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DM Mag's Classless Hack of Pathfinder 1e

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    DM Mag's Classless Hack of Pathfinder 1e

    Since I am hoping to run here, I thought I would do an updated video rundown of the basics of my hack, and then a how to build a custom race/creature video and then share it. I'll link this into my recruit threads OP for easy access but a standalone place for folks to look it over and a link to my hack might be useful to refer to perhaps. Bear in mind this is a project I'd done almost entirely on my own via running for players on my personal discord player, with a little help with some coding and input from them on interactions in my game. So it's an unprofessional setup that is a work in progress always as I seek to improve upon my creation and not a finished project for publishing.

    My goal is to rebalance how magic users and martials match up in power over the course of the game. To enable options for players who like concepts that do not fall into the linear lines that classes systems have. To shift how armor and attacks per round work to be more dynamic and differentiate between the brute who bashes you for 50 damage per swing once per round and the guy who needles you for 7 damage 5 times a round or the guy who focuses on dodging attacks and the guy who throws on full plate with a shield to protect him from attacks. To discard the Vanciaan system and redo magic into a build your own spell out of components and free cast spending SP setup. To enable specialized Martial Training and Chakras to allow folks to invest XP into improving things in new ways. We've shaken things up and altered a number of things in our journey in order to enable fun, organic, exciting new options for folks who still want the Pathfinder Experience.

    I started this journey before a lot of the books were released for Pathfinder, and before Pf2e was even started to be worked on. So I largely just stopped incorporating things that were printed after I started and never bothered to include them as utterly unnecessary. Just in case folks look and go "Why isn't that new book that came out a recently included!?". I started this project years ago and just made my own content, for my own world. My world is *not* Golarion and I am not for the way that is setup in that everywhere has every option. My world has regions where some races exist solely in that region and no where else. Not every tech or item is known in every nation or region and so there are limits on who knows who, who knows what, where you can get stuff and this encourages variation in what folks encounter in campaign to campaign.

    So, let's start with the basics: My hack. I hope that folks will respect the work I and my players have put into this and no one will steal this. Please be cool in that respect.
    4.2 Classless Hack

    Walkthrough of 4.2 Classless Hack

    How to Build a Battle Bear (Or any critter) as a Level 4 character

    In the event folks have questions just let me know. If folks have comments, feel free to share them. I may have my own personal vision of how I want things to go, but new perspectives can lead to good things sometimes even if I do not agree they can push me into new lines of thinking which can be good too.
    Last edited by Magrus; 10-23-2020, 10:24 PM.
    Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.

    How Combat Works

    I have been meaning to do a "This is how combat works" example and it seems video format is not ideal for here so I shall attempt a simple text rundown of the basic mechanics using some of the example builds I've thrown in my recent recruitment threads as the basis.

    The core mechanics we intend to show here:

    Dodge and Defense instead of AC
    How Iteratives work as changed from PF1e
    ArP and ArD (Armor Piercing and Armor Damage passives)
    Taunt (New Skill)

    Rammus and Teemo vs Wealthy Arbelist and his Bodyguard

    For this purpose we need to "Finalize" some things for both sides as these builds I am pulling from here are unfinished. These aren't optimized, just randomly filling skills/feats/tc to suit a situational example for speed here from what is listed in that thread, as a note. These will be noted at the end of this post for our reference points of where we derive the stats from that dictate this exercise. They shall be denoted as follows:
    R= Rammus
    T= Teemo
    B= Bodyguard
    A= Wealthy Arbelister

    Surprise Round 1:

    T sneaks up on B and carefully moving into range, shoots from 35' away at the construct with the following results:

    {1d20+12=19, 1d20+7=18, 1d20+2=17, 1d10-3=+1 Attack Routine} vs B's Dodge [20] all of which are a *Miss* as none are 20 or above (Works just like Touch AC here)

    Round 1:

    *T is top initiative and Fires again: [23, 21, 8, -2 (Nat 1 rolled, Fumble Check)] 2 hits against B's Dodge [20]
    Damage Check: rolled 7 and 4 for damage, both with ArP 5.
    B's Defense is 13. 13-5=8. Neither damage value breeches 8 Defense and attacks deal no damage vs target. Contact Poison is of no harm to the construct as it is Immune. T has no effect on B this round despite hitting.
    Fumble Check: 1d20 is rolled and we get a 12. 1 is reroll for worse option exploding rolls. 2-5 is Fall Prone or Drop weapon level of negative. 6-10 is Stumble and take a -2 Att or Dodge level of negative. 11-15 is -1 Att or Dodge or loss of AOO's level of bad. 16+ is no negative recovery.

    *A readies his xbow and fires at T from a range of 85', well within his xbows range. He rolls:
    Att 1: 23, Manyshot: 27, Att 2: 19, Att 3: 11, Att 4: 5 of which hit: Only the Manyshot 27 hits T's Dodge of 25.
    Dmg check: 16 with ArP3 is rolled, checked vs Defense 1 of teemo [Def 1 - 3 ArP=0 Net Def]
    16-0=16 DMG to T, T has 116 HP left.

    *R charges the 75' to B rolling a 20 to hit which matches B's Dodge and proceeds to Bite and Grab B.
    Dmg rolled: 22 with ArP 3 and ArD 2
    Defense 13-3 ArP=10 so 22-10= 12 DMG to B. B has 118 HP left.
    ArD 2 would normally apply 2 flat Durability Damage to Armor or Shield worn (50% roll to determine which) but as B is unarmored, this is ignored.
    Grab: 27 Grapple Rolled vs CMD 29 means Grab fails

    *B turns from Rammus to Teemo only 35' away and moves towards him, provoking an Attack from R but gaining the +4 bonus from reworked Dodge with Mobility functioning here, bringing his Dodge to 24 for AOO's from moving.
    R rolls with a +2 from this rounds Charge: 21 is rolled which misses B as he moves past to charge T.

    Charge > Teemo has Skittering Defense, which allows a 5' step as an Immediate action which he takes. However, this 5' step can only be taken backwards due to terrain, leaving him within the range of the charge of B. *Hit*
    Slam is +26 including the +2 Charge bonus and the -2 Piranha Strike penalty which manages to hit Teemo for 13 with ArP 1 damage, and initiates a Grapple via Grab racial. Teemo takes 13 points of dmg (103 HP left)
    Grapple: +28 vs Teemo's CMB 25 means Teemo is Grappled by B.

    Round 2:
    *T furious he is grappled by a small doll struggles to break away rolling a 25 on his Grapple check. B rolls a 27 easily and remains in control. T pouts.

    *A free action ejects the clip, draws another and slaps it in, reloading the xbow via his Quick Draw, Rapid Reload and Crossbow Mastery feat combo.
    T sees the armordillo is heavily armored while the furry pest is being pinned by his bodyguard. Tsk'ing, he aims at the armor of the beast swinging at his ally, seeking to break the thick armor so he might hurt the creature.

    Attack 1: +30; Rapid Shot: +21, Att 2: +19, Att 3: 11, Att 4: 20 (Nat 20! Confirm) A hits R 4 times
    Confirm roll is a 16, which confirms a Critical hit. A roll of 20 would lead to another roll and a +1 to the Crit Multiplier for each successive 20 rolled.
    We are making ranged Sunder checks essentially here, strike the armor itself deliberately so our damage goes to the Durability of the Armor, not to Rammus if breaching the armor. This means we apply direct to Durability of armor which is [180]
    ArD check: This weapon deals no ArD, if it did this would be added to the pile of damage from each strike to the Armors Durability.
    DMG: 13, 19, 11, 16+15=74 dmg to the Full Plate +1 this round as his bolts drive home tearing plates off of the chain backing and exposing the thick skin of the beast.

    *R Taunts A. Rolling he manages a +17 on the Taunt, which is checked vs 7 {Will 6+1 Sense Motive Derivative [Will Save +(1/5 of Sense Motive w/o Wis Mod) +Mods]} as a full round action. A failed by 10 and is now furious and will freely attack without strategy in the most direct way possible on R with a +2 to Attack and -2 to AC for the next 1d6 (3) rounds.

    *B rolls to Pin: 25 and beats T managing to pin and hold T down to the ground, both losing Dex to Dodge while this occurs.

    This exercise showcases my above list of basic things in a combat scenario. I hope this is helpful. If you have questions, feel free to ask. Now the stat blocks needed for this exercise below as there's no spoiler feature it seems on this site?


    HP: 264 (Fast Healing 2)
    Saves: Fort: +16 (3+12+2), Ref: +8 (3+3+2), Will: +4 (3+1) [9 XP]
    Defense: 33 (6+6+6+1+14=33)
    Dodge: 14 [10+3 (Dex)+1 (Dodge feat)]
    Speed: 40'
    BAB: 4 [6 XP], CMB +12, CMD: 125
    Full Attack: Bite [FF/PA] +10/+3 (1d6+11/x2 with ArP 3 and ArD 2, Grab: +16 CMB ); Charge 80' range: +12 (2d6+14/x2)
    Skills: 24-12=12 [4 XP] {Acrobatics +6 (4 Ranks +3 Trained +2 Dex-3 ACP), Perception +8 (4 Ranks + 3 Trained +1 Wis), Taunt +7 (4 Ranks +3 Trained)}
    Feats: 4 [Free] [Feat Tax: Power Attack, Furious Focus, Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Natural Armor, Quick Draw, Point Blank Shot, Deadly Aim; Run, GF, LR, NM; 4: Weapon Focus: Bite, Run, Improved Maneuvers, Dodge ]
    Equipment: Full Plate Barding +1 (4150 gp; 180 Durability), Ring of Sustenance (2500 gp), Healing Belt (750 gp, MIC), Potion of Cure 1 (CL3, 90 gp, 3d6 HP), 10 gp odds and ends


    HP: 132 (High RP cost means we are greeding with hitting our HD cap of free d6's here for survivability)
    BAB: 6 [12 XP] (Snipers need to hit things, so 3/4 of our Cap here to be good at striking)
    Ranged Attack: Thorn Toss w/Deadly Aim +12/+7/+2/-3 (1d6+2/x2 with ArP 5, Paralytic Poison DC 22 and 1/rd DC 16 Fort or -4 Attack for 1 rd on target) within Close Range 35' current (25+5'/2 Levels)
    Saves: Fort: +8 (3+5), Ref +10 (3+7), Will +7 (3+4) [9 XP]
    Dodge: 25 (10+7 Dex+4 Wis+1 Dodge Feat+3)
    Defense: 1
    Feats: 6 Spell-less [2 XP] [Feat Tax: Weapon Finesse, Agile Maneuvers, Piranha Strike, Quick Draw, Point Blank Shot, Deadly Aim, Combat Expertise, Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Natural Armor; 6: Weapon Focus: Thorn Toss, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Sidestep and Imp. Sidestep, Fleet]
    Skills: 36+4 (Int Mod) [8 XP] [Acrobatics +14 (+27 Jump), Climb +9, Heal +11, K: Nature +10, K: Geography +8, Perception +13 (+18 Visual), Profession: Tracker +11, Sense Motive +11, Stealth +14, Survival +13, Swim +9]
    Equipment: Boots of Elvenkind (2500 gp), Ring of Sustenance (2500 gp), Eyes of the Eagle (2500 gp)


    HP: 130
    BAB: 6 [12 XP]
    Slam w P. Strike: +12/+7/+2 (1d4+10/x2 ArP 1 w/ Grab)
    Trip: +16; Grapple: +16
    Dodge: 20; Defense: 13
    Saves: 0/0/0 [Free] Fort: +1 (Immune unless targets Objects], Ref: +8, Will: Immune to all Mind-affecting effects
    Feats: 4 Spell-less [Free] [Feat Tax: Weapon Finesse, Agile Maneuvers, Piranha Strike, Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Natural Armor, Combat Reflexes, Quick Draw, Deadly Aim, Point Blank Shot;4: Witty Barb (Int for Taunt), Skill Focus (Taunt), Weapon Focus: Slam, Dodge ]
    Skills: Int Modx4 [Free] Perception +9, Taunt +12
    Equipment: Ring of Protection +1, Bracers of Armor +2, Cloak of Resistance +1, 500 gp in odds and ends


    HD: 96
    BAB: 4 [6 XP]
    Deadly Aim/Rapid Shot Mwk H. Xbow Full: +12/+12/+8/+4/+0 (1d10+10/19-20x2 with ArP 3) 120' range; empties clip>Free Action reload with Quick Draw+Crossbow Mastery
    Saves: 4/4/4 [24 XP] Fort: +7, Ref: +12, Will: +6
    Feats: Spell-less 8+1 (Human) [4 XP] [Feat Tax: Weapon Finesse, Agile Maneuvers, Piranha Strike, Rapid Reload, Deadly Aim, Point Blank Shot, Combat Expertise; Weapon Focus+Specialization (Heavy Repeater), Crossbow Mastery (Free action Clip reload for Repeaters), Quick Draw, 5: Rapid Shot, Far Shot, Focused Shot, Precise Shot, Two-weapon Fighting ]
    Skills: 30+16+30=76 [6 XP] {Must max Craft: Alchemy for Bombs; Perception +8, Sense Motive +8}
    Equipment: H. Repeater +1 (2000 gp), 2 daggers (4 gp), Chain Shirt +2 (4000 gp), Healing Belt (750g, Cloak of Resistance +1, 746 gp in odds and ends
    Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.


      Creating Spells

      Today we shall cover how to craft spells in my hack. On the "Spellcasting" tab of my hack, there's a lot of info. I will try to run it down here with some simple examples so folks can understand.

      1: Caster Level (CL)

      This is pretty straight forward but for covering bases. This is the limits of your casting power, which is capped at the same number your Level is. One cannot purchase a CL higher than their Lvl, but may have a CL lower than their Lvl and dabble in spellcasting. This number governs the effects of your spells.

      2: Manifesting and Casting

      We run where Psionics and Magic are equal forces that exist in tandem in the world. Dispel Magic can dispel Psionic Powers and Detect Magic can detect Psionic Powers which are active and vice versa.

      3: Spell Points (SP)

      These replace "Spell Slots" and work just like the Power Points (PP) of Psionic Powers. You spend SP in order to cast a spell, the amount of SP determined by the "strength" of the spell, or it's Spell Level (SL). 1 SP for a 1st level and +2 SP per SL over this is the cost, which may be modified by Racial traits or Spellcasting Proficiency to lower this in some situations. You may not cast spells which cost more SP than your CL. So if you have a CL of 4, you may only cast 2nd level spells which are 3 SP to cast. A 3rd level spell costs 5 SP and is beyond your capability.

      4: Spell Components

      We have split up the basic "Spell" into 6 basic components. These are:

      1: CL (Power Governor)
      2: SP (Fuel)
      3: Range (Distance limitations)
      4: Target (Area of Effect)
      5: Duration (Length of Spell Effect)
      6: Seed (Spell Effect)

      You purchase all of these via spending XP, and with Seeds, after creation, you must roll vs the "Learn" DC with a Spellcraft check to learn them. Failure means you fail to learn but spend the XP in the process and must try again, spending more XP. This is due to the power of the magic system and inherent risk of dealing with powerful supernatural forces. The components 3-6 on this list all have a SL cost to apply in building your spells. This means that you compile the SL cost of 3-6, Range through Seed in order to find the end SL of your spell to figure out the SP cost.

      However: This means a number of the SL involved in your Spell aren't bound to the "Effect", which is just the "Seed" portion. This is important, as the DC of spells in PF were governed by overall SL (IE Fireball was SL 3 and modified DC by 3). In this setup, the Seed Level or SdL is what governs the DC. If you have Long Range (SL 3) and 20' diameter burst (SL 3) and Fire 2 (SL 2) this is a SL 8 spell, but the SdL is only 2 for Fire 2. This means the DC bumps only by 2. In this way, the DC of spells gets a nerf, which synergizes with the higher Attributes that players end up with in my hack. Your caster with a 26 in their casting stat at level 4 might start with a stat 8 higher than normal, but his spells DC are inherently weaker as well broken down like this, balancing things out a bit.

      The R, T, D components are listed on the chart in the center of this tab, with a one time XP cost to buy, then the SL cost to Apply to each cast. This setup means large AOE spells, long duration spells, and long range spells cost much more than single targets you touch within arms reach for instant effects like reaching over to touch the Fighter for a quick 1 SP Heal that grants 4d6 HP at CL 4. This same spell at 100' range would become a 5 SP spell due to tacking Medium Range (+2 SL) onto it. Your standard Fireball or Magic Missile are more expensive in my hack due to their ranges and AOE and effects setup. Mage Armor for instance, with it's Level 1 and Hour/CL standard in basic DnD/PF has a nerf as well, where as a Level 1 Armor Seed with 1 hr/Level (+3 SL) becomes a 4th level spell, but is only 1 SP to touch Self+1 round/CL.

      5: Spell Proficiency

      If you stay at the top of my Spellcasting tab and scroll right you will find a small chart where you can pickup abilities that enhance your spellcasting outside of the above components. Things that reduce the cost of adding components like the Expert Range, Target and Duration options will if you pick up all 3 let you put 1 SL of Range, Target and Duration on every spell you cast for free, without increasing it. So you can cast all spells with Close, 5' diameter Burst or 15' line and with the option to turn it into a 1 min/CL duration all for "Free" like so:

      Mage Armor is (Armor 1+Range+Target+Duration) option which grants +4 Defense (Armor) with the variables set by components added. With the "Expert" options for 9 XP investment you can take:
      Mage Armor 1 (Armor 1+ Close + 5' burst + 1 min/CL) which is normally a 4th level spell into:
      Mage Armor 1 (Armor 1+ Close + 5' burst + 1 min/CL)= 1 SP via Expert (R, D, T) proficiency.

      You can take "Scorching Ray": (Fire 1+Close+1 Ray/4 CL) Which is normally a 3rd level spell in my hack to:
      Scorching Ray (Fire 1+Close+1 ray/4 CL) as a 1st level, 1 SP spell.

      Below these options are more specific options that allow you to ignore Spell Components, or invest heavily into the mastery of a Seed, even a line of options to really juice up the Summon Seed for a specialist. These are the equivalent of "Greater Weapon Specialization" and "Weapon and Armor Training" that Fighters get for spellcasters in essence. Fine tuning the control a caster has with manipulating magic to their advantage for an up front XP investment.


      Seeds are the foundation of spellcasting when it comes down to it. We are testing a generic selection of Seeds which might be expanded on later, which replace the "Schools of Magic" and "Spell Effects" of the standard spell lists. We use these as the building blocks to craft organic spells that fit our needs. We can "Mix" seeds, which is the equivalent of blending two spell effects into one. There is a required Mix DC you roll every time you cast a spell with 2 or more seeds mixed via the Spellcraft skill to see if you succeed, or the spell fails and a wild magic event occurs. The reason for this is you can simulate the Quicken Spell metamagic feat without a SL cost which normally is +4 SL to do here by say, blending Armor + Ward to grant Defense + Energy Resistance as a single cast, single action. This is a powerful ability for buffing the party. You can also mix say, damage seeds, Mixing Fire and Acid 1 at CL 5 for instance allows you to take 5d6 Fire and 5d6 Acid and hurl it at the enemy for 3 SP as a single action. This is strong, and requires a Mix DC 15 check.

      We have listed the Seeds in play currently on this tab, and the generic effect level for each seed level in the chart to refer to. These are guidelines to encourage creative thinking to fit the needs of the player on the fly. I, the DM rule on where an effect fits in my games so if you, the player have an idea you run it by me, I give you the X Seed at Y level requirement based on these guidelines on the chart. Many of the spells you might commonly cast are linked on this chart, when a flat +X Armor or XdY damage isn't listed. Things like Sleep and Haste and Entangle fall under various seeds here (Muddle 1, Gravity 2, Flora 1 respectively), and the general format is:

      If your spell effect was a 1st or 2nd level spell in PF, it's a 1st level Seed in my hack.
      If it was a 3rd or 4th level spell: It's a 2nd level Seed Effect.
      If it was a 5th or 6th level spell: It's a 3rd level Seed Effect.
      If it was a 7th or 8th level spell: It's a 4th level Seed Effect.
      If it was a 9th level spell: It's a 5th level Seed Effect.

      This breakdown is meant to allow us to pull in a secondary seed for "Complex spells" like Cloak of Winds (Air 1+ Ward 2) or Black Tentacles (Water 2+ Creation 1+Transform 1), along with the Range, Target, Duration components. If I didn't condense the Seeds levels, we'd need to expand Spell Levels to level 20 and that would make things absurd.

      In order to widen your repertoire of spellcasting options, you learn new seeds, increase the level of the seeds you know, and increase the investment into your Range, Target and Duration components. These are inherently Known and able to be flexed and cast in any combination you know as long as you have the SP to power the spells once you spend the XP and successfully learn them without need for a Spellbook or a linked Familiar. They cannot be taken from you and blocked by a God if you don't follow their tennents. They are yours and your investment and imagination are the limits here. Not what is listed on a spell list. While my table seems to hold less options than the massive spell list of all of the supplement books printed at first glance, it's potential in the hands of creative players is much wider to craft new spells to fit need as they keep gaining new seeds and advancing.

      I hope this clarifies a bit on how casting works in my hack for folks. Thanks for reading, and if you have questions, as always, just ask.
      Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.



        My hack has seen many changes, revisions, additions and tweaks over the years. A lot of them may seem absurd, odd, or cause someone to scratch their head at the way I have things set up. This is an organic, roll with what we test and throw ideas against the wall to see if they stick setup done in the free time I have with feedback from players who have played it over the years on my discord server or in Fantasy Grounds live going back over 5 years. I will attempt to sum up some of the common things that have been thrown my way as questions to lend some insight into why things are the way they are here. Context and intent for making such massive changes to a system are important after all.

        1: Why hack pathfinder instead of making your own system??!

        A: Pathfinder 1e has a free SRD and OGL support to which I can link any player to without hurting my players wallets. This means I can hyper-link abilities from the basic classes of the system, and the race builder and equipment for basic descriptions to my sheet via the OGL like I have without needing to reinvent the wheel. No need to spin new names for the same old same old skills, attributes, feats, combat maneuvers, etc means an incredible time saving aspect on my end as well. Put simply, while I take the system and stretch it pretty far from it's original form, we save a lot of time and money for all involved which is great, right?

        2: Why Classless?

        A: I started running Gestalt and Tristalt games back in the day and the frustration of blending class X with class Y and prestige Z would rear it's ugly head in those games as well as with trying to make unique concepts just multi-classing to pull things off. Players who wanted to utilize templates and mix two fighter class archetypes to make an expert warrior would justly complain that it is nowhere near as strong as a straight wizard or cleric but it's not allowed. The guy who wanted to be a bad touch cleric that scorned armor and pulled in Monk would lament that if he wanted more feats he'd have to switch out of Monk or Cleric to get Fighter levels for bonus feats. The guy who wanted to make an Eldritch Knight because a mage without 9th level spells that is combat ready is only a sad dunce cap wearing magus and feels real bad late game without those juicy high level spells and you have to take a level of Fighter just for proficiency with weapons, big EW.

        I enjoyed Shadowruns BP and especially the grittier Karma system allowing players flexibility in pulling together organic concepts with slight variations. I wanted to do that with all of the options in the Pathfinder world. I thought players would enjoy it, and over the years, a number have. More organic flexibility for players is an amazing gift to my players I want to share with anyone who is interested. Many people who play DnD or PF don't play other RPG's and teaching them that there's another way to run games and build characters is something I believe in.

        As a DM, it gets boring to pull the same NPC's, monsters and units from the bestiary. Making the same builds and constantly hitting a wall and thumbing between class pages in Chrome late night building fresh units for my players was too time consuming. I'd know what I *want* but the how to get there always entailed too many levels and too much multi-classing for no reason *except* the class system and arbitrary decisions within the class system. Removing this speeds up my DM NPC generation *significantly* to be almost double the speed of doing it the classed manner. It's taken a lot of work to get here, but *double efficiency DM prep* is amazing. It's like having a co-DM that never argues or disagrees!

        Wizard 5/Fighter 1/Eldritch Knight 10/Wizard 4 will never need to be written again when creating a battle mage with my hack.

        3: Why limit class options translated?

        A: I started this project with the goal to cut out redundant fluff and before a lot of the source material was printed by Paizo. There's a lot of stuff that is just plain redundant material churned up and reflavored in order to be sold to pay the salaries of the workers there. I personally view this work as a kind of art form that profit shouldn't be the reason you adjust content. System design shouldn't be compromised for profit, and therefore a lot of the content that has come out since I started this project has not been included. I use the Dreamscarred Press psionics, it's good content, so the Paizo "Psychic" content is not only *godawful* and hollywood hokey, but it's unnecessary and redundant. The "Hybrid" classes are just a money grab at making "Paizo" version of ready to go gestalt classes for folks who do not know of, or use UA's gestalt rules. The handful of new abilities that were implemented as selling points weren't worth including outside of a select few abilities my players requested. Put simply, I stripped out the bloat and just ignored future printings as my own content was underway and integrating the new stuff would require me to rebalance things every month. If I need something, I build it and do so with my game setting and my system rules in mind as needed and it's been that way going back years. My classless hack can fuse a Druid and Barbarian or any combination you want much better than any hybrid class with the player deciding what he takes and what he does not from both.

        4: Why rework AC?

        A: AC is really abstract in DnD/PF. It fudges two important things into one stat that needs to be clarified with sub-stats which always seemed silly to me. Having been in fights, there's a difference between taking a hit and dodging one in the reality of what it does to you. There's a difference between damage mitigation via body armor and just side stepping a blow so it never hits you. Generally speaking, they are mutually exclusive and work at cross purpose as well. The more body armor you have to reduce damage when struck, the less nimble you can be and the harder it will be to dodge. Integrating the two always bothered me going back to my Red Box 1st edition kit. Therefore we have Defense and Dodge now to separate the two. Dodge is the same as Touch AC in PF/DnD. Defense is your Natural Armor and your Body Armor combined which is subtracted from incoming damage like DR. This clarity of the two main methods of avoiding damage allows for players to choose which route they want to go down, or to take a blend of the two. I like giving players options.

        5: Why did you nerf BAB and buff Dex?!

        A: Hooking Attacks per Round, IE Iterative Attacks to BAB never made sense to me either. BAB is essentially your skill in martial concerns, so yes, it should affect competency. However, whether I can swing a sword fast or slow isn't based on my *skill*, it is based on my reflexes and agility. Whether I hit myself or my target is based on my skill, but the ability to do it fast or slow is governed by my physical agility. In addition, shifting these extra attacks to an up front day 1 thing really allows Martial characters to become an early game powerhouse with lucky rolls. Giving they guy with the sword the power to feel powerful at doing their thing without needing to wait 16 levels. The attack roll penalties keep things from getting crazy early on and make a really high Dex PC whiff several times a round eating a -5, -10, -15 penalty at early levels with the later extra attacks very unlucky to hit outside of a natural 20. So empowering the martials by using logic when martials need love works for me.

        Our removing Dex Mod to Damage from the system outside of an increased cost weapon enchantment keeps the stat from breaking the game. Endurance introduced to pull Constitution into the mix before Fatigue and Exhaustion set in means a striker needs all 3 physical stats to be viable now. As with our Defense changes, you need Strength to deal damage through the increased Armor Values which armor grants as a modifier subtracted from your damage rolled round to round. One cannot max dex alone and win at combat in my system.

        6: Why expand Hit Dice sizes and have a cap of 3 per Level, and BAB to 2 per Level?

        A: This was a throw an idea at the wall and see how it sticks of recent change. My discord server admin and I were talking about wanting tanks to feel tanking and strikers to be able to do something to super tanks who can dodge anything *with* tons of HP. Hence, we still have a hard cap of 20 to BAB, but you can spike it above your level to twice your level if you really want to avoid missing as much as possible. This allows folks dedicated to hitting things the ability to pay in order to be able to do so better than average, up to a limit which others can reach later on. Tanks can select a wide range of Hit Dice up to d20 for a cost of 5 XP per d20 as well as up to 3 per Level. I offer down to d4's which grant 1 XP per d4 taken, and d6's for free which allows even the squishy caster to grab Levelx3 in free Hit Die or gain Levelx3 extra XP grabbing d4's which pads them with a HP pool to avoid an arrow crit leading to death. It means the guy who pumps 15 XP per level into HP will be that legendary never dies from a flesh wound warrior some strive to be, for a cost. A high cost, which will cause other aspects of his build to suffer, but he will have oodles of HP as long as he keeps paying on level up. Options for the players once again.

        7: Why did you pull the free Attribute point from the level up process?

        A: I did for all but Familiars, Companions and Mounts to allow more flex for players who want to hit a benchmark requisite for requisites by investing XP at the cost of something else in their build. As well as the folks with OCD who twitch whenever they see a 15 and can't get over the urge to make it a 14 or 16 so it's nice and even. This was for you. Now you just pay the XP necessary, and your cap is 5 in each attribute instead of 5 across 20 levels. If you want to have god-like attributes, you can buy them for a cost in my hack. The guy who doesn't gets more feats and skills or spells or HP as the counter to this. Yes, the XP pool was expanded beyond *normal* to account for this removal of "free attribute points" and then some with what we use for leveling up so it's rolled in as accounted for and not an "extra cost" to the player.

        8: Wtf did you do to spellcasting?!

        A: I set fire to the Vancian system and opening it up for organic creativity to replace it. I handed the power to the player in deciding how he spends his "Spellcasting juice" every day instead of being limited to X number of Y level spells every day of your life which is a feels bad handcuffing. I shifted things to break old grandfathered in spells that were clearly too strong for their level always picks and make a new paradigm with a "Casters are weak early and godly later" power scale that was the way in original DnD back in the day. Allowing martials to shine early game as casters lean on them like Raistlin did Caraman. So that one day the mage with D4's can throw down gods and nations tremble when he clenches his fists in rage. If they survive.

        We want to see the cool stuff players think of and do spell casting organically to fit need with the tools in our caster tool box. Those tools are "Seeds" and "Components" and you can get "Spellcasting Proficiencies" to modify your casting all by spending XP now. So if you want to cast a Fireball at the goblins 20 feet ahead of you without hitting your friends, you can adjust the range and area of effect down, paying less than if you throw it 300 feet spraying a ball room in flames. If you want to spray healing across the room while granting Fire Resistance, Mixing Seeds is for you. Just make sure to max Spellcraft as Mixing seeds allows you to blend things like a hybrid of Quicken Spell and Admixture spell with a risk of Spell Failure when you don't meet the Mix DC by rolling Spellcraft. Oh yeah, you need to buy Spell Points which replaces those silly Slots per Level. Get lots, they go fast pulling down Ogre Marauders with 18d12 Hit Dice that are swinging at your friends. Don't be afraid to mix Acid and Fire to throw 5d6 Acid and 5d6 Fire for 3 SP to chew through those tanks. Be sure to grab the Expert line of Proficiencies at level 3 to reduce the cost of your applying Components. Everyone needs a Caster Level and you choose which attribute you bind to it: Int, Wis or Cha. Then you are on your way to designing your own spells as the situation demands with what you bought with XP!

        Want to play a pyromaniac who can heal the party too? No prob, grab Heal and Fire Seed and go nuts.
        Want to play a master of the elements druid evoker? No prob, grab the elemental seeds and toss in Flora to mess with plants. You can invest in Seed Specialist in the Spellcasting Proficiencies to increase your ability to cast Air Spells if you want to focus on that especially, or pay it multiple times to give each elemental seed the specialist treatment.
        Want to play a traditional cleric with a massive variety of spell options? That's doable, but expensive to get every seed and will take you a long time to afford.

        9: What is ArP and ArD?

        A: It's a necessary evil to the Defense or Armor as DR change we made to AC. If Defense is subtracted from Damage, we wanted some basic quality of life Armor Penetration for weapons to allow weapons to punch through a bit and bite underneath lighter armors. ArD is "Armor Damage Passive Sunder" which is the extra damage done by blunt weapons instead of ArP. This twisting and tearing from being struck with the brute force of a blunt weapon slowly on hit sunders the armor or shield of the target even if you are not rolling Sunder checks. Use a hammer or a pickaxe to deal with stripping the armor of heavily armored opponents in order to deal damage once it's been torn off of them and if it's a hammer, that extra passive really goes to work rolled into Sunder damage. You won't make it through enchanted adamantine armor with a longsword to hurt your target. However, your enchanted adamantine longsword will easily carve up a target in Studded Leather armor as if the armor was not there. This dynamic allows for getting martials to not have 1 super weapon of awesomely expensive enchantments and enforces a "right tool for the job" array that needs to be kept up for variety.

        10: With increased Armor values and a cap of x2 Level for BAB, won't my Dodge bro get murdered?

        A: Nah bro, I got you with the "Duck", "Bob and Weave" and "Stick and Move" options on the Special Abilities page. They are things you can buy with XP to boost your Dodge which stacks with Dex mod, Monk AC and the Ward Seed's Shield of Faith effect which boosts it. We rolled the Mobility feat into the Dodge feat as well so you can grab the Dodge Feat and Stick and Move (3 XP) to boost your AC by *6* when moving around through threatening terrain and attacking with Spring Attack like the energizer bunny. 24 XP lets you grab +4 from "Bob and Weave" and "Duck" costs 3 XP for a +1. You can scale up too, for a cost. Make friends with the caster with Ward Seed to kick you an Enhancement bonus for when things get hairy out there.

        11: What's with the Martial Paths?/ Why don't you convert Path of War?!

        A: We don't use Path of War as we would have to rebalance the entire thing, or my entire hack for it. We wanted to offer a power boost to martials which simulated some of what PoW offered and offer martials who didn't want to build giant mutant freaks or casters something to spend XP on as an option. This was our first option listed on our hack outside of the Attribute scaling and Race Builder changes. It's a straight forward add-on that allows people who meet the Pre-Requisites and have Improved Unarmed Strike to spend XP to learn how to get elevated martial prowess. It's buffs for critters, monks, archers and warriors that are toggled on and off for the day when conscious and forget things. KISS martial goodies. For those Panther Style Dodge Monks that want to run fast and Pounce with Spring Attack, Leopard Path is for you. For the rogue that likes to throw knives from safety, Tarantula Path is for you to be the wise thief who debuffs with a thrown blade and slips away from attackers who run up to her. For the half-orc that heaves around the heaviest armor and shield they can find, Steelback is for you. For the Treant PC, grab Oak Path and swing those branches like longhammers. Did we mention we wanted to give players options *and* love to martials?

        12: Chakras? Is this Weeb trash?

        A: Haha, no it's not. I wanted to offer something for my "critter" players that could enhance their concept that didn't learn how to use weapons and armor or spells. Something that opened up their options and allowing for some abilities that I wanted to put in play for my players. These work for the wise dragon who never learned to read but meditated and found a balance within to unlock their true potential. For the old man living in a cave in the mountains who found enlightenment and immortality who is nimble as a school girl, hardy as a bear and strong as an ox despite being ancient. For the charming noblewoman who can bend the will of another through force of presence and concentration without using magic or psionics. The brilliant gnome who tapped into the ability to see the world as it really is and leave his body to see and hear elsewhere. More options allowing more concepts for flavor with functionality.

        13: You buffed companions and gave them gold like an NPC?

        A: Uh-huh. When my Derro Assassin one shot the parties pet who was sniffing out the invisible villain years ago I knew I needed to do something to help them out. We bumped the HD, up scaled the BAB and are giving feats like the Wizard class to Companions and gold like a cohort just for them. Familiars get feats like a regular classed PC and gold. Mounts get what the Companions get. They won't hold up in combat with a well build PC or NPC of the PC's level but this helps them be that mount or scout or emergency bodyguard to help their allies without exploding at the smallest contact. Muleback Cords for the level 3 Gnome Druid with the low level pet mount that normally couldn't carry him. A cloak of Resistance for avoiding Fireballs. Combat feats for your Tiger companion! Just a little love for people who want pets to do stuff.

        14: What is with this Backgrounds tab? I like writing stories for my PC's background!

        A: That's cool! Not everyone is a creative writer who games though. While I can take a written backstory, I never want to force someone to agonize over writing up something if it is hard for them. Sometimes I can write for days, but only when truly inspired. I have both run for parties, and played in parties where a players backstory ended up torpedoing the game whether it be the DM trying to force their odd backstory into his setting and game or the player demanding stuff due to his backstory. It never made sense to me starting a game with a new setting and new DM and my character having all of this stuff done in a place I have no idea about. I could *totally* conceptualize something that just does not fit with the setting or what the DM plans and then it's a bad experience for both of us. I've offered games and gotten 100+ applications before and some of those had 7 page backstories, and I don't get paid >.> Time is a consideration, as well as eye strain.

        So, I wanted to try a "realistic background" pilot that is just "Grab one and go". This is my first iteration. I have heard folks wondering "Why do all of the free ones have a penalty to mental stats? It's not fair" and well, peasants who do hard physical labor for life tend not to read education tomes and spend time learning the finer social graces. Nobles do, and those wealthy enough to learn the arts and not inhale coal dust and have sharp rocks tearing their cheeks from swinging a pick. IE, it's not everyone who has a childhood out of the medieval settings "lower class" and getting out of that has an XP price in my setting.

        I am open to adding something that fits a player who has an idea if I can balance it. This isn't a complete list, by any means. Just meant to be a simple, pick one and apply it like a template to your PC for an easy 1 step background for folks building PC's. KISS.

        15: You reworked Cavalier? It was my favorite class ever! REEEE!

        A: I did! I love the class concept: The mounted combat specialist who charged into battle with style and yolo'd. Just the class does nothing for the *mount* the whole thing relies on to function. This is poor design. We took the "Yolo buff" and flipped it to a "Mount Buff" instead. Now you can opt to pay for a Cav Order and apply abilities along the way to your mount to keep it doing its mount thing longer, better, harder than another character with a mount. Making Mounts Great Again, MMGA. Choose between Juggernaut, Vitality or Beast. Immunities, Combat Stats, or Race Points are the three paths we offer. For the person who wants his Horse to have Wings and thicker skin to be a combat ready pegasus, go Beast. For the dwarf on a boar who wants to ride through an open Fire and shrug off a necromancer's fear spell, go Juggernaut. For the Orc riding a Tiger, go Vitality to gain Ferocity and stat boosts, eventually Regeneration. So when you take your high level cavalier on the back of his long time mount, his mount kicks the rear of the knight who has a regular old horse. So your mount doesn't die when you charge that Cryohydra and stab it in the face with your lance in the first round. Yolo longer brothers and sisters.

        16: This seems like it would make combat take longer and be a lot more involved, does it?

        A: Generally yes. My goal was finer combat with taking out some of the vagueness and then empowering martials in the early game. This lead to changes like more HD and higher BAB, ArP and the BAB changes all as mentioned above. The side effect of splitting AC into two values for finer clarity is another check per hit. The BAB and Dex changes means more attacks rolled per round all game before level 16. The Endurance addition is one more thing to track. Additional HD as an option per Level means targets have more health, can soak more hits. Mixing elemental seeds means casters can spike dice rolled for spell damage above what is normal. Somewhere in here we have a bit of "increased rounds in combat" and "OOF that spell hit hard, quick wipe" evocation speeding things up balancing.

        I enjoy the chess-like tactical aspect of a gritty combat with the layers of body armor, Endurance and Fatigue, Durability of gear that needs time and materials to repair of intense combat in games. When a party can finally get on the same page and use teamwork and tactics together to engage a challenging encounter I put together for them it's truly enjoyable to run for a group for me. The way players can work together to overcome challenges provides a bonding experience that is every bit as enjoyable as weaving a story together but uses different skills. For players who aren't into writing constantly, I offer tactical rpg games so folks can ponder how to make a move and if they want to role play you can talk tactics in character as a party. You can trash talk the enemy and you can make complex battle plans all in character for my games for that interpersonal RP some folks crave. For anyone who enjoyed playing Fire Emblem, Shining Force or Final Fantasy Tactics back in the day who can do basic algebra, my games offer a throwback style in that vein. Combat is gritty and challenging, requiring thought of how you take your action and how you spend resources and where you position. It's not fighting the same units you've fought in other games, nor are they pulled from published material. You fight organically built units that I build to order for each campaign which bring different tools and options from my hack using the same options available to you. All for the price of an extra check when hit to find damage and tracking Durability and Endurance.

        17: I am interested, but I am lost. Can you help?

        A: Absolutely. Just provide clarity on exactly what you want help with and I can walk you through it.

        18: I want to try X Concept, but I don't know how to build it, how does this work?

        A: Building with a classless setup requires a bit more thought than a classed system. Put simply, the player needs to introduce a prioritization system that is automatically done for you in a class based system by the locked level to level allocation of abilities by picking up a level in a class. Here, you have XP and you spend it on stuff, and there's a lot of stuff at first glance. You need to find a balance between what you want long term, and what you want right now. Some things can wait, others can't. Low powered things cost less than high powered things. Your concept should be based around a role, or what tasks you want your character to be able to do. You spend XP to gain functionality, and you can then fluff it however you want after that is done. This means knowing whether you want to cast spells or not is important. You pay more for feats and Martial Paths as a caster or psion on top of needing to invest in a Caster Level, SP, Seeds, Components and so on. It's a big cost that soaks up a lot of your XP to go that route. If you want an expensive race or background, your concept must pay for them which cuts into the pool.

        Most often, you start with a core concept based around "I do *this* in combat and *that* out of it" where you fill in the blanks with what you want your character to do. This is your wish list you compile. You can find the cost of these things and write them down by navigating my hack. You then see whether it is affordable within the allowed XP and level cap of the game offered. If it is, great! You can buy it all, and add stuff around it to widen your concepts capabilities. If not, then you need to pare down and slowly reduce investment in your wish list until it is affordable. This is the basic gist of working with a classless system. It is a little like when you first learn to start grocery shopping for yourself and you throw a bunch of stuff into the cart, end up at the register and need to put the ice cream and steaks back because you were $14 over budget. I use a calculator and input the XP amount for my NPC's into it, and I mark off my Purchase then [Y XP] next to it, and key in the Y into the calculator to subtract from the starting pool. This gives me a list of:

        What I bought [Its Cost]

        This is easy to review when I need to make changes upon level up, and will be for you. A lot of things that scale have scaling incremental costs. Knowing what you spent so far into an ability makes the level up easier on you, and noting it in a way that accounts for the increment when you log it is helpful as well. You may not remember what the sum of [2+4+6+8+10] was if it's just logged as 30 next to a vague label. If you accurately log what it was for, and how much you paid, going back you can see where you left off and add to it along the way. This is brought to you by years of late night NPC making and head scratching weeks later on my end, the clear note keeping helps long term here. Logging all of your XP spending and what it was for is essentially the process replacement for when you dig through your Players Handbook and look over feats, skills and classes to pick from. I just unzipped the charts and alphabetically sorted with a cost every ability off of the class charts I pulled into my hack. It's up to you to purchase what you want and pay to meet the requisites listed to get them.

        Once you've done this, and spent your XP, you then take your character and fill it exactly like you would a standard character. You spend skills, buy feats, spend gear and compile all of the modifiers from all of this stuff and list it out. Largely, it works the same with the same attributes, modifiers and basics here. You still get Int Mod per level to Skill Points. You still get Con Mod per Hit Dice. You still get +3 Trained to skills you have ranks in, just now its every skill you have at least 1 rank in. You still have an Attack score calculated the same way. You pull skills and feats off of the SRD or out of the Players Handbook just like you would a standard PF AP. You just now have an organic concept you pulled together instead of lifting a carbon copy off of a class listing.

        In the event anyone wants help with this process, I can sit down and hold a conversation of what the player wants and setup an XP buy template for any of my games for them to take and then spend the skills and feats and gold and make it their own. That's a "can learn along the way" hurdle that some folks learn better and integrate knowledge via playing and checking what to roll and when. Something that can be worked on top of a based by spending XP later with a clear concept of what you want next in mind that is sometimes hard to fathom without knowledge of limitations, capabilities and some indecisiveness thrown in. Not everyone is incredibly decisive, and open ended processes are a struggle for some I know like my lady. For any of you interested in my games and hitting that wall, I can hit you with a simple quiz of what you want to be able to do and set you up with a template.

        So there *is* a character limit. F
        Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.


          In the event there is interest, I added some unique content for a "Tree Tender" add on PrC bundle that allows Flora and Water seed focused casters to get some neat defensive and casting adjustments. Fast healing, Spell Point replenishment, reduced SP cost when casting Flora spells and a pay to boost natural armor option as if you were using Race Buy. One in a series of setting specific specialist abilities that the natives of my world know that I plan on rolling out on the way to version 4.3. That is found here as the precursor to me setting up some plug and play options that allow a mechanical option for players to grab to fit the flavor of my setting. Our goal is simplistic flexible things that allow for a player to bend and make their own with a minimalist approach of fluff with this in mind. A general vague concept allows players to take the basic concept and get creative with it to make it their own.

          We intend on adding the following as time and life allow:

          1. Phoenix Guard (Erenil racial PRC) The elite personal guard of the royal family, a remnant of the old world which provide powerful protection to these most dedicated and special of guardians.
          2. Silver Knight (Law enforcement Dragon Riding PRC) The brave folk who bond with and ride Silver Dragons into battle in their war against evil and chaos on the surface.
          3. Obsidian Templar (Dhalrang Dwarf racial PRC) A warrior priest in tune with the plane of Earth which has adapted some of the traits of an Earth based shapeshifter.
          4. Ley Line Mystic (Energy Manipulation PRC) Enlightened and able to draw on the latent energy emitted from the planet in order to travel, heal and assist the mystic in his travels.
          5. Imlarian Outrider (Region Specific Human Mounted PRC) The Imlarian Horselords renowned scouts, these light cavalry are rumored to never tire on the back of their trusty steed, able to will their mount to feats unheard of.
          6. Claws of the Jungle (Reptilian PRC) The military arm of the tribe, elite infantry which scorns armor or manufactured weapons of all kinds.
          7. Order of the Wolf (Ranger Knight PRC) The hardbitten men and women who survive in the northern highlands keeping their people safe from mountain storms as well as orc and giant raids.
          8. Order of the Nightshade (Lycanthrope fighting Herbalist PRC) An order of those dedicated to fighting the unclean Undead, Aberrations and Lycanthropes which plague the people.
          9. Gnomish Warcat (Gnome melee PRC) Elite melee combatant which focuses on hand to hand combat with punching daggers and combat maneuvers to neutralize their foe.
          10. Bone Knight (Ogre Necromantic Warrior PRC) Found among the ogres in the badlands, these knights fashion armor out of the bones of their kills binding the souls of the dead to protect and serve them in battle.
          11. Wolfbrother (Badlands Wolfman PRC) The purest among your people, you scorn the tools and ways of the two-legs embracing the ways of your four legged ancestors. Stronger, faster, longer, that is the way.
          12. Hassletoff (Halfling Disrupter PRC) Rare due to attrition in the field, the halflings view becoming a Hassletoff as the highest achievement for their people. A true professional with the Taunt skill, their ability to instill rage in their target is made of legend.

          and of course

          Tree Tender (Specialist Druid PRC) The rare naturalist who tends to plants before animals, a guardian of nature and animal friend who takes on the traits of a plant to help him survive.

          Pre-emptive "New Years Resolution" of DM to-do stuff. Region and race specific themed ability kits are the way forward to enable diverse themed games with different things to playtest in environments they are suited to.

          As always, thanks for reading and if you have a questions, just give me a shout.
          Last edited by Magrus; 12-25-2020, 12:02 AM. Reason: Silver Knight, Bone Knight, Claws of the Jungle, Gnomish Warcat, Wolfbrother links added
          Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.