Ok, I get it now...


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Liberty's Edge

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One of my friends switched to D&D 5thEd not too long ago. His primary reason was all the buff and de-buff garbage in PF. I never really understood it. That is some of my favorite parts of the game. But I did learn that it can get out of hand. I was at a PFS game couple of weeks ago. None of us brought a straight damage dealer or SoD caster. Conditions, buffs, and de-buffs galore.

De-buffs
This guy is grappled and blind. That guy is staggered and sickened. The one over there is sickened and prone. The last one is prone, disarmed, and stunned. Etc...
Buffs
Everyone has prayer, bless, haste, blessings of fervor. The two of you have bulls strength. I have shield and monstrous physique I. She has barkskin and will change into and elemental in the 3rd round. That will lose her armor bonus so she also has mage armor for when her armor goes away. He also has stoneskin and blur. Etc...

The fights really weren't all that inherently complex. But after the buffs, de-buffs, and conditions it was taking forever to figure out actions, to hit, and damages. Don't get me wrong. It isn't that it was ineffective, it was just such a muddled pain to figure out. And we were all quite sure we got a bunch of them wrong in both directions.

So although I absolutely love to stack a bunch of de-buffs onto the bad guy so he seems completely incompetent or buffs onto my allies until they are invincible, from now on I'm going to try to take it a bit easier on the GM. Just one or 2 good buffs or de-buffs, then have a way to just eliminate the opposition.


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Yeah, Pathfinder is as complex as you want to make it.


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I'd say there's a fine line between "too many modifiers to keep track of in a speedy fashion" and "not enough modifiers to encourage tactical thinking", but I suspect that line has negative width. In other words, there's likely an area in the middle where it's both clumsy and uninteresting.

Whoever solves that problem has a decent shot at eating WotC's lunch.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
blahpers wrote:

I'd say there's a fine line between "too many modifiers to keep track of in a speedy fashion" and "not enough modifiers to encourage tactical thinking", but I suspect that line has negative width. In other words, there's likely an area in the middle where it's both clumsy and uninteresting.

Whoever solves that problem has a decent shot at eating WotC's lunch.

Does 2e not solve this problem with Item, Status, and Circumstances Bonuses?

There are three other types of bonus that frequently appear: circumstance bonuses, item bonuses, and status bonuses. If you have different types of bonus that would apply to the same roll, you’ll add them all. But if you have multiple bonuses of the same type, you can use only the highest bonus on a given roll—in other words, they don’t “stack.”

Seems to get rid of the Buff train effect, with still adding depth and options


That's hard to say. I rather enjoy taking actions that buff people that still have an effect over "give one of these 3 bonuses", as if it's a check list and you can stop once that's all checked off. I want them to remember haste is different than good hope (to use an imaginary example). So maybe more buff categories is a good thing.


PF2 runs into the other end of things where you can build for irrelevance by choosing easily over written buffs and debuffs even within a small 4 person party. 5e lets nothing stack so you know building for sharing advantage/disadvantage is pointless, but it's unsatisfying and occasionally silly.

I'd worked up a slightly modified PF2 style buff/debuff system that involved shifting the values entirely to the player. You'd give spells and attacks a modifier that increased based on how many debuffs were present on the target or buffs were present on the player, and give the value a cap.

So some attacks would have a listing like "Exploit(3), flanked 1, confused 1, burning 3" and if the target were flanked and confused you'd get +2, if they were burning you'd get +3 and if they had all three you'd still cap out at +3. You'd need to narrow your debuff types considerably, but it should work well. I wasn't sure whether or not to combine both the buff and debuff max values, and it looked like I'd need to vary the baseline proficiency bonus so higher exploit value classes weren't too competitive.


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Jib916 wrote:
blahpers wrote:

I'd say there's a fine line between "too many modifiers to keep track of in a speedy fashion" and "not enough modifiers to encourage tactical thinking", but I suspect that line has negative width. In other words, there's likely an area in the middle where it's both clumsy and uninteresting.

Whoever solves that problem has a decent shot at eating WotC's lunch.

Does 2e not solve this problem with Item, Status, and Circumstances Bonuses?

There are three other types of bonus that frequently appear: circumstance bonuses, item bonuses, and status bonuses. If you have different types of bonus that would apply to the same roll, you’ll add them all. But if you have multiple bonuses of the same type, you can use only the highest bonus on a given roll—in other words, they don’t “stack.”

Seems to get rid of the Buff train effect, with still adding depth and options

Maybe? I'd have to play it (or at least theorycraft it through the full level spectrum with realistic modifiers to form an opinion. There are other issues with New 'n' Pathy! that have so far kept me from spending valuable game time on it.


Pathfinder needs a "Standard Loadouts" app. You push the button on your controller, there are some sweet chirps, and all the numbers update.


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I actually made something like that for the Zen Archer in my current group, to speed up the player's turn. Check the last tab here. No sound effect, sadly.


We use index cards with little flowcharts on them for similar purposes, though they can get out of hand if you have a lot of conditional modifiers, and they require a lot of upkeep when leveling or acquiring new weapons.


What level PCs are you talking about here? I'm running a home game with APL 8 characters; none of them have a "buff train" effect happening.

The Inquisitor/Wizard spends all of his time plinking with wands/arrows and lamenting his lack of DPR. The Druid spends most of her spell slots on utility spells or healing and sends her insanely equipped lioness into the fight for her. The Bloodrager/Brawler/Fighter does have a lot to keep track of, but that comes from personal Feats and he... has a system. Finally, the Barbarian/Bard has 1 buff effect that she forgets to use often.

On the off-chance that any of these PCs actually throws out a buff spell or ability, we just jot it down on an index card like B-laffs there.

The BR/B/F with all his Feats does sometimes come up with some de-buffs that affect combat. When this happens we pull out a bunch of colored magnets my group used in the 4e days. I have a handout in my notebook with all the conditions printed on it as a quick reference.

I'll agree with Old (Undying) Blue-Eyes upthread: PF is as complicated as you make it. 4 8th level PCs, three build for DPR in some fashion and with just enough magic items to get the melee martial type airborne when necessary, and you've got a consistent way to end every encounter.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Yeah, it has definitely varied by party. My Skull and Shackles druid/monk gets mage armor, greater magic fang, and greater longstrider in the morning. Meanwhile my PFS oracle has a buff list the length of her character sheet most days.

Liberty's Edge

We were PC's of levels 8-10 if I remember correctly.

Yes, I know it isn't by any means every group. But I am usually good at keeping track of all those little fiddly bits, adding to this, subtracting from that, ... But this one got away from all of us.

So it demonstrated to me how annoying it could be (even with a more average group), if you weren't one of the people who was good at keep track of all that stuff.


This is less of a problem if you play on a site like Roll20 and use the incredibly awesome Community Sheets. There, most debuffs are a simple click away, and you can set up any buff fairly easily as well. Makes keeping track of the math super easy.

The downside is, because the sheets are so thorough and a bit overloaded, you might suffer some issues with lag and slowdown here and there, especially if you have a lot of maps and stuff. But it's well worth it if your party engages in buffing and debuffing a lot. The official Pathfinder sheets kinda suck when it comes to buffs and debuffs in comparison.


blahpers wrote:
We use index cards with little flowcharts on them for similar purposes, though they can get out of hand if you have a lot of conditional modifiers, and they require a lot of upkeep when leveling or acquiring new weapons.

One of our local players does that to track his kinesticist's burn and its effects on other stats, and yes, it does require regular updating. But he's one of the few people who I have ever seen play the class *efficiently* at the table. (It's a stark contrast with some others who love the idea of the class but whose turns take forever even with Hero Lab's help.)

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