Converting the Witchwarper to PF1: Progression Chart
Posted by Owen K.C. Stephens
Another post working on our PF1 witchwarper. I’ve defined some key class features in draft form, so I think it’s time to begin sketching out a class progression chart. Designing a class for a d20 game involves a lot of interlocking, moving parts, so I rarely try to get everything perfectly set on my first pass. Instead I tackle things I consider key to the class’s feel and/or particularly difficult to define in game terms, then build out from there. That makes it easier to hang later, less important and easier designs on earlier key choices.
That said, it’s important to be willing to change elements you defined early if you find a good reason to in later development. And to think about the implications of design choices as you make them.
For example, this progression chart has an entry for the infinite worlds class feature to get an option when fueled by 7th-level spells (since I currently see this as a full 9-level spellcaster, likely using the arcanist spell progression and casting rules). That’s not something that 6-level spellcasting Sf version can do, and my rough draft of that ability for PF1 doesn’t include it. But I can easily see creating a new, higher level version of that power, and right now that feels like the best solution for a steady and interesting progression of that power. There’s a lot of back-and-forth tweaking when you design a class, and as long as we make a pass through at the end to ensure everything lines up, it’s fine to alter your design expectations as you go through the process.
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special
1 +0 +0 +2 +0 Infinite worlds (1st-level Spells)
2 +1 +0 +3 +0 Paradigm shift
3 +1 +1 +3 +1 Compound sight +1
4 +2 +1 +4 +1 Infinite worlds (2nd-level Spells)
5 +2 +1 +4 +1 Paradigm shift
6 +3 +2 +5 +2 Alternate outcome 1/day, compound sight +2
7 +3 +2 +5 +2 Infinite worlds (3rd-level Spells)
8 +4 +2 +6 +2 Paradigm shift
9 +4 +3 +6 +3 Compound sight +3 (two skills)
10 +5 +3 +7 +3 Infinite worlds (4th-level Spells)
11 +5 +3 +7 +3 Paradigm shift
12 +6 +4 +8 +4 Alternate outcome 2/day, compound sight +4
13 +6 +4 +8 +4 Infinite worlds (5th-level Spells)
14 +7 +4 +9 +4 Paradigm shift
15 +7 +5 +9 +5 Compound sight +5
16 +8 +5 +10 +5 Infinite worlds (6th-level Spells)
17 +8 +5 +10 +5 Paradigm shift
18 +9 +6 +11 +6 Alternate outcome 3/day, compound sight +6
19 +9 +6 +11 +6 Infinite worlds (7th-level Spells)
20 +10 +6 +12 +6 Paradigm shift, reality stutter
I’m happy with all of that… except for 3rd level. On the arcanist chart, our witchwarper won’t get 2nd level spells until 4th. So while many other full spellcasters get a major bump in spell power and spells per day at 3rd, our witchwarper has to settle for +1 to one skill. The same issue kicks in at 15th level… but honestly by 15th level getting any new spells known is such a boost I’m not that worried about it.
I like elegant design, including abilities being gained or progressing in power at set, predictable rates… but that may not be the route to take here. I could add a paradigm shift at 3rd level, outside the normal progression of one per three levels, much as witches get a hex at first, outside their normal progression that starts at 2nd level.
For now, I’ll stick a pin in the idea and see how I feel about it closer to the end of design. I could also just throw in a 1-time bonus at 3rd to give some extra excitement–maybe something like Echoes of Training that let you learn something a version of yourself from an alternate reality trained in, adding a weapon or armor proficiency, and/or another class skill?
I have a Patreon. It helps me carve out the time needed to create these blog posts, and is a great way to let me know what kind of content you enjoy. If you’d like to see more Pathfinder 1st edition options (or more rules for other game systems, fiction, game industry essays, game design articles, worldbuilding tips, whatever!), try joining for just a few bucks and month and letting me know!
About Owen K.C. StephensOwen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at https://www.patreon.com/OwenKCStephens
Posted on March 31, 2022, in Game Design, Pathfinder Development and tagged Base Classes, Development, Fantasy Starfinder, Fantasy Witchwarper, Game Design, gaming, Geekery, Pathfinder First Edition, PC Options. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.