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Pathfinder 1E Escalation die for Pathfinder

prosfilaes

Adventurer
The latest Kobold Quarterly has rules for using the escalation die in Pathfinder. Basically there's a bonus to all attacks and spellcaster DCs, starting at 0 the first round and increasing by one each round until it hits 6. To compensate, monster ACs (and presumably saves; the article omits that, but it makes sense) get a +1.

I thought it was interesting, but it seems like an effective -1 will barely be noticed, and this would end up powering up the PCs quite a bit. I thought about giving a +2 to the monsters. That would probably slow down battle a bit. I thought about compensating that by making it go 0 / 1 / 3 / 4 / 6 and making it top out in 5 rounds instead of 7. Thoughts?
 

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KaneBunce

First Post
My first thought is to wonder why they would get such a bonus. Does the article provide fluff that provides an in-world explanation for that?
 

mach1.9pants

Adventurer
I don't have the article but what is this supposed to achieve? If every attack goes up by one and every AC goes up by one, there is no probability change. My understanding of the escalation dice in 13th Age was that it just increases the PCs stats to stop combat grinding- however I could be wrong.
 

Mika

First Post
Alternatively, maybe the intention was to speed up combat. Increasing all attack rolls and save DCs while leaving everything else unchanged increases the amount of damage taken by all combatants. Increasing those while also increasing ACs and saving throw bonuses would be totally pointless.
 

prosfilaes

Adventurer
I don't have the article but what is this supposed to achieve? If every attack goes up by one and every AC goes up by one, there is no probability change.

The enemy ACs goe up by one, but the PCs' attacks starts at +0, and then go to +1 the second round of combat, and then to +2 the third, and so one. It basically simulates movie dramatics; at the start of the battle, our heroes are always threatened by scary villains who have the upper hand, but as the fight goes on, the tables are turned and increasingly impotent villains are driven back by increasingly successful heroes.
 

Ebony Dragon

First Post
So is this a bonus only for the PC's I'm assuming? If so...

The Wizards just throw down walls of force, the melee all fight defensively (maybe finally making combat expertise useful?), the rogues all hide, and the clerics spam healing spells with every action for the first 6 rounds of combat. Then they all pop out full offensive with a +6 and clean the floor with the opposition after that.

Smart enemies would utilize hit and run tactics. Engage the PC's for a couple rounds then teleport away. Wait for the "in-combat" counter to reset and then bamf back in for some more. Over and over.

Seems like a system that would encourage some cheesy play to me. I don't like it.
 

prosfilaes

Adventurer
The Wizards just throw down walls of force, the melee all fight defensively (maybe finally making combat expertise useful?), the rogues all hide, and the clerics spam healing spells with every action for the first 6 rounds of combat. Then they all pop out full offensive with a +6 and clean the floor with the opposition after that.

And then the escalation die doesn't increase. The article said they've never had that problem, but YMMV.

Wait for the "in-combat" counter to reset and then bamf back in for some more.

The in-combat counter doesn't roll-over, it saturates.
 

Liquidsabre

First Post
The escalation die bonus (0-6) should apply to NPCs/Monsters as well, not just the PCs iirc. This mechanic simulates battle fatigue making it easier to be hit, learning your foes moves, getting in the "zone", and adrenaline pumping. I rather like this addition. It also has the handy ability of make combat less of a whiff fest as combat goes on and a little more frightening too.
 

KaneBunce

First Post
The escalation die bonus (0-6) should apply to NPCs/Monsters as well, not just the PCs iirc. This mechanic simulates battle fatigue making it easier to be hit, learning your foes moves, getting in the "zone", and adrenaline pumping. I rather like this addition. It also has the handy ability of make combat less of a whiff fest as combat goes on and a little more frightening too.
Hit Points already cover such fatigue. They are not simply about the ability to take or shrug off a blow. Read the PF or D&D section on them again.
 

Liquidsabre

First Post
I suggest you reference this material as well since the Fatigue Condition also covers fatigue in D&D/PF. So it appears fatigue can certainly have more than one rule to simulate the effects on a character.
 
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KaneBunce

First Post
I suggest you reference this material as well since the Fatigue Condition *also* covers fatigue in D&D/PF. So it appears fatigue can certainly have more than one rule to simulate the effects on a character.
I am talking about fatigue of the sort that you mentioned. The fatigue from the effect is a different sort. That other sort is out of context.
 

Liquidsabre

First Post
My apologies, but it does sound like you are simply making distinctions where none exist. I'm sure others would agree.

Edit - Btw I read up on this mechanic and the escalation bonus seems to only apply to PCs and that certain monsters (I'm guessing the more powerful ones?) have abilities that trigger based on the escalation die number. Interesting.
 
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prosfilaes

Adventurer
The escalation die bonus (0-6) should apply to NPCs/Monsters as well, not just the PCs iirc.

You do not recall correctly; it is specifically PC-only, and designed to implement a particular sway of battle with the bad guys having the advantage at start and losing that as it goes on. (They mention dragons as an exception in 13th Age, but don't think that's a good idea in 3.5/FF given 3.5/PF dragons.)
 

mach1.9pants

Adventurer
This would be good for 4E to speed up the combat and reduce grind, very interesting indeed. But as has been mentioned, how to stop cheesy play?
 

N'raac

First Post
I am talking about fatigue of the sort that you mentioned. The fatigue from the effect is a different sort. That other sort is out of context.

As the mechanic in question applies to PC's only, your mechanic applying to everyone and simulating fatigue would be different anyway. It would also need to deal with spells and effects that reduce or eliminate fatigue, such as Endurance-type feats and undead and constructs which never tire.
 

Ebony Dragon

First Post
The escalation die bonus (0-6) should apply to NPCs/Monsters as well, not just the PCs iirc. This mechanic simulates battle fatigue making it easier to be hit, learning your foes moves, getting in the "zone", and adrenaline pumping. I rather like this addition. It also has the handy ability of make combat less of a whiff fest as combat goes on and a little more frightening too.

I actually think this idea would be more interesting if it worked like this and NPC's also gained the bonuses. Then both parties would have the same increase in lethality as combat went on and it would be harder to cheese by one side just playing overly defensive at the start of every fight (isn't escalation supposed to speed combat up, not slow it down?).

Even so, in most of the 3.5/pathfinder games I have played our combats tend to be over in just a few rounds anyways. The D&D system is already very lethal I think.
 

Liquidsabre

First Post
I actually think this idea would be more interesting if it worked like this and NPC's also gained the bonuses. Then both parties would have the same increase in lethality as combat went on and it would be harder to cheese by one side just playing overly defensive at the start of every fight (isn't escalation supposed to speed combat up, not slow it down?).

Aye this is how I made sense of it when I first read the mechanic. It would certainly balance the encounter to prevent PCs from taking advantage by turtling the first few rounds. Seems like the solution to using this in D&D or PF.

Not sure how monster abilities being unlocked by the progression of the escalation die will balance things out, but that does seem to be the purpose of it in 13th Age. Color me intrigued. In the meantime I may recommend using an escalation die that applies to all for our D&D 4e game to help speed up combat.
 

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
Personally I like it, and am going to incorporate it into my games. That mechanic alone has me looking at 13th age for other possible idea - thinking about pre-ordering it.

I like it as PCs only - I like the cinematic feel of not doing well then turning the tide. It's simple, it emulates a style I like, and it can speed up fights.

I don't know the full rules, but I would turn the die every 2 rounds or something for obvious turtling - the idea is that the PC are fighting the enemy and finding weaknesses in their style - if they aren't fighting all out they don't get that kind of bonus because they are not pressing the targets strong enough to see the weaknesses.

Something like the fight on the Cliff of insanity could be modeled by this mechanic pretty easily.
 



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