Incapacitation trait rules: a solution in search of a problem?


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While playing a dungeon I made with my group they encountered a pack of ghouls; as they were level 3 PCs there were a number of ghouls. We were about half way through the fight when I noticed that the ghoul's paralysis ability had the Incapacitation trait so I checked the rules (figuring it might be like it is for spells; more than double). But for items, creatures, etc. it simply means if the target is higher level than the creature then the Incap rules apply.

i.e. once you are level 2 you are (essentially) immune to ghoul paralysis.

What I don't understand is, why? I mean as you level up your stats, proficiency, item bonus, etc all increase dramatically meaning that the odds that a level 3 or 4 (or 5 or 6 etc) PC fails a DC 15 ghoul paralysis save become ever lower and lower and lower.

This is true with all "hoser" type effects in the game (medusas, basilisks, etc.).

PCs naturally become less and less vulnerable to these effects due to the ever increasing nature of their saves.

Why have this rule then? Why make the PCs suddenly immune to the creatures powers once they are a single level above it; it essentially makes the monster nearly pointless and really rules out ever using the monster as duo, trio, or group later on down the line once the PCs are a few levels higher than the monster.


Seems more pertinent to PC's than for monsters. Since PC DC's scale, a level 20 wizard could use a level 1 sleep spell to win a against the BBEG.

But you still don't want a large pack of ghouls perma-stunning high level PC's either. Even if they rarely hit, they could keep a PC out pretty easily.

Not my favorite solution to be honest.


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Well it also means that like a monk can’t stunning fist a creature a level above him; basically you can only use your stunning fist when you are fighting a bunch of riff raft which when it doesn’t even matters they much

Liberty's Edge

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It's because otherwise, individual bosses get pretty screwed by SoD effects, since a whole party can theoretically hit them with four or five of them. Odds are they'd fail at least one Save in that situation. And that's pretty anticlimactic and not a tactic they want to encourage.

The same applies to PCs, quite frankly. Let's take the example of 8 Basilisks (a Severe but not Extreme encounter) vs. an 8th level party. Most 8th level characters will have between a +11 and a +16 on Saves. At DC 22 to Save, lot of PCs would probably get petrified there if incapacitate didn't apply.

Now, Ghouls in particular should maybe not have the trait given their standard role in encounters and the general weakness of their paralysis, but that's a specific issue with ghouls rather than one with the Incapacitate trait.


This first annoyed me too, though it was the Drow poison that triggered my animus. That poison was mechanically crafted (way back when by Gygax) for the very purpose of threatening high-level enemies w/ low-level troops (much like their superb magic resistance was made as defense vs. AoEs). Except that level of offense & SR doesn't mesh well with 3.X-PF parameters anymore. (For better or worse)

While my opinion still fluctuates, I've mostly determined that the Incapacitation trait is a good thing because of what it does allow and because the metrics of PF2 differ.

Imagine you have a pack of ghouls, a really normal trope in fantasy games, or maybe a cult of medusae, or squad of Drow.
Arguably ghouls are the kings of TPKs, so maybe they've already proven they're a danger to use in bulk (or underwater!). Now, that city of ghouls (which most official worlds have!) is viable.
A cult of medusae, in previous editions, would hardly have any members and in fact, hardly did in the one module in PF1 that has such. The risk of their gaze made groups untenable. Yet they still work great as bosses too in the new system.
And if Drow poison could come in full-effect volleys, that means we'd often have to limit Drow to small numbers, rather than the merchant caravans and patrols they used to. Small numbers as seen in 3.X & PF1, to my chagrin.
So now we can again use larger numbers of such critters, hanging the threat of instant setback w/o the save-or-die worries of previous editions.

Avoiding save-or-die/super-suck scenarios except on a crit failure is a feature of PF2. So abilities that are that severe on a mere failure, at least if Paizo didn't want to alter them (which they did to many), needed some reining in so that they were themselves high-level abilities/items/monsters if they were going to be capable of taking out same.
Which is to say, having low-level offense have high-level consequences doesn't mesh well with PF2.

On top of this, AC isn't the defense it used to be, nor are saves for that matter. With minions able to regularly hit, carrier effects needed toning down, but only when those creatures are actually minions, since so many creatures have to fill both roles.
I like that Color Spray still resembles previous versions, and that being blinded for 1 minute is off the table when a cluster of minion mages starts blasting my superior hero, yet still a risk vs. a equal or superior foe that slotted it higher.

The trait has grown on me, though yes, I can see some situations where the creatures are only one level below you where their new weaker state feels jolting. But then you could always add a level or two if needed to compensate, that is if their special effect is that important.
Cheers


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If a DM wants to make ghoul paralysis a old school TPK style threat to PCs, they just need to create higher level ghouls. Within a pack of standard ghouls, sneak in a level 3 ghoul rogue, or a raging level 3 ghoul wolf instinct barbarian.


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My biggest issue with it is that you are vulnerable one level, then completely immune the next.

I think a more stepped down approach would be better. Like higher level creatures get 1 degree of success better.


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Mellored wrote:

My biggest issue with it is that you are vulnerable one level, then completely immune the next.

I think a more stepped down approach would be better. Like higher level creatures get 1 degree of success better.

... Isn't that exactly how it works?


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Mellored wrote:

My biggest issue with it is that you are vulnerable one level, then completely immune the next.

I think a more stepped down approach would be better. Like higher level creatures get 1 degree of success better.

... Isn't that exactly how it works?

Yes...


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Mellored wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Mellored wrote:

My biggest issue with it is that you are vulnerable one level, then completely immune the next.

I think a more stepped down approach would be better. Like higher level creatures get 1 degree of success better.

... Isn't that exactly how it works?
Yes...

That does happen to be exactly how it works


uhh...


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah you dont become immune to ghouls in one level, you become drastically better. I would have preferred a scaling system with bonus/penalty based on the difference but that is admittedly fiddly and harder to off the cuff remember.

Liberty's Edge

Really, the issue is that Ghouls, unlike most spells, have a binary effect. Either you succeed and nothing happens or you fail and are paralyzed. The difference would be a lot less glaring if it inflicted Sluggish 2 even on a successful Save, or something like that.

That's not necessarily a good idea, mind you, as it likely makes ghouls too good vs. on-level stuff...but it'd sure make the change less jarring.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

Really, the issue is that Ghouls, unlike most spells, have a binary effect. Either you succeed and nothing happens or you fail and are paralyzed. The difference would be a lot less glaring if it inflicted Sluggish 2 even on a successful Save, or something like that.

That's not necessarily a good idea, mind you, as it likely makes ghouls too good vs. on-level stuff...but it'd sure make the change less jarring.

This is interesting to me for several reasons first being I was surprised that paralysis doesn’t have the scaling effects like most other things

In my 1E game the group was mobbed by a lot of ghasts in a small room around this time last year and it looked like a TPK was on the cards due to some bad rolling. I introduced critical failure for that issue and I think gave normal failure “staggered”

When I eventually finish the AP I am running the next plan is Rise of the Runelords. It sounds like I might need to make a similar change to 2E ghouls and introduce a scale on their paralysis ...

Liberty's Edge

Personally, I'd just remove the Incapacitate trait on ghouls and then be very careful using large numbers of them on higher level targets.


The other thing the Incapacitation trait does is put save or dies on a more even footing with things like blasts that want to be used in top tier slots or not at all.

Dark Archive

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I think it really is a way to keep the game interesting on both sides of the GM screen without creating a whole lot of work due to rocket tag, as incapacitation effects are encounter enders. With how the new system works, if casters didn’t have to worry about the incapacitation trait, the best course of action (as I’ve seen in all of my PF1 games with highest level slots) would be to only prepare those spells to take down the most dangerous enemy, while the rest of the party just does clean up, something that would once again lead to caster-martial disparity. Conversely, a number of incapacitating foes would be more dangerous than an equal level encounter of nonincapacitating foes, something that 5e focuses on.


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Narxiso wrote:
Conversely, a number of incapacitating foes would be more dangerous than an equal level encounter of nonincapacitating foes, something that 5e focuses on.

Right so isn't the inverse true? Meaning that since ghouls (or medusae, etc.) are 'balanced' including their incapacitating traits; once you have mitigated that be being high level I have to assume that a good deal of their "challenge worthiness" drops off.

e.g.

A party of 4 level 1 PCs fight an encounter vs:

2 ghouls (level 1, 40xp each): 80xp
2 goblin pyros (level 1, 40 xp each): 80xp

These are equivalent.

A while later, now the PCs are level 3, you still want a moderate encounter:

4 ghouls (level 1, 20xp each): 80xp
4 goblin pyros (level 1, 20 xp each): 80xp

The PCs save are a few points higher so they are 10% more likely to save vs. the goblin pyros burning hands and other spells... but as for the ghouls the PCs are 95% to pass all of the ghouls saves.

It seems to me then that the effective challenge of the 4 ghouls is drastically lower than it would seem because so much of their combat effectiveness is tied to their special abilities.


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To the title of the thread, no it wasn't a solution in search of a problem. It was a solution to a real problem, that is perhaps less elegant in some places than others (mostly when effects have binary outcomes instead of the 4 levels of success like most abilities now have in PF2).

It was a real problem that some GMs would overwhelm parties with lots of low level enemies as part of the CR budget that had save or die/suck effects. It didn't matter that the party had a 90% chance to pass each save, when you make 10+ of them a round it was pretty brutal.

Conversely, same thing with parties vs BBEG, the party would focus on throwing out as many encounter ending abilities as they had to shut the BBEG down before they ever got to act.


AsmodeusDM wrote:
Narxiso wrote:
Conversely, a number of incapacitating foes would be more dangerous than an equal level encounter of nonincapacitating foes, something that 5e focuses on.

Right so isn't the inverse true? Meaning that since ghouls (or medusae, etc.) are 'balanced' including their incapacitating traits; once you have mitigated that be being high level I have to assume that a good deal of their "challenge worthiness" drops off.

e.g.

A party of 4 level 1 PCs fight an encounter vs:

2 ghouls (level 1, 40xp each): 80xp
2 goblin pyros (level 1, 40 xp each): 80xp

These are equivalent.

A while later, now the PCs are level 3, you still want a moderate encounter:

4 ghouls (level 1, 20xp each): 80xp
4 goblin pyros (level 1, 20 xp each): 80xp

The PCs save are a few points higher so they are 10% more likely to save vs. the goblin pyros burning hands and other spells... but as for the ghouls the PCs are 95% to pass all of the ghouls saves.

It seems to me then that the effective challenge of the 4 ghouls is drastically lower than it would seem because so much of their combat effectiveness is tied to their special abilities.

First, as has been mentioned upthread a few times, this is a problem with ghoul paralysis not having a success effect rather than an indication that incapacitate is a mistake on the whole.

Second, the ghoul still hits more often for more damage than the pyros, and inflicts ghoul fever creating long term problems. One of their special attacks doesn't work but as a whole they are still noteworthy.


AsmodeusDM wrote:
Narxiso wrote:
Conversely, a number of incapacitating foes would be more dangerous than an equal level encounter of nonincapacitating foes, something that 5e focuses on.

Right so isn't the inverse true? Meaning that since ghouls (or medusae, etc.) are 'balanced' including their incapacitating traits; once you have mitigated that be being high level I have to assume that a good deal of their "challenge worthiness" drops off.

e.g.

A party of 4 level 1 PCs fight an encounter vs:

2 ghouls (level 1, 40xp each): 80xp
2 goblin pyros (level 1, 40 xp each): 80xp

These are equivalent.

A while later, now the PCs are level 3, you still want a moderate encounter:

4 ghouls (level 1, 20xp each): 80xp
4 goblin pyros (level 1, 20 xp each): 80xp

The PCs save are a few points higher so they are 10% more likely to save vs. the goblin pyros burning hands and other spells... but as for the ghouls the PCs are 95% to pass all of the ghouls saves.

10 % more likely to save for 3 times less damage compared to their respective health pool. It seems balanced to me.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I think the Incapacitation trait should have given higher level victims a more reasonable bonus (say +4) to their save rather than a full +10. Getting one degree better on the save result turns most incapacitation effects into complete wastes of time.

Ghouls in Pathfinder 1E were TPK machines not entirely because they caused paralysis, but because they caused paralysis as a rider on every single one of their three natural attacks, and that paralysis lasted 1d4+1 rounds, and it didn't allow you further saves to break out early. There were a lot of angles they could have used to make ghoul paralysis less overwhelming. Reducing it to complete irrelevancy the moment PCs hit level 2 was not the right solution.

A small pack of three ghouls in PF2E will almost never be encountered until the PCs are at least 2nd level. The only time the PCs will ever learn to be afraid of paralysis is in the rare event they face one (or maybe two if its a boss encounter) ghouls as first level characters. Hordes of ghouls are totally out - or if they're in they no longer have distinctness.


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It sounds like ghouls are an edge case, maybe worth an errata to make their paralysis have tiered effects. Otherwise the incapacitation rules seem right on to me.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

It's because otherwise, individual bosses get pretty screwed by SoD effects, since a whole party can theoretically hit them with four or five of them. Odds are they'd fail at least one Save in that situation. And that's pretty anticlimactic and not a tactic they want to encourage.

The same applies to PCs, quite frankly. Let's take the example of 8 Basilisks (a Severe but not Extreme encounter) vs. an 8th level party. Most 8th level characters will have between a +11 and a +16 on Saves. At DC 22 to Save, lot of PCs would probably get petrified there if incapacitate didn't apply.

Now, Ghouls in particular should maybe not have the trait given their standard role in encounters and the general weakness of their paralysis, but that's a specific issue with ghouls rather than one with the Incapacitate trait.

And their solution was to make the abilities useless by level capping them. Classy.

Incapacitate was a bad idea and never should have been added. "But they might stun the boss". They sure might, and that's never a bad thing. One shotting is ok.


Claxon wrote:

To the title of the thread, no it wasn't a solution in search of a problem. It was a solution to a real problem, that is perhaps less elegant in some places than others (mostly when effects have binary outcomes instead of the 4 levels of success like most abilities now have in PF2).

It was a real problem that some GMs would overwhelm parties with lots of low level enemies as part of the CR budget that had save or die/suck effects. It didn't matter that the party had a 90% chance to pass each save, when you make 10+ of them a round it was pretty brutal.

Conversely, same thing with parties vs BBEG, the party would focus on throwing out as many encounter ending abilities as they had to shut the BBEG down before they ever got to act.

As somebody who has played on both sides of encounters like this, they are a good thing, lots of fun, and removing them was a bad idea.

Not sarcastic, I genuinely like them.

Liberty's Edge

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sherlock1701 wrote:
And their solution was to make the abilities useless by level capping them.

An ability you can readily use on a high percentage of the foes you fight isn't 'useless'. They made them less useful, certainly, but hardly useless.

sherlock1701 wrote:
Classy.

Could you maybe not be a giant dick to people just because you disagree with their game design philosophy? That'd be great.

sherlock1701 wrote:
Incapacitate was a bad idea and never should have been added. "But they might stun the boss". They sure might, and that's never a bad thing. One shotting is ok.

Part of the design goals was pretty clearly to make single foes of higher level a legitimate and scary threat (which they often weren't in PF1). Rebalancing around that involves reducing the odds of this. It just does.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Part of the design goals was pretty clearly to make single foes of higher level a legitimate and scary threat (which they often weren't in PF1). Rebalancing around that involves reducing the odds of this. It just does.

This is, at its heart, an action economy issue. If you're fighting a dozen orcs, it's no big deal if one of them gets stunned or otherwise incapacitated. That reduces the total damage output of them by a small fraction, which makes the stun useful but not overpowered. But if you fight a boss-type monster, stunning it for one round essentially shuts down the whole encounter for that round, which is extremely powerful.

It should be noted that every post-3e edition of D&D has had some method of dealing with this.

4e: Elites get +2 to saves, and Solos get +5. Saves in 4e are otherwise flat 10+ checks used to recover from debuffs and such, so these types of monsters will normally be less affected by them.

5e: Boss-type monsters will often have Legendary Resistance, which means that X times per day (usually 3) they can turn a failure on a save into a success. This means that you'll have to hit them a few times with this type of effect or otherwise wear down their defenses first.

13th age: Most incapacitating effects have a hp threshold. The game strongly suggests letting the players know if something is a valid target before they use the ability.

4e and 5e denotes particular monsters as "boss-type", whereas 13A and PF2 make the process more organic by tying it to relative level or hit points.


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sherlock1701 wrote:
Claxon wrote:

To the title of the thread, no it wasn't a solution in search of a problem. It was a solution to a real problem, that is perhaps less elegant in some places than others (mostly when effects have binary outcomes instead of the 4 levels of success like most abilities now have in PF2).

It was a real problem that some GMs would overwhelm parties with lots of low level enemies as part of the CR budget that had save or die/suck effects. It didn't matter that the party had a 90% chance to pass each save, when you make 10+ of them a round it was pretty brutal.

Conversely, same thing with parties vs BBEG, the party would focus on throwing out as many encounter ending abilities as they had to shut the BBEG down before they ever got to act.

As somebody who has played on both sides of encounters like this, they are a good thing, lots of fun, and removing them was a bad idea.

Not sarcastic, I genuinely like them.

You may like them, but as a GM and a player I hated them both, unless I was the one dealing it out.

Its very fun when your effect gets to be the one that ends combat and you're the hero. It's a lot less fun (for me) when I'm not the one and I'm just on cleanup duty (Coup de grace).

In my opinion, this was a good action to take to make combat less swingy.

It doesn't mean either of us are wrong, but we have different ideas of what is fun and good for the game, and that's okay.

If you don't like it you can simply say for your home games the incapacitate trait doesn't exist.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
sherlock1701 wrote:
And their solution was to make the abilities useless by level capping them.

An ability you can readily use on a high percentage of the foes you fight isn't 'useless'. They made them less useful, certainly, but hardly useless.

sherlock1701 wrote:
Classy.

Could you maybe not be a giant dick to people just because you disagree with their game design philosophy? That'd be great.

sherlock1701 wrote:
Incapacitate was a bad idea and never should have been added. "But they might stun the boss". They sure might, and that's never a bad thing. One shotting is ok.
Part of the design goals was pretty clearly to make single foes of higher level a legitimate and scary threat (which they often weren't in PF1). Rebalancing around that involves reducing the odds of this. It just does.

The two steps back in design this edition wasn't my fault. It happened despite my objections. I reserve the right to critique commercial products.

Silver Crusade

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

You are not only free to do so, but encouraged.

You can also do so without being a jerk.


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We are all aware that a level 2 PC still gets paralyzed by a ghoul on a Nat 1, right? And will continue to do so until their fortitude save hits +14. A critical failure getting bumped to a failure still fails.

Liberty's Edge

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sherlock1701 wrote:
The two steps back in design this edition wasn't my fault. It happened despite my objections. I reserve the right to critique commercial products.

'Classy', used sarcastically, is a critique of someone's character, a statement that what they did was low, crass, and socially inappropriate, such as a 'low blow', or some other indication that they are a petty and unpleasant person.

It is a personal insult rather than an expression of disagreement with them on an issue. Personal insults aren't always unwarranted in real life (though they are against forum rules), but sure aren't helpful or warranted over something like this.

Calling someone's game design decisions 'classy' in such a way basically amounts to being a giant dick to them. It's not a meaningful critique, just a personal insult thrown in for the hell of it.

So, y'know, don't do that.


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I too am a GM that has previously enjoyed an encounter being shut-down and overwhelmed by a lucky roll on a debilitating effect (prime example: a party of 3 wizards sees a t-rex with a mcguffin they need stuck in its teeth. I expected a puzzle-solve type of solution since they were 3rd level - what I got was a player using a paralysis effect that would only work if the t-rex's save was a 1-3 on the die, and me rolling a 2).

The problem is that those kind of encounters ended up happening too often. The "joke" lost its laugh for the players that were hoping for the big nasty monster to be a big nasty fight, and because it's a group experience even the player that loved bringing out the wand of paralysis or the like for the big nasties couldn't enjoy doing so anymore.

Because the PF2 incapacitation rule provides a solve for that issue, while also providing insurance against the problem we never had because of my encounter building choices (that a low-level creature with a "you sit out" effect could take a higher-level character out of the action), my group is 100% behind the incapacitation rule.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
'Classy', used sarcastically, is a critique of someone's character

I'd disagree: classy can mean "admirably skillful and graceful" so used sarcastically, about a rule, it'd can mean the rule isn't "skillful and graceful" done. Granted, he could have been talking about the dev's themselves, but when things can be read 2 ways I see no reason to jump to the worst conclusion.

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:
I'd disagree: classy can mean "admirably skillful and graceful" so used sarcastically, about a rule, it'd can mean the rule isn't "skillful and graceful" done. Granted, he could have been talking about the dev's themselves, but when things can be read 2 ways I see no reason to jump to the worst conclusion.

That's not how the term is used sarcastically, though. 'Classy' as a condemnation has a pretty specific meaning, which does not generally include being used when someone, say, stumbles or is otherwise not graceful.

Additionally, even if that was the intended meaning, calling a choice you disagree with 'incompetent' (which would be the only way to read skillful in a sarcastic manner) is still a dick move and still just an insult for the sake of it not a meaningful critique.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Additionally, even if that was the intended meaning, calling a choice you disagree with 'incompetent' (which would be the only way to read skillful in a sarcastic manner) is still a dick move and still just an insult for the sake of it not a meaningful critique.

It's used in a 'scalpel vs hammer' way IMO. Like with some FAQ's in the past, where the actual problem wasn't fixed alone but a 'shotgun' method was used to raze anything close... ie, nerf hammer vs precision strike [like Master of Many Styles breaking things by allowing early access so they 'fix' the feats instead of the archetype...]

In this case instead of making an ability that works at all levels, it's instead relegated to less relevant levels instead: thinking that it could have been done in a way avoids that isn't an insult. Could he have said it better? absolutely. I just don't see the need to assume it's an insult on individuals and not a disagreement on rule implementation.

*shrug* To each there own I guess. I know I'm not assuming ill intent JUST from that but if you still do, I'll not continue to debate it here: we're not talking about the trait anymore. Flag and move on instead of derail imo. ;)

Silver Crusade

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

1) it was an insult, telegraphed by the “useless” beforehand.

2) the abilities aren’t useless in the slightest, you can still use them as you go by you using higher level spell slots.


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Rysky wrote:

1) it was an insult, telegraphed by the “useless” beforehand.

2) the abilities aren’t useless in the slightest, you can still use them as you go by you using higher level spell slots.

They are useless if you have to burn the higher slot. You literally cannot cast them at the level they're made for and get any value out of them. You have to usurp a higher level spell slot. I thought we wanted to make low level slots more useful, not less so.

And even then, the cap being double the slot level means that against anything with any real power the spell is wasted. As in, against the things you would most want to affect with said spell, there is no point to casting it.

Silver Crusade

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

“I don’t wanna!” =/= useless


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Did everyone, including sherlock, forget that this was a thing in pf1? There wasn't a trait for it but numerous spells and abilities only worked against certain HD numbers, which is basically the stand in for level.


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Malk_Content wrote:
Did everyone, including sherlock, forget that this was a thing in pf1? There wasn't a trait for it but numerous spells and abilities only worked against certain HD numbers, which is basically the stand in for level.

Same reason I never took those spells unless there was an ok effect above the HD number.

Seems like an odd decision to go whole hog on the least interesting spell mechanic and sacrifice the actually cool ones, like usable durations.


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I swear gray you look for the worst possible side to of something to be on then fully commit. Well I guess I have to respect your commitment.

I'm personally completely fine with the incapacitation rule. I expect it to be very helpful as a DM. I hate when a boss encounter is ended the first action by a bad saving throw. I'm pretty used to rocket tag since I played high level 1st edition AD&D and that was just how you did it but I do look forward to not having to worry about a player ending a awesome boss encounter too soon. I get why the ghouls for example have it. If I use a larger number of ghouls at higher level the fact that their ability could result a much greater effect due to probability then say using orcs or what have you could give rise to unexpected situations for the DM who figured that should be an easy fight.


Vidmaster7 wrote:

I swear gray you look for the worst possible side to of something to be on then fully commit. Well I guess I have to respect your commitment.

Reminds me of this Teen Titans Go! classic


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sherlock1701 wrote:
I thought we wanted to make low level slots more useful, not less so.

Making all spells use the same DC and the boost to base effectiveness of previously low-performance spells has made low level slots more useful...

it's just stopped short of letting a low level slot have good odds of completely incapacitating a higher-level enemy thanks to that cranked up DC.


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I am a little thorn about the current boss fight mechanics as they scream "xp only for blood" right into my face. Of course it can be quite anti-climatic if the bad guy falls victim to the very first save, however it can also be quite anti-climatic when your whole party knows that in order to bring that enemy down you need to wear down every single of his HP, spending yours in the process. No other way or outcome possible.

Also every character should be entitled to his very own Inigo Montoya moment. And if my (AD&D) party wizard manages to disintegrate the evil dragon that mauled his home town with a defiant, bold and valiant remark in the very first round than so be it. Damn those "but it is a boss, so there must be an elaborate and artificially prolonged fight" shackles.

And I have also seen my fare share of "lost" fights (either due to a series of bad rolls or bad decisions) that were in dire need of "swingy" effects in order to at least have a fighting chance to avoid a TPK (or massive GM intervention, e.g. monsters suddenly acting stupid, which however is always cheesy). If both players and GM can tell who will win in round 6 by round 3 and you just have to play out the remaining rounds this is not a good game design (which seemed to be especially true for 4E).

So yes, I am for incapacitation / insta-kill effects, however they need to be limited in terms of success chance in order to keep them viable. E.g. some MMORPGs operate with something that is called "immunity timer", i.e. if somebody has successfully saved against paralysis he will be immune to paralysis for quite some time (usually the rest of the fight). It is one easy and elegant way keeping those potentially devastating effects in game while making spamming them useless.


I don't see any issues with ghoul and lvl 2 or even 3 players.

A character fortitude save will be

1d20 Lvl + const + prof

Now, here's the maximum outcome:

Lvl 3 Expert Fortitude character with 16 const = +10

20% chance to fail

...

And here the lowest

Lvl 2 trained fortitude character with 8 const = +3

55% chance to fail

Between a +10 and a +3, the middle would be +7, which is 35% failure chance.

To me seems pretty balanced, if we consider we are talking about lvl-1/-2 enemies.


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Ubertron_X wrote:
And I have also seen my fare share of "lost" fights (either due to a series of bad rolls or bad decisions) that were in dire need of "swingy" effects in order to at least have a fighting chance to avoid a TPK (or massive GM intervention, e.g. monsters suddenly acting stupid, which however is always cheesy).

I think it's important to note that quite a few Incapacitation spells still have a decent (though not world-shattering) effect even on a successful save. Casting them on stuff above their level can still give you a noticeable effect if the target fails its save (which is then turned into a success). A few examples that come to mind:

Blindness still affects the target until the start of its next turn. Until then, it's flat-footed against all attacks and can't target any creature with Reactions.

Synaptic Pulse leaves the target Stunned 1, which negates its Reactions until its next turn and reduces its number of actions by one for the next turn. This is in addition to the havoc the spell wreaks among the boss's henchmen.

Feeblemind can still screw casters for a turn and reduce the target's will save for follow up spells of your party.

Uncontrollable Dance still lasts for 3 rounds, taking away one action, all reaction and leaving the target flat-footed.

Overwhelming Presence still costs the target 2 actions.

Paralyze is still Stunned 1 on a successful save.

Baleful Polymorph causes Sickened 1.

Now I wouldn't usually cast those spells with the intention to get only the reduced effect. But if I had nothing better to do and think it would help in the current situation, I could totally see myself using them against bosses.

Quote:
So yes, I am for incapacitation / insta-kill effects, however they need to be limited in terms of success chance in order to keep them viable. E.g. some MMORPGs operate with something that is called "immunity timer", i.e. if somebody has successfully saved against paralysis he will be immune to paralysis for quite some time (usually the rest of the fight). It is one easy and elegant way keeping those potentially devastating effects in game while making spamming them useless.

That's way too much bookkeeping for a tabletop game. Timed Immunity only works in CRPGs because the game does all the tracking for you.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
I swear gray you look for the worst possible side to of something to be on then fully commit.

I've posted with someone before that used classy = elegant [pleasingly ingenious and simple] before so maybe my perspective is different.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
I'm personally completely fine with the incapacitation rule.

I'm fine with them in the same way I was fine with spells HD capped in PF1*: I didn't take them and skip right past them when I see the tag. So here too I can see sherlock's perspective. There are less slots to go around in PF2 with top ones at a premium, then you add that most heightened spells tend to be inferior to spells actually of that level... It's a tough sell for me.

Secondly, the affect that warrants such a tag seem scattershot: Cloak of Colors [1 rd blind/stun] is hardly the encounter ending spell like Phantasmal Killer [dead].

* now I did take them in PF1 if I had a way to replace them later: my 5th+ level sorcerer isn't going to keep Daze as a cantrip...


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
sherlock1701 wrote:
Rysky wrote:

1) it was an insult, telegraphed by the “useless” beforehand.

2) the abilities aren’t useless in the slightest, you can still use them as you go by you using higher level spell slots.

They are useless if you have to burn the higher slot. You literally cannot cast them at the level they're made for and get any value out of them. You have to usurp a higher level spell slot. I thought we wanted to make low level slots more useful, not less so.

but they were made for your highest slots... most offensive spells are...


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K1 wrote:

I don't see any issues with ghoul and lvl 2 or even 3 players.

A character fortitude save will be

1d20 Lvl + const + prof

Now, here's the maximum outcome:

Lvl 3 Expert Fortitude character with 16 const = +10

20% chance to fail

...

And here the lowest

Lvl 2 trained fortitude character with 8 const = +3

55% chance to fail

Between a +10 and a +3, the middle would be +7, which is 35% failure chance.

To me seems pretty balanced, if we consider we are talking about lvl-1/-2 enemies.

The problem is that ghouls are level 1; so once the PCs are level 2 the incapacitation rules kick in and all PC saves are treated as one degree higher. So for your example of a PC with +10 to save; this means that their 20% chance of Failure gets improved to Success (which means nothing happens). Only on a natural 1 (where the nat 1 rules apply) does the PC actually fail.

Similarly with your +8 with a 55% chance to fail; this individual on a roll of a 2 gets a 10 which is a failure... which gets upgraded to a Success (which again means nothing happens). Only a natural 1 from the PC will result in a Failed save.

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