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Desert Elf Gambler Investigator(Empiricism)
Versatile Human Fortune-teller Oracle(Flames)
Versatile Human Emissary Swashbuckler(Braggart)
Versatile Human Hunter Witch(Fate)
Character Creation Notes: The classes seem fine at first glance, the have interesting themes, etc.
The Investigator's Methodologies don't seem to even, so we tried to see if Empiricism offered more in play. It is really odd that the investigator doesn't use Int that much. The Investigator had Int 16, Wis 16, but could probably get away with Int 14 or 12 to use it for skill checks only.
Oracle tried Oracle of Life first. The oracle of Life is really... flawed. The class seems to want to encourage people to use focus spells, but it doesn't have access to anything you could use regularly except the death domain spell, which is less effective because its hard to heal the oracle, and said oracle wants to avoid damage a lot. The curse is intense, but the real problem is that the focus spells you have access to are not good for someone who wants to use them often. They re-designed as a Flame Oracle, because at least Incendiary Aura and Fire Ray are useful and cool to cast one after the other, etc. No idea of power levels, but the Oracle of life needs focus spells that do something. Delay Affliction should be replaced with something like lay on hands or the witch's life boost, or something. Also felt weird to realize that the oracle wasn't so much about casting more focus spells than usual, but instead about more only the first time you use any, then no more after that.
Swashbuckler. Tried to use non-rapier weapon, shortsword, otherwise a fine creation. Everything made sense.
Witch. Similar to be honest. Some of the hexes 24 hour restrictions are weird and make the focus spells less good, like minor ward is on the weak end, but made really nebulous by that restriction, etc. Confused by cackle, as in, what was the situation you would use it in. Seemed strange that they didn't have Reach Spell or Cantrip Expansion like other 6 HP casters. I assumed that was so the new playtest stuff got tested.
Swashbuckler and Witch make sense during character creation, seems easy to make a perfectly fine version while making reasonable decisions and maxing stats. Options available work like they seem to, and are reasonably compelling.
Investigator choices seem okay, though the other methodologies need small buffs to make them enticing. It's extremely weird and IMO bad that Int is very close to trap for them. That's really not friendly for newer players, and requires reasonable knowledge to build. The Alchemist has this problem, and it's even worse in the case of the Investigator IMO. Study suspect should involve Int not Wis, somehow.
Oracle seems cool, but revelations don't neccesarily work in an obvious way. Oracle of life has really unappealing level 1 choices of focus spell.
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After the wolves came in, the swashbuckler tries to tumble through, failed, then used a hero point to try again. That felt really bad. He tried again next turn, failed again. Then demoralised to actually get panache. The skill rolls are VERY susceptible to bad runs of luck, and feel worse than failing an attack roll. Otherwise felt good to play. The finishers felt amazing to use, big gamble, huge burst of damage. Crits on this roll are an incredible high moment.
Oracle used Aura then Fire Ray, felt good. Had enough spells for the pacing of the adventure, heal and fear at level 1. Produce flame helped with the theme and gave good options. Occassionally felt incentivised not to use focus spells in case they wanted to use two at a later point. The two-then-one focus spell per combat thing is odd. I have no idea how to fix it, oracle said they'd be happy if they had the minor curse on all of the time, if they could reliably use the focus spells more. Maybe start always on minor curse, but get the benefit of advanced revelation: Once per day, you can cast a revelation spell without increasing the severity of your curse. From the get go. Then they get to CHOOSE when they use two focus spells in one fight, but still only get one in most fights. And the curse is always active.
The investigator was fun in the investigation bits. I was generally very liberal with what On The Scene gave him a tingly feeling about. I think the ability is good when that's the case, but it is VERY open to GM interpretation. He was exceedingly clunky in combat. Very hard to trigger his study suspect vs powerful single foes like the boar and bear who had good will saves. Without it, does very little in combat. And very few alternative options. A lot of turns where move/interact, study, strike. Known weakness was good, but he failed a lot of the checks, despite that it seemed like a good ability. I really think that Study strike should be automatic, and scale based on Int somehow, maybe give int to damage for the next strike as well as the +1 to hit. Costing an action is such a big cost for a combat ability. The investigator felt very different in the one fight where they knew the foe in advance, free action study suspect made them pretty effective. I don't know how to mash that altogether to work.
The witch was great. Nudge fate is just incredibly useful, and she spammed guidance as well, so she got very good at setting up others to pass their skill checks like the swashbuckler and investigator, and fire ray. Generally a good and fun character. I really wish that there wasn't a 24 hour restriction though.
This party was pretty bad vs the Bee Swarm, it pretty much half-killed itself. As a party they probably would benefit more from another person who wanted to get in the fight instead of the investigator.
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I kinda thought the oracle of life starting focus spell would wind up being an issue. It just is not something you are going to use a lot so you basically wind up not getting any use out of your focus until you finally get the next option up. The first level focus spell should be something you can actually use in every battle not something as situational as delay affliction.