[0.9] Paragon Paths

EC-JP

Scholar
Alliance Rules
Also, it is worth mentioning that these are not designed solely for insanely end-game and epic characters. After a point, any build style system has trouble with unchecked growth.

For a character with 400-500 build, the 50 build investment, while still significant, is only a part of what they can do.

These are designed to be a part of character growth and evolution, hence the staggered tiers and entry requirement. While "I can buy whichever one I want at my absurd level" is worth considering, take a step back and review from a growth and developing perspective.

If a tier1 has a 100 build prerequisite, that is available around character level 12-14 (weapon skills, racial skills, etc). A 10 build investment represents several events and delaying prerequisite giving skills significantly (the top chunk of a colum, probably slightly under half a prof, a slay/parry are, etc).

Consider the "final tier"- 200 for single/180 for cross, with 40 in tiers 1-4, racials, weapon skills, and the inevitable branching out into another school of magic/alchemy/non-class skills that happens, and you are looking at buying a 10 build single purchase skill at around level 27-30.

... and all that and you are a "tier" behind (wand damage, a slay/parry set, nearly a mastered crafting skill) from someone who didn't buy one.
 

Avaran

Baron
Also, it is worth mentioning that these are not designed solely for insanely end-game and epic characters. After a point, any build style system has trouble with unchecked growth.
I admit, I don't think about things from a "building a new character" perspective. I shall think and consider this a bit more because it's definitely a fair/valid point. :)

These are designed to be a part of character growth and evolution, hence the staggered tiers and entry requirement. While "I can buy whichever one I want at my absurd level" is worth considering, take a step back and review from a growth and developing perspective.
As I said above, it's been a while since I was in that boat. I'll take a few days to ponder this and see where it goes. Thank-you very much for your input on this. It is very nice to hear this kind of feedback/perspective from someone who is working (and worked) on this. It's very useful to me to see things from your point of view and, perhaps, adjust my thinking in one way or another.
 

Muir

Fighter
... and all that and you are a "tier" behind (wand damage, a slay/parry set, nearly a mastered crafting skill) from someone who didn't buy one.
I honestly don't think you will notice any significant difference in play between the caster with four columns and a completed Paragon class and the caster with six columns. Especially with meditation in play, meaning that every spell is effective, if only to strip a defense.
 

mythic

Knight
Owner
Calgary Staff
Especially with meditation in play, meaning that every spell is effective, if only to strip a defense
That's not 100% correct. You can only Meditate a spell that you missed with or flubbed. If the spell landed and there was a defense called you cannot meditate it back.
 

Avaran

Baron
That's not 100% correct. You can only Meditate a spell that you missed with or flubbed. If the spell landed and there was a defense called you cannot meditate it back.
I think he agrees with this?

He's saying that every spell is "effective" because:

1) If you hit, it at least causes a defense to be used, causing it to be effective in that regard - it uses a resource.
2) If you miss or flub, you can meditate it back and re-throw it, at which point it uses a defense or its effect/damage is taken.

For 9 build, the time is only 1 minute per skill to meditate it back (if I am reading the description/cost correctly), and there is no limit (other than time) on the number of times you can meditate back a skill/spell (at least that I can find/see).
 
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Muir

Fighter
Yeah, Mythic and I are agreeing. Meditate means no spell can be 'wasted' other than by not using it before remem. A miss just means you meditate it back between combats.
 

Alavatar

Baron
Note: Per day non-standard abilities granted by Paragon Paths are not valid for Meditate unless specifically identified in the Paragon Path; Meditate as written can only be used for Spells from memory and per-day Weapon Skills. It is unclear if an expended Spell or Skill used to power an Active ability that missed is eligible to Meditate.
 

mythic

Knight
Owner
Calgary Staff
@Polare that is a great question. Can the Paragon skills/spells used to power an active ability that missed be Meditated?
 

Avaran

Baron
It is unclear if an expended Spell or Skill used to power an Active ability that missed is eligible to Meditate.
I would argue that it is NOT eligible for meditation because it was used and was effective, even it was as a "battery" for another skill/ability. Plus the description is very precise (thankfully) that it can only be used for per-day Spells and Weapon Skills, so I'd say that you shouldn't be able to meditate abilities/skills granted through Paragon Paths (gives them an additional downside, I think).
 

Alex319

Artisan
Thanks for the clarifications. The clarification about qualifiers was very helpful; unfortunately, for some of them, it seems like it makes the powers even more broken than I had thought. It sounds like I was right that an “Elemental” qualifier means that hitting the enemy's shield or weapon still counts, right? (It definitely does if you're using the “Spell” qualifier.) Below are some more comments about t eparagon paths. I will focus on things that seem particularly powerful that haven't been mentioned before, and also things that might be difficult to playtest (i.e. they could be far more useful at an actual event than in a playtest scenario, so they might seem okay in playtest but end up being overpowered at an actual event)



Auraknife: The ability to absorb abilities from friends: in a playtest, you're absorbing them from someone else who is also on the mod, so you are not increasing total number of abilities available, just moving them around. At an actual event, you could likely find someone who wasn't planning on going on any mods soon, so wouldn't have been otherwise using those skills. (But this might also be a good thing, if it gives players not planning on going on mods, or who there isn't space for on the mod, to still contribute.)



Assassin: As you know, you can't heal from a Weapon qualifier attack: that's why you can't use a Healing Blade to heal your friends indefinitely. If I recall correctly, in a previous version of the playtest, there was a ritual that allowed you to add the Poison qualifier to a weapon swing, and it was pointed out that this could be combined with Healing Blade to swing for “# Poison Healing” to heal your friend (since the attack is no longer Weapon qualifier). While this ritual appears to have been removed, the Assassin can now add the Poison qualifier to an attack, reintroducing this possibility. Is it actually the intention for an Assassin to be able to, e.g., use an Assassinate and another per day skill to swing for “100 Poison Healing” to heal their friend?



Champion of the Living, Warleader: Both these classes have the ability to hand out large numbers of Healing Blades (and Elemental Blades in the case of the Warleader). During playtests there might only be a few people in the party, so tthere woun't be that many people to give Healing/Elemental Blades to. But in an actual town battle, a single Champion with a couple dozen CA's, or a Warleader with a dozen or so teacher skills, might be able to hand out Healing/Elemental Blades to almost the whole town, which might be too powerful.



Disabler: One should probably have some guidance on how NPCs should react if hit with an Amnesia in combat (do they still remember who their friends and enemies are? Should they look around the field for a few seconds to get their senses, since the find themselves on a battlefied without knowing why they're there?)



Healer: The Healing Augment is another thing that probably won't get much use during a playtest (probably don't have ways to put down CoPs in the middle of an adventure) but could be very useful in a real scenario. But I do think the basic idea behind this ability is sound – have a way to get more efficient healing if you spend more time. It adds some RP to the healing process and also gives strategic choice between in-combat and out-of-combat healing. I just would prefer if it wasn't tied to high magic and circles of power. Maybe something like after 60 seconds of RPing providing medical treatment to someone, you can touchcast a single healing spell at double the healing? (And you would want to specify that the healing has to be used to heal someone, not to charge a spell store or an Auraknife or something, to prevent abuse)



Ritualist: This may be difficult to test because it's unlikely characters will be casting rituals during a playtest. Also, the level 3 active seems really good: it basically gives you 3-5 extra 9th level spell slots provided you are carrying a spell store 9 or memory strike 9 item.



Skirmisher: Also likely to be difficult to test the “spirit recall” part – in a playtest people aren't likely to be putting down circles or have permanent circles, and the places where this could potentially be overpowered are more “strategic” scenarios (e.g. repeatedly scouting dangerous locations and then Spirit Recalling back) which are less likely to come up in a playtest.



Duelist, Sniper: For the abilities that buff ranged attacks against a specific target: what happens if you throw a ranged attack at that target, call the extra damage, but the packet hits someone else? What happens if the packet hits that target but someone else Intercepts it?



Spellblade: So let me get this straight. By expending a single Slay I can make all my basic weapon swings have spell targeting rules (unblockable by weapons or shields) for 10 minutes? And even more, if I have someone cast a Healing Blade on me, I can swing as often as I want to for “X Spell Healing” and heal all my friends as much as I want without expending resources?



Stalker: Since playtests occur during the day, only the day abilities will be tested during playtests, unless you specify otherwise (e.g. “for the first half of the encoumters, treat it as day; for the second half, treat it as night)
 

Alavatar

Baron
I am going through each one individually to think about it and analyze how it will play. I have several questions/comments about each Paragon Path meant to ascertain clarity in the intent and application of the abilities. I do not yet have any comments about power other than a couple simple notations. Statements of "No fault found" mean the abilities written clearly outline to me how they are applied and the rules around their activation such that I do not feel a need for additional clarity at this time on that Paragon Path level. Below are my initial evaluations of Auraknife through Healer. I will do the rest as time allows.

Seth's questions/comments/opinions:

Auraknife:
  1. Can the Active Ability "May expend a spell in memory to add 5x the spell level in damage to a single swing From Behind" be combined with any other ability such as an Assassinate?
  2. The Active Ability provides cheap Elemental Silence powered by Back Attacks. Since it has to be "From Behind" does it need to conform to normal weapon attacks and need to hit a specific location defined on the back? If yes, I assume it is the responsibility of the Auraknife to inform their target not to take the effect if the Auraknife accidentally hits an arm or the target turns to block?
  3. No fault found.
  4. Could the Passive Ability be misused by Charming an NPC and getting them to recharge the Auraknife's Skills?
  5. Can the Auraknife activate the Passive Ability "Whenever a Dodge is used against an effect delivered with the Spell Qualifier, the Auraknife becomes Immune to that same effect when delivered with the Spell Qualifier for 10 minutes" with a Spell they cast on themselves? Do the rules for "From Behind" apply to the Active Ability "May expend an Assassinate to swing once for Spell Prison (if primary school is Celestial) or Spell Death (if primary school is Earth) From Behind", similar to the Level 2 Active Ability?
Assassin
  1. No fault found.
  2. "May expend any per-dayRogue Skill to change any single weapon swing From Behind to use the Poison qualifier." Same question as Auraknife 2 and 5. If the swing inadvertently hits something that does not fit the definition of "From Behind", does the effect still resolve on the target or, if not, is it the responsibility of the Assassin to inform the target not to take the effect?
  3. Does the Passive Ability mean the "Cure Light Damage" Elixir now has double effect, effectively? i.e. Does the Passive Ability stack with a "Cure Light Damage" Elixir?
  4. May the Assassin use the Passive Ability in conjunction with the Assassin 2 Active Ability to swing for Elemental From Behind?
  5. No fault found.
Champion of the Living
  1. No fault found.
  2. Cheap and potentially plentiful Purifies.
  3. No fault found.
  4. Does the use of the Active Ability "May expend any per-day Fighting Skill to touchcast a Spell Purify" also activate the Passive Ability "Character is affected by 5 Spell Healing as if touchcast and accepted whever they use a per-day Fighting Skill"? Also, more cheap Purifies.
  5. No fault found.
Chemist (General Question: What is the definition of "Crafting Skill"? Is a "Crafting Skill" one that provides PP?)
  1. For the Passive Ability "When using a Blast Glove, a Chemist may immediately throw a second packet of the same element at half damage", what is the definition of "immediately"?
  2. No fault found.
  3. For the Passive Ability "May use an Alchemy lab as a Create Trap lab and vice-versa (both may be used in the same Logistics period)", if you only crafting Alchemy, but have both labs, do you get the benefits of both labs (i.e. +10PP per Alchemy level)?
  4. For the Passive Ability "When using any Alteration, Curse, Command, or Binding Globe, the chemist may use it as its respective curative (Alteration -> Antidote, Curse -> Cleanse, Command -> Awaken, Binding -> Release) instead of its normal effect" what is meant by the term "use"? Does that mean the Chemist may through the Globe as that curative effect (and therefore have the verbal of the curative)? Or does it mean when used on the Chemist? For the Active Ability (seems like an odd Active Ability since it isn't trading an expendable skill, but instead providing another "recipe"), may the Natural Armor be refit per normal or is it gone when damaged to 0? For the Per-Day Ability, are the 3 chosen Blast Globes or Trap Globes actual tags received or are they put onto the Battleboard as an actual "Per-Day" that does not carry-over to the next day?
  5. Does the Per-Day Spellcraft count as a single Spellcraft or is it actually 2 separate Spellcrafts (1/d Spellcraft Poison Trigger and 1/day Spellcraft Poison Cache)? Do the two Spellcraft effects (if it is actually 2 separate Spellcrafts) need to be on the same weapon or can they be placed on different weapons?
Defender
  1. No fault found.
  2. No fault found.
  3. No fault found.
  4. No fault found.
  5. No fault found.
Disabler
  1. The Passive Ability "Access to Disabler only Create Trap recipe: Destruction Globes (20 pp)" are cheaper than the L2 Chemist version. Just noting it while also acknowledging the L2 Chemist gives 2 additional recipes.
  2. Does the Per-Day ability "1/day Increase the numeric value of one trap created that Logistics by 10" affect Gas Traps using Blast Globes?
  3. No fault found.
  4. No fault found.
  5. Cheap Resists.
Duelist
  1. Questions about use of the Passive Ability have already been asked.
  2. No fault found.
  3. No fault found.
  4. No fault found.
  5. No fault found.
Elementalist
  1. It seems odd to have the L1 Active Ability be dependent on the Elementalist L2 Passive Ability.
  2. No fault found.
  3. Is the Active Ability meant to be Enhanced Blade instead of Empowered Blade? I cannot find any Empowered Blade effects in the new rules.
  4. For validation, can the Active Ability "May expend any memorized Evocation Bolt as if possessing the Counterspell ritual against an appropriate Evocation Bolt of the Attuned or Opposite Element" be used in combination with the L2 Active Ability? I suspect "no" because it states "memorized Evocation Bolt".
  5. For the Active Ability, after being empowered to the Attuned Element, do Wand Charges count as "throwing an Elemental attack of the attuned element" to give the benefit described? If yes, I foresee a lot Ice Elementalists throwing "1 Elemental Ice! 40 Spell Stun Limb! 1 Elemental Ice! 40 Spell Stun Limb!"
Healer
  1. No fault found.
  2. No fault found.
  3. No fault found.
  4. No fault found.
  5. No fault found.
 

EC-JP

Scholar
Alliance Rules
The last question on Elemwntalist shows the wording might need some tweaking- the intent is that when you throw an elemental packet of a minimum of that size, you get the extra packet- i.e. 40 elemental ice, spell stun limb.
 

Alavatar

Baron
The last question on Elemwntalist shows the wording might need some tweaking- the intent is that when you throw an elemental packet of a minimum of that size, you get the extra packet- i.e. 40 elemental ice, spell stun limb.
That is good to know the intent. Thanks!

The question still stands, though, on if Wand charges are considered a qualified "Elemental attack"? After these rules changes I will still be throwing at least 10 Elemental <Element> with my charges; Empowered Wand would let me reach the 20 Elemental Stone threshold for effectively free Spell Binds. I doubt I am the only one that would be able to do that, but the number of characters would likely be less than 5 people in Alliance so designing for the 1% may not be reasonable/feasible.
 

Tantarus

Squire
May expend an Eviscerate to swing once for Elemental Death by weapon.

This totemic ability just seems insane to me. You have a huge trump in melee, you can just switch to an unblockable unparryable lethal attack in combat. Why do melee get elemental effects so offend in the paragons?

I will be honest alot of this paragons seem to just warp the basic structure of the game. And undo some of the fixes made to magic items and such.
 
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Avaran

Baron
It kinda feels like Paragon Paths are an attempt to circumvent the magic item changes; they introduce daily power, power that was normally reserved for NPC's only because of its power (looking at you Greater Spell Store), and in general doing things you could do before, and in some cases, on a larger/broader scale in particular for abilities that can be powered by expending "any rogue/fighter/scholar" skill/spell) for something that is often many times more powerful than the baseline skill used.

Another concern I have is that golems were gotten rid of for a reason - they have been a scaling nightmare for YEARS - mostly because of their ability to be immune to things. And yet, Immunity is given to certain paths - yes, only for certain time periods, but as far as I'm concerned, as a former plot person, Immunities are exceptionally BAD for the game and shouldn't exist except on the most powerful of enemies.

Also, another serious (though more general) question:
Has anyone counted up the number of 10-minute (or other timed) effects a person can have going on them at any one time (positive and negative)? It feels like there are more timed abilities/effects than ever before - whether a 1-minute, 5-minute, or 10-minute duration. With all of the other combat math that has to be done, I feel like this could get to an untenable level of "oops, lost track!"
 

Ardos

Artisan
South Michigan Staff
A couple quick inputs, many people are asking about the rules of getting hit by an ability that can only be X target (sniper, duelist, assassin, etc.) for these abilities, they act the same as the current specific target abilities. If I waylay someone from anything but the back, it's on me to say "don't take that" or "blown" or something similar. Monster slayer is already a thing where it just boosts damage on a specific target and there doesn't seem to be confusion there, but perhaps a rules marshal can better explain how already used mechanics will apply to these new abilities.
It seems like a simple solution to the complaint that these paths are a "must buy" would be to include a disadvantage perhaps at level 2 that fits with the theme of focusing on 1 thing and doing it well (for example, duelist critical attacks can only be spent on 1 target, or champion of the living is compelled to fight any undead, something like that)
 
With complete respect, Adam (Avaran), I think your golem concern is unfounded. I was one of the big opponents of golems back in the day, too, so I totally understand where you are coming from and the similarities you are seeing. However, I think you are missing one key difference between golems and paragon paths.

Golems were particularly problematic because they could cover the "holes" in a build. Players didn't just pick a random golem. They picked the golems that provided the immunities, abilities, and benefits that their base class didn't. As a result, golems provided a ridiculous amount of "free build."

Paragon paths are more limited. My scout has three obvious options and I could conceivably grab up to 6 other paths (fighter or rogue paths). However, because these options are all designed with my skill set in mind, they are moderately well balanced to that skill set. If an adept could somehow pick up a fighter paragon path, I think the golem problem would definitely rear its ugly head, but that basically can't happen (short of a character that is approximately level 80+). The immunities I am seeing (and I will admit I might have missed something) tend to bolster abilities the character already has, rather than covering weak points.

I'm hesitant to give paragon paths a thumbs up overall for a variety of reasons, but the design philosophy seems pretty solid (even if the mechanics are a little rough around the edges).

-MS
 

Avaran

Baron
With complete respect, Adam (Avaran), I think your golem concern is unfounded. I was one of the big opponents of golems back in the day, too, so I totally understand where you are coming from and the similarities you are seeing. However, I think you are missing one key difference between golems and paragon paths.

Golems were particularly problematic because they could cover the "holes" in a build. Players didn't just pick a random golem. They picked the golems that provided the immunities, abilities, and benefits that their base class didn't. As a result, golems provided a ridiculous amount of "free build."
Point well-made. Thanks for pointing this out, Mike.

I'm still trying to think my way through what I think of Paragon Paths; in some respects I've mostly been thinking out loud to get other opinions.

I think the thing for me about Immunities is that in my way of thinking, whenever someone gets to call "no effect!" they have gotten an amount of free build equal to whatever that defense would have cost to negate - whether a Spell Shield, a Cloak or Bane, an Elemental Shield, a Spell Parry, etc. The value of that Immunity is proportional to the number of times a player gets to call "no effect!", and often there is no ceiling to that value. There is also an opportunity cost value, because that individual doesn't have to worry about counting/keeping track of defenses, nor do they have to worry about re-casting a dumb defense on themselves "just in case", which allows mental focus and strategy to lay elsewhere.

Maybe that is a poor way of looking at it? Or at least, maybe there is a better way to think about it? I'm certainly open to other viewpoints on that subject.

Part of me is just wary about it, too, because I had to deal with a fair amount of Golems and Immunities at one point (not NEARLY as bad as some chapters had it though); we (plot) tried various methods of dealing with them and ended up just ignoring them from a scaling perspective with the thought that it's a fantasy game, there's a certain level of power that comes with being high level and or in a golem, and there should be benefits - if a player wants to feel like a bad ***, then by all means, they should have those opportunities! Whether it's saving their friends or facing down a bad guy! I have to admit that my players seemed to naturally govern themselves and went out of their way to not break things.

And perhaps this will end up being more like a Controlled Spirit Store-like situation (but without the headache of being immune to Spirit rituals and the wonderful headaches that provides, and with a timed effect rather than always-on).

As far as teams are concerned, will there be a push for each person on a high enough level team to have an Immunity so that they can say, "Oh, it's throwing Curses, this is Scholar Sonya's time to shine!" or "This guy is a Command freak and throws lots of it, time for Warrior Will to step up and Immune our way to victory!"? If so, is that something that owners and plot reams are prepared to deal with? Player mentality has often been about finding the best, most efficient way of dealing with a threat, and Immunities provide a very easy target for that mentality.

There are also "effective immunities" provided that practically have no limit - as an example, a level 5 Ravager is effectively Immune to Binding Effects (Slow, Bind, Release, Repel, Confine) - with no limit, only choice - by being able to 'choose' to take them as a Slow.

Another concern I have related to Paragon Paths, is allowing players to swing take-out effects (Elemental Death) or "Hindering" effects like Weakness, basically at-will for 10-minutes+. Some of these are simply powered by "any <x-class> ability" and allow for the person to swing, say, "10 Weakness!" If I have 11 Parries, that's almost 2 hours of 1 person being able to swing the Weakness carrier. What is plot going to do if there are 4 or 5 or more people that can swing Weakness for 20-50 minutes a day? Is plot then going to increase the base damage of monsters to compensate in order to ensure they are effective and remain a threat? Are the monsters then going to be Immune to the Weakness effect so they don't need to do any compensatory scaling? I can cite additional examples, but I think you get the idea if I've explained correctly.
 

EC-JP

Scholar
Alliance Rules
One other paradigm shift I believe people should also consider is access and disparity. People are comparing these the Golems, transforms, and other traditional "power increasing things", which I believe to be in error (or at least, extreme).

A large part of what made those problematic was the idea that one or two (or even a handful) of people skewed encounters for others.

Paragon are available to anyone with sufficient build/skill selection (with the one "gatekeeper" being a teacher card...). They were internally designed around the idea that anyone that wanted one, could have one. Yes, there would absolutely be times that a specific path skewes a combat more than others (a Champion in a big undead fight, Duelist against honorable enemies where single combat is a thing, etc), but each has its own niche and character concept where it can shine. For those that don't see their concept/niche in these, ("scholar with allllll the spells, etc"), choosing to not take one and buy baseline skills instead should be a competitively costed option.

Effectively, they take some of the optimization currently done through magic items (for those lucky/connected/skilled to acquire whatever) and put it on the character card, where anyone can go "I want that and I know how I can get it" instead of as MI.

Power level isn't the problem with a lot of these concerns- it is power level compared to other people. If the bell curve of a game's power level is tight, it doesn't matter if it is apl5, 25, or 50. Same with items- games that have run a 40/50 cap don't just have an easier time because of fewer items, they have a culturally easier time because there isn't anywhere near the have/have not issues.

Same with "special powers" (which these certainly can be seen as)- if everyone has approximately the same level of special (or at a minimum, access to the same level) and opportunities arise to use it, things don't run into the golem/transform zone.
 
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