Leveling Up!

Monday, March 12, 2018

With the Pathfinder Playtest, we're looking to level up the entire Pathfinder game. And that means leveling up... leveling up! Gaining new levels and the toys that come with them is a core part of Pathfinder First Edition, and we want to make it more rewarding in the new edition. So how do you level up?

Well, first you're going to need some Experience Points. You can get those XP by fighting monsters, encountering traps, solving puzzles, and accomplishing goals. Once you hit 1,000 XP, you level up! (That's for every level, so whenever you have 500 XP, you'll always know you're halfway to leveling up again! And if you have any extra Experience Points after leveling up, they count toward the next level.)

Once you have enough Experience Points to level up, you'll increase your proficiencies, then get some more Hit Points (8 + Constitution modifier for a cleric, for example), and then get to make the choices for your new level. What choices? Those are all covered on your class's class advancement table. For instance, at 2nd and 3rd levels, the cleric gets the following:

2Cleric feat, skill feat
32nd-level spells, general feat, skill increase

(Wait... what if I multiclass? We'll cover that in a future blog, but let's just say you'll still be referencing only one advancement table.)

One thing we knew we wanted to include in the new edition was a good number of choices for all characters. In first edition, this could be pretty unequal. Even though over time, the game incorporated more ways to customize any type of character, we wanted to build in more robust customization into the structure of every class. That's why every class gets specific class talents (which include spells for spellcasters) at 1st level and every other level thereafter, increases to skills every other level, and feats at every level!

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Feats Feats Feats!

How does gaining feats at every level shake out? Every class has special feats just for them, which you gain every other level. When your cleric hits 2nd level and gets that cleric feat, do you want to become a better healer? Learn another of your deity's domains? Turn undead away from you? Your class feats give you these options, so you're not locked into the same path as every other cleric.

On any level when you don't gain a class feat, you gain a skill feat to change the ways you can use skills, a general feat that's useful to any character regardless of class, or an ancestry feat that reflects the training or advantages of your people. Skill feats are part of the general feat category, too, so if you really want to invest in your skills, you can drop 15 feats on improving them!

Many of your feats—especially class feats—give you new actions, activities, and so on that you can use. They have a special format to tell you how they work with your three actions and one reaction. Formatting them this way means that it's easier to tell whether a feat is something you can always do or a special action you can take. In Pathfinder First Edition terms, this would be like the difference between Weapon Focus and Vital Strike.

One of our goals with feats was to make them easier to choose and to use. Most feats require very few prerequisites, so you won't need to worry about picking a feat you really don't want in order to eventually get one you do. Any prerequisites build off your level, your proficiency, and any previous feats the new feat builds onto.

The Best of Your Ability

You'll also amp up several of your ability scores every 5 levels. The process might be familiar to those of you who've been playing Starfinder for the last several months! There are, of course, a few tweaks, and we made all ability boosts work the same way instead of being different at 1st level. Learn it once, use it in perpetuity.

Second Chances

So you get all these choices. Let's say you make a few bad ones. It happens!

Retraining your abilities is now in the game from the get-go, covered by the downtime system. You can spend your downtime to swap out choices you made for other ones. (Though you can't swap out ones that are a core part of your character, like your ancestry, unless you work out a way to do so with your GM.

Some classes give you ways to retrain your choices automatically. For instance, some spells get less useful as you go up in level, so spontaneous spellcasters get to replace some of the spells they know with other ones when they get new spells.

Leveling in the Playtest

The playtest adventure will have you playing characters at various levels, and tells you when to level them up (or tells you to create new characters for certain chapters). Our goal has been to make your options expansive and satisfying, but not overwhelming. We look forward to you telling us which decisions you're making, trading tips with fellow players, and agonizing over two feats when you really want them both.

Logan Bonner
Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest
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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Glad to see retraining is in core! And relieved to see that general feats still exist! That was a big point of discussion the past few days.


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Are things like power attack and deadly aim remaining feats then?

Can you take class specific feats appropriate to your level on an odd level or just general ones?

Other than that, getting feats every level seems really nice.

I assume fighter has other things to compensate him, rather than the normal heres all these feats this edition?

Edit: Meant odd levels not even


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So then, are all feats gained through class advancement then? Or are there still the independent spots for general feats that P1e has?

I'm less than thrilled about SF-style ability scores, though. I want to make a character as strong as a giant or as smart as a dragon, not be handicapped for specializing in one area.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Cautiously optimistic here.


Likely far more complex then I like and this screams "bloat", but it is interesting


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Is retraining still going to cost money, or is it something you can automatically do?

Is point buy going to be the same or are you going to use Starfinder's version?

The simplified xp system is nice.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dαedαlus wrote:

So then, are all feats gained through class advancement then? Or are there still the independent spots for general feats that P1e has?

I'm less than thrilled about SF-style ability scores, though. I want to make a character as strong as a giant or as smart as a dragon, not be handicapped for specializing in one area.

Unless I am misreading this (and the above Cleric example), there are still general feats:

Quote:
On any level when you don't gain a class feat, you gain a skill feat to change the ways you can use skills, a general feat that's useful to any character regardless of class, or an ancestry feat that reflects the training or advantages of your people. Skill feats are part of the general feat category, too, so if you really want to invest in your skills, you can drop 15 feats on improving them!

Liberty's Edge

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This is panning out exactly as I had hoped it would. It is going to be a long 5 months until August.


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every 1000 XP, huh? so a CR 19 monster grants you the same XP as a CR 4 monster? Or will you just jump 7-8 levels by killing a monster with higher CR?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Dαedαlus wrote:

So then, are all feats gained through class advancement then? Or are there still the independent spots for general feats that P1e has?

General feats are also listed in the class advancement chart for your ease of reference just so you don't have to flip back and forth between two places.


Interesting! I am looking forward to seeing what martials gain instead of spells.

Silver Crusade

Are those skill increases going to be the only ways to increase my skill mod other than to modify their ability scores? Will I really only be able to do that 15 times?

Liberty's Edge

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Hythlodeus wrote:
every 1000 XP, huh? so a CR 19 monster grants you the same XP as a CR 4 monster? Or will you just jump 7-8 levels by killing a monster with higher CR?

My expectation is that exp gain will be based on the encounter's CR relative to your current APL.


10 class feats
10 skill feats
5 general feats which can be turned into skill feats for a total of 15
Maybe 5 ancestry feats on the odd levels you don't gain a class feature.

So...

1:Class Feature, Ancestry Feat, Skill Increase
2:Class Feat, Skill Feat
3:Class Feature, General Feat, Skill Increase
4:Class Feat, Skill Feat
5:Class Feature, Ancestry Feat, Skill Increase
6:Class Feat, Skill Feat
7:Class Feature, General Feat, Skill Increase
8:Class Feat, Skill Feat
etc.

Or maybe I am reading way to much into a simple blog post

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

This looks real exciting. I assume fighters will have acces to a group of Fighter Class-Feats that no other class can easily access.


Hythlodeus wrote:
every 1000 XP, huh? so a CR 19 monster grants you the same XP as a CR 4 monster? Or will you just jump 7-8 levels by killing a monster with higher CR?

Maybe encounter XP scales based on what is "CR Appropriate"? So a CR=APL encounter has a fixed amount of XP, no matter what level the party is.

Anyway. It sounds like class features are going to be much more customizable under this system, and I'm all in favor of that! I'm interested in seeing what Class feats and Ancestry feats look like, and I think there's a lot of potential there, especially if you can "cross-class" feats somehow.

How often do characters gain Ancestry Feats?


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The Dandy Lion wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
every 1000 XP, huh? so a CR 19 monster grants you the same XP as a CR 4 monster? Or will you just jump 7-8 levels by killing a monster with higher CR?
My expectation is that exp gain will be based on the encounter's CR relative to your current APL.

sooo much easier and not complicated at all /sarcasm


Dαedαlus wrote:
So then, are all feats gained through class advancement then? Or are there still the independent spots for general feats that P1e has?

I think "General Feats" is the name for those feats everybody got in PF1 at odd levels. It's just not entirely clear yet how many you get and how multiclassing works. We just have to modify "feat" with "general" since we're renaming things like rage powers and rogue talents as "class feats."

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
This looks real exciting. I assume fighters will have acces to a group of Fighter Class-Feats that no other class can easily access.

Why limit it to just fighters? Clerics can take cleric feats and rangers can take ranger feats and sorcerers can take sorcerer feats.


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So PF2 gives "relative" EXP... Well, since (as far as I know) XP payments for other elements such as spells went the way of the dodo long ago, I'm cool with it.

But only 4 stat boosts, which works almost like Starfinder... I don't want them gimped like SF, diminishing returns later on and like that. While it's painful, the torment of deciding to get that "maximum possible ability score for any character" (36 in PF1, usually) is still quite enjoyable (apart from the fact that only SAD classes used to be able to afford it with little or no sufferings).

Paizo Employee Designer

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ThePuppyTurtle wrote:
Are those skill increases going to be the only ways to increase my skill mod other than to modify their ability scores? Will I really only be able to do that 15 times?

I believe that a character who was hellbent on increasing their skills as many times as possible and sunk all possible resources into it could increase their skills a hypothetical ~50 times (aside from the fact that you might run out of useful skills to raise with some of the options before then, so more realistically more like 40 times). That is a lot of times.


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Is it just me or is naming everything feats confusing anybody else?


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Hythlodeus wrote:
The Dandy Lion wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
every 1000 XP, huh? so a CR 19 monster grants you the same XP as a CR 4 monster? Or will you just jump 7-8 levels by killing a monster with higher CR?
My expectation is that exp gain will be based on the encounter's CR relative to your current APL.
sooo much easier and not complicated at all /sarcasm

I mean, not really. Let's say that one monster of CR equal to your APL nets you 25 EP, CR+1 nets you 30, CR-1 nets you 20, and so on. It's no harder than adding up huge numbers of XP- either way is done with minimal effort on a calculator, and for one you can easily gauge how far you are from the next level. It's the difference between saying,

"Okay, so I have 267,500 XP, which means I'm halfway to level 13"
and
"Okay, so I have 12,500 XP, so I'm halfway to level 13"

One is a LOT more intuitive at a glance, if you ask me.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I don’t use XP anyway so I’m neutral towards that change.

Or if I do use xp it’s goal based rather than encounter based.


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Phantasmist wrote:
Is it just me or is naming everything feats confusing anybody else?

I agree here. If they are your class only they need named something else


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:

So then, are all feats gained through class advancement then? Or are there still the independent spots for general feats that P1e has?

General feats are also listed in the class advancement chart for your ease of reference just so you don't have to flip back and forth between two places.

I imagine General/Skill Feats and Ability Score bumps are based on total level, just like in PF1. I'm really curious to see how Class Feats work with Multiclassing, though. Or how multiclassing works at all! I'm hoping for some nice hybrid feats that emulate what you'll normally want from doing dips and dual progression builds.

Also, I gotta say I'm really a fan of Skill and Ancestry feats. There are almost always these interesting, flavorful, and so close to usable feats that are usually edged out by feats that enhance your combat ability. By removing the opportunity cost on the feats that hone in on your racial SLAs or let you use skills in new ways, I think all characters will feel much more well-rounded and interesting. It's what has really had me interested in the Vigilante as a class, as skill feats and general/class feats seem to mirror Social and Vigilante talents.

Liberty's Edge

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Hythlodeus wrote:
The Dandy Lion wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
every 1000 XP, huh? so a CR 19 monster grants you the same XP as a CR 4 monster? Or will you just jump 7-8 levels by killing a monster with higher CR?
My expectation is that exp gain will be based on the encounter's CR relative to your current APL.
sooo much easier and not complicated at all /sarcasm

It is! I'd gladly choose this over wracking my head around the excessive figures you get from around level 9 onwards. The current system is a mess if you want to track how far through a level you are.


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So, Starfinder has an interesting quirk in their ability score buying math that the +1 stat bonus from Themes ends up being functionally useless. This is the result of the fact that bonuses come in groups of +2 (except for going from 19->20 which only gets you a +1) and the fact that ability score pre-reqs are mostly gone (except for Dex 15 if I recall).

Will this be the case if we are now taking their ability score system and porting it to Pathfinder, or will changes be made to address this?


well I suppose the APs will still have the "the group should reach level xyz about this point of the game" and I can work backwards from there


Mark Seifter wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:

So then, are all feats gained through class advancement then? Or are there still the independent spots for general feats that P1e has?

General feats are also listed in the class advancement chart for your ease of reference just so you don't have to flip back and forth between two places.

So... are some places where you could have previously gotten a general feat that you're now restricted to taking a race (seriously, why?) ancestry feat, or a skill feat, or something like that? And can general feats be used to take a class feat, a skill feat, or ancestry feat?

That said I do love the idea of ancestry feats. The 'can we make Elf a class again' people can rest easy!


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Phantasmist wrote:
Is it just me or is naming everything feats confusing anybody else?

I agree as well. They should be renamed to talents!


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Phantasmist wrote:
Is it just me or is naming everything feats confusing anybody else?

Would "Cleric talent" be better?


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I think I'm probably going to push for renaming the class feats as class talents in the playtest... because a few too many things named feats. But I like how this looks.

Edit: Double-Ninjaed!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This looks like an interesting system. I have to wonder about the Fighter and to a lesser extent the Rogue. Will their class feats be exclusive to them, and allow them to do things no other class can? I'd assume so, but we'll have to wait and see.

The changes to the XP math also jump out at me. We'll gain a level at every 1000 points? That is going to have a huge impact on how gameplay proceeds. The APs will need to be radically restructured. Maybe the people who want shorter APs will get their wish. The people who want more APs to go to 20th level should certainly get their wish. Or... will Epic/Mythic rules happen in Core?

I'm curious about how skills will work. Proficiency increases don't cover skills? Skills go up at every odd level? Is this correct? I guess we'll have to wait and see.


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I do like the idea of 'talent.' It makes more sense with the broader use of the term now.


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Demon Lord of Paladins! wrote:
Likely far more complex then I like and this screams "bloat", but it is interesting

It sounds more like they have taken standard features the would have come with your class and moved them over to effectively become rogue talents, rage powers, or oracle mysteries.

Instead of automatically getting Class ability A at level X and class ability B at level Y, you will instead be choosing from class abilities A, B and C at level X.

Evan Tarlton wrote:

The changes to the XP math also jump out at me. We'll gain a level at every 1000 points? That is going to have a huge impact on how gameplay proceeds. The APs will need to be radically restructured. Maybe the people who want shorter APs will get their wish. The people who want more APs to go to 20th level should certainly get their wish. Or... will Epic/Mythic rules happen in Core?

Changing the size of the numbers does not really change anything.

I just assume it means XP granted won't scale with CR of the encounter.

Silver Crusade

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Mark Seifter wrote:
ThePuppyTurtle wrote:
Are those skill increases going to be the only ways to increase my skill mod other than to modify their ability scores? Will I really only be able to do that 15 times?
I believe that a character who was hellbent on increasing their skills as many times as possible and sunk all possible resources into it could increase their skills a hypothetical ~50 times (aside from the fact that you might run out of useful skills to raise with some of the options before then, so more realistically more like 40 times). That is a lot of times.

That's still about 1/4 as many times as a rogue would get from skill ranks alone, not counting all of the feets and stuff they could take.

(This is me assuming a hypothetical Rogue gets 10 skill ranks per level.)


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I will say that the only problem I see with using Talents instead of Feats (from my perspective as an author) is that it's two letters longer. That might not be much at the moment, but when you're talking about a huge book where it's going to be referenced dozens or hundreds of times, that could add up to quite a bit of space.


Evan Tarlton wrote:
The changes to the XP math also jump out at me. We'll gain a level at every 1000 points? That is going to have a huge impact on how gameplay proceeds. The APs will need to be radically restructured. Maybe the people who want shorter APs will get their wish. The people who want more APs to go to 20th level should certainly get their wish. Or... will Epic/Mythic rules happen in Core?

I imagine XP will also be scaled back accordingly, likely with a table based off of APL, to prevent the "okay, so skeletons are worth 25 xp, and I want to make an encounter worth 3,476 xp, how many skeletons should I give my necromancer as minions? Let's see... a 6th-level necromancer is worth how many XP again?"


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MR. H wrote:
Phantasmist wrote:
Is it just me or is naming everything feats confusing anybody else?
Would "Cleric talent" be better?

I only skimmed over the article, now i went back and read it in full and I get it, but yes it‘s a and counter intuitive naming convention. Maybe it‘s just me.


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MR. H wrote:
Phantasmist wrote:
Is it just me or is naming everything feats confusing anybody else?
Would "Cleric talent" be better?

From a familiarity standpoint? If they are functionally similar to rogue talents calling them talents for all classes would have some clarity advantages to those transitioning.

Shadow Lodge

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Yess!!! I love the way feats work when leveling up! Separate class feats, skills feats, general feats, and more specifically called out in the leveling progression! That's fantastic!


Benjamin Medrano wrote:
I will say that the only problem I see with using Talents instead of Feats (from my perspective as an author) is that it's two letters longer. That might not be much at the moment, but when you're talking about a huge book where it's going to be referenced dozens or hundreds of times, that could add up to quite a bit of space.

Okay, so what else might work?

Skill? taken
Power?
Deed?


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the call it a Do (doesn't mean anything, but is short), every two levels you gain a Class Do. With the space you save in that book, you can include all Dune novels in the appendix

Paizo Employee Designer

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ThePuppyTurtle wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
ThePuppyTurtle wrote:
Are those skill increases going to be the only ways to increase my skill mod other than to modify their ability scores? Will I really only be able to do that 15 times?
I believe that a character who was hellbent on increasing their skills as many times as possible and sunk all possible resources into it could increase their skills a hypothetical ~50 times (aside from the fact that you might run out of useful skills to raise with some of the options before then, so more realistically more like 40 times). That is a lot of times.

That's still about 1/4 as many times as a rogue would get from skill ranks alone, not counting all of the feets and stuff they could take.

(This is me assuming a hypothetical Rogue gets 10 skill ranks per level.)

That's true; a PF1 rogue with the hypothetical 10 skill ranks per level gets 200 ranks over 20 levels, but each of those individual ranks is going to be far less meaningful to your character in terms of maxing out your skill and gaining special benefits than each rank is in PF2 (stay tuned for Friday's blog).


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Still just really hoping the skills aren’t losing their granularity. That, to me, would be really unfortunate for my ‘feel’ of the game.


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Dαedαlus wrote:
Benjamin Medrano wrote:
I will say that the only problem I see with using Talents instead of Feats (from my perspective as an author) is that it's two letters longer. That might not be much at the moment, but when you're talking about a huge book where it's going to be referenced dozens or hundreds of times, that could add up to quite a bit of space.

Okay, so what else might work?

Skill? taken
Power?
Deed?

I was just saying that it's the only issue I could see. Personally, I think talents looks and sounds better, with there being at least 3 other types of feats. I'm not sure that it being changed to talents would be a problem at all, and I'm not coming up with a better name. Powers loses a letter, so it might work, but... who knows?

Trying to play the devils advocate to a tiny degree. *shrugs* I just thought I'd point it out.


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Sounds like we get plenty of options, and I really like the idea of ancestry feats. Because I always want to be an Elfier Elf!


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Hythlodeus wrote:
the call it a Do (doesn't mean anything, but is short), every two levels you gain a Class Do. With the space you save in that book, you can include all Dune novels in the appendix

Considering the length of Dune that's impressive.

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