Observations on resonance after first playtest


Magic Items


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This is just an observation from the group of players I play with, so take from it what you will

Players in my group all had things they liked or disliked to varying degrees, but the one thing that they unanimously disliked was resonance.

Before we even began the general theme was why are we being arbitrarily limited on how many items we can use? If we find the magic gizmo and someone can benefit from the magic gizmo then they should be able to just use the magic gizmo.

So we played and the first magic item found was a healing potion. When the rules on potions were read the dislike for the system became an intense dislike for resonance.

Everyone had 1 resonance point, and for the entirety of first level everyone played as if they had zero points. The consensus was that nobody wanted to risk not being able to drink a potion when they needed it. Thus, an item or two were simply never used.

By second level a priority list had been made up for resonance points. First priority: Keep one point for a healing potion (this despite the fact that nobody had been in a position to need a healing potion at first level). Second priority: Constant on items. Third priority: If you have any left, maybe on a consumable.

I think that the system may have been more palatable if wands, potions, scrolls and other consumables did not use resonance, but as it is everyone in my group hated the system.

Overall the general opinion was if you didn't want us to use magic items, then don't give us magic items. But don't give us magic items and then tell us we can't use them. In essence, they wouldn't mind if they didn't get many magic items, but they were irked that they couldn't use the ones they were given.

A tangential observation, it was pointed out that this system effects everyone unequally, bards and sorcerers are naturally going to have much bigger pools than anyone else, so while the fighter/cleric/rogue/wizard are starting with 1 or 2, the bard/sorc will have 5. If there were either of those classes in the party they would essentially have been given all the consumables as they would be the only ones with the luxury of being able to use them without putting themselves at risk (by this group's reasoning). The thought was that this was also an unfair burden on the fighter/rogue because they relied more heavily on items than the sorc or bard but had the least points.


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Starfox_SFX wrote:


A tangential observation, it was pointed out that this system effects everyone unequally, bards and sorcerers are naturally going to have much bigger pools than anyone else, so while the fighter/cleric/rogue/wizard are starting with 1 or 2, the bard/sorc will have 5. If there were either of those classes in the party they would essentially have been given all the consumables as they would be the only ones with the luxury of being able to use them without putting themselves at risk (by this group's reasoning). The thought was that this was also an unfair burden on the fighter/rogue because they relied more heavily on items than the sorc or bard but had the least points.

I think that is a good set of observations. My group had a different conclusion, but I will get to that later.

I especially like this last section. I think that this is an actual valid problem with the system.

In our group the ranger was happy to pay his only resonance point to drink down that potion. Especially once I explained that they can overspend resonance.

Maybe it is because we also play Magic, where your character's health is just another resource pool that can and should be spent to best advantage.


Were the players aware of resonance when they built their characters?

And if not, did any of them want to change their character at all, so that cha was no longer a dump stat?

I’m asking because it sounds like they all dumped Cha when building their characters, which would be a very normal thing to do in PF1 - a great many of mine did! But it might make less sense in PF2.


I don't understand, why would they be using resonance at first level? Only the Alchemist uses resonance and no other characters would have magic items. So how did this issue even come up?


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Rameth wrote:
I don't understand, why would they be using resonance at first level? Only the Alchemist uses resonance and no other characters would have magic items. So how did this issue even come up?

If an alchemist is in the party and they want to use the potions that the class uses, they need to spend their own resonance too.


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Rameth wrote:
I don't understand, why would they be using resonance at first level? Only the Alchemist uses resonance and no other characters would have magic items. So how did this issue even come up?

There are at least 8 items (on a very quick count, I know I missed items) to be found in The Lost Star that require resonance. If you want to use all of your found loot it would be quite easy for a 4 person party with average 12 charisma to run out of resonance.


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But most of the treasure in TLS is held by the BBEG. There is roughly 4 magic items before you reach Drakus.

Also, I'll point out that even if you've used up your Resonance, you can still attempt to Overspend Resonance (starts out with a Flat DC 11 check, +1 to DC for each further attempt).


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Still trying to get my friends to do a Playtest, so can’t say I have anywhere near the experience the rest of you have had, but did want to chime in on this as resonance has been bugging me a bit since I first heard about (sometime during the GCP Playtest).

As it was described at the time, most of the time resonance won’t affect you. But then why have a new complicated system that won’t have much effect? I understand the issue they’re trying to address - at least I understood it as being directed at abusive / excessive magic item usage, we can break the game difficulty. But I think the OP’s post is spot on - I would rather just have a limit on the number of magic items / potions you can use in a day, rather than a chance-based system.

Question is how easily it can get unwound, considering that a lot of classes are probably balanced by the resonance rules (eg Alchemists et al with more resonance than other classes), and some classes (again, eg, Alchemists), that rely heavily on resonance.

On that, my limited experience with resonance so far is just trying to prepare an alchemist. Resonance and batch prep of alchemicals and then you need resonance to use them too... it just kind of did my head in, and I’m sure I don’t understand the rules yet - which seems like it’s just a bit too hard.

I wonder if one of the things I’m finding makes it hard to understand is that it’s not entirely clear what Resonance is intended to reflect? Other than it’s “You’re innate ability to use magic items”. Why is it innate? Why can’t it be learned (or maybe it can, cause Alchemists get it that way?). It’s almost like they’ve added The Force to the game, but haven’t explained what The Force is or how it works. We need old Ben Kenobi (or at least his equivalent in Golarion) to explain resonance and why people have it in different measures. Without something to grasp on to it makes it harder to accept the mechanism it’s reflecting, and this makes understanding the rules and how they work harder, and also undermines “believability” (yeah, I know it’s a fantasy setting, but there are internal rules to comply with as well).


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EberronHoward wrote:

But most of the treasure in TLS is held by the BBEG. There is roughly 4 magic items before you reach Drakus.

Also, I'll point out that even if you've used up your Resonance, you can still attempt to Overspend Resonance (starts out with a Flat DC 11 check, +1 to DC for each further attempt).

Most of the treasure is actually not held by the boss.

I did a better count and I under-estimated the number of items requiring resonance.
not sure this is required, but...:
It depends on which way round you go. If you go through the secret door after the goblins you access a large cache of items before you encounter Drakkus.
Drakkus actually only holds 2 items and there is only 1 other item past him - I didn't count any of those.

That leaves 13 other items that require resonance potentially available prior to reaching Drakkus.

Now there are lots of caveats involved including (but not limited too) whether you have the time to ID them, the right characters to use them, and their specific usefulness.

But it is possible to use a substantial number of resonance in this adventure despite being 1st level.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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Very different from my experience. Played and GMed about 10 short games by now, levels 1 to 9, only seen a player actually going to zero once. In most cases, players just watched their budget, but had enough to use for items and alchemy.

If all of your PCS had 1 RP exactly, then all of them dumped Charisma to 10. In this game, it is a decision about just as smart as dumping Constitution.


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Laik wrote:
If all of your PCS had 1 RP exactly, then all of them dumped Charisma to 10. In this game, it is a decision about just as smart as dumping Constitution.

I don't consider a 10 a "dump"; it's just something you haven't particularly invested in. If you're saying that ALL characters have to raise both their CON and CHA, in addition to whatever other attribute(s) their signature class abilities may depend on, then that effectively makes every character MAD in this game. Which is not a good thing.


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Doodpants wrote:
Laik wrote:
If all of your PCS had 1 RP exactly, then all of them dumped Charisma to 10. In this game, it is a decision about just as smart as dumping Constitution.
I don't consider a 10 a "dump"; it's just something you haven't particularly invested in. If you're saying that ALL characters have to raise both their CON and CHA, in addition to whatever other attribute(s) their signature class abilities may depend on, then that effectively makes every character MAD in this game. Which is not a good thing.

This is something I actually really dislike, even with the way that ability score increases work in the playtest. Having an ability score tied to Resonance means that this score will become a "minimum" investment score. Every single character WILL put at least a 12-14 in this score if possible.

Every. Single. Character.

This makes the homogony of the characters even more apparent. The system also just is an even more convoluted way to solve a problem than need be. Why not just make wands and potions limited in use? Instead of 50 charges of a wand why not 5-10? Resonance makes some sense in the context of cutting down on the big 6 and making the player choose what bonuses they get from what items, but being tied to EVERYTHING really feels out of touch with the world the game is supposed to be in. Imagine the NPCs saying "Oh sorry, we could heal your fighter, but all of our resonance points are gone." After all otherwise the players would just have an npc companion to pour things down their throats all day instead of themselves.

I do understand some about how the Overspending works, but that in itself is another issue. The risk of losing out on magic items for the entirety of the day on a single bad roll is just NOT something I can see any of the players I know taking. They would rather just say once resonance is 0 it's 0. Cause if they fail that check then they may as well have had 0 because they will likely be dead anyway.


At least you got them to the table. I've now had two groups decide to "wait till resonance gets fixed" before bothering to play test the game.


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Laik wrote:
If all of your PCS had 1 RP exactly, then all of them dumped Charisma to 10. In this game, it is a decision about just as smart as dumping Constitution.

Con doesn't do much for HP in this game; you're always better investing in Dex for AC. +2 Con does never increase your HP by 10%, while +2 Dex reduce incoming damages by 15-20% (and monsters and NPCs are designed to quickly vaporize you if you don't have max Dex).

Maybe there are enough Fort effect to force character to invest in Con. This is an awful game design: Con doesn't do anything (no skill attached, no class abilities attached, almost no effect on HPs), but if you dump Con, at any moment the DM may use a monster that insta-kill you.


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Resonance is tied to Charisma and level. It becomes a lot less oppressive as you level up your characters. While characters that invest in charisma will always have a few points more to spend, I don't see groups dumping items and consumables on them because of it.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm a huge fan of the resonance system, although as with many things in the playtest, it's likely that tuning will be required to achieve the design intentions. What I like about it most is how it makes players make choices. Choose to dump CHA or not. Choose to focus on consumables or not. Choose your magic item load-out, because you can't deck yourself out like a Christmas tree. Choose between more invested items and more consumable slots! Making choices that make a difference is the heart and soul of Pathfinder.

The new system shifts the focus from being on magic item *possession* to magic item *use*. I really like that, and I would urge reticent players to give it a chance. I suspect they will find that in context, with all the other system elements, it fits.

OP has a very good point about the advantage that classes with CHA as its key ability will have in resonance points, but I'm not sure it that is any more of an issue than other consequences of key abilities. It's possible though... I suppose it's more of an advantage than knowing a lot of languages because your class uses INT as a key ability.

No doubt Paizo will tune the system. They're *obviously* very keen to gather data on whether and which classes are running out of RPs. IIRC, one of the designers said on Twitch that they are waiting until data from higher level sections of the playtest comes in before they start taking action, but they are watching closely.

Anecdotally, I'm running Doomsday Dawn for two groups, and no-one has complained about resonance. Three of my players are major OG Pathfinders, and the consensus is "let's see how it works out."


Thankfully Paizo is already reining in the Resonance System by degrees, they've removed the Activation cost from Bags of Holding.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Why all the hate for dwarves with the resonance system? Unless you put ability boosts in Charisma, your 1st level character starts out with 0 resonance points. This means dwarves make average clerics at best, horrible at worst. This is contradictory to advice given in the CRB that dwarves make for good clerics.
As someone said before, this just means everyone will put points in Charisma, meaning every single character will end up more charismatic than the average person. So much for cantankerous PCs.

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