To me, the most interesting part of Paths is the class system. While much of what the classes were originally has changed, they have more or less remained the same since I started working on Paths. During the Kickstarter, I did some math on a brand new character that came to staggering numbers of combinations. The low end of that calculation came out to a minimum of 300 unique ways to start, and that doesn’t count the races. It is a truly customizable system.
This has made rewriting them a big challenge. The key to making these classes fun is making the synergy between all of them mesh and create some absolutely amazing combinations. This is not easy. It has actually gotten me to study Magic the Gathering to see potential pitfalls and strategies to make this kind of design without causing too many problems for us down the road.
You can check out the latest version of Paths Player’s Guidebook here. This includes character sheets, patch notes, and the Player’s Guidebook.
What this Patch Covers
This is the second to last major patch to update the classes. We wrapped up the major rewrite for the Warrior class. We also cleaned up a few rules that we found did not work as effectively with the rest of the rules.
The Warrior class was one of the hardest classes for me to write. There are some nuances of how we have designed classes that made it so hard. First, we try to avoid repeating abilities between classes. If they have similar effects this can be fine as long as the conditions are a bit different. Restricting us to not augment damage, for example, would be foolish.
Second, we have to think about the other classes that we plan to build and to not steal ideas from that class. In this case, the Ranger was the biggest concern I had when writing the Warrior. I restricted the Warrior to melee weapons. This leaves room for the Ranger to have specialties as the Assassin was already taking a few things from the Ranger.
Early on in the development of the classes I wanted to take an idea from a class I’d seen in Pathfinder, which was the ability to use your weapon in conjunction with spells. Our original Arcane Training had too many abilities that forced this and didn’t give access to the wide range of spells that we have been painstakingly working on.
As a bit of history, the Warrior was the first class I ever played when I joined the Paths team. I tried to make the equivalent of a Barbarian using a few stretches to get out of armor and to triple wield axes. This was Tritusk, my first Paths character. While designing the Warrior I kept in as many options as I could for how to play a Warrior, keeping a small area available to make Tritusk available. This also influenced the change in our Multi weapon fighting rules.
I also would be lying if anime did not influence some of the abilities that I gave the Warrior. I have always been upset by how dependant on magic items other fighter-like classes are to be on par with spellcasters. I wanted to make the Warrior one that would really shine and hold its own in a magic heavy setting. This also means it will be high on my list to watch out for when it comes to balancing since the action economy is among the highest killer of bad guys.
As listed above there were a few minor changes that had to be made in general. Many of the conditions had been left unchanged and they needed to be updated. Paralyzed and Fear were the big ones, as Paralyzed was effectively useless against monsters (who didn’t use cards) and the Fear condition was not detrimental enough. We also added the Charmed condition as too many spells and abilities were trying to accomplish that without a keyword.
There were a few flaws with how casters could get back SP from spells they didn’t finish casting or because of a failed channeling check. I have been very careful about how much SP characters have been able to recover to avoid potential infinite combinations.
What was our Two-weapon fighting was remade to Multi-weapon fighting. I made it so characters with more than two limbs capable of wielding weapons were able to attack with all weapons equipped. While currently, only the Tuskaar is capable of maximizing this ability it is not going to be the only one.
As the rest of the team has been digging into other products for Paths I have a few things left to tackle. I have to complete the Priest (which is very close to being finished) the Ranger classes. There are some challenges in the other classes I must address like the inability for the Assassin to get Sneak Attack alone or the Beast Master’s issues when losing a beast. We are also in the middle of remaking the character sheets to just be better in general.
My focus for the next patch is going to be on cleaning up a few problem areas. I’ve received so many questions on spells that I will be reordering everything to do with spellcasting and putting all of it in the spellcasting chapter. There have also been a few problems with the wording in the Combat section, which will need a closer look at. And of course, spells, because we will be writing spells probably until the final stages of development for the book.
Lastly, I’ll be working on a mechanic we discovered that was needed in the Player’s Guidebook (PGB). I will be integrating some rules for Factions, which will have its own chapter. At first, this will be purely a prototype until we managed to get it properly integrated. We had several abilities during development that were social-based that we enjoyed but could not justify them being in the classes. The Faction rules will be our way of integrating cool social abilities that we can introduce in future expansions (we will be including a few factions this book too).
There is a lot in store for Patch 1.8.6.
If you have questions about Paths: World of Adia you can post feedback in the Smunchy Games discord. I also write articles on Nerdolopedia for more specific topics like Game Mastering, Worldbuilding, and Storytelling. You can also find me on twitter.