Psychic + Thaumaturge play through converted Doomsday Dawn


Dark Archive Playtest General Discussion


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I tested the thaumaturge and psychic alongside a fighter and battle oracle as a level 1 party. I’m playing the role of GM plus player for all of the PCs because I won’t get a useful game organized in time if I don’t. All character are played according to their in-game knowledge. I played them as a team that works together tactically in combat and  that scours every corner of the dungeon (so that I could take advantage of every available encounter to gather data).

CHARACTER BUILDS
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THAUMATURGE: an amphibious archeologist, intent on unlocking the secrets of the relics he finds on both land and sea.

- Str/Dex/Con/Int/Wis/Cha: 16/12/12/12/10/16
- Background: Archeologist (PSG version; Azlanti Lore)
- Heritage/Ancestry: Mistbreath Azarketi
- Ancestry feat: Azarketi Lore
- Implement: Amulet
- Class Feat: Scroll Thaumaturgy
- Trained Skills: Arcana, Athletics, Diplomacy, Intimidation, Architecture lore, Azarketi lore, Azlanti lore, Nature, Occultism, Religion, Society, Stealth.
- Noteworthy Equipment: Breastplate, Trident, Sling, Torches.

- Reflecting on character creation: Thematically and mechanically, I would prefer Wisdom as the key stat. The class is MAD, leaving little flexibility for stat allocation. I like that the magic-type skills all start trained, and yet I still felt I needed more skills (thus why I took Azarketi Lore). I would prefer to choose the implement each morning, potentially trading up to make the class more interesting. I chose the Amulet implement because I thought it would fill a useful niche in the party.
 

PSYCHIC: the creepy daughter spawned from the unholy union of elven magic and psychic vampirism.

- Str/Dex/Con/Int/Wis/Cha: 8/16/14/18/12/8 (took voluntary flaws for a Con boost)
- Background: Cursed (rare APG version)
- Heritage/Ancestry: Dhampir elf
- Ancestry Feat: Adhyabhau
- Subconscious Mind: Precise Disciple
- Conscious Mind: Distant Grasp.
- Trained Skills: Acrobatics, Arcana, Athletics, Crafting, Diplomacy, Intimidation, Curse lore, Occultism, Society, Stealth.
- Cantrips: Mage Hand, Telekinetic projectile, Telekinetic rend, Guidance, Daze, Shield.
- Spell Repertoire: Magic missile, Phantom pain.

- Reflecting on character creation: She was easy to build and oozing with flavor. I found myself wanting more spells in my repertoire.

FIGHTER: The most powerful combination imaginable, a sword and board fighter.

- Str/Dex/Con/Int/Wis/Cha: 18/12/16/10/14/8
- Background: Field Medic
- Heritage/Ancestry: Strong-Blooded Dwarf
- Ancestry feat: Unburdened Iron
- Class Feat: Double Slice
- Trained Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, Warfare lore, Medicine, Stealth, Survival.
- Noteworthy Equipment: Chain mail, Steel shield, Bastard sword.
 

ORACLE: The blood of ancestral warriors courses through her veins; it’s time to embrace it.

- Str/Dex/Con/Int/Wis/Cha: 16/12/16/10/10/14
- Background: Farmhand (Assurance in Athletics)
- Heritage/Ancestry: Beastkin (bear) Orc
- Ancestry feat: Orc ferocity
- Mystery: Battle
- Trained Skills: Athletics, Deception, Intimidation, Farming lore, Medicine, Religion, Stealth.
- Cantrips: Chill Touch, Disrupt Undead, Forbidding Ward, Guidance, Shield, Stabilize
- Spells Repertoire: Magic Weapon, Heal.
- Noteworthy Equipment: Splint mail, Guisarme 

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FIRST SESSION
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Spoilers for Doomsday Dawn, Chapter 1: The Lost Star:

As in the adventure path, the heroes are looking to retrieve the Star of Desna and put down the Mudchewer goblin tribe—and their tyrannical leader Drakus—in the process. Some uneventful sneaking through the sewers precedes the party's first encounter with a sewer ooze in the cistern entrance to the dungeon map. The fighter leads the way while exploring and the thaumaturge takes up the rear because he is the only one in need of light and is thus stuck holding the torch. All characters are Avoiding Notice as they know they’re likely to encounter Mudchewer goblins.
 

A1. SLIMY CISTERN; TRIVIAL 1: SEWER OOZE (CREATURE 1) x1

The fighter stumbles upon a sewer ooze, which attacks. The Thaumaturge succeeds at Finding Flaws, advising the group to avoid mental attacks, then applying soap to his trident via Esoteric Antithesis. The Thaumaturge dropped his torch to free a hand up for Esoteric Antithesis and Implement's Empowerment, dealing 9 P damage with his trident, plus 2 weakness. The battle oracle casts weapon surge to deal 15 S damage with her guisarme. The Fighter dealt 6 S + 8 B damage with Double Slice and raises his shield to act as the party's tank. The psychic dealt 11 P damage with an amped telekinetic projectile  (which I supposed would have pushed the ooze 5 ft since the attack was 10 over its AC and it's just immune to the critical hit damage, but I didn't remember this at the time).

The sewer ooze caused some damage with its pseudopod and filth wave attacks, dealing enough damage and penalties to require a 10 minute rest to Refocus and Treat Wounds. I did not remember to use Amulet's Abeyance during combat to mitigate some of the damage, which would have helped. The fighter took the most damage and failed his Medicine check to Treat Wounds on himself (the oracle attempts to Aid all of the Medicine checks), so his HP was still half down by the time a goblin, thinking he heard something, noticed the PC's presence. The psychic notices the goblin spying from the tunnel and tries to warn the other PCs without tipping off this goblin that she saw him, but she fails her Deception check and the goblin Sneaks away to notify his comrades as soon as the psychic turns her back.  

 

A.2 MUDCHEWER CENTRAL; MODERATE 1: GOBLIN WARRIORS (CREATURE -1) x4
 

Egged on by the others, who wait in ambush positions in the ossuary, two goblins charge through the tunnel into the cistern with a confident battle shriek, but less than competent Strikes with their dogslicers. The thaumaturge again succeeds with Find Flaws to recall that goblins are exceptionally stupid (go after their Will saves) and hate/fear horses, so he takes out a horseshoe infected with "horse cooties" and deals 9 P damage plus 2 weakness with his trident, killing the first goblin.

One goblin runs past the fighter who hasn't had a chance to draw his sword yet, so he makes an AoO with his shield boss for 5 B damage, leaving that goblin with only 1 HP left. The third goblin runs to the cistern just in time to see the second goblin taken out by half damage (2 mental) from the psychic's daze cantrip. He makes a feeble dogslicer Strike that misses, realizes these people aren't pushovers, and runs back through the tunnel to the ossuary.  

The PCs give chase, the Oracle and Fighter struggling to keep up and unable to land any hits. The thaumaturge runs ahead through the tunnel into the ossuary, forgetting to bring the torch and takes the fourth goblin’s readied arrow Strike to the face, before stumbling around in the dark unable to hit anything. The fighter and oracle make use of their darkvision to finish the last two goblins with javelin and jaws attacks.

With the goblins defeated, the PC's retreat back to the cistern to spend over an hour Treating Wounds back to full HP.  They proceed to explore the ossuary further, coming upon the southeast chamber filled with six giant centipedes.  
 

A3. VERMIN DEN; SEVERE 1: GIANT CENTIPEDES (CREATURE -1) x6

Although this is technically a severe level encounter, the PCs made short work of it with effective tactics: using the fighter to block the bottle-necked exit of the chamber, the centipedes only attacked the fighter and couldn't all get to him at once. Thanks to a high AC from Raising a Shield, and damage avoidance via Shield Block and Amulet's Abeyance, the centipedes were virtually incapable of causing any damage and therefore couldn’t inject any poison either. The PCs simply picked them off one-by-one with ranged/reach attacks from behind the fighter.  
 

The oracle cast magic weapon[i] on the fighter's sword and also on her own guisarme, so they put out the most damage. The thaumaturge did well too, rolling max damage with a sling for 9 B damage plus 2 weakness (9+2 again!?). The psychic targeted Will because that seemed like the smart move based on the thaumaturge’s intel, dealing 2 mental damage with [i]daze then 7 mental damage with phantom pain (the centipedes succeeded their saves for both) when she realized that the combat would be over before she could activate Unleash Focused Intent. In hindsight, telekinetic rend would have dealt far more damage because of the sheer number of targets and would have made her damage output more impressive. This is one example where spamming her psi-cantrip was the optimal choice.  
 

A.4 MOTIVATION ROOM

Investigation of goblin corpses in this room revealed that a single puncture wound drained them of blood, but critical failures from both the psychic and thaumaturge to recall what creature might cause such a wound lead the party to believe that the culprit was clearly some sort of mosquito-vampire! A creature with a single fang that can transform into a mosquito instead of a bat...

 

A.5 FUNGUS BLOOM; LOW 1: MINDFOG FUNGUS (COMPLEX HAZARD 2) x1

The fighter set off initiative when he entered the room to explore, but before the mindfog fungus’s turn comes up on initiative, the psychic’s turn comes up and she mistakes the fungus for healing mushrooms with another bad Recall Knowledge roll. She walks into the room to pick some only to get spray alongside the fighter by the spore cloud routine on the fungus’ turn. The psychic got confused for 1 round and the fighter got confused for the maximum of 4 rounds and immediately mistook the psychic dhampir elf as a mosquito vampire trying to suck his blood! The fighter attacked, dealing 12 damage with Double Slice. The psychic, barely standing, retaliated with daze, dealing 4 mental damage, and an unarmed strike that dealt 1 B damage. All of the flat checks to end confusions from taking these blows were failures and the fighter finished the psychic off on his next turn with his bastard sword, despite attempts from the thaumaturge and oracle to snap him out of it. The oracle even attempting to protect the psychic with forbidding ward, but to no avail. The thaumaturge couldn't protect her with Amulet's Abeyance because the fighter wasn't a subject of his Esoteric Antithesis. After this, the fighter chased the thaumaturge around the ossuary until the thaumaturge landed enough unarmed Strikes to finally snap him back to his senses. This kept the fighter distracted as the oracle dragged the psychic safely out of the fungus room before it could infect anyone else, then cast stabilized her... Actually, the oracle tried to cast heal on her first, but I forgot that she's a dhampir with negative healing, soo.... that wouldn’t have healed her.

In the end, the psychic survived her brief skirmish with the fighter and the good-intentioned oracle. Barely. I can't say I’m surprised that the fighter came out on top in a brawl with a psychic. Over 8 hours of adventuring were done by the time the PCs found a couple hidden items (a ring worth 5 gold and a minor healing potion) and got enough HP back via Treat Wounds (too many failed checks). At this point, the party became fatigued and deciding to retreat back out through the sewers for a night’s rest at their employer’s home, but not before dragging the slain goblin corpses out of the dungeon to strip them of their loot and hope that Drakus assumes these missing goblins went AWOL.

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POST SESSION #1 THOUGHTS
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THAUMATURGE 

- I played the thaumaturge with the assumption that Esoteric Antithesis applies to creatures of the same type as the one that flaws are found in. In other words, he didn’t apply Esoteric Antithesis to another centipede after killing the first one. I’m not positive this is the correct reading or not, but it feels right in play.

- The thaumaturge put out competitive damage.

- The intel from Find Flaws is very useful to the rest of the party.

- The results of Find Flaws give away the level of success for the Recalled Knowledge. So Recall Knowledge checks done through Find Flaws are effectively not a secret check anymore. This makes the thaumaturge the most reliable class for Recalling Knowledge, hands down, and makes me wonder if Find Flaws could be adjusted somehow to retain the secrecy in Recall Knowledge results.

- The Lantern implement doesn't sound very sexy, but it would have fit in nicely with this scenario considering my thaumaturge had to drop his torch every time combat broke out.
 
 

PSYCHIC

- I felt starved for spell slots.

- In practice, Amps incentivized spamming the same two cantrips, which isn't very interesting to me personally. When I did use a non-psi cantrip (daze), I felt like I was playing sub-optimally.  

- Combat didn’t long enough to use Unleash Focused Intent. Eventually, I got tired of waiting for a chance to activate it an used my only spell slot without it. Technically, it wouldn’t work with phantom pain anyways because that spell has a duration. This feels off, the two instinctively feel like they should be compatible. Actually, Unleash Focused Intent seems to grant extra damage to only a few occult spells, and not all of those feel very thematically psychic.

- It just felt like something was missing. I’m not sure if the answer is more spell slots, a larger repertoire, focus spells, or something else. I’m currently undecided.

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END OF SESSION #1
I've played through session #2 already, but it will take some time to type it up. So, more to come.


SESSION #2

I leveled up the characters to level 2 so that I could experience a little more of each class. The encounter difficulties are adjusted accordingly. I've also converted this session to use the Stamina rules from the Gamemastery Guide. The reason for this is to provide some variation in playtest data and to give myself some experience with the stamina rules as I've never used then before. The PCs also combined their leftover gold from character creation and their new gold from loot plus selling off the fighter’s chain mail to collectively purchase splint mail for the fighter.  Because he just wasn’t hard enough to hit already.

I'm still playing the role of GM plus player for all of the PCs. All characters are played according to their in-game knowledge and as a team that works together tactically in combat and that scours every corner of the dungeon (so that I could take advantage of every available encounter to gather data).

CHARACTER UPDATES
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THAUMATURGE (LEVEL 2):

- Class Feats: Scroll Thaumaturgy, Talisman Esoterica.
- Skill Feats: Additional Lore (Azlanti), Encouraging Words.
- Prepped Talismans: Protency crystal (affixed to his trident), Wolf fang (affixed to the oracle's armor)

- Thoughts: I was thinking of taking Trick Magic Item as the skill feat, but took Encouraging Words because I figured I'd need a stamina healer. I didn't really. I was disinterested in the other class feats on offer. I like the ones I chose, so the choice was an easy.

PSYCHIC (LEVEL 2):

- Class Feat: Warp Space.
- Skill Feat: Arcane Sense.
- Spell Repertoire: Magic missile, Phantom pain, Gravitational pull.  

- Thoughts: even though she starts out with 6 cantrips by default, using my skill feat to gain detect magic felt worthwhile because the class leans heavily on cantrips, so I'll take as many as I can get (the party was also in need of this spell). I was tempted to take Counter Thought as my class feat because a slightly simpler version of Counterspell would be cool, but I typically go for feats that I'll use frequently and Warp Space is something I expected to use frequently whereas Counter Thought will be rarely put to use. Cantrip Expansion was also tempting, but I wanted to try the new thing.
 

FIGHTER (LEVEL 2):  
 
- Class Feats: Double Slice, Aggressive Block
- Skill feats: Battle Medicine, Titan Wrestler
- Equipment upgrade: Splint mail

ORACLE (LEVEL 2):

- Mystery: Battle.
- Weapon Group: polearms.
- Domain: Zeal.
- Class Feat: Mauler Dedication.
- Skill Feats: Assurance (in Athletics), Titan Wrestler.
- Spell Repertoire: Magic Weapon, Heal, Harm.
 
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BEGINNING SESSION #2
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Spoilers for Doomsday Dawn, Chapter 1: The Lost Star:

After selling some loot and buying the fighter splint mail, our heroes returned to the Ashen Ossuary to retrieve the Star of Desna and put down Drakus & the tribe of goblins he's taken leadership of, the Mudchewers. The fighter continues on point as the thaumaturge brings up the rear in the hopes his torch won't spoil his teammates' Stealth checks.

Now that the psychic has detect magic she gives the ossuary a once over and realizes that the party overlooked something magical. After searching around for at least ten minutes, someone finally finds the owlbear claw hidden there and affix it to the fighter's bastard sword.
 

A5. PURIFICATION FOUNTAIN

The PCs enter a room with a fountain that pumps out spoiled, blackened water. Successful Recall Knowledge checks by the thaumaturge suggest that the fountain head depicts Pharasma and that something malignant is tainting the water. The psychic detects that there is magic in the area and ends finding and fishing out a statuette without touching it with her hands (using a successful Thievery check, but she could have used mage hand, in hindsight). Inspecting it without touching it, the thaumaturge doesn't know exactly how the statuette works but knows it represents a source of evil power and it would be best not to meddle with it, so the group leaves the statuette on the ground to deal with later, and proceeds to check the two doors in the room. The door to the east is evidently trapped, but the one to the south is locked and no one is trained in Thievery nor has thieves' tools (in hindsight I would trade out one of the psychic's trained skills for Thievery. She would be good at it and it would give her another means to contribute to the team that is not also covered by the thaumaturge). The psychic manages to disarm the trap quietly enough that the goblins in Goblin Headquarters (a carved out room down the hall) did not hear it. The trap was a simple contraption of old metal pieces rigged to make noise and notify the goblins in the next room if the door is opened.
 

A7. GOBLIN HEADQUATERS; SEVERE-MODERATE 2: GOBLIN WARRIORS (CREATURE -1) x3 + GOBLIN PYRO (CREATURE 1) X1 + GOBLIN COMMANDO (CREATURE 1) X1 + FALLING ROCK TRAP (HAZARD 0)

Our heroes overhear the goblins in the next room squabbling about the scrap of dog meat they're cooking over the fire—whether the best temperature is rare, medium or burnt to a crisp. Since the PCs have the drop on the goblins, the oracle pre-buffs her guisarme and the figher's bastard sword with magic weapon spells and the thaumaturge Finds Flaws against goblin warriors and uses Esoteric Antithesis to don his horseshoe with "horse cooties." I'm interpreting the rules for Esoteric Antithesis here to apply the same weakness benefit against each goblin warrior and assuming that a separate Find Flaws check + Esoteric Antithesis would be required to apply a custom weakness to one of the other classes of goblin (pyro or commando). I have no idea if this is the intended interpretation though, the rules on this need better clarification please.

The party allows the psychic to Sneak into position first to kick combat off, casting an amped telekinetic rend that encompasses every goblin in it's area. She rolls 6 B + 3 S damage. Two goblin warriors fail their saves and the third critically fails, all dying instantly. The pyro and commando each take half damage. The fighter then rushes in with his magically enhanced bastard sword and decapitates the goblin pyro with 13 S damage (exactly what she had remaining).

With no more goblin warriors to target, the thaumaturge fails a Find Flaws attempt on the goblin commando. Rather than use another action for Esoteric Antithesis, the thaumaturge decides to just move in and throw his trident while he still has someone left alive to aim at. Even without Esoteric Anthesis, the trident deals 11 P damage thanks to the extra 2 damage from Implement's Empowerment (he did have to drop his torch to benefit from this, of course).

Near death, the goblin commando pulls out a horsechopper and lashes out at the thaumaturge, but misses by a hair. Panicked, he drops the horsechopper and desperately try to scramble up the side of the cave, hoping for safety on the ledge 15 feet above. Instead, the commando falls flat on his face with a natural 1 on the Climb check.

The PCs probably could have talked the cornered and prone commando into surrendering from here but I guess I was feeling exceptionally bloodthirsty because I had the oracle cast weapon surge on herself (completely unnecessarily, I might add) and execute the poor commando for a total of 19 S damage! I think he only had 2 HP left before that, so this was nothing short of overkill, lol.

The PCs find two minor alchemist's fires, a smokestick, and 10 cp among the goblins' beds. They also notice a small door at the top of the ledge that the commando was trying to climb to. The fighter makes an initial attempt at Climbing the cave wall, only to fall on his butt with a natural 1, so the oracle tries her hand at it next and gets up with a bit of Aid from the fighter. The psychic mage hands a coil of rope up to the oracle, who ties it off and helps the rest of the PCs slowly make their way up to the ledge, one by one.

The door at the top is locked but isn't very big, so the fighter simply kicks it in without much fuss. The psychic mage hands the torch that the thaumaturge had dropped earlier up into the thaumaturge's hand and the group proceeds quietly through the tiny door and into the dark tunnel, in their preferred travel order.

A12. DRAKUS'S LAIR

Our heroes wander into a chamber smelling of stale blood, with a makeshift cot and two chests. The thaumaturge Investigates the space and rolls a natural 20 on Find Flaws, noting that this is the lair of a faceless stalker and applying his Esoteric Antithesis in the form of a dried eye of Alghollthu. Overhearing Drakus castigating a goblin in the next room, the oracle uses her final spell slot to pre-buff the fighter's bastard sword with magic weapon, and the PC's attempt to Sneak closer to the source of the yelling.

A10. BEFOULED SHRINE; SEVERE 2: FACELESS STALKER WITH AOO (CREATURE 4) x1 + GOBLIN COMMANDO (CREATURE 1) x1 + GOBLIN WARRIOR (CREATURE -1) x1

Drakus is in the hobgoblin form he's been using all along to fool the Mudchewers. He's standing in front of a dead and drained goblin body splayed out on an altar. He's demanding that a shaking goblin warrior standing before him step up to receive his punishment for allowing members of his tribe to defect yesterday (he's assumed the goblins that the PCs killed yesterday simply went AWOL). A goblin commando is trembling by the main entrance to the shrine; he's meant to serve as insurance that the goblin warrior doesn't flee, but the commando is justifiably concerned he may suffer the same fate next if Drakus's bloodlust isn't satiated.

As our heroes attempt to Sneak into position, Drakus hears a scrape of the fighter's shield against the cave wall. The jig is up, so the Oracle shouts a call to arms, entering the moderate stage of her curse and granting an initiative bonus and 1 temporary HP to each ally. The first to act in initiative is the psychic, who Warps Space with an amps to her telekinetic projectile, mentally launching a sharp stone that swerves through the air around an obstructing statue, and plunges into Drakus's shoulder. "Leave them alone!" She shouts.

Thanks to the Thaumaturge's critical success Investigating with Find Flaw, the party knows that Drakus is a faceless stalker in disguise and that faceless stalkers are resistant to bludgeoning damage, so the party stick with the piercing and slashing weapons. The oracle moves into position 10 feet from Drakus and fails twice at attempts to Trip him.

Furious, Drakus orders the goblins to attack but critically fails his Intimidate check. I wasn't looking for a high result either, this encounter was balanced to assume the goblins would side with Drakus out of fear, but instead, the warrior runs and hides while the commando lashes out at Drakus once with his horsechopper, then stands back in awe as he witnesses this group of strangers charge in and make short work of the tyrant he's feared for weeks now. The foe-hobgoblin hits his wit's end and reverts to his true form. Pulsating with adrenaline, he Steps up to the oracle and tears into her with his claws for 13 S damage. Without the goblins in play, this encounter is downgraded to a moderate level 2 threat.

The fighter charges in next, catching only air with a swing of his bastard sword, but leaving an opening for the thaumaturge to flank and find purchase with his trident, dealing 12 P damage +3 custom weakness. As usual, the thaumaturge dropped his torch just before this Strike to free up his off hand.

The psychic Warps Space again, sending another telekinetic projectile veering around the statue, but this one zips past his head. She uses her remaining action to cast guidance on the fighter as the oracle takes a Step away from Drakus and allows her curse to overwhelm her by casting weapon surge with her last focus point, bringing her guisarme down with unimaginable force. She scores a natural 20, dealing 24 S damage to Drakus and leaving him in dire straights! He disengages, running behind a statue, as the fighter swipes at his back but missing with an Attack of Opportunity. Finding the goblin warrior behind the statue, Drakus has to momentarily restrain his seething anger long enough to pull out a lesser healing potion and down it for the much needed revitalizing magic within.

The fighter takes off after Drakus and unleashes a Double Slice, missing with his bastard sword but connecting with his shield boss for 8 B damage. The thaumaturge follows close behind, Activating the potency crystal talisman he prepared that morning, imbuing his trident with the properties of a +1 striking weapon and thrusting it clean through Drakus's torso for 12 P damage plus 3 weakness. Drakus screeches and writhes for a moment before falling to the ground in a heap, dead.

The two goblins are unsure what to do next. The group assures them that they will leave them be if the goblins remain peaceful (the commando speaks Common and the psychic speaks Goblin). The Diplomacy check isn't great, but since the group just saved their lives, it's enough that the goblins won't attack. The group raids Drakus's body and his lair for loot, finding the star of Desna and Notes on the Last Theorem among other treasures. The thaumaturge can actually read Notes on the Last Theorem because he can speak Aklo, so his has an inkling of its importance. The PCs spend the next few hours identifying the magic items they've found. There are three scrolls among the loot that the thaumaturge takes. The oracle spends a resolve point to regain her stamina, she lost all her stamina in the conflict but the group overwhelmed and out-rolled Drakus to such a degree that this was the extent to Drakus's damage output. I didn't like the that Fast Healing granted by the oracle's moderate curse did nothing because it only applies to HP (which remained at full) and not stamina, but that's just a consideration for myself to take if I feel inclined to use the stamina variant rules again.

A11. PHARASMA'S SANCTUM

With a successful Religion check, the thaumaturge understands that cleaning the shrine that Drakus defiled will grant Pharasma's favor. The PCs do this and they gain Pharasma's Blessing, which will Stabilize them the next time they would die. It also allows them to walk past the statue of Pharasma in the hallway without tripping it's sand trap, so I'll be skipping over that part of the dungeon. The goblins are not blessed, however, they'll probably get a face full of sand when they leave.

A8. ROOM OF RUINED REPOSE; SEVERE 2: SKELETON GUARDS (CREATURE -1) x8

With the main threat neutralized, the heroes check out the last room to be explored and wake the sleeping skeletons within. Much like with the centipedes in the first session, the skeletons converge on the fighter who is in front serving tanking duties like a champ. The Thaumaturge rolls a 26 on Find Flaws, so the group is fully informed on how to fight undead skeletons, favoring bludgeoning attacks such as the fighter's shield boss and the thaumaturge's sling. The psychic uses an amped telekinetic rend for the extra area, catching almost all the skeletons. Even without the slashing damage going though, she rolled 6 on the B damage and took out at least 3 of the skeletons at once. She finished off yet another weakened one with a 1 action magic missile, since she had 2 unused slots anyways, might as well use them. The oracle one-shots the last skeleton with a disrupt undead which the skeleton critical fails its save against.

The PCs find the loot in this room, most notably a scroll of shocking grasp and a wayfinder. Both of these went to the thaumaturge since he was the only one that could use the scroll and, with the wayfinder, he could finally cast light and stop juggling torches all day.

A6. PURIFICATION FOUNTAIN; SEVERE 2: QUASITS (CREATURE 1) x4

In the spirit of the playtest, I had the PCs go to the Purification Room and crack open the little statue containing four quasits (increased from the two in the AP). The water from the fountain runs clear now by the way, but the PCs don't concern themselves with it.

The heroes weren't sure what would happen when they crack the statue open, so the fighter did it in the northeast corner of the room while the others took cover in the connecting hallways. The fighter wins initiative as the quasits are released. Both Strikes from Double Slice connect, with the bastard sword landing a crit, dealing 16 S + 5 B damage, nearly killing the first quasit outright. The fighter Raises a Shield and the thaumaturge fails his Find Flaws check, unable to remember if it was silver or cold iron that demons are weak against, so he applied a powder of both as his next action with Esoteric Antithesis. He uses his last action to draw one of his newly acquired scrolls, a scroll of bless.

The psychic captures all of the quasits in an amped telekinetic rend that deals 3 B and 3 S to each quasit, killing the one that's already injured. Her final action is a missed Strike with her new +1 crossbow (acquired from the treasure in Drakus's lair).

One of the quasits Steps to the fighter and claws at him but can't get past his shield, spending its last action to Abyssal Heal 4 HP. The oracle, still overwhelmed and under the effects of her moderate curse, runs in and tries to Trip one of the quasits unsuccessfully with her guisarme, then critically fails another attempt, dropping the guisarme

The third quasit, just north of the fighter Changes Shape into a wolf, biting the fighter's leg for 9 P damage and pulling it out from under him using Knockdown. The thaumaturge lessens this damage by 4 with Amulet's Abeyance. The fourth quasit casts invisibility on itself and Sneaks up to the ceiling and northeast corner of the room to temporarily escape the bloodshed, using subsequent turns to heal itself.

Meanwhile, the thaumaturge casts bless from the scroll and moves into a position to buff the oracle and fighter with his aura. The psychic casts another amped telekinetic rend, dealing 1 B and 6 S damage to the quasit in wolf form, then reloads her crossbow.

The quasit near the oracle uses Abyssal Healing to heal 2 hp then casts invisibility on itself. The oracle tries to Grapple the now invisible quasit before it gets away, failing the hidden flat check twice before succeeding on the third attempt using Assurance in Athletics. Now she realizes she can bully this quasit quite easily with Assurance and should have been using it all along instead of rolling. On it's next turn, this quasit retaliates by casting fear on the oracle, succeeding it's grabbed flat check and making the oracle frightened 2.

The thaumaturge expands his bless aura and engages with the wolf-formed quasit alongside the fighter, who stands from his prone position but can't land any Strikes from Double Slice. On his next turn, the thaumaturge draws and casts his new scroll of shocking grasp, nearly missing the wolf-form quasit, but managing to connect thanks to the bonus from bless. The resulting 10 electricity damage leaves the shape-shifted demon barely clinging to life.

When the psychic's third turn comes around, she finally Unleashes her Focused Intent for the first and only time in this adventure. She uses the remaining two actions of this turn to fire two magic missiles at the grabbed quasit (it kind of sucks that she had to use an action to Unleash considering the hefty requirements and the drawback that comes with it). She rolled max damage on both missiles, 5 damage each plus 2 more damage from being in her Unleashed state. The missile without the bonus damage finishes off the wolf-formed quaist.

The quasit hovering invisibly in the northeast corner then casts fear on the psychic, revealing itself (note that I could have used the Counter Thought reaction here, had I taken it as my class feat and not used up my spell slots). The psychic fails her save and becomes frightened 2 even with the bonus she got from her Warding Sign reaction provided by her cursed background.

The oracle finishes off the quasit she has grabbed with two successful jaws attacks, each dealing 6 P damage. The fighter flings a javelin at the last quasit, which is still flying out of reach, but can't hit it. Likewise, the thaumaturge fails to connect when he throws his trident and decides to concentrate on his aura again to enlarge it one more time.

The psychic takes advantage of both bless's attack bonus and Unleashed psyche's free amps and she casts one more amped telekinetic projectile concussing the quasit for 10 B damage with a chunk of shattered statue. Enraged, the quasit heals itself one more time, flies down to the psychic and slashes her for 1 damage but, thanks to the thaumaturge's Amulet's Abeyance reaction, the psychic resists all of this damage and so does not have to save against quasit venom. The oracle picks up her guisarme and jumps to the psychic's aid, using Assurance to automatically Trip the quasit and activate the Wolf Fang talisman that the thaumaturge gave her that morning, dealing 3 B damage.

The quasit is near death. It wants to go invisible and fly away again but, before it can, the fighter picks up his bastard sword, charges at the fiend and slices it clean down the middle, killing the it with 12 S damage.

This was the longest combat, clocking at four full rounds; the fighter's turn marked the beginning of round five. It was the most satisfying encounter for me since everyone got a chance to try lots of cool things; the poor quasits still didn't stand a chance though. The only time the quasits got past the PCs' AC with damage that exceeded Amulet's Abeyance was the wolf-form quasit's jaws attack on the fighter. So that's a pretty good reaction. Although, now I wonder if the weakness still applied to a quasit in world form. I would assume yes... I forgot about the fighter's Shield Block in that moment too, it would have actually negated the rest of the damage from that attack with the shield's hardness. This was a pretty darn effective team.

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POST SESSION #2 THOUGHTS
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THAUMATURGE

- It's unclear if Esoteric Antithesis would apply to all goblins of different classes, this should be addressed.

- The thaumaturge, at least with the feats that I would like to take, is likely to become a total treasure hog: they'll want magical weapons like any other martial class, but will also want the scrolls that typically go to casters, and will want more worn magical items to take advantage of the extra investing slots from the Thaumaturge's Investiture class feat (which has a typo, Incredible Investiture isn't a skill feat) or the extra Activations available via the One More Activation feat. I wonder if it is worth a side note to the player and GM; they should probably talk with the rest of the group to decide ahead of time how treasure will be divvied out. Perhaps the geniuses at Paizo have advice for the GM in how to approach the treasure budget with a thaumaturge in play. Should the GM hand out a little extra treasure when there is a thaumaturge on the team?

- Overall, the thaumaturge is pretty darn cool. They feel unique and can easily fill a variety of roles on the team, most notably the one with all the magic tradition skills, which most other martial classes don't bother with. Their charisma also makes them good at social roles; a player should be aware of the other types of classes on their team and think about how they want to fit in, the thaumaturge could easily step on another PCs toes for a role that another PC wants to fill. The thaumaturge could replace the bard as the quintessential jack-of-all-trades.

- If I had my way, I'd still make the thaumaturge a wisdom-based class that uses implements and objects as a conduit to reveal hidden universal truths others overlook, rather than a class that imposes weaknesses by waving an item around.

- I'd like the class to be able to attune to a different implement each morning during daily preparations, and able to cast one innate spell or focus spell each day which is determined in some form by the implement they choose.

- If I had to trade anything away to get my desired class adjustments, I'd probably trade out Implement's Empowerment. Getting bonus damage from two sources (weaknesses being the other source) is a bit tricky to remember, messy to work into the character sheet, and will likely cause confusion for new players. Esoteric Antithesis is a pretty substantial damage buff, so I think the class would still be competitive without Implement's Empowerment and, if it's not, just increase the weakness numbers.

PSYCHIC

- The psychic was the class I was most excited about but now that I've tried it, I'm certain it is the class that needs the most improvement.

- The class can compete in damage okay, if you play it smart, but this means falling back on the same psi cantrips, which gets old.

- Overall, what the psychic needs more than anything is more things to do. That can come from either more spells or through unique, one-action focus spells. I'm leaning to the latter; spellcasters are always at their funnest when they have something cool to do with their third action.

- It seems like the psychic's class feats are meant to fill the role of powerful, flavorful abilities in order to make up for the lack of spell slots. But, much like what happened to the final version of the witch, the psychic's class feats are currently too timid to make up that lost ground.

- The psyches sound cool and flavorful, I actually like abilities with drawbacks, but the benefits of psyches are far too lackluster, or niche, or impractical, or all of the above. Half of them look like more drawback than benefit.

- The biggest problem with Unleash Focused Intent, and other psyches like it, is that most combats are over before you can ever use them. The ones that require specific types of spells to access are even more restrictive. Having such strict requirements will make the psychic disinclined to adapt to a changing situation and, even worse, make the player discouraged or resentful when they do have to adapt to a situation. This doesn't lend well to teamwork, which Pathfinder 2e otherwise thrives in. No matter what the psyche does, it's worthless if it's not accessible in play.

- I'd love Unleashed Psyches a lot more if they could be activated right away but then build power up in stages. These stages could advance round-by-round, or by spending focus point or spell slot, or by using actions specific to the psyche itself. The coolest way to implement the drawbacks would be by inflicting them when you advance your psyche too fast, such as by advancing it to the next stage before a round has passed. For example, you levitate yourself 5 ft off the ground as the first action to activate the psyche, and begin whirling debris around yourself in a cyclone as the next stage, but you take mental damage if you move to this stage before waiting a round. You could even build up a psyche to stage 3 all at once in one round, but get a massive headache of mental damage or become frightened 3, etc. This would actually simulate pushing your psyche too far. As it is now, it feels like I'm waiting a couple rounds, hoping combat doesn't end, then applying a flat bonus and penalty. It's basically an incentive to stall combat for two rounds. It could be so much more.

 

END OF SESSION #2. END OF PLAYTEST.
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I'd love to get more playtesting of higher levels in, but may not have time to.

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