An alternative to Resonance: Spell Sickness and Rituals


Magic Items


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I will preface the thread by saying this: I actually like resonance and sort of want it to stay in the game in more or less the form it currently takes. That said, other people really don't like it and Jason has been quoted elsewhere that he does not think resonance will make it to the release version of the game in its current form.

I have an alternative that I have been thinking about. I propose a system players can use as many items as they want but will begin incurring "spell sickness" after their first use of a magic item.

To offer an example as an explanation, a player wants to drink some healing potions. A player could drink one healing potion in a day without making a spell check but after that first use of a "healing" item, the player would need to make a flat check or 10 (or perhaps 11 - 1/2 Cha mod) in order to gain the benefit of another item. When a player fails this check, the consumable is not wasted and the item still activates but the player gains a level of "Spell Sickness".

Spell sickness lasts until the player takes a rest for the night or casts a special ritual that removes spell sickness. The rank of spell sickness applies a penalty to saves against spells, spell sickness checks, and . If a player gets to 3 spell sickness, they also gain slowed 1--effectively ending their adventuring day. At spell sickness 4, the player falls unconscious.

Additional item keywords and class feats/features could modify this system of course.

You could introduce lines of items with the "redundant" keyword for instance. Redundant keyword items might be more expensive than competing items but could ignore the need to to make spell sickness rolls once a day. Similarly, higher level items might have the keywords "double redundant" that lets you use the item once after you had already used a "redundant" keyword item already. You could even go farther and eventually introduce "triple redundant" items.

The ritual part of this story is actually inspired by another thread that asks if there can be ritual healing spells added to the game:
Introduce a common ritual that removes spell sickness, the cost of which is dependent on a player's level and whose cost increases each time a player tries to benefit from the spell again in the same day.

A proposed cost:
1gp/level in materials. Double this cost every time a character would try to benefit from this spell again in the same day.

Do people have thoughts?


It's indeed a bit radical but thematically it works as almost an inverse of resonance, which has conceptually been present in other fantasy genres.

I'm not sure id want a literal inverse to resonance (currently that's what you have) as I still think potions/consumables should not operate this way, but the premise might be a better solution to the happy stick problem.

Liberty's Edge

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Honestly, at this point I'd be happy if they simply eliminated ALL healing potions, scrolls, staves, wands, wondrous items, and magical equipment altogether and made it a function of the Medicine Skill. It's either that, or removing Resonance Cost from Consumables and simply making them cost 3-5x their current value to purchase.

Oh, and Wands shouldn't be spells in a stick anymore, we need to get over that idea IMO, make them like smaller cheaper Staves, not just 10 scrolls tied to a stick.


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Midnightoker wrote:

It's indeed a bit radical but thematically it works as almost an inverse of resonance, which has conceptually been present in other fantasy genres.

I'm not sure id want a literal inverse to resonance (currently that's what you have) as I still think potions/consumables should not operate this way, but the premise might be a better solution to the happy stick problem.

It is "inverse resonance" that lets players benefit from as many potions as they want which I know is something that many find intuitively appealing and people generally don't like "wasting" an item they bought. Moreover, it will often force players to remember only one number ranging from zero to 4 rather than manage a pool of CHA+level, but potentially forces you to keep track of how many times you've cleared your spell sickness that day. I also think that the decision of when to caste the ritual or rest is tactically interesting because it makes you consider how often you predict that you will come across spell casters that day as well consider the likelihood of needing to use a bunch of items in the next fight or two.

I guess I am saying that you are being overly reductive in your assessment.

Themetricsystem wrote:

Honestly, at this point I'd be happy if they simply eliminated ALL healing potions, scrolls, staves, wands, wondrous items, and magical equipment altogether and made it a function of the Medicine Skill. It's either that, or removing Resonance Cost from Consumables and simply making them cost 3-5x their current value to purchase.

Oh, and Wands shouldn't be spells in a stick anymore, we need to get over that idea IMO, make them like smaller cheaper Staves, not just 10 scrolls tied to a stick.

Ha. I sort of agree that the amount of arguments over consumables makes me wish they would just remove them from the game. There are a lot of issues with just raising prices that have been gone into by plenty of people up to and including Jason Bulmahn on his youtube channel.

On your second point, I actually kind of suspect that "wands" will no longer be the vessel for "bulk purchase scrolls" in the final game if only because so many people b*+$@ about it. However, I suspect "spells in a stick" is probably going to end up in the game somewhere even if it is no longer a literal stick.


Excaliburproxy wrote:
...

It's not overly reductive, it has all the same problems of resonance does:

- overly complex

- still causes issues with managing consumables as well as personal characteristics

- still jarring for alchemist

- doesn't solve the happy stick problem as proposed, which just means people will juggle sickness or "camp" with the ritual

No one is going to be satisfied if all you do is flip the coin, resonance is very unliked as is and all you've done is created a negative inverse to that which saves wasted resources (one of the least complained about portions of resonance).

Calling it reductive to point that out is, quit frankly, reductive.

I'd rather tailor the current system than simply flip it to an inverse relationship since it seems to only solve problems you consider to be valuable in saving money and forcing "camp" albeit in a shorter interval.


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Midnightoker wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
...

It's not overly reductive, it has all the same problems of resonance does:

- overly complex

- still causes issues with managing consumables as well as personal characteristics

- still jarring for alchemist

- doesn't solve the happy stick problem as proposed, which just means people will juggle sickness or "camp" with the ritual

No one is going to be satisfied if all you do is flip the coin, resonance is very unliked as is and all you've done is created a negative inverse to that which saves wasted resources (one of the least complained about portions of resonance).

Calling it reductive to point that out is, quit frankly, reductive.

I'd rather tailor the current system than simply flip it to an inverse relationship since it seems to only solve problems you consider to be valuable in saving money and forcing "camp" albeit in a shorter interval.

NO YOU ARE THE REDUCTIVE ONE!

Heh.

But to speak to your points:
-I agree that it is still fairly complex but it is still a solution with pros and cons to be considered. Relevant question: is there a simpler system that also actually solves the issues with quadratic cost scaling and low level consumable overuse?

-Managing consumables is going to be in the game as long as there are consumables

-The alchemist will indeed need to be reworked under these new rules

-Relying on the healing stick becomes increasingly more expensive with the cost structure of the ritual that removes spell sickness. I suspect the cost-effective equilibrium will be to carry different levels of heal sticks to use in different situations. This "juggling" is actually a real decision.

Also, what do you consider to be the "first order" problems of resonance as it stands if not the ones that I discuss?


Excaliburproxy wrote:


-I agree that it is still fairly complex but it is still a solution with pros and cons to be considered. Relevant question: is there a simpler system that also actually solves the issues with quadratic cost scaling and low level consumable overuse?

I'm probably missing something here but wouldn't the simpler solution be to make the scaling cost of potions keep up with healing and therefore make using lower level healing potions pointless?

If a hypothetical 1st level potion restores on average 1/3rd the hp of an average 1st level chars hp. Then a 10th level potion should likewise restore on average 1/3 the hp of an average 10th level chars hp. Then we adjust the price of these items such that the 1st level potion takes up say 5% of the 1st level chars WBL, then the 10th level potion should also take up 5% of the 10th level chars WBL. Though I suppose that would require the flattening of the WBL curve, though it feels like pf2e has done this to some extent already by making an assumption of Xgp and a certain amount of permanent items at each level. Maybe just make the misc currency at each level more flat then exponential to match with consummables?


GreatCowGuru wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:


-I agree that it is still fairly complex but it is still a solution with pros and cons to be considered. Relevant question: is there a simpler system that also actually solves the issues with quadratic cost scaling and low level consumable overuse?

I'm probably missing something here but wouldn't the simpler solution be to make the scaling cost of potions keep up with healing and therefore make using lower level healing potions pointless?

If a hypothetical 1st level potion restores on average 1/3rd the hp of an average 1st level chars hp. Then a 10th level potion should likewise restore on average 1/3 the hp of an average 10th level chars hp. Then we adjust the price of these items such that the 1st level potion takes up say 5% of the 1st level chars WBL, then the 10th level potion should also take up 5% of the 10th level chars WBL. Though I suppose that would require the flattening of the WBL curve, though it feels like pf2e has done this to some extent already by making an assumption of Xgp and a certain amount of permanent items at each level. Maybe just make the misc currency at each level more flat then exponential to match with consummables?

Yeah, that would imply a cost scaling that gave low level characters easy access to high level equipment by cost. You can always do linear cost scaling combined with restricting items by level, though.


Excaliburproxy wrote:
GreatCowGuru wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:


-I agree that it is still fairly complex but it is still a solution with pros and cons to be considered. Relevant question: is there a simpler system that also actually solves the issues with quadratic cost scaling and low level consumable overuse?

I'm probably missing something here but wouldn't the simpler solution be to make the scaling cost of potions keep up with healing and therefore make using lower level healing potions pointless?

If a hypothetical 1st level potion restores on average 1/3rd the hp of an average 1st level chars hp. Then a 10th level potion should likewise restore on average 1/3 the hp of an average 10th level chars hp. Then we adjust the price of these items such that the 1st level potion takes up say 5% of the 1st level chars WBL, then the 10th level potion should also take up 5% of the 10th level chars WBL. Though I suppose that would require the flattening of the WBL curve, though it feels like pf2e has done this to some extent already by making an assumption of Xgp and a certain amount of permanent items at each level. Maybe just make the misc currency at each level more flat then exponential to match with consummables?

Yeah, that would imply a cost scaling that gave low level characters easy access to high level equipment by cost. You can always do linear cost scaling combined with restricting items by level, though.

Hm true, as a general realistic question though would that be a serious issue? Talking strictly about healing consummables like potions. If I could have 3 1st level potions or 1 3rd level potion isn't the tradeoff at that point whether I want to be able to go from 0 to full once or to patch up several times between fights with less chance of wasting the healing?


GreatCowGuru wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
GreatCowGuru wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:


-I agree that it is still fairly complex but it is still a solution with pros and cons to be considered. Relevant question: is there a simpler system that also actually solves the issues with quadratic cost scaling and low level consumable overuse?

I'm probably missing something here but wouldn't the simpler solution be to make the scaling cost of potions keep up with healing and therefore make using lower level healing potions pointless?

If a hypothetical 1st level potion restores on average 1/3rd the hp of an average 1st level chars hp. Then a 10th level potion should likewise restore on average 1/3 the hp of an average 10th level chars hp. Then we adjust the price of these items such that the 1st level potion takes up say 5% of the 1st level chars WBL, then the 10th level potion should also take up 5% of the 10th level chars WBL. Though I suppose that would require the flattening of the WBL curve, though it feels like pf2e has done this to some extent already by making an assumption of Xgp and a certain amount of permanent items at each level. Maybe just make the misc currency at each level more flat then exponential to match with consummables?

Yeah, that would imply a cost scaling that gave low level characters easy access to high level equipment by cost. You can always do linear cost scaling combined with restricting items by level, though.
Hm true, as a general realistic question though would that be a serious issue? Talking strictly about healing consummables like potions. If I could have 3 1st level potions or 1 3rd level potion isn't the tradeoff at that point whether I want to be able to go from 0 to full once or to patch up several times between fights with less chance of wasting the healing?

I don't know if it is a "problem" exactly as much as I think people would balk at limiting items by character level. "More like Word of Warcraftfinder!" they would cry.

That said if health, wealth, and item power all grow linearly AND you have items restricted by level then things actually do work neatly enough.


Excaliburproxy wrote:


Also, what do you consider to be the "first order" problems of resonance as it stands if not the ones that I discuss?

Fair response sir.

Personally, and this is me personally, here is my list of issues with it as current (and again thematically I actually love sickness/resonance)

- overly complex - could be reduced into a combination of proficiency and CHA which would be representative of the same theme without an entire system of points

- alchemists - should be entirely separated from the mechanic as proposed. Give them a pool to deal with alchemical items instead, as a system like this for global usage need not apply to a major class so invasively

- does not solve the happy stick problem - this has never been a problem for my homebrews or personal games I run as I simply don't distribute happy sticks that often. To me the problem is in the design of wands as a consumable, moving them to staff like behaviors (first edition that is) would bode far better at solving this.

- Christmas tree effect just transitioned - it has indeed removed the Christmas tree effect but left something lacking in its place. Now items are so ingrained in the math for weapons and armor they are just as required. Ability score boosts are so few and far between and less agency that the issue was already solved with the other changes.

- high level play - i would prefer scaling items with proficiency. Magic items are as iconic to the characters they are paired with as the characters themselves. Drizzt and his blades, Sauron and the ring, Harry Potter and his cloak, Jon Snow and Longclaw, etc. allowing players to bond with their items creates a stronger character concept and liberates them from the Christmas tree.

- potions - these need to be as simple as drinking them or applying them. If you want to tax someone resources, tax the maker.

All in all, I didn't hate the old magic system outside the rings/cloak/headband/belt requirements in the math. Consumables should just get straight up changed and valued based on their ability to be used ad hoc.

I want to say though, I do like your sickness concept, and if it were to address the above (however it managed to do so) I'd be more than happy to welcome its inception. It certainly fits elegantly into the status/ailment system and potentially ritual system, those pieces are rather nice, it's the unaddressed items I have concern for.


Excaliburproxy wrote:
GreatCowGuru wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
GreatCowGuru wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:


-I agree that it is still fairly complex but it is still a solution with pros and cons to be considered. Relevant question: is there a simpler system that also actually solves the issues with quadratic cost scaling and low level consumable overuse?

I'm probably missing something here but wouldn't the simpler solution be to make the scaling cost of potions keep up with healing and therefore make using lower level healing potions pointless?

If a hypothetical 1st level potion restores on average 1/3rd the hp of an average 1st level chars hp. Then a 10th level potion should likewise restore on average 1/3 the hp of an average 10th level chars hp. Then we adjust the price of these items such that the 1st level potion takes up say 5% of the 1st level chars WBL, then the 10th level potion should also take up 5% of the 10th level chars WBL. Though I suppose that would require the flattening of the WBL curve, though it feels like pf2e has done this to some extent already by making an assumption of Xgp and a certain amount of permanent items at each level. Maybe just make the misc currency at each level more flat then exponential to match with consummables?

Yeah, that would imply a cost scaling that gave low level characters easy access to high level equipment by cost. You can always do linear cost scaling combined with restricting items by level, though.
Hm true, as a general realistic question though would that be a serious issue? Talking strictly about healing consummables like potions. If I could have 3 1st level potions or 1 3rd level potion isn't the tradeoff at that point whether I want to be able to go from 0 to full once or to patch up several times between fights with less chance of wasting the healing?
I don't know if it is a "problem" exactly as much as I think people would balk at limiting items by character level. "More like Word of Warcraftfinder!" they would...

Oh, I had meant even without an item level cap it doesn't look too problematic to me as far as healing items go. Just the choice between more small heals or fewer large heals, buying above your level is only so useful because at a certain cutoff the healing will be wasted . Honestly, to me, I've never had an issue with consummables to beginwith and it honestly just seems downright strange to try and impose so much control over when consummables are used. I just view it as if you've been able to afford them there's no reason you shouldnt be able to make the choice between saving them up to uae a bunch at once or sprinkling their use out over time.

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