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I took some time from reading through the forums, engaging and playtesting and instead decided to try to see what it was like to develop for 2nd edition. The experience helped me understand a lot of the engine under Pathfinder so that I have some new perspective on some of the rules driving the game.
So I decided to try and port over the Gunslinger from 1e to 2e, and created this google doc. I only developed up to level 10 feats but the class features are fully featured. The equipment info is in there as well for the firearms (it's WIP right now).
So, on to thoughts about the rules. Pros:
1.) Developing new actions within the action economy is very fun.
In PF1 if you wanted a new class you had to consider ALL the existing feats and incorporate those rules into the class. Now instead you are able to build from the ground up considering the already existing actions for other classes and you can design a class around smaller less complex feat chains that you can mix with other abilities.
2.) Enhancements are great.
Enhancements are so useful for creating custom feats/actions/powers. Being able to uniformly identify an action that gets an additional affect is useful for organizational purposes to better determine what the action does. Same goes for failure conditions.
3.) Conditions make combat actions more interesting.
The functionality of conditions makes for very interesting integration into combat actions (and spells). It's a really good base to expand upon for new and interesting stuff.
And finally, some cons for the issues I ran into.
1.) Balancing new stuff will become complicated/difficult.
Because of the class silos having different action sets that don't all adhere to the central build set (like general or combat feats) instead of balancing against existing combat feats you have to balance against allthe other class feats of the same level across other classes.
The main issue with this is when creating a new class, if creating a new class, the consideration is slightly more complex in this manner. Without serious number crunching and also considering the more nebulous conditions system it's hard to say what may be considered "balanced" in this system since we have to consider all actions of a comparable level against all other actions. There are tons of variables.\
The best example of this in my doc is probably the Careful Shot level 1 feat. I wanted a "dead-eye" type gunslinger to be viable. I knew with the crit rules that targeting touch AC wouldn't be an option for the gunslinger by default because that would upset the balance of damage on a lot of these weapons.
My idea then was to create an attack action that used more actions than a normal strike, so I took a look at the Ghost Strike monk feat. I thought:
-This is level 6 but if I want a deadeye gunslinger I want it to be usable off the bat.
-Since it's ranged and Ghost strike is unarmed is that too powerful?
-Is three actions enough for this type of attack?
-Factoring the reload for a firearm also impacts how often careful shot can be used
I quickly realized that I would have to pull a lot of averaged data from across the book to determine if this was a balanced choice. As it's written now, I think a "full round" action for an attack that requires a reload is pretty fair. If you're using a single firearm you cannot perform a Careful shot more than every other round. Monks can make 4 attacks in a round with FOB so one attack every other round seemed appropriate. It's hard to say definitively though, I suppose. I'd need to take a hard look at other attack actions to see how that would work.
2.) Spell point integration
This is an issue with the unsettled in-flux rules that are being playtest-tested. When they announced that spell points mayget rolled into the new focus system I think the Panache/grit/luck classes from PF1 could suffer without some finagling and boosts. The monk and paladin would be in the same position without changes to this system as well.
I rather like spell points. They're a good halfway point between actions and full-blown spells. Boosting powers to accommodate having less points to spend on them puts non-casters in an awkward spot. That's a topic for another time, though.
3.) Dedications (multiclassing)
I think dedications are in a weird place. I tried visualizing how to make a gunslinger dedication and choosing a particular class feature to identify as the "main" dedication feature. Classes are somewhat balanced against themselves and without the whole set of features I think the dedications can be lackluster.
The rogue dedication is a good example. The pros from getting extra skills and a skill feat are great, but the fact that Surprise Attack is the class feature you get is... less attractive than advancing your class feats to have better combat options.
I enjoyed the experiment and challenge. I think the system is great for homebrew, 3rd party and future release content and I look forward to full release for when I can really start digging in to how to pull apart the game mechanics we have and stretch them into a complex and deep web of interlocking options that opens up tons of build diversity within the classes.
Thoughts? Opinions on my little homebrew half-class? Do you want to see the gunslinger as the first non-core class to be released officially like I do?