Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Alternate Rules Part 1

So, I've been playing Pathfinder for over a year now. I feel confidant in saying that Pathfinder is close enough to 3.5/3.0 that my experience playing/DMing the latter carries over to the former. That puts me at roughly nine years of experience with this ruleset. I feel like I know the system and how the rules work, I feel like the rules themselves don't have too many surprises left in store for me. 

For a long time, I have resisted making new DnD things. I don't toy around with feats or classes if I can avoid it, I have created traits and a few feats yes, but always for reasons of background or by basing them first on something I've seen in 3.5 Edition. I think now I am not only comfortable making house rules for wonky stuff like janky magic or world unique races, but bending/breaking the rules of the game itself to fit my needs. I think I have the experience necessary to do so without turning everything pear shaped and reducing it all to rubble. 

So what does this mean? First, it means that there are things that irritate me about Pathfinder, just like there are things that have irritated me about every edition of the game. Second, it means I'm prepared to go back to just pulling shit out of my ass that I think is cool and start looking at things and changing them if I don't like what I see. I can't guarantee how often I'll post something like this, but it might become a regular thing. We'll see.

We'll start off nice and simple and slow. Monks. It doesn't explicitly say it in Pathfinder, but I've always felt they are more psionic than anything else, a lot of people probably agree with me. A lot of their abilities are listed as supernatural or spell-like abilities, but there is nothing in the rules that speaks as to whether or not they are a magic class or what. They're clearly something other than a warrior type class like fighter or barbarian or rogue. 

So this rule isn't a rule pe se, more of a clarification. Monks, and all of their powers, are considered psionic in nature, the same way a Psion's, Psychic Warrior's, or Soulknife's are. So, effects that suppress magic don't affect them, but effects that suppress psionic powers would keep them from performing some of their powers. Ok, yeah, that is a rule, but there you go, Monks are a psionic class in the same way Soulknives are. Super.

While I'm thinking of it, I might try and go through some of my old 3.5 stuff feat by feat and prestige class by prestige class to see what might fit in with Pathfinder and maybe convert it if I have to/feel like it. We'll see. Not sure how committed I am to this whole "I'm changing everything!" bug that bit me. I'm not even sure I really need to convert anything ultimately. Who knows. Monks are psionic, whoa!


  1. This revelation regarding the Monk, which is obvious to you, was acknowleged in 4e. What might be something interesting to chew on is how to best "handle" psionic classes in each version of D&D/Pathfinder. I never saw a good ruleset in 3.0/3.5. AD&D psionic ruleset probably worked the best in my opinion ... when taking into account how 2ed worked to begin with. 4e took an interesting approach, but it's still cumbersome. Would like to hear your thoughts.

  2. I've felt the monk is psionic in nature for a long long time, and think Wizards made the right decision folding it into the psionic power source.

    I loved the 3.5 Psionic rules and those are some of my favorite classes and prestige classes in the game. 3.0 was a pretty awful set up, each discipline was based on a different ability score, which was kind of difficult and wonky to implement. The 3.5 version of the rules made psionics viable as a alternative to magic, but also made it different enough that it wasn't just the Psionics school of magic.

    I agree that 4th Edition psionics are pretty cumbersome. The power point management is just so bizarre when compared to other power sources and their powers. It just doesn't feel like it all fits right to me. Each power source does tend to have its own unique quirks, but the power point shit is weird and isn't even used by every class of the power source. I think that they should also return to the scaling unarmed damage for monks, that is as iconic a feature of the class as beasts are for rangers and smiting is for paladins.

    I have no experience with AD&D psionics or 2nd Edition AD&D psionics, so I can't speak to their effectiveness or awesomeness. However, I will dig deep into my pdfs and give them a look see.

  3. Just don't dig TOO deep. Or too greedily.