Paizo Blog: Ongoing Changes


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

I don't like the word "basic" in basic Reflex save. I'd use a more specific term like "damage Reflex save," or "basic damage Reflex save." Just using the term "basic" makes it sound like it is an unmodified saving throw, instead of a more specific damage-related saving throw.


Singularity wrote:
I don't like the word "basic" in basic Reflex save. I'd use a more specific term like "damage Reflex save," or "basic damage Reflex save." Just using the term "basic" makes it sound like it is an unmodified saving throw, instead of a more specific damage-related saving throw.

Agreed. I like that idea of calling it a "damage Reflex save". It specifies which default ruling to fall on when it isn't listed in the individual spell.

Overall, I like the change to make things more efficient and move copied text into one area. Just need to make the reference to it unique and memorable for quick look up.


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I'm okay with the change.

But I'd like to reiterate the old complaint about Success coming before Critical Success in spell descriptions where this is all listed out. I understand why it's done that way but it remains counterintuitive. Intelligence wants it one way, but Wisdom wants it another. I think a lot of the problems with the rulebook as it stands is that it seems to be written by an 18 Intelligence Wizard who dumpstatted Wisdom.

I think the list could start with Critical Success, and descend accordingly; or the list could start with Critical Failure, and ascend accordingly. I'm fine with either of those options.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, I'm not a fan of the term "basic Reflex save". How about the word Standard?

A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage to creatures in the area, depending on their standard Reflex saves.

This implies that these types of save are the standard, and therefore, does not need to be explicitly described in each spell. It's only when the spell does something other than the standard that it needs to be described.

For me, this seems to fit nicely.

Sovereign Court

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I agree with Singularity. I like this idea but the term needs to be much more of a "keyword" and "basic" doesn't feel like it fits. Maybe "primary"?

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'd rather not see more confusion in the write ups, not all spells are functioning like this where others have status effects instead or damage + status effects. It's bad enough when our group had to sit down for 10 minutes to understand the 'simplified' changes for Heal and still had to look up the level 5 pregen to finally understand how it was meant to come out vs. how it was worded.

We've been seeing too much of this 'know how it works from x page' that its way too much flipping back and forth right now to find how to read rules. It's become a thing where for Paizo products prepare to flip back and forth constantly instead of Old White Wolf's "see page X" jokes, and so far it's getting worse not better so far with the playtest.

Liberty's Edge

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If you're taking the time to review things for change, I'd like to see some indication that you are taking a real hard look at the Item Damage/Dents & Shield Rules.

They are an utter mess and the input we've had so far was rife with GM Fiat and "Well I'd do it this way" instead of actually addressing the problem with the RAW example listed on page 175.

Can I get an Amen?


So would the latter version preclude having effects which have different effects for various saves besides half, no, full, double damage?

Or would those spells just have the full set of outcomes spelled out in their description?

Since if "Half, No, Full, Double" is going to be repeated over and over again, I figure that it's fine to use the latter standard. But presumably there will be reflex saves for things which do not exclusively deal damage, so how would those be handled? Like Earthquake, for example, which has an added effect of the person making the save potentially falling prone.


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Good idea, I'm against "basic." I think "standard" works, "damage" isn't great.


Not a big fan, maybe basic just isn't the right word, but I feel like spells are best when they're understandable at a glance.

Scarab Sages

How would you feel about including a page number reference next to `Basic Reflex Save` (or `Basic Damage Reflex Save` or whatever?)

Especially in picking up the new edition, it's very hard to know where to look up exactly what that means. (I _still_ have a very hard time finding the calculation for spell save DC...)


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On fireball: I'd be fine with just saying "depending on their Reflex saves". I think adding "basic" will add confusion instead of adding clarity.

Secondly, PLEASE think about changing "Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting" to 'Casting [[A]] Somatic , [[A]] Verbal'. As it's in the casting section, the extra casting are redundant. It's like someone saying 'it's an ATM machine' [as ATM means automated teller MACHINE].

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Ehhhh, intersting idea, but probbaly need a better word than “basic”, it’s too simple and easy to miss. Plus it doesn’t sound that interesting. Plus you would have to think of different words for the abilities that don’t follow this pattern.


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A twenty-foot burst? I must have missed that on my first readthrough. That's... a super tiny AoE, given that fireball is a pretty iconic spell. Depending on spread, you're really only going to hit two guys at most (or maybe a couple more if they're really bunched up). Any chance we could at least throw in a material component to make that 40' burst?

Regardless, the second format works. I agree that "basic" is confusing. Maybe add a line about "the standard save table" if that's what you're going for?


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I like the simpler format - but I'm a fan of keywords/terms.

Standard would get my vote over basic.


I support standardizing a commonly used effect template. I am not convinced that calling it a 'basic' saving throw is the best idea, given that across the whole spell list it probably applies only to a minority of spells.

This kind of effect (half on a success, double on a crit fail) applies only to damage really, not to durations or conditions. So maybe it should be a property of the damage instead, like "persistent". But perhaps this one could be called "partially avoidable" damage or something more succinct with a similar meaning.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I too would go with Standard rather than Basic


graystone wrote:

On fireball: I'd be fine with just saying "depending on their Reflex saves". I think adding "basic" will add confusion instead of adding clarity.

Secondly, PLEASE think about changing "Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting" to 'Casting [[A]] Somatic , [[A]] Verbal'. As it's in the casting section, the extra casting are redundant. It's like someone saying 'it's an ATM machine' [as ATM means automated teller MACHINE].

The issue here is that the defined keywords are "Somatic Casting" and "Verbal Casting" (see page 196), not "Somatic" and "Verbal." And in the keyword context that makes sense and shouldn't be changed.

If redundancy is the problem "casting" should go away in favor of something like "components." But that's longer, and it's no mistake that Casting plus the standard two symbols and keywords exactly uses up one line of space.

Dark Archive

I'm cool with with this change as it makes the book easier.
Next a pool for martial classes to get combat feats?
Please!
( comments in the blog made new threads)


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I might suggest something like

"Spell reflex save"
because that schema is mainly for spells no?
basic... implies every reflex save unless otherwise specified.

should havea connection to the most common use.


I like the idea, but the wording/presentation could use a few iterations.


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wizzardman wrote:
A twenty-foot burst? I must have missed that on my first readthrough. That's... a super tiny AoE, given that fireball is a pretty iconic spell. Depending on spread, you're really only going to hit two guys at most (or maybe a couple more if they're really bunched up). Any chance we could at least throw in a material component to make that 40' burst?

It's exactly the same AoE that fireball has in PF1.


Incendiaeternus wrote:

I'd rather not see more confusion in the write ups, not all spells are functioning like this where others have status effects instead or damage + status effects. It's bad enough when our group had to sit down for 10 minutes to understand the 'simplified' changes for Heal and still had to look up the level 5 pregen to finally understand how it was meant to come out vs. how it was worded.

We've been seeing too much of this 'know how it works from x page' that its way too much flipping back and forth right now to find how to read rules. It's become a thing where for Paizo products prepare to flip back and forth constantly instead of Old White Wolf's "see page X" jokes, and so far it's getting worse not better so far with the playtest.

There needs to be some clear indicator that there is more to know or look up.

I need to think on this, but perhaps some here have an idea.

Dark Archive

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wizzardman wrote:

A twenty-foot burst? I must have missed that on my first readthrough. That's... a super tiny AoE, given that fireball is a pretty iconic spell. Depending on spread, you're really only going to hit two guys at most (or maybe a couple more if they're really bunched up). Any chance we could at least throw in a material component to make that 40' burst?

Regardless, the second format works. I agree that "basic" is confusing. Maybe add a line about "the standard save table" if that's what you're going for?

They have been 20' since the beginning of time.???


Please don't waste time playing with the spell formatting while there are still broken core systems to be addressed.

However since we're already on the topic, I think the proposed format is terrible because it makes the effects of a huge number of spells even less clear, and demands we memorize or reference yet another rule in order to actually use our spells.

I might rewrite a spell like Fireball as follows (ignoring the Header or other elements which didn't change)...

Cantriped's Fireball wrote:

A burst of fire explodes. Creatures in the area must attempt a Reflex save with the following possible results:

Critical Success The creature is unaffected by the spell.
Success The creature takes 3d6 fire damage from the spell.
Failure The creature takes 6d6 fire damage from the spell.
Critical Failure The creature takes 12d6 damage from the spell.

Heightened (+1) The damage taken by the creature increases by 1d6 on a success, 2d6 on a failure, and 4d6 on a critical failure respectively.

But I am unsure if it is much of an improvement. I didn't mind the current spell format much, besides the order results are presented in. It absolutely should be in order of Critical Success, Success, Failure, Critical Failure. Because it reads more easily, and because 'steps' or 'degrees of success' don't make as much sense when you present them out of order.


Xenocrat wrote:
wizzardman wrote:
A twenty-foot burst? I must have missed that on my first readthrough. That's... a super tiny AoE, given that fireball is a pretty iconic spell. Depending on spread, you're really only going to hit two guys at most (or maybe a couple more if they're really bunched up). Any chance we could at least throw in a material component to make that 40' burst?
It's exactly the same AoE that fireball has in PF1.

Maybe I'm misinterpreting the wording here, but PF1 Fireball is a 20' *radius* burst (effectively a circle with a 40' circumference). I read "20 foot burst" as a burst with a 20' circumference, which would be about 4 squares.

If I'm wrong, cool, that's my misinterpretation. The wording might need to be clarified a bit... but I might just be dumb.

If I'm right, however, that's kinda tiny.


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How about something more like:

Effect: Damage 6d6 (Fire)
Save: Reflex (Double/Normal/Half/None)
Heightened (+1): +2d6 (Fire)

That way you can use that same format regardless of Basic saves vs Complex saves.


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Xenocrat wrote:
The issue here is that the defined keywords are "Somatic Casting" and "Verbal Casting" (see page 196), not "Somatic" and "Verbal." And in the keyword context that makes sense and shouldn't be changed.

Then is seems like it'd be easy to change the action keywords. Dropping the casting from the keywords reduces wordcount all around AND makes sense as you look up the action in the Cast a Spell section. A Verbal action doesn't need anymore context when you already KNOW you're talking about casting.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
wizzardman wrote:

A twenty-foot burst? I must have missed that on my first readthrough. That's... a super tiny AoE, given that fireball is a pretty iconic spell. Depending on spread, you're really only going to hit two guys at most (or maybe a couple more if they're really bunched up). Any chance we could at least throw in a material component to make that 40' burst?

Regardless, the second format works. I agree that "basic" is confusing. Maybe add a line about "the standard save table" if that's what you're going for?

Erm.. did I miss something where it is not longer radius by default? Otherwise 20' has been that way at least since 3.0


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Doonamis wrote:

How about something more like:

Effect: Damage 6d6 (Fire)
Save: Reflex (Double/Normal/Half/None)
Heightened (+1): +2d6 (Fire)

That way you can use that same format regardless of Basic saves vs Complex saves.

I agree with this! This is an excellent way to read it.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Maybe adopt a standard save format

Quote:


Fireball Spell 3
Evocation, Fire
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst
Save: Reflex S: Half CS: Neg F: Full CF: 2x

A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage to creatures in the area, depending on their saves.

Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

Keep it in the spell, but reduce it to one line.

Then if you have a more complex spell, you can expand
it out to multi-line as needed.

Grand Lodge

I like the idea of a Standard Saving Throw for damage. I mean, it's easy to remember and it does saves a bunch of space.

Also, the degrees of success should be either from worst to best or best to worst, something like that:

Critical Success: No damage,
Success: Half damage,
Failure: Full damage,
Critical Failure: Double damage.

It is way more intuitive to read this way.


FireclawDrake wrote:


Erm.. did I miss something where it is not longer radius by default? Otherwise 20' has been that way at least since 3.0

Yeah, that's where I'm confused. I saw 20' burst and assumed circumference.

I think I might have just been wrong, and the default is radius, but I wasn't sure when I posted.


There seems a fine line to walk here between:

* Saving space
* Usability for new players
* Older players may grow to find the (see x) cumbersome
* That any keyword might not sound different enough to stand out on its own, without some kind of visual hilight.

As an example of the last points, a new player looking at the text, unless a proposed keyphrase like "standard save" were bolded in some way, or was unusually enough phrased that it really stood out, the user may read, instead "oh, that's another name for a reflex save" and assign the 6d6 anyway.

There needs to be clue text of some kind.

So, I might suggest: Have a clear indicator that says to the user, "this is an important term; you need to reference it."

Then, present the standard modifications based on x save save result (such as +/- 1/2 dmg) in a table format in the beginning of the spells chapter. A table format would let the data be compared visually, and more easily.

Here are a few ideas for referencing within the text:

A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage to creatures in the area. Damage dealt depends on each creature's Reflex save result. The damage may be modified by this result (see x).

Or:

A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage to creatures in the area. Damage dealt depends on the result of a creature's Reflex Save result (see x).

Silver Crusade

It would reduce page count, at the cost of making the rules more confusing, and less accessible for new players.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Liam wrote:

Maybe adopt a standard save format

Quote:


Fireball Spell 3
Evocation, Fire
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst
S: Half CS: Neg F: Full CF: 2x

A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage to creatures in the area, depending on their basic Reflex saves.

Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

Keep it in the spell, but reduce it to one line.

Then if you have a more complex spell, you can expand
it out to multi-line as needed.

This except I might change it to full words, and make sure Reflex save is bolded in the description.


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Kain Gallant wrote:
Singularity wrote:
I don't like the word "basic" in basic Reflex save. I'd use a more specific term like "damage Reflex save," or "basic damage Reflex save." Just using the term "basic" makes it sound like it is an unmodified saving throw, instead of a more specific damage-related saving throw.

Agreed. I like that idea of calling it a "damage Reflex save". It specifies which default ruling to fall on when it isn't listed in the individual spell.

Overall, I like the change to make things more efficient and move copied text into one area. Just need to make the reference to it unique and memorable for quick look up.

"Damage Reflex Save" sounds pretty good; I don't like the term "basic" either, sounds too similar to "flat," enough that there would likely be confusion.

Grand Lodge

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Cantriped wrote:


I might rewrite a spell like Fireball as follows (ignoring the Header or other elements which didn't change)...

Cantriped's Fireball wrote:

A burst of fire explodes. Creatures in the area must attempt a Reflex save with the following possible results:

Critical Success The creature is unaffected by the spell.
Success The creature takes 3d6 fire damage from the spell.
Failure The creature takes 6d6 fire damage from the spell.
Critical Failure The creature takes 12d6 damage from the spell.

Heightened (+1) The damage taken by the creature increases by 1d6 on a success, 2d6 on a failure, and 4d6 on a critical failure respectively.

Please, don't. That way, some players will be confused about how many dices would they roll. If it hits 5 enemies, two of them succeded, two of them failed and one critically failed. How many dices do they roll? Three for the first two, six for the other two who failed and twelve for one of them?

Seems over complicated. I like the idea of rolling once and halving/doubling, which is the way we do with 1e and it's easier because it's basic math.

EDIT: grammar.


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Evocation Reflex Save could work. Most spells that have this is evocation.

Sovereign Court

I like the idea of having a standardized name for the no, half, full, double damage save, but "basic X save" doesn't sound right.

How about the term "Variable" instead?


Liam wrote:

Maybe adopt a standard save format

Quote:


Fireball Spell 3
Evocation, Fire
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst
Save: Reflex S: Half CS: Neg F: Full CF: 2x

A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage to creatures in the area, depending on their saves.

Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

Keep it in the spell, but reduce it to one line.

Then if you have a more complex spell, you can expand
it out to multi-line as needed.

I like this, too.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

anything to cut back on page bloat in the spells chapter.


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A formatting suggestion: what if the saving throw type is listed at the top, along with casting/range/area, like this:

Saving Throw Reflex (basic);

This way, if the saving throw deviates from the standard, it can instead be listed this way:

Saving Throw Reflex (special; see text);

This basically allows you to at a glance how to save against a particular spell, rather than having to read the text to find out every time.


It sounds like this is pretty much resolved. There's some solid ideas and a good A/B test could determine their effectiveness with new and experienced users.

Something I've been wondering: might the Spells chapter be renamed to Spells and Powers? If it was named Spells and Powers, then users would expect to find powers there, as well as spells.


For stuff like this where the information is simple and basic I don't see how repeating it in every spell is really necessary. It isn't hard to remember standard=double/base/half/no damage.

If they had half a dozen proposed shortcuts for saving throws then maybe I could see the point, but for just the one...


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Liam wrote:

Maybe adopt a standard save format

Quote:


Fireball Spell 3
Evocation, Fire
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst
Save: Reflex S: Half CS: Neg F: Full CF: 2x

A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage to creatures in the area, depending on their saves.

Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

Keep it in the spell, but reduce it to one line.

Then if you have a more complex spell, you can expand
it out to multi-line as needed.

Way better way of doing it. And then at the start of the chapter you make a note explaining that specific notation. No added key words to muck up the wording of the spell, it's fast to look at, it's intuitive, it doesn't require you to cross-reference to get the right definition, and it also allows for adding specific unique failure states more easily instead of having a generic layout at the beginning of the book which is then superseded by a specific spell ability.

Also, if possible, please explain the changes that are made when they get put out. Changing Signature Skills is great, but if the result of the change becomes even less popular than they already were, it might be helpful to know the rationale behind the design to spot problems.


MuddyVolcano wrote:
Something I've been wondering: might the Spells chapter be renamed to Spells and Powers? If it was named Spells and Powers, then users would expect to find powers there, as well as spells.

They should just be separate. The current party line of "Powers are spells" is absurd. They may work as spells, but they are not spells - they are cast differently and do not make the character a spellcaster. They should just be listed in the class section really, but if there is a lot of overlap then they should be given their own section. And Spell Points should be renamed.


Yiroep wrote:
Doonamis wrote:

How about something more like:

Effect: Damage 6d6 (Fire)
Save: Reflex (Double/Normal/Half/None)
Heightened (+1): +2d6 (Fire)

That way you can use that same format regardless of Basic saves vs Complex saves.

I agree with this! This is an excellent way to read it.

Agreed! This works perfectly & keeps the stat-block self-contained.

If it were a choice between the orignal or the new suggestion in the blog, I prefer the original: I really hate when a stat-block doesn't contain all the info but assumes that you know where to look for the missing information.


graystone wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
The issue here is that the defined keywords are "Somatic Casting" and "Verbal Casting" (see page 196), not "Somatic" and "Verbal." And in the keyword context that makes sense and shouldn't be changed.
Then is seems like it'd be easy to change the action keywords. Dropping the casting from the keywords reduces wordcount all around AND makes sense as you look up the action in the Cast a Spell section. A Verbal action doesn't need anymore context when you already KNOW you're talking about casting.

No, you can't have "a verbal" and "a somatic" as keywords. A verbal or somatic what? Somatic isn't likely to come up in other contexts (maybe), but verbal and material certainly can't be single word defined as meaning spell casting components in the context of PF rules.


wizzardman wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
wizzardman wrote:
A twenty-foot burst? I must have missed that on my first readthrough. That's... a super tiny AoE, given that fireball is a pretty iconic spell. Depending on spread, you're really only going to hit two guys at most (or maybe a couple more if they're really bunched up). Any chance we could at least throw in a material component to make that 40' burst?
It's exactly the same AoE that fireball has in PF1.

Maybe I'm misinterpreting the wording here, but PF1 Fireball is a 20' *radius* burst (effectively a circle with a 40' circumference). I read "20 foot burst" as a burst with a 20' circumference, which would be about 4 squares.

If I'm wrong, cool, that's my misinterpretation. The wording might need to be clarified a bit... but I might just be dumb.

If I'm right, however, that's kinda tiny.

page 298.

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