Burst of Insight

Burst of Insight—Why Wait?

The news from Paizo regarding the playtest for Pathfinder’s second edition has been coming furiously fast. Fast enough that I scrapped nearly an entire blog because large portions of it included some rough rules speculation that Monday’s blog about fighters proved incorrect. Needless to say, I’m quite excited for the new rules but as excited as I am I’m also quite ready to keep playing Pathfinder First Edition.

We’re about to embark on the Giantslayer Adventure Path with one group, another GM is still running us through Kingmaker and a third GM we play with is still running Council of Thieves. I also have a desire to eventually run Carrion Crown and maybe some of the other First Edition APs. I am not, however, going to convert any of these APs to the new edition. I’ll save the new rules for APs and adventures written for the new rules.

I’m further excited because as much as I like tinkering with the rules. I suddenly feel much more at liberty to muck about under First Edition’s hood. And, the numerous blog posts have me itching to play with some of the new mechanics. Especially the new action economy.

So, with that in mind, I figure, I might approximate portions of the new mechanics as well as some older mechanics to tell a particular sort of story. Since I’m inclined to run this as a one-off game we’ll borrow once again from the E6 rules particularly the rules for advancing beyond 6 which is to say advancement is limited to acquiring new feats. Now, I’d like to run a homebrew series of short pulp-style adventures for 5th level PCs so everyone will make a level 5 character but any advancement will be limited to acquiring new feats which we’ll do on a faster progression so for 3,000 xp the character’s earn they may acquire a new feat.

We’ll use a simple variant of the new action economy. Every character gets three actions, largely regardless of the type of action used. Exceptions to this would be spell casting and full round actions that would take two or three actions. While I know under the new rules spells take a number of actions based on the components (verbal and somatic) used in the spell casting I’m inclined to simplify this further for the current rules to all spells take 2 actions to cast. The exceptions to that would be spells that could be cast as swift or immediate actions which might only take only 1 action (or a reaction) and spells that normally take a full round action or longer would continue to take longer to cast. Full round casting times would become 3 actions and longer casting times would remain unchanged.

We’ll also leave shields alone. Even though I like the look of the new shield rules I think it will be easier to play closer to the current edition on that front.

With actions able to be used for multiple attacks we’ll keep the normal -5/-10 penalties for each additional attack. But maybe we’ll modify this rule just a bit with a 3rd edition D&D option from the Scarred Lands Setting. In The Player’s Guide to Fighter’s and Barbarians, there was an option for weapon speed that adjusted the penalty for iterative attacks based on how quick the weapon was allowing characters to gain an extra attack one BAB sooner for quick weapons and one BAB later for slow weapons. This also meant it was easier to hit on subsequent attacks with quick weapons than normal or slow weapons. Under the new action economy, the modifier wouldn’t actually affect speed but it would add an interesting variation to the available weapons. Making some weapons nimble and others clumsy.

Attacks of opportunity in the new edition will require a special ability but in the current edition everyone can take one…we’ll lose the Combat Reflexes feat and allow anyone to use their reaction to make an attack of opportunity.

Finally, it might be fun to adjust channel energy to be more like the healing power we’ve seen in the playtest. One action to heal (or harm) with a touch, two actions to heal (or harm) a single target within the cleric’s normal burst radius, and three actions to heal and harm eligible targets within the burst radius.

Setting up the game this way for a one-off game or a short series lets us dabble with concepts from the playtest rules right now without risking a long-term campaign on a partial understanding of the forthcoming rules and unexpected intersections with other house rules we might choose to employ. What new rules really excite you and do you think you’ll try them out before the playtest in August? Let us know in the comments here.

Andrew Marlowe

placed in the Top 16 of RPG Superstar in 2012 and 2014, one of the few contestants to get that far in the competition twice. Since then, he has contributed to many Paizo and third party Pathfinder products, including one of the network’s favourite releases in the Pathfinder Player Companion line, the Dirty Tactics Toolbox. Every other Tuesday, he will be sharing his Burst of Insight, with design tips for would-be game designers from a decorated freelancer.

1 Comment

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