The recently-released pregenerated characters (found HERE) might also be a good way to have a first session or two just to get the rules without messing around with character creation. That way, when you sit down to create characters of your own for the first time you have some more context.
I definitely agree that opening up the book and just creating a character, without knowing the system in advance, is pretty confusing right now. (Erik Mona was posting to this effect yesterday, too, so I know this is very much on Paizo's radar!)
And then we got to the actual Rogue. And this is where things fell apart. Put simply there is a lot of moving parts in PF2. She had to go and read the class feats, then the feat section and the skill section, then cross reference everything if required. One could actually see the enthusiasm die. Note she is an ex 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder player, currently she likes 5E but will play OSR games if that is what I want to play.
I'm curious to hear more about what specifically tripped yall up. Was it just the learning curve? You say that you've played 3.X and PF1, but those seem a lot *more* difficult—is the difference just learning a fiddly new system for the first time?
As a 1st level Rogue, when you get to the class part, you need to pick: 1 class feat (out of 4, listed right there) and 1 skill feat. What about those two selections was so enthusiasm-killing? How might that problem be addressed?
For the second quotation, what "complex fiddly math" was involved in character creation that was un-fun?
I recently had a session-0 with three players, all of whom have some PF1 experience but not too much. I have my own thoughts on the "speedbumps" in the character creation process (which does seem like it could be improved for new players, for sure!), arising from their experiences and feedback, and will be writing those up in my playtest thread when I start one to organize my thoughts.
(E.g., I think one of the biggest problems right now is equipment/gear selection. You've gone through and made all of these choices and then ... here's 150sp and a long list of adventuring gear. Who wants to go through and think about lamps and rope at that point? Nobody! it's just un-fun. My players took one look at that and said, "can we just skip this and get to playing?" So we did. It would be a huge help to list a few premade adventuring bundles/kits so a new player can pick a weapon, pick an armor, and grab a kit and go. They can worry about a la carte shopping later, if they want to. But right now it's a major speedbump for a new player trying to create a character.)
Bruno Mares wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
Oh, that's great to hear. I had a first session this week with three players who have just a little PF1 experience, they all found the presentation of character creation to be confusing. (And without the context of having read months of preview blogs I probably would have been kinda lost too!)
1. A few weeks ago, Mark referred to the DC table as something that "certainly" would be on a GM screen.
2. Correct, no penalty for shooting into melee per se, just the possibility of screening.
Great, thanks! Glad to hear about ancestries and sig skills, looking forward to watching the full thing.
Beast Weener wrote:
In addition to the Twitch streams, Paizo folks have mentioned forum posts, blog posts for more centralized announcements, and an errata PDF that's already in the works.
As for the Twitch videos, I agree that a time-stamped summary is helpful. I made a few of those for some of the preview Twitch streams and hope to do the same for the Playtest streams. (Alas, I'm traveling this weekend or would be going through the first one today.)
I also find it funny that people continue to argue that there's not enough "options" but this isn't even the final release, it's a playtest. It's a sample of all the potential and not meant to be every possible option ever - quite the opposite, it's a framework to make sure that they can spend the next ten years (give or take) easily adding in more options for people that will add flavor, expand possibilities, and extend the horizons of their game.
If this part was in response to my post, allow me to elaborate the nature of my "character options" worry.
(1) Yes, it's a playtest. And where the worry is "not *enough* options" (and it is, in places, with a pretty small number of feats to choose from at different points), your point is apt: that we should probably expect, e.g., more class feats in the final Core Rulebook and more options as the new system expands.
(2) This, along with the reasons below, are a big part of why I ended my post saying that I'm looking forward to hearing Paizo's engagement and response to playtest feedback. I'd like to know what they're hearing and what they're eyeing to change and/or build out for the Core!
(So, e.g., I was very excited to see Jason hint in a recent post that he'd like to release more multiclassing archetypes *during* the playtest—that's a major area where a raw lack of options is hurting us right now, and I'd love to see how character building feels with a full suite of multiclass options.)
(3) But my main concern is not "there aren't enough options to select right now", and your post doesn't address my main concern. What I'm worried about arises from the combination of a set list of class talents and the change away from PF1 archetypes (and multiclassing) meaning you can't customize that set list in any way. This combination has the unfortunate result of making classes very restrictive: want to play a light-armored, bow-wielding Paladin? You're out of luck: all of your set class features are built around heavy armor, a shield, and a melee weapon. Want to play a light-armored Fighter? Too bad, your light armor proficiency never advances. Want to play a Strength Rogue? Too bad, your class is built for Dexterity builds.
(4) So yes, part of the concern could be addressed by more class feats (e.g., a couple basic archery feats for each martial class). But (A) that doesn't fix the problem identified above of the straightjacket imposed by unalterable class features, and (B) there you start to run into the problem of, do you really want to reprint the same feat for every martial class? (Maybe you do, that's a layout question, but it is a question.)
(5) So really what I'm *most* interested to hear from the designers about is whether they like that inflexibility in classes (oh, just build a Fighter multiclass Cleric if you want a bow-wielding Paladin, just build a Fighter/Rogue if you want a Strength Rogue!), or if it's something they intend to address going forward.
Personally I would be pretty dissatisfied if the designers decide to keep classes with such an inflexible "spine" that locks you into some build/play styles and keeps you away from others. (This is mostly a problem for non-spellcasters, I guess—spellcasters just select different spells—but it's annoying to think that one martial class just can't use some types of weapons. I just don't see why Paladins should be locked into sword & board melee heavy armor. That doesn't make any sense to me. If I want to play a Paladin of Erastil shouldnt I be able to use my god's weapon?)
Erik Mona wrote:
Thanks, as always, for the thoughtful engagement on the forums. This bit shook loose something I'd been pondering. Had my first playtest session this week (running for three players, who have a little but not too much PF1 experience). All four of us *loved* the basic engine of the game. Very excited with how it played.
But the parts that have had me worried and feeling a little dissatisfied when reading the rules and putting together characters have all had to do, not with the basic game engine, but with the current character options. (Mostly how class locks in so much that you can't make "against-type" characters, and "type" can be pretty restrictive—e.g., Paladins use heavy armor and shields, period.)
It occurs to me that these dissatisfactions wouldn't necessarily be surfaced at conventions, where folks are playing with pregenerated characters and can't see the full system. So you'd get a lot more of our "oh wow we love this game engine" and not the other part. This may explain some of the apparent disconnect between con reactions and some of the negative feedback now that the game's out.
(Similar with the preview blogs, which showed a lot of things to be excited about but couldn't give the perspective to see how limiting the classes might feel.)
The great thing here, I'd think, is that character options are probably much easier to change than the engine. So if that's in good shape the game's on a great track already!
So I'm looking forward to hearing more from the design team and everyone else responding to playtest feedback going forward. (I haven't had the chance to catch today's Twitch stream yet but will soon.)
Vic Wertz wrote:
We're at 99.3% of orders shipped, and of the remainder, all but 7 are "fully prepared but haven't yet left the fulfillment center."
Guess I drew a very short straw then, because I just got these emails from Paizo customer service:
Customer Service wrote:
Customer Service wrote:
If I'm counting right, this replacement order would arrive between August 17th to August 31st? No thanks! You'd think the least you could do at this point would be to overnight the dang thing. What a horrible experience. :-/
I've canceled with customer service and placed an order with another retailer that's promising me delivery Monday or Tuesday. Should've done that when this whole fiasco started.
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Made characters with three less-experienced players last night. They all appreciated the clear "pick one of this list" option selection and had found PF1 very overwhelming.
That said, as a more experienced player I found the class-gating of some basic combat styles to be pretty frustrating: I wanted to make a ranged Paladin and quickly realized that there's no great way to make that work (I'm not saying, oh no it's not optimal, I'm saying, from a quick read it looks like I'd lack basic archer functionality and a ton of my main class features that I can't select out of just wouldn't do anything for an archer concept). Even the bow ranger I ended up with I was forced into an animal companion, against the concept I wanted going in, because the other options were worse fits (or, in the case of the monster ID feat, which I was going to take, it just seemed incredibly weak as a mechanical choice).
All of this is very similar to my own experience. Just had some friends put together characters, they all have some but not a lot of experience with PF1. Took 3 hours, they found it kind of confusing and not very well explained (all three of them missed the four floating ability boosts and found the different steps of ability score generation confusing, for the reasons you discuss), lots of flipping back and forth (especially for ability scores and even more so for spells).
Also noticed the lack of space on the character sheet for extra senses or for Lore specifications that you point out below. (And I'd add, the AC area doesn't have space set aside for shields, which annoyed my husband who was building a sword & board fighter.)
Paladins who want to play any style that's not heavy armor sword & board are my current frustration.
This seems inevitable in the current class system.
One possible solution would be to create a pool of basic combat feats that any character could select as class or general feats. As it is, a ranged Paladin has the unappealing option of taking Fighter dedication (granting her nothing) and then spending additional fighter multiclass feats to get see basic stuff. Why not let the basics be available to anyone?
Steve Geddes wrote:
Do you really think that Paizo does *not* have an internal style manual for writers? I would be *shocked* if they didn't have one. For example, the Playtest rules consistently refer to a generic GM with she/her/hers pronouns. That's a consistent style choice. Chicago won't answer that. So presumably it and others are witten down somewhere.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Are there plans to release this system externally for the purpose of gathering that review & feedback? (Or is it in the GM materials already released? I haven't read those yet.)
Vic Wertz wrote:
This raises an interesting question of whether the standards for formal writing are the right standards for game rulebooks. My impression of the playtest rules is that they're a bit more relaxed, perhaps, than the PF1 rules. (More contractions and other casual language was my impression, but I don't know if that's really the case.)
(Separate from the question of whether the standard is the right one in this case. I go back and forth on whether I like the generic singular "they" in formal writing.)
And I will add that the claim about newspaper and magazine writing pervasively using a generic or indefinite singular "they" does seem a bit too strong.
For example, about a year ago the AP stylebook recognized the singular "they" for folks who use it, but cautioned strongly against the use of the singular "they" as a generic pronoun. See here:
They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy. However, rewording usually is possible and always is preferable. Clarity is a top priority; gender-neutral use of a singular they is unfamiliar to many readers.
If the AP stylebook is representative (which seems like a reasonably fair assumption), your impression of the state of newspaper and magazine writing may be a bit ahead of the curve.
Madame Endor wrote:
I can see lots of good reasons to go with the genderless singular "they" as a generic pronoun in the ruleset. It does have some small cost here or there (primarily in circumstances contemplating two generic figures, e.g. the GM and a player, where gendering the pronouns can help keep clear who is who in the example). But I doubt that cost outweighs the benefit.
I will say, however, that I was taken aback by the above claims about how pervasive the genderless singular "they" is in professional settings and formal writing ("few people", "no one", "most of the English speaking world"). These claims do not at all track with my own experience. Of course, the empirical question (how common is it?) isn't really what's important here. But I was taken aback to see such strong claims in that regard that felt so off to me. Sounds like your experience has been very different from my own (likely a function of geography and/or specific professional field, I imagine?).
I'm also wondering about No Escape. Especially with abilities like Raging Athlete or the dragon wings that grant alternative movement, it seems less than great to have that ability limited to land speed. (I believe that restriction to land speed only comes from the Stride action itself, but would have to double check.)
Texas Snyper wrote:
Yes they are retroactive. It's a terrible place to have it but the magic item quality potent addresses that.
Okay, thanks. Potent (p. 345) definitely suggests that ability boosts to Con and Int from leveling up *should* be retroactive. But (of course) that does need to be put in the actual leveling up/ability boost rules!
Yeah, I'm sure that we won't be hearing from the designers till after the con. That's understandable! Unfortunately, nothing in the Ranger preview blog answers the question. So we're left wondering for now.
In PF1, raising Con or Int as you leveled up had retroactive effect, granting additional hit points and skill ranks as if you had enjoyed the higher ability score from level 1.
But I don't see anything to that effect in the Playtest rules.
Is that correct? Are the benefits of these increases only prospective, not retroactive?
If so, that significantly affects character planning, making it much more valuable to invest in Con/Int at level 1 and "catch up" your other scores later. For that reason, I'd prefer that the ability boosts do have retroactive effect.
Yeah, I just noticed that about the Fighter, too. You don't even get medium and light to match the heavy! You're just flat worse off if you want to play a lightly-armored Fighter. :-/
I'm generally concerned about how class choice locks you into specific play styles. Want a Paladin who *doesn't* go for heavy armor and a shield? Congrats, you're wasting a big chunk of your class features. (This one inspired by my desire to create a spear-wielding fighter and trying to think about how each martial class would handle it.)
Especially since you can't swap out core class features with archetypes, and can't multiclass away from or retrain out of your initial class choice, the spine of your character is completely fixed, and has built in some pretty specific choices. And this is everywhere! Key ability score, signature skills, class features. It feels pretty restrictive coming from PF1.
The Adopted Ancestry feat, as written, seems to stymie rather than support many adopted-PC stories.
Because it is a general feat that does nothing other than give you access to ancestry feats of your adopted culture, the earliest any PC can take it is 3rd level (or 1st level if Human using the General Training human ancestry feat)—and then the earliest a character can actually take an ability or feature from their adopted ancestry is 5th level. That doesn't make much sense to me: if a character is raised by Dwarves and trained in Dwarven weapons, shouldn't she be able to use those weapons from level 1?
The feat is also just pretty disappointing in general: a feat that lets you take another feat two levels later. It might only really make sense if you retrain into it at the same time as taking an ancestry feat from the adopted ancestry, but should the feat really require that kind of tinkering to get its basic flavor?
This connects to what looks like a general problem with ancestries that folks were worrying about from the previews: that the selection of benefits is so limited at 1st level that pretty basic concepts like weapon training can't come online till your character is quite far along.
There appears to be an inconsistency regarding the Ranger's Key Ability Score.
In Table 1-2 (p. 13), the Ranger's Key Ability Score is listed as Dexterity or Strength.
But in the Ranger class description (p. 113), the Ranger's Key Ability Score is listed only as Dexterity.
(This matters, of course, because the Key Ability Score determines the class-based ability boost in character creation.)
I ordered the book from Paizo and then, quite late, the flipmat from Amazon. I got the map today. The book? Who knows.
The way Mark was talking about essences on the recent Know Direction podcast about the Bard was interesting. Definitely more of a narrative element and background design principle.
To your thought he mentioned that some spells are shared between lists because of the idea that different essences could produce the same effect. (I think Dispel Magic may have been an example?) This sort of thing, and the design flexibility it suggests about not sticking too rigidly to an essence categorization, seems like a good reason to keep the essences more in the background to me.
He also spoke, I believe, about essences being "opposed", which made it sound like a four-point setup, with each essence having two adjacent and one opposed. That would give the 4 spell lists, for the 4 possible complementary pairs and leaving out the 2 opposed pairs.
I think Erik Mona *might* have said something in this ballpark in the first interview he gave after the play test was announced. Maybe on Know Direction? Talking about adding the alchemist, might have said the Oracle and the Witch were contenders for a bit but ultimately went Alchemist to get alchemy fully integrated into the core. But I don't know that it was ever a statement as strong as "almost made it."
Nathanael Love wrote:
This is incorrect. As I mentioned before, classes get class talents every odd level. Leveling up blog:
And channel energy is a class talent for clerics that all clerics get. It is not "only accessed by a feat". Cleric blog:
At 1st level, clerics get several class features, including their deity and domain, anathema, channel energy, and of course, divine spellcasting (which we'll talk more about in a bit).
Sure, there's a cost. But I was thinking specifically of your claims that "you don't get anything real from your "main" class either" (not true, since you still get all of your class talents/features at the odd levels) and "and by the way everything that was a feat in PF1 is ALSO a feat so you get none of those either?" (not exactly right, since you still have all your general feats and skill feats (plus the other 6 class feats)).
I don't think I'm on board with your assessment of the costs here. (Especially the idea you started with that there were lower costs in PF1 for multiclassing.)
Nathanael Love wrote:
So it takes almost half of your 10 class feats, and by the way all your class abilities are also now class feats so you don't get anything real from your "main" class either, and by the way everything that was a feat in PF1 is ALSO a feat so you get none of those either?
Ah, I think you may have a slight misunderstanding of the advancement system in the playtest. Playtest characters get class talents (like PF1's class features) every odd level and class feats every even level, I believe. They also get ancestry feats, skill feats, and general feats. So spending 4/10 class feats on a MC archetype still leaves you with all of your other goodies.
See e.g. the leveling up blog: http://paizo.com/community/blog/v5748dyo5lklr?Leveling-Up
Nathanael Love wrote:
I like to play characters who will usually have 2 or more classes and 1-2 archetypes per class. I like to use every possible combination to make each character completely unique, something which is only possible in PF (and to a lesser extent 3.5), but was impossible in previous editions and in 5th Ed DnD, and apparently in PF2.
This type of concern is probably at the top of my list, too, I think.
@Nathanael Love: Ah, I didn't see that the feat count wasn't in the blog. Thanks. Per this post from Mark upthread, it takes a total of 4 feats to get 8th level spells.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Nathanael Love wrote:
Hold up a second here. Isn't PF1 multiclassing much *worse* on this count? Eating choice resources (levels) for "not good enough spellcasting." It takes what, three or four class feats in the playtest model (out of 10?) to get 8th level spellcasting.
So compare, e.g., a Fighter 16/Wizard 4 in PF1 to a Fighter/Wizard in the playtest who sinks 4 class feats into Wizard MC. Who's better off here? Pretty clearly it's the playtest MC (both in terms of fighting prowess and in terms of having "good enough spellcasting").
So, genuine question: What kind of "characters do [you] like to build/play [that] will NEVER be able to exist" in this kind of system?
I have some concerns about this system and will push it hard in the playtest. But I'm not following your concern as articulated in this post, would be interested to hear more.
Captain Morgan wrote:
It's also a really good post. The partial info from the leak made multiclassing sound way less flexible than it will actually be. And Jason very much couched it in language of "hey guys we are trying something new, we will change it if you don't like it." Which has been true of several other things people got upset about, but I feel like saying it up front, repeatedly, may have minimized the damage.
I agree. This was a very well done blog. I definitely appreciated, in the blog and in the thread, a little more insight into how the designers are thinking about this. I'm not sure what I think about it yet but definitely more open minded toward the idea now than from what I saw from the leak. Excited to dig in and playtest it, see how it feels in practice. Is it Thursday yet?
So do y'all think we'll get blogs this week? I'm hoping we'll at least get a thorough overview of the playtest process. I think I understand it by now, but would help to have a summary post to point folks to.
Charlie Brooks wrote:
I'm sort of hoping for today. We had the half-elf/half-orc blog on Tuesday, and putting the biggest controversy since the Paladin out earlier rather than later seems smart, to let off some steam before release date. But the most likely result, I guess, is either Monday or no blog at all and just slip into release without talking about it.
Most worried about: Fighter, Ranger, Alchemist
Alchemist: it seems pretty complicated and it'll have to be done *just right* to play well and to integrate into the new item/crafting/resonance system.
Fighter: all the reasons folks have stated.
Ranger: I kinda just don't get it from the preview and am concerned it may have some of the same issues as the Fighter.
Least worried about: Wizard, Bard
Wizard: They'll be fine, obviously.
Bard: I'm *very* into the Bard as previewed. I'm slightly concerned about how complex the mechanics might feel in play, but I really like the general direction they've previewed and think it's probably going to work very well with a little playtesting.
I like it. I'm sure it will benefit from playtesting, of course, but it's a promising direction and feels like the best way to handle these in the PF2 ancestry system.
(Unrelated: if we're going on an accelerated schedule ahead of the release, maybe this means we'll see a multiclassing blog tomorrow. A boy can dream.)
This sounds like it might be a really good setup for multiclassing in the new edition. Will be interesting to play with. Especially want to see things like, how a Fighter/Wizard and a Wizard/Fighter compare.
My first reaction was like the above: Why wouldn't *every* martial drop a few feats to get some casting? Curious how the tradeoffs look.
Link? I can't find this.
How would you handle a singing bard or an orator bard? It's one of my greatest concerns about the class after for D&D 5e handled them. In that system, while there aren't any rules against singing or giving speeches for bardic performances, the fact that all 5e bards learn to play 3 instruments and start with "a lute or other musical instrument" certainly doesn't encourage things like a bard as a military commander whose performances are rousing speeches.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Also, as I mentioned in the spells blog, bards can replace the Somatic Casting and Verbal Casting components of spellcasting by playing a musical instrument, in case you want a bard who plays the violin to cast his spells!