Investigators And Panache


Investigator Playtest

Liberty's Edge

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People have mentioned this previously in the Swashbuckler threads, but I haven't seen it in the actual Investigator board so I thought I'd mention it here.

Having Investigators enter a 'state of Inspiration' like Swashbucklers do with Panache, and with basically the same mechanics, with Study Suspect (or some other Perception check) being only one of several ways to enter it (presumably, Recall Knowledge checks would be the other default, with Methodologies possibly offering additional options), and having Studied Strike work like Panache's default damage bonus and finishers do (including greater damage, though perhaps not as much greater, Swashbucklers need something they do better...maybe d4s rather than d6s for the Investigator but with the same progression?) would both help a lot of the Investigator's problems, and be pretty thematically on-point (it even works more like Studied Combat did in PF1 than the current version for those who care). The additional finishers available via Feats to Investigators could inflict debuffs, something that's also been suggested as very on-theme for Investigators (and again, mirrors PF1 pretty solidly).

Is that the only solution? Obviously not (ditching the check for Study Suspect and adding better effects to it, possibly including a default debuff, is also an obvious possibility I've mentioned before), but it would be very cool, and two Classes using variants on the same system in the same book isn't necessarily a bad thing. It wouldn't solve the 'needs more uses for Int' problem on its own (though making it, say, specifically a Society check for the default ability to enter it would, as would the oft cited ), but it would do a whole lot for their combat stuff.

You could also tie some neat non-combat stuff to it if you arranged it properly...


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

At this point it's already settled in so well as a Swashbuckler mechanic it feels weird to talk about, but honestly yes the idea behind the Panache mechanic feels like it would be so good turned into Inspiration for Investigators.

Inspiration was the most interesting and core mechanic of the Investigator in 1e, not Studied Strike and I'd really like to see the 2e Investigator riff on that idea a bit more.

One big common motif in so much Detective fiction is that there's a moment where the protagonist puts together the pieces and then lays them out dramatically. Think Sherlock unveiling some seemingly trivial clue that ends up completely solving a case that looked unsolvable or Phoenix Wright revealing some damning piece of evidence that makes the game's theme music kick in or, uh, Sherlock again, but from that Guy Ritchie film where he plays out a fight in his head before unleashing a devastating combo. Think Columbo's "one more thing" (I know that's a feat name but still).

Some sort of mechanic where you build up to and then unleash something devastating feels a lot more thematic in that respect than... rolling a check every round to see if you get sneak attack dice.

It could even work as a unifying mechanic that bridges how an Investigator plays in combat and out of combat. You could have 'finishers' that reveal hidden clues or modify how skills work just as easily as ones that apply debuffs or deal bonus damages after all.

Give them the Eureka trait or something.

Liberty's Edge

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To be clear, I'm not suggesting it being removed from Swashbuckler at all, just adding it to Investigator as well. Two Classes sharing a mechanic like that seems perfectly reasonable to me, though you'll need to word multiclass Feats carefully.

And yes, I think you could do some really interesting things with it out of combat, too. Tying 'Take The Case' and its ongoing bonuses to it and having the ability to drop out of it to do more immediate things investigatively seems like it could be really cool.


I like it.

How would you contingent the state of “inspiration”? Skills in general will be hard in combat to trigger outside recall knowledge, which can only be repeated so many times.

Actually maybe not, if the investigator can repeatedly recall knowledge on individual static’s that furthers the concept as well as the buff, the longer you fight them the worse it is for you because they learn how to beat you.

If they removed the anything cha, int, wis, Skill increase and specially made it a knowledge skill increase that might suffice to help with the different knowledge handicap. I guess it’s inclusive as is.

Liberty's Edge

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You could easily keep a 'Study Suspect' Perception-based action as another trigger for Inspiration, on top of Recall Knowledge. Probably keeping its current '+1 to hit on the next attack' though likely not the crit effect. Methodologies could also have their own triggers (I could easily see the Forensics one being able to make a Medicine check to trigger Inspiration, for example, while drinking an Elixir might trigger it for the Alchemical Investigator).


Maybe Investigators shouldn't gain and lose Panache during combat, but like rolling Deception for Initiative, Investigators can enter their next combat with Panache (and not lose it) if they:

- Decipher Writing to discover something connected to your 'Take the Case' subject
- Identify Magic or Alchemy connected to your 'Take the Case' subject
- Succeed at a Perception check to sense a hidden object connected to your 'Take the Case' subject.

Edit: Also Sense Motive.

Liberty's Edge

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They sort of need to gain and lose it during combat if it's to be a combat mechanic at all.

But you could certainly also have ways to gain or lose it outside of combat easily enough and have it transfer over.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I really like the notion of it acting like a unifying mechanic. Uncover some clue in a case and gain Inspiration that turns into a combat buff when you use that clue to corner the bad guy feels right to me.

Rather than the combat/noncombat dichotomy we sort of have right now.


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Could it work more like a combination of Panache (sort of binary, on or off) and Focus Points? Maybe you could pool Inspiration until it hits a threshold and unload it in a burst. But unlike strict focus points the Investigator gets Inspiration by succeeding at different skill checks or narrative actions, building in bonuses kind of like the Oracle curse, except they only get better the more you build up points

So an Investigator could be Inspired or not. Once they're Inspired they get certain baseline bonuses, and then by succeeding at a couple more checks or finding a couple more clues or interrogating a suspect they can reach maximum Inspiration (or whatever you want to call it) and can unload it in combat a la Guy Ritchie Sherlock, or in a dramatic skill check or narrative expose

Would probably need some DM involvement on the more story-based aspects, but I like the idea of the Swashbuckler gaining and spending Panache constantly, while the Investigator is rewarded for building up a bit more. And whereas a Swashbuckler gets Panache for dramatic action hero things, the Investigator can get Inspiration from connecting dots or succeeding at social checks or knowledge checks against enemies


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You know, I actually don’t hate the idea of a reverse oracle curse for the investigator. Except it’d be a positive at both steps.

The more times you succeed the more inspiration you get against the target, succeed one perception or recall knowledge or medicine or whatever, get minor inspiration. Succeed another get the next step, but then it caps, until level 11 when you get Greater Inspiration which grants some cool effect based on your methodology.

Basically a snowball type play style


I think it fits well thematically to have the Investigator snowball, get "on the trail," analyze things until suddenly... BAM!! Eureka! Throat punch! etc. Doing almost supernatural things at higher levels with their combat analytics or pure investigatory skill

As long as the Investigator isn't dead in the water with lower Inspiration. It would need to have enough going on when it doesn't have high Inspiration, and not be reliant on the bursts of inspiration to actually be effective


I really like this idea.

Rolling well on a knowledge monster check fits perfectly for getting and using a finishing move against it - which might be used yourself ala the Sherlock films, or given to all allies, or rolling a good perception check in a social encounter could allow for a ‘social/investigation finisher’.


Ramanujan wrote:

I really like this idea.

Rolling well on a knowledge monster check fits perfectly for getting and using a finishing move against it - which might be used yourself ala the Sherlock films, or given to all allies, or rolling a good perception check in a social encounter could allow for a ‘social/investigation finisher’.

I dig a social finisher haha

Snarky one liners as they exit a scene is about as integral to Investigators as investigating (exaggeration obviously)

Seriously though, Batman, Sherlock, Rust from True Detective, even the scooby doo gang kinda do some form of the “social finisher”. The “Food for thought” line from the RDJ Sherlock or when Batman leaves or enters a scene “you gotta a lot of fight in you, I like that” - the joker “then you’re gonna love me” - Batman “Because you have a debt” Rust.

Maybe it fits in line with interrogation in general. Come to think of it, some kind of interrogation mechanic would be nice if it was present (perhaps the social encounter version of this inspiration)

It’s certainly a fun concept if it could be integrated thematically


I’m not sure I dig two classes in the APG sharing the same mechanic. There has to be a way to make the investigator cool and interesting without just giving it panache.

The “increasing inspiration” thing seems like a pretty cool mechanic. I think “saveable” inspiration could be a good one too - when you study suspect you gain a point of inspiration that can be spent at any point against that foe (giving yourself or an ally a +1 on an attack, maybe some other applications).

Liberty's Edge

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I'd definitely be up for escalating inspiration, though they need a non enemy dependent way to increase it in combat if it's going to be a good buff vs. things like bosses (which it should be).

Just having multiple states of inspiration each with additional bonuses as you get to them sounds super neat. The first tier would obviously be Take the Case's current benefit on skills combined with some sort of combat buff (the bonus damage from Studied Strike maybe), then the second would presumably be harder to get but an increased bonus, or the bonus applying to all Skills rather than just those used to investigate, and maybe a +1 to hit in combat. The third I have no idea about, but I'm sure something cool could be arranged.

This version would need to make finishers a scaling effect, obviously, but it could be a very good one since it takes so many actions to set up.


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Inspiration "finishers" could just have scaling effects depending on how much Inspiration you spend. So you'd get a solid effect if you just had, say, one "point" of Inspiration, but a big nice effect if you spent a lot of Inspiration. And you can spend as much as you want

Then with a surefire way to generate a point--maybe two actions to "study" in combat and ten minutes to ponder out of combat--you could reliably do bursts or have a steady bonus throughout the day. That also opens up a lot of class feats that generate, use, and transform Inspiration as a modular resource that still fits in with focus points


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I would be a fan of inspiration points. As a mechanic it's different from what other classes do, and it feels very "investigator" in the sense that you are slowly building up your case bit by bit and striking when the time is right.


Henro wrote:
I would be a fan of inspiration points. As a mechanic it's different from what other classes do, and it feels very "investigator" in the sense that you are slowly building up your case bit by bit and striking when the time is right.

I like this!


Henro wrote:
I’m not sure I dig two classes in the APG sharing the same mechanic. There has to be a way to make the investigator cool and interesting without just giving it panache.

This.

I really don't want another class with panache or a variant. It undermines the uniqueness of the mechanic for both the Swashbuckler and it robs the Investigator of having its own thing.

Quote:
I would be a fan of inspiration points. As a mechanic it's different from what other classes do, and it feels very "investigator" in the sense that you are slowly building up your case bit by bit and striking when the time is right.

I was actually not a huge fan of Inspiration points in PF1. I generally don't like the "limited use" mechanic. Paizo has talked about this and so have other game designers. The problem is that people tend to save them up for that big moment, and then end up not using them. So the mechanic ends up being less impactful than one would expect.

Also, it feels like a re-flavoring of Hero Points.

Personally, I like the narrative of Study Subject. I also like that it can be used against anyone. It just needs to be tweaked. Maybe a success allows the Inv to use INT instead of DEX for accuracy? Not sure. I'm at the start of some combat testing, so I might have more of an idea in a couple of weeks.

Liberty's Edge

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N N 959 wrote:
I'm at the start of some combat testing, so I might have more of an idea in a couple of weeks.

Just FYI, the playtest ends on December 2, so 'a couple of weeks' is probably several days after it is over.


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I feel like if inspiration points was something you build up over the course of combat (and lost at the end of combat), people would actually use them.

Silver Crusade

That could work, (maybe looking at Solarion for a simple version?) have their fighting style/feats evolve the more the fight goes on and they learn about the enemy?

Enemy dodging everything, accuracy boosts and special techniques to target them (guessing where they're going to dodge?) and the inverse if they're good at hitting you. Knowing where to hit key vital spots for extra damage or debuffs. Maybe even Reaction nullifiers. Stuff like that.


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Henro wrote:

I’m not sure I dig two classes in the APG sharing the same mechanic. There has to be a way to make the investigator cool and interesting without just giving it panache.

Except there's the design philosophy of using 1 mechanic. So that once you've learnt the panache system for swashbucklers you can use the same system for any other class introduced with that type of mechanic. So players (and the poor GM) don't have to be thinking 'like the swashbuckler but different like this' for every similar class.

Like monks and champions using focus for very different outcomes but still both focus. Don't have to call it panache, but the mechanism should be the same.


Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:
Henro wrote:

I’m not sure I dig two classes in the APG sharing the same mechanic. There has to be a way to make the investigator cool and interesting without just giving it panache.

Except there's the design philosophy of using 1 mechanic. So that once you've learnt the panache system for swashbucklers you can use the same system for any other class introduced with that type of mechanic. So players (and the poor GM) don't have to be thinking 'like the swashbuckler but different like this' for every similar class.

Like monks and champions using focus for very different outcomes but still both focus. Don't have to call it panache, but the mechanism should be the same.

Focus works differently for some classes but the name stays the same. Giving Swashbuckler and Investigator Panache but calling it two different things would be the opposite of that. Almost every martial class has their own unique mechanics anyway so I’m not sure why Investigators can’t.


Henro wrote:
Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:
Henro wrote:

I’m not sure I dig two classes in the APG sharing the same mechanic. There has to be a way to make the investigator cool and interesting without just giving it panache.

Except there's the design philosophy of using 1 mechanic. So that once you've learnt the panache system for swashbucklers you can use the same system for any other class introduced with that type of mechanic. So players (and the poor GM) don't have to be thinking 'like the swashbuckler but different like this' for every similar class.

Like monks and champions using focus for very different outcomes but still both focus. Don't have to call it panache, but the mechanism should be the same.
Focus works differently for some classes but the name stays the same. Giving Swashbuckler and Investigator Panache but calling it two different things would be the opposite of that. Almost every martial class has their own unique mechanics anyway so I’m not sure why Investigators can’t.

I was thinking of the underlying focus pool of up to 3 points, if you spend one, take 10 minutes to recover it. Build up a range of abilities you can use. Is it very different in play between classes? Sadly, I haven't had the chance to play 2e, so I don't know.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
I'm at the start of some combat testing, so I might have more of an idea in a couple of weeks.
Just FYI, the playtest ends on December 2, so 'a couple of weeks' is probably several days after it is over.

thanks for the reminder.


Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:
I was thinking of the underlying focus pool of up to 3 points, if you spend one, take 10 minutes to recover it. Build up a range of abilities you can use. Is it very different in play between classes? Sadly, I haven't had the chance to play 2e, so I don't know.

For most classes that use focus, it works more or less the same. Oracle is the only class with altered focus mechanics at this point. Many martials still have unique combat mechanics, like ranger's hunt prey and barbarian's rage.


So you think that panache and inspiration should be unique like the combat mechanics, not similar like focus? Okay. Makes sense, but I think it could be done either way.


I think it should work more like focus points + panache, not a martial combat ability or strict focus points


Thinking of a build up, the investigator could "build a case" against a target.

It would be interesting if every time the investigator successfully recalled knowledge, studies suspect, strike, or an ability that has to overcome the enemies save DCs (like a tumble or grab) the investigator got a clue against that target. Then for one action the investigator could do their "grand reveal" spending all of their clues and making their next !successful! strike deal an extra d6 per clue (scaling at the same rate as rogue sneak attack. A target can only be affected by one grand reveal per 10 minutes.

This directly mimics the rogues sneak attack damage with a different limitation. Rogues need to get flat footed, Investigators need to wait for a finale.


How often do enemies stay alive for an extended time to have multiple bonuses stack? I think you'd have the same economy now just with a broader skill choice at the lower end of character levels and if it was 1 clue to 1d6 less damage at the high end.


I don't think the "clue" mechanic (it's a good name, so I'm going to use it from now on) works if each clue only applies to one enemy. I think you would have to be able to generate clues by interacting with one enemy and then spend them on another one in during the same combat. Otherwise your clues would too often get wasted, as Elmdorprime says.

Liberty's Edge

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Henro wrote:
I don't think the "clue" mechanic (it's a good name, so I'm going to use it from now on) works if each clue only applies to one enemy. I think you would have to be able to generate clues by interacting with one enemy and then spend them on another one in during the same combat. Otherwise your clues would too often get wasted, as Elmdorprime says.

Yup. If we're doing the escalating 'Clue' thing it needs to give flat bonuses that apply to most stuff. It'd work fine going that route, though.


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Henro wrote:
I don't think the "clue" mechanic (it's a good name, so I'm going to use it from now on) works if each clue only applies to one enemy. I think you would have to be able to generate clues by interacting with one enemy and then spend them on another one in during the same combat. Otherwise your clues would too often get wasted, as Elmdorprime says.

I was thinking that allowing some clues go to waste is the balancing factor to the fact that building clues is super reliable. A rogue won't always be able to get sneak attack (although they get it pretty often). An Investigator would get a clue on pretty much everything that was successful, even non strike actions. A rogue can only get sneak attack on a strike, and it won't even be every strike. By allowing it on things like recall knowledge, tumbles, grabs, ect. the investigator has many more options and opportunities to build their damage, even if some of those clues go to waste. It in theory could also work out of combat. For example, if an investigator successfully tracks someone they would gain a clue.

Not that I'm against the idea of clues applying to an an encounter and not just a target, I just personally suspect that it would be a little too powerful.

It also opens up some cool options for those "wasted" clues. Like:

Case Closed <free> Feat 4
Trigger: The target of your case dies or is defeated
You gain 1hp per of clue that was left on the target.
When your grand reveal increases to 2d6 increase the healing to 2 per clue
...

or

The Case Goes On <reaction> Feat 6
Trigger: The Target of your case dies or is defeated
You may transfer half of your clues to the next creature you open a case on


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

If the number of clue points you could build on a particular enemy capped at your int modifier, or int modifier+level, that would also reinforce intelligence as the key ability. If it was a purely encounter mechanic, I would say int only; the low ceiling would encourage you to spend it often. If you could build it in downtime or exploration modes as well, then int+level would make sense, though I would expect finishers that made use of them in those modes as well.


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I think it should be something you gain and use in combat and out of combat, and the points should be relatively easy to get. I'd say it should have a low cap and the bonuses should be decent in order to encourage steady use. Getting "free" points should take time, so an Investigator who hangs out for 10 minutes can "refocus" to solve a puzzle or have a point for combat. In-combat it should just cost action economy, really

If the Investigator can bide their time, analyze things, then they're more effective. Chains of points could come from successes or critical successes, but the Investigator shouldn't be far away from their next point/"clue"

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