• Resources are back! Use the menu in the main navbar. If you own a resource, please check it for formatting, icons, etc.

Trailblazer design notes: the cutting room floor

I love reading the designer notes through the book. But it seem like there were compromises to get all the content down to the number of pages. I'm looking right at that tiny font. ;)

So, were there any design notes that were trimmed down or cut out completely? Did every design note actually get included? If any were excluded, would you consider posting them someday?
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
I love reading the designer notes through the book. But it seem like there were compromises to get all the content down to the number of pages. I'm looking right at that tiny font. ;)
Strangely enough, that's not exactly the explanation (excuse?) for the tiny font. We were pretty far along in the process when some of the print parameters changed, and we were faced with either using a really small font on the tables (seriously, it's like a ridiculous 5 pt font...) or resetting the entire layout.

It's convoluted. We won't make the same mistake again.

So, were there any design notes that were trimmed down or cut out completely? Did every design note actually get included? If any were excluded, would you consider posting them someday?
We had quite a bit more to say about the Druid and Monk changes, I know for a fact-- and ended up cutting quite a bit.

But I don't think we have a repository of "designer notes" that were cut. Sorry. :(

Quite honestly, this forum (and ENworld at large) is probably your best source of designer notes. The design of Trailblazer wasn't an open beta of the scale of Pathfinder, but I was always very open about what I was doing and why, and a lot of those conversations are here at ENworld. I *do* have a bookmark tab full of links to threads here at ENworld that were progenitors of Trailblazer...
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
So, were there any design notes that were trimmed down or cut out completely? Did every design note actually get included? If any were excluded, would you consider posting them someday?
As Wulf said, we definitely trimmed down some of the notes. And I know for a fact there were a lot more I wanted to include.

I don't really have an archive either. It would be a case of having to hunt through all my notes and trying to remember what was going through my head at the time. :-S :p
 

ValhallaGH

Villager
Any chance of seeing the Monk discussions? I'm still not sure if that class is strong enough to be really useful, despite how much I like it (even in it's 3.0 incarnation).
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
Any chance of seeing the Monk discussions? I'm still not sure if that class is strong enough to be really useful, despite how much I like it (even in it's 3.0 incarnation).
I know I'd pointed out more of the similarities to the 1e monk. While most of the itemized list is still there, I had more notes as to why each "1e-ism" was important to the balance of the game.

Overall just note the similarities in "party role" between the rogue and the monk. In terms of role, party contribution, the rogue and monk are now more similar than the former thematic pairing of rogue & bard.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
Any chance of seeing the Monk discussions? I'm still not sure if that class is strong enough to be really useful, despite how much I like it (even in it's 3.0 incarnation).
Really? Hmm. What do you feel is still missing?

I was very down on the 3.5 monk. I've seen many players create a monk with high hopes and then realize the class couldn't do anything they thought it could the first time they get stomped in combat. After that, they are resolved to trying to get a stunning blow off once in a while.

The 3.5 monk had multiple problems: it couldn't hit anything, didn't do much damage, and was very fragile. You could try to mitigate one or two of things with a good build but it was still an uphill battle.

We didn't do much to address the monk's defense/AC in TB but I think we definitely gave the monk a combat boost (centered bonus, damage increase, etc).

For me, some the biggest changes are the increased skills, half BMB, and removing the multiclass restrictions. You can definitely create some combinations that you couldn't before. Take a couple of monk levels with a full caster class is great synergy, as is a fighter/monk for expert weapon prof and the monk's weapon kata.

I always like playing skill monkey characters and the monk now fills this role, especially considering you don't need a rogue to handle the trap-finding duties anymore.

I do agree that the monk is still in that jack-of-all-trades realm but he's gotten a boost across the board.
 
We didn't do much to address the monk's defense/AC in TB but I think we definitely gave the monk a combat boost (centered bonus, damage increase, etc).
I like the Deflect Arrow bump, good idea.

I think of the Initiative bonus as a defensive benefit in the way that if you can avoid being flat-footed you are better off.

I've thought about bumping the increase to the Reaction Bonus to parity with the Centered Bonus numbers . . .

Anyway, I hope you guys can find the time to dig around for some of the designer notes and share whatever didn't make print!
 

ValhallaGH

Villager
Really? Hmm. What do you feel is still missing?
I'm not quite sure, honestly. If I was, I'd have fixed it and mentioned it in the HR thread. ;)

I haven't seen one in play too much, but I think it's a combination of being squishy and only mildly strike-y. Before my current campaign I ran a third level adventure with throw-away characters to give everyone a chance to get a feel for how their concepts would work. The one that haven't seen any sort of re-emergence in the actual campaign are the Bard and Monk, and I don't blame the players at all.
The Monk was a neat character, and a lot of fun to discuss, but she wasn't particularly powerful. Her damage per strike was nothing on the rogue's (or the various barbarians'), her skill points were (and are) too few to really fill the skill monkey role (which really does require a skill bonus of 10+ in most skills to be effective), and she was too squishy (AC and HP) to do the bad-ass kung fu fight-scene shtick.

I'm left with the feeling that the monk is a better class than it once was, but still nothing to build a character around. It's more a thing to dip into for increased versatility (and a few spiffy feats at low level) than a cornerstone of an effective character.

Which is one of the main reasons I was hoping to see the discussions; so that I could pin down the weaknesses and make further changes.

Regardless, thanks for your time.
 
Last edited:

cauldron

Villager
One of the player in my campaign is playing a Monk/Rogue, and so far (4th level) is quite happy with it. He's probably the top damage dealer of the group.
 

jedavis

Villager
My current group is comprised of a Half-Orc Ftr9 and a Dwarf Monk 6 / Cleric 3. So far, the monk is definitely holding up his end of things - his damage output per strike is lower (granted, the fighter is using a greatsword with Expert Weapon Proficiency for die-size increase and plenty o' power attack, so that's kind of a given), but the extra attack from flurry helps. He's also leveraged his AC and spellcasting both off of wisdom, which has worked out pretty well. In most encounters, the fighter tends to engage enemy front-line combatants while the monk tumbles through the gaps to grapple enemy spellcasters and archers (frequently with Balor's Nimbus or other grappleriffic spells in place). If he can't reach a target, Sound Lance and Deific Vengeance work nicely to shore up his (and the monk class') lack of non-magical ranged capabilities.
 

cauldron

Villager
This is a Trailblazer campaign? I'd love to hear more about it.
We're playing the Pathfinder Legacy of Fire with Trailblazer, currently near the end of the first part.
The group gathers a paladin, a wizard, a druid, a rogue and the monk character with one level of rogue (also a bard as a very occasionnal player). There's no fighter in the group and the monk takes that role efficiently with his friend the rogue. They generally eliminate the opposition quickly before it becomes a real problem. The monk is also a specialist of acrobatic finishing moves :)

So far, the various characters are balanced and no one seems out of place. In fact the only problem is that, probably because I didn't often use the Elite template, the group dominates easily the encounters. But it will change next game...

(PS: sorry for my english, it's not my native language...)
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
Hollowleg, Cauldron, thanks for the info on your campaigns!

I've very glad to hear Trailblazer is opening up some non-traditional character and party options.

Any time you want to let us know what's working (or what isn't), we'd love to hear it. And don't be stingy with the Elite and Solo templates!

(Cauldron - your English is pretty darn good. :) )
 

Advertisement

Top