and how it went for our group. Encounter #4 was when I started to see more usage of healing resources.

Liberty's Edge

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So, we finished up Chapter 3. It went fine and the PCs waltzed through it with minimal issues.

The Wight fight was pretty easy, and due to the Paladin having Ghost Touch (and a few lucky rolls) the Poltergeist wasn't much harder. They'd used barricades intelligently, which split up the fight into two parts, making it easier. The Druid's Bear got Enervated 1, but that was it as far as long-term consequences went. The Druid spent a 3rd level Heal spell as an area effect here.

The Shadow fight was a real fight. Two uses of Channel Energy were expended, as was the first use of the Paladin's Lay on Hands, and two people got Enfeebled 2. They were still entirely fine by the next fight (due to the Druid and one Cleric using Restoration on the Enfeebled people).

The final fight was actually decently hard, and Ilvoresh (being smart) focused on the Paladin. This resulted in the Paladin going all the way down to 4 HP, but she was then completely healed within a couple of turns (self Lay on Hands plus ranged Channel Energy from one Cleric). The Bear got Confused, and Ilvoresh's Mirror Image (which got dispelled, then cast again) was very useful. I don't think anyone but the Paladin got scratched.

So, total healing expenditures came to: 5 Channel Energy uses, 3 Lay On Hands, 2 lower level healing spells, 2 second level Restoration uses. And that left them at entirely full health (with the exception of Enervated 1 on the Bear).

I'm fairly certain a single Cleric's worth of healing would've been sufficient to win that set of encounters, and a Paladin + Cleric could definitely have done it. Which confirms my earlier feeling that this adventure isn't sufficiently tough to actually test a group where everyone can heal.

We also did some leveling of the 1st level characters from Chapter 1 to level 9 for Chapter 4. That went fine, with the extra Skills from the Errata changes being a nice bonus to the Barbarian (amusingly, the Ranger, Cleric, and Rogue received no changes in skills). This went fine, and was easy enough.

Other things I noticed:

1. I may've undersold ranged combat somewhat. It came up as useful more often than I'd have thought. I'm still not at all convinced that either Volley or Propulsive only adding 1/2 Str are really needed. The lower damage is already a pretty reasonable price for admission.

2. The Paladin was standout MVP. Having a reach Paladin is amazing. They just got extra attacks so often from Retributive Strike, and with Lasting Reprisal made attacks that otherwise would've hit miss at least 4 or 5 times. It was absurd.

Just looking at the Paladin stuff I was worried they couldn't compete with, say, a Fighter, but they really and sincerely can. At least...they can with Reach. I remain interested to see how a non-Reach Paladin does, because right now Reach looks essential to an optimal Paladin build.

3. Assuming a Paladin takes their weapon as a Righteous Ally, can they change what property it has per turn? The language seems to say so and it isn't terribly overpowered or anything, but I remain unsure.

4. Does leveling and getting bonuses to Int get you a language (if going from 12 to 14) and Skill? I'm assuming so, and operating accordingly, but I couldn't find a clear ruling easily.

5. The lack of Skill Feats results in some weird choices getting made as you head into the higher levels. The Rogue took Multilingual twice simply for lack of anything to do with his Skill Feats that he actually thought was mechanically good.

Silver Crusade

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2. Interesting that the reach Paladin did so well. I played a reach Paladin for the first half of Ch. 2 and was very dissatisfied with it. I wonder if part of that was that lvl 4 without a magic weapon is an especially awkward spot for that build? (I've been playing a shield Paladin for the back half of the chapter and have felt very effective and useful.)

3. My understanding of the blade ally language is that you choose the property at the start of each day and it's set for the day. But any way about it the language could use some clarification. For reference:

Quote:
Select one weapon each morning when you make your daily preparations. In your hands, the weapon gains your choice of

4. This is definitely in need of clarification. The potent magic item quality (p. 345) would suggest that you should get a skill but not a language:

Potent wrote:
When a character invests an item with this trait, it improves one of that character’s ability scores, either increasing it to 18 or increasing it by 2, whichever grants the higher ability score. This ability score increase grants all the benefits of the new ability score. Increasing Intelligence lets the owner become trained in an additional skill, increasing Charisma adds to her Resonance Points, increasing Constitution gives her more Hit Points, and so on. These benefits go away once the investiture runs out.

Liberty's Edge

2. I think being the guy without a magic weapon just sucks at 4th level regardless of Class.

3. Yeah, I'm not actually sure. The wording is very unclear. I mean 'In your hands it gains your choice of...' can easily be read either way.

4. Yeah, clarification would be good.


FWIW, our Lost Star Paladin seemed fine with a scythe. Trip added a little control potential and the deadly property is awesome when it goes off-- they got a lucky crit on a Retributive Strike and killed Drakus just before the Barbarian would have gone down.

Thus far the lack of reach hasn't seemed to be a big issue, but they were fighting small enemies in close quarters. Also, they can cheat with Blade Ally and take Shifting and snag reach when appropriate. I'm not sure if a greatsword or greataxe would do as well.

Paizo Employee Designer

Paladins, at least the ones I've seen so far in the playtest, are indeed pretty awesome. I still want to tweak a few things, but then again that's always true, I think. If you don't have reach, in close quarters like Lost Star you can still do quite well if you "flank" your frontline ally with a wall. In that spot (W A Y, where W = wall, A = ally, and Y = you), assuming the wall extends, enemies would need reach or ranged attacks to get to your ally without a Retributive Strike. They can try to get around you depending on the setup, but there are several tricks to make that burdensome or dangerous.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Paladins, at least the ones I've seen so far in the playtest, are indeed pretty awesome. I still want to tweak a few things, but then again that's always true, I think. If you don't have reach, in close quarters like Lost Star you can still do quite well if you "flank" your frontline ally with a wall. In that spot (W A Y, where W = wall, A = ally, and Y = you), assuming the wall extends, enemies would need reach or ranged attacks to get to your ally without a Retributive Strike. They can try to get around you depending on the setup, but there are several tricks to make that burdensome or dangerous.

Would you consider adding a Step to Retributive Strike so that a wall wasn't necessary for non-reach weapons? It's nice when that wall setup works out, but it requires your ally to pin themselves against a wall and stay there. I think it'd be better thematically and more fun to play if the Paladin always threatened Retribution for any ally they're adjacent to, and that lets your allies act normally.


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Pandora's wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Paladins, at least the ones I've seen so far in the playtest, are indeed pretty awesome. I still want to tweak a few things, but then again that's always true, I think. If you don't have reach, in close quarters like Lost Star you can still do quite well if you "flank" your frontline ally with a wall. In that spot (W A Y, where W = wall, A = ally, and Y = you), assuming the wall extends, enemies would need reach or ranged attacks to get to your ally without a Retributive Strike. They can try to get around you depending on the setup, but there are several tricks to make that burdensome or dangerous.
Would you consider adding a Step to Retributive Strike so that a wall wasn't necessary for non-reach weapons? It's nice when that wall setup works out, but it requires your ally to pin themselves against a wall and stay there. I think it'd be better thematically and more fun to play if the Paladin always threatened Retribution for any ally they're adjacent to, and that lets your allies act normally.

That sounds like it would still give reach weapons the superior "zone of protection" though, if they can step to extend their effective reach. There might be a way to carefully word it to avoid that issue. It also doesn't help ranged paladins out.

One nice benefit though is it would slightly offset the Paladin having crappy mobility in heavy armor.

Edit: You know, my idea in the other thread is relevant to this conversation, so I'm gonna repost it.

Proposed Blade Ally Feat:
The conversation in DMW's thread gave me an idea for a feat (or feature) that I think would fix a lot of issues people have with the Paladin. It requires one other easy fix: remove the word "melee" from the "Make a melee strike" sentence in Retributive Strike. (Which should go anyway TBH.)

[[R]] Avenging Strike ------------- FEAT 4
Paladin
Prerequisites Righteous Ally (blade)
Trigger A Seen creature within 15 feet of you hits an ally or friendly creature, and you are holding your righteous weapon.

You can make a Retributive Strike against the target with your held righteous weapon. You do so by projecting a spectral bolt of righteous fury in the shape of your weapon or its ammunition. This allows you to melee strike outside of your normal reach or make a ranged strike without your weapon being loaded. It uses the same damage as your normal strike. Apply cover and screening as normal. This behaves as your Retributive Strike in all other ways.

This does a lot of cool stuff.

1. Enables ranged Paladins in a major way. Admittedly, your Paladin of Erastil wants to stay closer to the action than your average archer, but that puts your heavy armor proficiency to good use, and a couple of the Fighter feats would help offset the issues with using a bow at point blank range.

2. Makes reach weapons competitive with reach weapons.

3. Makes it so R. Strike isn't easily negated by the enemy adjusting their positioning.

4. Helps make R. Strike relevant against, say, huge enemies who can attack your allies from outside of your reach.

5. The improved consistency of R. Strike should alleviate a lot of concerns about both the Paladin's DPR and whether they actually fulfill the tank role.

6. Launching an energy blade or arrow is metal AF. Very Legend of Zelda.

Issues

1. Broadly speaking, it might be a little too powerful and could make Blade Ally the automatic choice. I don't think it is, but I also think it could be finetuned to bring it back into balance. (See below.)

2. The exact range it works can be adjusted to taste.

3. It feels like the "spectral weapon" should deal good damage, rather than s/b/p as normal. Maybe force, but probably good. I'm not sure if that is balanced. Could play havoc with Weakness and Resistance expectations. Then again, the Paladin is being pushed in the direction of "messes up particular sorts of enemies particularly hard" and being able to bypass certain resistances would help with that.

4. It raises a question of "why can't you launch these bolts on your normal strikes." Potential solution: change it from a new reaction to an action you can take that modifies your Retributive Strike for a round. You spend an action concentrating the energy slash calling upon the favor of your diety to protect your allies.

Second Potential Solution: Let Paladins launch spectral good blasts on the regular, it is metal af. ^_^ That doesn't actually seem outrageous if it takes an action to charge your blade until the start of your next turn. It basically becomes the new Blade of Justice, only it provides an interesting tactical option against everything, rather than just against fiends and such.

Liberty's Edge

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Just to update people:

My group didn't play this week. I decided to hold off starting Chapter 4 until after the errata pops on Monday. Next week may also not occur, since one player's birthday party is on that Saturday.

So this game is probably on hold (more or less) until two weeks from now. Expect more info then.

We did level the final player's character (the Halfling Cleric of Abadar), but few things seemed super notable beyond the Travel Domain (which he already had) having an Advanced power that may be straight-up broken in Chapter 4. Which he took. We'll see how that plays out.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Paladins, at least the ones I've seen so far in the playtest, are indeed pretty awesome. I still want to tweak a few things, but then again that's always true, I think. If you don't have reach, in close quarters like Lost Star you can still do quite well if you "flank" your frontline ally with a wall. In that spot (W A Y, where W = wall, A = ally, and Y = you), assuming the wall extends, enemies would need reach or ranged attacks to get to your ally without a Retributive Strike. They can try to get around you depending on the setup, but there are several tricks to make that burdensome or dangerous.

I think instead of the paladin they should of made heavy armored defense person been called a knight and paladin could of been a nifty archetype or still its own class but with some differing mechanics.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Paladins, at least the ones I've seen so far in the playtest, are indeed pretty awesome. I still want to tweak a few things, but then again that's always true, I think. If you don't have reach, in close quarters like Lost Star you can still do quite well if you "flank" your frontline ally with a wall. In that spot (W A Y, where W = wall, A = ally, and Y = you), assuming the wall extends, enemies would need reach or ranged attacks to get to your ally without a Retributive Strike. They can try to get around you depending on the setup, but there are several tricks to make that burdensome or dangerous.

I've experienced the opposite with the paladin so far. Every paladin I've played with or ran for found the class very underwhelming at best and frustrating at worst. The major factors in that involve Retributive Strike's unreliable antipattern and the removal of the paladin's iconic narrative moment of Smite Evil. It makes sense that reach weapons are the obvious choice for paladins now that their only core offensive ability can only work if you have a melee weapon and an opponent in reach, which feels awful for paladins with deities without melee favored weapons or character concepts that do not involve melee weapons.

Liberty's Edge

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So, we finally started playing Chapter 4 earlier this evening. The Hexploration worked fine, and the players pretty readily waltzed through the encounters (combat with the Lake Monster and Rocs, social encounters with the Dryad, Gnomes, and Cyclopes) thanks to good tactics and some lucky rolls.

Some stuff that cropped up:

1. What's up with mainstay Cleric spells being Uncommon? Both Protection and Detect (Alignment) are Uncommon, with no listed way to get them? Am I missing something?

2. The Skill DCs on exploring, despite seeming high, worked fine in a party where people actually had Survival (a +15 and a +13). Someone always succeeded in the roll.

3. The Sea Serpent is really nasty. Being able to move and damage everyone is really powerful, and doing so two times a turn took a serious toll. Still, the Cleric giving everyone Water Walk and Water Breathing made the encounter very doable with readied actions. This would be less true if it used brilliant tactics...but with Int-4 that's pretty unfair, IMO.

4. Rocs have some really fun mechanics, but I couldn't roll a success on their Wing Buffet attacks to save my life.

5. I'm not sure how good Twin Takedown on a Ranger actually is. The Ranger rolled terribly in combat, though, which probably made it look worse than it is.

6. This is apropos of nothing, but upon seeing the cyclopes pet smilodon, both the Gnome Barbarian and Elf Ranger shouted 'Kitty!' and expressed desire to pet it it. I allowed them to roll to Aid on the Cleric's Diplomacy check due to everyone liking having their pets approved of. I just wanted to share that.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:


6. This is apropos of nothing, but upon seeing the cyclopes pet smilodon, both the Gnome Barbarian and Elf Ranger shouted 'Kitty!' and expressed desire to pet it it. I allowed them to roll to Aid on the Cleric's Diplomacy check due to everyone liking having their pets approved of. I just wanted to share that.

XD YAAAAS


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
1. What's up with mainstay Cleric spells being Uncommon? Both Protection and Detect (Alignment) are Uncommon, with no listed way to get them? Am I missing something?

In PF1, those were both potential narrative-breakers. One is an easy way to negate mind controlling villains, and the other offers a way to smoke out traitors, secret vampires, etc, without doing any real detective work. A good GM could work around the issue, but they probably wanted to give GMs an easy way to opt out of the problem.


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^ Plausibly so, but I'm not sure why Uncommon spells should be in CRB without at least one means to gain access to them. I thought these might be granted common access by some Deities, but that doesn't seem to be true. Literally, although these are technically in the Playtest, there isn't any way to playtest them. I think Paizo should update that if they want them to be used at all.

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