Fuzzy Feet and Voles to Meet

Friday, April 13, 2018

Overlooked and disrespected, halflings and gnomes get by in their own way. Human society's misguided expectations don't mean much when you know who you are and what you're about. Let's take a look at the ancestry entries for these folks!

You might also want to take a gander at the Big Beards and Pointy Ears blog to see how dwarves and elves work if you're a fan of ancestries that are entirely too tall and entirely too stuffy.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Halflings

Living among taller folk gives halflings a good bit of perspective and plenty of opportunities to make new friends—plenty of opportunities of all kinds, really. Keep your eyes open and your heart brave, and you can accomplish anything!

Both halflings and gnomes get 8 Hit Points from their respective ancestries, are Small, and have a speed of 20 feet. A halfling speaks Common and Halfling. Halflings have nimble fingers, giving them an ability boost to Dexterity, and are jovial, getting another ability boost in Charisma. They also get one free ability boost to put in any score. Now, there's nothing wrong with how you're made, but halflings do get an ability flaw to Strength. Seems like a better deal, though. Goblins are a bit stronger, but they're not so wise, and good sense is a good trade. (You can read more about goblins here!)

We've mentioned ability boosts and flaws a few times now, so let's go into more detail about how those work! At 1st level, your ability scores all start at 10. Your ancestry then gives you ability boosts, each of which increases the score by 2. Most ancestries get three ability boosts, two of which have to go into specific scores. The remaining free ability boost can go into any score except the two set ones. Most ancestries also get a flaw, which decreases a designated score by 2. You can put your free ability boost in the same score as your flaw if you want to get back to 10. In later parts of character creation, you'll get more ability boosts, which we'll cover in later blogs! (And if you want to roll your ability scores randomly, we have an option for that in the playtest so you can see how that might work, though we prefer for characters used in the playtest to be generated in the standard way.)

Now, where was I? Halflings, right!

At 1st level and as they level up, halflings can pick up halfling ancestry feats that take advantage of their size, their gumption, and their fabled luck. Distracting Shadows lets them sneak around by using larger creatures as cover. They might also pick up Plucky to overcome fear and other detriments to their emotions. They can take Titan Slinger to get a bonus to damage when using their slings against Large or larger creatures. This bonus increases on critical hits, even before being doubled! Additionally, the sling is now a more formidable weapon than in Pathfinder First Edition—we've both increased its damage and done away with the difference in damage die size between Small and Medium creatures. A halfling with a sling can be pretty dangerous!

One feat we know will be popular is Lucky Halfling, which lets you reroll one skill check or saving throw you fail or critically fail once each day. Rules in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook list traits that apply to feats, often indicating special rules. This one has the fortune trait, which appears on all sorts of things that involve rerolls and manipulating dice in your favor. You can benefit from fortune only once on a given roll, and misfortune can cancel it out.

As mentioned in the blog post about dwarves and elves, ancestry entries suggest some backgrounds you might choose that are common for those of your ancestry. Halflings are often entertainers, acrobats, or street urchins. Many come from hard lives as criminals or laborers.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Gnomes

What's THAT?!

A gnome's life is a constant barrage of the curious, the compelling, the cacophonous, the colorful, and the chaotic. There's always something new to discover. There... kind of has to be. See, gnomes who don't take in enough novel experiences are stricken by the Bleaching—their colorful hair turns white as their minds fall into despair. So let's not do that. Let's explore!

Now, when you're exploring, it's good to be durable because who knows what you might encounter. It helps that gnomes are tough and charming, with ability boosts to Constitution and Charisma, plus their one free ability boost to any other score. Gnomes have a flaw in Strength. Who needs it? Magic's better. And alchemical bombs. Those look fun. Gnomes can speak Common, Gnome, and Sylvan, but might want to study up on some other languages too. They can also see in low light—all the better for exploring into the dusk.

Gnomes came from the First World, the realm of the fey, long ago. Their ancestry feats can reflect this, like Fey Fellowship, which makes a gnome more charismatic when dealing with fey, or First World Magic, which gives the gnome a cantrip spell chosen from a wide number of options (including dancing lights, prestidigitation, and tanglefoot, to name a few).

Discerning Smell lets a gnome truly appreciate peculiar food and drink, or sniff out that invisible orc who's caked in the clay from a particular mountain pass, hasn't bathed in roughly 8 years, and recently ate a live bird. (A swallow, fittingly.) And, of course, you can choose Animal Speaker so you can talk to all your favorite burrowing animals!

A gnome's younger years will no doubt be weird, so they could have any kind of background—even a path they abandoned early on. A gnome might be an entertainer, a merchant, a nomad, an animal whisperer, a barkeep, or a farmhand.

How do these two ancestries stack up? (About 6 feet high, I'd say.) What sort of halfling or gnome characters do you look forward to playing?

Logan Bonner
Designer

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Swiftbrook wrote:
The low starting stats make the PCs seem 'average' not 'heroic'. By the sound of it (with limited info), you can only get a 12 in a stat. Is there another mechanic? Do I need to burn skill points or feats to boost my stats? I've had the options/chance of a starting 18 for 40 years. I hope that is not going away.

We know Kyra from the playtest has like:

14 Str
12 Dex
?? Con
?? Int
18 Wis
14 Cha

We can extrapolate, since she is human, and since humans likely have no drawback stat, that Con and Int are 10.

So:

14/12/10/10/18/14

So we can safely surmise that there is some sort of point buy going on. It is not "the highest you can start with is a 12" by any stretch.


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HWalsh wrote:
So we can safely surmise that there is some sort of point buy going on. It is not "the highest you can start with is a 12" by any stretch.

No, I don't think we can. The halfling & gnome blog tells us that characters start with 10s across the board. We know they get several +2s from ancestry, and we can surmise they also get some +2s from background, and to reach 18 they must get a +4 to their prime requisite.

So no, I don't think there is any sort of point buy going on.


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HWalsh wrote:

Ugh.

Okay Paizo... Please give us a blog on the things that are actually hot topics. The boards explode over things like alignments and Paladins... While Gnomes and Halflings are fine... Nobody is begging and screaming for this information.

Please give us information about the things we've been asking about for weeks now.

It’s a Friday blogpost. Fridays are going to be more details on stuff people could already guess so the mods don’t have to give up their whole weekends or come back to a burning mess on Monday.

Shadow Lodge

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QuidEst wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

Ugh.

Okay Paizo... Please give us a blog on the things that are actually hot topics. The boards explode over things like alignments and Paladins... While Gnomes and Halflings are fine... Nobody is begging and screaming for this information.

Please give us information about the things we've been asking about for weeks now.

It’s a Friday blogpost. Fridays are going to be more details on stuff people could already guess so the mods don’t have to give up their whole weekends or come back to a burning mess on Monday.

Plus, after the goblins debates, they probably wanted their staff to actually get some sleep and have a nice weekend. Spread those contentious blog posts out to reduce the arguments.


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I support any decision that makes equipment such as weapon and armor choice less fiddly for small races. Just let me use things I find and not have to worry about resizing it for figuring out what 'sized' weapon it converts to just because I'm a halfling. Or both to remember what weapons I'm 'allowed' to use because of my size, no thank you.

Especially now if weapon damage dice is going to be multiplied in any way by weapon enhancements. Demanding that a small dagger does d3 instead of d4 just really doesn't matter when eventually I'm going to be rolling like 8 of them.


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Why is "gnomes need to enjoy themselves, go on adventures, or experience new things" a problem in a game that is predicated on doing those exact things?

It is primarily a problem for NPCs, or for PCs who are considering retirement.


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Catharsis wrote:
To join the chorus: Yes, please make the mental stats more different. I suggest Int for Goblins and Wis for Halflings. Int for Gnomes would also work, but Goblin Alchemists and Gnome Bards make more sense than the other way around.

One argument in favor of the existing stat modifiers is backwards compatibility for conversion of non-core races. So far, the only races whose new ability score modifiers we would have to guess are those whose PF1 modifiers were non-standard (such as goblins).


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I guess the team would like to take a breath before they throw in anything that might trigger a forum reaction on the scale of the '18 Goblin Meltdown.

This post, like most others, whets the appetite and leaves everyone wanting more. Oh well, I'm kind of getting used to it. We'll survive until August.

I think eliminating the small/medium weapon damage difference is a good idea. That's a typical example of complexity we didn't need and it's likely after a few weeks of play no one will notice it's gone. Some may complain about "realism", but specifically hurting a whole category of characters on this particular mechanic never did anything for immersion.

I'm a bit surprised at the choice of ability boosts for small ancestries, but since you can't apply a floating boost on top of a fixed boost, it doesn't really constrain anything major, or drive any given ancestry towards a subset of classes. In fact, the ability flaw has more impact, from a customization perspective. We'll probably see few gnome or halflings as strength-based fighters, but pretty much any other class is fine.

I also like the refurbishing of the sling to become more than a better-than-nothing ranged weapon. In fact, this post made me want to look again at a great classic that I had kind of forgotten: The Halfling Rogue.


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Though I previously liked most of what I have seen so far from PF2, I will join the chorus of people expressing their disdain for how all of the small PHB races are getting a +2 bonus to Charisma. I LOATHE this.


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I can stand that small weapons are gone (or do the same damage as medium one anyway), but I think that small races SHOULD have a penalty to strength.
No chance that an halfling of gnome has, on average, the same strength as a human.


Neither.


Elves have more racial hp than halflings in starfinder but less in pathfinder?
My halfling operative feels cheated.
Also agree that having all small races be charismatic is stupid, (goblins have a penalty, now they have a bonus?) but it looks like we're using starfinder ability generation so racial modifiers are almost meaningless. *grumble grumble*
Otherwise looks good! :)


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Hmm wrote:
Logan Bonner, “Gnome Blog” wrote:
Discerning Smell lets a gnome truly appreciate peculiar food and drink, or sniff out that invisible orc who's caked in the clay from a particular mountain pass, hasn't bathed in roughly 8 years, and recently ate a live bird. (A swallow, fittingly.)

Did anyone else notice this awesome gnome scent racial ability? I’ve never seen a gnome depicted as having a fantastic sense of smell, but I can’t wait to build one in PF2.

Hmm

Actually that is an ability gnomes from dutch folklore had and was described in the book Gnomes. Since a great deal of the original gnome was drawn from that particular folklore, it seems appropriate to return it!

:)


Will we be getting a blog dedicated to our favorite halfbreeds: The Half-Elves and Half-Orcs, soon?


Captain collateral damage wrote:

Elves have more racial hp than halflings in starfinder but less in pathfinder?

My halfling operative feels cheated.
Also agree that having all small races be charismatic is stupid, (goblins have a penalty, now they have a bonus?) but it looks like we're using starfinder ability generation so racial modifiers are almost meaningless. *grumble grumble*
Otherwise looks good! :)

It looks like it's not Starfinder style, but instead a bunch of bonuses from different sources.


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I am excited for PF2. The most disappointing thing for me personally so far is all three small races having Charisma bonuses.

I think the solution is for Halflings to get Wisdom instead of Charisma. Halflings are portrayed as consummate survivors and capable of unexpectedly great bravery in the face of danger. Both of which scream Wisdom to me. Sure, the iconic Bard is a Halfling, but that can be attributed to a Halfling's love of stories and celebration, not an inherent bonus, just as the iconic Alchemist being a goblin is apparently a result of liking fire and bombs, not inherent Intelligence.

This isn't even solely an issue of all three small races having Charisma bonuses, honestly. It's also the fact that I think Wisdom bonuses represent a Halfling in Golarion better than a Charisma one ever has.


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I like "realism", but I'm always open to a lot of latitude there. But I also really like diversity and depth to builds. Paizo made a point right out of the gates that less complexity does not mean less depth. And that is true. It is very much true. But it is also true that less complexity tends to lead to less depth. So if there are reductions in complexity that DO result in less depth, it doesn't really add value to point out that hypothetical reductions in complexity don't always reduce depth. The hypotheticals are trumped by the actuals.

Making small weapons the same as normal weapons is less depth. Period. It is not simply less complexity. It is the very definition of less depth.

Is it a dealbreaker scale kinda less depth? Not even close. But it is less depth.

Is it a sign of the broader game? I hope not.

I'd offer that 5E has clearly shown that there is a lot of market share to be had in moving to a "less complex than 3X" game. So Paizo is completely reasonable to learn from this. And clearly they are.
And I know that what I personally want is far more complex than the ideal for the marketplace. I accept that.

But I'd also offer a couple other facts:
5E is very well positioned as the incumbent "less complex" game. It is an excellent game. It has the D&D brand on it.
PF1 is still very popular. There are plenty of places where PF1 can easily be pointed at and described as “more complex than it needs to be”. And yet a lot of people play it. I would daresay that nobody is playing PF1 and finding it “excessively” complex. That doesn’t mean there are not a lot of people who would truly like to see it “less” complex. But if the cost wasn’t worth the reward then it is really very easy to just go play 5E or some other game. (And to be clear, I’m 100% onboard with “it is time to shake-up PF, it is an old game on an even older engine, bring on the change. I’m addressing changes in overall complexity and depth)
I played 5E for roughly 18 months after it came out. I enjoyed it. By the end I was seeing the gaps in complexity and the associated gaps in depth compared to what I was accustomed to with PF. So I switched back. And, it was absolutely the change in depth that was the reason.
So, will PF2 be less deep than PF1? Signs point to “clearly yes”. Will it be a tiny bit less deep or a lot less deep? I have no way to know. Will it be more or less deep than 5E? I don’t know. If it is on par with 5E for depth, then what is the driver for anyone to play PF2 rather than just play 5E? Again, 5E is a really good game. 5E is one of the best games ever designed. For April 2018, I’m still happy to list PF1 as my favorite.
What does PF have going for it? I’d say its winning points are legacy and being the solid “meaty” game out there. I’m not saying it doesn’t have a lot of other strengths and I’m not being critical of aspects not listed. But I would say that things like “strong/smart rules”, good fanbase, excellent design team, etc are all things that PF and 5E both have. So they are not difference makers.
Legacy is good, but it is time for some change. I think that is clear. I’m eager. And some of that legacy will persist based purely on their narrative cannon.
Will they keep their edge as the “meaty” game or will they concede that ground?
When PF1 was rolled out, there was a clear opening in the marketplace and WotC had left a weak spot exposed. Paizo was smart and they jumped into the market demand. There is not a demand for a slick and light game right now. Or rather, there is a demand, but that demand is being VERY well met. Hitting WotC’s marketshare where they were weak was smart. If this time the plan is to hit at the exact place where they are strongest, then that would be very unlikely to play out well. And “less complex” is a spot where WotC is golden.
If you can make things less complex with zero or absolutely minimal depth lose, then it is a no-brainer. Do it. But don’t use cheap talk about how “less complex doesn’t mean les depth” to avoid looking hard at whether or not PF2 has less depth than PF1.
Please stand on the ground where you are proven to be strong.

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I wouldn't mind seeing halflings default to Wisdom myself, to be honest. As long as they don't have a Charisma penalty, you can still have one that's as charismatic as ever. ^_^

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BryonD wrote:
long post

It seems to me that making Small characters able to effectively use weapons would be a positive for build diversity, as the range of viable ancestry options for melee characters expands. ^_^

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Kalindlara wrote:
I wouldn't mind seeing halflings default to Wisdom myself, to be honest. As long as they don't have a Charisma penalty, you can still have one that's as charismatic as ever. ^_^

This would fit with every Halfling I’ve ever played with, as they’ve all been Rogues, Rangers, and Druids.

Silver Crusade

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Kalindlara wrote:
I wouldn't mind seeing halflings default to Wisdom myself, to be honest. As long as they don't have a Charisma penalty, you can still have one that's as charismatic as ever. ^_^

Yeah, add my name to the "Halflings should get Wisdom rather than Charisma" list.


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Captain collateral damage wrote:
but it looks like we're using starfinder ability generation so racial modifiers are almost meaningless. *grumble grumble*

Just to be clear, racial modifiers are definitely not meaningless in Starfinder. The -2 racial assignment effectively allows you to dump that stat, and allocate those points elsewhere. And the +2 racial assignments effectively force you to allocate some points to those stats. From an optimization standpoint, both are important.

Now, granted, the way in which racial modifiers are relevant is very different in PF1 and SF.

In PF1, you really want a racial bonus in the stat you want to be highest (and don't want racial penalties in stats you want to be highest), whereas in SF it doesn't that much matter whether you have a racial bonus/penalty in the stats you want to be highest.

In SF, you really want a racial penalty in the stat you want to dump (and don't want racial bonuses in stats you want to dump), whereas in PF1 it doesn't much matter whether you have a racial bonus/penalty in the stats you want to dump.

But I don't see how racial modifiers are more meaningful in PF1 than in SF. They're just meaningful in different ways.


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Mbertorch wrote:
Sure, the iconic Bard is a Halfling, ...

The iconic druid is a gnome and those don't have a bonus to wisdom. So I'd say that the Iconics doesn't necessarily have to represent an optimal combination race/ancestry and class.


Leyren wrote:
Mbertorch wrote:
Sure, the iconic Bard is a Halfling, ...
The iconic druid is a gnome and those don't have a bonus to wisdom. So I'd say that the Iconics doesn't necessarily have to represent an optimal combination race/ancestry and class.

Excellent point! Cool, and thank you.


I seriously doubt PF2 has much to do with D&D5. I can't remember where, but someone at Paizo said years ago that they'd only consider a new edition after a decade or so and the trend has always been towards simplification of the antiquated 3.0 chassis.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm very happy to see small size weapon damage tables done away with. And even happier to hear that swings are going to be a viable option. Awesome!

(That said, I share the sentiment that it would be nice to have a bit more diversity in stat assignments among the small races.)


Mark Seifter wrote:
TwilightKnight wrote:

"Additionally, the sling is now a more formidable weapon than in Pathfinder First Edition—we've both increased its damage and done away with the difference in damage die size between Small and Medium creatures."

The way this reads is a bit misleading. Is it that slings (and only slings) will have the same damage small vs medium? Or will all weapons not have the same damage. I read it as only slings are getting this treatment, but others are reading all weapons are. Can we get designer commentary please?

All weapons!

So Mark, what is the Damage of the Sling? Does it get modifier to damage? Is the Modifier Dexterity? Are ranged weapons going to use Dex so that characters that focus Dexterity don't feel like there's no incentive to go ranged?


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Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
So Mark, what is the Damage of the Sling? Does it get modifier to damage? Is the Modifier Dexterity? Are ranged weapons going to use Dex so that characters that focus Dexterity don't feel like there's no incentive to go ranged?

Clearly, the damage modifier is charisma! That's why all the small races get it as a bonus... :P


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BryonD wrote:
[snip] So if there are reductions in complexity that DO result in less depth, it doesn't really add value to point out that hypothetical reductions in complexity don't always reduce depth. The hypotheticals are trumped by the actuals.

Valid point.

BryonD wrote:

Making small weapons the same as normal weapons is less depth. Period. It is not simply less complexity. It is the very definition of less depth.

Is it a dealbreaker scale kinda less depth? Not even close. But it is less depth.

Valid point too. However, I'll argue this: Not all depth is of equal value. For example, the depth from the weapon trade-off, like when the rapier has a big crit range but a lesser damage die, is more valuable (imo) than the depth that all Small characters have a smaller damage die. The weapon depth leaves room for variety, while the weapon size depth reduces the room for race choices in martial classes.

Moreover, the depth from weapon sizing introduces a great deal of complexity (a whole column in all the weapon tables). It's arguably a poor depth bang for such a high complexity buck.

BryonD wrote:
There are plenty of places where PF1 can easily be pointed at and described as “more complex than it needs to be”. And yet a lot of people play it. I would daresay that nobody is playing PF1 and finding it “excessively” complex.

You'd be mistaken. I'm running a campaign with a very large group (too large, I know that, but we have our reasons). It is also a very diverse group in terms of experience, expertise, and interest in looking deep into the books. I love this campaign very much and wouldn't convert to 5E or anything else. However, we've reached level 7 and I'm already seeing the strain. I think I can handle it up to level 10, maybe 12, but probably not beyond that. So, yes, PF1 is excessively complex for what I do with it. From the little I have seen, PF2 might set the complexity level about right. I'm hopeful, but I can't be sure, that in doing so, most of the depth remains, and even some new levels of depth can be found that weren't there before.

BryonD wrote:
Please stand on the ground where you are proven to be strong.

I think statements from the developers show they're well aware of this. I don't recall the exact quote, but it was along the lines of "WotC have their space, we have ours, all of us would lose if we went into their space."


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BryonD wrote:
I would daresay that nobody is playing PF1 and finding it “excessively” complex.

Then you're missing the whole E6 group, and the whole "core only" group and a lot of other people who DO think that it is excessively complex.

These groups are attempting to simplify PF1 to make it playable for their games.

Just because it's not excessively complex for you does not mean that there aren't large swaths of the player base who aren't like you.

When you try to speak for the entire playerbase, you're certain to be wrong in a lot of ways.


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Also, I would like to take a moment here to address those who maybe think that I may have a particular horse in this race. Halflings are probably my favorite race, and Charisma is my favorite stat. Sorcerers and bards are among my favorite classes. So, it almost kind of pains me to suggest halflings not getting a Christmas bonus, but getting wisdom instead. That being said, I believe a Charisma bonus does somewhat of a disservice to the way their race is portrayed in Golarion, and that wisdom is a better fit.


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So all the small races getting a charisma bonus might be fine (even if it's kind of bland) because it seems like Charisma is going to matter a lot more in PF2 than in its predecessor.

Scarab Sages

Mbertorch wrote:
Also, I would like to take a moment here to address those who maybe think that I may have a particular horse in this race. Halflings are probably my favorite race, and Charisma is my favorite stat. Sorcerers and bards are among my favorite classes. So, it almost kind of pains me to suggest halflings not getting a Christmas bonus, but getting wisdom instead. That being said, I believe a Charisma bonus does somewhat of a disservice to the way their race is portrayed in Golarion, and that wisdom is a better fit.

You will always be able to choose Cha as the floating stat for your Halflings, so no harm done. Only the penalties are actually harmful to builds.

Scarab Sages

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As for complexity and depth: Frankly, I always thought the weapon size scaling made the game weirder rather than deeper. The step from 1d8 to 2d6 was disproportionately powerful, and Small characters were barred from it. The 5e solution is still effective without adding any significant complexity. A Halfling guard can still bear a halberd, it will just be represented as a waraxe in the mechanics.

I think PF can afford to shed a lot of complexity without losing depth. Think of the hundreds of choices for feats and traits, almost none of which are used regularly. A friend of mine just started a campaign with newbies and decided against using traits so as not to overburden them more than necessary (picking a 1st-level feat was already an insurmountable hurdle for them). Now, with a 4e- or 5e-like game, you instead get a small number of meaningful choices at each stage, which is greatly preferable.

Frankly, the one place where complexity is really desirable is within the combat round, where you want to have to make meaningful tactical and strategic decisions rather than just full-attacking for the umpteenth time. I suspect the «3 actions» mechanics of PF2 will do a spectacular job at this. This alone might be a reason to choose PF2 over 5e. The 5e round looks simpler than it used to be (the standard action is just called the «action» now!) until you realize you actually have an action, a move, a bonus action, an item interaction, and a reaction every round. Guh! Three actions and a reaction is such a superior approach, I can't even. :)


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Catharsis wrote:
As for complexity and depth: Frankly, I always thought the weapon size scaling made the game weirder rather than deeper.

It's more than just the weapon size though. Small came with a +1 hit/AC, –1 CMB/CMD, and +4 Stealth too. So it was a tactical choice: do I want to hit and defend better, or do I want to do more damage and be better at maneuvers? Or do I care more about stealth?

SO for me, I can't really weigh the pro's and con's of this until I see how small and medium creatures differ. I know for myself, I often wanted the +1 hit or AC more than bigger damage so if this means the loss of those options, it'll be a bummer.


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graystone wrote:
Catharsis wrote:
As for complexity and depth: Frankly, I always thought the weapon size scaling made the game weirder rather than deeper.

It's more than just the weapon size though. Small came with a +1 hit/AC, –1 CMB/CMD, and +4 Stealth too. So it was a tactical choice: do I want to hit and defend better, or do I want to do more damage and be better at maneuvers? Or do I care more about stealth?

SO for me, I can't really weigh the pro's and con's of this until I see how small and medium creatures differ. I know for myself, I often wanted the +1 hit or AC more than bigger damage so if this means the loss of those options, it'll be a bummer.

You have a point. One big unknown is what PF2 is going to do with size changes in general, not just weapons. I initially thought the existing AC and attack bonuses could stay, but this might give too much of an advantage to Small characters now. We'll have to wait.


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gwynfrid wrote:

BryonD wrote:

Making small weapons the same as normal weapons is less depth. Period. It is not simply less complexity. It is the very definition of less depth.

Is it a dealbreaker scale kinda less depth? Not even close. But it is less depth.

Valid point too. However, I'll argue this: Not all depth is of equal value. For example, the depth from the weapon trade-off, like when the rapier has a big crit range but a lesser damage die, is more valuable (imo) than the depth that all Small characters have a smaller damage die. The weapon depth leaves room for variety, while the weapon size depth reduces the room for race choices in martial classes.

Moreover, the depth from weapon sizing introduces a great deal of complexity (a whole column in all the weapon tables). It's arguably a poor depth bang for such a high complexity buck.

THIS. If you define depth as "anything that adds more choice" then depth stops being a relevant sign of quality. Some choices simply aren't meaningful enough to be interesting. Imagine we got a feat in PF1 called "better weapon focus" that gave twice the bonus of Weapon Focus and counted as weapon focus for prerequisites. Have we made the system deeper with this inclusion? Or have we simply turned Weapon Focus into a trap that should be removed from the game?

Much of what we have seen Paizo strip away doesn't add much to the game. Having an odd number for an ability score or needing a point buy calculator app to create a new character are examples of things that only make the game harder for new people without adding any value. The only meaningful option we actually seem to be losing from this new ability score generation is the ability to dump stats below 8. We may have differing opinions on whether removing some min-max potential is good or bad, but being able to drop a stat to 5 is MEANINGFUL because it actually says something about your character and how they can interact with the world around them.

On a similar note, the way skill numbers will scale seem to reduce a metric of meaningful choice. If my choices are having a +4 to a skill or having a +15 with nothing in between, we have lost a degree of choice. Again, this might be a good decision, and Skill Feats may meant our skill decisions wind up being more meaningful overall.

We have also seen Paizo add new meaningful choices, which increases the relevant depth. The new shield mechanics are undeniably more dynamic regardless of whether you like them. The new action economy and moving away from full attacks seems like it will make combat deeper. Combat maneuvers not provoking attacks of opportunity, floating ancestry bonuses, skill/ancestry/class/general feats coming to all characters, resonance as a new resource, diversity of reactions and other new actions unlocked by feats... All of these will add more depth to the game, whether you define depth by simply the number of options or by those options being meaningful.

So I'm not worried about losing depth compared to PF1 or becoming closer to 5e. All evidence points to us still having tons of crunchy goodness. Where we lose it in some categories we gain it in others. Obviously, we won't know the final balance until we get our hands on the product, but I see no reason to assume PF2 core is going to be "less than" PF1 core.

Now, whether all of these new options and reinventing the wheel are actually going to be GOOD... I won't pretend to know. It is very possible we get a game that has more depth, is more intuitive, and also sucks. I don't find it super likely, but that is a distinct possibility.


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Kalindlara wrote:
BryonD wrote:
long post
It seems to me that making Small characters able to effectively use weapons would be a positive for build diversity, as the range of viable ancestry options for melee characters expands. ^_^

I'm not so sure that small characters have ever been unable to use weapons effectively in PF1. After all they do get a +1 to hit and to AC. (As an aside I suspect that is the real reason for the damage unification. They don't want as many "+1"s and this one had to go, so the weapon damage "balance" goes with it.

But even if I concede your point for argument's sake, having a wider range of halfling builds that are now larger equivalent to the human builds doesn't create more depth. Humans and halflings simply overlap a lot more.

And it all avoids the core point: how does this play to PF1's strength and avoid hitting 5E where it is already dominant?


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Crayon wrote:
I seriously doubt PF2 has much to do with D&D5. I can't remember where, but someone at Paizo said years ago that they'd only consider a new edition after a decade or so and the trend has always been towards simplification of the antiquated 3.0 chassis.

Don't know for certain this is directly responding, but I assume it is.

I'm totally willing to presume that much of PF2 design has occurred in an absence of any specific knowledge of 5E. I'm not claiming they are ripping anything off or anything like that. I think it is both obvious and reasonable that both games are designed based on things that have been learned over the past 20 years. So some common themes are to be expected.

But even if there was 100% blindness to 5E, the issue would still remain that if PF2 doesn't offer an alternative to what makes 5E great, then it needs to be not just a little better, but a whole lot better. Otherwise they are going to lose to the D&D branded incumbent.

Id PF2 playing to the strengths of PF1 and the things that created that fanbase? Or is PF2 playing to the strengths of 5E (regardless of whether by active choice or pure happenstance) and giving up the strengths that differentiate it and draw its own fans?

Silver Crusade

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BryonD wrote:
But even if I concede your point for argument's sake, having a wider range of halfling builds that are now larger equivalent to the human builds doesn't create more depth. Humans and halflings simply overlap a lot more.

But it does since people who like Halflings can now play those builds instead of having to play another race or scrap the idea.

Liberty's Edge

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CrystalSeas wrote:
BryonD wrote:
I would daresay that nobody is playing PF1 and finding it “excessively” complex.
Then you're missing the whole E6 group

E6 and P6 aren't about complexity, they're about power level. They looked at the "sweet spot" of the game (levels 6 through 12) where the power level of the players is most fun compared to the challenge of opponents and adventures, and they created a ruleset that lets them stay in that sweet spot as long as possible (the bonus feats end up letting your characters get about as powerful as level 10ish characters, despite the actual advancement stopping at level 6).


CrystalSeas wrote:
BryonD wrote:
I would daresay that nobody is playing PF1 and finding it “excessively” complex.

Then you're missing the whole E6 group, and the whole "core only" group and a lot of other people who DO think that it is excessively complex.

These groups are attempting to simplify PF1 to make it playable for their games.

Just because it's not excessively complex for you does not mean that there aren't large swaths of the player base who aren't like you.

When you try to speak for the entire playerbase, you're certain to be wrong in a lot of ways.

And all the players who need other players to guide them through the myriad actions and situational modifiers that need tracking.

Some reductions in complexity (but not choices) could go a long ways for getting people on board. The small weapons has definitely been a turn-off for myself and others in my group, as small martial characters find themselves never finding size appropriate equipment.


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So since it looks like it is going to require specific choices to actively dump charisma in PF2, along with nearly half of the ancestries getting a boost to CHA, that the average PF2 adventuring party is going to be much more attractive and charming than PF1 parties were.

Like it seems like you're no longer giving anything up if your human fighter has a 10 CHA, whereas in PF1 that was 4 points you could use to up something from a 17 to an 18. Some especially MAD classes like the monk could hardly avoid charisma in a 15 point buy.


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gwynfrid wrote:


Valid point too. However, I'll argue this: Not all depth is of equal value. For example, the depth from the weapon trade-off, like when the rapier has a big crit range but a lesser damage die, is more valuable (imo) than the depth that all Small characters have a smaller damage die. The weapon depth leaves room for variety, while the weapon size depth reduces the room for race choices in martial classes.

Moreover, the depth from weapon sizing introduces a great deal of complexity (a whole column in all the weapon tables). It's arguably a poor depth bang for such a high complexity buck.

Heh, you hit several things I was thinking and didn't type because the post was already too long.

On size, I already said that this is not a deal breaker. Is it better or worse for depth? It is a grain of rice on the less depth side of the scale. It is still less depth.

On weapons, I very much agree with you that crit ranges are something I cringed over seeing lost. However, I can see how the tiers of success conflicts with crit ranges. And I can see how tiers of success and the (mostly just teased) new weapon specific feature offset that lose of depth. So on this issue I'm hopeful. Are they perhaps just doing a poor job of presenting all the added depth that offsets the removed depth? I'm still completely willing to be open minded. Hell, overall I'm still optimistic. But there are warning signs.

Quote:


You'd be mistaken. I'm running a campaign with a very large group (too large, I know that, but we have our reasons). ...

never say never.....

But seriously, how long have you been playing PF? Did you not anticipate this? I will still stick to my claim that PF has a fanbase that stretches back ten years and they know what their game is like. I doubt there is anybody (never say never, right) who loves every single aspect and doesn't have any sticky point they want simplified. But, collectively, the complexity is a selling point, not a setback.

Again, I'm not saying that the simple game can't be the biggest market share sweetspot. It may very well be. But there is a nice complex game sweetspot too. And it doesn't have an 800 pound gorilla occupying it.

Quote:
I think statements from the developers show they're well aware of this. I don't recall the exact quote, but it was along the lines of "WotC have their space, we have ours, all of us would lose if we went into their space."

meh. I'm not going to go around saying "there are idiots" or anything stupid like that. They have an awesome track record and deserve a great deal of respect. The design team of 4E had an awesome track record and deserved a great deal of respect. There is talent and then there are design parameters as constraints. And in the end they also said that "less complex doesn't mean less depth", but clearly some things they are doing ARE less depth.


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BryonD wrote:
And it all avoids the core point: how does this play to PF1's strength and avoid hitting 5E where it is already dominant?

It doesn't need to.

This is a pretty innocuous quality-of-life change made to improve the game by removing a common annoyance. I've played the game for years, and I still don't know how the size attack bonus and CMB penalty interact with one another- ditto for the size AC bonus and CMD penalty. I'm not sure how a small Shifter's lower claw damage is supposed to interact with replacing natural attack damage on a different-sized form, and looking up small-size stuff that I don't remember because it's uncommon was a pain. There's a stealth bonus and maybe a fly bonus(?) to keep track of. It wasn't playing to PF1's strengths, and "avoiding being like 5e" wouldn't be sufficient justification to introduce that kind of clutter, so it's not important enough to prevent removing the clutter.


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Rysky wrote:
BryonD wrote:
But even if I concede your point for argument's sake, having a wider range of halfling builds that are now larger equivalent to the human builds doesn't create more depth. Humans and halflings simply overlap a lot more.
But it does since people who like Halflings can now play those builds instead of having to play another race or scrap the idea.

You realize an important part of that quote was "even if I concede your point for argument's sake", right?

Homogenizing across races won't make things more diverse, it will make them more homogeneous.


QuidEst wrote:
BryonD wrote:
And it all avoids the core point: how does this play to PF1's strength and avoid hitting 5E where it is already dominant?

It doesn't need to.

This is a pretty innocuous quality-of-life change made to improve the game by removing a common annoyance. I've played the game for years, and I still don't know how the size attack bonus and CMB penalty interact with one another- ditto for the size AC bonus and CMD penalty. I'm not sure how a small Shifter's lower claw damage is supposed to interact with replacing natural attack damage on a different-sized form, and looking up small-size stuff that I don't remember because it's uncommon was a pain. There's a stealth bonus and maybe a fly bonus(?) to keep track of. It wasn't playing to PF1's strengths, and "avoiding being like 5e" wouldn't be sufficient justification to introduce that kind of clutter, so it's not important enough to prevent removing the clutter.

What makes PF better than 5E for you?


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BryonD wrote:
What makes PF better than 5E for you?

That's getting pretty far off topic for the halfling/gnome thread. There's another topic for that already, I think.


Captain Morgan wrote:


THIS. If you define depth as "anything that adds more choice" then depth stops being a relevant sign of quality.

I'll agree that anything that can keep the same level of depth with less complexity is an improvement.

Quote:
Much of what we have seen Paizo strip away doesn't add much to the game.

OK. I believe you are very very wrong.

If they go after the simple game ground then they will lose a lot of market share.
I'm not saying that them taking this route is a foregone conclusion,
not in the least.
But I am saying that I hope they tread very lightly.


QuidEst wrote:
BryonD wrote:
What makes PF better than 5E for you?
That's getting pretty far off topic for the halfling/gnome thread. There's another topic for that already, I think.

I think it is totally on topic for the content of the blog. It is your call to respond or not.

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