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Note: some of my post may read as sarcastic. It's not. I'm grinning and being friendly. And yes, the depth of reply is in itself parody.
Complexity for complexity's sake is not a good thing. Indeed, complexity is a turn off almost universally*. Depth (the main benefit of complexity) is what is usually chased.
swoosh put it best, but I'll go ahead and agree with you. Complexity for its own sake is a bad thing. Fortunately Pathfinder's complexity is purposeful, with that purpose being fun. Yay!
For example, having to stack different bonus types.
Wait, wait, wait. You've got a typo there. You used "having" instead of "being able". Being able to stack different bonus types.
Does that actually accomplish anything? All that rewards is players who delve through the various books for all the different ways to combine all the different bonuses.
Well, screw them, right? Because they're having WrongBadFun. Look. There's maybe a half-dozen different types of bonuses. And spells and magic items tell you what they are. You act like it's some sort of insurmountable difficulty to see that a cleric's guidance spell still works if someone's wearing a cloak of resistance +1.
Is it nice to figure out the optimal way to make that combination? Sure. It's kind of like a puzzle. Does it make a better system? Not really.
Yes, really. Because all of the sudden your cleric player has something that they can do to help other PCs make their saves. If your next move is to pull out the "dependency on magic items sucks" card, well, let's keep in mind that there are other spells and class abilities that impact saving throws and may or may not stack with guidance, often lending itself to... TEAMWORK. Right. Dirty word. It's a better system when multiple characters can work together to get a job done. Hence things like Aid Another and flanking.
It makes a harder to balance system. You create a new item that you want to give a bonus to AC. What type of bonus? Morale (it can be increased by moment of greatness)? Luck (it can be increased by that trait everyone takes)? Armor? Does it stack with magically enhanced armor? Natural armor (similar question)? Sacred because you want it to stack without making an exception to the "no same bonuses stacking" rule? Untyped? But if you have untyped, why all the different kinds?
Hey look... themed bonuses. That's so cool! It's like there's a richness to the underlying numbers that supports immersion.
Is it important to the system that shield and armor bonuses stack, but shield bonuses do not? Indeed, why don't shield bonuses stack? Can I not defend myself with a shield while another magical shield defends another flank? (maybe this paragraph got a little verbose...)
It's important to the system because there's an mathematical expectation of a certain range of numbers. Attacks at such-and-such a level should be a certain number, plus/minus acceptable variance. Giving players choice as to how to assemble their character is awesome. There's a trade-off between offense and defense when you go sword & board. There's a trade-off between mobility and heavy armor. The base rules on stacking - why you can't use a magical shield and a physical shield and benefit from both - simply keep the numbers sane (mostly).
The system as a whole is messy.
And yet... the 3.x rule-set is the longest-lived ever. And I'm sure - but can't produce a citation - best-selling ever.
And while one can say "well you don't have to use everything" how do I know what I want to use?
Wait a minute. That argument literally breaks down to "I want there to be fewer choices so I don't have to know what I'm missing."
If I'm in the CRB, and want to play a combative character with an array of supporting skills, but who isn't a ranger (because I don't like favored enemy, or don't want casting, whatever), what do?
1} Post a thread and ask for advice?2} Recognize that if you had a Pathfinder 2.0 without all the extra option books you object to, you couldn't do #1, so the answer to your question would be: suck it up, buttercup.
The slayer would be great for my concept, but that's in a later book. Unless I've read everything I don't know what options exist for me to ignore.
I don't think it works that way. If you haven't read something, you've ignored it. Mission accomplished!
Unless I've read the thousand and a half feats (which I have, not that I remember even a quarter of that...), how do I know which ones best fill out a concept I have?
Starts with G, ends with "oogle.". I use it a lot and I too have read a tonne of this stuff. "Pathfinder increase earlobe size" is almost guaranteed to find a trait or spell, or magic item. But again, my point is that because of the bloat that you're carefully not naming by name, you CAN find enlarge cartilage.
Should I take Gory Finish or Killing Flourish? The latter is better and can be expanded by Gruesome Slaughter, but I have to be a slayer, and be using those feats.
Screwed if I know. I'll research that when a} I'm building my own character, or b} feeling helpful and decide to post in an advice thread.
Will my gm allow that class? Those specific feats?
Does your GM have an e-mail address, or is this 1952?
I was initially planning to take just cornugon smash to use intimidate in combat, but those two feats would better fill the idea of "showy & terrifying combatant."
Of course, if I hadn't gone through the enormous list of combat feats, I wouldn't know they existed.
A quick search nets me the alleged statistic that the average person spends over 80 minutes a week on the crapper. I'm going to go ahead and suggest that feat-reading is a great way to optimize that time. Heck, I'll offer that empirical testing has very much proved the theory. I know whereof I speak.
And while the game is still playable without all the expanded material, a lot of character concepts are severely limited (I believe throwing weapons were expanded with weapon master's handbook, but I've not tried assembling such a build so am not sure).
Aaaand full circle. Back in the pre-APG golden days, all you had was one, nicely managed and memorized 500 page book. All I had was the aching yearning for more variety in my Lego box. The good news is that today you and I can both be happy. All you need to do is disregard everything that isn't the CRB and you've got your bloatless Pathfinder 2.0 All I need to do is not be you. Win-win!
*I can't think of anything off hand where one say "I like X because it's dense and incredibly difficult to get into, but no deeper than some other system"
Mmmm. Look, I get it, humour aside. Sometimes a nice Kevin Smith fart & poop & pot movie is exactly what the mind needs. But sometimes you just want to sit down and watch True Detective or Westworld or Battlestar Galactica and spend an hour riveted by complex plotting and intricate detail. OMFG what is Rust/Maeve/Adama going to do next?!? <<By the way, if you spoil this week's Westworld season finale on me, I'm going to have to hurt you.>>
Feats, spells, classes, items, archetypes, traits, and gods you don't know about aren't a problem. So if you don't like bloat, stop reading about Ultimate Whatever. It's a crunch book. It's not for you. Don't worry about if there's something awesome in there. It's not for you.