Brew Bird's Playtesting Notes


Advanced Player’s Guide Playtest General Discussion


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Starting a thread to record thoughts and notes from my group's playtesting experience. We've only done a bit of mock combat so far, but assuming schedules allow, we hope to do a lot more.

This "session" involved a 3 level 5 characters. A Goblin Swashbuckler, a Halfling Witch, and a fairly generic Human Fighter to round things out.

Swashbuckler
The Swashbuckler performed well in combat. The player liked the Panache mechanic, and how it encouraged some more interesting uses of his actions than just striding and striking.

We did run into the question of whether Parry weapons should provoke attacks of opportunity, something that should really be cleared up, especially now that we're getting a class who really wants to fight with Rapier & Dagger. If Parrying with a weapon is supposed to provoke, the Swashbuckler probably deserves some ability which allows it not to.

Witch
The Witch player wasn't super thrilled with the once/24 hours limitation on most hexes. He felt that, since hexes were already consuming focus, a second limitation on their use was overly restrictive. He did like the feel of the Occult list with the Witch though. "Very Witchy".

The player also praised the Patron/Lessons system. He felt it was a lot more mechanically interesting than PF1's patrons and their lists of bonus spells, and thought it would allow for some much needed freedom in mechanically representing one's patron.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I agree on the 24 hour limitation on Hexes. Basically it is a focus power and everyone else gets to refocus and then use again. The 24 hour limitation on a target is definitely restrictive in comparison to other classes that don't have that restriction on some of their focus powers.


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GhstDncr wrote:
I agree on the 24 hour limitation on Hexes. Basically it is a focus power and everyone else gets to refocus and then use again. The 24 hour limitation on a target is definitely restrictive in comparison to other classes that don't have that restriction on some of their focus powers.

I suspect that 24 hour limit is a holdover from PF1 and with the change to these being focus powers will be done away with because it seems an unnecessary extra limitation when the focus is already effectively limiting it.


I feel like Lifeboost might need the 24 hour limitation to stop it from crowding out other healing options.


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Excaliburproxy wrote:
I feel like Lifeboost might need the 24 hour limitation to stop it from crowding out other healing options.

So, Life Boost is "fast healing X" where X is (effectively) half the witch's level and costs 1 focus.

At best, at 20th level, the witch can heal 3(focus)*24(hrs)*6(per hr)*10(amt) hp (4320) per day (ignoring the 24 hour limitation and assuming 3 focus regeneration per 10 minutes and doing literally nothing else).

For comparison, a Paladin doing the same thing with Lay On Hands, can heal 2(focus)*24(hrs)*6(per hr)*6(base)*10(heightened) hp (17280).

Yeah, no.

I don't see the problem.


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Didn't you forget the duration of the fast healing effect?


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SuperBidi wrote:
Didn't you forget the duration of the fast healing effect?

Ah, yes, I missed the duration. Sustained-up-to-a-minute.

That one can probably keep the once per 24 hours restriction. Which, as I've said elsewhere, for some hexes it may need to be kept on a hex by hex basis, but in general should be removed.


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Session 2

Alright, for our second bit of playtesting we ran 3 level 6 characters. This time I was playing a character while the Witch player from last time GMed.

We had a Half-Elf Empiricist Investigator, A Human Life Oracle (me), and a Paladin.

Investigator
The Investigator had fun with the 'investigative' parts of the class, and he really enjoyed Predictive Purchase.

The Investigator's combat options seemed to be a bit of mixed bag though. It was pretty impactful when it was on, but since we ended up fighting a Mummy Guardian with a pretty high Will Save, he wasn't able to get his extra damage against the Boss where he really needed it. Higher level enemies already take less damage thanks to resistances and higher AC. Since the Investigator had to effectively roll twice to make his standard attack, his damage fell off exponentially.

There was also the issue of ability score dependence. Though he initially maxed Intelligence, after looking over the class a bit more carefully, he re-worked the character to have higher Wisdom instead, since Perception was necessary to use studied strike, but very few abilities actually cared about your Int score. With 6+ skills trained by default, it wasn't even needed to pick up the skills the class depends on.

We all thought it a bit weird that the optimal Investigator cares far more about Wisdom than Intelligence.

Oracle
I enjoyed playing the Oracle out of combat, and had a lot of fun with Glean Lore, so much so that I think some sort of versatile divination ability like that should be a core class feature instead of a feat. As I'm sure others have noted, the Oracle still suffers from its PF1 issue of not having a whole lot of innate "oracular" abilities.

I definitely felt a little starved for spells as the Life Oracle. I ended up needing to devote a majority of my spell slots to Heal, which is on brand, I suppose, but I often felt like I couldn't afford to cast anything else since I had to conserve all of them for healing. The Cleric gets around this with their pool of free Heal or Harm, and the PF1 Life Oracle could channel energy. I definitely felt the absence of any innate healing outside of spell slots.

Delay Affliction never came up, but I did get some use out of Life Link. It was very handy that it only cost 1 action, but after the first encounter, I only had the 1 Revelation Spell to cast per combat, so I couldn't maintain it on both my party members. Having played a Life Oracle in PF1, I felt a lot less useful.

I also never found a situation where a Domain Spell would be any better than Life Link. I think they have too little impact to be using the same double-edged resource as Revelation Spells, which are themselves a bit lackluster for how infrequently I actually got to use them in a combat encounter.

A general issue with the Divine list also showed up, and that was the lack of a good ranged bread and butter cantrip. Because my spell slots were generally better served being used for healing, there were times where I, as a pure caster, didn't have much to do on a turn. Guidance only works 1/hour, and Forbidding Ward doesn't require recasting. Other casters have good damage cantrips like Telekinetic Projectile or Produce Flame, but the Divine list only has the weak Daze and the situational Divine Lance (which might not even work for an Oracle, as written). I know raw damage isn't really the point of the Divine list, but at least having a reliable support cantrip would be nice.


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Draco18s wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Didn't you forget the duration of the fast healing effect?

Ah, yes, I missed the duration. Sustained-up-to-a-minute.

That one can probably keep the once per 24 hours restriction. Which, as I've said elsewhere, for some hexes it may need to be kept on a hex by hex basis, but in general should be removed.

I would rather see the heal nerfed slightly than it being 24h day. I mean it's not as if healing is an issue in PF2. A regular character with 2 skill feats can heal 2d8 per 10 minutes of rest to all PT even rolling a 1.

I hate 24h daily things for pf2.


Brew Bird: After trying different types and levels of oracle, I found the best way to play one is lean heavy into multiclassing: between innate cantrips/spells [innate spells use your highest proficiency and cha] and sorcerer multiclass with a divine spell list, you can get greater variety in spells and increase their number without sacrificing your prof/stat bonuses.

For instance Demonic sorcerer gets access to a divine acid splash while Diabolic gets access to Produce Flame: by the time I was done I had electric arc, ray of frost, acid splash, chill touch, daze, divine lance and disrupt undead for attack cantrips plus more spells levels 1st-8th.

Glean Lore: I can't say I found any love for this feat. On any roll under a critical success you get erroneous info... In every quantifiable way it's worse to use it instead of rolling a normal Recall Knowledge check if you have the skill and if you don't you're unlikely to avoid false clues... Total meh for me.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For Glean Lore, it's less that it was good, more that it was fun. The GM had fun coming up with plausible but incorrect bits of information, and I had fun trying to sort out which was which.

I'm not sure if as-is it's really worth a precious class feat slot, but that's why I think an ability like it ought to be a core class feature. I agree that in practice it's often a bit worse than a regular knowledge check and that's certainly something that should be looked at for the final version of the class. Doubly so if it's to remain a feat.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As for Multiclassing, I built a number of Oracles before picking which to play. Some were multi classed, and one had used Adapted Cantrip to pick up an attack spell. Ultimately I decided it would be better to play the class without trying to patch its shortcomings from outside, as I felt that would be a more useful assessment of the class for play testing purposes.

If I keep playing this character after the play-test, I'll very likely retrain into an archetype.


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Brew Bird wrote:
For Glean Lore, it's less that it was good, more that it was fun. The GM had fun coming up with plausible but incorrect bits of information, and I had fun trying to sort out which was which.

Related:

https://www.reddit.com/r/dndnext/comments/e0wzjm/due_to_a_blatant_lie_rolle d_good_enough_on?sort=confidence


Brew Bird wrote:
For Glean Lore, it's less that it was good, more that it was fun.

AH, I found it worked the opposite myself: it's extra work for the dm to think up plausible fake info on the fly and I'd rather wrack my brain over an in game puzzle or clue than fake info I got off a successful roll... To each their own though as you can't quantify fun.

Brew Bird wrote:
As for Multiclassing, I built a number of Oracles before picking which to play. Some were multi classed, and one had used Adapted Cantrip to pick up an attack spell. Ultimately I decided it would be better to play the class without trying to patch its shortcomings from outside, as I felt that would be a more useful assessment of the class for play testing purposes.

I too started out playing it just the core class but I quickly found out that I had a bad time no matter that configuration of that I tried. The only iteration that's been fun for me is one that just uses the skeleton of the class and ignores the curse, revelation spells and oracle feats: A battle oracle in heavy armor with 12 cantrips, 7 1st, 6 2nd, 7 3rd, 6 4th, 6 5th, 6 6th, 5 7th, 5 8th, 3 9th, 1 10th [all at legendary prof using cha] & 12 signature spells. With the large number of spells/cantrips I had I didn't miss the focus spells at all and having several cantrips it pick from to attack with made things stay fresh and interesting as did a fair sprinkling of attack spells in with my healing spells. I was surprised how well it worked out after how bad the base oracle had been for me.

Draco18s wrote:
Brew Bird wrote:
For Glean Lore, it's less that it was good, more that it was fun. The GM had fun coming up with plausible but incorrect bits of information, and I had fun trying to sort out which was which.

Related:

https://www.reddit.com/r/dndnext/comments/e0wzjm/due_to_a_blatant_lie_rolle d_good_enough_on?sort=confidence

*nods* Some people LOVE this sort of thing I guess, and more power too them: if it's not your thing though, it's a pretty big pain in the butt with normal fake info on a crit fail: when it's on any roll under a crit success that moves it right in your and the DM's face for a LOT of rolls.


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graystone wrote:
*nods* Some people LOVE this sort of thing I guess, and more power too them: if it's not your thing though, it's a pretty big pain in the butt with normal fake info on a crit fail: when it's on any roll under a crit success that moves it right in your and the DM's face for a LOT of rolls.

Oh I get it. I just had the link handy as it was sent to me earlier today. More of a "fun read" than "reason to keep this feat."

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