Saving your game from creative players without simply saying "no"


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This is my spell wand. It is made of sharp slender metal, is balanced, and can serve as a dagger in a pinch. The handle also happens to be threaded. This is my spell staff. See the notch at the end? When the wand is screwed into the staff, it functions as a spear. I call it the "dagger-staff spear-wand."

So you have a player that wants to do something creative and a little out there. What's more, the player is really passionate about the idea and, if you're being honest with yourself, it actually sounds kind of cool. However, you have concerns about balance or how it might impact the draw of more traditional options. After all, why doesn't everyone have a dagger-staff spear-wand?

What do you, as a reluctant GM, do? And don't say you just say "no." Denial without explanation tends to upset players, and upset players tend to upset GMs. This is a discussion about diplomacy; we're looking for a happy ending for all parties here.

(The dagger-staff spear-wand is merely an illustrative example meant to promote discussion. You needn't focus on that alone.)

Liberty's Edge

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For that example?

I'd raise the price and say they needed to make it themselves. It would cost the price of a staff, and a wand, and a (probably magical) dagger and a (possibly magical) spear (or staff...the price is functionally the same), and require the time and energy needed to create those items with a magic item creation Feat. And then I'd raise the price slightly for the modular elements.

That neatly explains why not everyone has such a thing (it's pricey and requires a specific skill set), while still allowing the player's creativity to achieve something.

Which, I think, serves as a good example of what to do in general. If the idea is reasonable, I allow it, but with additional requirements, and the more unreasonable the idea the more additional requirements I require. The exact details will vary, and things that are unreasonable enough get a flat 'No.' but that's the general gist, and most such ideas have enough practical issue that these additional requirements are usually quite logical and easy to come up with.


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I think you'd have to invent a formula, so you'd need the Inventor feat. After that, as it has it's own cost, just add up the cost of the other elements. For the dagger-staff-spear part, add Modular [spear, dagger, staff] and bump up the proficiency up at least one to martial. The only issue I see is how runes would work for a three in one weapon.


For me it depends on how disruptive an idea it may actually be. Using the ‘dagger-staff spear-wand’ as a loose example; is it unique? Are they okay with the ‘wand’ doing a d4 and the staff being a simple staff damage and trait wise? Is the spear okay as a longspear? Going off the idea that this is more about creative fluff than power than you can add a trait that ‘swaps’ weapon configurations with an interact action that requires a free hand. The Staff can be any listed Magical Staff that gets access to the higher spell levels the more runes they put on it or match it with their spell level; and the wand can just be a wand.

I also inspired a player to make a character concept in a certain way and they were really excited to play it. The problem was it was pretty antithetical to the setting in general and so i was up front with them, ‘i like this idea. It seems really cool, but for this setting it won’t work.’

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I'm similar to Deadmanwalking, save that I'd also require them to research a formula for each component of the example via Inventor (and no, just because it says you can only invent Common formula doesn't mean I'd restrict it for this purpose, and each would start as a rare or unique formula).

Or I'd tell them no if they'd been spending my time on too many of these requests, and tell them that.


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"wow, that is a really creative idea, but it sounds like the item would be really fragile and like a lot of work to maintain. The rules in PF2 are pretty explicit about not having wands double as weapons for game balance reasons related to how many things you can hold in your hands. If you wanted to work towards making inventions that combine different magic items into objects that your character uses regularly, that sounds like a cool idea to build towards, but we should probably start of simple and see how it goes. This is a character concept that will need to focus on crafting, both to make the items and keep them up, but as you level up, we can think about how to have your character invent new formulas that possibly include combining items, if you can come up with suitable drawbacks that might help off-set the balance issues."

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The magic words are "Yes, but..."

Allow it, but have some caveats or unexpected outcome that doesn't take away the fun of the idea. Choosing those caveats requires figuring out what mechanical and in-game advantage the choice grants.

With this example, the benefit is that the character receives a unique set of items that convey a handedness and action economy benefit. Thus, I would rule that:

1) He would need to craft the items or commission someone to create them, each costing the appropriate amount of money.

2) He can only wield it as one type of item at a time due to practicality reasons. To switch from wielding it as a staff to a spear, wand, dagger, etc he has to use an Interact action to shift his grip or reconfigure the components.


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Cyrad wrote:
2) He can only wield it as one type of item at a time due to practicality reasons. To switch from wielding it as a staff to a spear, wand, dagger, etc he has to use an Interact action to shift his grip or reconfigure the components.

This is why I suggested Modular: "The weapon has multiple configurations that you can switch between using an Interact action."


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I had forgotten about the new modular weapon trait. That would make for a great start for a compromise I think.

Unicore wrote:
The rules in PF2 are pretty explicit about not having wands double as weapons for game balance reasons related to how many things you can hold in your hands.

Out of curiosity, where is this explicitly stated?


Ravingdork wrote:
Out of curiosity, where is this explicitly stated?

I didn't see anything about it in the books so I'd be curious too.


My thing to do in cases like this is to stick to the mechanics as closely as possible, but let it be skinned/themed as close to what the player wants as possible.

For the example, what is the closest mechanical comparison? Having the dagger, staff, spear, and wand as separate items. So how would a character with those four items switch between them? Using actions to store one and draw the other.

So now we have a hybrid item that can be converted from one to another. So make doing that cost two interact actions (store one and draw the other is two actions, yes?). It may throw bulk off a bit if that becomes important.


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I had a player in my PF1 Iron Gods campaign who wanted to design his own weapons. I pointed him to Lemmy's Custum Weapon Generation System and told him to use that. His new weapons caused no problems.

Sigh, I haven't seen Lemmy on these forums for a few years.

Liberty's Edge

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Mathmuse wrote:
Sigh, I haven't seen Lemmy on these forums for a few years.

He unfortunately got permabanned on these Forums in mid-2016. He's still active on the Giant In The Playground board, I believe.

Sovereign Court

I think in a case like this you consider a couple of things:
- Is it fantastically plausible? I'm not saying it has to be realistic, but could you imagine it in a movie? For this item, that sounds like a yes.
- what kind of mechanical advantages does it give? A dagger, staff and spear are all weapons with slightly different use cases (1H finesse agile versatile S/P; 1/2H B; 2H P reach). Furthermore, a weaponized wand is convenient when handling how many hands you have free.
- What existing system elements does it look like?
* The modular property was brought up; it takes Interact actions to reconfigure. Since this would be a multi-component item, you'd have to have both components already in hand to screw the wand into the staff. That caps how efficient it is.
* Another element to keep in mind is that you're explicitly allowed to satisfy somatic components with your hands full. However, for focus and material components you do need a hand free. So a dagger-wand would be a bit efficient. However, gauntlets also leave your hand free and even with your hands full you can kick, so it's not like wielding a wand while remaining armed is unusual.
* Doubling rings already give a precedent and price for sharing runes between multiple weapons, so we know that's not unreasonable either.

I think the main question is: if the wand on a stick gets reach, that would be having both a wand available and having a reach attack. Now, a wizard isn't proficient in spears/longspears, so I'm making the guess that this is about a sorcerer (or cleric, druid or bard).

Clerics, bards and sorcerers all have ways to satisfy material/focus components with their hands full. So it's not like holding both a wand and a weapon in only one hand gives them a big powerup. It's only the question of whether having a reach weapon and a wand available is a powerup you're not sure of.

At that point I think we can look at how other weapons are balanced. Generally, the more nice properties a weapon gets, the smaller the damage die. So if the longspearwand is a bit better than a regular longspear, maybe decrease its damage die from 1d8 to 1d6.

---

TL;DR - this is the weapon I'd end up with.

IKEA Spearwänd - Item X, rare, magic
Price: [price of wand] + 50gp

This staff and sharpened wand can be used separately (as a staff and dagger) or screwed together to function as a longspear with a d6 instead of d8 damage die. Combining or separating the two parts takes an Interact action, and both items must be held in hand to do so.

The staff and wand-dagger can separately be enhanced with weapon runes. When combined into a longspear, by default only the runes on the wand-dagger are active. As an (>) action you may switch whether the runes on the staff or wand-dagger are active. Any property runes that couldn't apply to a longspear remain dormant while the weapon is combined.


Focus on answering your question.

"Why doesn't everyone have an X"

It's a good question for most things going into your game world. Without working on the specific example given, there are a number of things that change availability in real life that can be applied here. -It could require expensive materials.
-There could be no material that fulfills the purpose or purposes to which the object is intended to be put.
-There could be some risk involved, gambling anything from wealth, health, or stealth.
-The solution is considered unacceptable in polite society for no reason.
-Everyone does have one, you just didn't notice till now.

Mix and match as desired. If it just so happens that the only material strong enough and magical enough to serve as both a spear tip and a wand happens to be a giant unicorns baculum, then there shouldn't be too many about.


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Ravingdork wrote:

This is my spell wand. It is made of sharp slender metal, is balanced, and can serve as a dagger in a pinch. The handle also happens to be threaded. This is my spell staff. See the notch at the end? When the wand is screwed into the staff, it functions as a spear. I call it the "dagger-staff spear-wand."

So you have a player that wants to do something creative and a little out there. What's more, the player is really passionate about the idea and, if you're being honest with yourself, it actually sounds kind of cool. However, you have concerns about balance or how it might impact the draw of more traditional options. After all, why doesn't everyone have a dagger-staff spear-wand?

What do you, as a reluctant GM, do? And don't say you just say "no." Denial without explanation tends to upset players, and upset players tend to upset GMs. This is a discussion about diplomacy; we're looking for a happy ending for all parties here.

(The dagger-staff spear-wand is merely an illustrative example meant to promote discussion. You needn't focus on that alone.)

First off, I wholeheartedly agree with your philosophy. It really is sound GMing advice: don't say no, say "yes, but..."

That said, PF2 is unfortunately entirely incompatible with this philosophy. I still consider myself new to gamesmastering PF2, but I have already on multiple occasions found myself saying yes, only to be bitten by the fact that what I allowed as an improvised action, exists as a feat in the game.

That is, you might allow a creative player to do this thing, but you are probably invalidating a feat down the line, perhaps a feat for a completely unrelated character class, perhaps one only available ten levels later.

In other words, Paizo has reserved the right to wring every single ounce of crunch out of their rules construction, to the point where there really isn't much space left for improvisation.

Everything not allowed by the rules will be covered by a feat if not already, meaning you should never say yes. :(

I find this to be perhaps PF2's greatest failing.


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Zapp wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

This is my spell wand. It is made of sharp slender metal, is balanced, and can serve as a dagger in a pinch. The handle also happens to be threaded. This is my spell staff. See the notch at the end? When the wand is screwed into the staff, it functions as a spear. I call it the "dagger-staff spear-wand."

So you have a player that wants to do something creative and a little out there. What's more, the player is really passionate about the idea and, if you're being honest with yourself, it actually sounds kind of cool. However, you have concerns about balance or how it might impact the draw of more traditional options. After all, why doesn't everyone have a dagger-staff spear-wand?

What do you, as a reluctant GM, do? And don't say you just say "no." Denial without explanation tends to upset players, and upset players tend to upset GMs. This is a discussion about diplomacy; we're looking for a happy ending for all parties here.

(The dagger-staff spear-wand is merely an illustrative example meant to promote discussion. You needn't focus on that alone.)

First off, I wholeheartedly agree with your philosophy. It really is sound GMing advice: don't say no, say "yes, but..."

That said, PF2 is unfortunately entirely incompatible with this philosophy. I still consider myself new to gamesmastering PF2, but I have already on multiple occasions found myself saying yes, only to be bitten by the fact that what I allowed as an improvised action, exists as a feat in the game.

That is, you might allow a creative player to do this thing, but you are probably invalidating a feat down the line, perhaps a feat for a completely unrelated character class, perhaps one only available ten levels later.

In other words, Paizo has reserved the right to wring every single ounce of crunch out of their rules construction, to the point where there really isn't much space left for improvisation.

Everything not allowed by the rules will be covered by a feat if not already, meaning...

Even if it is covered by a feat I would allow a player to try to do it just with a hightened difficulty.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

You could try saying "yes" and see what happens, adjusting if it turns out adjustment is required.

I mean... unless something is clearly broken.


I would go with the "yes, but..." answer as well.

Yes, but it's going to cost as much as all those items combined plus some. And to change between methods of use is going to cost some number of actions, to make it not very viable in combat.

Like you could probably use the spear and spell staff functionality at the same time, but using the wand would require unscrewing it (at least 1 interact action, but probably more).

With these drawbacks to it, I would let the player use it and see if its balanced. With an understanding that I might have to modify how it works if it seems too good.

Sovereign Court

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Anguish wrote:

You could try saying "yes" and see what happens, adjusting if it turns out adjustment is required.

I mean... unless something is clearly broken.

You can say "yes, but it starts out on probation". You can be honest that you're willing to try out the new thing the player came up with, but that you reserve the right to modify or prohibit it later if it turns out to be too much.

If you get out of the mindset of "yes now is yes forever" and make that clear to your players, it becomes a lot easier and safer to experiment :)

Sovereign Court

Claxon wrote:

I would go with the "yes, but..." answer as well.

Yes, but it's going to cost as much as all those items combined plus some. And to change between methods of use is going to cost some number of actions, to make it not very viable in combat.

Slight nuance: viable is okay. It shouldn't dominate other options, but it's fine if it's just useful and nice.

It shouldn't outcompete for example, using one main enchanted 1H weapon and doubling rings to be able to get those bonuses on any other weapon in your other hand.

As I wrote earlier, the sticking point is if you add reach into the mix. But an 1d6 instead of 1d8 reach weapon can balance that again.


Ravingdork wrote:

I had forgotten about the new modular weapon trait. That would make for a great start for a compromise I think.

Unicore wrote:
The rules in PF2 are pretty explicit about not having wands double as weapons for game balance reasons related to how many things you can hold in your hands.
Out of curiosity, where is this explicitly stated?

you got me, the rules don't say it explicitly, it is an implicit assumption on my part. More to the point though, I think part of the problem with the initial example for me is that the item the character wants sounds like a fairly high level item that isn't a level 1 issue.

With player creativity and changing rules, slow incremental measures are a much better idea than out of the blue big changes that a character will have for a long time. Taking away overpowered options will result in much harder feelings than letting the player see that the path to gaining those options at an appropriate level will be a full character investment choice that they will need to commit to, not just a way to bypass existing game limitations.

For the dagger staff spear wand, it is going to be a while before they get a magical staff or a wand with the ability to also serve as a weapon. If they want their character to be an inventor and make interesting things, I'd try to work with them on early level stuff that their character can be building in down time and whether it would be better to reflavor existing class options to be what they want, or make something entirely new.

For example, maybe they want to reskin the alchemist into an inventor class and have some alchemical elixirs or mutagens work as mechanical devices that only manage to work for a short period of time. I'd be happy to work with the player on allowing that kind of stuff, I'd just want them to do so in steps, so both they and I could get a feel for what it is doing in the game and what kind of dedication are they willing to put into this unusual option to maintain it. Saying "yes, but" and then doing a bunch of work to make some new item that the creative character just turns around and says "thats not what I wanted. I wanted a weapon that I could use as any of these options without waisting actions on" isn't really a good use of anyone's time.

Edit:
Just picking up the GMG today. I'd try to make sure the player understands that things like this factor into long-term down time goals, not immediate play options and would be most fun for everyone if there were incremental goals rather than going from having nothing, to a brand new option that we have no idea how well it fits into the overall power balance of the game.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I prefer a much simpler No with an explanation of why I'm not allowing it.

"No. You can't have a weapon that fulfills the purpose of three different objects, increasing your action economy three fold if you plan of switching between them."

I am also the GM who doesn't like it when players reflavor things. "Can I use the stats of an earthbreaker but say its my wizard staff?" No. If you want your wizard college dropout barbarian to wield a wizard staff, accept the lesser damage dice for your concept.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Claxon wrote:

I would go with the "yes, but..." answer as well.

Yes, but it's going to cost as much as all those items combined plus some. And to change between methods of use is going to cost some number of actions, to make it not very viable in combat.

Slight nuance: viable is okay. It shouldn't dominate other options, but it's fine if it's just useful and nice.

It shouldn't outcompete for example, using one main enchanted 1H weapon and doubling rings to be able to get those bonuses on any other weapon in your other hand.

As I wrote earlier, the sticking point is if you add reach into the mix. But an 1d6 instead of 1d8 reach weapon can balance that again.

I mean, my goal would be to not make it better than the baseline rules option of just having those 4 different object available on your person. Or at least to have some cost or drawback to balance it out.

How you accomplish that though, can be very nuanced.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

One of my players is a Monk Farmer. He uses a combination bo staff/spade in combat. He treats it like a bo staff and says he trained with it, so he knows how to adjust for the balance. I told him as long as he pays for both items and accounts for the bulk of both items in his inventory, I don't have a problem with it.


I'd okay it as a modular weapon with the inventor feat- it seems like that's what this is for.

With the caveat that if wand qua stabbing weapon gains the broken condition, so does the wand qua magic stick.

I wonder if a better solution wouldn't be to bring back Aroden's Spellsword as a weapon rune though.


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Just gonna point out that there's a gnome ancestry feat that specifically covers jury-rigging a weapon to do outlandish things. It's existence might be a fairly good baseline for the expected power level of being able to modify a weapon on the fly. This feat could be taken after Adopted Ancestry. Alternately, you could let the player qualify for this feat, or some home-brewed version, after the Inventor feat, only allowing them to do use it on "weapons" they invent.

Inventive Offensive wrote:

Inventive Offensive

Source Lost Omens Character Guide pg. 32
Prerequisites trained in Crafting
You can jury-rig your weapons to perform in unexpected ways. When you use this ability, add one of the following weapon traits to a melee weapon you wield: deadly d6, disarm, nonlethal, shove, trip, versatile B, versatile P, or versatile S. You cannot add a trait that the weapon already has. The weapon retains this trait until you a successfully hit and deal damage with the weapon. The weapon retains this trait only while you wield it, and you can have only one weapon modified in this way at any time.

If you have expert proficiency in Crafting, you can use this feat as a 2-action activity. If you have legendary proficiency in Crafting, you can apply two weapon traits from the list when using this feat.

Shadow Lodge

In my experience there's a few different types of creativity players come up with in an rpg.

One is the player that creatively tries to milk as much money as they can out of everything. Do you know how much traps cost? We're totally dismantling it and selling it! This furniture looks expensive, or if I combine these different spells I can create items for really cheap. This money grubbing creativity is actually really easy to deal with. Simply let them do it, then either award them an appropriate amount of xp for the gp they made, or just reduce the next bit of treasure they find. This way you keep the xp to gp ratio, let the player do their creative money making schemes, and they will be happy for it. Just don't ever let your players see behind the screen on how you're "fixing" it.

Another type of creativity is the player that wants to invent stuff. It's the player that says why can't I fill a keg with 10 alchemist fires and have it do 10d6 damage? Or your dagger-staff-spear-wand idea. A lot of these ideas involve a player wanting to do something that their character isn't capable of. They are first level and want to safely assemble a massive batch of alchemist fire into a large bomb? I tell these players that they realize they're not skilled enough to achieve such a feat yet and will probably blow themselves up if they try. That buys me time to calculate how the items would actually work in game, what level it would be balanced to give them at, and gives the player a goal to work for if they really want it. I would totally let my players make that dagger-staff-spear-wand. It'd be an extremely expensive magic item, costing something like 2.5 times the value of the four separate items and being difficult to craft. Nobody else uses them for just that reason. They aren't practical or economical to make.

The third type of creativity is the player that wants their character to do cool stuff. I jump off the balcony, swing on the chandelier, and leap onto the ogre's head! This to me is the hardest thing to deal with, because I really want to accommodate these players. I want to encourage imaginative and fun play over the mechanical I full attack play that most players do. But to do this requires making up some sort of rules on the fly to adjudicate the situation. Sadly, these type of players are often the new ones and they get really disappointed as they describe something cool their character does, then you call for an acrobatics and cmb roll, and their character is awful at both those things and fails miserably.

Sovereign Court

gnoams wrote:

In my experience there's a few different types of creativity players come up with in an rpg.

One is the player that creatively tries to milk as much money as they can out of everything. (...)

Yeah, this one is a bit tedious but your approach works.

gnoams wrote:
Another type of creativity is the player that wants to invent stuff.

This is an interesting one, and I think you need to break down inventions into two types:

- inventions that leverage impersonal power to allow a low-level character to have the impact of a higher level one
- other inventions

The first type can be problematic. Because you get a clash between the logic of how "technology" works, and the logic of how a balanced game works. Logically, you should be able to make a bigger boom with more alchemical weapons. Technology doesn't care about who uses it, just that they follow the right protocol. The whole point of technology and having tools is to make it so that ordinary people can do what you needed to be a wizard to achieve in the past. But that doesn't jive so well with a game that aims to make every character roughly balanced with the others; if one is a master of using technology to leverage things, then that balance is going to be disturbed.

So with my own players I'd actually just tell it to them straight: "no, I'm not going to let that work (all the time), because it's just a bit too strong for this level". I might let it work in an exceptional case though, because that can be fun. Like how a group of level 1 characters could defend a castle against a big monster by using siege weaponry - it's a fun set piece for that scenario, but we're not going to be bringing a ballista to every dungeon from now on.

A variant is someone trying to make something not more raw powerful, but more versatile. Sometimes you'd need a higher level item to get that versatility. Or need to carry multiple items (which cost money and weigh bulk) to get all of those options available.

I think this also calls for either putting a price on it ("it's more versatile but does lower base damage") or a limitation ("you can jury-rig that for now, but it needs to be re-affixed after every combat because it's just not stable").

gnoams wrote:
The third type of creativity is the player that wants their character to do cool stuff. (...) Sadly, these type of players are often the new ones and they get really disappointed as they describe something cool their character does, then you call for an acrobatics and cmb roll, and their character is awful at both those things and fails miserably.

I think PF2 makes this easier because the standardized DC tables give you a good way as a GM to make things up on the fly that are doable. The issue with characters then not being good at the required skills is something that can be softened by:

- Coaching them during character creation, to pick the stats that fit the sort of character they have in mind.
- At low level the difference between having a skill and lacking it (but having good ability scores in that area) isn't yet too big, so it doesn't stop them from trying and sometimes succeeding. Which leads to...
- Being liberal with rebuilding as the player learns the game system and discovers how to actually build the character that they want to play. I care more about continuity of my party in terms of personality and background story, than continuity in under the hood builds. So if the chandelier enthusiast discovers he doesn't have the right skills, I'd be fine with him respeccing a bit after the game session.


This is 100% fine as is. To change the grip to switch between casting and stabbing just use "Interact" actions as per core rulebook 272. That's not a real advantage compared to having two separate actions. Having one item is actually kind of a risk because you might lose both items at once later.

Let NPCs who hear of the idea follow suit. "Why doesn't everyone…" well maybe this could be a great mark on the campaign that your player was patient zero for the dagger wand. Ankh-Morpork style.


Something designed to do many things in inevitably worse at each thing than tools designed to do just that one thing.

A fork is good. A spoon is good. But a spork? Yes sure, but its not a great spoon nor fork.

So yes, give them a 'dagger-staff spear-wand.". but...

... it will be a difficult to use dagger
... it will be an unwieldy staff
... it will be a hard to handle wand
... it will be a pretty poor spear

In other words, yes, but it involves compromise.

Otherwise you'll soon be handing out 2h-great-axe-long-pole-bucklers with reach, throwing range, an AC bonus and the agile trait.


Quote:
Otherwise you'll soon be handing out 2h-great-axe-long-pole-bucklers with reach, throwing range, an AC bonus and the agile trait.

The 1991 Rules Cyclopedia has rules for these kinds of items♥

"Shield-swords" etc.
Starts on page 65. They can easily break though.


Kasoh wrote:

I prefer a much simpler No with an explanation of why I'm not allowing it.

"No. You can't have a weapon that fulfills the purpose of three different objects, increasing your action economy three fold if you plan of switching between them."

Then you will be happy to learn that this is EXACTLY how Pathfinder 2 works.

Of course, your example is clear-cut in being over the top unreasonable. Just remember: Paizo prevents even the reasonable requests, the ones where your only option as GM is to say

"I'm saying no and here's my explanation: I don't have a good explanation. I can only say that the Obscure Bungyjumper archetype gets this as a feat at level 18 in the Lost Omens Discarded Options book, so you're clearly not meant to get to do that for free".


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Zapp wrote:
Kasoh wrote:

I prefer a much simpler No with an explanation of why I'm not allowing it.

"No. You can't have a weapon that fulfills the purpose of three different objects, increasing your action economy three fold if you plan of switching between them."

Then you will be happy to learn that this is EXACTLY how Pathfinder 2 works.

Of course, your example is clear-cut in being over the top unreasonable. Just remember: Paizo prevents even the reasonable requests, the ones where your only option as GM is to say

"I'm saying no and here's my explanation: I don't have a good explanation. I can only say that the Obscure Bungyjumper archetype gets this as a feat at level 18 in the Lost Omens Discarded Options book, so you're clearly not meant to get to do that for free".

You can also just let it happen, ignore that obscure feat and move on.

This is covered, I believe, by rule 0.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd allow it, within reason. I actually just decided to make a simple scimitar that functions as a staff of fire for a cleric in one of my games. It's actually fairly thematic for a cleric of Sarenrae , so I don't see the issue.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Zapp wrote:
Kasoh wrote:

I prefer a much simpler No with an explanation of why I'm not allowing it.

"No. You can't have a weapon that fulfills the purpose of three different objects, increasing your action economy three fold if you plan of switching between them."

Then you will be happy to learn that this is EXACTLY how Pathfinder 2 works.

Of course, your example is clear-cut in being over the top unreasonable. Just remember: Paizo prevents even the reasonable requests, the ones where your only option as GM is to say

"I'm saying no and here's my explanation: I don't have a good explanation. I can only say that the Obscure Bungyjumper archetype gets this as a feat at level 18 in the Lost Omens Discarded Options book, so you're clearly not meant to get to do that for free".

I've been having players complain for years about having to take a feat to 'Power Attack' so I just say 'The game's the game.' and ignore such complaints.

I don't consider myself an unreasonable person (who does, really?) but I find that most instances of 'player creativity' involving equipment are power grabs.

Sometimes, you let it happen because you just want to move on and it will make them happy. Othertimes, you have to stop it right in the beginning.

Liberty's Edge

Why does this thread feel like bait?

The whole premise is grounded in an extreme example that shouldn't even need to be justified with an explanation to anyone except a player who has no concept of system balance or the rules themselves. Frankly, if an actual friend proposed this caliber of munchkin nonsense I'd laugh in their face assuming it was a joke.

Now, if a brand new player genuinely had a creative idea that they wanted to run with I'd entertain the concept but the example here isn't doing the discussion any favors since it's really beyond the pale in terms of being an obvious attempt to game the system for personal advantage.


If you are being sarcastic I apologize. It's not clear from your post.

If you are being serious:
People can have daggers. People can have wands.
This guy's unique weapon idea, the dagger wand, is only saving on one "L" bulk slot. If that's what you're worried about, say "you can have it but I'll give you one fewer "L" bulk slot.

Being able to spend a few actions screwing it onto a staff, which would suck in combat where action econ is everything, saves 1 bulk slot. Again which you could deduct from the character otherwise.


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I figure the real impractical issue with the weapon is that wands have to be about 6-8" long and fairly thin, but if you made a spearpoint in that shape there's a good chance it snaps when you wedge it in some rock monster. Replacing a broken spearpoint is NBD (spears were popular weapons because they're cheap and easy to produce), but when your spearpoint is literally a magic wand it seems impractical.

Putting a point on your magic staff, instead of putting a sharp wand on a random pole seems more practical.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Val'bryn2 wrote:
I'd allow it, within reason. I actually just decided to make a simple scimitar that functions as a staff of fire for a cleric in one of my games. It's actually fairly thematic for a cleric of Sarenrae , so I don't see the issue.

I did almost exactly that, but using a scythe as a staff of frost.

PossibleCabbage wrote:

I figure the real impractical issue with the weapon is that wands have to be about 6-8" long and fairly thin, but if you made a spearpoint in that shape there's a good chance it snaps when you wedge it in some rock monster. Replacing a broken spearpoint is NBD (spears were popular weapons because they're cheap and easy to produce), but when your spearpoint is literally a magic wand it seems impractical.

Putting a point on your magic staff, instead of putting a sharp wand on a random pole seems more practical.

Would you have an issue if a player asked to create a unique spell staff in the form of a spear that also happened to have a once per day power?

Sovereign Court

Ravingdork wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Putting a point on your magic staff, instead of putting a sharp wand on a random pole seems more practical.
Would you have an issue if a player asked to create a unique spell staff in the form of a spear that also happened to have a once per day power?

I'd make it a bit higher level than other staves with the same abilities. But the existence of the Shifting rune suggests that having a staff in a different form is not like, the end of the world. Having the power of the staff in the form of a weapon with better abilities should just cost a bit of something.


Lets see...a wand that can be treated as dagger
I would allow it but consider if the magic of the wand and property runes interact in some way (maybe you cant add enhancing or property runes?)

Also consider the interaction between magical material and weapon material, ther is a reason while most wands are classically made largely from wood, bone, horn and other organic materials rather then metal

attaching that to a staff to create a spear?
most likely a regular short spear, not to imbalanced

but there are a few problems with the attaching

to screw on a dagger to the staff both have to have a proper thread, now while this is certainly possible it comes with a few problems
-a thread is a delicate thing, if it is too dirty, not properly maintained int can easily be damaged
-also when not taken care of there is always a chance that it cold fuses while screwing the head on or off
-also the thread has to be long enough to properly hold the dagger and to disperse the strength that is put on it, probably too long to add or remove the point to the 'spear' mid-battle


Allow him to have runes on his wands and staff with harder craft check. He buys the runes that allow to shift weapon type, and he can use it to switch the wand to a weapon. I did it, not really overpowered. And a lots of interact action with the manipulate trait, and sometimes even more depending on 2h etc.

As for player creativity, make a custom feat. A unique or rare feat that may be called « daggerstaffspearwand mastery » that they can take next class level. The time to get the feat? It will be the time to make it right and to learn how to use their strange inventions.


I tried to avoid the specific example given, as requested, but it seems we're just running into that now.

Attaching a dagger to a staff isn't any more complicated than fixing a bayonet to a rifle. It's mostly the wand as bayonet part that seems odd.

In Pf2, you could probably maintain balance by having a bayonet lug take up a rune slot on a staff, and balancing the cost against shifting by splitting the cost of lug and bayonet into two separate items costing the same as a shifting rune. Then just ensure that whatever is in the lug can only be used while the staff is wielded 2 handed.

Wand as dagger is decently balanced honestly, and probably doesn't need special rules. I don't think you're better off attacking with an unruneable dagger than you are kicking someone while holding a wand. Letting it work as your bayonet is only a problem if it still works as a wand, make them change grip on the combined weapon if they want to use it as a wand and it's probably fine.


My problem with addressing the initial example is that there is no clear indicator of when in the character's career they are expecting to get this item or how core it is to their overall build.

Nothing about the example feels like a first level character concept, so instead I am getting the sense that this is a higher level starting campaign, or a loose concept to build towards. I think if it is the first situation, then it makes sense to sit down with the player and figure out how to build the item that they want to have, seeing how much of their starting wealth it is going to consume, and sign off on everyone in the party feeling it is balanced.

If it is the second case, then I'd point out that no starting characters are going to be walking around with items like that, but that, if it is a goal of the character to build something like that, we can make it their downtime focus to discover the necessary formulae and build the item.


As for the main example, in my games, a "staff", as in the stick that carries spells and charges, have been renamed to "spellcasting implement", or "implement" for short, and can come in the form of any weapon. Clubs (scepter, wand, rods), daggers (athames), and staves are common and cost the same. Any other weapon is uncommon and cost 60 more gp, and accessing them requires significant investment in both casting and martial training (so, a martial taking a caster MC or vice versa, or a caster taking 2 or more weapon related ancestry feats.

That aside, I'm a fairly flexible DM, but at the end of the day, I make sure my rulings don't overbalance things. For examples like this, where it's something that the player *really* wants, and something I think is cool, I'll tell them to give me time to run the numbers and see if its balanced.

Things like "can I make a burning hands spell that sprays poison instead of fire" are something I'll almost always allow, especially if thematic, since the change is pretty surface level and doesn't alter math much.

Things that that give drastic benefits, like the staff-wand-spear, I typically compare to existing similar cases in game. If the power level is close, I tweak something and return to player to see if they accept. If it's truly overpowered, I go back to my player, explain my reasoning, and open up discussion on how to lower the power to be in line with the game.

Whenever I make a custom rule though, I tell my players in advance that I reserve the right to alter such homebrew if it does become unbalancing, but if I do, I'll talk it over with the group first

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