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Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Porridge wrote:


Yeah, RAW the ABP provides a nice stealth buff to alchemists.

That seems kind of problematic.

I mean, good for alchemists but as written it means ABP turns Mutagens from a minor bonus Alchemists can hand out into bar none the best buffs in the entire game.

You can argue they should be good buffs, given the downsides, but that's a pretty significant distortion of baseline balance, which I feel like these rules are supposed to be designed to minimize.

"Items that normally grant an item bonus to statistics or damage dice no longer do." That's pretty unambiguous, and it does not, as I saw growingly reported on discord for some reason, say "magic items" there.

AUTOMATIC BONUS PROGRESSION pg#196

"This variant removes the item bonus to rolls and DCs usually provided by magic items (with the exception of armor’s item bonus) and replaces it with a new kind of bonus—potency—to reflect a character’s innate ability instead. In this variant, magic items, if they exist at all, can provide unique special abilities rather than numerical increases."

I'm not sure where your quote is from but I couldn't find it with a quick look.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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graystone wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Porridge wrote:


Yeah, RAW the ABP provides a nice stealth buff to alchemists.

That seems kind of problematic.

I mean, good for alchemists but as written it means ABP turns Mutagens from a minor bonus Alchemists can hand out into bar none the best buffs in the entire game.

You can argue they should be good buffs, given the downsides, but that's a pretty significant distortion of baseline balance, which I feel like these rules are supposed to be designed to minimize.

"Items that normally grant an item bonus to statistics or damage dice no longer do." That's pretty unambiguous, and it does not, as I saw growingly reported on discord for some reason, say "magic items" there.

AUTOMATIC BONUS PROGRESSION pg#196

"This variant removes the item bonus to rolls and DCs usually provided by magic items (with the exception of armor’s item bonus) and replaces it with a new kind of bonus—potency—to reflect a character’s innate ability instead. In this variant, magic items, if they exist at all, can provide unique special abilities rather than numerical increases."

I'm not sure where your quote is from but I couldn't find it with a quick look.

My quote is in Adjusting Items and Treasure and is the rules section for the variant. I didn't even notice the section you quoted at first even though I read it because I was looking for rules text, but it's in the explanatory introduction, where it says "usually" by magic items. The quick explanation is a simplification in various ways to the actual rule (for instance, it mentions the "armor's item bonus" in a sentence that starts with magic items, but in the rules on page 187 it's clear this refers to the armor's base item bonus, not the extra from potency rules).

Thanks for finding where that was coming from graystone.


Mark Seifter wrote:
My quote is in Adjusting Items and Treasure and is the rules section for the variant.

Ah, ok there it is. It kind of got lost in the magic adjustments when I looked before.

Mark Seifter wrote:
Thanks for finding where that was coming from graystone.

No problem Mark, happy to help. ;)


Mark Seifter wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Porridge wrote:


Yeah, RAW the ABP provides a nice stealth buff to alchemists.

That seems kind of problematic.

I mean, good for alchemists but as written it means ABP turns Mutagens from a minor bonus Alchemists can hand out into bar none the best buffs in the entire game.

You can argue they should be good buffs, given the downsides, but that's a pretty significant distortion of baseline balance, which I feel like these rules are supposed to be designed to minimize.

"Items that normally grant an item bonus to statistics or damage dice no longer do." That's pretty unambiguous, and it does not, as I saw growingly reported on discord for some reason, say "magic items" there.

That's what I was afraid of. I guess it's a variant rule I'll have to make adjustments for myself, since I'd still like to see mutagenist alchemists see more play.


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I’m liking the book. The skill point varient option is a great addition, as it allows for a character to choose if they want to be a master of a handful of skills, or good at all of them.

Also liking (so far)ABP in combination with the removal of level bonus option. Really does make a more grittier world, and I think it may be great for someone trying to run a more open sandbox game. (You don’t need to worry as much about level gap.)


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Hello, I know this might seem like a dumb question, but do you still include the class ability boost you get at levels 5,10,15,and 20? If you do not, does that make point buy objectively worse than the regular ability boost system?(because i did a bit of "calculating" and found with ability boost as human you could have 18 in all of your stats with an ability boost or so left, but with point buy you could only get all 17s and 2 18s with a point or so left)


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HouseOfOnion wrote:
Hello, I know this might seem like a dumb question, but do you still include the class ability boost you get at levels 5,10,15,and 20? If you do not, does that make point buy objectively worse than the regular ability boost system?(because i did a bit of "calculating" and found with ability boost as human you could have 18 in all of your stats with an ability boost or so left, but with point buy you could only get all 17s and 2 18s with a point or so left)

The point buy variant rule replaces all the normal boosts, including those from leveling up, with a new set of rules.

And while it is likely true that the "high end" of being well-rounded is higher on the standard rules, the "high end" of aiming at cranking your key ability to the limits is better with the point buy variant because you could start with an 18 at 1st level as normal, save all your points to raise it to 19 at 4th level, save all your points again and raise it to 20 at 6th level - while the standard rules can't get you a 20 until 10th level at the earliest.

The variant rules in the GMG are different rules with different pros & cons, not meant to be different routes to the same results.


Mark Seifter wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:


I... actually really appreciate the fact that's a consideration, speaking as a char op player who loves the care put into the character building metagame.

If you weren't designer tomorrow (gods forbid, your work is fantastic) and had the freedom to completely distort your table from the core assumptions, do you have a favorite?

Hmmm, I might use a variant of the ability score variant that perhaps doesn't split Dexterity into Agility and Dexterity and makes a few other small tweaks to what the scores do, but then requires major changes to the way ability scores are calculated and advanced since it winds up with 5 stats instead of 6 (because it still combined Str and Con). We didn't have space to include that, but I like it better than either the set of ability scores we are now using or the one I pitched for GMG.

I was discussing the Alternate Scores rule with a friend today and my conclusion is that Dex builds suffer under both that variant and the default rule. To me it seems that a light armor, finesse weapon user wants:

Str (damage)
Dex (to-hit and AC)
Con (HP)
Wis (initiative)

Whereas a heavy armor melee type wants:

Str (to-hit, damage)
Con (HP)
Wis (initiative)

Under the variant rules, Dex builds seem to have it just as bad:

Str (HP)
Dex (to-hit, damage)
Agi (AC)
Wis (initiative)

But heavy armor Strength builds get even better:

Str (to-hit, damage, HP)
Wis (initiative)

I tried to think of my own alternative Alternative Scores to rectify the problem and I concluded that it could only be done by adding a new ability score or subtracting an existing one. That's when a friend told me that you, Mark, had said something similar here. I took a look at your post and fleshed out the idea a bit more, and I'm curious what you (or anybody else who wants to comment) think:

Condensed Ability Scores
Str, Dex, Int, Wis, Cha
Str includes everything Con did
Dex includes everything that Dex and Agi did under Alternative Scores
Will is keyed to Cha
The free boosts at 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20 are reduced in number from 4 to 3
Total Boosts at level 20: 20 (under the old system it was 25)

Sample Ability Scores through level 20 (Default Ability Scores)
10 10 10 10 10 10 base
12 12 10 10 10 10 race
14 14 10 10 10 10 background
16 14 10 10 10 10 class
18 16 12 10 10 10 free
19 18 14 10 10 10 level 5
20 19 16 10 10 10 level 10
21 20 18 10 10 10 level 15
22 20 18 12 12 10 level 20

Sample Ability Scores through level 20 (Condensed Ability Scores)
10 10 10 10 10 base
12 12 10 10 10 race
14 14 10 10 10 background
16 14 10 10 10 class
18 16 12 10 10 free
19 18 14 10 10 level 5
20 19 16 10 10 level 10
21 20 18 10 10 level 15
22 20 18 12 12 level 20

EDIT: I also made a thread here since I feel this could develop into its own topic.


There is a fear of Dex becoming an Uber stat that seems like a carry over from 1E

Dex is more limited by default now due to not always being initiative and a stricter cap on the AC boost. This is partially offset by weapon finesse now being effectively free

But it is arguably still more versatile as it allows melee and ranged attack rolls.

I hadn’t considered that the new variant actually away from Dex characters. Why not just move will to charisma and leave everything unchanged? Does that unbalance things . It spreads out the most common initiative and a key saving throw

I guess it comes down to which spell caster do you think should/needs to be able to boost their will by their key ability score - sorcerer or cleric/druid

Since cleric uses charisma secondary anyway then it kind of actually is a question of “who should benefit from this portion of the stats spread” - Druids or sorcerers ? A slightly weird hole to be in. But I’d suggest sorcerers need more of a boost in a direct match up


Connected to the above - has anyone used the different stats or considered using them?

Would be interesting to know how it works out in practice . It seems rather niche as a variant


Lanathar wrote:
There is a fear of Dex becoming an Uber stat that seems like a carry over from 1E

I can certainly understand that, but the way things are distributed currently, it seems to me that Dex builds lag behind. Perhaps I am underestimating the value of Reflex.

Lanathar wrote:

Dex is more limited by default now due to not always being initiative and a stricter cap on the AC boost. This is partially offset by weapon finesse now being effectively free

But it is arguably still more versatile as it allows melee and ranged attack rolls.

Even so, I think Dex builds will likely end up specializing in one or the other through their feat choices, so I don't know how big of an advantage that really is.

Lanathar wrote:

I hadn’t considered that the new variant actually away from Dex characters. Why not just move will to charisma and leave everything unchanged? Does that unbalance things . It spreads out the most common initiative and a key saving throw

I guess it comes down to which spell caster do you think should/needs to be able to boost their will by their key ability score - sorcerer or cleric/druid

Since cleric uses charisma secondary anyway then it kind of actually is a question of “who should benefit from this portion of the stats spread” - Druids or sorcerers ? A slightly weird hole to be in. But I’d suggest sorcerers need more of a boost in a direct match up

I have yet to play either Sorcerers or Druids/Clerics, but my impression from reading online is that people rate the Sorcerer below both in terms of power, and I agree that separating the primary initiative attribute and the Will save attribute is a good idea regardless. I don't think that alone unbalances anything; my only fear is that it does not go far enough.

Lanathar wrote:

Connected to the above - has anyone used the different stats or considered using them?

Would be interesting to know how it works out in practice . It seems rather niche as a variant

I just finished making my character for a game that starts next Friday and the GM offered Alternative Scores as an option for any PC. Since I'm playing a Fighter, it seemed like a no brainer to take it since it meant focusing most of the things I want into Str alone. That's part of what got me thinking about this. I'll try to remember to post how it goes.


It's worth noting that "but now I want more ability scores at decent values than before" is the point of the presented alternate ability scores.

The default rules paradigm results in the only ability scores "every character needs" are Con, Wis, Dex, and whatever their particular class/build uses and maybe a little extra Int for more skill training. So you've got a bunch of scores which are safe to "dump" because there isn't much impact on what the character is going to be doing.

The alternate set of scores combines a "dump stat" with an "everyone wants it" stat by combining Str and Con, and makes another "dump stat" more valuable by having Cha apply to Will saves instead of Wis.

It then tones down the most versatile of the default ability scores by splitting it into an "offense" ability (Dex) and a "defense" ability (Agi).

What may bean issue with the alternate set of ability scores is that the newly-invented Dex might not do quite enough for people that would have a little of the old Dex for defense purposes to feel like putting points into the new Dex instead of just not being good with ranged attacks, and Int remains useful according to designers but useless according to numerous players because "it gives you extra skills and languages".


thenobledrake wrote:

It's worth noting that "but now I want more ability scores at decent values than before" is the point of the presented alternate ability scores.

The default rules paradigm results in the only ability scores "every character needs" are Con, Wis, Dex, and whatever their particular class/build uses and maybe a little extra Int for more skill training. So you've got a bunch of scores which are safe to "dump" because there isn't much impact on what the character is going to be doing.

The alternate set of scores combines a "dump stat" with an "everyone wants it" stat by combining Str and Con, and makes another "dump stat" more valuable by having Cha apply to Will saves instead of Wis.

It then tones down the most versatile of the default ability scores by splitting it into an "offense" ability (Dex) and a "defense" ability (Agi).

What may bean issue with the alternate set of ability scores is that the newly-invented Dex might not do quite enough for people that would have a little of the old Dex for defense purposes to feel like putting points into the new Dex instead of just not being good with ranged attacks, and Int remains useful according to designers but useless according to numerous players because "it gives you extra skills and languages".

I do see your point about trying to make all the stats at least somewhat valuable to all characters, and I agree that the Alternate Scores Dex doesn't seem valuable enough to the average non-Dex build. The thought occurred to me that moving Reflex from Dex to Int under my Condensed Scores could in theory distribute things more evenly, but it might be difficult thematically. I played D&D 4e and I'm not opposed to Reflex getting its bonus from Int, but it seems hard to justify it only receiving its bonus from Int even if Dex is higher.

So maybe I need to think about this harder when redistributing. What are the most valuable things that each attribute does under the default rules?

Str: Melee to-hit, Melee damage
Dex: Ranged to-hit, Finesse to-hit, AC, Reflex
Con: HP, Fort
Int: Skill trainings
Wis: Perception, Will
Cha: nil

So, Will to Cha seems like an absolute no brainer, and Str remains a dump stat for any non heavy armor melee build. Okay, so let's review the Alternate Scores version:

Str: Melee to-hit, Melee damage, HP, Fort
Dex: Ranged to-hit, Finesse to-hit, Finesse damage
Agi: AC, Reflex
Int: Skill trainings
Wis: Perception
Cha: Will

Makes a lot of sense to me, but as you said, many (including me) don't see Dex as having any value if you're going a Str-melee build. Thus, the condensed version:

Str: Melee to-hit, Melee damage, HP, Fort
Dex: Ranged to-hit, Finesse to-hit, Finesse damage, AC, Reflex
Int: Skill trainings
Wis: Perception
Cha: Will

Are there any dump stats left? Everybody wants Str for HP/Fort at least. Non-Dex melee will still consider Dex for Reflex and ranged, and everybody else will of course want Dex. Wis for Perception/initiative is of course important for everybody, and ignoring Cha means less Will. If anything it seems like Int remains the only dump stat. I don't think extra languages is that meaningful once you have access to Comprehend Language. As for skill trainings, let's consider that.

There are 16 non-Lore skills in the game. The average class has access to 4 skills, and background gives 1 more aside from Lore. That means that in a party of 4 you should have everything covered, and you can still have most to everything covered in a party of 3 if any of you have more than 10 Int or a class with a higher than average number extra skills. The only saving grace here is that Int contributes to 5 skills, the highest number that any attribute contributes to. Is that enough? Hard for me to say.

So, in my estimation, my Condensed Scores does a better job of removing dump stats than Alternative Scores. No new dump stats are created. Dex does technically get more valuable, but so does Str and Cha, and I believe that the "weight" is more evenly distributed.


I was considering, instead of bringing some scores down a notch, propping some scores up a notch:

ST - may key Thrown weapon attack rolls
INT - may instead give Skill Increase (Trained to Expert only) or additional Skill Feat per +1
CHA - may key Will saving throws

Cheers.


rainzax wrote:
I was considering, instead of bringing some scores down a notch, propping some scores up a notch:

In general I appreciate this type of thinking, but I believe that in order to make the ability scores desirable to as many characters as possible, some redistribution is necessary.

rainzax wrote:
ST - may key Thrown weapon attack rolls

This makes Str more valuable for throwing builds, but it remains a dump stat for the average character. It's not a bad idea for the Default Scores, but it might be too much extra under Alternate or Condensed.

rainzax wrote:
INT - may instead give Skill Increase (Trained to Expert only) or additional Skill Feat per +1

I like the idea of additional Skill Increases quite a lot. I will have to meditate on how/when they would be granted, but it feels thematic and useful.

rainzax wrote:
CHA - may key Will saving throws

If by "may" you mean that Wis will also still apply to Will, then this is mostly a buff to Cha casters. The average character will still prefer Wis for the Perception bonus in addition to the Will bonus.


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rainzax wrote:
INT - may instead give Skill Increase (Trained to Expert only) or additional Skill Feat per +1

After some consideration I'm thinking that there's no reason to not be quite generous here. The two Int based classes, Wizard and Alchemist, are widely regarded as being on the weaker side (the Alchemist far more so). Starting skills and Skill Increases from class are also generally bountiful. Since the goal is to make Int widely desirable, here's my take:

In addition to granting bonus Skill Trainings at level 1, you also receive a number of Skill Increases equal to your Int bonus. These Skill Increases cannot increase a skill above expert.

After searching the CRB I can't find any rules on how increases to Int after level 1 affect Skill Trainings. Addressing that as well:

When your Int bonus increases through an Ability Boost or Apex Ability (from ABP), you gain an additional Skill Training and Skill Increase. This Skill Increase can increase a skill from expert to master if you are level 7 or higher, and can increase a skill from master to legendary if you are level 15 or higher.

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