Guide 6.0 feedback - converting characters

Pathfinder Adventure Card Society

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i don't think this has been raised in the forums, although I know there has been plenty of chat about it in various PbP games. One of my biggest issues with the process of converting characters is how the +1 to feat caps is applied.

Using Season of Tapestry's Tides as an example, there are several bonus feats granted. A card feat for completing Adv 2, a power feat for completing P1, and a skill, power, or card feat for completing Adv 5 (lets assume we pick skill feat, since we can't get more than +1 of each feat anyways). Additionally, a character that earned their role card before converting would have gained an extra power feat.

If we start a brand new character to play through TT using Core/Guide 6.0 rules, that character will earn those rewards (except the bonus feat with the role card), and all their feat caps will be increased by 1. No problems here.

But if a character has already played part of TT and then converts, deciding WHEN to convert becomes a big issue. For example, if you convert immediately after finishing adventure 5 and tiering up to Tier 6, your only feat that will get the +1 to its cap is Power feats. After adventure 5, your character will have:
-6 skill feats
-7 power feats
-6 card feats
Only Power feats is higher than your tier, so that's the only one that will get the boost.

If you were to convert immediately before the last scenario in adventure 5, all of your skills will get +1. This Tier 5 character has:
-6 skill feats
-6 power feats
-6 card feats.
All 3 feats are higher than your tier, so all 3 get +1 (and then you'll get a free hero point for the Adv 5 reward instead of another feat).

This problem occurs in a lot of different situations, and makes it even tougher to make the switch from the old rules to the new. I would like to suggest that instead of determining how many feats you have compared to your tier, that if you have earned any bonus feats (either from a reward or as a result of earning your role card), you get +1 to the cap for that particular feat type. This will make transitioning much smoother.

Don't forget a few other issues with the Conversion rules. For example, if you convert after earning your 3rd Power Feat, but before earning your Role card (this will, by default, usually be true for around scenarios 3C-3E for your given season), then RAW you never get to earn a role card at all.

Let's not forget Season of the Righteous, either. The reward for Adventure 2 earns you 3 Skill Feats, and another Skill Feat was gained for completing Adventure 1. In other words, you'll usually have 4 Skill Feats above your Tier # in that Season, as befitting the famous "extreme" power levels of Wrath of the Righteous - with almost their entire benefit lost on Conversion.

Season of the Righteous and other Core Rules:
Keep in mind that Season is also probably the single most impacted by Core rules changes, since the occasional requirement to, for example, take on Combat checks of difficulties 40+ becomes much harder with the "One card type among the party per check" boon restrictions (and there's almost no sources of "Freely" supporting boons in the Class/Character Decks, especially regarding Blessings). In particular, a non-optimized 6 player party may find the Armies virtually impossible, since most people who've played a WotR AP through with 6 players are aware that, inevitably, at least one player will usually be left trying to pass a difficulty 14+ check with a 1d4 or 1d6 simply because the party's skill diversity doesn't flawlessly match the Army's requirements, with no ability to spam blessings to allow a pass.

However, the Season is much gentler on Armies than the AP was, from memory.

Plus, there's an AD1 villain, I recall, that required (among other things) a Craft 12 check to defeat; that also seemed similarly harsh with no ability to multi-use blessings and the possibility that a party has nobody with Craft. I think you could add small modifiers to your check against that villain, but in even getting a 40% chance of success against it, without the Craft skill, with Core Rules and Class Deck Boons, in AD1, seemed to require you to jump through quite a lot of hoops almost right out of the gate in the Season.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Bumping this now that Gen Con is over; would really like some insight or resolution into Wrath character conversion.

Lone Shark Games

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Oh, sorry. I knew I had to do that, then something derailed me and I lost that to-do.

I'll work on that tomorrow. It is a feature that dipping into SotRi isn't a surefire way to rack up feats, but it's desirable that you get some bumps that apply in SotRi itself.

We can just have skill/power feats that apply only in the specific AP, can't we? That seems like the simplest way to fix it.

I apologise in advance if what I say comes across as shortsighted, ignorant or otherwise unhelpful. However, I will say (and ask) it anyway because I don't fully understand the logic at work, and I'm always genuinely and deeply interested in understanding more behind designer reasoning and actions when I don't initially 'get' them.

My confusion - Powergaming with Rewards vs Powergaming with Characters:
Keith stated it is a feature that players cannot dip into Season 1 to rack up extra feats, which sounds like there is a concern that players could knowingly game the system to develop more powerful characters. It's hard to 'accidentally' play an entire Adventure in a season (and doing anything beyond that will almost certainly render you unable to earn an AP reward except in that season) so this is presumably intentionally targeting people who knowingly 'metagame' or 'powergame' the system.

Why is it a concern that players could 'metagame' to make extra powerful characters, when there appears to be larger issues with character balancing? If you're looking to "perform as best as you can at any cost", regardless of how it impacts the table, you can get far bigger boosts in effectiveness just by your choice of character/Class/Ultimate deck than you can by grinding out a few skill feats.

As an ideal example; I am quite certain that I could choose to play Reepazo, and effectively perform (in almost every metric - exploration rate, healing rate, check success rate, boon acquisition rate, location closing rate) better than dozens of other characters who have 'metagamed' into 3 extra Skill feats. In fact, I'm quite confident that my Tier-2 Reepazo is stronger than a lot of post-Role Tier 4+ characters.

In other words, I would argue that a person who is looking to knowingly 'metagame' to play a character that is as powerful as possible - regardless on the impact of the fun or enjoyment of other participants - would sooner just choose a knowingly, unusually powerful character rather than 'grind' out an extra 3 skill feats by playing an extra adventure. It would seem that a feature intended to prevent powergaming would be introduced alongside or after character rebalancing, in order to fulfil the stated goal best.

It must be said, to be honest; I've never seen anyone (in PbP, which is my sole experience with PACS) intentionally exploit Season of the Righteous to leverage extra skill feats. I have seen people play Reepazo, but most - either consciously or unconsciously - have avoided pushing her power level in the way she is capable of being pushed... or in one case in a PbP campaign, once they realised how far it could be pushed, knowingly limited themselves or nerfed her. Equally, players could - and universally do, at least in PbP - just choose not to grind Season of the Righteous for skill feats for use in other APs.

(I'm not saying "Reepazo is the only problem", but she is an effective example of what I would consider a bigger issue than anything Season of the Righteous could cause; if we're suggesting that intentional powergaming is an issue in PACS, which sounds like the implication.)

To play devil's advocate against myself, I am certainly aware that errata'ing characters is harder than writing a paragraph in "Converting Old Characters", but I nevertheless find it odd that character rebalancing is lower on the priority list than (effectively) removing feat rewards (both from legitimate and exploitative players).

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Online—VTT

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I don't see that being on-topic, but in short I think that just because something may be imbalanced, doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to correct other imbalances. And just because we don't see this come up often, that doesn't mean closing that loophole isn't important.

To Marks point; however, there is an issue where trying to correct these other imbalances has inadvertently caused some characters to lose out on feats. IOW, RAI and RAW don't seem to match up. RAW depending on when a character tiers up it's possible to lose those feats permanently, whereas RAI seems to be what Mark has suggested in that if a character has received a bonus feat, then they get the +1 max cap for that feat type. I like Mark's suggestion.

I have a table that is being impacted by this "loss of feat" issue. They completed 3-4A and were at 4/4/3 feats. When we converted they don't have any feats that exceed their tier because they haven't taken their current tier power feat, even though they have received a bonus power feat from gaining their role card. So now they have a max feat of 4/4/4 and can only get a card feat for the rest of the tier. And for the entire season the max number of feats under new rules they can get is 7/6/7 whereas under the old rules they would've been able to get 7/7/7. I understand completely new characters going through Season 3 will be stuck with 7/6/7 due to no longer getting that role power feat, but it seems kind of silly to me that due to the timing of the conversion, this table has effectively forever lost their +1 power feat. In fact, had they done one more scenario before converting this would've been a non-issue. This is why I say I don't think RAW matches RAI. These characters already had the bonus feat, and now they essentially would lose it. This makes even less sense in other seasons where characters actually gained a feat from the season, but could lose that feat if they timed the conversion wrong. In those cases, completely new characters would actually able able to get more feats than the converted characters.

To the point of SoRight, I'd like to see the feats made AP specific. Something like this. "Choose a [skill/card/power] feat and note it on your chronicle. For the rest of this AP and (corresponding capstone, if applicable), you gain this feat. If playing a scenario outside of this AP then you do not gain this feat."

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Race Dorsey wrote:
To the point of SoRight, I'd like to see the feats made AP specific. Something like this. "Choose a [skill/card/power] feat and note it on your chronicle. For the rest of this AP and (corresponding capstone, if applicable), you gain this feat. If playing a scenario outside of this AP then you do not gain this feat."

It's not quite that simple, since you might later use a hero point to gain a power feat that requires that previous feat. Now if you take that character to another adventure path, you have a sub-feat without its main feat. Maybe:

"Each character gets a [skill/card/power] feat, and their [skill/card/power] feat cap for the rest of this AP is increased by 1. "

Then the guide could be updated to add:
"When you start a scenario, if your feat count exceeds your feat cap for that [scenario/adventure/adventure path], temporarily uncheck feats until you are back at your cap."

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Online—VTT

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MorkXII wrote:

It's not quite that simple, since you might later use a hero point to gain a power feat that requires that previous feat. Now if you take that character to another adventure path, you have a sub-feat without its main feat. Maybe:
"Each character gets a [skill/card/power] feat, and their [skill/card/power] feat cap for the rest of this AP is increased by 1. "

Then the guide could be updated to add:
"When you start a scenario, if your feat count exceeds your feat cap for that [scenario/adventure/adventure path], temporarily uncheck feats until you are back at your cap."

Good call!

I think we still need to make sure we capture the "Capstone" portion in there somewhere, since technically those are outside of the AP, but characters in SoRight obviously still want to have their oodles of skill, power, and card feats going into 1-P Dread Lord Rising.

"Each character gets a [skill/card/power] feat, and their [skill/card/power] feat cap for the rest of this AP (and corresponding Capstone, if applicable,) is increased by 1. "


On the one hand, I can understand a desire for balance and standardization.

On the other hand, this feels like a kick in the teeth for those who have played through scenarios (especially specials) for the chance to earn "cool rewards", and now find they cannot earn "cool rewards" from their ongoing play.

On the under hand (#Icanswim), I am enough of a munchkin to have chosen which off-AP scenario I'd complete to hit T4 or T4.2 pre-Special based on that scenario granting an extra feat.*

On the fourth hand (Kasatha for the win, SFS Card Game ahoy! #ACGdreams), I'm not sure there has necessarily been sufficient consideration (or at least musing publicly) about the prerequisite steps to *earning* additional feats. In the example above, I "had to" ("got to" :)) play more ACG (three times, if I recall correctly, to finally solo the scenario) to *earn* more rewards.

Big rewards seem to usually be locked behind completing a whole Adventure (or an Adventure Path), which is excellent. Effort in, reward out!

For me, the limiting factor (besides time, space, IRL responsibilities, alternative amusements, thematic dissonance, and self restraint) to munchkinning my way to Ultimate Power (Feats) has been the opportunity cost of playing scenarios out of the main Adventure Path my characters progress through.

When there are 5-6 scenarios per Adventure, where there is a hard cap of 6 adventures per tier, and where I'm rolling along leveling up with the group as play moves forward, there is limited room for dalliances with other scenarios.

I played specials:

a) Because they seemed like they would be fun (they were!);
b) Because I would have space when Tiering-up to play, or could earn rewards without Tier advancement; and,
c) Because I hoped there'd be a chance of cool (and power-ful rewards) to go along with the danger (there were);

Now, my shiny reward feats are going away. That... frankly, doesn't feel great. It could be dismissed as a petulant nerd whining that he had some of his toys taken away, and fair cop... but it still doesn't feel great.


The Feat Cap appears to be a hammer of a solution to the Robertson of a problem that, going forward, there will be more "breathing room" to explore additional scenarios (and earn more rewards) while still completing Adventures (and Adventure Paths).


Isn't one of the upsides to Organized Play supposed to the "drop-in, drop-out, mix-and-match scenarios"? The Adventure / AP Rewards already disincentivize drop-in random scenario play. (Not a bad thing: to reiterate, cool and gated Adventure / AP Rewards are a Good Thing). Taking away / capping / AP - gating Scenario rewards, though, seems to run counter to encouraging players to mix-and-match.

Not necessarily directly on-point to how the game seems to actually be played (I mean, what are the odds players who do "drop in" on games earn feat rewards)? I wanted to flag it as a cautionary concern, though, about Adventure/AP-locking rewards going forward.

Sometimes appropriate, and probably most appropriate for Feats. (Thinking on this a bit more, unlocking cool Loot that could be used outside a given AP frankly feels like something a Pathfinder Society agent would do more than taking on random mercenary work to improve combat prowess, while the power level associated with extra feats might well justify AP/Adventure locking those rewards. Because dipping for feats does feel right from a Pathfinder Player perspective. ;)).


Finally, Role Cards. For the love of Aroden, why do y'all have to kneecap oldPACG Roles like that? Love getting roles early (cool new stuff earlier in an AP!) Don't like losing the extra checkbox they were designed around. Some characters don't care... but it means the "might take sometimes" powers become "never take" powers, because you've lost 1 check-box.

Rebalanced roles and all would be great! In the interim, though, maybe have a rule that says: if you are running a pre-Core character, when you hit T4, check a power box on your Role Card. This is not a a feat.

You can have your cap, and design Roles around having 1 fewer feat going forward, while not gibbling old roles? (Having your cap and eating it too sounds very Goblin... :))


Anyhow, just my 2 ep from someone who has become suddenly quite invested in the conversation and who probably doesn't know what he's ranting about. ;)


*I feel like bringing a T4 char with mostly T3 cards to High Tier special is a fair balance to having an 'extra' feat. But the choice was purely mechanical and power driven.

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