All these TPKs. Curious:


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I see post after post in the feedback about people having total party kills.
I'm wondering how many of the party deaths are from people making PF1 assumptions in their PF2 game.
When I ran part 1 of Doomsday Dawn, I lost count of how many times the players started to move their character's mini, then stopped and said, "Oh, wait... is that gonna incur an attack of opportunity?"
So, basically, they were doing or not doing things based on their perception of what would or wouldn't happen, because of what they were used to from the old rules.
I wonder if a fresh, clean slate of rules understanding would provide different outcomes?


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This is my point exactly and people always get mad when I bring it up lol. That the game is played differently so it needs a different play style. I clearly explained to my players the difference between the two systems and we talked and discussed things in detail in between sessions. In 4 six hour sessions I haven't had a single player go down to 0 hp. Only an Animal Companion. I've had several of them get down to less then 5hp however. We've been having a blast, I would say about 80% improvement over P1E overall.

So yes I believe a "How is this Edition different" would be greatly helpful to playtesters.


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From what I've heard, it isn't what people do or don't do that kills them, it's the fact that monsters have a relatively high chance of hitting, critting, and sometimes even killing the PC in one blow -- and that's if they're optimized. Battles are very swingy when optimized (apparently the average chance for a fully optimized character to land a blow or a spell against a same level opponent are never better than 55%) and tend to flatten you if you're not.

That means that there's pretty good odds for that party of level 0 monsters to drop a fighter in the first or second turn, and then while he struggles to roll 14 or better to stabilize, they're busy dropping the rest of the party and not having too difficult a time doing it. The boss has a 10% chance to crit against the fully optimized fighter and as much as a 30% chance against the squishier characters, potentially dealing enough damage to OHKO any single member of the party.

I plan to run the playtest with a party of level 3 characters to see if a few more points of AC and attack bonus help, but from what I'm hearing, they should still be expected to struggle and odds should be far from remote that they TPK against the boss. I find this troubling.

Liberty's Edge

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Survey data for Chapter 1 was coming in at 6% character deaths and so far on Chapter 2 it was about the same so it doesn't sound like there is a huge TPK problem.


Githzilla wrote:
Survey data for Chapter 1 was coming in at 6% character deaths and so far on Chapter 2 it was about the same so it doesn't sound like there is a huge TPK problem.

This.

With the number of TPKs reported I began to think I'd ran everything wrong in part one and couldn't find where I'd botched up.


One poster reported 6 out of 6 TPKs, but other than that one I haven't heard of very many.


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Githzilla wrote:
Survey data for Chapter 1 was coming in at 6% character deaths and so far on Chapter 2 it was about the same so it doesn't sound like there is a huge TPK problem.

This is a case of what's called reporting bias.

Do you think the people who TPK or who don't want to play the game actually care enough to report on a survey? The answer is NO.

There is also the bias of the more organized players reporting, and being more organized typically leads to greater success.

So it's not 50%, but I guarantee it's also not 6%.

This is still very high compared to PF1. I've been playing PFS for 10 years and have rarely seen a PC death. In my playtest we had a PC death and almost a TPK.


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Part of it's GMs who have their enemies use solid tactics apparently - goblins who remember they carry shortbows for one thing, and then use them to focus fire on one PC at a time.

Then there's rigid use of rules vs. keeping the game going (& Rule of Cool!), the former's more likely to result in TPKs.

Last there's bad luck. Crits can be more common in some situations than in PF1 but even if the BBEG is up to a 25% chance of a crit on their first attack that's no guarantee of it actually happening. If it does happen, repeatedly, you can get a TPK which no one could prevent or avert, and while it's more likely than in PF1 it's still only a minority of parties in the same situation who'd get that bad luck.


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Playtesting doesn't do anyone any good whatsoever if the rules are not being tested.

Between being a new rules set and adhering to the rules as understood the logical consequences are a higher fatality rate.


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6% character deaths might mean 6% TPKs and no other deaths (apart from ACs) because of the Hero Points. If you go down, your hero points keep you alive to the end of the fight, when your buddies can pick you up. And if everyone's down, that's the end.

And a lot of the difference is simply that the rules are not entirely clear and hence misunderstood by people on both sides, so some are lenient and some not, whether or not they intend to be.

And then there's the issue of whether you have a cleric or not. If you do, you're almost certainly safe; if not, you could be in for a world of hurt.

Silver Crusade

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If the party doesn't have a cleric, they might be trying to press on when they're low on HP.


avr wrote:

Part of it's GMs who have their enemies use solid tactics apparently - goblins who remember they carry shortbows for one thing, and then use them to focus fire on one PC at a time.

Then there's rigid use of rules vs. keeping the game going (& Rule of Cool!), the former's more likely to result in TPKs.

Last there's bad luck. Crits can be more common in some situations than in PF1 but even if the BBEG is up to a 25% chance of a crit on their first attack that's no guarantee of it actually happening. If it does happen, repeatedly, you can get a TPK which no one could prevent or avert, and while it's more likely than in PF1 it's still only a minority of parties in the same situation who'd get that bad luck.

Solid tactics are fair, but it depends on the monster. I've just tried to adhere to the bit in the book that insisted on running creatures as how they'd act. So mindless monsters with worse tactics and whatnot.

e.g.:
Skeletons are mindless, so while they were in a nasty position (poor barb was flanked) and I played them reasonably efficiently, small clusters basically just locked on to different people to bully and left unmoving downed folk alone, instead of systematically killing individuals. The centipedes swarmed, but while 3 did go for one guy, another just went for a free bit of space to bite at. Most centipedes got one shotted, the one that didn't tried to scamper off. Quasits went for scary looking tactics, while the goblins actually did all focus on the paladin in response to him closing in.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Jason S wrote:
Githzilla wrote:
Survey data for Chapter 1 was coming in at 6% character deaths and so far on Chapter 2 it was about the same so it doesn't sound like there is a huge TPK problem.

This is a case of what's called reporting bias.

Do you think the people who TPK or who don't want to play the game actually care enough to report on a survey? The answer is NO.

But they care enough to post on the forums about it?

If that's the case I think they should redirect their energy to where it's going to do the most good (if they're trying to influence the game in a meaningful way it makes sense to direct one's energy to where the designers are paying the most attention - ie the playtest surveys).


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Sanmei Long wrote:
From what I've heard, it isn't what people do or don't do that kills them, it's the fact that monsters have a relatively high chance of hitting, critting, and sometimes even killing the PC in one blow -- and that's if they're optimized. Battles are very swingy when optimized (apparently the average chance for a fully optimized character to land a blow or a spell against a same level opponent are never better than 55%) and tend to flatten you if you're not.

I agree. While I didn't have a TPK, I did have to use the dying rules in the very first battle I ran. An enemy had gotten an easy first hit on a PC, then crit on the second.

Any battle since that lasted beyond the first round has involved a PC falling to five or less HP. Enemies are basically stronger and better than PCs, including free magic bonus damage despite not having magical gear.

I can vouch for it not being PF1 assumptions, I didn't use AoO in PF1.

Edit: oops, but the wrong button.


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We almost had a TPK in part 2 but the PCs barely survived. One thing we did have was a lot of camping in the dungeon to recover from the previous one or two rooms in order to press on--even though the party had a cleric. It seems like spells kept running out and no one wanted to press forward without enough spells.


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Well so far my group has only made through about half the first dungeon and I am pretty sure we are going to wipe.

I am the only caster in the group (I am a bard) and I was dumb and used my first spell to early in the dungeon and was left with only 1 spell to heal with. I did so and it worked out fine, and we found a healing potion which the barbarian used for a whopping 1 health. So far we have kind of figured that if we leave to go back to town it is a fail as the mission implies a tight time constraint on finding and killing the main big bad.

I am at around 7 health, the barbarian has 3 health left, the rouge only has 3 damage and the ranger has only taken 3 damage, but with me out of spells and half a dungeon to go I am not counting on us surviving to the end without finding a few more healing potions and hopefully the barbarian rolling higher than 1 on the heal effect for it especially since he probably only has 1 or 2 resonance left.


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Tunewalker wrote:

Well so far my group has only made through about half the first dungeon and I am pretty sure we are going to wipe.

I am the only caster in the group (I am a bard) and I was dumb and used my first spell to early in the dungeon and was left with only 1 spell to heal with. I did so and it worked out fine, and we found a healing potion which the barbarian used for a whopping 1 health. So far we have kind of figured that if we leave to go back to town it is a fail as the mission implies a tight time constraint on finding and killing the main big bad.

I am at around 7 health, the barbarian has 3 health left, the rouge only has 3 damage and the ranger has only taken 3 damage, but with me out of spells and half a dungeon to go I am not counting on us surviving to the end without finding a few more healing potions and hopefully the barbarian rolling higher than 1 on the heal effect for it especially since he probably only has 1 or 2 resonance left.

Or you know, you could leave.

The party has a week to recover the Lost Star, and are only 10 minutes away from the surface. So pressing on is foolhardy and serves no purpose.


Tunewalker wrote:

Well so far my group has only made through about half the first dungeon and I am pretty sure we are going to wipe.

I am the only caster in the group (I am a bard) and I was dumb and used my first spell to early in the dungeon and was left with only 1 spell to heal with. I did so and it worked out fine, and we found a healing potion which the barbarian used for a whopping 1 health. So far we have kind of figured that if we leave to go back to town it is a fail as the mission implies a tight time constraint on finding and killing the main big bad.

I am at around 7 health, the barbarian has 3 health left, the rouge only has 3 damage and the ranger has only taken 3 damage, but with me out of spells and half a dungeon to go I am not counting on us surviving to the end without finding a few more healing potions and hopefully the barbarian rolling higher than 1 on the heal effect for it especially since he probably only has 1 or 2 resonance left.

The time constraint is 1 week, as a reminder. You have quite a bit of time.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:

I see post after post in the feedback about people having total party kills.

I'm wondering how many of the party deaths are from people making PF1 assumptions in their PF2 game.
When I ran part 1 of Doomsday Dawn, I lost count of how many times the players started to move their character's mini, then stopped and said, "Oh, wait... is that gonna incur an attack of opportunity?"
So, basically, they were doing or not doing things based on their perception of what would or wouldn't happen, because of what they were used to from the old rules.
I wonder if a fresh, clean slate of rules understanding would provide different outcomes?

Yeah, anecdotally I have observed it on both sides of the GM screen. The difficulty level of PF2 is different from PF1, as is the difference between optimized vs unoptimized...I think at least some GMs, probably haven't accounted for that with tactics.


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ENHenry wrote:

One poster reported 6 out of 6 TPKs, but other than that one I haven't heard of very many.

I'm one too. Our group never survived a single chapter until the group broke up after the rest couldn't take the repeated savage beatings.

Githzilla wrote:
Survey data for Chapter 1 was coming in at 6% character deaths and so far on Chapter 2 it was about the same so it doesn't sound like there is a huge TPK problem.

I pointed out that this didn't seem to reflect the results our group had and several people started telling me that our group must not have done it right...

avr wrote:

Part of it's GMs who have their enemies use solid tactics apparently - goblins who remember they carry shortbows for one thing, and then use them to focus fire on one PC at a time.

Then there's rigid use of rules vs. keeping the game going (& Rule of Cool!), the former's more likely to result in TPKs.

Last there's bad luck. Crits can be more common in some situations than in PF1 but even if the BBEG is up to a 25% chance of a crit on their first attack that's no guarantee of it actually happening. If it does happen, repeatedly, you can get a TPK which no one could prevent or avert, and while it's more likely than in PF1 it's still only a minority of parties in the same situation who'd get that bad luck.

This. If you don't treat goblins as mindless and using basic tactics, they are quite deadly. That and with monsters superior combat numbers, they more often go first, crit and the party starts of their combat down and out.

Mudfoot wrote:
And then there's the issue of whether you have a cleric or not.

I think this is a major factor for those having a smooth time vs those having issues. We had multiple PC's that could heal and it comes nowhere close to a single cleric. Add to that that the game assumes that you've 100% maxed every possible bonus: maxed stat, maxed proficiency, maxed weapon, ect. If you didn't do that, things get even worse.

Steve Geddes wrote:
But they care enough to post on the forums about it?

I'm worried about games like mine, where everyone gave up, threw up their hands and walked away. I might have be the only one that did the survey even though 4 other people had an awful time.

Technotrooper wrote:
One thing we did have was a lot of camping in the dungeon to recover from the previous one or two rooms in order to press on--even though the party had a cleric.

We had to rest after every room or two as we'd be out of every resource, reasoning included.


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Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:

I see post after post in the feedback about people having total party kills.

I'm wondering how many of the party deaths are from people making PF1 assumptions in their PF2 game.
When I ran part 1 of Doomsday Dawn, I lost count of how many times the players started to move their character's mini, then stopped and said, "Oh, wait... is that gonna incur an attack of opportunity?"
So, basically, they were doing or not doing things based on their perception of what would or wouldn't happen, because of what they were used to from the old rules.
I wonder if a fresh, clean slate of rules understanding would provide different outcomes?

Our party has ran the entirety of the first part and are half-way through the second part.

In the first part, while we've had some devastating encounters, and had a HTPK (half total party kill), this was largely due to not resting, not having a Cleric to heal (a test to see if other "healer" characters were viable), and having some of the worst rolling streaks of our lives. Can you imagine going 8 turns of doing nothing but rolling lower than 10 on your dice, not contributing to combat whatsoever, and watching the BBEG cut down your allies right in front of you, while you appear helpless to stop it? That's basically how that encounter went down, and only through the divine will of Pharasma herself did the remainder of the party defeat the BBEG.

In the second part, having much more healing power between a Leaf Druid, a Paladin with Channel Life, and a hardly-optimized Cleric, I've actually had to force the party to rest due to the day being too long and taking a physical tax on their bodies (i.e. I'd incur the ex-Fatigued condition if they didn't rest, when they were perfectly capable of moving on resource-wise).

While I'm not ready to make any solid claims yet, I can say that, so far, having characters more healing-inclined will greatly increase the chances of them surviving encounters with little permanent damage, while those with less healing-inclination will be more likely to lose/die to encounters, and with the current set of healing distribution being largely tied to only a handful of classes (Clerics being the biggest oppressors of this for obvious reasons). I can also say that the healing options starting out are way too weak in comparison to the healing options that characters in the higher levels have access to, meaning that perhaps the baseline should be bumped up a bit in terms of survivability.

Scarab Sages

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Sanmei Long wrote:
From what I've heard, it isn't what people do or don't do that kills them, it's the fact that monsters have a relatively high chance of hitting, critting, and sometimes even killing the PC in one blow

With the current rules and adventures this is impossible. So you must mean knocking someone to 0? people keep calling this killing, or dead it is not.


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Scythia wrote:
Sanmei Long wrote:
From what I've heard, it isn't what people do or don't do that kills them, it's the fact that monsters have a relatively high chance of hitting, critting, and sometimes even killing the PC in one blow -- and that's if they're optimized. Battles are very swingy when optimized (apparently the average chance for a fully optimized character to land a blow or a spell against a same level opponent are never better than 55%) and tend to flatten you if you're not.

I agree. While I didn't have a TPK, I did have to use the dying rules in the very first battle I ran. An enemy had gotten an easy first hit on a PC, then crit on the second.

Any battle since that lasted beyond the first round has involved a PC falling to five or less HP. Enemies are basically stronger and better than PCs, including free magic bonus damage despite not having magical gear.

I can vouch for it not being PF1 assumptions, I didn't use AoO in PF1.

This was our experience with the Lost Star scenario. We never TPK'ed, but it was close a couple of times. Enemies would regularly knock out at least one of our party every encounter. This was even with retreating from the dungeon and healing up in town several times.

For our party healing we had one Paladin with the improved (d6) Lay on Hands. Which is not nearly enough.

We also weren't poring over the rule book trying to build the most optimized characters either. We like to play characters based on them being cool and interesting characters. So we pick skills and feats based on what interests us.

As a result, Drakus could one-round KO any one of our characters. And did so twice. Two hits in the same round, no crit needed. Once was after being hit with enfeebled(2) by the Paladin. That guy was seriously unable to miss our player characters.

Silver Crusade

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Today (the first half of PArt 2 of Doomsday Dawn) the group would have lost at least 2 characters with the old Dying rules (the other 2 could have run away, otherwise they'd have died).

With the new rules it was whack-a-mole with the 2 melee characters going down something like 3-6 times in the one fight. It seemed a little silly how hard it was to kill characters.


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can i take a minute to appreciate the principal skinner meme going on here?
"is this system overly lethal with it's inflated monster statistics and debilitating powers?

no, it's the GMs who are wrong."


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It's definitely more yoyoing (thankyou hero points) and knockdowns than full on TPKs. Remember that most DMs will hesistate to push for a TPK even if the situation allows for it.

In my own experience the math favors the enemy to the point that the strategy for our group is use the enemy stat blocks ourselves: (wild shape, summon monster, summon animal).


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AndIMustMask wrote:

can i take a minute to appreciate the principal skinner meme going on here?

"is this system overly lethal with it's inflated monster statistics and debilitating powers?

no, it's the GMs who are wrong."

It does seem, however, that "this adventure is alarmingly lethal with some groups/GMs and just fine with others" is an interesting and useful bit of playtest data.


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In the first adventure we almost one rounded the boss, but then didn't hit it again for a while and it would have been a tpk if the GM didn't decide to take it easy one us with its behavior.

If a GM plays the monsters even a little intelligently (not a complete idiot) things are very deadly. If they decide to take it easy when they see things are going south there will of course not be so many deaths.


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Sanmei Long wrote:
From what I've heard, it isn't what people do or don't do that kills them, it's the fact that monsters have a relatively high chance of hitting, critting, and sometimes even killing the PC in one blow -- and that's if they're optimized. Battles are very swingy when optimized (apparently the average chance for a fully optimized character to land a blow or a spell against a same level opponent are never better than 55%) and tend to flatten you if you're not.

I think you're right, that a fair fight is stacked against the players, which is why what people do matters so much more. Players should never walk into a battle they don't know they'll already win, or they have no reason to engage in. Classic "Principles of War" right here.

I've seen people just assume they have to fight a deadly battle because it's there, or try to do "The Lost Star" in a day instead of a week. That's just putting an artificial burden on the party, on top of how difficult the new system is. What's more, I'll bet that the groups who did well applied solid tactics (Fighters interposing between foes and squishies, Rogues attacking at range or on outnumbered foes, casters saving their level spells for situations cantrips and skills can't handle, and healers divided their actions between moving, attacking, healing, and raising shields efficiently). The players needn't rely on the GM playing the monsters poorly to succeed, when they can play their characters better.


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Jason S wrote:
Githzilla wrote:
Survey data for Chapter 1 was coming in at 6% character deaths and so far on Chapter 2 it was about the same so it doesn't sound like there is a huge TPK problem.

This is a case of what's called reporting bias.

Do you think the people who TPK or who don't want to play the game actually care enough to report on a survey? The answer is NO.

The "people who don't like the look of the game enough to play it" issue is valid, if not entirely relevant here, but I can easily imagine someone who TPK'd filling in the survey form to make their complaints.

If anything, the opposite bias seems more likely. People who TPK go on the forums to vent their rage. People who have average experiences don't. Maybe the survey data is more reliable than the anecdotal data.


Castilliano wrote:
Tunewalker wrote:

So far we have kind of figured that if we leave to go back to town it is a fail as the mission implies a tight time constraint on finding and killing the main big bad.

I am at around 7 health, the barbarian has 3 health left, the rouge only has 3 damage and the ranger has only taken 3 damage, but with me out of spells and half a dungeon to go I am not counting on us surviving to the end without finding a few more healing potions and hopefully the barbarian rolling higher than 1 on the heal effect for it especially since he probably only has 1 or 2 resonance left.

Or you know, you could leave.

The party has a week to recover the Lost Star, and are only 10 minutes away from the surface. So pressing on is foolhardy and serves no purpose.

This. My group left the dungeon for one night and then managed to complete the mission on the second go with no issues at all. It was a hard fought win even with that, but it is completely acceptable.


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EberronHoward wrote:
Sanmei Long wrote:
From what I've heard, it isn't what people do or don't do that kills them, it's the fact that monsters have a relatively high chance of hitting, critting, and sometimes even killing the PC in one blow -- and that's if they're optimized. Battles are very swingy when optimized (apparently the average chance for a fully optimized character to land a blow or a spell against a same level opponent are never better than 55%) and tend to flatten you if you're not.

I think you're right, that a fair fight is stacked against the players, which is why what people do matters so much more. Players should never walk into a battle they don't know they'll already win, or they have no reason to engage in. Classic "Principles of War" right here.

I've seen people just assume they have to fight a deadly battle because it's there, or try to do "The Lost Star" in a day instead of a week. That's just putting an artificial burden on the party, on top of how difficult the new system is. What's more, I'll bet that the groups who did well applied solid tactics (Fighters interposing between foes and squishies, Rogues attacking at range or on outnumbered foes, casters saving their level spells for situations cantrips and skills can't handle, and healers divided their actions between moving, attacking, healing, and raising shields efficiently). The players needn't rely on the GM playing the monsters poorly to succeed, when they can play their characters better.

With this system, the best way to increase certainty of winning is to be higher level. Unless a level grinding system is introduced, Players will have to accept battles they have 50% - 70% chance of winning.


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Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:

I see post after post in the feedback about people having total party kills.

I'm wondering how many of the party deaths are from people making PF1 assumptions in their PF2 game.
When I ran part 1 of Doomsday Dawn, I lost count of how many times the players started to move their character's mini, then stopped and said, "Oh, wait... is that gonna incur an attack of opportunity?"
So, basically, they were doing or not doing things based on their perception of what would or wouldn't happen, because of what they were used to from the old rules.
I wonder if a fresh, clean slate of rules understanding would provide different outcomes?

The TPK in chief of Lost Star can get their attack bonus up to +12 for 8-22 damage on a crit, average 15. Shortbows are similar player killers at this level with a potential 3-22 damage on a crit but at least they crit less.

Then there's Pale Mountain and three encounters with +13 on their standard attack (to be fair, one isn't really meant to be fought) and one who can reach +15. Only instead of use that +15 attack it's meant to use its +12 attack.

In both adventures it appears the adventure designer's solution to these things that can one-shot players is "don't use them". That's... well, not great design.

As for overall, my experience so far says that it's not the old system causing these TPKs. It's the new system and inflated monster numbers (usually bosses). Strike/Stride/Strike instead of full attacks. Monster abilities that let them make two attacks with one action (and don't increase their MAP). I mean, this is basically the orc with an axe problem from PF1, just spread out to everything. Basically, a CR 1/3 creature (so send a few!) that deals 3d12+12 damage on a crit. If it rolls normally then no big deal, if it gets lucky someone's getting splatted. Oh, and no more confirm roll as a safety check.


Gobbo wrote:
Castilliano wrote:
Tunewalker wrote:

So far we have kind of figured that if we leave to go back to town it is a fail as the mission implies a tight time constraint on finding and killing the main big bad.

I am at around 7 health, the barbarian has 3 health left, the rouge only has 3 damage and the ranger has only taken 3 damage, but with me out of spells and half a dungeon to go I am not counting on us surviving to the end without finding a few more healing potions and hopefully the barbarian rolling higher than 1 on the heal effect for it especially since he probably only has 1 or 2 resonance left.

Or you know, you could leave.

The party has a week to recover the Lost Star, and are only 10 minutes away from the surface. So pressing on is foolhardy and serves no purpose.
This. My group left the dungeon for one night and then managed to complete the mission on the second go with no issues at all. It was a hard fought win even with that, but it is completely acceptable.

Double this. My players rested once in The Lost Star and did so well traveling through the wilderness In Pale Mountain Shadow that they were able to rest twice and still get away in the end.


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Jason S wrote:
Githzilla wrote:
Survey data for Chapter 1 was coming in at 6% character deaths and so far on Chapter 2 it was about the same so it doesn't sound like there is a huge TPK problem.

This is a case of what's called reporting bias.

Do you think the people who TPK or who don't want to play the game actually care enough to report on a survey? The answer is NO.

There is also the bias of the more organized players reporting, and being more organized typically leads to greater success.

So it's not 50%, but I guarantee it's also not 6%.

This is still very high compared to PF1. I've been playing PFS for 10 years and have rarely seen a PC death. In my playtest we had a PC death and almost a TPK.

In my opinion, it’s far more likely to be anecdotal evidence and confirmation bias on the part of people perceiving massive TPKs than just assuming the numbers are off because people are either disinterested or disheartened to report a TPK. To the contrary, the people suffering TPKs are only too happy to report them in the forums, and it’s a well-known axiom that customers of a business are more likely to file complaints than file praise. Just look on these very forums again for evidence.

In fact, Jason Bulmahn said that the initial numbers were around 16% character death, and leveled off as more groups reported — indicating to me that a large number of early reporters were having problems, but for some reason this reduced, my unfounded speculation is as people got more familiar with the new rules, it evened out.

People dying left and right? I have no idea what they are doing differently than how they play PF1, but it is a curious thing that I’m not seeing with the majority of people I both see playing in streams and groups I interact with in real life and online - and that’s my own confirmation bias i’ll admit.


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graystone wrote:
That and with monsters superior combat numbers, they more often go first, crit and the party starts of their combat down and out.

This is key, any critical hit system vastly favours monsters over PCs, another reason I am surprised they have made critical hits/fumbles such a core part of the game.


Vic Ferrari wrote:
graystone wrote:
That and with monsters superior combat numbers, they more often go first, crit and the party starts of their combat down and out.
This is key, any critical hit system vastly favours monsters over PCs, another reason I am surprised they have made critical hits/fumbles such a core part of the game.

I don't think this is necessarily true. Previously it favoured multiple attacks, but here there is a more complex relationship between attack bonus, AC, number of attacks and MAPs. High CR single monsters seem to be the main problem as crits from the weaker creatures haven't phased us much in actual play (unlike poison - which seems slightly too strong for some creatures). In the last fight there were three crits by monsters and only one dropped PC (two crits were natural 20s). The monsters were not particularly intelligent and mainly attacked the closest targets. The party were a bit depleted from a very tough earlier encounter - but switched tactics to be more defensive before the encounter began.

We've had no TPKs but a few encounters with PCs or animal companions (and one familiar) reduced to zero, but no deaths. In most cases the dropped PCs were back in the fight by burning hero points.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Note that the "swinginess" of the PF2 playtest has been discussed in several other threads (plus others):
Regarding the "Coin Flip Problem"
Monster Skills: A Serious Problem
Attack Bonuses are too high for level-0 creatures

For what it's worth, it seems as if the monsters could stand to be toned down slightly (-1 or -2 on bonuses), especially at lower levels.


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Palinurus wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
graystone wrote:
That and with monsters superior combat numbers, they more often go first, crit and the party starts of their combat down and out.
This is key, any critical hit system vastly favours monsters over PCs, another reason I am surprised they have made critical hits/fumbles such a core part of the game.
I don't think this is necessarily true.

Unfortunately it is true, there are often more monsters, and they generally only have limited screen time, so by the numbers, monsters get a lot more critical hits than PCs. There have been all sorts of breakdowns on this.

I am not saying I agree with/am seeing the TPK thing, just critical hits, in general, have not worked out so great in the past, potential for too much spike damage, or dealing less damage than a normal hit (anticlimactic), crit-fishing builds, etc.


Dragonchess Player wrote:

Note that the "swinginess" of the PF2 playtest has been discussed in several other threads (plus others):

Regarding the "Coin Flip Problem"
Monster Skills: A Serious Problem
Attack Bonuses are too high for level-0 creatures

For what it's worth, it seems as if the monsters could stand to be toned down slightly (-1 or -2 on bonuses), especially at lower levels.

Yes - though not necessarily just by changing the bonuses. For example giant centipedes would have been much more fun with toned down poison. We're nor finding fights a coin flip - but players are having to use movement, debuffs etc. cleverly on most encounters. The main issue (for us) is that too many encounters are severely resource depleting, but toning down monsters a little and boosting some classes (the most resource dependent ones) would be useful. The announced resonance fixes seem to point in the right direction.


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Luceon wrote:
Sanmei Long wrote:
From what I've heard, it isn't what people do or don't do that kills them, it's the fact that monsters have a relatively high chance of hitting, critting, and sometimes even killing the PC in one blow
With the current rules and adventures this is impossible. So you must mean knocking someone to 0? people keep calling this killing, or dead it is not.

True, they're knocked to Dying 1 or 2, not Dead. But it often amounts to the same if they can't make the Fort save to recoup before the enemy party annihilates everyone else and then casually sits about poking the twitching bodies until they stop moving.

The new dying rules might even make this worse since now you can bounce between Dying 1 and Dying 2 back and forth several times before finally making enough consecutive saves to get out of Dying, though I still prefer them to the alternative (which was the potential to die while at positive HP values, based on some readings).


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Rameth wrote:
Gobbo wrote:
Castilliano wrote:
Tunewalker wrote:

So far we have kind of figured that if we leave to go back to town it is a fail as the mission implies a tight time constraint on finding and killing the main big bad.

I am at around 7 health, the barbarian has 3 health left, the rouge only has 3 damage and the ranger has only taken 3 damage, but with me out of spells and half a dungeon to go I am not counting on us surviving to the end without finding a few more healing potions and hopefully the barbarian rolling higher than 1 on the heal effect for it especially since he probably only has 1 or 2 resonance left.

Or you know, you could leave.

The party has a week to recover the Lost Star, and are only 10 minutes away from the surface. So pressing on is foolhardy and serves no purpose.
This. My group left the dungeon for one night and then managed to complete the mission on the second go with no issues at all. It was a hard fought win even with that, but it is completely acceptable.

Double this. My players rested once in The Lost Star and did so well traveling through the wilderness In Pale Mountain Shadow that they were able to rest twice and still get away in the end.

Part of the issue is that it works HERE but who knows just when the players are going to be allowed to just go in, do one fight and walk back out to rest.

That and the oddness of doing so. Do the rest of the Goblins in part one not DO anything after some of their friends are killed? DO they just stand still in their rooms?

I might have missed it but I don't think there's rules or advice on what to do if the PC's withdraw.


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breithauptclan wrote:
Scythia wrote:
Sanmei Long wrote:
From what I've heard, it isn't what people do or don't do that kills them, it's the fact that monsters have a relatively high chance of hitting, critting, and sometimes even killing the PC in one blow -- and that's if they're optimized. Battles are very swingy when optimized (apparently the average chance for a fully optimized character to land a blow or a spell against a same level opponent are never better than 55%) and tend to flatten you if you're not.

I agree. While I didn't have a TPK, I did have to use the dying rules in the very first battle I ran. An enemy had gotten an easy first hit on a PC, then crit on the second.

Any battle since that lasted beyond the first round has involved a PC falling to five or less HP. Enemies are basically stronger and better than PCs, including free magic bonus damage despite not having magical gear.

I can vouch for it not being PF1 assumptions, I didn't use AoO in PF1.

This was our experience with the Lost Star scenario. We never TPK'ed, but it was close a couple of times. Enemies would regularly knock out at least one of our party every encounter. This was even with retreating from the dungeon and healing up in town several times.

For our party healing we had one Paladin with the improved (d6) Lay on Hands. Which is not nearly enough.

We also weren't poring over the rule book trying to build the most optimized characters either. We like to play characters based on them being cool and interesting characters. So we pick skills and feats based on what interests us.

As a result, Drakus could one-round KO any one of our characters. And did so twice. Two hits in the same round, no crit needed. Once was after being hit with enfeebled(2) by the Paladin. That guy was seriously unable to miss our player characters.

I was part of a group that TPK'd during the Lost Star and a lot of this was similar to our experience. One of our members felt we could have beat Drakus if we had rolled less unlucky, but I don't really know if I'm convinced. We just started In Pale Mountain's Shadow and almost every encounter has been whack-a-mole, with the two martial characters quickly dropping and the other two rushing to spend actions to heal them again (we lost two members, so we're down to 4).

Part of my personal goal in joining this playtest was to see how characters that weren't optimized played. I built my characters similar to breithauptclan's group, something that seemed interesting and fun, and could contribute to the party in a few meaningful ways. I was hoping there would be more flexibility for characters like this in Pathfinder 2e, but now I'm getting worried. I thought TPKs and near-TPKs had been much more common but the stats say otherwise.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it comes down to PF2's severe 10 minute adventuring day. If you're actually resting at regular intervals, I feel that these scenarios are fairly easy and your chances of TPK should be low. The dice gods could still kill you, and they're a bit more fickle than in PF1, but it's not bad enough to result in something like a 6/6 TPK. However, if you try to push onward when depleted you could very easily TPK, and I feel the size of the dungeon in Lost Star and the distance from the foothills to the tomb in Pale Mountain subtly encourages parties to tackle these segments without resting. Certainly for a PF1 party that would be my expectation for these segments of the adventure, and I could see other people thinking along similar lines. But in PF2, hitting something like Drakus or the Manticore while heavily depleted could very well result in a consistent TPK. Unless you have multiple clerics I could definitely see a pattern of TPK's if you have that kind of behavior.


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My party just finished In Pale Mountain's Shadow and in both parts total we've only had one character hit 0 HP, a lucky crit by Drakkus on a Goblin Alchemist (he would've been fine except it was a high damage roll too, and then Drakkus proceeded to miss most of his attacks for the rest of the battle despite rolling decently).

In Part 1 we made it through in 1 day with no Cleric (the Alchemist made a half dozen minor elixirs of life and the Druid had one Heal but didn't use it until after Drakkus, it wasn't even necessary). So we had some healing but no Cleric. But my party also used tact and discretion to skip like half of the fights. They fought the ooze, the Goblins building a statue, burned the fungus, purified the pool and passed the Pharasma trap without releasing the Quasits, and then fought Drakkus and used his head to talk our way past the remaining Goblins. The statue Goblins took the Rogue to like 1 HP but other than that and the Drakkus KO the party was pretty fine.

Part 2, we had a Cleric (never prepared Heal so just 4 level 2 Heals per day) and a Druid with a Minor Staff of Healing, and they had Battle Medic and Natural Medicine respectively. So much more healing. They made the trip to the foothills in 3 days, went through as far as the Gnoll Camp in one day and rested there more from time passed than resource drain. The Manticore and Gnoll troop of the next day took more of a toll, the former taking the Barbarian to 1 HP and the latter just doing solid overall damage to the party, and when we rested outside the tomb we had just enough daily resources to patch the party enough that a rest would finish it. And then we cleared the tomb in a day, the stronger elementals brought a couple players to single digit HP abut no KOs. And we never encountered the Night Heralds, we left the tomb at dawn of day 7.

Through all these fights the monsters rolled well overall, rarely having a turn where they didn't land a hit and getting crits here and there but not too excessively. For our group at least we felt like the amped up challenge compared to typical 1e was a very welcome change but I can see how it's a delicate balance that could tip with just a few bad rolls.

But honestly that's always been a problem. In the earliest levels a crit could outright KILL a player in 1e if it was a two handed weapon and forbid if it had power Attack or a x3 multiplier. But here the inability to be install led feels like as long as the party can keep from being overwhelmed entirely you aren't likely to lose a character, especially with the new dying rules.

I do feel bad for the groups that are eating multiple TPKs but it makes me wonder where the issue is because my group has shown me that even with good luck on monster's part and fairly moderate luck on the PCs victory is definitely in reach. The new action economy and restricted AoOs in particular make tactics feel all the more important rather than just standing mostly in place and attacking and my group loves it.


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Our party nearly got TPK'd in the very first room against the sewage monster because it beat us on initiative despite the rogue and alchemist both rolling well.

Both the 20 HP paladin and the rogue went down in one hit, followed by the alchemist. If the cleric had not been able to channel, we would have all died.


Diane Moh wrote:

Our party nearly got TPK'd in the very first room against the sewage monster because it beat us on initiative despite the rogue and alchemist both rolling well.

Both the 20 HP paladin and the rogue went down in one hit, followed by the alchemist. If the cleric had not been able to channel, we would have all died.

Okay, that has me curious because I just checked and the sewer ooze does 1d6+1 and 1d4 acid on a hit which should be 2d6+2 and 1d4 acid on a crit, that is a max of 18 damage, and only a 1/144 chance of rolling that high. Unless your GM ruled the acid damage multiplied as well? Even then that's nuts bad luck, 20 damage out of a max 22 (and minimum 6). Though I think it's worth noting that a lucky crit like that from a PF1 monster at 1st level would probably have meant immediately rolling a new character.


Sorry, just realized I meant two hits. The sewer ooze had previously acid sprayed the party and the paladin failed a Reflex save, thus taking 2 damage, so took 18 damage to 0.


Well... With that kind of luck i guess i can understand going down in one hit, especially when a pally can have like 18 AC level 1 xD


I should note it's not 6/6 TPKS for that one gm. It's actually 8/8 TPKs 2 each in Lost Star,Pale Mountain,Shrieking Peak, and Arclord's Envy. If I remember right the fights in question are Drakus,Manticore/Gnoll Chief, the 2nd Fight, and the fight in the shop.

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