Pathfinder Playtest: Resonance Test

Resonance.

If you’re playing the Pathfinder Playtest you’ll know that its one of the of the most controversial additions to the game. It was meant to represented your characters innate ability to activate magic items, and intended to help limit how much magical gear your characters could utilize each day. If you wanted to use a magical cloak you invest some resonance. Fire a magic wand? It costs resonance. Want to drink a potion? Resonance.

Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook
Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook

Personally? Disliked it. It felt… arbitrary. Like your GM just suddenly saying: ‘No, you can’t use that,’ when you know you should be able to. Especially with potions! And alchemical objects! Why?

Paizo has already confirmed that when Pathfinder 2.0 comes out there will be a change to the resonance rules. But, just this week they decided to test out a new system. They’ve taken our feedback and shook it up a bit.

Enter the Resonance Test!

The Resonance Test is a PDF rules update that is free to download and focuses on Resonance, new rules for it, and updated items and abilities that reflect this change. Afterwards there are some pregenerated characters. After reading the new rules, you select a character and use them to play through Pathfinder Playtest Society Scenario #2: Raiders of Shrieking Peak. Give the rules a shot and then provide Paizo your feedback in a special survey. It’s important to note that these rules are not for using with the rest of the Pathfinder Playtest, and that you shouldn’t create your own characters to utilize these rules.

So, what are these rules, anyway?

For starters, resonance means something different. It’s no longer the number of magical items you can use every day. Instead, resonance represents how many magical items you can wear each day. Essentially it takes the place of item slots. But, instead of keeping track of each slot on the body, you just get 10 of your choice. This is meant to be a large enough number that you don’t feel constrained, but at the same prevents excessive over-use. Magical items (wearable, consumable, and so on) no longer take resonance to function. In fact, they no longer take any kind of points to function. They just work. Most of them have a limited number of uses (either per day, or total).

Pathfinder Playtest Society Scenario 2 Raiders of Shrieking Peak
Pathfinder Playtest Society Scenario #2: Raider of Shrieking Peak, by Luis Loza.

But, that’s not all. They’ve also shaken up Spell Points. In this test they no longer exist. Instead you have Focus Points. These points are based off of your charisma and your ancestry. They represent your natural affinity for magic and magical objects. You can use focus points to either activate your spell powers (which you once used spell points for) or to get more out of a magical item. Now, taking a spell power from your class no longer grants you extra focus points and, since you have less focus points to work with that you used to have spell points, all of your spell powers abilities have been amplified. Simply put, spell powers are better than they used to be, and cost Focus Point instead of Spell Points. But you have less spell points.

But what if you don’t have spell powers? No worries! As mentioned, you can also use focus points to get a little something extra out of your magical gear. What that effect is will vary between item. Some potions might have double the duration or potency, a limited use ability could gain an extra use, and so on.

Interesting.

Overall, I vastly prefer the new resonance test rules to those found in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook. I like that resonance is going to replace item slots, and I like that you no longer need to spend points to activate magical items. I love the concept of focus points, and using your innate charisma to push magical items beyond their capabilities. It’s very occultist (and I love Pathfinder’s occultists!). I even like that spell powers and these new item focus powers share the same point pool. My only quibble? I’m going to wish I had more points! Haha.

I’m excited to see how these new rules work in play!

Jessica

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