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Dev Diary – Paths: World of Adia PGB 1.8.6

Dev Diary – Paths: World of Adia PGB 1.8.6

It has been a very long year for us here on the Paths team, and we still have several more months of hard work to go. I first updated the Assassin class back in March before the Kickstarter. Since then I have been working to update every single class. A heavy burden has been lifted off of this team as the final classes are making their way into the book. We can finally focus on fixing the other issues in the book. 

What is exciting about this round of changes is how much we have checked off of our to-do list. 

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 patch changes a lot of things in the Player’s Guidebook. This is a major change as we wrap up the majority of class changes. This isn’t the end of changes to the classes, just the biggest changes. This is also a patch for clarifications. 

Priest

The Priest class has been a labor of love. Much of what was done on this was from the mind of Rob, so much of the design behind it, I have only cursory insight.

With that, the Priest was designed as one of the primary support classes. It does not entirely support, as the Inquisitor path is much more about offense but to us, that is important to make the class able to stand on its own. The Faith path augments healing and gives players more options for dealing with conditions. The Cleric path is a more focused version of the Paladin’s Conviction path, acting as a protection buffing. 

This class is also one of the primary casting classes, a majority of its power will come from having access to Divine spells. Each path gives access to the Restricted Spell list once you hit Tier 3. Only one other class does this (that being the Necromancer). Moving forward I will be keeping an eye on this class for how that level of spell access affects the class.

Ranger

I was not looking forward to working on the Ranger class. As we’ve been knocking out more and more of the classes, it has been harder and harder to make sure that each class is unique. In fact, this was challenging enough that I had to update the Beast Master Hunter path. However, the Ranger came much easier than I was expecting. We’ve been paying very close attention to what roles each Path of every class has filled. As an example, the Warrior’s Weapon path was consciously restricted to melee weapons to pave the way for the Ranger’s Accuracy path. 

Factions

Those who know me, know that I play D&D pretty much every week. It’s hard to say that D&D has not had its influence on the design community. One of my favorite features of D&D 5e was the Backgrounds. It highlights an important aspect of tabletop roleplaying games, which is the need for more social mechanics. The problem is that D&D 5e has too few of these social mechanics. While in the Player’s Guidebook this is the only social feature, it sets the groundwork for us to expand on it.

For the Factions rules, I had to make them relatively vague because society is complicated and I wanted to give the freedom to the GMs. In our GM-in-a-Box sets, we will specify what the Social Actions are. We do plan to incorporate these into our adventures and you will see more Factions in future expansions.

Other Fixes

A huge issue that we have been having was the clarity of our spellcasting system. All the information was all there, but people have been asking questions that are answered in the book. This to us meant that it was not laid out correctly. That hopefully has been fixed in this version. As a team, we will be looking out for any other areas of the book that readers are struggling with and how we can help clarify it. This is a process of refinement. Since I stare at our book for weeks I will have a much harder time seeing what is wrong (not to mention the history of how our rules have evolved over time).

The Assassin has had great reception since I first rewrote it. Now being the class with the oldest rules to it, there were bound to be some mistakes. One big one that was discovered because of our GM-in-a-Box playtesting, the early mechanics of the Assassin in solo play made it impossible to use the Sneak Attack ability. Next was the Spot Weakness ability, which is useless in our GM-in-a-Box games when the players can see all of the stats for the enemies. 

Our rest rules have left something to desire. We also didn’t lay out how food and water play into the game. We had not outlined “short” or “long” rest. Those that follow my work outside of Paths will know that I developed my own rest system for D&D 5e, so I have a lot of fun with these kinds of mechanics. To date, I haven’t found a rest system that deals with interruptions (if there is one, please point me to it because I love learning about other systems). This is where I created the Full rest and Interrupted rest. I’ve put strict rules on how many times each rest can take place.

While food and water are not necessary, there are some groups that want to track that kind of information. I have included additional rules for food, water, and exhaustion. Like most rules, I include it is for use in tandem with other mechanics. This is why you would include rations and water into your packs and how it’s used for several survival-based skills and abilities. However, having played many games I understand how some groups may choose to ignore rations and water, which I think is perfectly fine.

Throughout the book we reference abilities that have the player or their targets reroll dice and take one of the results. This adds a bunch of words that we needed to simplify. Adding the keywords Fortune and Misfortune reduces our word count and makes referencing those mechanics far easier. Keywording these also ensure consistency in meaning. Repeating the same mechanic over multiple places can lead one with a simple error (something we humans are especially good at) leading to more confusion. If you notice a place that we missed replacing the text with these keywords we would be thankful for your contribution.

Lastly this version of the game I worked to clarify a lot of smaller things. I tried to outline all of those in the patch notes. The game is unusable if the rules do not make sense or things are poorly organized. If something about the game confuses you, please, PLEASE reach out to us and let us know. We want the barrier to entry for this game to be as low as possible for the system we’ve created.

What’s Next

There are three big patches that will be in the works. First, we are going to be doing a complete covering of our Equipment chapter. There are a ton of gaps and questions that need to be addressed. We will be adding Weapon and Armor mods, which have been on my list since March. 

Touching the Equipment does not just involve dealing with the list of things you can buy, but what the classes get when they are first created. This has been one piece of feedback that you have been asking for and it has never left my priority list. This has taken as long simply for us to finish up the classes. 

After the Equipment update, I am working to revise our creatures. This will result in an update to the Beast Master’s Beast Taming path. This will be a part of planning for an upcoming product (we will talk about more later).

The last update will be an overall review of the book. I will be taking the time to clean up a few more sections of the book that I am already aware of (and more feedback will reveal) that need help. I have some potential ideas for a cardless version of paths to be used as a variant rule, which is the last priority on my plate. I’ll then read through the entire book, probably a few times, to catch any last-minute issues.

Throughout all of this, we will be working on updating the Spells. This is a massive undertaking because we have over 100 spells and will be adding more. This will be an ongoing fight until Paths is on the shelves, and even then we might need additional updates.

The fact that I can list out everything we have yet to do in under 300 words shows just how much light we can see at the end of the tunnel. Every step of this way I am paying attention to the feedback that you are sending our way so please keep sending it. We also want to hear your stories playing Paths! The point of us making Paths is to create a game that players will enjoy and let you explore the world of Adia.

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.

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