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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    So after all the (heated) discussion on the subject I thought it might be useful to put up some details on what Pathfinder's like to play.

    Our group's been playing a Pathfinder core-only game for the past few months, starting at level 1 with the Beta, and gradually progressing up to level 3 as we shift over to the current version (well, mostly). Setting is Greyhawk, stat generation is standard point buy (15 points under the Paizo system, which is fairly similar to 25 point buy in 3.5).

    First I'll talk a bit about general changes, then I'll have a more detailed look at four of the classes - fighter, paladin, sorcerer, and wizard.

    General Changes


    • Races - All of the base races are now much stronger. They all get a net bonus to abilities (elves are +2 Dex +2 Int -2 Con, humans and half-elves are +2 to any one stat). They also get extra abilities, some of which are quite nice (elves get free Spell Penetration, for instance).
    • Effect - There's generally less reason to take a noncore race. Elves are much better. Half-elves and half-orcs no longer suck.


    • Skills - The 4x starting skills rule is gone. Classes now get a number of skill points each level equal to their class skill points + int bonus. Cross-class skill penalties are also gone; they're now 1:1, no limit, same as anything else. If a skill is a class skill and you put at least one rank in it, you get +3 to that skill.
    • Effect - Characters are now encouraged to be at least moderately competent at all of their class skills. Since putting 1 rank into a class skill gives you a +4 bonus, there's no real reason not to do it once you've levelled up a few times and have the points to play with. Cross-class skills are also now a much more attractive proposition: a 10th-level Fighter who's maxed out Perception has +10, a 10th-level Rogue who's maxed out Perception has +13.


    • Skill Categories - Balance, Tumble, and Jump have all been folded into a new skill, Acrobatics. Forgery, Decipher Script, and Speak Language have all been folded into a new skill, Linguistics. Listen, Search and Spot have been folded into a new skill, Perception. Hide and Move Silently have been folded into a new skill, Stealth. Gather Information is folded into Diplomacy. Open Lock is folded into Disable Device. One old skill has been removed, Concentration (now a caster level + ability modifier check). One new skill has been created, Fly (Dex-based, class skill for Dru, Sor, Wiz).
    • Effect - Your skill points go further than they used to, everyone now has Balance, and everyone takes Perception.


    • Hit Points - Slightly higher; several classes have a better Hit Die, the favoured class rules give more HP, the Toughness feat is actually really good now, and the Pathfinder rules give several options for giving starting characters some bonus HP right off the bat.
    • Effect - 1st-level characters are a good bit tougher. Multiclass characters and PrC users benefit less.


    • Combat Maneuvers - Trip, Disarm, Bull Rush, Overrun, Sunder, and Grapple are now handled by one flat roll: 1d20 + your Combat Maneuver Bonus (your BAB + your Strength + your size modifier) vs 10 + the enemy's Combat Maneuver Defence (enemy's BAB + enemy's Strength + enemy's Dex + enemy's size modifier). IMPORTANT NOTE: Size modifiers are much weaker now! Small is -1, Large is +1, Huge is +2, etc.
    • Effect - This seems to be the subject of a lot of debate, so let's look at a specific example. Bob the 2nd-Level Human Fighter with the Improved Trip Feat wants to trip an Ogre.
    • Under 3.5 Rules: Bob has Strength 16, a MW weapon, and +2 BAB. First he has to hit the Ogre's touch AC of 8: no problem there. He then needs to win an opposed roll. His bonus is +7, the Ogre's is +9. Not good odds, and the ogre can counter-trip him. Bob will need to get an Enlarge Person off the party wizard for this to be worth trying. That'll push him up to +12 against the Ogre's +9, which makes it worth trying . . . but you can't always count on the wizard buffing you, and you still risk a counter-trip.
    • Under Pathfinder Rules: Bob has Strength 18, a MW weapon, and +2 BAB (humans in Pathfinder get +2 to one stat, ie Strength for a Fighter). He makes one roll with his Combat Maneuver Bonus of +8 (+4 for Strength, +2 BAB, +2 Improved Trip) against the Ogre's CMD of 17 (10 + 3 BAB + 5 Str -1 Dex +1 Size). 60% chance of success, and you aren't counter-tripped unless you fail by 10 or more (which is impossible in this case). Favourable odds.
    • So, what's the conclusion? - The only things that can be said for certain without a lot more testing are 1) combat maneuvers resolve faster and 2) size differences matter a LOT less. However, after looking at the numbers, the claims some people have been making that combat maneuvers are "gimped" or "useless" seem pretty clearly false.



    The Classes


    In general, the Pathfinder base classes are quite a lot stronger than the 3.5 ones. They also tend to keep getting class features as they level, many of which are tied to their class level. This combined with the favoured class rules makes single-classing much more attractive compared to multiclassing or taking a PrC.

    We're just going to spotlight four of the classes here; the fighter, the wiz, the pally, and the sorc. I've seen all of these in action in our game. Our party doesn't have a monk, druid, or bard, so those will have to wait. Each class is going to be quickly analysed in terms of buffs and nerfs, because let's face it, that's what you guys are interested in. A brief verdict is attached to each.


    Paladins

    Buffs

    • Casting stat is now Cha! Improves pally spellcasting greatly, and reduces their MAD by allowing them to dump Wisdom.
    • Lay on Hands has been buffed. It heals more HP on average (though it's now random), it can remove status conditions, and best of all, it can be done on yourself as a swift action - very handy in combat.
    • Smite Evil has been heavily buffed. It now targets one enemy as a swift action, and gives you smite benefits against that target until they're dead. In addition it auto-bypasses DR, does extra damage against evil outsiders, and gives you a deflection bonus to AC equal to your Cha bonus versus that creature's attacks. Smiting evil has never been so much fun!
    • The pally's mount is now as powerful as a druid's animal companion. Nice.
    • Your Aura of Courage upgrades as you gain levels, giving a variety of handy bonuses.
    • Detect Evil has been sped up. Now your Pally can determine that someone's evil and smite them all in one combat round, meaning Miko-types can fit as much as 300% more killing into their daily schedule. Note: You'll probably see this as a buff, but your party might not.


    Nerfs

    • Lay on Hands can no longer be used to dump all your healing in a single shot. Uh, that's about it.


    Verdict?

    Two thumbs up! Highly recommended.


    Fighters

    Buffs

    • Bravery: fighters now get a bonus against fear effects. It's not bad, but should have been higher (it's still worse than what a bard gets just for having a good Will save).
    • Armour Training: fighters get to move at full speed in medium and eventually heavy armour, and modify their armour's max Dex and ACP upwards and downwards. Fighters should now be able to have the best AC of all the core martial classes.
    • Weapon Training: this is the big one. Free Weapon Focus with weapon groups, not specific weapons, and a damage bonus into the bargain. It gets better as you go up levels, and lets you add additional groups too.
    • There are a bunch of new fighter feats. I haven't had the chance to look at them properly yet. Oh, and fighters can now make magic weapons and armour with the Master Craftsman feat.


    Nerfs

    • Various fighter feats are now less exciting than they used to be. Power Attack now gives better damage returns, but can't be adjusted. Cleave is weaker. Improved Trip & co are weaker.
    • Still only 2+Int skill points. I know, it's not really a nerf, but come on, would 4 really have been too much to ask?


    Verdict?

    Fighters are better . . . but they could have done with more. The Weapon Training and Armour Training gives fighters excellent DPS and AC, but they still suffer from a lack of options and still require a lot of skill in feat choice.


    Sorcerers

    Buffs

    • D6 Hit Die, yay!
    • UMD as a class skill, double yay!
    • Free Eschew Materials. Minor yay, but hey, sorcs really should always have had this.
    • Bloodlines, and this is the big one. Sorcerers now choose a heritage, and get a whole variety of bonuses depending on which one you pick. There's bonus feats, Su, Sp, and Ex abilities, a free class skill, and best of all . . .
    • Bonus spells! A sorcerer now gets a free spell known at every odd-numbered level starting at 3rd! You don't get to pick them, but this gives a massive boost to the Sorcerer's traditional weak point; the lack of spells known. Note that you do not get any of these bonuses if you PrC out, so sorcerers have gone overnight from being the class which you most want to PrC out of, to the class which you almost never want to PrC out of.


    Nerfs

    • Many of the power spells that sorcs used to rely on have been weakened significantly. Alter Self and Glitterdust, the two standouts of Level 2, have both been hit with the nerf stick. Likewise, casting defensively is harder - but even this isn't a true nerf to the class. Sorcerers did great out of Pathfinder.


    Verdict?

    Two thumbs up! The variant bloodlines give you loads more options and toys to play with as a Sorcerer. While they're still a bit behind Wizards, the gap has been closed dramatically; a well-played Sorc should be now able to adventure in a party with a Wizard without worrying about being outclassed.


    Wizards

    Buffs

    • D6 Hit Die, nice.
    • Slightly improved skill list due to skill amalgamation.
    • Arcane Bond - you get to choose between a familiar and an item that lets you spontaneously cast any spell you know 1/day. The flexibility is huge and you can even enchant it, but beware - if you lose it you can't cast any spells without succeeding on a high Spellcraft check. On the other hand, your spellcasting is dependent on an item anyway . . .
    • School powers. Depending on what you specialise in, you get a small selection of special abilities. These are generally mediocre, though the Illusionist gets some nice stuff.
    • Item creation. Though all casters (and now even some noncasters) can make items, wizards are the best placed to take advantage of it. Making items is now generally easier, and best of all, it doesn't cost you XP. Expect the Craft Wondrous Item and Craft Magic Arms and Armour feats to become VERY popular.


    Nerfs

    • Again, many of the spells Wizards used to rely on have been nerfed. The whole Polymorph line has been remodelled and is now much less powerful, as it doesn't replace your physical stats.
    • As with all spellcasting classes, casting defensively is a lot harder.
    • Generalist wizards were awesome in the Paizo Beta, but got beaten heavily with the nerf stick for the final release. Their Hand of the Apprentice power now does damage based on Strength, and their free metamagic is something of a joke. There's even less reason to play a generalist wizard than there was in 3.5, especially since banning schools isn't as penalising as it used to be.


    Verdict?

    Wizards probably got the least out of the Pathfinder remake - of course, some people would say that's no more than they deserved. They're no weaker than they used to be - it's just that other classes are stronger. Even with the changes, though, Wizards still have the most pure spellcasting power of any base class.


    Conclusion


    So, is it worth switching over to Pathfinder? It depends.

    If you hate 3.5, then obviously Pathfinder isn't for you. It's still very recognisably D&D 3rd-ed, and for every one thing that's changed, there are ten things that have been kept the same.

    Where Pathfinder is good is if you like 3.5, but would like to have everything in one book instead of twenty. Core-only Pathfinder is much better than core-only 3.5 - the classes are far more interesting.

    If you already make a habit of using the scores of 3.5 splatbooks, then it becomes more of a judgement call. The Pathfinder changes are good IMO, but they come at the expense of full reverse compatibility. You'll have to make adjustments.

    So my recommendation for now would be:

    Want to play 3.5 with one book? Use Pathfinder.
    Want to play 3.5 with twenty books? Stick with 3.5.

    So there you have it. Hope it was useful.

    - Saph
    Last edited by Saph; 2009-10-12 at 12:49 PM.

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Thanks, that was a nice read.

    Since I never worried much about game balance to begin with, I'm in favor of classes that are more fun to play. For that matter, seeing one of those level-by-level grids with actual class features in them is much more appealing to me than the 3E core wizard and fighter.
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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Thank you. I found several very intersting informations.
    Warning: my time zone and internet acces may lead to strange/late post answers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    The rogue isn't really using charisma in melee, the rogue is applying Ability Score #6 to his Type-One attacks.
    Quote Originally Posted by ken-do-nim View Post
    DMing is how you turn D&D from a game into a hobby.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maroon View Post
    Players can see a story where there isn't one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    For 4.0? I expect them to whine to the DM until he makes the big bad boogeyman go away.

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Sounds like a fair analysis. I like what they have done with fighters, but also wish they had done more. Not too happy about the increase in sorcerer/wizard hit die, but no big deal on the whole.
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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Judging by this analysis, Pathfinder might be a good choice for my group after all. We never had much patience for sourcebooks.
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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    Sounds like a fair analysis. I like what they have done with fighters, but also wish they had done more. Not too happy about the increase in sorcerer/wizard hit die, but no big deal on the whole.
    Yeah, people of my previous gaming group said to me that is odd, the first time I said it to them.

    Guess who whined more? The sorcerer and the wizard.

    "But.. Arcane casters MUST have d4!"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    The rogue isn't really using charisma in melee, the rogue is applying Ability Score #6 to his Type-One attacks.
    Quote Originally Posted by ken-do-nim View Post
    DMing is how you turn D&D from a game into a hobby.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maroon View Post
    Players can see a story where there isn't one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    For 4.0? I expect them to whine to the DM until he makes the big bad boogeyman go away.

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    My DM has taken to allowing players to choose between Pathfinder and 3.5 core classes. Additionally, any rogue "types" get d8 HD, any wizard/sorcerer "types" get d6 HD - everyone has Pathfinder HD. He's also amalgamated the skill list to something closer to Pathfinder. It's nice. I'm going to have to convince him to let my Wizard uses XP-less crafting now, though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Ring of Evasion means never playing a monk with monk levels again. There is just no reason to dip that stuff. I know we're all about using every part of the buffalo here, but can we just admit that it's inedible?

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    That was by far the most cogent summary I have seen. In light of it, I will be trying PF over winter break.
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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    I can see the benefits for some groups- but those aren't groups I'd play with given an alternative. As far as I can see, it mixes in a heavy dose of the same changes 4E made while still adhering to 3.5 dogma.

    For someone who owns both 4th and 3.5 (and 2nd ed), and is comfortable with lots of houseruling, can anyone explain exactly why I would spend money on this?
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Cool, glad you guys liked it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zincorium View Post
    For someone who owns both 4th and 3.5 (and 2nd ed), and is comfortable with lots of houseruling, can anyone explain exactly why I would spend money on this?
    Because you can use the Pathfinder SRD and get pretty much all the rules for free? :P

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    There's generally less reason to take a noncore race.
    People do realize that most of the time non-core races were choosen for flavor reasons and not power reasons, right? Most 3.5 non-core races are actually weaker (when you figure in racial HD and LA) than the core races. There is a reason most of the Optimizer Boards choose human in 3.5 as a starting point.

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by pres_man View Post
    People do realize that most of the time non-core races were choosen for flavor reasons and not power reasons, right? Most 3.5 non-core races are actually weaker (when you figure in racial HD and LA) than the core races.
    But they also outnumber the core races by 100 to 1 or so. It doesn't matter that there are 20 Gnome variants that nobody uses, because the Whisper Gnome is the one that gets picked.

    The Pathfinder Gnome, on the other hand, gets +2 Con +2 Cha -2 Str, which probably makes it better than just about any 3.5 races for a Cha-based caster.

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Overall, an intelligent analysis and a lot of interesting stuff. I may have to look at Pathfinder again at some point. I do have a few questions, though.

    First, what has your experience been with rogues? On paper, they certainly picked up a number of buffs...but at the same time, ranged rogues suffered some fairly crippling indirect nerfs that largely prevent ranged sneak attacks.

    Second, have you done any playing or mathematical testing of combat maneuvers past, say, 5th level? And are you quite sure that the CMD calculation is 10 + modifiers and not 15 + modifiers? It was 15 + modifiers as recently as the iconic characters that Paizo presented just prior to the hardcover release.

    Third, isn't Concentration a level check instead of Spellcraft-based these days?

    Fourth, no offense, but how do you come up with the idea that there's anything good about PF Power Attack? The damage output isn't better at all - you get a better return if you're not THFing, but since Power Attack is capped as low as it is, you do substantially less damage than a 3.5 fighter would.

    Fifth, I get the impression from your review that you see Pathfinder as essentially a 3.5 redux - it's buffed a few things here and there, nerfed a few things here and there, but overall most of the basic game dynamics (including the inherent advantages casters have over non-casters) are basically similar. Is that a fair representation of what you intended to express?

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by imperialspectre View Post
    Second, have you done any playing or mathematical testing of combat manoeuvres past, say, 5th level? And are you quite sure that the CMD calculation is 10 + modifiers and not 15 + modifiers? It was 15 + modifiers as recently as the iconic characters that Paizo presented just prior to the hard cover release.
    Definitely "10", see the Pathfinder SRD: Combat

    Quote Originally Posted by imperialspectre View Post
    Fourth, no offense, but how do you come up with the idea that there's anything good about PF Power Attack? The damage output isn't better at all - you get a better return if you're not THFing, but since Power Attack is capped as low as it is, you do substantially less damage than a 3.5 fighter would.
    I tend to agree, but then the 3.0 version is the only one I would consider using.
    Last edited by Matthew; 2009-10-09 at 11:02 AM.
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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by imperialspectre View Post
    First, what has your experience been with rogues? On paper, they certainly picked up a number of buffs...but at the same time, ranged rogues suffered some fairly crippling indirect nerfs that largely prevent ranged sneak attacks.
    Haven't had a chance to take a good look at them yet. So far they seem to have had one major buff (the Rogue Talents) but are otherwise pretty similar.

    Quote Originally Posted by imperialspectre View Post
    Third, isn't Concentration a level check instead of Spellcraft-based these days?
    Quite right; looks like they changed that from the Beta. I'll correct it.

    Quote Originally Posted by imperialspectre View Post
    Fourth, no offense, but how do you come up with the idea that there's anything good about PF Power Attack? The damage output isn't better at all - you get a better return if you're not THFing, but since Power Attack is capped as low as it is, you do substantially less damage than a 3.5 fighter would.
    You don't get to choose your penalty, but assuming you're THFing (which is why you're using Power Attack, right?) you get 3:1 instead of 2:1. I'm not sure whether this is a good deal or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by imperialspectre View Post
    Fifth, I get the impression from your review that you see Pathfinder as essentially a 3.5 redux - it's buffed a few things here and there, nerfed a few things here and there, but overall most of the basic game dynamics (including the inherent advantages casters have over non-casters) are basically similar. Is that a fair representation of what you intended to express?
    Pretty much. I do think it narrows the caster/noncaster gap slightly, though, and to be honest I've never bought into the belief on this board that casters are always better than noncasters. (At level 11+, sure, but not at level 3.)

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Thanks for writing this up Saph. It is appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    [*]Weapon Training: this is the big one. Free Weapon Focus with weapon groups, not specific weapons, and a damage bonus into the bargain. It gets better as you go up levels, and lets you add additional groups too.
    This is potentially a huge bonus. There are a bunch of feats out there that would be quite potent if they didn't require Weapon Focus. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking Weapon Supremacy, Blood Spiked Charger, Anvil of Thunder, Hammer's Edge, Lightning Mace, and Three Mountains. There are a ton of different combos out there. If Improved Trip et al suck now (debatable), then perhaps the solution for Fighters is to buy an Aptitude enchanted weapon and invest your boatload of feats in non-core feats. For damage, just get really big. For special effects, focus on Daze, Fear, Standstill, creating difficult terrain, etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    So my recommendation for now would be:

    Want to play 3.5 with one book? Use Pathfinder.
    Want to play 3.5 with twenty books? Stick with 3.5.
    This, exactly. Pathfinder is a huge improvement over core only 3.5. I'm playing Temple of Elemental Evil right now. Pretty faithful to the core only rules. And dear gods do I wish it was Pathfinder instead. But for my regular gaming group that's been playing D&D for 20 years, I highly doubt we'll adopt Pathfinder.

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Did pathfinder ever change the amounts of bonuses since alpha, like those for monks and fighter?

    Alpha was a mess. In theory the ideas were nice, but fall apart if put to the test. They simplified half the skills and added new ones, making the system more complicated overall. The numbers bonuses showed a lack of understanding or playtesting on how far a +X goes. A minor understanding of optimization can lead to a lot of 95% hit chances and 95% miss chances. Meanwhile their other abilities remained unchanged; so what they were great at they become OP at, and what people complain about isn't any different. Abilities differ wildly in power because of underestimation/overestimation, often related to inability to compare +X bonuses to damage to situational bonuses to etc. So how much of this did they fix and how much was left the same?
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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    Sounds like a fair analysis. I like what they have done with fighters, but also wish they had done more. Not too happy about the increase in sorcerer/wizard hit die, but no big deal on the whole.
    I agree with you on this. Its odd thinking about a wizards having d6 hd..


    I still get mixed reviews on Pathfinder in general.
    I think it really depends on the gamer.

    I have noticed a trend though Um here in New England it appears that the younger crowd seems more into pathfinder then the older crowd.

    I ain't switchen to PF any time soon, but it is interesting to here peoples thoughts and opinions about it...

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  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    HYou don't get to choose your penalty, but assuming you're THFing (which is why you're using Power Attack, right?) you get 3:1 instead of 2:1. I'm not sure whether this is a good deal or not.
    Statistically, it's only a better deal if you could only PA for a couple points anyway. Most of the time if I'm Power Attacking with a 3.5 beatstick, I'm dumping a lot more than the cap in.

    At low levels (2-5), it's not even close, because 2 or 3 multiplied by 2 is better than 1 multiplied by 3 - but it's still not a huge loss. At higher levels, it's certainly not as good, because attacks scale faster than AC most of the time and you're going to be Power Attacking for a hell of a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    Pretty much. I do think it narrows the caster/noncaster gap slightly, though, and to be honest I've never bought into the belief on this board that casters are always better than noncasters. (At level 11+, sure, but not at level 3.)
    I personally mark the break point where there's a clear difference at around 5th or 6th level, because that's where casters get to do encounter-altering buffs or disables every encounter in a normal day. Before that, lack of spell slots is a problem.

    One more question: how much of a change do you think it would make to incorporate Spell Compendium and MIC into the Paizo "core"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    This is potentially a huge bonus. There are a bunch of feats out there that would be quite potent if they didn't require Weapon Focus. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking Weapon Supremacy, Blood Spiked Charger, Anvil of Thunder, Hammer's Edge, Lightning Mace, and Three Mountains. There are a ton of different combos out there. If Improved Trip et al suck now (debatable), then perhaps the solution for Fighters is to buy an Aptitude enchanted weapon and invest your boatload of feats in non-core feats. For damage, just get really big. For special effects, focus on Daze, Fear, Standstill, creating difficult terrain, etc.
    If the fighter class feature actually said "this ability counts as having Weapon Focus in the weapon in your group," then yes. It doesn't. I think that would be a reasonable houserule.

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by imperialspectre View Post
    I personally mark the break point where there's a clear difference at around 5th or 6th level, because that's where casters get to do encounter-altering buffs or disables every encounter in a normal day. Before that, lack of spell slots is a problem.
    *shrug* I find casters pretty balanced at level 5-6, actually. Opinions vary.

    Quote Originally Posted by imperialspectre View Post
    One more question: how much of a change do you think it would make to incorporate Spell Compendium and MIC into the Paizo "core"?
    MiC would fit in fine. Spell Compendium would give a major power boost to casters, however, as one of the things that limits Pathfinder casters is that many of their best spells have been nerfed a bit.

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    • Races - All of the base races are now much stronger. They all get a net bonus to abilities (elves are +2 Dex +2 Int -2 Con, humans and half-elves are +2 to any one stat). They also get extra abilities, some of which are quite nice (elves get free Spell Penetration, for instance).
    • Effect - There's generally less reason to take a noncore race. Elves are much better. Half-elves and half-orcs no longer suck.
    Elves are not better. At least in 3.X you had a reason to pick Int elves. Now you haven't, ever, as humans, half-elves and half-orcs provide a bonuses to any mental attribute without penalty to Con. Half-orcs are strictly inferior to humans beyond very low levels. So, only half-elves got any improvements.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    [*]Effect - Characters are now encouraged to be at least moderately competent at all of their class skills. Since putting 1 rank into a class skill gives you a +4 bonus, there's no real reason not to do it once you've levelled up a few times and have the points to play with.
    +4 is not "moderately competent". In fact, most skills that are actually relevant past low levels still must be maxed out and, preferably, paired with a high Ability to work reliably. Simply because they are going to be opposed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    [LIST][*]Hit Points - Slightly higher;
    Arcane spellcasters get +2 HP per level, this is not "slightly" higher.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    [*]Effect - This seems to be the subject of a lot of debate, so let's look at a specific example. Bob the 2nd-Level Human Fighter with the Improved Trip Feat wants to trip an Ogre. [*]Under 3.5 Rules: Bob has Strength 16, a MW weapon, and +2 BAB. First he has to hit the Ogre's touch AC of 8: no problem there. He then needs to win an opposed roll. His bonus is +7, the Ogre's is +9. Not good odds, and the ogre can counter-trip him. Bob will need to get an Enlarge Person off the party wizard for this to be worth trying. That'll push him up to +12 against the Ogre's +9, which makes it worth trying . . . but you can't always count on the wizard buffing you, and you still risk a counter-trip. [*]Under Pathfinder Rules: Bob has Strength 18, a MW weapon, and +2 BAB (humans in Pathfinder get +2 to one stat, ie Strength for a Fighter). He makes one roll with his Combat Maneuver Bonus of +8 (+4 for Strength, +2 BAB, +2 Improved Trip) against the Ogre's CMD of 17 (10 + 3 BAB + 5 Str -1 Dex +1 Size). 60% chance of success, and you aren't counter-tripped unless you fail by 10 or more (which is impossible in this case). Favourable odds.
    This comparison does not take into account that Imp.Trip in 3.X actually makes Trip worth trying, by allowing you to make follow-up attacks. In PF, it doesn't. In PF you need to wait for +6 BAB and blow and extra feat to get follow-up attacks at all. Moreover, in PF you need to spend AoOs to use them. Chances of success only matter, if the action is actually worth using in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    In general, the Pathfinder base classes are quite a lot stronger than the 3.5 ones.
    How about goddamn fighter? Or meleeists in general, except, perhaps, the paladin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    They also tend to keep getting class features as they level, many of which are tied to their class level. This combined with the favoured class rules makes single-classing much more attractive compared to multiclassing or taking a PrC.
    So, basically, characters that always were OK with staying at the base class to level 20 (i.e., full casters) get a pile of bonuses, and characters that depended on multiclassing and level-dipping to work (i.e., almost everyone else) get the shaft.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    Two thumbs up! Highly recommended.
    Paladin indeed is passable. Still no tactical options and little ability to deal with threats that deny full attacks, but it gets enough bonuses and abilities to be worth considering.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    Fighters are better
    No, they aren't. Non-archer fighters were nerfed to hell through nerfing Power Attack and Improved Trip. And archer fighters are hard to build without weapon enhancements from 3.X supplements.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    The Weapon Training and Armour Training gives fighters excellent DPS and AC, but they still suffer from a lack of options and still require a lot of skill in feat choice.
    "Excellent AC" is something like AC 32 by level 6 or AC 51 by level 10. I.e., something that actually makes enemies miss you. PF fighters do not hold a candle to that. Armor Training does not even actually increase AC on non-archer fighters, like, at all, because you're highly unlikely to have enough Dex to go beyond the limits of your mythral armor anyway. Weapon training gives +4 attack/+4 dmg by level 17. This is piddly, and saying that fighters actually have "excellent DPS" - after changes to Power Attack nerfed charge builds - sounds like mockery.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    Two thumbs up! The variant bloodlines give you loads more options and toys to play with as a Sorcerer. While they're still a bit behind Wizards, the gap has been closed dramatically; a well-played Sorc should be now able to adventure in a party with a Wizard without worrying about being outclassed.
    Options =/= viable options. Sorcerers get random crap that is considerably weaker than arcane spells, and, therefore, will hardly ever be used, or, at best, minor resistances, wizards get serious improvements to spellcasting, such as loosened restrictions for specialists and save-lowering fields. Who benefits from PF more is obvious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    Wizards probably got the least out of the Pathfinder remake - of course, some people would say that's no more than they deserved.
    Yeah, right. See above.

  22. - Top - End - #22
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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    I must be the only person who actually likes the new Power Attack. Players being able to get an extra ten damage at level one always seemed weird to me. The damage output at low levels is lower, sure, but it seems to scale rather nicely. The dumb thing about it is that they can't choose how much attack to sacrifice, but that's easy to fix.

    The only thing I really don't like is how strong the new wizard is, but I'm still gonna give Pathfinder a whirl. Also, I feel like perception should be a fighter class skill, but again, that's really easy to implement.

    Nice review, are you going to update it later with your experience with other classes?
    Last edited by Ellington; 2009-10-09 at 01:18 PM.
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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    So, apparently, my suspicions are confirmed. The review is written in slightly biased language and I'm not just imagining it because I'm a confrontational cynic. :D

    But I don't see much issue with the last paragraph. Presentation of details IMO slanted towards Pathfinder (the actual details are just facts), but the final analysis seems solid.

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by FatR View Post
    Elves are not better. At least in 3.X you had a reason to pick Int elves. Now you haven't, ever, as humans, half-elves and half-orcs provide a bonuses to any mental attribute without penalty to Con.
    Uh, no. Elves get +2 Int +2 Dex -2 Con. The Con penalty isn't as big a deal as it was in 3.5, as there are various ways of getting more HP now and you don't have the Concentration skill playing off it. My 2nd-level elven wizard has 23 HP; please feel free to explain how having 25 HP instead would be such a huge difference. In addition, she gets free Spell Penetration and a bonus on identifying items and on Perception. Whether that's better than the human bonuses is arguable, but to claim that there's "no reason" to pick elf as a race is frankly silly.

    Quote Originally Posted by FatR View Post
    So, basically, characters that always were OK with staying at the base class to level 20 (i.e., full casters) get a pile of bonuses, and characters that depended on multiclassing and level-dipping to work (i.e., almost everyone else) get the shaft.
    Not really, no.

    Quote Originally Posted by FatR View Post
    Options =/= viable options. Sorcerers get random crap that is considerably weaker than arcane spells, and, therefore, will hardly ever be used, or, at best, minor resistances, wizards get serious improvements to spellcasting, such as loosened restrictions for specialists and save-lowering fields. Who benefits from PF more is obvious.
    Yeah, and the answer is "sorcerers". Wizards get minor class features plus loosened restrictions. Sorcerers get twice as many class features plus bonus spells known, bonus feats, and bonus skills.

    I'm not going to bother to answer the rest of your criticisms, because you're not being remotely rational about this. Honestly, FatR, it sounds like you're mad because I'm not being sufficiently nasty about Pathfinder to suit you. You seem to have a huge chip on your shoulder regarding the system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellington View Post
    Nice review, are you going to update it later with your experience with other classes?
    Could do. We've got a Ranger, a Rogue, a Barb, and a Cleric in the party, so I might do them next.
    Last edited by Saph; 2009-10-09 at 01:23 PM.

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Foryn Gilnith View Post
    So, apparently, my suspicions are confirmed. The review is written in slightly biased language and I'm not just imagining it because I'm a confrontational cynic. :D
    *sigh* Foryn, it's based on play experience. Of course it's biased. If you think you can write a better analysis, go right ahead.

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Saph's report is slightly biased and it does have some mistakes, but it's nowhere near as badly biased as FaTR made it out to be - if anyone is biased, it's FaTR.

    Here, I'll refute FaTR's points in turn. And yes, I'm biased towards PF as I've been playing it recently and enjoying a lot of the 'house rules' that it uses.

    Mostly, however, I'm doing this because I don't think FaTR knows what he's talking about, and I don't really like his tone of argument either, especially when Saph went through a lot of work to write up actual play experience.

    Elves: elves are stronger than they were in 3.5, because now they get 2 bonuses instead of 1 - how hard is that to understand? There is still incentive to play an elven wizard, because they get an innate +2 to Perception, +2 to CL checks to overcome SR, +2 to Spellcraft checks to identify magic items, plus all of the other random crap like immunity to magic sleep effects and low-light vision that they got in 3.5. Except detecting secret doors, oddly enough.

    And it's not as if every 3.5 game let you play a gray (int-based) elf - those were put in the MM for a reason, after all. So if anything, you have a stronger incentive to play an elven wizard in PF than you did in core 3.5!

    Are elves better wizards than humans? Personally, I'd say it's a draw. As for half-orcs, I think they got the shaft here, hands-down.

    Skills: I'd argue that +4 is moderately competent for levels 1-10, especially since in 3.5 you would have a +1 to those skills instead - so FaTR is arguing against something that isn't great, but it's still better than 3.5. The 3.5 system was designed around the all-or-nothing approach to skills, and the bonus is like bumping all of your skills up by 3 or so without any real drawbacks except having some of your skills slightly less than max'd out.

    I play a conjurer in PF - more than half my skill points are in cross-class skills, because I'm ahead of the numbers curve in my class skills, and the system doesn't punish me so badly for taking cross-class skills. If there's anything PF did right, I think it was the skills system.

    Hit points: OK, it's moderately higher instead of slightly higher. Jeez. The d6 people got an increase too, so it's not like the sorcerer is on par with the rogue all of a sudden. If you don't like extra HP, give your character a 10 Con. Done.

    Improved Trip: First off, where do you get the idea that you need to spend AOO's to use combat maneuvers? That's not listed anywhere that I've seen - you must be working off of some early beta document. I'm not a big fan of the change, but at least get your facts straight.

    And you have to spend an extra feat, but you gain +2/+2 (+4) against being tripped by opponents as a side-benefit, and your combat maneuvers now work off your BAB instead of your current attack bonus, so iterative attacks using a combat maneuver are much more likely to connect.

    Melee classes: I think the paladin, ranger, monk, and barbarian are all undeniably stronger than in 3.5. For the fighter, I think he's stronger than in 3.5, but compared with the others he's not buffed to their level.

    Multi-classing: Again, the melee characters didn't "get the shaft" any more than they were shafted in 3.5 - in most cases, they got stronger. And sorcerers were hardly OK with staying in sorcerer from 1-20, most jumped ship as soon as they possibly could (though given the horrible core PrCs for sorcerer, that pretty much meant Archmage).

    Paladins keeping up with full attacks: the following methods to help melees make up for having trouble with full attacks were added in PF:
    -Lunge feat: lets you hit enemies from another 5ft (10ft with reach) away at a -2 penalty, so you don't have to move so much.
    -Stand Still feat: from the Complete Psionic, was made core, which makes it easier to keep opponents from running away.
    -Scorpion Style: reduce an opponent's style to 5ft (for monks)
    -Cleave: make 2 attacks as a standard action at -2 each against 2 foes you threaten, making it more useful for keeping up with full attacks than the old cleave
    -Step Up: take a 5-ft step as an immediate action to follow somebody retreating.
    -Strike Back: attack foes with greater reach than yours after they've hit you, so you don't need to move up to them.
    -The Vital Strike chain: so even if you only get 1 attack in, that attack can still deal x2/x3/x4 damage.

    That's before looking at class-related abilities, such as the barbarian's rage ability to pursue a withdrawing foe, etc.

    Fighters: I'd argue they are better than core 3.5, hands-down - just not as much better than the paladin and others are, in part because combat style feats now take 2 total - but given that the fighter gets a feat every single level (odds = base, evens = fighter feats), it's not like they are going to be behind on feats in the end. Seriously, look at the feats I listed above - that's not even half the new combat feats included. Their skills list is larger and more useful, and shockingly enough, they get something every level, even a capstone! And the weapons training ability will improve their combat maneuvers too, so by 6th level PF fighters are better than 3.5 core fighters even at that.

    Sorcerers: Sorcerers get some solid abilities, better than the wizard path stuff in general, and also some bonus feats and whatnot. If you read the sorcerer abilities, they get bonus feats, bonus skills, and at least 1 extra spell known per level - that's arcane spells right there. And that's before their powers, which vary wildly from crap to awesome.

    At worst, they are still more fun and interesting than core 3.5 sorcerers, probably even with houserules. Are they equal to wizards? I'd say probably not, but as Talyn says, the gap has been closed dramatically.

    Wizards: Eh, I think they should have been nerfed further at the higher levels, but the changes that were made mostly just make it so that levels 1-3 are a lot more survivable and fun, by giving some daily attacks and unlimited cantrips.
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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    I like pathfinder, but disagree with some of the arguments that have been raised here.

    Wizards got a LOT out of pathfinder. Less flavorful improvements, but more crunch than even the sorcerer, certainly more than non-casters.

    1. Wizards can now cast spells from opposition schools. Yes, it takes 2 slots of that level, but who cares when you are talking about spells like contingency. One more hit to the poor invoker. This means they can use items from those schools as well.

    2. The bonded item lets wizards pull 1 spell per day FROM THEIR SPELLBOOK. Wow. Goodbye to the limited advantage of spontaneous casters, wizards now have the exact "I win" button for the encounter they are fighting once per day.

    They also get some minor bonuses based on their schools (well, except for Diviner, and generalist, whose bonuses are huge) Compared with the minor bonuses of low level sorcerers, (I get claws? really? Ooh, electricity resist 5!) wizards are ahead.

    They are even further ahead of the non-casters. Like Saph, My level 2 wizard has over 20 hit points, more than our party's monk. The unlimited use of cantrips is a big + (at low levels, Daze at will is a big deal) and even bigger is the fact that every caster is now easily able to swing a 20 on their casting stat at level 1. That means a first level wizard gets 1 spell, +1 (specialization), +2 (int), +1 from their spellbook. That is a save or suck for every encounter of the day, +1 for an enemy who saves, + cantrips and at will attack powers.

    I seriously am thinking about using all pathfinder classes, except that I would keep wizard from 3.5.

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    where do you get the idea that you need to spend AOO's to use combat maneuvers?
    He's right, but his comment is misleading. The closest thing in PF to the old Improved Trip is Greater Trip, which means that when your target falls prone, they provoke an AoO from everyone who threatens them (instead of you getting a free attack).

    It's now more useful if you co-ordinate your actions with the rest of the party, but weaker if you go solo. In short, closer to the ideal.
    Last edited by lesser_minion; 2009-10-09 at 04:28 PM.

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaeus View Post
    I like pathfinder, but disagree with some of the arguments that have been raised here.

    Wizards got a LOT out of pathfinder. Less flavorful improvements, but more crunch than even the sorcerer, certainly more than non-casters.

    1. Wizards can now cast spells from opposition schools. Yes, it takes 2 slots of that level, but who cares when you are talking about spells like contingency. One more hit to the poor invoker. This means they can use items from those schools as well.

    2. The bonded item lets wizards pull 1 spell per day FROM THEIR SPELLBOOK. Wow. Goodbye to the limited advantage of spontaneous casters, wizards now have the exact "I win" button for the encounter they are fighting once per day.

    They also get some minor bonuses based on their schools (well, except for Diviner, and generalist, whose bonuses are huge).
    I agree with some of this, but two caveats:

    1) Specialist Wizards can now prepare opposition schools, but it costs twice as many spell slots. This is fine for stuff that you cast on non-combat days (who cares if you take 2 slots to cast Contingency, you're not using them for anything else) but is a major sacrifice while adventuring (my 7th-level Wizard is not going to sacrifice two 4th-level slots just so she can prepare a Confusion).

    2) Generalist Wizards are NOT good anymore. You're thinking of the Paizo Beta, where yes, they were awesome, but they got dragged out and beaten with the nerf stick for the currrent version. Here's what Pathfinder Generalist Wizards currently get (taken from the SRD):

    Quote Originally Posted by Pathfinder SRD
    Universalist School

    Wizards who do not specialize (known as as universalists) have the most diversity of all arcane spellcasters.

    Hand of the Apprentice (Su): You cause your melee weapon to fly from your grasp and strike a foe before instantly returning to you. As a standard action, you can make a single attack using a melee weapon at a range of 30 feet. This attack is treated as a ranged attack with a thrown weapon, except that you add your Intelligence modifier on the attack roll instead of your Dexterity modifier (damage still relies on Strength). This ability cannot be used to perform a combat maneuver. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.

    Metamagic Mastery (Su): At 8th level, you can apply any one metamagic feat that you know to a spell you are about to cast. This does not alter the level of the spell or the casting time. You can use this ability once per day at 8th level and one additional time per day for every two wizard levels you possess beyond 8th. Any time you use this ability to apply a metamagic feat that increases the spell level by more than 1, you must use an additional daily usage for each level above 1 that the feat adds to the spell. Even though this ability does not modify the spell's actual level, you cannot use this ability to cast a spell whose modified spell level would be above the level of the highest-level spell that you are capable of casting.
    Hand of the Apprentice is hopeless for damage because it deals damage based on Strength - quick show of hands, how many of you have Wizard PCs with an impressive Strength modifier? And Metamagic Mastery, at level 8, gives you one spell level worth of metamagic, once per day. So you can Extend one spell, once. By comparison, a Lesser Metamagic Rod of Extend has three uses, costs 3,000, and doesn't require a feat. Pretty underwhelming.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaeus View Post
    the fact that every caster is now easily able to swing a 20 on their casting stat at level 1.
    Uh, how? Standard point buy in Pathfinder is 15 points. Starting with an 18 in any stat costs you 17 points. The rest of your stats are going to suck horribly if you start with a 20. Sure it's possible, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.
    Last edited by Saph; 2009-10-09 at 04:31 PM.

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    Default Re: [Pathfinder] Detailed Report - Overall Changes & Class Spotlight

    Sorry, I misread the bonus the generalist gets, I'll grant you that.

    Previously, when dropping evocation, I was worried about 2 things. Contingency, and the off chance that I might find a really useful item like a staff of fire. Neither one now applies.

    Standard point buy is 15 points, BUT it assumes 10s in everything and lets you buy down to 7. A human wiz can play very well with a build like 7, 12, 12, 20, 12, 7.

    Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention. Wizards come out much better than sorcerers or most melees on the changes to the skill system. 3.5 wizard with 18 int might have a skill loadout like maximum (Concentration, Spellcraft, Know Arcana + 1 other knowledge, Tumble(cross class)). Pathfinder, the same wizard, now with 20 int, has max ranks in (Spellcraft, 4 knowledges, Acrobatics (which is tumble+ jump and balance), Perception and Stealth). That is a LOT better.
    Last edited by Gnaeus; 2009-10-09 at 05:11 PM.

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