APG Luck Mechanic For All Four Classes
Is there a missed opportunity in the APG for this?
When I first heard of the four classes in the APG, I thought it was pretty cool they had:
-Swashbuckler, lives by luck even moreso than a typical protagonist
-Oracle, tied to fate & fortune
-Witch, manipulates fate & fortune
-Investigator, little weaker connection except PIs typically have rotten luck. Yet the PF1 version had mechanics that involved bursts of luck & intuition so there's PF precedent.
Heck, Panache & Inspiration overlapped in PF1, right? (And I did/do expect to see a Gunslinger archetype in the APG given this.)
It seemed so obvious the four were chosen to represent the "luck" versions of the four archetypes: martial, skills, divine, arcane*. Great!
Except ya' know, it didn't happen. Hasn't happened yet?
* BTW, I'm in the "Occult base w/ extensive Patron spell options as part of core progression" camp.
So I've trimmed out tons of brainstorming and narrowed my suggestion down to:
Luck Points (or Pools)
They'd work similar to Focus Points except instead of building up during lulls & rests, you'd earn points under duress (and deplete if you rest). They'd also work similar to Panache, where you gain a small, static bonus then choose to settle for that bonus or spend it/risk it for a larger bonus.
That'd be the heart of the system: small bonus vs. payout?
There'd be a hard cap tied to level on the maximum number of Luck Points. Those levels would be similar to where the abilities to Refocus for 2 (or 3) Focus Points would be. Whether the Luck Points would all share the same pool (w/ an MCD to access both) would be a complex question (especially w/ Cantrips & boosts involved).
Funny thing is that these classes all seem to have the vestiges of such a system, whether remants or the seeds, I cannot discern. So what I'm asking for may only be a more formal and/or unifying system which I think would ease understanding & use.
Classes in order of ease...
*Swashbuckler: Earned the same ways they gain Panache. The greater the pool, the greater the static bonus as well as the greater each Finisher becomes. Swashbucklers have the least change and in fact at lower levels would be identical to now. Some high-level Finishers might have a minimum amount of Panache spent, though in turn there might be ways to increase Panache faster too (like w/ a crit success). As well as faster, there could be more certain ways too, for when fighting bosses. A better stable bonus once they do get Panache (that they then don't wish to risk vs. a boss where it's hard to gain back) could work too.
*Investigator: They'd use Perception, Recall Knowledge, & other skills that aid with the case. Unlike the other three classes, Investigator's Inspiration would have extensive Exploration Mode usage (and therefore need to deplete slower). They'd get a static bonus to several skills, but may want social/investigative "Finishers" to attempt to crack a case faster (by spending that Luck and/or cutting themselves off from Exploration Luck for a set time, depending on how swiftly it builds.)
I'd flip the Swashbuckler's script a bit here and mitigate bad luck (the classic noir PI's bane) with their Luck usage. Spending Luck to get Assurance (if they have it) on a failed roll would seem a natural fit here. (And I'd have ample Assurance feats be part of the natural progress of the class.) In combat, denying enemy crit successes (and maybe allied crit fails) would seem fitting. They definitely need a DPR boost, though maybe on the lower attack rolls (which would also help most w/ bosses, where the class has large difficulties as is). So like a Precision Ranger contrasts w/ a Flurry Ranger, the Rogue (w/ Precision via Sneak Attack) can contrast w/ an Investigator getting better MAP or bonuses to second & third attacks (like cool Presses, Finishers, or the Forceful weapon trait). Being able to share their insights (their static bonus from having unspent Luck) would be cool too.
It's also notable that by gaining Luck in Exploration Mode, they have the advantage of entering combat w/ Luck Points in their pool.
*Witch: To gain Luck, they'd pass out fortune & misfortune (via spells, especially Hex Cantrips), though I'd grant Deception, Intimidate, or Recall Knowledge working too as well as casting a Patron's spells. The Hex Cantrips I'd base on Bard Compositions (& PF1 hexes), except single target (but still one-action). I'd reframe Cackle as the one that mirrors Dirge of Doom, giving fear.
When the Witch cashes out their luck it might be for a metamagic effect on a spell (maybe only Patron/fortune/misfortune Spells) or for a boosted effect on a normal Hex. Example, there might be a two-action Ice Hex that takes one Luck point (so that the Witch could cast a 1-action Hex & this one too in the first round.) If the Witch spent two Luck points it might reduce speed or slow while if the Witch spent three (note this is only possible at higher levels) then they might get Icy Tomb (it essentially being a high-level Finisher).
The static bonus for keeping one's Luck might a modest bonus to damage spells (maybe 1/2 the comparable Sorcerer feat) or maybe increasing the level of Incapication spells, though other options should be created too.
*Oracle: If Revelation abilities get boosted by Luck (and I think in this framework they should), then Curses seem the mechanic to gain luck (as ironic as that may seem). Accept the Curse, gain power.
Specific Revelations should grant other means too like casting a Positive spell for a Life Revelation or Fire spell for Fire. (There might be more stages to Curses to allow for multiple charge-ups.) Other than Religion, I don't see much room for skills to gain Luck, though maybe specific Revelations might unlock some (like Acrobatics for Fire or Medicine for Life.) In fact, most everything about the Luck Pools would be Revelation-specific, so this would take some work (albeit the kind I find fun and engaging!)
The boosts to Revelations would be similar to that with Witch Hexes. The more Luck you pay into it, the greater the effect (so a Healing Revelation ability might move from touch to ranged to targets in area). Static boosts would vary too, with maybe a Battle Oracle at max Luck (3) gaining Master Proficiency in a chosen weapon (which they built up for and might wish to cash out for a Finisher effect).
The gist is, as with Hexes, I'd shift Revelations to be more central to an Oracle's actions in combat. I'd make them more usable than now (albeit with Luck as a price to slow down spamming too much power). To balance w/ a Witch I might have Revelations grant ample non-Divine spell access to mirror what a Patron grants. Also with this breadth and the boost to Hexes & Revelations, I might lower both classes' slotted spells per day (or nix any feats that grant bonus spells or improve generic spells).
General: As well as building up a decent static bonus then spending it (or not), I think it'd be cool if these classes had other feat options for spending their Luck. So maybe Reactions for minor saving throw bonuses that spend Luck, but only activate if that difference will change the save's results (or the enemy's save!). Same perhaps w/ attack or AC for a Swashbuckler or Investigator. A +1/-1 that uses a resource and only activates when that would tilt results seems pretty cool & thematic for all these classes built around luck or making enemy's unlucky.
They might even be ingrained in the class, so that a Witch at 1st level has a Reaction to give a -1 penalty to an enemy's save within 30' and only if it changes the result while an Oracle might has a Reaction for +1 for an ally, the Swashbuckler for +1 attack, & the Investigator +1 AC (or -1 to enemy's attack). All using a Luck point naturally, though maybe increase the bonus/penalty if they spend more.
I think I captured what I was aiming for here. Hopefully it appeals to y'all and maybe some devs. Thanks for reading & Cheers.