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    Default [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent


    Hi! My name is Forrest Heck, or forrestfire, and you might know me as someone who works for Dreamscarred Press and has run playtests here on GitP in the past. Right now, in addition to the stuff I'm doing with DSP, I've started my own 3pp Pathfinder company where I'm working with some friends and fellow writers to do slightly different ideas that might not fit into DSP's existing pile of material. In particular, though, our flagship right now is a class called the Avowed, which I guess would be something between...

    • A class inspired by the warlock from D&D, like many other 3pps have done (it's almost like a rite of passage for some, up there with "making a fighter fix" ).
    • A love letter to the warlocks of every edition, along with an expansion of psychic magic's themes and fluff.
    • A highly variable class built with the goal of having a set of balanced at-will abilities to choose from, and many different ways to play it based on the choices you make when creating your character.
    • A new subsystem that can be expanded through archetypes, prestige classes, and variant rules.

    In any case, the class and its subsystem can be found at this link here, which will take you to a PDF hosted on Google Drive. Instead of doing things primarily in Google Docs files, FFS goes an extra mile to provide fully-laid-out PDFs with bookmarks, chapters, and color art, for ease of reading and use in games. Sometimes we'll be doing Google Docs if something gets the PDFs delayed, but for the time being, the layouts are just as fun for me to assemble as the project itself. You can also find, in this Google Drive folder, all of Forrestfire Studios' currently-public playtests and any free PDFs or files we've uploaded for people to use. The links to each of the files in the folder will remain the same, thanks to being able to just upload new versions.

    We've been running this playtest for a little while, though it wasn't in full beta form yet. This thread on the paizo boards is where it's been happening thus far, so if you want to go back and see the past changelogs and what's new, you can find it there. We didn't want to post it up on GitP until we were sure we were allowed to, but now we are, so here we go.

    ANYWAY! In the above-linked PDF you'll find the following:

    • The avowed class itself, a new base class that uses the rules systems introduced in the book.
    • A large list of pacts, which are a "subpath" of the class you choose at 1. A given avowed's pact will determine a lot of their class features, and helps enable varying playstyles based on your choice.
    • A chapter of the at-will abilities the avowed can get, called clauses. Those familiar with the source material will find this section familiar; we've got the clauses divided into four grades (least, lesser, greater, and final), with 25 of each grade in the PDF. In addition, we have 14 pulse shapes, which are something like blast shapes, but running on a different system that's designed to allow an avowed to branch out or focus on particular shapes as they like, regardless of what clauses they're picking.
    • A chapter of feats, including 16 new feats (not all of which are avowed-only), as well as notes on how the avowed interacts with a couple specific feats, and reprintings of every feat referenced in the book.
    • A single archetype, called the Tinker, several class feature substutions (think like ACFs), and a magic item for weapon-using avowed.
    • An appendix, with reprintings of all the non-core spells referenced in the book, some notes about item and rules interactions, and alternate favored class bonuses for 90 races, spread across 1pp Pathfinder and DSP's published races.
    • And finally, an extra section with a campaign variant for buying, selling, and using souls. This section is a preview of a later project FFS will be doing, and includes new feats, magic items, plot hooks, and more.


    EDIT: We now also have a second playtest running, as the Avowed 1 project moves towards release. This link will take you to the Google doc for The Avowed: Heart and Soul, which includes two new expansive archetypes for the avowed, new pacts, subpacts, and many new feats. We also included a new race, new traits, and more.

    If you're still with me at the end of this wall of text, I hope you enjoy our work, and I'd love your feedback if you have any. This project has been a long time in the writing, and it's great to have it fully ready for eyes.
    Last edited by Forrestfire; 2017-02-09 at 10:49 AM.
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Well, as an old Warlock Player, I cans ay that this looks interesting.

    Only skimmed it for now, but I`ll give it a deeper read.

    Thank you
    A neutron walks into a bar and says, “How much for a beer?” The bartender says, “For you? No charge.”

    01010100011011110010000001100010011001010010000001 10111101110010001000000110111001101111011101000010 00000111010001101111001000000110001001100101001011 100010111000101110

    Later: An atom walks into a bar an asks the bartender “Have you seen an electron? I left it in here last night.” The bartender says, “Are you sure?” The atom says, “I’m positive.”

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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Hey, Forrest's co-author here. As a longtime friend of hers, I kind of latched onto her hard when I found out she'd be doing this, and I do not regret it one bit. This project has been a massive labor of love - Warlock has always been my favorite third edition class - and I truly hope that you guys enjoy reading and playing it as much as we enjoyed writing it. We've done our absolute best to make sure that everything you loved about the old Warlock is still shining through here, even with our changes. Of course, we're only human (hey, that bonus feat really helps...). so any feedback about your playstyle that we missed is greatly appreciated, in addition to the normal 'balance' and 'readability' concerns. But who really cares about that? (We do. We have spreadsheets. Forrest's an addict.)
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    I'd be wondering since she was consistently referring to it as We, despite the assumption that she was working alone. That said, I love this class. I'm currently playtesting it in one of my home games, an Elemental Pact (Fire) Avowed, as our parties ranged damage dealer, and unlike my first character with this group (a Fire specialized Kineticist) my party is not deathly afraid of her. The Weatherproofing Clause is beautiful and one of my favorites, although I never actually told my party that I used it on them until halfway through my second session with her, for the shock value of dropping an Aether Blast in the middle of melee.

    All in all, I believe this is a very worthy improvement on the Warlock, and takes all of the best options from there and makes them available to us in Pathfinder. Looking forward to seeing Avowed 2 when it comes down the chute. I've already started planning characters for the Self Pact Avowed, and for the Tinker archetype, and I'm sure whatever comes in there will keep more ideas coming.
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Well, this is a great little addition. I can see it being quite useful as well as fun to play. However, there is one thing I would like to see added.

    It would be awesome to see the return of some of the swift-action and free-action debuffs in the vein of the 4e Warlock (which was the one I always thought was the coolest). The ability to curse opponents and level easy debuffs on them is something I see as an iconic part of the class, and I would love to see this somehow represented (it also fits quite well with the occult theme). Maybe the addition of some more complex "curse shapes" in the style of blast shapes could result in a fun build. Perhaps a claiming system akin to the Harbinger could be a fun introduction.
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    I like what there is so far!

    When I get a chance, I'll comb through it for typoes, but meanwhile...

    If I were to use, say, a wand of Fireball with Aether Spark, and an ally affected by my Weatherproofing clause is within the fireball's blast... does my ally take damage? Or are they made immune?

    Also, if magic-psionic transparency is applied to the Tinker archetype (staves = dorjes)... do you think the third selection would become too strong thanks to greater scaling?

    I'm not sure if it needs to be stated, but there are no general rules for dismissing a clause's effects (nor for spell-like abilities in general). They would probably be useful for clauses that may become inconvenient, such as Airspace Control.

    Cloaked in Shadow's momentary strength and dexterity penalties seem to be a bit strange, and could perhaps overcomplicate matters in certain situations. What if a creature had 4 or less strength and dexterity? Does it make sense for the penalty to apply when they're, say, trying to perform acrobatics, and you're just sitting there watching them from stealth/invisibility? Depending on your intent for this clause, better wording would be "you gain a +2 bonus to your attack rolls and save DCs against opponents who cannot perceive you", or something like that.

    Stained-Glass Mirror is neat, but would it be possible to add an option that allows you to choose whether or not someone is affected by the damage? And perhaps allowing Merciful Pulse to apply to its damage...

    Heck, maybe allow Merciful Pulse to also make clause damage be non-lethal?
    Last edited by MilleniaAntares; 2016-12-20 at 03:08 AM.
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Quote Originally Posted by MilleniaAntares View Post
    Also, if magic-psionic transparency is applied to the Tinker archetype (staves = dorjes)... do you think the third selection would become too strong thanks to greater scaling?
    I would think staves would map to psicrowns, not dorjes. Dorjes map to wands.

    Edit: Can't spell and didn't notice till I was quoted :(
    Last edited by phlidwsn; 2016-12-22 at 10:39 AM.

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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    I wasn't expecting to get a character idea on the second page, but that SMB1 reference in the placeholder text made me wonder if a certain visitor to the Mushroom Kingdom got fireballs by making a pact with plant creatures. Firey plant creatures... I think I'm going to remember the name of this publisher.
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Check out their other release, the Spellburst Savant, then. It's currently available on Drivethrurpg
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    So they dont really get spells or powers? They have their own version of casting stuff if i read it correct. Does it fall under arcane, divine, psionic or some other concept? i know you mention it has a psychic twist but i cant really find it from what i read.

    that said it does look very nice. the pacts all give a nice flavour to the class.
    Tinker archetype makes a nice Artificer in pathfinder, since i cant find one anywhere.
    Since there is a connection with DSP, will there be a archetype that grants maneuvers, or maybe a pact?

    i will be bookmarking this for some NPC's im planning. always nice to use good 3pp material to confuse the players :)
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Quote Originally Posted by Swaoeaeieu View Post
    So they dont really get spells or powers? They have their own version of casting stuff if i read it correct. Does it fall under arcane, divine, psionic or some other concept? i know you mention it has a psychic twist but i cant really find it from what i read.
    It clearly mentions the connection with psychic spellcasters, in that avowed can use the occult skill unlocks.

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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Quote Originally Posted by Swaoeaeieu View Post
    So they dont really get spells or powers? They have their own version of casting stuff if i read it correct. Does it fall under arcane, divine, psionic or some other concept? i know you mention it has a psychic twist but i cant really find it from what i read.
    I believe that's covered on page 4.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pact
    This psychic connection also allows the avowed to use psychic skill unlocks as if he could cast psychic spells (see: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Occult Adventures for more details).
    Checking the d20 PF SRD...
    Psychic magic is a third type of magic that functions differently from arcane and divine magic. The occult classes' spell lists include many new spells allowing them to fully express their mental powers.
    Edit: Ninjaxenomorph'd!
    Last edited by KillingAScarab; 2016-12-20 at 11:54 AM.

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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Well, fter a full read I can honestly say that I am REALLY intruiged it so far.

    Some Evoc....I mean Clauses seem a bit useless/overwhelmingly powerful (all in the tradition of the old "`Lock"^^) but I like the flair and added versatility a lot.

    And I truly love the ElderEvil and Self Pacts.
    Last edited by GrayDeath; 2016-12-20 at 12:52 PM.
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    01010100011011110010000001100010011001010010000001 10111101110010001000000110111001101111011101000010 00000111010001101111001000000110001001100101001011 100010111000101110

    Later: An atom walks into a bar an asks the bartender “Have you seen an electron? I left it in here last night.” The bartender says, “Are you sure?” The atom says, “I’m positive.”

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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjaxenomorph View Post
    It clearly mentions the connection with psychic spellcasters, in that avowed can use the occult skill unlocks.
    Quote Originally Posted by KillingAScarab View Post
    I believe that's covered on page 4.



    Checking the d20 PF SRD...


    Edit: Ninjaxenomorph'd!
    allright i concede XD. turns out i just dont know anything about pathfinder psionics :P
    thanks for the pointers
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Wow... I just took the time to look at this a bit... and it looks great! Wonderful job! If my group played Pathfinder, I would definitely use this. But we still play 3.5e and are only comfortable with that so... (Please no Pathfinder is so similar to 3.5e comments, it's called inertia)

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    Last edited by LordOfCain; 2016-12-20 at 05:26 PM.
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    I like it. I like it a lot. I do have concerns about the power of the clauses, in addition to being freely usably all day. But, for a warlock rework, it definitely fits the spirit of the class, and is unarguably a buff in power, and nice, native customization options. It's also a fluff-wise improvement to have specific pacts like 4e did.
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    I think the class and system is really, really neat! I was actually thinking that this was design/mechanics space that I didn' really think was being exploited.

    As a whole, I love it, however, there are a few things which niggle me:
    Fidn Pact Empowerment: Disquieting Gaze. Demoralizing as a free action is neat, but it kinda needs a times/round limit to stop Soulless Gaze+Any other damnation feat->"I can make the DC, so you are Panicked for an arbitrary amount of time"
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Quote Originally Posted by Swaoeaeieu View Post
    allright i concede XD. turns out i just dont know anything about pathfinder psionics :P
    thanks for the pointers
    Psychic is not psionics. Psychic magic is a thing that paizo created with Occult Adventures, Psionics was Dreamscarred Press' original flagship product
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    Psychic is not psionics. Psychic magic is a thing that paizo created with Occult Adventures, Psionics was Dreamscarred Press' original flagship product
    It's an easy mistake to make, though, as the two terms are generally interchangeable (see the classic psionic class the Psychic Warrior).
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    In general, this is favorable to the casters.
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Quote Originally Posted by GrayDeath View Post
    Some Evoc....I mean Clauses seem a bit useless/overwhelmingly powerful (all in the tradition of the old "`Lock"^^) but I like the flair and added versatility a lot.
    This is something we've tried very hard to avoid - are there any in particular that stand out to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sayt View Post
    Fidn Pact Empowerment: Disquieting Gaze. Demoralizing as a free action is neat, but it kinda needs a times/round limit to stop Soulless Gaze+Any other damnation feat->"I can make the DC, so you are Panicked for an arbitrary amount of time"
    Yeah, this is something we just caught. Given the obvious thematic connection between Damnation feats and Fiend pact... next release should have it properly nerfed to once per round.
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Skimming it, I love the Shapes. Wish there was a extra shape feat.
    The ability to
    1) "Fireball"- Aether Blast
    2) "Nuke outward
    3) Barrage
    4) Chain Lightning- Cascade

    Even a Archetype that got more shapes would be cool.

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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Quote Originally Posted by Taveena View Post
    This is something we've tried very hard to avoid - are there any in particular that stand out to you?



    Yeah, this is something we just caught. Given the obvious thematic connection between Damnation feats and Fiend pact... next release should have it properly nerfed to once per round.
    Well, that was one, also (at work atm so I cant check) the "Make ones own luck" falls into the problematc "gets redundant quickly" problem.
    Not a huge thing, as you can exchange Clauses, but a thing nonetheless.

    I will pour over it once home (or once in the holidays at the latest) and post what I think and why. :)
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    Later: An atom walks into a bar an asks the bartender “Have you seen an electron? I left it in here last night.” The bartender says, “Are you sure?” The atom says, “I’m positive.”

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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    How would Dusk Pulse's fatigue interact with say Aether Swarm, would that be exhausted after 2 failed saves?

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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Quote Originally Posted by LordOfCain View Post
    My only question is: How much did you have to pay for the art? As an aspiring publisher, if I ever have enough time, I would need art.
    Just wanted to quote this to make sure it didn't get lost. If you aren't comfortable answering this, that's fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Quote Originally Posted by LordOfCain View Post
    Just wanted to quote this to make sure it didn't get lost. If you aren't comfortable answering this, that's fine.
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrestfire View Post
    Oh, sorry. I've been a bit busy and wanted to respond to each person's replies in one fell swoop, but hadn't gotten to it yet. I'll have free time tomorrow to do so, but in the meantime; I have a subscription to Adobe Stock for art; it costs me $30 per month (with a 12-month subscription), and I get 10 images per month (unused ones roll over to the next month). It's a bit of work to sift through all the truly awful stock art, but worth it.
    Thanks, that's really useful because the art you have looks great to me and... I kinda have a lotta spare time if I want to go this route.
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Quote Originally Posted by GrayDeath View Post
    Well, that was one, also (at work atm so I cant check) the "Make ones own luck" falls into the problematc "gets redundant quickly" problem.
    Not a huge thing, as you can exchange Clauses, but a thing nonetheless.

    I will pour over it once home (or once in the holidays at the latest) and post what I think and why. :)
    I'm surprised to hear that - the 3.5e equivalent was considered to be fairly weak at lower levels but very strong later on as your charisma rose. Why causes it to become redundant, in your mind?
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    I've been thinking about Merciful Pulse... Perhaps it would be better off as a catch-all non-lethal option. That is, it does what it does now, and also makes clause damage non-lethal, and lets the weapon/spell you channel through also be non-lethal (as well as giving the option to go lethal with stuff like saps).

    Quote Originally Posted by phlidwsn View Post
    I wound think staves would map to psicrowns, not dorjes. Dorjes map to wands.
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Quote Originally Posted by Taveena View Post
    I'm surprised to hear that - the 3.5e equivalent was considered to be fairly weak at lower levels but very strong later on as your charisma rose. Why causes it to become redundant, in your mind?
    Stack it up to me being really really tired.

    I misremembered the old one having an upgrade Invocation to all three saves later on and (wrongly, again) thought it applied here too.

    I obey to only go over it all fully after having had a few days free to clear my mind.


    One question however: do you plan to add a certain bent to clauses for the Pacts?
    Either by giving each pact 2-4 exclusive clauses or (probably better to balance and easier) taking one of each grade that works slightly differently depending on your pact?

    That would help making the different pacts even more unique (and build on the greatest improvement your version has so far: more variety).
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    Default Re: [Forrestfire Studios] Playtest: The Avowed, a 3pp warlock with a psychic bent

    Does the Aether Pulse have a listed damage type? I know there are ways to change its damage type, but what is the base?
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