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Pathfinder Is Still Bad
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:28 pm    Post subject: Pathfinder Is Still Bad Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OK, the last Pathfinder thread got trolled. Hopefully this can not happen in this new thread.

What Pathfinder is is a set of increasingly convoluted house rules for 3.5 D&D. Originally it was promised as a backwards compatible set of "fixes" to problems in 3.5 D&D that were going to be justified and propelled by the largest D&D playtest in human history. This turned out to be a shallow marketing stunt and anyone interested in actual paytesting was driven from their community like snakes from Ireland. Even the idea of backwards compatibility is out the window as the changes accrue you are no longer able to use 3.5 D&D adventures, monsters, characters, classes, feats, items, skills, or spells without adjustment - and there aren't even any really coherent conversion documents for any of those things.

And while I did make a good faith effort to help them out when they said they were doing a big open playtest, when it became clear that they didn't want any actual feedback and were only interested in running market focus grouping and grassroots publicity, I lost interest and stopped paying attention to what they were doing. Nevertheless, there are people who are still paying attention and still want to talk about it. So the latest thing is apparently "Words of Power" - which is a clumsy mix-n-match spell creation system designed by Sean K. Reynolds, a man notable for being unable to write his way out of a paper bag. After completely fucking up the alternate magic system in Monte Cook's World of Darkness d20 variant and writing the most incomprehensible subsystems in Magic of Feyrun, he has now been tasked with creating a "make your own spells on the fly" system for D&D by the Paizo crew.

Personally, I am unwilling to pay the price they are currently asking for the preview material - which is nothing. But some people want to talk about it, and they deserve a thread to do so in.

Zinegata: do not troll this thread. And by troll, I mean post in it.

-Frank
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RobbyPants
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Pathfinder Is Still Bad Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

Zinegata: do not troll this thread. And by troll, I mean post in it.
Isn't that part supposed to go in the thread title?
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hogarth
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Pathfinder Is Still Bad Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Nevertheless, there are people who are still paying attention and still want to talk about it. So the latest thing is apparently "Words of Power" - which is a clumsy mix-n-match spell creation system designed by Sean K. Reynolds, a man notable for being unable to write his way out of a paper bag.

Jason Bulmahn is designing the Words of Power system (although it's possible that SKR is helping [sic], I suppose).
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Pathfinder Is Still Bad Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

hogarth wrote:
FrankTrollman wrote:
Nevertheless, there are people who are still paying attention and still want to talk about it. So the latest thing is apparently "Words of Power" - which is a clumsy mix-n-match spell creation system designed by Sean K. Reynolds, a man notable for being unable to write his way out of a paper bag.

Jason Bulmahn is designing the Words of Power system (although it's possible that SKR is helping [sic], I suppose).


He is the Lead Designer, a title which means roughly as much as "executive producer" in a project like this. The designers are Stephen Radney-MacFarland and Sean K Reynolds. I don't know dick about Stephen "Too Long a Name" save that he did some crappy work on 4e D&D, but Sean K Reynolds has a long history of failed build-a-spell systems under his belt. He did the MCP:WoD Mage for fuck's sake.

-Frank
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ubernoob
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I just decided to download it and take a look. It is literally exactly like casting spells except for a couple of things:
1) You don't get to open up spell compendium for all the good shit
2) You can change the area/target by increasing or decreasing the spell level (like, it would be a lower level 'word' if you changed the area of the prewritten word from a cone to personal if that ever helped)
3) You get psionics style augments which are literally just number 2, but you choose to do so when you cast it instead of when you design your spell/word

So yeah, all the bad things of psionics and none of the good ones (getting rid of spell slots, unique effects, spontaneous scaling).
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Juton
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I've glanced at the words of power pdf, and it looks like it's evoker's delight. If you are a Sorcerer you can learn Fireball basically then apply whatever ranged template you'd like on the fly, you can have a ray, cone, line or burst. A Sorcerer gets all the range templates for free, so should in theory be more flexible, that is if you rely primarily on energy damage and if pathfinder hadn't nearly doubled the number of spells a Sorcerer can learn.
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hogarth
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Pathfinder Is Still Bad Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
He is the Lead Designer, a title which means roughly as much as "executive producer" in a project like this.

I don't know what to tell you. They mentioned (on the boards, or on the blog, or on Facebook, or whatever) on several occasions that "Jason is hard at work on Ultimate Magic/Words of Power". It certainly sounded like he was laying the groundwork for the system. From the job opening they recently posted, it sure sounded like "Designer" means "Faceless Drone Doing Grunt Work" at Paizo.

----

My two cents on "build your own power" systems in general (e.g. Champions, Mutants & Masterminds, epic spells) and this system specifically:

(1) Weird and unusual powers either have to be left out, or they have to come with a big disclaimer saying "please don't break this" (which looks awkward, even though it's the truth). Stuff like Dimensional Travel, for example. This applies to any system.

(2) If the building blocks of the WoP system are supposed to be able to recreate existing Pathfinder spells, then there are two ways to go. First, you can take an existing spell and make better and better versions of it. That's basically what metamagic feats are supposed to do, so it's somewhat pointless to reinvent that system. Second, you can take an existing spell and make more and more limited versions of it. In practice (in Champions, for instance), I find that results in adding "limitations" that don't limit very much. So again you need a big disclaimer saying "please don't break this".

My prediction is that they'll stick with 95% boring shit that could be done with metamagic already, and the remaining 5% will create a flame war that consumes the earth by creating level 0 save-or-die spells, for example.


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K
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I spent like an hour last night trying to make decent spells and failed.

There are a few neat things, like an evocation that Staggers for a round, but when you see that Blindness has been relegated to 7th level and is of the Power word mechanic variety you cry inside. They also offer Shaken at 4th level..... when real spellcasters are getting Fear.

I honestly don't know what the fck they were thinking. Someone apparently didn't give them the memo that Evocations suck really hard unless you use metamagic.... and words of power don't use metamagic.

And dropping your effect choices down to 4-5 a spell level is moronic. You aren't making good spells until very high level and your lower level slots are always going to be useless, unlike a real spellcaster who can at least use those slots for utility spells.

The only upshot is that you can mix together the evocations and do decent damage with 9th level spells..... but from level 1-18 you'll suck hard. Very hard.

The other upshot is that with free spells from bloodline, you can cast those as the actual spells.... so if you did something like go Human Sorcerer with their shit-ton of extra spells you might have enough real spells to act like real spellcaster and do Words of Power for the few things it does well.... but I can't see that being worth the effort.


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Juton
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You know, this is probably going to be celebrated in the Pathfinder community. They play a different game then we do, they play a game where choosing to have a Fireball go off in a line or a cone is a meaningful choice. For them it will be great, but the worry for me is a sanctimonious DM who thinks this system is 'better' and forces people to use it.
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hogarth
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

K wrote:
I honestly don't know what the fck they were thinking. Someone apparently didn't give them the memo that Evocations suck really hard unless you use metamagic.... and words of power don't use metamagic.

Or they use their own parallel system of metamagic, depending on how you look at it.

K wrote:
And dropping your effect choices down to 4-5 a spell level is moronic. You aren't making good spells until very high level and your lower level slots are always going to be useless, unlike a real spellcaster who can at least use those slots for utility spells.

"We'll be adding all the cool utility/miscellaneous spells Real Soon Now!" I'm not holding my breath.
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Roy
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Juton wrote:
You know, this is probably going to be celebrated in the Pathfinder community. They play a different game then we do, they play a game where choosing to have a Fireball go off in a line or a cone is a meaningful choice. For them it will be great, but the worry for me is a sanctimonious DM who thinks this system is 'better' and forces people to use it.


And then they constantly have to coddle their players to avoid killing their characters all the time. Pathfailure mobs are the same or buffed, after all.
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Damn, I thought [Pathfailure] accidentally created a feat worth taking, my mistake.


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souran
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Actually, considering that we all know that one of the major areas where 3.x D&D is fucked up is the spells, I might be willing to look at a new system that tried to act as a way of bridging the spell slot system with a more build it yourself method, even if that method in general meant less powerful spells.

Black Tentacles, dimensional travel, and a fair amount of the enchament spells are simply to good for there level.

Necromancy spells that do damage, Evocations, and non phantasm illusions are usually to WEAK for their level (above say 3rd).

Abjurations and Dinviations either scale to well or so badly as to be pointless.

Most of this has to do with the fact that no two people who write spells have any idea where there spells will fall in relation to other spells and the fact that 5th level spells and above really don't increase in power (excpet for obvious super spells) most of the spells from 5th to 9th are just different effects that could all reasonably land ANYWHERE in that spectrum.

A system that combined the "build it yourself" idea to generate certian kinds of effects (buffs/debuffs - direct damage - Charms/Curses) while still having "memorized" spells like black tentacles or bigby's hand spells might be a decent fix.

Unfortunatley, the "words of power" don't do that, they just mangle everything up so that everybody is an evoker.
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Juton
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Roy wrote:
Juton wrote:
You know, this is probably going to be celebrated in the Pathfinder community. They play a different game then we do, they play a game where choosing to have a Fireball go off in a line or a cone is a meaningful choice. For them it will be great, but the worry for me is a sanctimonious DM who thinks this system is 'better' and forces people to use it.


And then they constantly have to coddle their players to avoid killing their characters all the time. Pathfailure mobs are the same or buffed, after all.


I wonder about this. In 3.5 I've seen a Ranger, Fighter, Barbarian and a Gish take out some of the more uninspired level appropriate challenges from levels 6-13ish. They where mostly core, and the Gish only buffed or fire-balled. I think 4 characters who couldn't pass a level 10 SGT individually can take an ECL challenge with 25% or less of their resources.
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hogarth
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Roy wrote:
Pathfailure mobs are the same or buffed, after all.

Uh...what? Quite a few monsters were nerfed or re-CRed in Pathfinder (e.g. dragons, griffons, basilisks). Some were buffed as well, as you note (e.g. rakshasas, ogre magi).
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Datawolf
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I borrowed the Pathfinder Core Rulebook from work a while back to check it out. Some of the stuff in there looks good on paper but after thinking about it for a while, it wasn't really that good. On the plus side, half-elves and half-orcs don't suck anymore.
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Roy
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

hogarth wrote:
Roy wrote:
Pathfailure mobs are the same or buffed, after all.

Uh...what? Quite a few monsters were nerfed or re-CRed in Pathfinder (e.g. dragons, griffons, basilisks). Some were buffed as well, as you note (e.g. rakshasas, ogre magi).


Take a look at dragons. They will have about the same saves, but better spells and special abilities.
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Damn, I thought [Pathfailure] accidentally created a feat worth taking, my mistake.


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mean_liar
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm generally confused at the level of hate for Pathfinder on these boards. It's one thing to say, "Pathfinder is basically a collection of house rules to DnDv3.5 that fail to address several core difficulties with the game", but to blow that to the general meme that "Pathfinder sucks and everyone associated with them are hateful and stupid" is a jump I don't understand.

Like, here. Spellcasting is generally a problem in DnD because of its power growth relative to other, non-caster classes. So they didn't sack up and nerf the spellcasters or dramatically rewrite core spells... at least here they've come up with a limited caster. What's the trouble with that? They could have just introduced a casting class on par with the wizard/cleric/druid that would feed into one divide of DnDv3.5's largest underlying issue... instead they fed the other divide.

Saying this is shit because it doesn't perform as well as spellcasters while also bitching that sorcerers got a boost with the Human abilities or whatever the fuck came out six months ago (bringing them closer in-line with spellcasters) seems petty to me, arguing about the issue from both ends.
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hogarth
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Roy wrote:
Take a look at dragons. They will have about the same saves, but better spells and special abilities.

A CR 6 white dragon has 12 HD in 3.5, and a CR 6 white dragon has 7 HD in Pathfinder. I'd go on, but I don't want to discourage you from learning to read.

mean_liar wrote:
I'm generally confused at the level of hate for Pathfinder on these boards. It's one thing to say, "Pathfinder is basically a collection of house rules to DnDv3.5 that fail to address several core difficulties with the game", but to blow that to the general meme that "Pathfinder sucks and everyone associated with them are hateful and stupid" is a jump I don't understand.

The difference in quality between 3.5 and Pathfinder is quite small. The things that are bad with Pathfinder are generally bad in 3.5, and the things that are good in 3.5 are generally good in Pathfinder. The only somewhat annoying parts are (a) there were things they could have easily fixed, but didn't and (b) they randomly changed some things that weren't broken in the first place and (c) their quality of editing is a notch worse than WotC (in my opinion).
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I don't actually give a fuck whether monsters are more or less powerful. Just the fact that they are different combined with the fact that there was no attempt to "fix" them to any concrete goals at all means that the endeavor was a waste of time. However, in order to get that particular argument over with, I decided to compare the first dragon on the list. Which is of course, the Wyrmling Black Dragon.

It has the same CR. It has the same number of hit dice. The stats are the same except that the Pathfailure version has a Dex of 16 instead of 10, and thus has a higher AC. The Pathfinder version cannot fly, though that may be a typo. The Pathfinder version's attacks are bigger (2d6 instead of 2d4). Other than that, they seem pretty much the same.

Moving up the advancement chart, it diverges pretty much immediately. The later ages fly of course, but they are also higher CR and have more hit dice than the earlier models. Also they get more special abilities. But the CR advancement is different from the 3.5 version, and does not appear to be consistent (being faster at low levels and slower at high levels). The SRD says that the full stats weren't even provided for every age category. They get more special abilities than the 3.5 version

Apparently, Jason thought that the problem with Dragons was that they were too big and impressive at any level you would actually fight one and decided that they needed to be even higher level by the time they became horse sized. When you get to high levels, the CR 16 model has the same AC, more and better special abilities, and better casting than the 3.5 CR 19 model (both of which are "Ancient" and what appears to be the oldest Black Dragon that Paizo provided stats for).

While there is some static in the mid levels, where the Paizo Young Black is only slightly better than the 3.5 Young Black but has a substantially higher CR, making it much weaker - in general I would say it is a fair assessment to call the overall Paizil Black Dragon progression to be a buff. The Ancient Black has higher stats, better special abilities, a much more potent breath weapon, and is lower level. It's a much much more fearsome opponent. And most of the Black Dragon progression seems to be like that.

-Frank
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virgil
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

hogarth wrote:
Uh...what? Quite a few monsters were nerfed or re-CRed in Pathfinder (e.g. dragons, griffons, basilisks). Some were buffed as well, as you note (e.g. rakshasas, ogre magi).
I can't tell too terribly well on dragons because they're not easy to glance through, but I do consider the basilisk a wash in terms of change. All of its numbers are the same or better, especially the gaze DC & Stealth, which increases the chance of a plurality of petrified PCs and only 1d3 can be cured once it's killed (assuming they even know this facet).

While the griffon was certainly nerfed, I do feel that the buffed monsters far outweigh the nerfed ones.
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Roy
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

hogarth wrote:
Roy wrote:
Take a look at dragons. They will have about the same saves, but better spells and special abilities.

A CR 6 white dragon has 12 HD in 3.5, and a CR 6 white dragon has 7 HD in Pathfinder. I'd go on, but I don't want to discourage you from learning to read.


Because one example disproves a statement?
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Juton wrote:
Damn, I thought [Pathfailure] accidentally created a feat worth taking, my mistake.


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mean_liar
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Is it a problem that they buffed monsters?

Frank's point that the willy-nilly tinkering was annoying holds, but I know my group always swung way over our CR. Under those circumstances, why is buffing (or lowering CR) a problem?

Its odd to see it in dragons, given the noise about their CR being undervalued in straight DnDv3.5 (and therefore even more undervalued in Pathfinder), but I can't speak to that from experience.
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hogarth
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I honestly couldn't give a shit about CR 16 or CR 19 monsters. I agree that it's lame that you're supposed to wail on baby dragons, and it's stupid that Jason ignored your comment to that effect during the playtest -- obviously he doesn't have a problem radically fucking around with the statistics for various dragons, so bumping them up a size category would have been a good change.
virgil wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Uh...what? Quite a few monsters were nerfed or re-CRed in Pathfinder (e.g. dragons, griffons, basilisks). Some were buffed as well, as you note (e.g. rakshasas, ogre magi).
I can't tell too terribly well on dragons because they're not easy to glance through, but I do consider the basilisk a wash in terms of change. All of its numbers are the same or better, especially the gaze DC & Stealth, which increases the chance of a plurality of petrified PCs and only 1d3 can be cured once it's killed (assuming they even know this facet).

While the griffon was certainly nerfed, I do feel that the buffed monsters far outweigh the nerfed ones.

Actually, I forgot about claw/claw/bite monsters getting a boost in attack modifiers due to everything being primary attacks. So maybe you're right.
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K
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

mean_liar wrote:
I'm generally confused at the level of hate for Pathfinder on these boards. It's one thing to say, "Pathfinder is basically a collection of house rules to DnDv3.5 that fail to address several core difficulties with the game", but to blow that to the general meme that "Pathfinder sucks and everyone associated with them are hateful and stupid" is a jump I don't understand.


The problem is that they made and continue to make an objectively worse game than what we had before.

I mean, I always thought Sorcerers needed at least an extra known spell at every spell level, but the offensive thing about the Human Sorcerer is not that it gets more spells, it is that they are the only race getting more spells. The game is objectively worse now because there is only one right choice for race when you play a Sorcerer.

I mean, I supported nerfing problematic spells and giving blanket power ups to fighting guys, but they didn't do that. They made a lot of those problems worse because while some spells got worse, spellcasters in general got massive power-ups and overall the imbalances between spellcasting and fighting got worse.

They are pursuing opposing design goals and failing in most cases. What else needs to be said?

As for the Words of Power, the system is not just incomplete. I mean, I could deal with the fact that the playtest material is incomplete.... the problem is that the playtest material shows a fundamental lack of understanding of what works in the game to defeat the challenges they are offering up as level-appropriate.

Evocation works at all when compared to combat control, mind control, or utility specialist because of Maximize and Empower, and various of metamagics that either make your evocations do interesting things or increase the damage.

Pathfinder has gone out of their way to empower a style of gaming that says "I don't care if the game works, or if my players have a good time because they can actually defeat the challenges I am offering."

That's bad.

-----------------------------------------------------

The Words of Power system is:

A. Less fun to make spells than doing my taxes.... and takes longer.

B. Makes spells in all ways worse than standard spells.... and you are in a world with those spellcasters and are expected to be able to defeat them in combat.

C. Do not work in conjunction with all the material in all the books we already have.

D. More opportunities for brokenness.

E. Incredibly broken. They have sample math where the total is not a sum of the numbers they are asking you to add so I don't actually know if even they understand it.

Those flaws are not going to go away by adding more options or a more complete system or even lowering or raising the costs. This is system where there are going to only be 2-3 real choices for spells of a level and you'll have wasted dozens of pages when you could have just made four pages of spells.

The sheer number of wrong choices you can make are staggering.
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Roy
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

mean_liar wrote:
Is it a problem that they buffed monsters?

Frank's point that the willy-nilly tinkering was annoying holds, but I know my group always swung way over our CR. Under those circumstances, why is buffing (or lowering CR) a problem?

Its odd to see it in dragons, given the noise about their CR being undervalued in straight DnDv3.5 (and therefore even more undervalued in Pathfinder), but I can't speak to that from experience.


Pathfailure melees were made to suck more. They also have to fight harder enemies. This is a double nerf.

Those enemies aren't any harder for casters. Hell, being stronger against melees means casters are incentivized against them.
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